As Internet connectivity at sea gets faster and more reliable, cruise lines are updating and redesigning smartphone apps. One of the most significant changes comes from the magical world of Disney who has figured out how to make using the internet at sea both affordable and efficient.
Disney Cruise Line Navigator App
Available for free in the Apple App Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android device guests of Disney Cruise Line are asked to download and install their Navigator App before arriving at the embarkation port. Once onboard, they connect to the ship’s WiFi network for complimentary for app use that brings an electronic version of a shipboard newsletter with digitized features.
Included are deck plans of the ship and information about deck parties, dining, entertainment, character experiences and more.
Based On Usage, Not Time
Significant to the Disney app, it runs on the Disney Cruise Line internet system. While using the app is free, the Disney system charges other internet use based on actual usage, not time. Priced at $.25 per megabyte, it’s easy to calculate how much uploading those photos is actually going to cost. With a time-based system that is running slow, the price to show friends on land how much fun you are having can be steep. Based on data usage, that number is easy to calculate.
Disney has a variety of price plans too which might be easy to confuse with ‘pay by the minute’ plans but seen to offer a much better value.
- Pay as you go – $0.25 per megabyte
- Small package – 200 megabytes for $19 ($0.19 per megabyte)
- Medium package – 300 megabytes for $39 ($0.13 per megabyte)
- Large package – 1,000 megabytes for $80 ($0.09 per megabyte)
- Concierge guests in Cat S, T and V will get 100 free megabytes of internet.
- Concierge guests in Cat R will get free internet for the length of the cruise.
Putting Value To The Test
To get an idea of the value Disney is offering, we compared to AT&T International Data Roaming charges and found the Disney plan to be a superior value. For example, that 300 megabyte plan for $39 from Disney would be $60 from AT&T. Heavy users will like the comparison on Disney’s large package with 1,000 megabytes for $80 to AT&T’s large package of 800 megabytes for $120.
Addressing Our Biggest Concern
We like that the Disney Cruise Line plan addresses our biggest concern about Internet at sea: It’s not what we pay for it, it’s what we get out of it that counts. Anyone who has tried to upload a photo with the time clock ticking the entire time, using up precious minutes of Internet time will appreciate the Disney plan that charges by use, regardless of how long it takes.
Spread The Magic
Other cruise lines have specific apps for their ships as well.
Norwegian Cruise Line actually has four different apps, all available free.
- Norwegian iConcierge informs you about everything happening on board, lets you make reservations for Shore Excursions, keeps you in contact with friends, and more, on board Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway & Norwegian Pearl.
- Cruise Norwegian lets passengers plan their Norwegian cruise vacation from the palm of their hand. Users can find out everything they want to know about any of Norwegian’s destinations, ships or special offers.
- Norwegian Puzzles is a fun way to dream about cruising by solving Norwegian puzzles that feature all their ships and the destinations they sail to.
- Norwegian Flash Dealsapp links users to exclusive, limited-time deals on select sailings. Not found elsewhere, these deals are only available through this app.
What? My Cruise Line Has No App!
Actually, most cruise lines don’t but allow complementary access to their online website via the ship’s internet system. On Carnival Cruise Lines, for example, guests can visit Carnival.com for no charge
We like the direction cruise lines are headed, toward increasingly more efficient onboard internet systems that work, can be accessed easily and provide land-like connectivity. The next big story on the horizon in this arena: High speed Internet at sea, coming soon to a cruise ship near you.