MTN Satellite Communications (MTN) and Wireless Maritime Services (WMS) today announced unprecedented services to Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest ship, Carnival Breeze, during her first month in service. Carnival leveraged the telecommunications expertise of MTN and WMS to deliver a “shore-side” experience to more than 4,000 passengers and nearly 1,800 crew members on each sailing. Carnival Breeze began a summer schedule of European cruises June 3 and will launch year-round Caribbean service from Miami starting November 24, 2012.
MTN’s VSAT services exceeded the connectivity demands of the crew, passengers and corporate communications requirements during its inaugural month. Carnival Breeze also leveraged MTN’s Internet Café solution delivering access to passengers and crew on mobile devices such as tablets, smart phones and laptops as well as fixed PCs to stay connected while at sea. Additionally, MTN integrated this seamless connection with Carnival’s FunHub portal to provide passengers with immediate digital access to all of the Breeze’s ship services, facilities, daily activities and social media.
“New services introduced to the Carnival Breeze created unique challenges to provide ship-wide coverage for telecommunication services, and we knew there would be a heavy demand for onboard cellular and Internet, especially in our inaugural month,” said Eric Merz, Carnival’s Director of Guest Technology. “During all phases, from the yard, to testing, to having onboard support, both MTN and WMS have proven to be critical partners. The integration of our FunHub to the Internet, the call management and calling solutions has truly brought a full telecommunications solution to Carnival, our guests and crew.”
Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), a joint venture of AT&T and MTN, launched cellular calling, texting and data services for guests and crew onboard the Carnival Breeze. “We are delighted to be Carnival Cruise Lines’ exclusive cellular service provider on their entire fleet of 24 vessels. During Carnival Breeze’s first month in service, WMS carried tens of thousands of voice calls to and from the ship. In addition, on June 20th a live Twitter chat session was held onboard Carnival Breeze inaugural highlighting the cellular voice, text and data services available to passengers and crew. Stewart Chiron, cruise expert, known in the industry as ‘The Cruise Guy®,’ fielded live questions while sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. The session resulted in over 2.6 million impressions which helped spread the word about Carnival’s newest ship and the communication services available onboard,” said Jim McKenna, Vice President of Customer Support and Product Management for WMS.
“There is clearly a demand by users to access data from their personal mobile devices as well as having the ability to surf the Internet while at sea,” said Brent Horwitz, Senior Vice President and General Manager for MTN Cruise and Ferry Services. “The number of Internet and mobile minutes used on the inaugural sailing of the Carnival Breeze underscores the importance of today’s society of staying connected even while on vacation. MTN is proud of our collective success with Carnival over the years, and will be introducing more exciting technology innovations to the maritime market later this year.”
Through MTN’s exceptionally reliable VSAT solutions, a comprehensive portfolio of onboard revenue opportunities is offered to cruise line partners. The products and services, which add to the overall cruising experience, include remote access for Internet, fixed and mobile phones, MTN Worldwide Television, OceanPhone crew calling, a payroll solution for crew and other enterprise solutions.
The WMS solution delivers seamless cellular connectivity to guests and crew members just as they would on land, at sea beyond any land based towers. Connectivity is activated when the ship leaves port and turned off when in range of land based providers. WMS provides uninterrupted service to guests and crew so they can stay in touch with family, friends or business associates back home while they enjoy the experiences of their cruise. Guests and crew can make and receive calls, send text messages, access email and surf the Internet at rates similar to roaming internationally.