Founded in 1972, Carnival Cruise Lines is one of the ten lines operated by the largest cruise ship companies worldwide, Carnival Corporation & plc. Despite having issues because of the global pandemic, Carnival is still around and busier than ever. That’s due to pent-up demand and more people considering cruises after two years. Since many are connected to the world via their devices these days, you might be wondering if you can use a VPN while on one of the Carnival cruise ships. The answer is yes and no. We’ll explain what we mean in a moment. First, though, look at our list of the best VPNs for Carnival cruise ships.
Let’s start with the Carnival cruise ships’ Wi-Fi package. Currently, they offer three different plans. The company calls these the Social, Value, and Premium plans. At the time of this post, the rates are $6.80 per person/day, $10.20 per person/day, and $13.60 per person/day. Of course, that could change at the company’s whim. The social version allows you to access most of the common social media sites, but not much else. It blocks most other sites and apps with this plan. The Value plan allows you to browse most common websites and access most apps but does not allow music or video streaming. The Premium plan supports video calls like Skype, Zoom, Teams, and more where coverage allows. However, some things are missing from this list.
Unfortunately, Carnival has restrictions on these plans. These include:
- Only one connection at a time – No matter which plan you choose, Carnival only allows one device connection at a time per person.
- No video or audio streaming – While the Premium plan allows you to do things like Skype and other video calls, they still don’t allow you to stream any entertainment services. That includes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others.
- No VPNs – None of the plans offer VPN support. That may be because they don’t want you to use their internet for streaming. However, they are missing the fact that VPNs can protect your privacy. Since it is a Wi-Fi network, using their satellite internet is open and unsafe.
Given all of those restrictions, we suggest using your mobile phone’s data plan if you can get it to work. Though you may not be using Carnival’s internet, you’ll want to connect to a VPN to protect your privacy. Cruise ships can be a privacy nightmare because they have a captive audience. By connecting to a VPN, you create a private and encrypted tunnel to help secure your privacy. That way, you may avoid any possible issues with using Carnival’s internet plans unprotected.
In addition to protecting your privacy, using your data plan means you can stream content. The key is to connect a VPN server in the area you want to use. The question is, what if you’re outside your home country or just bored on the ship? If you are outside the US and want to watch US shows and movies or listen to your favorite streaming service, you’ll need to connect to a VPN server in the US. If you want to explore other options, you’ll just choose the area you wish to and enjoy region-specific media.
Considerations for VPN on Carnival Cruise Ships
Until Carnival changes its internet policies or gets a different carrier, you are limited to your data plan. Here are the things to look for when deciding on a provider.
- Extensive networks – Having a vast network has two benefits. It provides you with multiple server options to choose many different locations. By selecting a service with a more extensive network, the provider usually has many servers in one location. That can help with speed because the more full a server is, the slower it is.
- Next-generation encryption protocols – As with large networks, you’ll want to choose a provider that uses next-generation encryption protocols like IKEv2, WireGuard, OpenVPN, and ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol. Though all of these options offer top-notch encryption, you’ll find Lightway and WireGuard to be the fastest. Since you are going solely on your data plan, you need all the speed you can get. That speed will also help you if you decide to tether your data to your other devices.
- Advanced features – All VPNs have advanced features, but some are more helpful than others. If you want to stream content and use your phone’s data plan, you may want to consider a provider that offers SmartDNS. Though it won’t encrypt your data, it will let you access other content regions without worrying about encryption overhead.
Here’s a look to see which services offer the items we just mentioned.
1. ExpressVPN – Fast servers in North America and Europe
Some games are significant and depending on where you are in the world; you can gain early access to them. However, we do not feel that you should have to wait. When you connect to a VPN server with ExpressVPN, though, you can do that. All you have to do is choose the location where the game comes out first. Most of the time it is Australia given the time difference. That will make the game server believe that you are in the allowable region. Therefore, you will gain early access to the game.
We feel that no one should have to miss out on watching their favorite sports. Luckily, ExpressVPN agrees with that thought. If you like to travel abroad, are an expat, or you are otherwise outside the viewing area, you may have an issue when you try to watch your home team. The solution to that is to connect to a VPN in the region you want to join. It will get you past any geo-blocking software so you can enjoy the live streams of your favorite sporting events.
