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

Sept. 01, 2022
4 min read
Royal Caribbean Group to bring Elon Musk's Starlink Wi-Fi to its brands
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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.

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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

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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.

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Featured image by Getty Images/Image Source
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees