Carnival Completes Rollout of Fleetwide Starlink Connectivity

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After around 18 months, 100% of the ships in the Carnival Corporation fleet have been fitted out with Starlink internet connectivity, paving the way for a more connected cruise experience.

Since the release of Starlink maritime in 2022, the Elon Musk-owned company has taken the cruise industry world by storm, promising a much better, lower latency connection for guests onboard, but also playing an instrumental part in enabling ships systems to operate in a cloud environment, enhancing safety onboard. 

With the completion of the rollout of Starlink onboard the more than 90 cruise ships in Carnival’s collection of nine cruise lines, guests can now enjoy internet speeds that far surpass anything possible in the past.

Carnival Passengers Using Starlink
Carnival Passengers Using Starlink

The process started onboard the ships of Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises in 2022. Since then, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises Australia, P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises, and Seabourn have also been outfitted.

Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation: “Starlink has been a game-changer for the onboard connectivity experience our cruise lines deliver to their guests, and we’ve already seen a surge in guest satisfaction and positive feedback from the super-fast and reliable Wi-Fi service we provide onboard.”

By combining the technology that Starlink offers, together with 5G capability on some ships, and Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite systems, Carnival Corporation said it has quadrupled its fleetwide bandwidth since 2019.

So, Can I Watch Netflix Onboard A Cruise Ship?

Weinstein’s comments should be taken in with some perspective. While those that have Starlink at home will usually be able to reach speeds of up to 300 Mbps, onboard ships, these speeds are unlikely. This is mostly because the connections the ship has are shared with hundreds, if not thousands of devices, which all take a share of the bandwidth. 

So even though there could be multiple dishes onboard, speeds are more likely to be between 5 to 150 Mbps for downloads and upload speeds from 20 to 40 Mbps, depending on the ship’s location and satellite coverage. 

Yet, even those numbers are markedly better than what has been achieved in the past, where even opening emails could be troublesome. Watching your favorite Netflix series, streaming sports matches, working remotely, or live streaming your adventures from the ship are definitely in the range of possibilities.

“We see this technology as a win-win-win – it provides our guests with more flexibility to stay as connected as they’d like on vacation, it allows our crew to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, and it enhances our onboard operational systems,” Weinstein continued.

As Weinstein mentioned, Starlink isn’t all about the guest experience. The system enables cruise lines to significantly improve their onboard technical capabilities. This ranges from real-time remote engine and critical systems monitoring to implementing predictive maintenance systems.

Royal Caribbean Starlink
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean / Celebrity Cruises

These systems analyze real-time data to predict potential equipment failures before they occur, reducing any potential issues that could lead to a cruise ship breaking down, and potentially, cancelled cruises.

Starlink also ensures cruise lines can make use of artificial intelligence, predicting guests’ movements around vessels. This can help in optimizing crowd control, ensuring that popular areas do not become overcrowded, and improving the overall guest experience.

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