Royal Caribbean is bringing Starlink satellite Internet to all of its cruise liners

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,335   +163
Staff member
In brief: Starlink is hitting the high seas. Royal Caribbean has announced plans to implement SpaceX's Starlink satellite Internet service across its fleet for use by guests and crew, becoming the first in the cruise industry to adopt Starlink's technology.

Most cruise ships already offer some form of satellite Internet service to guests, but connections are often unreliable, slow and expensive. With any luck, Starlink will remedy at least two of these three pain points.

Royal Caribbean CEO Jason Liberty said it is the largest deployment of Starlink in the travel industry to date.

A cruise vacation for some is just that – a rare opportunity to unplug from our hyperconnected lifestyle and relax as you traverse the open ocean and visit various destinations. Others inevitably must maintain a connection to the outside world no matter what, perhaps for work or to stay in touch with friends and family on social media. For them, an amenity like Starlink could bring them one step closer to booking a sailing when they might have otherwise considered a land-based getaway.

Starlink earlier this summer launched its Internet service for personal boats, and it felt like the cruise industry would be the next big target. Starlink Maritime for individuals is very expensive compared to a traditional land-based installation but Royal will no doubt price its service in line with that makes sense for its passengers.

Eventually, cruisers may not have to rely on a ship at all for connectivity at sea. T-Mobile recently partnered with Starlink on a plan to blanket the US and territorial waters with text coverage. That service won't start rolling out in beta until the end of 2023. In time, the companies will look to add support for voice and data coverage.

Royal said deployment of Starlink technology will begin immediately on all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises ships, along with all new vessels for each brand. The rollout is slated to be completed by the end of Q1 2023.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 9,096   +8,132
Now here is an application that Star-link is perfectly suited for, but you can bet the cruse lines won't be tolerating a $600 per link installation fee. Can't verify it for sure, but a friend told me his brother "tuned" an old satellite dish to use the signal but Star-Link flatly refused to sell him the service without buying their over priced dish. Anybody out there had such an experience?
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,964   +7,006
Now here is an application that Star-link is perfectly suited for, but you can bet the cruse lines won't be tolerating a $600 per link installation fee. Can't verify it for sure, but a friend told me his brother "tuned" an old satellite dish to use the signal but Star-Link flatly refused to sell him the service without buying their over priced dish. Anybody out there had such an experience?
Given that cruise lines are commercial ventures, I can only imagine how much Starlink will cost for each cruise liner(ship) installation. I expect it will be far north of that $600 per link installation fee given that the liners could simply set up a NAT scheme to distribute it to their passengers. You can bet it will be a premium add-on for a cruise package.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,842   +7,758
It's about time this monumental breakthrough happened. (y) (Y)

After all, why would anybody in their right mind pay thousands of dollars to go on a cruise, if not to sit in their cabin the entire time, posting selfies on Facebook?
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 762   +1,202
For anyone curious, it would probably be the commercial version of Starlink used instead. $500/mo cost and a $2500 hardware cost, but higher speeds, no data caps, priority support, and no downtimes (at least the website says that).
Can't verify it for sure, but a friend told me his brother "tuned" an old satellite dish to use the signal but Star-Link flatly refused to sell him the service without buying their over priced dish. Anybody out there had such an experience?
Unlikely if he’s using a satellite dish. Starlink uses phased arrays of antennas, not satellite dishes. That’s why they’re expensive, though SpaceX is selling them at cheaper than it costs to make them. Even if your friend did have an antenna to connect to Starlink, the satellites are not on geosynchronous orbit so the antenna would need to physically move to point in the right direction as even Starlink’s receivers follow satellites.
 
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Hodor

Posts: 113   +67
Was there really nowhere to install those dishes that is not blocking guest's ocean views?

Yeah, they should also make the ships without windows or open spaces. Instead they can put LED monitors everywhere that show the passengers the outside view. But only to those who paid, of course.

Gotta patent this idea before Royal Carribean starts building their next (windowless) ship.