Read our review about Carnival cruise Internet Access prices and Carnival Cruise Line's new WiFi rates, unlimited Internet package and WiFi cost. All Carnival Cruise Lines ships provide the Internet via a satellite connection. Onboard access is facilitated through Internet Cafe and shipwide WiFi coverage. Passengers can use (without any restrictions) their personal laptops, iPhones, smartphones and other WiFi-equipped devices on the Fun Ships.
In late-December 2018 was signed a contract with Speedcast (the world's largest global satellite comm provider) to improve fleet connectivity at sea. By this contract, Carnival increased the fleet's bandwidth in order to provide the highest-quality Internet at sea. Utilizing a total of 40 mini-satellites, Carnival now has the world's largest maritime satellite network. Specifically for Carnival, Speedcast developed the TrueBeam system, which constantly looks for weaknesses that would impact the satellite signal and instantly reroutes it to avoid interruptions. Such interruptions could be weather (“rain fade”), overcrowded networks and line-of-sight blockage.
Carnival cruise WiFi rates, Unlimited Internet
Carnival ship's Wireless Internet Service is a Wireless 802.11b card compatible (standard). Onboard, VPN access is restricted to connections of types different then IPsec or PPTP connections.
Unlimited Internet package
Since July 2015, Carnival offers “massively popular, faster, cheaper and all-round brilliant Internet packages” that cost just USD 5 per day. This so-called “Social” Internet plan allows connecting only to social networks - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and other similar websites. Discounted plans are available for the entire voyage.
- Carnival's unlimited Internet access plans (connected 24/7) are currently available on all large ships but are not very popular due to issues with low speeds. These plans can be used on all personal devices (and ship's Internet Cafe) anytime throughout the voyage - until debarkation. Once purchased there are no refunds.
- In May 2016, Carnival Australia introduced faster and cheaper Internet and social media Internet packages on the Australia-based ships Legend and Spirit. The improved internet access offers increased bandwidth and speed. The “value package” (cost AUD 30 per day) offers unlimited Internet. The faster “premium package” (cost AUD 50 per day) allows Skype video calls. The new "social media package" (cost AUD 15 per day) offers unlimited access to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter.
- Additional discounted plans for Internet access are available for the entire voyage. The new packages follow the company's 2015-launched "Selfies at Sea" phone app. Available for download (free of charge) at Android and Apple stores, the new mobile app collates a series of photos taken on the ship into a mini-movie which can be shared on social media channels.
NEW Carnival cruise ship Wi-Fi plans
In 2017, Carnival updated the cruise ship WiFi service fleetwide, introducing the option to pre-purchase both WiFi and Internet packages online.
Starting April 19, 2017, the company offers pre-purchasing internet plans (first introduced on Carnival Fascination and Carnival Vista, fleetwide rollout by mid-summer 2017). The option is available via "Manage My Booking’ (tab at Carnival.com) where customers can select a package for the itinerary duration.
Carnival's new Wi-Fi plans can be purchased (at discounted rates) by fully booked customers for either the entire itinerary or for a day (24-hour period). Daily packages are also available for shipboard purchasing.
NOTE: As of November 2, 2018, Carnival raised the price of its basic internet plan by 60%. The new price for the "social media package" is USD 8 per day ($6,80 per day if pre-purchased prior departure). Day plans for this package are not available - must be purchased cruise-long package. The old price for the social media package was USD 5 per day ($4 per day if pre-purchased).
WiFi package costs USD 12 per day, with a discount price of US$10,25 (if pre-purchased prior departure). Premium WiFi package costs USD 17.70 per day ($14,88 if pre-purchased). For both WiFi plans are available 24-hour / daily rates, respectively, $16 and $25.
- "Social Package" (cost USD 8 per day) offers access to the most popular applications and websites, including Facebook (and Facebook Messenger), Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, WhatsApp, plus the most popular airline websites. The Social plan doesn't include Snapchat, Facetime, iMessage, in-app calling or access to any other apps or websites.
- "Value Package" (cost USD 12 per day, or USD 10.25 if pre-purchased) offers access to all websites and apps, including e-mail, news, banking, sports, weather, all social media. The Value plan doesn't support music and video streaming or Skype calling (bandwidth-intensive services).
- "Premium Package (cost USD 17.70 per day, or USD 14.88 if pre-purchased) offers the fastest possible Internet connection. Depending on the coverage, speeds can be up to 3 times faster compared to the "Value Package". The Premium plan includes all apps and websites, plus streaming services and Skype video calling.
Booked passengers can upgrade from one plan to another and are also allowed to use multiple devices per plan (including the ship's onboard computers), but only on one device at a time. All the new Carnival WiFi plans do not include video streaming (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime) and don't support WiFi Calling (voice calls via the ship's Wi-Fi network) and Facetime (Apple's video telephony) services. Printing services on the ship are provided at no charge.
