The company had previously deployed tests on the cruise ship Freedom of the Seas and received “huge positive reviews”. This is because the current maritime satellite service is not excellent: expensive and slow, and there has been little competition or innovation in the market over the past few decades.
Starlink Maritime promises to create a huge sense of crisis for existing satellite service providers, because the service it provides is so good that the likes of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. have decided to buy the satellite service. While its coverage is currently limited to coastal waters, the speeds are much better and will likely pay for itself in the first month through the onboard “Premium Wi-Fi” fee.
The service costs the company about $5,000 per month, and there’s a minimum $10,000 up-front hardware cost for the special terminals you need to use. But these costs are negligible for large, modern cruise ships.
All Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises fleets will be equipped with SpaceX Starlink satellite dishes. There is no specific date yet, but the company says they should offer the service on all ships by the end of the first quarter of 2023.