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Royal Caribbean updates: Starlink on more ships, construction photos & more

In:
14 Oct 2022

Ready to catch up on all of this week's Royal Caribbean news?

Between all the major headlines, Royal Caribbean is busy with a variety of changes and the goal of this website is to keep everyone up to date with what's happening in all aspects of the cruise line.

We combed the internet to share with you all the latest news from this week.

With a fleet of 26 ships, there are always going to be things happening and in an effort to keep everyone up to date, here's a quick run through of the latest news from this week.

Starlink added to two more ships

Starlink receiver

It looks like two more Royal Caribbean cruise ships have gotten their onboard wifi upgraded to Starlink.

Based on reader reports, Starlink appears to be working on Liberty of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Steve Ritter shared photos of the Starlink receivers onboard, and verified that the ship is now offering the internet service as of a few days ago.

Starlink installed on Liberty of the Seas
Starlink receiver

Similarly, Jason Percival shared that Enchantment of the Seas now has Starlink active.

Starlink internet speed test

This means at least 4 ships now have Starlink active on them:

  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has not provided any timeline of when each ship will get it. They've only said the entire fleet will have it by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

For now, we're reliant on reader reports for confirmation of the switchover.

In case you're wondering, there has not been any update on if the cost of ship internet will change or not. For now, ships with Starlink are still offering the service at the same prices as the older technology.

Royal Caribbean wins Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award

Royal Caribbean won an award in the latest Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.

In the "Mega Ships (more than 4,000 passengers)" category, Royal Caribbean edged out MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line for the top honor.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley shared the news on his Facebook page, "We are so proud to be recognized for the amazing vacations our ships deliver ― they are crafted with all of our guests in mind!"

Galveston construction photo update

Photo by Abe Hughes

Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal is just 26 days from opening, and we have an on-the-ground photo update to share.

Former Royal Caribbean Cruise Director (and now working in their sales department) Abe Hughes shared photos he took of the new terminal on a recent visit.

Photo by Abe Hughes

The $125 million terminal will be the world's first zero-energy cruise terminal.

Icon of the Seas construction photo

Icon of the Seas construction photo from October 2022

Speaking of construction updates, here's a close up photo from a new venue on the Icon of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President of Entertainment, Nick Weir, tweeted a photo of the ship that shows the front of the ship, with some kind of a venue present.

Mr. Weir's photo seems to point to it being related to entertainment, since the head of the cruise line's entertainment division posted it with the word, "Hmmmm" in the tweet.

New Allure of the Seas walkthrough video tour

Not necessarily news, but you might be interested to watch our new full walkthrough tour of Allure of the Seas.

Filmed last month, this video tour will show off the entire ship so you can be prepared for it when you board.  Or you can use it as an excuse for a virtual cruise escape!

Royal Caribbean announces it will add Elon Musk's Starlink internet to its ships

In:
30 Aug 2022

After months of speculation, Royal Caribbean confirmed on Tuesday it will add a new high-speed internet option to its cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean Group announced a new partnership with SpaceX's Starlink to provide internet on cruise ships with high-speed & low-latency.

Starlink will be added on all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises ships, along with all new vessels for each of the brands.

Royal Caribbean had been testing Starlink on Freedom of the Seas since June 2022, but did not confirm the testing or intentions to adopt Starlink.

Starlink towers on Freedom of the Seas

In the press release issued today, Royal Caribbean said the trials had, "received tremendous positive feedback from guests and crew."

Royal Caribbean Group said it will begin deploying Starlink "immediately" and should be complete by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

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

Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty praised the new partnership, "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."

"This technology will provide game-changing internet connectivity onboard our ships, enhancing the cruise experience for guests and crew alike. It will improve and enable more high-bandwidth activities like video streaming as well as activities like video calls. Using Starlink is one more example of our continued focus on innovation and excellence for our guests, our crew, the communities we visit and our shareholders."

Addressing a problem

Starlink means a significant improvement to Royal Caribbean's internet speeds, which have ranged from average to downright awful.

Satellite internet has traditionally been an expensive and slow product when compared to land-based internet options.

With so much of the internet needs of guests and crew members relying on cloud-based services, onboard demand for internet has been grown dramatically.

Results of Starlink tests on Freedom of the Seas in June

Up until now, Royal Caribbean's Voom internet service has relied on internet from other providers, including O3b MEO. The O3b internet had made it on Royal Caribbean's newer ships, but did not get added to older ships in the fleet.

Moreover, it has anecdotally not performed nearly as well more recently, especially when compared to other cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises.

Anthem of the Seas docked in Southampton

Freedom, Oasis and Quantum class use newer satellite technology, which means better speeds overall and you will likely find it performing well.

Older ships use older satellite technology.  You can still stream but will likely see some more buffering at times on the older ships. 

More details to be revealed later

Mariner of the Seas sailing away from Port Canaveral

If you're wondering which ship will get the faster internet speeds and what the prices will be, we will have to wait a bit longer for those details.

The announcement made no mention of when each ship would get Starlink added. Nor was there any indication of pricing.

