Carnival Cruise Line Has Good News for Guests That Use WiFi

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Carnival Cruise Line has provided an update on where it stands with the installation of Starlink Maritime across its fleet. In January 2023, Parent company Carnival Corporation announced it would install faster internet service onboard Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA ships, followed by the rest of the fleet later.

According to Brand Ambassador John Heald, eleven ships in Carnival’s fleet have been upgraded, with guests enjoying significantly higher internet speeds than previously possible. 

Carnival’s Fleet Upgrades

John Heald, Carnival brand ambassador, has provided an on the progress of the Starlink installation on July 10 across the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. The fast internet service was first announced in January of 2023, and since then, the cruise line has upgraded eleven ships in total.

John Heald: “The Excel class of ships have already been upgraded from delivery and are excellent. And as John, our Vice President of Global Infrastructure and Space Exploration, mentioned, we are working hard to upgrade the rest of the fleet with Starlink and other internet providers.”

Carnival Magic Cruise Ship
Carnival Magic Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin / Shutterstock)

Among the ships that have already been outfitted with Starlink Maritime are Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, Carnival Panorama, Carnival Elation, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Valor, Carnival Venezia, Carnival Pride, Carnival Magic, Carnival Sunshine, and Carnival Vista

Guests onboard the other Carnival cruise ships will need to wait a little longer. However, Heald promises more ships are expected to follow suit, ensuring that guests across the Carnival fleet can enjoy the benefits of high-speed internet at sea.

A Game-Changer at Sea

Starlink Maritime, a product of SpaceX, offers Low Earth Orbit satellite technology. It provides fast and reliable Wi-Fi, surpassing traditional maritime high-orbit satellite connections and many traditional home internet service packages. 

With download speeds ranging from 100-350 Mbps and upload speeds of 20-40 Mbps, guests can enjoy a high-speed internet experience, even in the most remote sailing areas.

“For many of our guests, it has become more and more important to maintain the type of connectivity at sea that they’ve become accustomed to at home, and of course, to share the unforgettable experiences of their cruise with friends and family,” said Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation.

Starlink on Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson / Creative Commons

The dual satellite connection system of Starlink Maritime is expected to be superior to land-based connections and provide many more benefits than just being able to stream your favorite Netflix series onboard.

The technology will also enable cruise lines to boost operational and safety functions such as monitoring onboard equipment and makes real-time communications possible between ship and shore teams.

Carnival Corporation is not the only cruise company to recognize the benefits of Starlink Maritime. Since Starlink Maritime became available in 2022, many cruise lines have been eager to install the service onboard their vessels. 

Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Hurtigruten, and SeaDream Yacht Club were among the first to switch to Starlink Maritime Internet. 

While one would expect Starlink to be more costly for cruise lines than traditional internet onboard, the opposite is true. The cost of Starlink Maritime for cruise lines is significantly lower.

Royal Caribbean Starlink
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean / Celebrity Cruises

Starlink Maritime has a one-time installation price tag of $10,000 and a monthly fee of $5,000. Compared to the older systems, companies previously paid up to $150,000 monthly for a reliable internet connection; this means a considerable cost decrease.

This cost reduction is a significant factor in the decision of cruise lines to switch to Starlink Maritime. Lower costs could allow them to offer the service for free or at a reduced rate to their guests. However, Carnival has not announced plans to reduce or remove the internet costs onboard.

As for other ships in Carnival Corporation, three ships from German cruise line AIDA have been fitted with Starlink and are currently undergoing field testing, with the rest of the fleet to be fitted during or just after the summer.

Seabourn Cruise Line has also started installing Starlink, with luxury expedition cruise ship Seabourn Venture being the first with the service. 

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