Royal Caribbean, the cruise line that also operates Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises, has announced that it will equip its fleet of ships with SpaceX’s Starlink internet service (through TechCrunch). The company says the service will make the internet experience at sea faster and more reliable.
Royal Caribbean appears to be moving full steam ahead with Starlink deployment – it tried the service on one of its ships in the summer, and will officially launch on September 5, starting with a ship called the Celebrity Beyond. The company expects to fully deploy the service to its fleet by the first quarter of 2023.
Royal Caribbean’s announcement didn’t include technical details, such as how many Starlink dishes the ships would use, or how much bandwidth would be split among a few thousand passengers. The company does promise that people can use streaming services and make video calls.
SpaceX’s boat-focused internet service, Starlink Maritime, is relatively new, having debuted earlier this summer. Currently, it only covers coastal waters in parts of the Americas (including the Caribbean), Europe and around Australia and New Zealand, but SpaceX says it plans to cover most of the world’s oceans by the first quarter of 2023. cover the world.
SpaceX currently has a lot to do with Starlink. Perhaps the most obvious is its partnership with T-Mobile to send text messages and calls to cell phones, using second-generation satellites it plans to launch next year. The company is also partnering with Hawaiian Airlines and charter airline JSX to provide in-flight Wi-Fi, which is something Delta (and probably others) are looking into as well. For those of us ashore, the company recently launched a version of Starlink for motorhomes.
Meanwhile, the cruise industry has struggled to recover from the pandemic, according to a report of Reuters. Like many other companies, cruise lines have had staffing issues, with some even having to cancel trips. There’s also the question of whether people will continue to spring for luxuries like cruises, as financial leaders like Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell do. warn that efforts to fight inflation will “hurt households and businesses somewhat”.