Royal Caribbean's current prices for its faster tier internet start at $19.99 per day, per device. Multi-device plans bring down the daily cost a bit.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog has reached out to Royal Caribbean International for comment on when each ship would get Starlink.

What is the difference between Royal Caribbean's Voom Surf and Voom Surf and Stream?

In:
04 May 2021

Royal Caribbean offers two kinds of internet packages, so which should you buy?

Staying connected on a Royal Caribbean cruise is fairly inexpensive, and it allows you to enjoy unlimited internet access during your cruise.

Before you can pick the right package for you, here are the key differences between Surf and the Surf & Stream packages.

Voom Surf Voyage

The Surf Voyage package is the base package, and offers what you need to do basic web browsing, such as email, internet browsing, social media and more.

It includes:

  • 24 hour access
  • Ideal for:
    • Web browsing access
    • Email
    • Messenger apps such as Whatsapp

In my experience, Royal Caribbean throttles down the Surf Voyage package to keep the speeds lower in order to be fine for basic web browsing, but not work with more bandwidth demanding applications.

Surf will cost less per device than Surf & Stream.

Voom Surf & Stream

The higher tier package comes in the form of Surf & Stream, which advertises itself as offering the full internet experience.

Essentially, Surf & Stream has faster internet speeds because it is not throttled, and that means you can theoretically access video and audio streams onboard.

It includes:

  • 24 hour access
  • Ideal for:
    • Web browsing access
    • Email
    • Messenger apps such as Whatsapp
    • Video Chat Live
    • Stream music, videos, movies, TV shows and more
    • Live stream and post on social media

Surf & Stream will cost more than a comparable Surf package per device.

How fast is Voom?

Despite what Royal Caribbean may advertise, internet speeds on Royal Caribbean cruise ships are not the same across the fleet.

Some ships have significantly faster speeds available to them compared to other ships, and it has to do with the cruise line's agreement with the internet carrier they utilize.

The surf package will be fast enough for basic internet use, but fall short if you want to stream just about anything.

Surf and Stream will see significantly faster speeds because it is not as throttled down.

Speeds can vary from spot to spot on the ship, depending on usage. While you cannot expect the same results on your sailing, the dynamic of Surf and Stream being much faster usually holds true.

Another factor is the location of the ship around the world. When in Europe, different satellites are used for Voom on older ships. 

Unlike newer ships that have access to faster internet, older ships use geostationary satellites much like the ones used for most TV services such as Bell's expressVU or Shaw's satellite TV service.  

Generally speaking, the best internet performance will be available on Oasis, Allure, Harmony,  Anthem, Ovation, Quantum, Freedom, Independence and Symphony of the Seas.

The faster internet service (known as O3B) only works between 45° S and 45°N latitude, so parts of Northern Europe, Canada, Alaska and parts of New Zealand are technically outside of the intended O3b coverage area.  Even newer ships have to switch over to the older geostationary satellite (non-O3b) when the O3b signal weakens in these areas.

On other ships, latency can dramatically increase and normal non-voice stuff like text, email, web browsing works pretty well but voice calls and video chatting suffers due to the delay.  Consistent throughput also suffers on these ships.  Rain seems to affect them more.

With all of that being said, Royal Caribbean's Voom service works well for most guest's needs.  It is when you try to push the bandwidth and latency limits with applications that involve video that you typically run into issues.

Which Voom package should you buy?

Regardless of what you intend to do on the internet, I recommend everyone buy the Surf & Stream package.

The Surf & Stream package is a better overall experience, regardless of if you are going to stream video or not.  Faster internet speeds mean quicker load times all around, and you would be surprised how often having additional bandwidth helps.

Yes, it will cost more to buy Surf & Stream, but I think it is worthwhile.

How to get a discount on a Voom package

Royal Caribbean offers significant discounts on its internet packages if you buy it before your cruise.

In order to spur purchases, the cruise line will offer money off the cost of a Voom package compared to buying it onboard the ship.

To be clear, you will absolutely save money if you pre-purchase online compared to waiting to buy it on your ship.  So if you know you want to get an internet package, definitely pre-purchase.

Read moreWill a Royal Caribbean sale actually save me any money?

To get access to the lower prices, log into Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner website and navigate to the Internet & More section.

Royal Caribbean provides internet access across a variety of packages that allow a certain number of devices to be connected at one time.

You can share internet access with anyone you want, and swap between devices as much as you want, but it will limit you to the amount of devices you purchased under the plan at any given time.

In addition, the cost per device, per day, comes down with the higher device count plans.

The price of a WiFi package will also fluctuate depending on what offer and sales Royal Caribbean is running, so check back periodically to see if there has been a price drop.

Diamond Discount

If you are at least a Diamond member or higher in Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society, there is an onboard discount available for internet packages.

You cannot combine or use your Crown and Anchor Society discount on internet packages purchased before the cruise, so you would have to wait to buy a Voom package onboard.

Depending on your sailing length, waiting to buy an internet package onboard with your loyalty discount may make sense.

Read moreCruise hack: Maximize Voom internet discount for Diamond members or above

Royal Caribbean offering new high speed internet tiered plans

In:
21 Apr 2016

Royal Caribbean has quietly revamped its Voom high speed internet option from one plan into different tiers of internet service.

