Carnival Cruise Lines is expanding wireless Internet access to all public rooms and suites aboard its 21 “Fun Ships” by the end of 2006.
With the installation of strategically located Wi-Fi “hot spots,” guests sailing on Carnival can now access Web sites and send e-mails via any wireless-equipped laptop computer from virtually anywhere aboard ship, including all lounges, bars, pool areas, open decks, dining venues and suite accommodations.
The project is roughly 75 percent complete with the balance of the fleet expected to be completed by year’s end.
Wi-Fi technology expands Carnival’s existing shipboard wireless Internet capabilities as guests can use wireless-equipped laptop computers in select areas in and around the Internet cafes fleetwide. Carnival Valor and Carnival Liberty also feature “100 percent bow to stern” wireless access.
“Guests view our ships as ‘floating hotels,’ expecting the same modern technology and conveniences found on land. The Internet has become an indispensable tool for staying abreast of the latest news and keeping in touch with the office and loved ones and we are very pleased to offer convenient and cost-effective wireless technology to our guests on a fleetwide basis,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.
The wireless technology can be added, if needed, into any laptop simply by installing a non-intrusive “radio card” in the computer’s PC card slot. Guests are welcome to bring their own computer or rent a laptop through the ships’ Internet cafes for a nominal fee. Guests can either use their own Web-based e-mail address or obtain a temporary account while aboard ship.
In addition to the wireless Internet technology, all Carnival ships offer Internet cafes featuring flat-panel workstations available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Both the wireless Internet and Internet cafés cost 75 cents per minute to surf the Web and review e-mails. There is also a one-time activation fee of $3.95. Minutes can also be purchased in bulk at a discount.
This marks the latest high-tech initiative aboard the “Fun Ships” designed to enhance guests’ cruise experience. Just last week, Carnival and Wireless Maritime Services, a joint venture of Cingular Wireless and Maritime Telecommunications Network, announced that it would offer fleetwide cell phone service to guests sailing aboard the “Fun Ships” in any cruising region. “‘Today’s Carnival’ is all about choice and we will continue to explore new technologies in our never-ending pursuit of exceeding the expectations of our guests,” Dickinson said.
Carnival is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 21 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, New England, Canada, Bermuda, Europe and the Greek Isles.
The line currently has three new ships on order - the 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom, scheduled for delivery in February 2007, the 112,000-ton Carnival Splendor, slated to enter service in fall 2008, and an as-yet-unnamed 130,000-ton SuperLiner - to be the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed - set to debut in fall 2009.