Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s new adventure cruise ship, National Geographic Venture, has deployed Inmarsat’ Fleet Xpress service as its primary satellite communications channel as it begins its sailing schedule.
The expedition ship completed its first cruise around the Galapagos Islands in December 2018 before moving to Baja California. It is also planned to travel the Pacific North West coast and around Alaskan waters over the next few months.
The US-built, ice-strengthened Venture will use the satellite system to provide ship-to-shore connectivity for the up to 100 guests and 50 crew serving onboard during its voyages.
“Fleet Xpress is the right fit for our fleet of smaller expedition vessels due to the requirement of a smaller VSAT terminal and the ability to provide hi-speed, reliable, global coverage, as these vessels sail to remote parts of the globe where connectivity is limited and our guest expectation is always to be connected,” said Arthur Theodorou, Director of IT at Lindblad Expeditions.
Fleet Xpress is now installed on board six of Lindblad Expeditions’ ships, including Venture’s sister ship National Geographic Quest, delivered in 2017. Retrofits of the system were also carried out on Sea Bird, Sea Lion, Endeavour II and Islander.
The satcom service is fully integrated with the vessels’ phone systems (PABX), as well as the internal communications platforms and local area networks used to optimise vessel operations.
“From the owner’s perspective, Fleet Xpress (is the) answer because these compact ships don’t have the real estate for the sizeable terminals larger cruise ships use to connect via C-band,” said Christian Cordoba, Inmarsat Maritime Channel Manager for Yachting and Passenger.
“Meanwhile, L-band alone falls short on data speeds and Ku-band services may work with compact shipboard terminals, but they can’t offer the benefit of a seamless global coverage the itineraries demand.”