One of my editors took an Alaska cruise this summer and was bummed out about the excruciatingly slow and sometimes non-existent, Internet service on the ship. So he did what many of us do, went to port in search of cyber cafes to do his business and posting.
Slow Internet service on ships has caused me to be less than ladylike as I try to file articles and photos while watching that little circle spin around and around or get the dreaded "Internet Connection Not Available."
Enter Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise ship operator of 10 distinct brands such as Carnival Cruise Line, Princess, Seabourn, Cunard, Holland America and more, which is promising to deliver the best Wi-Fi in the industry with the launch of MedallionNet. Today Carnival held out the promise that the new connectivity service, enabled by SES Networks, will deliver "the best Wi-Fi experience in the cruise industry," saying that MedallionNet will provide guests with easy-to-access Wi-Fi that features exceptional speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and unprecedented service consistency.
MedallionNet appears to be Carnival's answer to Royal Caribbean's Voom, which the cruise line says is seven times faster than competitors' Internet connections.
Staying connected at sea will soon get easier
As Carnival announced in business-like parlance, "The connectivity service – to be delivered in connection with SES Networks, a business unit of SES – will collectively leverage the leading global satellite operator's geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO) constellations, managed services, antenna and shipboard technology to significantly enhance the guest experience by providing high-performance and reliable broadband connectivity at sea. This innovative service is enabled by hardware and software shipboard technology advances associated with Carnival Corporation's proprietary O·C·E·A·N Experience Platform."
"Staying connected is inextricably linked to our daily life experiences and that now extends to the vacation experience, even when sailing in the middle of the sea," said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. "MedallionNet will set the new standard for Wi-Fi service at sea and we look forward to rolling it out to our guests. Our top priority is doing everything we can to exceed guest expectations, and by listening closely to our guests, we know Wi-Fi connectivity is important to many of our guests. For guests who want to disconnect, they are free to do so. But for those who want to stay connected, MedallionNet will make it easy for them – and that includes being able to easily send photos, videos and messages letting everyone know they are having a fabulous vacation."
Part of Carnival's 'GuestCentricity' initiative
MedallionNet is another development to emerge from Carnival Corporation's Global Experience and Innovation Center located in Miami and is the first end-to-end Wi-Fi service development formulated with a focus on exceeding guest expectations through "GuestCentricity" – an initiative to enhance all aspects of the vacation experience by delivering guests what they want, when, where and how they want it.
"SES Networks is privileged to be associated with Carnival Corporation's Global Experience and Innovation team and to be powering MedallionNet," said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks. "We share Carnival Corporation's passionate focus on connecting people, places and cultures around the world with amazing experiences. As the only company to offer a GEO and MEO constellation, unmatched in scale, performance and technological diversity, SES Networks is uniquely positioned to enable the highest performing Wi-Fi connectivity at sea as well as immersive media and gaming content."
MedallionNet leverages multi-band antennas uniquely configured in an innovative shipboard formation to minimize any potential impact to guest connectivity due to seasonal weather or ship positioning, and it fuses multi-orbit satellite bandwidth to deliver a truly immersive guest connectivity experience.
By combining multiple sources of bandwidth to achieve the highest capacity shipboard network ever brought to a cruise ship with an unprecedented volume of shipboard access points, MedallionNet introduces a level of service reliability and signal pervasiveness not previously achieved on ships sailing at sea.
More specifics about MedallionNet and specific cruise brand implementation will be announced later this year.