SpaceX’s broadband service Starlink is quickly being implemented by various cruise lines worldwide. Hurtigruten Expeditions announced they will also implement the service on its ships and offer it to guests and crew free of charge.
The expedition cruise line operates ships worldwide, from the Artic to the Antarctic, areas that have previously suffered from very low internet speeds and poor connection.
The entire fleet of vessels will have Starlink installed this month, which means guests will already be able to start using the service when the expedition ships head to the Antarctic this winter.
High-Speed Internet In Far-Away Places
Something that many cruise lines are currently unable to offer will soon be available in places as far away as Antarctica. Hurtigruten Expeditions, the largest expedition cruise operator worldwide, will implement Starlink’s high-speed internet onboard all its ships.
Installation of the satellite receivers will be completed this month, which means the cruise line can offer high-speed internet to guests sailing around the Antarctic Peninsula later this year.
“As the world leader in exploration travel, it’s only fitting that we bring the world’s most innovative technologies onboard our ships to further enhance the experience and day-to-day lives of our guests, crew, partners, and the communities we visit,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen.
The implementation of Starlink’s Maritime internet will be done with Hurtigruten’s current connectivity partner, Speedcast.
Testing of the system has been ongoing since March of this year. With the installation finalized this month, Hurtigruten is ahead of cruise lines from the Royal Caribbean Group and Seadream, who have announced similar plans.
“We’ve seen major players announcing plans for implementation of Starlink connectivity. Our partnership with Speedcast and fleetwide introduction of the new service not only puts us ahead of the rest of the cruise industry, it also puts us ahead of the technology. When Starlink introduces maritime coverage in Antarctica and the Arctic, we will be ready,” said Lassesen.
Antarctic Maritime Coverage in Q4 2022
Connectivity in the Antarctic is still under development but is expected to have full coverage before the end of the year.
Introducing the technology to the areas where Hurtigruten sails provide an excellent platform for both Starlink and Hurtigruten/ Speedcast to show off what the systems are capable off.
With the older systems in place onboard most cruise and expedition ships, connectivity is usually sub-par, even around well-established cruise routes around the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Connectivity is even more troublesome in faraway places such as Antarctica and the Artic.
“With vessels operating in some of the most remote and spectacular areas of the world, Hurtigruten Expeditions is an ideal partner for introducing groundbreaking technology in the cruise industry. Speedcast’s expertise lies in our ability to combine all available connectivity paths and manage a complete service that offers the highest levels of uptime, availability, and performance”, said Joe Spytek, Chief Executive Officer at Speedcast.
The high-speed internet onboard the Hurtigruten ships will be free of charge for both guests and crew members onboard, as well as scientists that will be working onboard the Hurtigruten ships. Free internet for crew members is a step that Hurtigruten challenges other cruise lines to take as well:
“Introduction of new technology makes it easier for everyone on board to remain connected with friends, family, and loved ones no matter where they are. We challenge all cruise lines that follows our example by installing Starlink to also follow our example to make internet free for all crew members”, said Lassesen.
Hurtigruten Expeditions was one of the first expedition cruise operators when it was founded in 1896. Hurtigruten Expeditions is now the world’s largest and leading expedition cruise line, operating a fleet of eight small, 200-500 passenger expedition ships.
The Norway-based company has been at the forefront of implementing new technologies for many years, including the world’s first battery-hybrid powered cruise ships.
The company operates cruises in over 30 countries and regions, including Alaska, Antarctica, Norway, Canada & The Northwest Passage, Greenland, South America, and Africa.