New Carnival Ship is First in North America With 5G Coverage

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In the realm of cruise vacations, internet speeds have always been the one thing that has disappointed guests. A significant leap forward has been the introduction of Starlink Internet onboard cruise ships in the last year or so.

However, Carnival Cruise Line is taking this a step further with the introduction of 5G mobile connectivity on Carnival Jubilee, signaling a new era of hyper-connected cruise travel.

Carnival Jubilee Pioneers 5G Connectivity at Sea

Carnival Cruise Line announced a groundbreaking development for its upcoming cruise ship, Carnival Jubilee, on November 16. The cruise ship will be the first in North America to offer guests the luxury of 5G mobile phone service. This industry-first initiative is a result of a collaboration with Wireless Maritime Service (WMS), a leading cellular provider.

Luis Terife, Vice President of Onboard Guest Commerce at Carnival Cruise Line, emphasizes the significance of this advancement. 

“Carnival Jubilee will be the fleet’s most-connected ship – literally raising the connectivity bar for our guests and serving as another big step in a period of vigorous advancement of our onboard connectivity,” Terife said.

Scheduled to launch in December, the 5G-enabled Carnival Jubilee represents a new chapter in cruise ship connectivity. Guests will be able to access this service early in 2024 through various service plans offered by their wireless carriers. 

John Harshaw, Vice President of Global Infrastructure at Carnival Cruise Line: “We’ve received very positive feedback from our guests who are enjoying the more reliable Wi-Fi across the fleet as we continue to increase our capacity through Starlink and other service providers.”

Carnival Cruise 5G

This initiative not only upgrades the guest experience on Carnival Jubilee but also sets a precedent for the rest of the fleet, with plans to extend 5G capabilities to other ships.

However, guests might have some issues finding a carrier that is capable of offering the type of data sets that 5g requires. Major wireless carriers have yet to align their current cruise ship service plans with this new technology. 

The existing cruise plans from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile primarily focus on providing traditional cellular services, like talk and text, with limited data options, and do not specifically cater to 5G connectivity.

Carnival Cruise Line Onboard Connectivity

The introduction of 5G on Carnival Jubilee is part of a broader strategy to enhance internet accessibility on all Carnival ships. The cruise line has completed upgrades across its 25-ship fleet, installing the infrastructure needed for SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite service

“The ongoing enhancements we’re rolling out on all of our ships, such as SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service, make it significantly easier for guests to share the memorable experiences of their cruise with friends and family.” Terife added.

Carnival Jubilee Conveyance on the Ems
Carnival Jubilee Conveyance on the Ems (Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line)

This comprehensive approach ensures that guests have access to the most robust and reliable service available, backed by partnerships with multiple internet vendors.

“Our multi-provider, multi-orbit strategy minimizes single-provider supply chain constraints and improves overall connectivity in support of our operations and the enhanced experience for our guests and team members,” according to Harshaw.

Carnival Jubilee recently completed her sea trials and is set to make its debut voyage from Galveston on December 23, 2023. She will offer week-long Western Caribbean cruises, including visits to popular destinations like Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico, and Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras.

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