SpaceX's Starlink could be added first to Independence of the Seas

02 Sep 2022
Matt Hochberg

While Royal Caribbean has not confirmed any roll out schedule for its new Starlink internet deal, there's at least one ship that appears to be getting it installed already.

Royal Caribbean announced this week a new partnership with SpaceX's Starlink service that will bring high speed internet access to all Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson did not provide a timeline other than, "the Starlink technology rollout will start immediately across all Royal Caribbean International ships."

In the original press release, the company planned to get Starlink to ships across all three Royal Caribbean Group brands by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

Independence first?

Cruisers aboard Independence of the Seas have noticed work being done at the aft of the ship that seem to be new antennas.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Paul "Land Genie" Crow shared photos from the area near the back of the ship where the new antennas are going.

If true, the antennas are located above the Flowrider surf simulator viewing area.

There's no word yet when the new service will be turned on, but Mr. Crow reports hearing from crew members that the installers boarded the ship in Nassau earlier in the cruise and have been working ever since.

Celebrity Beyond

Celebrity Beyond

If you're cruising with Celebrity, then the Celebrity Beyond could be first for them.

The Verge reports Celebrity Beyond would be ready to launch Starlink on September 5th.

Why Starlink on cruise ships matters

ebook reader

If having interenet access on a cruise vacation doesn't get you excited, you might be in the minority.

Just like anywhere on land, having reliable and fast internet access has become a way of life and not just for those looking to do some work while at sea.

Society has become more reliant than ever on having internet access, and on a cruise ship, the internet is the way to stay in contact with the outside world.

Social meda stock photo

Whether texting or calling family, checking on the latest updates on social media, or tracking sports, casual internet use is a major need for a lot of travelers.

And then there's the contingent of vacationers who do have a need to keep up with work while on vacation, or prefer to work remotely from somewhere else.

Up until now, Royal Caribbean's internet service had been hit or miss, depending on the ship you sailed on and the region of the world you visited. All but the newest ships had mediocre to poor internet speeds, and even the new ship internet access was generally slower than internet access on land.

What can guests expect?

Starlink internet receivers on Freedom of the Seas

Royal Caribbean did not divulge technical details about the Starlink service onboard, such as what kind of speeds guests can expect or how much bandwidth each ship will receive. 

They did say passengers should expect to use streaming services and make video calls once deployed.

Another big question is price.

Starlink on Royal Caribbean

No pricing has been shared for Starlink, and it remains unknown what price changes, if any, will occur as a result of the switch to Starlink.

When Royal Caribbean tested Starlink on Freedom of the Seas earlier this summer, they did not alter the prices during the trial period.

Read moreI tried Elon Musk's Starlink internet on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Many readers seem to think prices will go up as a result of the upgrade, but the company has not commented on pricing.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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