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Starlink added to first cruise ship since Royal Caribbean signed deal with SpaceX

In:
19 Sep 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

It appears Starlink is up and running on at least one Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Independence of the Seas as seen from tender

Royal Caribbean has not announced a roll out plan since posting the news that it has signed a deal with SpaceX to provide Starlink internet on all of its ships, but cruise fans have started noticing changes.

Over the last couple of weeks, teams across different Royal Caribbean cruise ships have been deployed to install Starlink.

It looks as though Independence of the Seas may be the first ship to get the proverbial switch turned on.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Jeff Robinson noticed on the weekend sailing of Independence of the Seas that concluded on Monday the speed tests showed Starlink active.

Independence of the Seas is currently sailing 3- and 4-night short cruises to the Bahamas.

The plan is for every single cruise ship in the Royal Caribbean Group to get Starlink added by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

Other cruise guests have confirmed Starlink is being added on Enchantment, Liberty, and Allure of the Seas. Other ships could also be in the process of getting Starlink as well.

Speed tests from Independence of the Seas

With Starlink apparently active on Independence of the Seas, I was curious to see how well it performed.

I asked Mr. Robinson to conduct a couple of speed tests just to get some raw numbers. Keep in mind these tests were conducted on a cloudy day, which could impact speed results.

 

The most important number here is not actually the upload or download speed, but rather the latency.

The ping is the reaction time of your connection–how fast you get a response after you've sent out a request. Pre-Starlink, ping was usually quite bad, with times measured in the hundreds of milliseconds. A fast ping means a more responsive connection

The sub-100 ping is fantastic.  My cell phone test at home had a ping of 65 milliseconds, which is very close to the Starlink speed.

Allure of the Seas next?

As stated, Royal Caribbean has not released any kind of roll out schedule, so we're left to figure it out on our own when each ship might get Starlink.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Michael Fenstermaker shared a report from onboard Allure of the Seas on Sunday, claiming the team there is nearly complete with their work.

"The Starlink team nearing completion of the antenna installation on the Allure of the Seas," Mr. Fenstermaker said in a tweet.

What you can do with Starlink

Starlink logo

The promise of better internet means better performance for everything you do online while on the ship.

Royal Caribbean says the new service will improve and enable more high-bandwidth activities like video streaming as well as activities like video calls.

Starlink is an interconnected internet network of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit that SpaceX envisions will deliver high-speed internet anywhere on the planet. The company has launched about 2,700 satellites to date.

How much will wifi with Starlink cost?

ebook reader

Royal Caribbean has not announced any price changes yet to its wifi packages.

For the Independence of the Seas cruise, the internet package costs for guests were the same as before.

The cruise line has not confirmed or denied any updates are coming to wifi pricing.

When asked, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said, "We plan to share details with guests, crew and travelers soon."