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Coronavirus: Updated Cruise Ship Policies and Cancellations Because of COVID-19 (2021)
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Royal Caribbean Group Teams Up With Elon Musk's Starlink For High-Speed Internet Across Fleet

August 31, 2022

Jorge Oliver

(1 p.m. EDT) -- With the help of Elon Musk's SpaceX, Royal Caribbean Group is looking to make navigating the web at sea a smoother ride on all three of its cruise lines, bringing internet speeds closer to what passengers find at home.

The cruise line operator will improve internet service across its fleet with the implementation of Starlink technology, a brand of high-speed, low-latency broadband internet service developed for remote and rural locations.

The broadband internet service will be installed on all 64 of the group's vessels across Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises -- as well as any new ships for each of the brands.

Royal Caribbean Group stated that Starlink's high-speed, low-latency connectivity improves the onboard experience for guests and crew, giving them access to a WiFi connection as strong in their staterooms as it would be in their homes. 

"Our purpose as a company is to deliver the best vacation experiences to our guests responsibly, and this new offering, which is the biggest public deployment of Starlink's high-speed internet in the travel industry so far, demonstrates our commitment to that purpose," said Jason Liberty, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Group.

Labeling the technology as 'game-changing,' Liberty heralded the implementation of Starlink as an example of Royal Caribbean Group's focus on innovation and adoption of cutting-edge technology.

"We couldn't be more excited to work with Royal Caribbean Group to ensure travelers at sea can stay connected with a great internet experience," said Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Sales.

Musk himself weighed in with a tweet about the partnership. “Kickass Internet connection coming [to] Royal Caribbean ships soon!” he wrote Tuesday.

Starlink Technology Should be Fully Implemented by 2023

The revitalized pool deck aboard Freedom of the Seas
Revitalized Pool Deck aboard Freedom of the Seas

While Royal Caribbean Group stated that the deployment of Starlink technology across the fleet will begin immediately, the installation is scheduled to be fully completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023. Trials for the new technology were conducted onboard Freedom of the Seas.

Although a full schedule of the installation by ship hasn't been revealed, Celebrity Cruises shared that the new internet service will debut on September 5th on the brand's newest vessel, Celebrity Beyond. Edge Class sister ships Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Beyond are set to be outfitted with the new technology by the end of the year. Installation for the rest of Celebrity's 16-ship fleet is scheduled to continue into 2023 and conclude by May.

How will Starlink Impact RCG's Current Internet Packages?

Internet at Sea: 7 Things You Need to Know (Photo: Royal Caribbean International)
Internet at Sea: 7 Things You Need to Know (Photo: Royal Caribbean International)

Royal Caribbean Group has not yet shared any details about how the implementation of Starlink will impact the current internet packages available across the fleet.

Presently, Royal Caribbean offers two packages via VOOM, its branded internet service at sea. The VOOM Surf package allows users to browse the web, send and receive emails and chat on messenger apps (except Whatsapp) on up to four devices, while the VOOM Surf + Stream package offers the same services plus live video chat, the ability to stream content and to live stream and post on social media.

Celebrity currently offers two similar packages, dubbed Basic and Premium. The former offers web browsing, texting/messaging and access to emails while the latter expands the services to include the ability to share photos and videos, exchange files and attachments, post photos and videos, stream content and video chat.

As an all-inclusive luxury brand, in lieu of internet packages Silversea offers unlimited standard internet access for all guests in lower-level suites (Vista and Veranda) and unlimited premium internet access for guests in the highest suite categories (Medallion, Silver Royal, Grand and Owner's).

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