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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

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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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases