SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Coming to Royal Caribbean Cruises

According to PCMag, SpaceX has signed an agreement with Royal Caribbean Group to provide Starlink internet aboard the latter’s cruise ships.

Starlink is a high-speed broadband internet service from SpaceX that connects to a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO). SpaceX intends for the service to provide affordable internet at viable speeds anywhere and everywhere across the globe.

The company filed with the FCC to take Starlink mobile in March 2021. SpaceX primarily intended for mobile Starlink services to be available for aircraft, ships, large trucks, and similar vessels.

Royal Caribbean revealed its partnership with SpaceX in a filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday.

“Working with SpaceX Services, Inc., we believe we have identified a true next generation solution for our vessels that meets the rigorous technical and operational requirements commensurate with our growth plans,” the cruise ship operator said in the filing.

Bringing Starlink onboard Royal Caribbean’s ships will up the Wi-Fi speeds cruise-goers have access to from 3-5 Mbps to 50-250 Mbps.

However, SpaceX has not received mainstream approval from the FCC to operate Starlink on moving vehicles as of yet. In its filing, Royal Caribbean also urged the FCC to expedite license approval for SpaceX.

“We believe our work with SpaceX, the first of its kind in the cruise industry will set the standard for other cruise operators and will mean a leap in terms of guest experience and business operations while at sea,” the company added.

“For this reason, we are eager to advocate for new market entrants to drive a marketplace innovation step change.”

Traditionally, internet offerings aboard cruise ships has been terrible, when out at sea, using older satellite internet technology. Starlink looks to change the game with its high-speed offering.

The timing couldn’t have been better for Royal Caribbean, which said it had been looking for better satellite internet for its vessels. What’s more, the move falls squarely in line with SpaceX’s plans — company CEO Elon Musk said in November 2021 that Starlink would achieve maritime coverage by mid-2022.

SpaceX faces significant opposition from rival satellite operators in its FCC license approval process. Dish Network and Viasat have filed complaints with the FCC regarding Starlink, and Dish earlier this week urged the regulator to suspend Starlink operations aboard moving vehicles until full approval has been granted.