Carnival Cruise Lines has announced the soft launch of a new Internet package and a smartphone app to take advantage of the access.
The cruise line announced that it will offer enhanced Internet access aboard the Carnival Freedom, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Sunshine. The improved service will not only increase bandwidth and speed, but include a social media package providing unlimited access to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other popular social sites.
During the testing period, the basic social media package will cost $5 per day or $25 per voyage.
"Consumers expect a high level of connectivity even while on vacation and these new enhancements provide our guests not only with helpful tools for getting the most out of their cruise but also a convenient and cost-effective way for keeping in touch with their family and friends while on board," said Carnival's senior vice president of guest commerce Gus Antorcha in a statement.
"We recognize the increasingly important role that technology plays in people's daily lives and the launch of this application and new Internet packages provides us with a strong platform for introducing additional innovations and ways to use technology to enhance our guest experience even further," he added.
Guests that want more access and the ability to check mail and surf the Web can buy the value package for $16 per day or $60 per cruise. And if guests want the fastest connection available, for using more bandwidth-heavy apps such as video calling sites like Skype, they can buy the premium package for $25 per day or $99 per cruise.
That's significantly less than Carnival's current plan, which runs $29 for 45 minutes, $59 for 120 minutes, $89 for 240 minutes and $159 for 480 minutes. Those plans will continue to be offered on the rest of the fleet.
Streaming video sites like Netflix and Hulu will not be supported with the new plan, the company said. Carnival said additional functionality will be added over time.
The new shipboard app, to be tested on the Breeze only for now, includes a day-by-day schedule of onboard events, information on dining options, searchable deck plans, itinerary details and real-time information regarding guests' account balance, among other features.
"In creating both the Internet plans and the app, we spent a lot of time listening to our guests to understand their needs and develop these products accordingly," said Carnival's vice president of guest technology and photo Gabriela Gonzalez.
"While we trusted the plans and the app would be well received, we are stunned by how quickly and widely they have been embraced during the pilot period. We’re excited to bring these innovations to more ships over the coming months while we continue to work to make them even better."
The app and pilot Internet plans will be rolled out fleetwide over time, the company said.
Source: Patrick Clarke (Travel Pulse, "Carnival Cruise Lines to Test New Internet Plans, New Phone App”, Jan. 15, 1955)
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Featured photo credit: Carnival Cruise Lines