Carnival Corporation is bringing Starlink internet to its ships.
The cruise line operator said it had begun implementing the satellite internet service from Elon Musk's SpaceX on its Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises brands, with plans to expand the offering to other cruise lines.
"For many of our guests, it has become more and more important to maintain the type of connectivity at sea that they've become accustomed to at home, and of course to share the unforgettable experiences of their cruise with friends and family," Carnival Corp. CEO Josh Weinstein said in a news release. "We are in the business of delivering happiness, and Starlink makes it as easy as possible for our guests to share all their great moments and memories, giving them even more joy out of their cruise vacation."
The news comes after Royal Caribbean Group announced plans in August to offer the service on all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises vessels, as well as any of those brands' new ships. The company had previously been evaluating the technology on board and conducted a trial on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas.
How will Starlink change internet on Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships?
Carnival Corp. said Starlink "greatly advances" its aim to provide the best Wi-Fi available, so guests can share photos and videos, stream movies and more "with a reliable connection at even faster speeds," according to its release.
"The added bandwidth will give the brands the capabilities and flexibility to introduce new guest services and features, as well as help boost operational functions like onboard equipment monitoring and real-time communications between ship and shore teams," Weinstein added.
Royal Caribbean Group president and CEO Jason Liberty said in a news release that Starlink will facilitate and improve "more high-bandwidth activities" such as video calls and streaming. The service will also make working and staying in touch with loved ones easier, the company said.
When will Starlink be installed?
Carnival Corp. began rolling out Starlink in December on its Carnival and AIDA ships, and has plans to expand the service to "several" of its other cruise lines, which include Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Cunard Line.
The company did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment on when the rollout would be finished.
Royal Caribbean Group said it would begin implementing Starlink throughout its fleet immediately, with deployment set to be finished by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
How much will Starlink cost?
Carnival Corp. did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment on how internet prices might change with Starlink's installation.
Carnival Cruise Line recently increased the cost of Wi-Fi on its ships. The line's Social internet plan starts at $12.75 per person each day, while the Value plan starts at $17 and the Premium plan starts at $18.70, according to its website.
Royal Caribbean Group also did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment on how much Starlink would cost for customers on board at the time of its announcement.
SpaceX previously secured deals with Hawaiian Airlines and regional-jet carrier JSX in April, which both said they would offer Starlink for free.
Copyright 2023 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. All rights reserved. From https://www.usatoday.com. By Nathan Diller, USA TODAY.