Think of the possibilities with fast and furious WiFi speeds passengers will never experience downtown on a cruise. The options are endless: selfies, Facebook and Twitter posts, constant Instagramming, emails and much more. And so like most cruise lines today, Carnival is paying attention to the need of its passengers to be plugged-in-, hooked-up and on-line with the fastest speeds possible, not an easy task at sea, but doable according to a press release today from Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), which announced that it has expanded its innovative hybrid connectivity system to create the cruise industry’s largest Wi-Fi network – and one of the world’s largest satellite mobility networks.
Carnival’s WiFi@Sea technology uses more than 31 advanced satellite systems that feature the broadest high-bandwidth internet coverage in the industry currently deployed on 30 of its 100 ships — far more than any other cruise line company – with further deployment planned over the next several months. Of course passengers still have to pay to use the service but Carnival assures that some of its brands are offering new plans and pricing packages that make staying connected on a cruise more convenient and affordable – and are improving the guest experience and increasing the number of guests using Wi-Fi while cruising.
The faster, friendly Internet service will be installed on 40 percent of Carnivawl’s fleet and brands—that include Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Costa– by the end of 2015. Cruise lines sailing under the Carnival umbrella that already have the system in place include AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line. Building on existing broadband Wi-Fi capabilities already available throughout its fleet of 100 ships, Carnival Corporation is continuing the deployment of its technology solution with plans to expand the new system on the majority of its fleet across its 10 global brands through 2016.
Most cyber junkies only care about availability and speed of WiFi, but for those of you who want to know more, Carnival’s new system is a first-of-its kind solution that will provide speeds up to 10 times faster than before and integrate a combination of advanced satellite systems, onboard software, networking equipment, land-based antennas and Wi-Fi from port connections. The technology is expected to change how millions of travelers stay in touch during their cruise and generate even greater interest in cruise vacations, especially among tech-savvy millennials and people of all ages who want to stay in touch, research destinations or share their vacation experiences via social media.
“As we continue to enhance our WiFi@Sea system, we implement technologies, packages and overall approaches that will create the best experience and value for our guests wherever their cruise vacation takes them,” said Reza Rasoulian, vice president of global connectivity and shipboard technology operations at Carnival Corporation. “We optimize all of our service layers continuously to ensure a great connectivity experience. With this approach, we are giving our guests faster internet speeds without constraining the time they can be online through our packages, which has led to more people than ever using their devices to connect while on our ships and a steady improvement in guest satisfaction ratings as the new plans and pricing are rolled out.”
Last August Carnival Cruise announced enhanced internet access including new social media packages available on 19 of its 24 ships with plans for fleet-wide implementation by the first quarter of 2016. In June, the company’s AIDA Cruises brand announced new flat-rate social media and internet packages, along with bandwidth upgrades that have been installed on seven ships, and will be fully deployed on each of the brand’s 10 ships by November 2015.