Keeping connected: Wi-Fi use and what it costs on your Carnival Cruise

For most folks, staying connected to their online world is as necessary as breathing. So it’s understandable that many Carnival Cruise passengers start to panic when they realize they will be sailing far and away from the nearest cell phone tower. However, just like many other places on the planet, cruise ships are becoming more connected, and for those who can’t kick their online addiction – even temporarily – Carnival connects.

Getting online

Although Carnival Cruise Line does not offer free Wi-Fi, it does offer three different internet packages: Social, Value and Premium. For just $5 per day, the Social plan keeps passengers connected to their favorite social networks plus many airline websites. At $16 per day, the Value plan goes beyond social media to include access to conveniences such as email, banking apps and news and sports sites. The Premium plan, for $25 per day, offers users the fastest connection with access to all websites and apps and even some streaming video services.

If unsure about how much time you’ll spend online, start with the plan that offers the services you’ll use most. Guests can upgrade from one plan to the next if necessary. Plus, when purchasing a package for the entire cruise, discounts are available. While cruisers can use the internet service on multiple devices, service is limited to one device at a time. Guests can also access the internet via the ship’s public computers.

Limited access

Carnival Cruise Line guests can go online via the cruise line’s internet packages, but it’s important to note that not all online services are available. For instance, users of the Social plan cannot use in-app calling, FaceTime, Snapchat and iMessage and cannot access sites or apps other than the social network and airline sites already mentioned. Likewise, Value plan users will not be able to use Skype or streaming services like Spotify. Wi-Fi calling is not supported, and Hulu and Netflix are blocked, regardless of the chosen internet plan.

Skip cell phone service

Surprisingly, travelers on Carnival Cruise ships can use their cell phones to make calls and send text messages via Wireless Maritime Services, an onboard roaming service. As such, any phone calls and texts using cellular service will incur international roaming charges from the user’s home cell service provider. These charges can be quite expensive, so callers considering using a cell phone in this manner should check with their cellular providers to find out how much roaming and text charges will be during the trip. To avoid all roaming charges by the cellular provider, switch the phone to airplane mode upon boarding.

Don’t worry – be appy

Carnival Cruise passengers can stay up-to-date on everything taking place on their ship by using the Carnival HUB app. Travelers can download the free app to find out the schedule of events around the ship each day, check out deck plans of the ship and even review their onboard portfolio of expenses. For a flat $5 fee, users can chat with family and friends via the app’s chat function.