Sunday, April 26, 2020

Wish List: A Reliable Navigator App

Since the Disney Wish is now under construction, I thought it would be a good time to start thinking about what I would like to see on the new ships.  Besides the name, some basic stats and a few artist's renderings, not much is known about the Wish yet.

One of my wishes for the Wish won't even be a part of the ship.  I'm hoping for a better, more reliable Disney Cruise Line Navigator app experience.  Older fans of my blog might remember that I really like to complain about this app, and I think I have a valid reason to do so.  Disney charges so much for their cruises, while their app, that they encourage everybody on their cruises to use, doesn't work very well.

When I got on the Fantasy in January, I was hoping that Disney had improved the app since my last cruise.  There had been multiple updates promising bug fixes and other improvements since then, but I ended up being disappointed with how it worked (or how it didn't work, really).  

My biggest issue with the app involved sending and receiving messages.  Whenever I sent a message to someone, I didn't know if or when they would get it.  Sometimes, I couldn't even send or recieve messages because of a bad connection.  If you've been on a Disney cruise and used the app, then you've likely experienced this issue.  The connection problem was even worse on Castaway Cay, where the Wi-Fi signal doesn't reach many sections of the island.  I couldn't rely on the app, and there really wasn't any alternative.  

Another problem with the app was booking future cruise placeholders.  Near the end of the cruise, my dad booked a placeholder using the app.  He followed all of the instructions correctly, and the app said that he successfully booked a placeholder and he would receive a confirmation email after the cruise.  However, when we got home, he never got an email!  The app charged him for the placeholder, but he never actually got one.  At least he was able to get a refund by calling Disney.  Again, the app didn't do what it was meant to do.

Disney is clearly trying to get more people use the app, since they no longer pass out paper Personal Navigators to the rooms in the evenings.  If more people use the app, more people will experience these and other issues.  The unreliable app could make people have a less-than-magical experience on a cruise, which is the last thing Disney wants.  They could lose customers and their customers' money!

I've thought of a few ways that the Wish could solve these problems with the app.  First, the app will need more software updates to fix more bugs.  The app isn't too great now, but it's definitely better than it was in the past.  They're making progress!  Also, the imagineers could design the Wish in a way that allows a Wi-Fi signal to reach all around the ship.  Or, more Wi-Fi access points could be placed around the ship.  Wi-Fi technology has improved a lot since 2012, so in theory, these access points would be stronger and reach farther than those on the other ships.  These access points could also be installed on Castaway Cay and Lighthouse Point, Disney's new private port, to ensure constant connectivity.  I doubt the new ships will have Wave Phones, so a call feature will likely be implemented into the app.  A strong and consistent connection would be necessary for this to happen, so I think more, stronger access points are likely to be included.  If these Wi-Fi improvements happen, they'll make the app much less frustrating and much more reliable.

How has the app worked for you on past cruises?  Have you encountered any problems worse than me?  Do you prefer the paper Personal Navigator or the app?  Comment your thoughts below if you'd like.

1 comment:

  1. Great analysis. I definitely wish they would improve the app. We ended up using iMessage last time we were on board and it worked great. We switched to using that for chat and just used the app for the navigator.