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Old December 29th, 2009, 05:22 PM
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Default Carnival Dream Fun Hub

How many of you who have tried Dream looked at the Fun Hub and firgured out what it can do?

It is actually a GREAT tool for people to keep in touch with each other. Here is an article i wrote about it.





Carnival Dream's Revolutionary FunHub
By Paul Motter, CruiseMates' Editor
October 30, 2009

Carnival Dream's new FunHub onboard computer network brings realtime social networking to the cruise experience.
Mainstream cruising has finally introduced onboard social networking to the cruise experience. The introduction of the Carnival Dream "FunHub" online community and information portal makes it possible for cruise passengers to communicate with each other online, free of charge, for the first time.

Carnival Dream's FunHub, a network of computers with a social networking interface, takes passenger interaction to a whole new level. Until now, meeting new people on a cruise ship has been mostly a matter of chance. There may be someone in the cabin next to you who has the same unique interests as you, but you would never know unless you happened to meet. With FunHub, cruisers on Carnival Dream can start communicating with people of similar interests the moment they come onboard. It is a major breakthrough in onboard social networking.

In the "old days" cruise ships used to print passenger lists with names, city of origin and cabin numbers, but they stopped doing this for privacy reasons as ships got bigger and more mainstream. Funhub allows passengers to either limit their profile only to select people, or they can make a more public profile but still maintain anonymity to set up discussion groups to get to know people first, like any social networking community.
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Funhub is just for passengers on the same cruise, allowing them to communicate with their friends and family to keep in touch and arrange schedules. Cruisers can also meet other passengers online, discuss mutual interests, and then they can agree to meet and mingle in real life onboard the ship if they choose to do so.

You could say that FunHub does on cruise ships what CruiseMates has been doing on the Internet for years. Our motto has always been "Meet Online, Meet Onboard," but no cruise ship has ever offered an online portal enabling our readers to meet onboard before.

The FunHub network is free and available to passengers on the ship during the cruise. It is also a portal with all kinds of ship information including what activities are happening on the ship. There are several pre-defined interest groups always available to join -- e.g., shoppers, sports and game enthusiasts, culture and travel mavens, family fun, teens, food and drinks, nightlife; who are invited to each of the relevant activities for that group.
See what activites are offered and create your shipboard schedule with the filtering option
click

Users can also create their own special interest groups and make them open to all passengers. Say you are leading a group of 500 Star-Trek fans and you want to create a "virtual hospitality desk." No problem, it can be done in minutes. Or maybe you are just one person - a chess enthusiast seeking a worthy opponent; you can post an announcement that you will be in a certain room at a given time and invite interested contenders to meet you. If you find that a little intimidating and prefer to get to know people before you meet them in person, you can create a discussion group about chess first, or any other interest, and invite people to join the discussion online. If the discussions go well, then you can post a time and place for all interested parties to meet in real life during the cruise.

Check out the dining and drink specials for the day on FunHub
click

There could be other reasons for setting up a public discussion among fellow cruisers. Maybe you know a great beach in the next port, and you want to find another couple to split the cost of a rental car to get there -- but only with someone who has the same conversational interests as you. The discussion groups make it possible for guests to get to know one another before they commit to meeting in person.

If you are part of a private group sailing together, you can leave messages that only members of your group can read, since the system lets you specify who has access to your messages. You can also leave private messages for specific individuals which only they can read. You will never again spend hours looking for someone you lost on the ship - as long as they check for messages often.

Naturally, this type of social networking is not for unsupervised children, the same basic rules apply as for children using the Internet at home. The FunHub stations are all located in very open areas on the main decks public decks.

There are 36 public FunHub workstations on Carnival Dream - mostly on Decks 3, 4 and 5 - on a 24-hour basis. Most are in the Ocean Plaza, the ship's one-of-a-kind Promenade Deck (Deck 5) indoor/outdoor restaurant and lounge. Ocean Plaza is the first open-air restaurant, lounge and entertainment venue located on a lower deck of a cruise ship. The lounge extends the width of the ship, with tables and live entertainment inside and plenty of al fresco seating for drinks and dining outside. Four cantilevered hot tubs are located nearby on the promenade deck outside.

Besides real-time onboard social networking, the FunHub also provides weather updates, information on the next ports of call, interactive polls, a frequently asked questions section, sample menus, schedules of sports events onboard, activities listings for kids and teens, schedules for the day's ship activities, and ship and cruise director announcements.

A so-called "filtering application" lets passengers plan a schedule for their entire day based on what is available. Once you have your schedule, you can consult a three-dimensional ship's map for event locations.
Log in to FunHub and choose who you want to share your planned activity schedule with
click

To learn more about shipboard policies, such as casino hours, corkage fees, or the cost of baby-sitting services, you can access the FAQ online instead of waiting in line at the front desk to ask your question. You can even find biographies of key shipboard personnel.

The FunHub also offers the latest news and sports scores without accessing the Internet (although Internet access is also available at the FunHub workstations - at the regular rates, of course).

Show your finalized personal daily schedule the people whom you give access to your schedule
click

Teens will find the FunHub especially handy, I am sure, and adults might find themselves drumming their fingers waiting for one of the 36 workstations to open up when they are occupied by teens hoping for their new crush to post an update. To alleviate this problem, guests who bring their own laptops or netbooks onboard will be able to log into the FunHub network at no charge.

Carnival's new FunHub not only offers a practical way to provide information to passengers; it takes passenger interaction to whole new level by allowing you to meet fellow guests with similar interests whom you never would have met before except by chance. It's a bold experiment that I suspect will go over very well with the fun-loving Carnival crowd.
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Old December 29th, 2009, 05:52 PM
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Like the whole idea of it ! Hope it gets fleetwide ASAP.

The "virtual hospitality desk" thing would be great for times like the Cruisemates group cruises or Bloggers cruises where folks can check in or get updates on venue changes etc.

One should be concerned about any abuses of it as has happened with the Myface sites. Don't want the errant pedofile "hooking up" with the Club C folks, which is why its kept in public areas.

Mustn't be able to do the whole "sexting" thing on it either.

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Old January 9th, 2010, 08:49 PM
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Great article, Paul. Our Dream cruise in Italy was so port intensive and they were still have so many computer problems that we didn't look into the Fun Hub while on board. I can definately see that it would be a great benefit, particularly for those on group or family cruises. I too, hope that it will go fleetwide soon.,
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Old January 10th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
One should be concerned about any abuses of it as has happened with the Myface sites. Don't want the errant pedofile "hooking up" with the Club C folks, which is why its kept in public areas.
Yes, I was a bit surprised when Disney annoumced thweir new ships coming out next year will have social networking just for the teens only. Now, I understand that will probably stop non-teens from doing to pedophile thing, but my concern about having this on a ship for teens is that they get so caught up in that they start stalking their new cruishes everywhere, or that people post nasty comments about other people (flame wars).

Its one thing to say something bad about someone else, but another to write it on a public bulletin board.

Anyway - my guess is that virtual messaging will become more common on ships. It is a great idea because unlike land - ships don't have free cell phone service or email. FunHubs actually make a lot of sense.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 02:20 PM
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This is just a good idea! It amazes me just how cruising has changed, since out first cruise. I bet this "hub" is always active!...Kudo's to Carnival!
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