Going on two cruise ships in two years, it’s fun to see the changes that have been made. Of course they are almost always improvements for both the passengers as well as the staff, so it’s a win! Last year on the Carnival Magic, we could only use the Carnival Hub App to help us count down to our voyage. It was fun for that, but not much else. This year (and I’m certain it varies by ship), the Carnival Hub App offered so much more.
Carnival Cruise Line sent us on the cruise, but we covered our use of the chat, excursions and more!
The cost: FREE
While on board, the app provided pretty much all of the information we needed while our phone was in airplane mode. Almost all of the functionality of the app was completely free (more on that below).
This is important for me. We didn’t want it pay the daily out-of-country free to use our phones. We really didn’t want to be tied to the internet and calls all of the time. In airplane mode, only wi-fi works. (Carnival did provide us with wifi on one device so we could post on social media while onboard the ship), but other than that, we were disconnected. Being disconnected is actually really nice and I highly encourage it if you can pull it off.
Setting up the Carnival Hub App
Even in airplane mode (without the internet package), it’s one of the apps you are able to download for free on the ship. It was even easy to set it up once on board the ship with directions right on the screen. (Of course, it’s quicker to download the Carnival hub app before boarding the ship. I downloaded the app a few weeks previous because I wanted the daily countdown to cruising.)
What’s in the app
Once you have the app loaded and put your information in, you can see the ship time (which is very handy if you change time zones). But, you can’t completely rely on this if you get off the ship. Your phone might connect to other wifi, so make sure you have a watch or other way of keeping track of time so you make it back to the ship before it leaves port…I’m pretty sure they won’t leave without you, but it could get awkward.
You can also see what the port will be that day and the next day immediately. And the weather forecast, which is pretty handy when you are at sea. This helps with planning your cruise on board the ship.
What’s happening now
Previously we had to carry around a paper flyer that had the daily schedule on it. Which is nice to have, but they are trifold and FULL of info. There is always a lot going on. With the Carnival Hub App, you can see what is happening right now and what is coming up soon because there are so many fun times to be had. You can also find the opening times for shops and bars as well as your current and next port of call.
Notice above how Mr. Serious favorited something, so he shows up as “who’s going?” Your entire family or party is all synced together, so you can see what each person favorites and where they might be at a certain time. It’s good to know that multiple people are interested in the comedy club. Bonus points if you show up together and zip into one jacket. Or maybe not.
You can look at the “what’s happening” and see the little figure with the 1 next to it to show that a member of your party is planning on going. Plan on working together and you can schedule some date activities (like the 15 I’ve come up with) within the app, too. Because we were in two cabins, we often did our planning in the evenings for the next day.
Don’t get lost
When I can’t see where the horizon is, I very easily get turned around inside the ship. You can use the ship map within the app to help you find what you are looking for. It’s like a little city and it’s very easy to get lost.
Can’t remember which night requires which attire? There’s an app for that. And, they even help you know what is expected of that attire. Want to grab a bite to eat or drink, you can check out which restaurants or bars are open and when…it never fails, we were always hungry on the cruise. It could be because I told our kids “we are stairs people” and took the stairs almost every time!
Forget your room number (it’s not on your room key) or your muster station? The app can help with that, too.
Forget the people in your party? The Carnival Hub App can help with that, too! Hey, it could happen, right?
You can also login to check your account balance to see what bills you’ve racked up at the bar, or other places that require extra funds. It’s nice knowing where you stand if you didn’t purchase a drink package so you know what you are looking at paying before you leave the ship.
A little extra: the Chat Function
Last year we brought walkie talkies to try to stay in touch with everybody. It was hit or miss with the reception. Now, they have added a chat feature within the app. It costs $5 per device for the entire cruise and was well worth it for us. Our kids don’t have phones, so if they went to a camp, we would hand one off to them so we could stay in touch (again while on board the ship). Next time, I will bring an old phone or two so we can stay connected with the kids and allow to communicate with us without taking our phones or calling the room phones all of the time.
The chat was very helpful with Mr. Serious and I when we were trying to get the kids to bed in separate rooms as well as figuring out what the plans were. We wanted to keep in touch so we knew where to meet in the mornings. Or where to find each other when one of us already had breakfast!
We were really impressed with what the app now has to offer. It made so many things so much easier (seeing hours to stores, restaurants, the map, chat and more). And, I think the chat is worth the additional $5/person for the whole cruise so you don’t have to use your cellular service or data plan to stay in touch with members of your party on board.
Do you think anything is missing from the app?