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Leading US cruise operator Carnival Cruise Line has unveiled a new free mobile app for customers on its ship Carnival Breeze.
The Carnival Hub app offers a “chat” feature that allows guests to exchange messages with fellow guests throughout their holiday for a flat fee of $5.
The line is also piloting enhanced internet access aboard Carnival Freedom, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Sunshine to increase bandwidth and speed.
The social media package provides unlimited access to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other popular sites for just $5 per day or $25 per voyage during the testing period.
Gus Antorcha, senior vice president of guest commerce at Carnival, said: “Consumers expect a high level of connectivity even while on vacation and these new enhancements provide our guests not only with helpful tools for getting the most out of their cruise but also a convenient and cost-effective way for keeping in touch with their family and friends while on board.
“We recognize the increasingly important role that technology plays in people’s daily lives and the launch of this application and new internet packages provides us with a strong platform for introducing additional innovations and ways to use technology to enhance our guest experience even further.”
Carnival Hub provides guests with an at-a-glance view of the ship’s facilities and features, as well as updates on events taking place on board.
Other features include:
• A day-by-day schedule of hundreds of on-board events.
• A “favourites” feature that allows guests to see what events and activities fellow guests are participating in.
• Information on casual dining options.
• Searchable deck plans with key areas highlighted, providing a comprehensive layout of the ship’s features.
• Itinerary details, including current ship time and arrival/departure times for upcoming port calls.
• Real-time information on guests’ current Sail and Sign shipboard account balance.
The app is currently only available on the Carnival Breeze for iPhone and Android users, a fleet wide rollout is planned within the next 18 to 24 months.
Carnival plans to add more features to help guests have a more personalised cruise holiday, such as the ability to purchase shore excursions and view photos taken by the ship’s professional photographers on board.
In addition to the social media package, a new “value” upgrade package offers unlimited access to the web for checking email, sports scores, weather updates among other applications.
A “premium” package provides the fastest available connection speed, allowing guests to access video calling sites like Skype.
Gabriela Gonzalez, Carnival’s vice president of guest technology and photo, said: “In creating both the internet plans and the app, we spent a lot of time listening to our guests to understand their needs and develop these products accordingly.
“While we trusted the plans and the app would be well received, we are stunned by how quickly and widely they have been embraced during the pilot period. We’re excited to bring these innovations to more ships over the coming months while we continue to work to make them even better.”