ExpressVPN launched in 2009 and has grown into a premier VPN service. Whether you want to protect your privacy online, enjoy your favorite streaming services while traveling, or watch live sports, ExpressVPN is a great choice. You can rely on their network for fast, stable connections. This is true for VPN users and those who rely on their MediaStreamer feature to extend functionality to game consoles and more. We suggest signing up for our ExpressVPN deal which includes 3 months free when you subscribe for 12 months. The savings, along with a 30-day money-back guarantee make ExpressVPN an excellent choice.
Want to learn more? Read our full ExpressVPN review.
2. NordVPN – no-log VPN service based in Panama
Whether you like to travel abroad, are an ex-patriot, or just want to stream from other parts in the world, NordVPN can help you. Built into their service is a feature they refer to as “SmartPlay.” It combines aspects of a SmartDNS service and a VPN to allow the user to stream from everywhere. Unlike some SmartDNS services, NordVPN encrypts the connection by having it built-in directly to their VPN. That way, you do not have to worry about taking extra steps to configure the service. All you have to do is connect.
While all providers promise security, some may not be protecting your privacy when using their service. However, NordVPN does an excellent job of doing that. You can quickly test their DNS security by using the leak test on their website or checking an independent site. By doing so, you will see if others can detect your location. If they can’t, though, you won’t have to worry about groups or organizations tracking you if you are connecting to a VPN. DNS leak protection is a must-have for VPN users.
Want to learn more? Read our full NordVPN review.
3. Private Internet Access – based in the US and known for privacy
If you are looking to protect your entire family with a VPN, you can’t go wrong with Private Internet Access. Unlike some of its competitors, it offers its users the ability to use up to 10 simultaneous connections. That is excellent news for families that want to protect everything. If that sounds like a high number, just remember that the figure takes into account all of the mobile devices, laptops, and possibly routers no matter where they are. As you can see, Private Internet Access has you covered.
Sports is still one of the biggest draws of TV watchers. More often than not, viewers want to watch their favorite events at the scheduled time. Unfortunately, you may not always be able to view your favorite sport because of licensing rights from other countries. By connecting to a VPN server from Private Internet Access, however, you can watch your favorite no matter where it is. All you would have to do is select the country where the sport is, have access to the channel for watching and enjoy them.
Want to learn more? Read our full Private Internet Access review.
4. CyberGhost – specialty servers for streaming and gaming
Some countries have streaming services that are specific to that country. For example, if you want to watch HBO Now outside the US, Hulu outside the US, Stan outside Australia, or others, you need to connect to a VPN server in that region. Of course, there are excellent streaming services all over the world. We do not feel that you should have to miss out on them, simply because of where you are. Fortunately, the way around that is to connect to a CyberGhost VPN server located in the area you want to see. Then, you should be able to enjoy your favorite streaming services no matter where they are.
All VPN providers say they will protect you, but not all of them can prove it. Luckily, CyberGhost is one that can. The truth is some can compromise your security with DNS leaks. After you sign up for service, there are several places online where you can test to see if the reason you are connecting to a VPN is working. While the CyberGhost website has a tester, it likes to state that you are exposed when you may not be. If you connect to a VPN and you see an IP address that is not from the company, you have leaks.
Want to learn more? Read our full CyberGhost review.
5. IPVanish – popular VPN located in the United States
If you are like most gamers, you are aware that lag can cause big problems. Sometimes, that can be a result of a busy game server or a congested network. By connecting to a VPN like IPVanish, you can help stop that from happening. What that will do is re-route your gaming traffic to a less populated server. Doing so may help you get a better experience so that you can enjoy your favorite games. That could make the difference between winning the match, or losing it.
No matter where you are from, you probably know that the US has some excellent streaming services. Whether it is an stand alone service like HBO Now, a package of channels like Sling TV, or others, you will miss out on them unless you connect to a VPN server. Luckily, IPVanish makes it easy. All you have to do is pick a server from the US if that is the region you wish to use. Then, log in with your credentials and you are all set.
Want to learn more? Read our full IPVanish review.