Two new internet options are now available for guests to book that provide onboard internet options, depending on their needs.

Voom Surf Voyage

This appears to be the Voom "light" offering, that provides internet service for basic web browsing, email and social media but without support for video streaming.

"Share Photos & Surf the Web. Enjoy high-speed internet to browse the web, check email and share every unforgettable moment of your vacation in real time with VOOM, the fastest Internet at sea."

Cost (based on Cruise Planner prices and 30% off pre-cruise discount)

  • One device: $9.99 per day
  • Two devices: $16.99 per day
  • Three devices: $23.99 per day
  • Four devices: $27.99 per day
  • Five devices: $31.99 per day

Voom Surf + Stream

Voom Surf + Stream is essentially the Voom internet offering guests have experienced up until now, with full support for all internet activities.

"Unlimited WiFi & Streaming.  Enjoy unlimited high-speed internet and stream all your favorite movies, shows and music while at sea. Share every unforgettable moment of your vacation in real time. And stay connected with video chat, texting and email – with VOOM, the fastest Internet at sea."

Cost (based on Cruise Planner prices and 30% off pre-cruise discount)

  • One device: $12.99 per day
  • Two devices: $22.99 per day
  • Three devices: $31.99 per day
  • Four devices: $39.99 per day
  • Five devices: $41.99 per day

Which Voom package will you buy? Tell us in the comments!

Spotted: Royal Caribbean offering a 4 device internet package

In:
15 Dec 2015

Royal Caribbean is starting to offer its guests an internet package that supports up to 4 devices connected at one time on select sailings.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Ken Houston spotted on the new offering, which has a price of $40 per day.

Royal Caribbean has been offering unlimited internet packages for one or two devices, at $15 per day or $22.50 respectively.   This new option allows more devices to remain connected, which would save money for families cruising together.

Thus far, the new 4 device internet package is not available fleetwide yet, and has been reported on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas on sailings that begin this week, going until about January 2, 2016.

Royal Caribbean begins selling onboard internet packages online

In:
07 Jul 2015

Royal Caribbean has begun selling onboard internet packages on at least some of its cruises via the Cruise Planner site.

Last week, Royal Caribbean added the option to sell onboard internet packages in advance, but the feature was not activated.  As of today, some sailings have the option activated.

Prices on Allure of the Seas from an Emerald member

Prices on Enchantment of the Seas from a Platinum member

The prices for onboard internet packages seem to vary depending on the ship you are sailing on.

UPDATE: It appears that Royal Caribbean ships equipped with Voom, the high-speed internet access, are charged $15 per day, while ships on the older and slower internet technology will pay $20 per day.

It is not clear if the prices shown include any Crown and Anchor Society member discounts or if discounts can be applied to the price.  Typically, Crown and Anchor Society members receive discounts on an internet package purchase while onboard the ship.

During our research, this option was available on Allure of the Seas for a cruise in February 2016 but not for our upcoming Freedom of the Seas July 2015 cruise. 

Is purchasing an internet package available for your upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise? Will you pre-purchase your internet package online? Let us know in the comments!

Royal Caribbean to begin selling onboard internet packages before guest's cruise

In:
02 Jul 2015

Royal Caribbean is poised to begin selling its onboard internet packages in advance of its sailings to passengers via the online Cruise Planner site.

A few blog readers have spotted the new offering in their My Cruises section of Royal Caribbean's web site.

Guests are given the option of saving 10% off the unlimted intenet package if they pre-purchase the package online, although the actual ability to purchase the internet package remains disabled as of the writing of this blog post.

In the past, purchasing of onboard intenet packages was only available onboard Royal Caribbean's cruise ships.  

It is also not clear yet how members of Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, Crown and Anchor Society, can apply their discount coupons or if the coupons can be stacked along with the pre-purchase discount of 10%.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Internet access

In:
28 May 2014

Listen to the Show

One big push Royal Caribbean is going with these days is providing internet access while at sea. Some people find it really useful while others prefer to stay unconnected.

Regardless, more internet access is available to cruise guests all the time and this week, we’re going to look at how you can get connected while at sea and what the future may hold as well.

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

On this episode:
Running time:

Royal Caribbean testing unlimited alcohol and internet packages

In:
28 Nov 2012

Royal Caribbean has confirmed that it is testing an an all-inclusive alcohol and unlimited internet packages.

Royal Caribbean confirmed packages are being tested but added, "We do not have final details on which ships would receive the packages at this time or what those packages would look like."

According to passengers aboard Allure of the Seas, the unlimited alcohol package is being offered currently for $55 per person plus 15% gratuity and both of the people in her cabin had to sign up for it.  

Reports are the package includes all house wine, beers under $6.25, fountain sodas, well/call or premium brands of liquor and frozen drinks. It does not include room service, specialty coffee, minibar items, canned sodas, bottled water or bottled juices.  

Another passenger reports that the unlimited internet usage package is available onboard Allure of the Seas for $149 a week.

Royal Caribbean confirmed Allure is testing such a package but wouldn't offer additional details on which ships are part of the trial, which ships might eventually get the package or what the package will ultimately cost. 

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