Gabby Gonzalez, vice president of guest technology and analytics at Carnival Cruise Line, is building a modern vacation experience backed up by solid internet access and new mobile apps for guests sailing with Carnival.
The Vista is the culmination of Carnival’s technology push.
“There were some changes that helped us move forward in 2013,” said Gonzalez. “By 2013 over 90 percent of our guests had smart phones onboard.”
She said the price of bandwidth has dropped and modem and compression technologies have improved.
“We have invested a lot of money to improve connectivity. The experience is not in the middle of the ocean, but a more hotel-like experience. For us, connectivity is fast, affordable and reliable.”
An important part of the internet offering to passengers is price.
“We were in the 75 cents a minute world for dial-up,” Gonzalez said. “The new world is per day. We are offering $5 per day packages to connect to social media.”
The social media packages saw guest activity on social increase 40 percent, according to Gonzalez.
Case in point: the Carnival Hub app, which offers shipboard messaging, event information and much more – and on the Carnival Vista, even allowing passengers to view their photo gallery items via facial recognition software.
“Focus on simplicity. We want a broad range of users to adopt this app,” Gonzalez said. The app will be fleet-wide by March.
End to End Photo Program
The photo gallery on the Carnival Vista is a completely new concept and execution for the brand. The entire gallery is digital, with prints only on demand. Facial recognition software runs the show.
“The photo gallery is very popular. It has been working the same way for over 40 years,” Gonzalez said. “When we did research, we found people liked to go to the galleries. They liked the social aspect of it. They’d go with their families to the galleries. They also liked seeing other people’s families."
Guests can view photos at the gallery, and can also see and buy digital and printed photos off the Carnival Hub app. Prints will be delivered to staterooms.
“The social element was very important to us. You still have that element of being there and seeing other people’s photos. The gallery is also a much smaller footprint than we’d have with a traditional gallery,” she said.
Go in-depth with an expanded version of this story and more on the Carnival Vista, in the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine, Winter 2016-2017, due out Jan. 2.