Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, announced an agreement with SpaceX’s Starlink to provide faster and more reliable Wi-Fi on its ships. The roll-out of Starlink will begin with the Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises ships.
The company then plans to expand to several of the company’s other cruise brands, including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK), and Cunard.
Fast Internet Finally Comes to Carnival
After struggling to meet the demand for a significant amount of time, with several ships losing connection during cruises, the wait was for Carnival Corporation to follow Royal Caribbean and switch to Starlink. Today, January 18, the cruise company finally announced the two parties had signed a new agreement.
Installation of the satellite connection packages started in December onboard the Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises ships and is expected to roll out further across all brands soon.
The agreement is part of Carnival Corporation’s ongoing plan to provide guests and crew across its cruise brands with the best available Wi-Fi experience at sea. In the last few years, the company has nearly tripled fleetwide bandwidth, yet WiFi problems seem to continue. In a time when the internet has become a basic necessity instead of a luxury, it was time that Carnival Corporation took action.
“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.
“We are in the business of delivering happiness, and Starlink makes it as easy as possible for our guests to share all their great moments and memories, giving them even more joy out of their cruise vacation.”
The move by Carnival Corporation is a massive step forward and one that will be welcomed with open arms by those sailing onboard one of the Carnival Cruise Line or other brands’ ships in 2023.
Starlink’s Innovative Technology
Starlink is the leader in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology providing fast and more reliable Wi-Fi on a global scale. The added bandwidth will give the brands the capabilities and flexibility to introduce new guest services and features and help boost operational functions like onboard equipment monitoring and real-time communications between ship and shore teams.
“High-speed, low-latency broadband internet is critical in our modern age, and we’re excited to provide Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA’s guests an internet experience that makes their travel even more enjoyable,” said Jonathan Hofeller, vice president of Starlink sales for SpaceX.
“In even the most remote waters, guests onboard Carnival Corporation ships will be able to share real-time updates with friends and family.”
The performance of Starlink Maritime is predicted to surpass that of many traditional home internet service packages, with speeds ranging from 100-350 Mbps for downloads and 20-40 Mbps for uploads and low latency. This is a significant improvement over regular Starlink terminals, which typically provide download speeds of around 100 Mbps but can vary widely depending on the location and access to the signal.
The Maritime connection is expected to be vastly superior to the land-based connections, mainly because the system uses a dual satellite connection.
Guest and Crew Experience
The new agreement with Starlink is set to transform the guest and crew connectivity experience with faster internet and more capacity onboard ships. Guests can share photos and videos, stream movies and live sporting events and enjoy other content onboard with a reliable connection, such as, or better than, they would have at home.
Adding Starlink’s innovative technology to the company’s existing connectivity platform will also help the crew stay in touch with friends and loved ones.
“Importantly, adding Starlink’s innovative technology to the company’s existing connectivity platform will also help our amazing crew stay in touch with friends and loved ones,” Weinstein continued.
Carnival Corporation’s agreement with SpaceX’s Starlink is a significant step towards enhancing the guest and crew connectivity experience on its ships. Guests onboard the Carnival Cruise Line ships will soon notice the difference in speed onboard the ships as the cruise line brings the systems online.
What and if Carnival Cruise Line will charge for using the new WiFi connectivity is unknown. Several companies have chosen to offer the service for free, as it is significantly less expensive than the older satellite systems. Elon Musk revealed his companies previously paid up to 150,000 dollars per month for a reliable internet connection. Starlink Maritime has a $10,000 installation price tag and a $5000 monthly fee.
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Hurtigruten, and SeaDream Yacht Club were among the first to switch to Starlink Maritime Internet last year. The system was tested onboard the Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway, and American Cruise Lines also announced the new system earlier this month.