Carnival and Royal Caribbean to offer cheap Wi-Fi

By ,   July 17, 2015 ,   Cruise Industry

Two of the biggest lines have announced cheap Wi-Fi packages with faster connections. Carnival now offers “massively popular, faster, cheaper and all-round brilliant Internet packages” at $5 per day. Royal Caribbean has branded as "Voom" its super-fast Wi-Fi, which the line said, had more streaming capacity than all cruise ships in the world, combined, at $15 per day for a single device.

Carnival Cruise Lines offers several plans. The “Social” Internet plan costs $5 per day, but users can connect only to social networks, not to the entire net. At $16 per day, the “Value” plan offers casual Internet usage and gives access to e-mail and the entire Internet, excluding bandwidth-intensive services such as music streaming and Skype. The “Premium” plan costs $25 per day. It is designed for heavy Internet users of e-mail, Skype and entire Internet. 

Currently 13 of Carnival's ships offer the Internet packages. The roll-out to entire fleet is planned to be completed by October. The vessels without the new Internet packages are operating under the old plans by-the-minute.

Passengers can upgrade from one Carnival plan to another. One device at a time can be used, printing is offered at no charge.

The line is also engaged in a pilot program for an innovative free mobile app including a chat feature and at-a-glance view of ship’s event schedules and facilities. Carnival HUB app is currently available to Android and iPhone users just on Carnival Breeze with a wider roll-out within the next 18 to 24 months.

The most popular feature of the new app is the chat function, allowing guests to communicate while onboard with no need to buy an Internet package, though they need to connect to ship’s Wi-Fi network. It costs just $5 per cruise, at least during the test period, and also includes information on watering holes and dining options, itinerary details, searchable deck plans and real-time info on the traveler’s shipboard account balance.

Meanwhile, the Voom of Royal Caribbean is now only available on Oasis- and Quantum-class ships, including Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas during their sailings in the Mediterranean, Caribbean or Asia. The service is not offered during transatlantic crossings and repositioning voyages.

While specific ships and dates are still to be determined, the Voom will be offered on all Caribbean vessels by mid-2016, including the Majesty of the Seas in May, when that cruise ship only will provide free unlimited Internet in its fares.

Royal Caribbean said Voom let passengers “do everything they do back home without skipping a beat - stream music and movies, video chat with family and share every moment of their cruise adventure". Line's price for unlimited Internet is $15 per day and 50% off a second device. Guests who choose a day-by-day plan have to pay $29.95 per day.

According to the line, Voom had a latency of only 120ms - 6 times faster than any other at-sea Internet. Each of the Voom-equipped ships has a dedicated beam from satellites orbiting close to the earth. Passengers can now buy Internet packages through Royal Caribbean's online planner for both non-Voom and Voom ships for all sailings after August 1. Guest will receive a log-in name and password info upon arrival in staterooms. Cruisers can also buy the packages when onboard.