Royal Caribbean Unveils Plan to Rollout Starlink Fleetwide

Royal Caribbean unveils plan to roll out SpaceX's super-fast high-speed Starlink internet across three of its cruise brands.

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Royal Caribbean Group has announced it plans to implement SpaceX’s Starlink high-speed internet onboard all of the ships in the fleet. The company takes a huge leap forward to connecting guests while at sea, enabling everything from streaming movies to moving to cloud-based applications. 

All ships sailing for the Royal Caribbean Group will have the Starlink satellite receivers installed, which includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises.

The implementation follows extensive testing that has been taking place onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas in the past months. 

Royal Caribbean Will Offer High-Speed Internet to Guests

Royal Caribbean is the first cruise company worldwide to fully implement the SpaceX Starlink Maritime high-speed internet terminals onboard cruise ships.

Starting immediately, the company will start installation onboard cruise ships sailing for Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea. 

The company has been extensively testing the system onboard Freedom of the Seas over the last weeks, insights the company is taking onboard for the rest of the fleet.

Royal Caribbean Starlink
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

According to the company, the feedback from guests has been extremely positive, and by the end of the first quarter of 2023, the company hopes to have the rollout complete for the entire fleet.

Jason Liberty, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Group: “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.”

The technology is lightyears ahead of where the current technological systems are, with speeds for the SpaceX system far exceeding the current standards:

“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.”

Celebrity Cruises has already provided an update on when it plans to implement the new systems on its ships. Celebrity’s newest ship, Celebrity Beyond, will receive the new system on September 5, among one of the first ships to be turned over this Holiday Weekend.

All of the Celebrity Edge Series ships will have been updated by the end of this year. The installation will then continue into 2023 and be complete by May.

What Faster Internet Means for Guests

Guests sailing onboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ships will be seeing a huge improvement in internet connectivity onboard.

Not only does the speed far exceed the current norm, SpaceX reports speeds up to 350 Mbps; the low-orbit satellite connection also means extremely low latency, which in effect means that faster connections actually work as they would at home.

Besides the high download speeds, latency should be lower than 99 ms, and upload speeds will vary between 20-40 Mbps.

Royal Caribbean unveils plan to roll out SpaceX's super fast highspeed Starlink internet across three of its cruise brands.

Guests and crew will be able to remain connected to work, friends, and family while onboard while also being able to stream sports, movies, and favorite series without issue. 

Although the system does not yet work worldwide and in all sailing areas, eventually, this will be the case, with a suggested near-worldwide coverage by 2023 or 2024.

“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 travelers at sea can stay connected with a great internet experience.”

Eventually, guests could possibly expect costs for internet packages to go down significantly. Installation of a dual terminal for the general public costs 10,000 USD, with a connection fee of 5000 USD, while it would speak for itself that Royal Caribbean and SpaceX have made a deal for this many vessels.

While cruise ships will need several terminals to service all onboard systems and all guests and crew, the cost is still significantly less than the high-orbit satellite connections that are the norm.

Costs for these systems can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, with about 10% of the speed SpaceX offers, which explains the current high costs for internet packages onboard.

Royal Caribbean Group has not announced yet if it will be making changes to the cost of internet packages onboard in the near future. However, even with the cost of the current packages and with a huge increase in speed, not many guests will be declining the service going forward. 

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