Cruise Internet package prices
|Internet Plans||Prices in USD||Information|
|$39,99 for the entire cruise||limited to 1 mobile device and Internet Cafe|
$99,99 for the entire cruise
$29,99 per day
|speed up to 50x faster than "Basic", allowing steaming, accessing VPN networks, using smart-phone applications.|
additional per cruise plans
|at a 50% discount||applies to per sailing plans purchased by the same stateroom, the credit will appear on the guest's S&S account within 24 hours.|
Note: The above-listed Internet package plans are currently offered not on all ships in the fleet, but only on Dream, Glory, and Magic. The Breeze was excluded from this indeed small list. The line's official excuse is the slow satellite connection speeds at sea.
Carnival cruise Internet access, packages
All Carnival Internet access charges are billed directly to the guest's onboard S&S account. These packages are transferable between the terminals in the Internet Cafe and guests' personal Internet devices. Carnival Internet packages are called "Time Plans" and can be used anytime throughout the sailing until debarkation. Instructions on creating an account and pricing information will be provided (Internet Cafe/ personal device) once you connect to the ship's Wi-Fi network.
- IMPORTANT: All minutes don't have to be used in a single session. All unused minutes will be lost. Plan upgrade for a pre-selected package is not available.
- activation fee (one-time charge) US $3,95 (applied to each user on her/his first login only).
- 480 min package $159 ($0,33 per minute)
- 240 min package $89 ($0,37/min)
- 120 min package price $59 ($0,49/min)
- 45 min package $29 ($0,64/min)
- Internet per minute cost ("Pay As You Go") $0,75/min.
- the cost of printing (per page in the Internet Cafe) $0,50.
- (additional) CruisE-mail® cost $3,95 for each sent message (no additional charges for received messages). This is the Carnival's personalized e-mail service for guests who either don't have or are unable to access their own e-mail.
- The above Internet prices are for all the Carnival cruise fleet.
- Internet account information (instructions and pricing) are present on-screen in the Internet Cafe, and also on your personal Internet device once you connect to the Carnival WiFi on the ship. Carnival Internet prices are identical, whether the guest uses the Internet on the Cafe's terminals or on their own laptops or other WiFi devices. All Internet access charges are billed directly to the guest's "Sail & Sign" accounts.
- Carnival Internet Time Plans are transferable between the Internet Cafe's computers and the guests' personal devices. There is no refund for unused minutes. Upgrading a pre-selected cruise Internet package is not permitted.
iPhones/Blackberries Internet access - either by using the cellular network (at the international data rates of their carrier) or the Carnival WiFi access (at the same time plan rates).
Cruise ship laptop rentals are available on Dream, Magic, Breeze, and Vista - a limited number of laptops for rent for $9/day or complimentary with the 480 or 240 min plans. A $50 deposit will be charged on your S&S card (refunded upon returning the device, optional insurance for $10/day). On all other ships in the fleet, laptops are also available for rent - $10/day, complimentary with Time Plans, $50 deposit, optional insurance $10/day.
Carnival cruise Internet cost-cutting tips
- before the sailing convert your email settings to basic (less graphic intense)
- if you're planning to work online while sailing, discuss VPN limitations with your firm's IT specialist (Carnival will not be able to change settings onboard).
- packing checklist: WiFi-enabled laptop/mobile devices, power supply (for each of your devices), data cables, headphones.
- You can connect to a free WiFi when the ship is at call ports - ask some from the crew where. There's also free WiFi on the ship, but it's relatively slow (public areas offer much better connection / stronger signals than cabins).
- phone calls from a Carnival ship cost $2 per minute (the charge through "Cellular at Sea" is $2,50 per minute). And remember:
- 1 - the satellite Internet is a lot slower than the high-speed connection onshore (your data must be transmitted over a slow signal to a satellite 22000 ml above you, then the satellite bounces your data back down to the exchange). Tip: the onboard Internet speed is much better in the early morning (5 to 8 AM) and also around dinner times (6 to 10 PM).
- 2 - the onboard Internet access is not guaranteed at all times (satellite communications are subject to disruptions due to weather patterns/location)
- 3 - (some excerpts from forum reviews) "extremely slow", "slower than dial-up", "minutes are eaten pretty quickly", "because of the connection sometimes not everything is sent".
- 4 - Verizon text message prices on cruise ships (international messaging): sent ($0,25 text, $0,50 data) and received ($0,20 text & $0,25 data).
Carnival's WiFi Internet technology
The line's owner Carnival Corporation started rolling out the WiFi@Sea Internet across technology not exclusively to Carnival Cruise Lines ships, but to all its brand lines fleets. The new technology features a hybrid connectivity (satellite and land-based data) system. It combines bandwidth with several available for pre-purchasing Internet plans, different levels of pricing and also new Internet packages.
