Royal Caribbean Group to bring Elon Musk's Starlink Wi-Fi to its brands - The Points Guy

Royal Caribbean Group to bring Elon Musk's Starlink Wi-Fi to its brands - The Points Guy

Gone are the days of slow internet at sea. Ships in the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises fleets will soon be outfitted with Starlink Wi-Fi, developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, in an effort to allow better connectivity for cruisers and crew. The new service will be free of charge for all Silversea passengers, as the line includes Wi-Fi in its fares. Basic Wi-Fi service is also included for Celebrity cruisers, but it will cost them if they want to upgrade to a premium package that allows streaming. Royal Caribbean, which currently offers Wi-Fi to travelers for a fee, has not yet said whether it will charge for Starlink or how much. For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter. Traditionally, crew members also have had to pay for Wi-Fi services, making it difficult or impossible — depending on their ship’s location and the reliability of the connection — to stay in touch with their families back home. The lines have not yet said whether they will continue to charge crew after Starlink rolls out on board. “We can’t wait to revolutionize the seas with faster and more reliable internet, making it easier for guests and crew to remain connected to work, family and friends, no matter where they choose to travel,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, in a statement.   A passenger uses a laptop on a cruise ship. LWA/GETTY IMAGES When cruise ships began offering onboard internet access to passengers in 1999, it was slow and expensive, and cruisers had to seek out their ship’s internet cafe in order to connect. Eventually, vessels debuted with in-cabin Ethernet jacks, allowing travelers to plug in for a fee from the comfort of their own rooms. Prices were on a per-minute basis, and with speeds that crawled, it was easy for cruisers to rack up large charges for simple things like checking email. Eventually, cruise lines went wireless, and Wi-Fi was added to all modern cruise ships. Related: Wi-Fi on cruise ships: 5 things to know about internet use on board The cost has generally become more affordable for passengers across the industry, often with per-day fees for unlimited access instead of per-minute charges or prepaid bundles of minutes. But, until the last few years, internet speeds weren’t even close to what you’d find on land, nor did onboard Wi-Fi allow for modern pursuits like live gaming or video streaming. “This technology will provide game-changing internet connectivity onboard our ships,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “It will improve and enable more high-bandwidth activities like video streaming, as well as activities like video calls.” After a successful trial on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Group is set to deploy the Starlink technology across all of its ships by the end of the first quarter of 2023. The next ship to receive it will be the new Celebrity Beyond, with the rest of the line’s Edge class of vessels receiving the Wi-Fi upgrades by the end of 2022. Planning a cruise? Start with these stories: The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship A beginners guide to picking a cruise line The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly 15 ways cruisers waste money 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise Featured photo by davidgoldmanphoto/Getty Images. Sign up for our daily newsletter Sign up Oops! Did you mean... I would like to subscribe to The Points Guy newsletters and special email promotions. The Points Guy will not sell your email. See PRIVACY POLICY. Please enter a valid email address Please check mailing preferences Sign-up Successful! Welcome to The Points Guy! Ashley Kosciolek has spent more than a decade writing about travel, with particular emphasis on cruises. Her favorite cities include London; Amsterdam; Krakow, Poland; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Dawson City, Yukon; and anywhere known for outstanding pizza and theater. You can follow her daily exploits, both at sea and on land, on Instagram or Twitter @slyjabroni.

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