Royal Caribbean partners with SpaceX’s Starlink for onboard internet

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Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas cruise ship calls at Greenock port on July 22, 2021 in Greenock, Scotland.
Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images

Royal Caribbean Cruises will begin offering onboard internet via SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network, the cruise line company announced Tuesday.

The partnership is an effort to combat historically bad internet connection when cruise ships are at sea. The technology will be deployed across all Royal Caribbean-owned cruises beginning immediately, with installation scheduled to be completed early next year.

“This technology will provide game-changing internet connectivity onboard our ships,” Royal Caribbean CEO Jason Liberty said in a press release. “It will improve and enable more high-bandwidth activities like video streaming as well as activities like video calls.”

Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s vice president of Starlink Sales said in a statement the company’s internet service will make Royal Caribbean cruises “even more luxurious.”

Starlink is the company’s plan to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit, designed to deliver high-speed internet anywhere on the planet. The company has launched about 2,700 satellites to date to support the effort.

In June the FCC authorized SpaceX to provide mobile Starlink internet service to boats, planes and trucks after a push from SpaceX founder Elon Musk. The Royal Caribbean announcement comes just days after SpaceX announced a partnership with T-Mobile to “end mobile dead zones.”

Along with cruise ships, SpaceX has signed early deals for in-flight Wi-Fi with some commercial air carriers such as Hawaiian Airlines and JSX, a semiprivate charter provider.

— CNBC’s Michael Sheetz contributed to this report.

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