It looks like Carnival has used its time off from sailing to work on its HUB app. Today, Carnival announced some major features they’re adding to the app. The HUB App, available on iOS (download) and Android (download) devices, allows you to manage your cruise while you’re on board the ship. First introduced in 2015, the app has evolved over the years to have more features and seamless transitions.
Quick facts about the Carnival HUB app
- The Carnival HUB app is free to use on board the ship; you do not need a wifi plan.
- To save your cell phone’s data plan, download the app before you board
- If you want person to person messaging on the app, it costs $5 and lets you message anyone aboard the ship
- On some ships, you can order pizza and beer for delivery (a surcharge applies) or check-in for Your Time Dining.
What are the existing features of the Carnival Hub app?
The Carnival Hub already had a lot of great features. You could pull up the menus for the whole cruise to see what’s for dinner in any of the venues. You could see an online version of the Fun Times, showing you a schedule of all the events for the day. You could see your Ship & Sign shipboard account balance so you could track your spending during the cruise if you want. If you got lost, you could pull up searchable deck plans. It allowed you to get the weather in the ports of call without needing outside internet access. It was great to have on board, but you could easily go a whole cruise not using the app if you didn’t want you.
What changes are coming to the Carnival HUB app?
When the Carnival ships start sailing again next month, the app will see the following enhancements.
Expanded food delivery
On some ships, like the Carnival Horizon, you could order a pizza delivered anywhere on the ship. It cost $5 but was a great way to avoid the lengthy pizza lines (although on my last Horizon cruise, the line was never more than 10 minutes). They’ll be adding new venues and food types to this food delivery.
Rather than standing in a long line, you can order your food on the app and go to a designated place to pick it up once it’s ready. This feature would not have a surcharge but would help you avoid long lines at lunchtime. Just place an order from your lounger and pick it up when it’s ready. It’s a similar feature to what you see now at places like Chipotle and McDonald’s.
Your Time Dining Assignments
If you have Your Time Dining, when you don’t have a set dining time, you can now check in using the Carnival HUB app. You simply put in the time you would like, select the guests who will be joining you, and place the request. You’ll receive a notification when your table is ready. That means you can relax in your room or at the bar while you’re waiting so you can avoid the crowds around the entrance to the dining room.
Virtual Reservations & Queuing
You’ll be able to book seats for onboard shows and activities, like the Playlist Productions in the main theater or the Punchliner Comedy Club shows. This feature would even apply to guest services, so you won’t be waiting in line to see someone. The app will let you know when someone is available. When the Mardi Gras debuts at the end of July, the app will also let you reserve tickets for the BOLT roller coaster.
The End of Muster Drills
If you haven’t cruised before, the muster drill is a safety talk you must go through before the cruise begins. In the old days, you’d go to a 15 – 20 minute in-person talk in a large venue, and then the cruise could start. Nowadays, big groups of people aren’t great, so they’re making them online. The Carnival HUB app will play a role in completing an e-Muster, or virtual, drill instead. Full details of how this will work haven’t been released yet, but it’s going to be a huge time saver.
How do we feel about the changes in the Carnival HUB app?
COVID changed how we did a lot of everyday things in our lives, some we want to stay, and some we’ll be happy when they’re gone. I think a lot of the changes in the app will be nice, especially with ships like the Mardi Gras and Celebration carrying more passengers than ever for Carnival.
Personally, I hate having to think ahead and book seats at comedy clubs or shows, and I’ve been dreading this change knowing that other cruise lines already do that. Then again, on my last cruise on the Horizon, 2 of the comedy shows were at total capacity, and we had to wait 30 minutes on line for another.
Also, some people go on a cruise to unplug; they don’t want their phone with them at all times. Others hate technology, and no one wants to spend their vacation figuring our new technology. During his informational video about the change, brand ambassador John Heald was adamant that there would be many alternatives for those who don’t want to use the app. For example, a percentage of the theaters will be left open for will-call; and the food lines will still work as usual.