Royal Caribbean International to offer high speed internet at sea


Although most people take a cruise for relaxation and a chance to get away from it all, it is still nice to keep up with friends at home, and turn them green with photos of the fantastic time you are having!  The days of mobile phone-free, laptop-free cruises have now unfortunately gone and for those of us who can’t even do half an hour, never mind several days without checking e-mails, facebook or twitter, help is at hand at Royal Caribbean.

Internet is usually available on board most cruises, but it tends to be somewhat frustrating, as previous technology has been somewhat erratic.   Slow connections, regular freezing of screens and dropping out of signal are regular occurrences.

But when you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that there are any internet options on-board at all.  After all, at home you usually have a physical cable connecting your internet modem to the station and information can be transferred virtually instantly.  However, on a cruise ship, rolling around on the sea, constantly moving location, things get a little more complicated!  In order to get a connection on board, the antenna has to be pointing directly at the satellite with an allowed error of only 1 degree! To adjust position, the ship can be changing continually, and this is why connection is often lost when navigation is being updated.

Lack of good internet connection can really affect bookings.  TripAdvisor reports that over 57 percent of British holidaymakers check their e-mails whilst on holiday to reduce the number outstanding when they get back.  When questioned, some people admit that one of the reasons they don’t cruise is the fact they can’t get the internet and when they can it is cost prohibitive.

However, Royal Caribbean is listening and responding to cruisers requests, they plan to update and boost the internet services it offers.

From Summer 2013, Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s 5,400 passenger cruise ship, will offer internet speeds that are close to fibre-optic land line speeds.  O3b Networks, a global satellite service provider, are offering the service, which boasts four time faster speeds than normal geostationary satellites which currently provide the internet to other cruise ships.

“Royal Caribbean is committed to delivering the most contemporary vacation to our guests, and that includes pushing ahead for onboard technological advances that offer the modern conveniences that guests enjoy on land.  The agreement with O3b Networks enables us to provide our guests with unprecedented Internet service at aboard Oasis of the Seas and potentially in the future aboard other ships in our fleet.”

– Adam M. Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. 

Pricing has not been revealed yet, but we understand it typically costs $.65 per minute which is comparable with current provision.

Image courtesy of Cruise Critic. 


About Author

Since her first job at First Choice Holidays, Kelly has clocked up 12 years' experience in the travel industry. She specialises in cruise line news and transatlantic cruises.

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