Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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Staying Connected At Sea

When selecting your dinner location, do you check to see if they have Wi-Fi?   While shopping, do you tend to frequent malls and other stores that also have Wi-Fi available?   If you answered yes to these questions, you'll also want Wi-Fi access during your vacation.

Having internet access at sea is nothing new.  It has been available for many years.  If you've been cruising for years, you are also painfully aware that speed of your connection typically was not on par with your land experience.   At the same time, it wasn't free either and in combination with the slow speed your time online could be pretty costly.   For some people, like us that need to be connected, it was a cost of doing business, but if you are just getting online for pleasure, that was a different story.

The "always-connected" Society 

New Demands on Cruise Lines

With the increase in social networking, passengers have been requesting faster and less expensive internet access.   The cruise lines have made this one of their tasks to address.

The first line to address the speed aspect of the request was Royal Caribbean.  They've partnered with O3b Maritime (see our previous article)
Largest Ships Fastest Internet at Sea

The first major announcement for 2015 from the cruise lines is from Carnival Corp.

Carnival Cruise Line  Launches Carnival Hub & New Pricing 

Carnival Breeze is piloting two new changes that should begin to address the largest complaints about cruise ship internet pricing. A new app has been developed for iPhone and Android phones which can be installed for free and provides the user with ships schedules and other important information to help make your cruise enjoyable.   Optionally, you can sign up for the "chat" feature for $5 for the length of the cruise.  With this feature you can communicate with your fellow passengers individually or in groups.

Some of the key information provided by Carnival Hub on Breeze:
  • day-by-day schedule of all onboard events 
  •  real-time balances for passengers' Sail & Sign accounts
  • information on alternative, casual dining venues
  • searchable deck plans with key areas highlighted
  • itinerary details, including the ship's current time
  • estimated arrival/departure times for upcoming ports 
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