Free WhatsApp for Holland America Crew


Holland America Line is giving crew free WhatsApp access across its fleet in time for the holidays.

Holland America Line also launched its Crew Self-Service (CSS) platform, which gives crew free access to their employment information.

“Our crew members are at the heart of our operation, and we know how important it is for them to be able to communicate with their loved ones from anywhere in the world, especially over the holidays,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president, in a statement.

“We’re always looking for ways to ensure our crew know how much we value and appreciate them, and we’re happy to be able to offer WhatsApp along with other new applications like CSS to make communications easier and more efficient for them.”

Through the CSS system, shipboard employees can access their contact details, see port details, rotation schedules and more. An announcements board within CSS enables the company to communicate directly with all crew electronically.

MSC rolls out new faster internet and social media packages

MSC Cruises has worked with business communications provider Marlink to develop new faster, more reliable and cost-effective internet and social media packages for guests.

Now live onboard MSC Preziosa and MSC Divina, the high bandwidth internet packages are available via the Marlink Sealink Cloud and will be rolled out across all 12 MSC ships over the coming months. The packages will also be available on the line’s next-generation ships that are currently under construction, including MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside.

“We are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and enhance the guest experience aboard what is already the most modern fleet at sea,” said Gianni Onorato, MSC’s CEO. “We know that staying connected while on holiday is increasingly more important to our guests hence we are rolling out state-of-the-art technology to allow them to stay connected whether they are looking to share experiences and memorable moments, stay in touch with friends and family, need to stay on top of work e-mails or simply catch up with daily news.”

Aimed at those who want to be connected 24/7 to social media, the Social Package allows guests to post pictures and chat with friends via popular social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat and Pinterest. Prices start from €3.90 per day or €14.90 for a seven-day cruise.

The Surfer Package is designed for moderate internet users who want to read news, sports scores and catch up on e-mails. It also includes access to social media platforms as per the Social Package. Prices start from €9.90 per day or €29.90 for a seven-day itinerary.

Meanwhile, the Streamer Package has been created for heavy internet users who need access either for work or for personal use and enables full internet and social media access, including audio and video. Prices from €19.90 per day or €59.90 for a full seven-day voyage.

Guests will be able to select their package prior to embarkation and will be easy to upgrade or top up.

German cruise line introduces social media access fee

German line AIDA Cruises is introducing a flat fee for internet access to social media networks on board its ships.

Passengers will be able to share their experiences on board with friends on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or WhatsApp for €4 a day or €19 a week.

AIDA claims to be “dramatically increasing” the bandwidth and speed of internet connections in addition to the new social media flat rate.

New internet packages to be introduced soon will allow unlimited access rather than be based on minutes of use.

Three options will be available with packages costing €25 for 250MB, €39 for 500MB and €99 for 3 GB of access.

Thomas Pfitzer, chief technical officer at the Carnival Corporation-owned line, said: “The use of mobile devices is continuously growing. We want to accommodate this trend and are offering our guests an additional service with the flat rate.

“With these package offers, we help keep the costs of satellite-based internet connections at sea reasonable and calculable for our guests.”

Six ships in the fleet will be equipped with enhanced internet access by next month, with completion due by November.

The new internet packages and fees will be part of the standard offering on new flagship AIDAprima (pictured).

Passengers who book internet packages in advance through the MyAIDA portal will receive a 5% discount.