One of the biggest cruise companies Royal Caribbean goes all-in on the Starlink satellite service
The test deployment on the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship “received tremendous positive feedback”. Current satellite-at-sea options are expensive and slow since the market had little competition or innovation for the last couple of decades.
Starlink Maritime has its coverage limited to coastal waters for now. It is not very cheap either. Starlink service costs the cruise company about $5,000 monthly. Besides, there is a $10,000 upfront hardware fee for the special terminals used. However, the speed is much better and the service will probably pay for itself with onboard “premium Wi-Fi” charges in the first month.
Although Starlink doesn’t yet work mid-ocean (such as on container ships), the company plans to provide that capability in the northern hemisphere by the end of the year and the southern hemisphere in early 2023. The main drawback is that Central and South America, all of Indonesia and Malaysia, and the southern half of Africa aren’t on the coverage map.
Nevertheless, the interest of the major cruising player in the service will surely boost the development of the Starlink Maritime service. The satellite dishes will be added to all vessels in the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises fleets by the end of Q1 2023.