The process of implementing the new system started in 2014. Carnival Corp's largest brand - the Carnival cruise line - was the first that moved from the traditional pay-as-you-go Internet (USD 0,75 per minute, or discounted Internet packages) to pay-per-day packages. The cheapest is the "social" package priced US$5 per-day allowing access to popular websites and apps. Next is the "value" package US$16 per day (with restrictions for some intensive websites). The third "premium" package costs US$25 per day (with full web access and guaranteed fast speeds).
The new Carnival "cruise WiFi" system is first-of-its-kind in the passenger shipping industry It's an enhanced (high-speed) hybrid wireless network service to be rolled out to all ships in the fleets of all 9 Carnival brand lines. The new system is expected to encourage the interest in ship cruising among the new tech-savvy generation. The new plans already show better penetration and higher usage rates. The new system allows a greater number of mobile devices, while the new Internet pricing is easier to understand.
This unique system integrates land-based, strategically located antennas (installed along the cruise itinerary routes), advanced satellites (over 31 satellite systems) and cruise port Wi-Fi connections, forming the Carnival's "smart hybrid" network. The system gives cruise passengers the highest possible strength of signal and bandwidth capacity. The new network provides Internet connectivity speeds 10 times faster than previously offered by Carnival.
All system upgrades, hardware changes, and new Internet equipment installations were done during the ships' dry-dock refurbishments.
In February 2018, Carnival Corporation partnered with SES Networks to provide the industry's biggest bandwidth to a mobile shipboard platform (first introduced on Regal Princess). The new technology broke all previous myths about connectivity limitations at sea. The fastest cruise ship internet remained affordable (priced at USD 10 per day). The technology combines the SES Networks satellites with the MedallionNet and provides bandwidth of minimum 1,5 gigabits per second to the vessel. The tests were done on February 26, 2018, while Regal Princess was docked at the private island Princess Cays Bahamas. During the tests was reached Internet speed of 2,6 gigabits per second. Regal Princess is one of the "Medallion-class" Carnival Corporation ships linked to the company's MedallionNet.
Carnival cruise ship Internet Cafe
The Internet Cafe is open 24-hours, as a venue, it features private PC terminals (Windows XP) for web browsing, chat, and e-mail services. For guests convenience, there is an Internet Cafe Manager for assistance. Here passengers can browse through the following Carnival's "free of charge websites": Carnival.com, GoCCL.com, JohnHealdsBlog.com, CellularAtSea.com, and BarclayCardus.com (Carnival World MasterCard).
All these websites can be accessed without purchasing an Internet plan. At the PC terminals, you can't edit MS Office documents, but most files can be viewed (in their "read-only" mode).
Carnival WIFI, Fun Hub website and HUB app
The Fun Hub Carnival website can be accessed through Wi-Fi enabled devices. Guests must connect to the Carnival WiFi network and open an Internet browser. Fun Hub is also accessible at the complimentary Internet café locations with 24-hour access. Currently available on Carnival Breeze, Dream, Magic, Sunshine and Vista, the Fun Hub locations allow passengers free access to informative websites updated daily.
The Fun Hub site details ship’s numerous activities, including:
- daily events, youth programs, entertainment options
- food and beverage offerings, venue descriptions, sample menus
- itinerary and weather information
- latest news, sports scores
- key shipboard personnel' biographies
- ship announcements
- deck plans and maps
- frequently asked questions.
A filtering option assists in planning guests' day. FunHub is available free of charge on any Internet Café Fun Hub computer or Wi-Fi device. Internet access to sites that are outside the Fun Hub is also available wirelessly and through all Fun Hub locations. Charges will apply.
In August 2015, Carnival announced that the HUB app, offering passengers free access to onboard account balances, daily schedules, deck plans, dining info, and an innovative “chat” feature, had been so well received (following the successful trial period on Carnival Breeze) that it was scheduled to debut on all Carnival vessels by summer of 2016. Next in line, ready to welcome the HUB app, are Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory, Carnival Pride, and Carnival Sunshine, by the end of 2015.
The new HUB mobile app provides guests with an at-a-glance, convenient view of ship’s features and facilities along with updates on events taking place onboard, all free of charge. The app is available for download at Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Its innovative “chat” feature allows passengers to exchange messages with their companions using their mobile devices. A flat fee of $5 is applied for the entire cruise.
The HUB app also includes precise day-by-day schedules of hundreds of onboard events, info on beverage and food venues, Sail & Sign account balance, itinerary details, searchable deck plans and more. Recently added options provide the ability to pre-purchase Carnival’s Bottomless Bubbles and Cheers! beverage programs and upload photos displayed on the 270-sq.foot Seaside Theatre during the cruise. Additional features are to be added in the future.
Carnival Corporation launched a new WiFi@Sea system on all cruise ships sailing in the Caribbean. The global fleet roll-out continued with Alaska (2015 summer) and in 2016 extended to Europe (Baltic, Mediterranean, Western Europe) and Asia.