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Starlink Internet could be coming to Royal Caribbean


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11 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

What do they do to implement this? Put a constellation over the caribbean, alaska and Mexican riviera?

Actually yes.  Starlink is satellite constellation. Almost everytime there is a SpaceX launch (about 3 or 4 every month), they push out another 60 Starlink Satellites (2 trains - they travel in a group of 30 called a train).  I think there are over 2,000 now in orbit and the goal is to get 12,000 in orbit.   

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While this would be great the questions that come to mind are, once this is approved what would be involved in implementing it on each ship. Can they just put in a different receiver for starlink and use the ships current internet/Wi-Fi distribution system, or does everything have to be replaced on each ship. Once those questions are answered the next one would be how long would it take to have it done. And then, whose first to get it. 

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1 hour ago, USFFrank said:

While this would be great the questions that come to mind are, once this is approved what would be involved in implementing it on each ship. Can they just put in a different receiver for starlink and use the ships current internet/Wi-Fi distribution system, or does everything have to be replaced on each ship. Once those questions are answered the next one would be how long would it take to have it done. And then, whose first to get it. 

They could just replace the receiver.   

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12 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

Starlink for home use has really high hardware costs.  Or at least they did when it was first available in my area.

Hardware is of little concern on the scale of a cruise ship - this is the company that just spend 1.2 Billion on their latest ship. Starlink likely will have cheaper ongoing costs, and without doubt would have a lower cost-per-usage considering the incredible (relative) download speeds Starlink is capable of. I would like to think the price would come down, but even if not, the value for money would be unparalleled by other cruise lines.

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The current provider also manages the firewall and implements the user policy on board such as 4Mbps per user.   Current Voom Specialists can do account resets and open tickets to have on board crew physically check an access point that is suspect but Royal employees do very little in terms of running the overall platform.  

It's unknown if Starlink offers similar services beyond the basic plumbing to the internet.  

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2 hours ago, ScottishRobbie said:

Judging by this video uploaded on YouTube in the past 24 hours it would appear that the technology has already been fitted to Freedom, and perhaps other ships also.

 

 

My understanding is that Freedom is a trial ship, sort of a proof of concept.  

Royal's problem today is their choice of speeds and throughput they have commited to.  SES/O3b is capable of higher speeds, Royal chooses to save money and not select that option.  During the shutdown they cut back on their bandwidth commitment and they haven't reverted back to pre-shutdown levels yet.  They could easily make the same choice with Starlink.  If they do the guest experience will be no different.  

It's possible this PoC is a negotiating tactic with SES/O3b, their current provider.  "Lower prices or we'll go with the competition".  While Royal has been letting the Voom guest experience continually decline since they did their last significant internet at sea upgrade in 2013, other cruise lines have not.  Princess upgraded their entire fleet to SES/O3b prior to the shutdown.  It's the same provider Royal uses yet their internet doesn't suck.  That tells us the problem isn't the technology or service provider, the problem is Royal.  

This exercise and experiment with Starlink is only about saving money, not making the user experience better which they could do right now by paying for it.

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1 hour ago, smokeybandit said:

Odd location to place the receivers.

Relatively lightly used area.  Easy access during the proof of concept to adjust the antenna without accessing rooftop areas on the stacks while underway.  This means that Starlink personnel can go and tweak the antenna without crew escort or PPE required like harnesses that would be needed on the roof areas near the stacks.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm kind of disappointed with the speeds if that's what they plan to bring to the table.  

80Mbps is okay but well below the national average.  

It's fine for today but here's the thing - Nearly a decade ago Royal deployed their 4Mbps service which at the time was marginal on land and pretty decent for a cruise ship. 

Then they did nothing in the nearly ten years since.  

In ten years time 80Mbps will be the 90's DSL of the 2030's.  

"But wait you say... They could improve the speeds over the next ten years".  Faster speeds are available on O3b but Royal won't take us there.  What makes you think they'll upgrade Starlink speeds over time when they haven't done anything with Speedcast and O3b speeds while other cruise lines give us better speeds now?

Voom has sucked this year so that we would become conditioned and primed to think that 80Mbs Starlink is an astronomical advancement in technology.  This is no different than jacking up sales prices before a sale so that when it goes on sale it's cheaper but not really.

Meh.

...and we haven't seen what they plan to charge for bringing us into 2010 in 2022.  

