Guests booked on upcoming Carnival Cruise Line sailings have spotted what may be a new Wi-Fi option for use during ports of call. At the moment, the option appears limited to certain ships and is not necessarily available for every sailing, but it may be undergoing testing for future rollout on more sailings and ships.
Wi-Fi Hotspot Devices Available
Carnival cruisers have noticed a new Wi-Fi option on different sailings – a personal hotspot that can be rented for an entire cruise. The device is listed as a “personal Wi-Fi hotspot” providing “unlimited, high speed connection” for up to five devices at once.
The equipment also functions as a power bank for device recharging, and is small enough to be put inconspicuously in a pocket.
Available for rental on select sailings through the online cruise planner, the device only work while in ports of call, and is not suitable for onboard use during sea days.
Costs vary depending on the length of the cruise, number of ports of call, and the length of time in different ports. Guests have reported a typical price of $45 (USD) per seven night sailing with three ports of call, but adjustments to pricing are likely as this option is tested. Pre-cruise purchase costs are also likely to be different than if guests wait until onboard a ship to rent the device.
Currently, the offering has been spotted for select late summer and fall sailings aboard Carnival Magic, Carnival Glory, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Venezia, and is likely to be tested out on other vessels in the months to come, depending on the guest response to initial offerings.
In some reservations, the option is noted as “limited time only” which may confirm a limited test run of this option before it is either discontinued or else rolled out fleetwide.
Is a Hotspot Worthwhile?
Renting a Wi-Fi hotspot can be a great option for cruise travelers who want to stay in touch, but who do not want to be charged international fees or who do not have international service on their cell phone or personal devices.
If guests already have Wi-Fi in different regions, however, the rental may not be worthwhile. Different mobile device service providers have different coverage areas and terms, however, so it is important to confirm coverage and any extra fees before traveling.
It is also important to note that this Wi-Fi hotspot option only works while in ports of call, and is not useful onboard the ship. Guests who may not debark at every destination may not get as much use out of the device. Other guests may prefer to seek out local free Wi-Fi options, such as at bars or restaurants in different ports of call.
While the details of the device rental are sure to be refined in the months to come, guests should note that extra charges will be incurred if the hotspot is returned late or damaged in any way.
As the device is not waterproof, it may not be the best option for beach days, limiting its usefulness depending on the activities guests prefer to enjoy while in port.
Available Wi-Fi internet speeds may also vary at different times of day and guests’ locations in port, such as their proximity to the ship or other communication hubs.
Hotspot rental is not currently part of any other Carnival internet package deals, which cover onboard internet service and speeds.
Do you use Wi-Fi while visiting cruise ports? Would you be interested in a portable hotspot? Share your thoughts on the Cruise Hive boards!