Royal Caribbean to install Starlink across entire cruise fleet

Royal Caribbean Group has announced plans to implement SpaceX’s Starlink low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications system across its cruise fleet, the first shipping company to officially adopt the new service.

The connectivity system will be installed on all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises ships, along with all new vessels for each of the brands, the company said. A trial of the system has already been conducted on the Freedom of the Seas, which operates on routes between Miami and the Caribbean.

“Our purpose as a company is to deliver the best vacation experiences to our guests responsibly, and this new offering, which is the biggest public deployment of Starlink’s high-speed internet in the travel industry so far, demonstrates our commitment to that purpose,” added Jason Liberty, President and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Group.

“This technology will provide game-changing internet connectivity onboard our ships, enhancing the cruise experience for guests and crew alike. It will improve and enable more high-bandwidth activities like video streaming as well as activities like video calls.”

“Using Starlink is one more example of our continued focus on innovation and excellence for our guests, our crew, the communities we visit and our shareholders.”

Deployment of the Starlink technology across the fleet will begin immediately, leveraging the insights obtained from the Freedom of the Seas trial to inform the roll-out programme.

Installations are slated to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

“Royal Caribbean Group selecting Starlink to provide high-speed, low-latency internet across their fleet will make their passengers’ getaways even more luxurious,” said SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Sales Jonathan Hofeller.

“We couldn’t be more excited to work with Royal Caribbean Group to ensure travellers at sea can stay connected with a great internet experience.”

Elon Musk’s SpaceX officially launched its maritime service in July of this year, just days after the satcom system was granted approval by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use on board ships.

Connectivity packages are available to the public for installation on any vessel with a $5,000 per month subscription, supplied with two antennas at a cost of $10,000 for the pair. The company promises download speeds of up to 350Mbps while at sea.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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