Advanced Television

Starlink dominates Cruise industry

May 17, 2024

Elon Musk’s Starlink broadband-by-satellite system has now equipped the entire Carnival Corporation cruise fleet of more than 90 ships with its equipment. Carnival operates its ships under its own name and also AIDA Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises and Cunard.

Carnival Corporation CEO Josh Weinstein said Starlink’s availability has been a “game-changer” in onboard connectivity. Carnival said Starlink’s availability improved the customer experience with connectivity that “rivals on-land” experience. It has also made a material difference in improved operational and communications capabilities for each vessel’s crew and managers.

“We’ve already seen a surge in guest satisfaction and positive feedback from the super-fast and reliable Wi-Fi service we provide onboard,” Weinstein said. “We see this technology as a win-win-win – it provides our guests with more flexibility to stay as connected as they’d like on vacation, it allows our crew to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, and it enhances our onboard operational systems.”

A typical installation costs a reported $5,000 per month plus a one-time fee of $5,000 for the on-board equipment. Each vessel can typically enjoy a 350 Mb/s download.

Carnival’s fees to passengers start at $15.30 per person per day rising to $21.25 per person per day. The higher fee allows for higher speed downloads and supports Skype, Zoom and Teams video calling.

The installation on Carnival’s ships is the latest move in what is seen as a digital revolution at sea. One report suggests that Starlink, in less than two years, has captured a 25 per cent market share penetration of vessels.

Elon Musk claims that Starlink is now serving more than 200 cruise vessels.

There’s more. For example, Starlink is supplying the more traditional maritime market. Seaspan Chas also recently completed the installation of Starlink across its full fleet, positioning Seaspan as one of the first major owner-operators of containerships to fully integrate Starlink’s high bandwidth, low latency service into its operations.

As of March 31st 2024, Seaspan’s operating fleet consisted of 165 vessels, with an additional 23 vessels also under construction, expected to be delivered by December 2024.

“Enhanced connectivity on board our vessels will translate to increased efficiency, safety, and seafarer welfare across our fleet,” said Torsten Holst Pedersen, Seaspan’s COO. Garret Wong, VP/Information Technology at Seaspan said: “With the implementation of Starlink on all our vessels, we are now well-positioned to take advantage of the latest emerging state-of-the-art technologies in the maritime industry.”

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