News hardware Elon Musk set to power the world’s biggest ships with Starlink
It’s official, Starlink will take care of providing Internet to the cruise ships of the Royal Caribbean Group. These are the biggest boats in the world, with very high connection demand, a challenge for Elon Musk.
Starlink takes on the large cruise ship sector
Having a high-speed Internet connection, even in the middle of the Atlantic, is possible. The cruise group Royal Caribbean has used Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite internet company. A partnership that will allow all ships in the Celebrity Cruises, Silversea and Royal Caribbean fleets to have a stable connection, regardless of where they are on the planet. The icing on the cake is the low latency that Starlink antennas promise, even in the middle of the ocean.
The first antennas are already arriving on the group’s boats, with full deployment by the end of the first quarter of 2023. Tests were conducted on the liner Freedom of the Seas and according to the cruise line, the results are more than conclusive.
In a press release, Jason Liberty, CEO of the Royal Caribbean group, details the short-term ambitions:
Our goal as a company is to responsibly deliver the best vacation experiences to our customers, and this new offering, which is the largest public deployment of Starlink’s broadband internet in the travel industry in this day, demonstrates our commitment to this effect
Elon Musk confirms deployment on cruise ships
The first cruise passengers will already be able to take advantage of the new Internet connection. The maritime group even assures “to allow more high-speed activities such as video streaming as well as activities such as video calls.” A rather ambitious promise given the number of travelers on the largest ships in the world.
Elon Musk himself reacted to the announcement with characteristic enthusiasm. We can thus read: “Incredible internet is coming to Royal Caribbean ships!” Such rapid deployment is quite unprecedented, but we wonder how much it will cost?
Special antennas for larger boats
Starlink has developed a range of several antennas. We find the residential model, business, for motorhome and finally the maritime. It is the latter that is used, with planetary coverage.
The antennas adapt live with the movement of the boat. They adjust to always have the best possible connection. Allowing a speed that can reach 350 Mbit/s. In terms of strength, these are the same models installed on SpaceX landing pads. They are therefore resistant to rocket blast and crashes.
Already for customers we do not really know if there will be an additional cost to take advantage of the broadband connection. The group has given this answer so far: “We are currently working on the deployment of Starlink. As we move forward, we will provide more updates and information.”
As for the price, we already know that each antenna is worth $10,000 upfront, with a $5,000 monthly subscription. We can imagine that a preferential rate will be applied, but the invoice may still be salty. It is therefore difficult to say that the cruise company will bear the additional cost.