Luxury cruise line Windstar Cruises is taking its onboard connectivity to the next level with the launch of Starlink Maritime’s high-speed broadband satellite internet.
The service will provide guests onboard Windstar’s small intimate cruise ships with the world’s most advanced and developed high-speed connections at sea and in port. Windstar Cruises is among the first in the cruise industry to offer the technology, alongside Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group, and several smaller cruise line operators.
High-Speed Internet Onboard Windstar Cruise Ships
Cruise Lines are increasingly moving towards using SpaceX’s Starlink Maritime internet service. In the past weeks, several cruise lines have announced the switch, and they are now joined by luxury cruise operator Windstar Cruises.
Windstar Cruises currently uses a geostationary satellite service, Anuvu, for its internet services. However, with the addition of Starlink technology, the company aims to amplify the existing Anuvu service, providing a more reliable and faster connection for guests.
Starlink Maritime is the world’s first and largest satellite constellation with a low Earth orbit, utilizing lasers to allow communication to occur further away from ground-based stations. Starlink Maritime is still capable of offering the same or even higher speeds than what is achieved with the regular Starlink internet service, even though ships might be out at sea.
“I am thrilled to be working with Anuvu and Starlink to offer our guests the latest in satellite technology,” said Gregg Wagner, Technology Director of Windstar Cruises. “When the ships are inside the service area, faster speeds will alleviate much of the frustration felt at peak use times.”
Not Yet Available Worldwide
Starlink will be available on select Windstar voyages where the service is active. SpaceX has announced it will be moving to bring the service online globally very soon; however, not all destinations are currently available.
Currently, most of the maritime areas around Europe, the United States, and Canada are fully covered, as is a large part of the Caribbean. In the coming months, areas further out, such as the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic, will be fully covered.
For Windstar Cruises, this means the cruise line will be using two different services as the six cruise ships the cruise line operates, Wind Star, Wind Surf, Star Pride, Star Legend, Star Breeze, and Wind Spirit, move in and out of the service areas.
“Starlink is yet to be available worldwide, but Windstar Cruises is excited to be among the first in the cruise industry to offer this cutting-edge technology. The addition of high-speed internet service with our current geostationary satellite service will enable guests to stay connected to family and friends,” Wagner continued.
Multiple Cruise Companies Switching to Starlink
Windstar Cruises is not alone in its implementation of Starlink Maritime Internet, as several cruise lines have already switched to the cutting-edge technology. Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Hurtigruten, and SeaDream Yacht Club were among the first companies to offer Starlink to their guests last year, while Carnival Corporation announced it will also roll out the service across its fleet.
The system has also been tested on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, and American Cruise Lines has recently announced its own implementation of the technology.
Starlink Maritime has proven to be a significant improvement over older satellite systems. Its low installation cost of $10,000 and a monthly fee of $5,000 have made it a popular choice among cruise lines, as older systems could cost up to $150,000 per month.
Some companies have even chosen to offer the service for free to their guests, who can now benefit from a reliable and fast internet connection while at sea without worrying about excessive WiFi charges.