MCP Celebrates SMS Ship Success

In October 2006, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines signed a deal with Maritime Communications Partner AC (MCP) for GSM and SMS services on board its cruise ship Braemar. This allowed passengers and crew to make calls from the ship on their own mobile telephones, working seamlessly through MCPs network, and keeping in touch with friends and family at home at a reasonable rate.
The service proved so popular that the following spring it was rolled out across the other three ships in the fleet: Boudicca, Black Watch and Black Prince. and will also be available on Balmoral, the fifth Fred. Olsen ship, when she joins the fleet in January 2008.
Since its installation on Braemar 11,000 people have connected to the service, making 13,000 minutes of calls and sending and receiving 150,000 text messages. To date, across the whole fleet, there have been 370,000 text messages to and from the ships, 33,000 minutes of calls, and 24,000 people have connected to the service. These are substantial figures for the relatively small Fred. Olsen ships, none of which carries more than a thousand passengers.
Allowing the use of a mobile communications system on board our fleet was not a decision we took lightly, says Fred. Olsen IT Engineer, Ross Sutherwood. We carried out much research and consultation before deciding on our provider, MCP. Reliability and quality of service was key to choosing from the many providers offering similar systems on board ships. MCPs experience, operating systems on many other ships around the world, together with their vast technical expertise helped us in making this decision an easy one.
We at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines are very aware of the importance of being able to stay in touch wherever in the world you may be so, in line with our commitment to improving services across the fleet and it was felt that this system would provide passengers with another valuable method of communicating with their friends and family whilst cruising.
The next stage will be to offer the ability to send picture messages and browse the web from mobile phones using the MCP network.