Carnival Cruise Lines has finalized plans for the
installation of Internet cafes throughout its fleet, offering guests an opportunity to check e-mail and stock prices, obtain news updates, surf the Web and even send a “video postcard” while sailing aboard the “Fun Ships.”
Currently, five Carnival ships have been retrofitted with Internet cafes with the line`s nine other vessels expected to be completed by spring 2001. (The Tropicale will not be retrofitted as it is leaving Carnival in February 2001 to join sister company Costa Cruises.)
“The Internet and e-mail have become an integral part of people`s daily lives and, while cruises offer a terrific opportunity to `get
away from it all,` many guests want the option of staying connected to the everyday world or to spend some time surfing the `Net while on vacation,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president.
Carnival`s Internet cafes feature private workstations with the latest “flat-panel” computer terminals, all connected to a high-speed satellite Internet link. Internet cafés are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and guests pay a nominal per-minute charge to utilize the service.
At the cafes, guests have the ability to send and receive e-mail, access Internet sites and transmit a 20-second video postcard to friends and family back home. Guests can either use their own “Web-based” e-mail address or obtain a temporary account while aboard ship.
Providing the satellite connection and Internet services for Carnival`s Internet cafes are Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN), a subsidiary of American Tower`s Verestar, Inc., and Digital Seas International, Inc. DSI is providing the customized private network, portal software and equipment with MTN is providing the satellite circuit connectivity.
Carnival is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 15 “Fun Ships” currently operating voyages of three to 17 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, New England, the Panama Canal and the Canadian Maritimes from homeports throughout North America.
The line currently has seven new ships with an estimated value of $3 billion scheduled to be delivered over the next four years. The first of these, the 86,000-ton Carnival Spirit, is scheduled to enter service April 29, 2001.