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I'm curious to see if Royal doesn't add an additional, higher speed, internet package if Starlink is officially implemented. So something like, Surf is now 3 Mbps (fast enough for SD video and some HD, but not HD with every service all the time), Stream is now consistently 15 Mbps (fast enough for HD video, but 4k is probably not happening), and a new package, Stream+4K?, at 30 Mbps (fast enough for 4k video with some headroom).

Though I could sea them reconfiguring the tiers to be something like 10%, 50%, and 100% of possible Mbps and pricing things accordingly. However, one issue I foresee (from Royal's perspective) is with speeds this fast, sharing your internet package through creation of your own wireless network aboard suddenly becomes more attractive. Limiting speeds to what's required for video at different qualities nicely encourages families to book multiple devices versus sharing. The average person isn't going to care about max connectivity speed as long as they can stream their content, either viewing or creating, with minimum network disconnections.

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1 hour ago, smokeybandit said:

The "problem" with offering more than 80Mbps is there's really no need for anyone to have a use for that kind of bandwidth on a ship.

Then is there a need for anyone on a cell phone to ever have it?  5G delivers more right now.  So society just doesn't need throughput on mobile devices and laptops?

Princess delivers more than 50Mbps right now, sometimes as high as over 100Mbps.  

If I need to download a large file for work while on vacation, the faster I get the file the faster I get back to my vacation.  If it takes 60 minutes to 6 hours on Royal and only 2 minutes on Princess,  Royal has cheated me out of hours of vacation and family time.  

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The higher speeds would be a big plus for me. Our corporate secure connection takes so much bandwidth that logging in and sustaining connection, needed for my intensive CAD programs and downloading large files, is a hit or miss on the current "high speed" Surf and Stream. I can work fine when in port and most folks are off the ship but during the sea days it struggles and only my Teams connection on my phone works for conference calls. Would make it a whole lot easier to remote work and go on more cruises.

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4 hours ago, twangster said:

If I need to download a large file for work while on vacation, the faster I get the file the faster I get back to my vacation.  If it takes 60 minutes to 6 hours on Royal and only 2 minutes on Princess,  Royal has cheated me out of hours of vacation and family time.  

I mean, one could argue you cheated yourself by doing work on vacation.

 

One good reason I'm glad my employer doesn't allow working outside the USA.

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14 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

The "problem" with offering more than 80Mbps is there's really no need for anyone to have a use for that kind of bandwidth on a ship.

The benefit of that much bandwidth is you can multitask. Stream music, check these awesome message boards, and upload photos back to the cloud at the same time.

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On 6/12/2022 at 5:29 AM, brycemo said:

Hardware is of little concern on the scale of a cruise ship - this is the company that just spend 1.2 Billion on their latest ship. Starlink likely will have cheaper ongoing costs, and without doubt would have a lower cost-per-usage considering the incredible (relative) download speeds Starlink is capable of. I would like to think the price would come down, but even if not, the value for money would be unparalleled by other cruise lines.

 

13 hours ago, twangster said:

Then is there a need for anyone on a cell phone to ever have it?  5G delivers more right now.  So society just doesn't need throughput on mobile devices and laptops?

Princess delivers more than 50Mbps right now, sometimes as high as over 100Mbps.  

If I need to download a large file for work while on vacation, the faster I get the file the faster I get back to my vacation.  If it takes 60 minutes to 6 hours on Royal and only 2 minutes on Princess,  Royal has cheated me out of hours of vacation and family time.  

My Mac mini I bought several years ago is now almost unusable as new operating system updates consume more and more processing power to support the new features of the OS.  The same holds true of the internet.  As internet capabilities increase, internet developers gobble it up with more video content, whiz-bang graphics etc..  Eventually we will all need both, more processing power and faster internet.

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33 minutes ago, Toby said:

 

My Mac mini I bought several years ago is now almost unusable as new operating system updates consume more and more processing power to support the new features of the OS.  The same holds true of the internet.  As internet capabilities increase, internet developers gobble it up with more video content, whiz-bang graphics etc..  Eventually we will all need both, more processing power and faster internet.

That's a nuance that many don't get when I compare Voom Surf to dial up internet from years ago.   Technically dial up 28.8k baud modems are much slower than the 0.5Mbps download speeds of Surf Voom but given how websites and emails now feature rich content they are effectively the same experience waiting minutes for a page or email to load.

80Mbps might seem okay now but in a few years time 80mbps will feel like how Voom Surf & Stream is today.  

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