Wednesday, May 17, 2017

World Telecommunications Day & Cruise Lines

click images to enlarge
World Telecommunications Day celebrates the constant evolution of one of the most important factors of our lives: communication. The main goal of World Telecommunications Day (WTD) is to highlight the importance of communication and how information travels across the world. It also aims to increase awareness of how crucial communication is in our lives, and stimulate the development of technologies in the field.

The World Telecommunications Day is in tight connections with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) originally known as International Telegraph Union when it was formed in 1865 to support the emerging communication methods of the time.

Always Connected

Telecommunications has changed from the days when ITU was formed. Some milestones include the first telephone in 1876, the launch of the first satellite in 1957 and, ultimately, the birth of the Internet in the 1960s. Today people expect to be always connected, usually via their cell phones or tablets. That expectation continues while on vacation.

There have been many initiatives by cruise lines to meet the demand for passenger and crew communication. We were just reminiscing the other day about how communication at sea has changed from when we first sailed over 30 years ago. Initially you'd need to use the ship's very expensive phone communications, should some emergency situation arise. Then there was the birth of internet cafes where you could purchase time by the minute to communicate using the ship's PCs. Now the majority of cruise lines offer wireless communication throughout the vessel (at a cost of course) allowing you to use your mobile devices as if you were back at home.

Wireless Maritime Services (WMS)

WMS uses state of the art technology to provide the world’s largest suite of at-sea cellular communication services for passengers and crew. WMS partners with AT&T Mobility and MTN Satellite Communications to provide the absolute best-in-class service to their customers. WMS uses advanced technology to provide the best communication services while at sea. Whether sailing the Caribbean or in the most remote parts of the globe, WMS’s network offers maritime guests and crew members seamless coverage anywhere a functioning VSAT network is available.  Read More about the technology offered by WMS to their customers.

As you can see from this image captured on the WMS website, the majority of the major cruise lines utilize their services to meet the needs of their passengers and crew.

What Can I Expect on My Cruise

If you've ever cruised before, expect that your experience on your next cruise will be very different than your last (unless you cruise all the time).   All the major lines have been working hard to update their telecommunication networks and services offered.  Realizing that telecommunication requirements differ by passenger, they are also offering a wider range of options to meet those varied needs.

Onboard Communication on Carnival

It's impossible to cover all the cruise lines offerings in this post, so we'll just focus on one line, Carnival Cruise Line.   For details about their offerings, see their Onboard Communications page.

Carnival's Wi-Fi Service and HUB App
Cellular Phone Service
Stay Connected via Text!
Calling Home

Guests can purchase plans onboard or prior to their cruise.   There are plans for different levels of use (social media vs full internet for example).  Also, you can select your internet speed (based on the plan selected).  For a minimal charge, you can chat with passengers using an app on your phone.

Of course, not everyone wants to stay connected while on vacation.  If you fall into that category, simply unplug and enjoy your communication vacation as well.  There are always land options when you are in ports of call as well.

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