The largest cruise company in the world, Carnival, recently announced plans for much improved Wi-Fi service at sea. Carnival says hybrid networks using a combination of satellite and earth-based wireless have made it to the high seas with their WiFi@Sea program, that the company says is 10 times faster than what it has been able to provide up until now.
Carnival said in an announcement that it expects the new offering to “revolutionize” how passengers and crew stay in touch during their cruise and to increase interest in cruise vacations, especially within the tech-savvy millennial generation.
WiFi@Sea will rely on a combination of land-based antennas installed along cruise routes, Wi-Fi from a port connection and satellite broadband. It will seamlessly switch from one option to another depending on signal strength with the goal of giving users the best bandwidth and connection quality available at any given time.
"This is a major technology breakthrough designed to enhance the cruise experience for our passengers," said Ramon Millan, senior vice president and global chief information officer for Carnival Corp., in a press release. "Our guests are looking for different experiences when they cruise – some are interested in disconnecting and others are interested in staying in touch with their world back home.”
Carnival plans to roll out WiFi@Sea across its entire fleet of 101 cruise ships, beginning with the most popular cruising region of the world, the Caribbean, in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The company's current plan is to then deploy the system across its Alaska cruise liners in the summer of 2015. Deployments in the Mediterranean, Baltic, Western European and Asia regions are to follow next year and continue into 2016.