Royal Caribbean has long boasted the fastest internet at sea. And it’s just about to become even better. The cruise line will partner with SpaceX to bring Starlink internet onboard Royal Caribbean ships. So you can rest assured that you’ll stay connected at high speed wherever you are at sea.
To quote the press release issued by the cruise line, “Our purpose as a company is to deliver the best vacation experiences to our guests responsibly, and this new offering, which is the biggest public deployment of Starlink’s high-speed internet in the travel industry so far, demonstrates our commitment to that purpose.”
How will it work? Cruise ships are to use Space X satellites for the internet service on board. The deployment of the high-speed internet will begin immediately to complete installation by March 2023 on all Royal and Celebrity cruise ships. Guests on board using the internet should experience a better, faster, and broader service.
It promises to be a game-changer.
Previously, and especially when cruising in remote regions such as the Norwegian Fjords or Alaska, the internet on board was patchy at best, with connectivity being lost at annoying frequency.
It will be interesting to see how the cruise line prices the new Starlink internet onboard Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships. And how it will all be packaged up and marketed to us.
Let’s look at what is currently available.
Surf, stream, and everything in between – our cruising internet habits
We say we will switch it off completely, but we rarely do. If nothing more, our smartphones are entertainment during our “downtime.” And on vacation, we want to stay connected without being pestered.
Most cruise guests want to have the option to:
- Check emails
- Browse the web
- Connect with friends and family using free chat services such as Whats App or Messenger
- Post vacation snaps on Instagram or Facebook. Or both.
- Stream music and movies
All this despite having fantastic entertainment all day, every day on board. But then we are used to having options and multiple entertainment channels, aren’t we?
Royal Caribbean internet packages
Current packages offered by Royal Caribbean are The VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package and The Voom Surf Voyage Package. Both offer 24-hour access, so what’s the difference?
The VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package allows you to video chat, message, browse the web, send an email, and make social media posts. You can also stream music, movies, and videos. It’s the package that allows you to do the most.
The Voom Surf Voyage Package gives you all of the above without the ability to video chat, make social media posts, or do any streaming. This basic package allows you to keep in touch with friends and family and surf the web.
How and when to book your Royal Caribbean internet package
Before booking a Royal Caribbean cruise, find out if any campaigns will offer you an internet package included in the price. This will almost always be the basic, least expensive package. You can always pay the price difference to upgrade to the better package, and you will still have a good deal.
If the internet package is not included in your cruise fare, check to see if you have any onboard credit (OBC). This is also a marketing perk used to persuade customers to book. If you are lucky enough to have OBC included in your fare, then find out if you can use this to purchase your internet package.
If you need to splash out and pay for an internet package, be sure to book and pay from home before you start your vacation. Do this using your cruise planner. The package will be cheaper if you book early than onboard the cruise ship.
Celebrity Cruises internet packages
Celebrity has recently changed its pricing concept to “always included.” Beginning in 2020, for every Celebrity cruise you book, the basic price will include tips, Surf wifi, and the Classic drinks package. To get this “always included” price, you must be sure to choose a cruise with the “always included” price. If you select “cruise only,” you can buy a wifi package separately.
The Basic wifi internet package in your “always included” price allows you to surf the internet, send text messages and answer emails. It costs about $20 per day per device.
The Premium wifi internet package includes the above, plus you can post and share videos and photos and stream music and movies. This package costs around $35 per day per device.
How and when to book your Celebrity Cruises internet package
You pay the difference if you already have the Basic wifi package in your “always included” rate and wish to upgrade to the premium package. Contact your cruise line before your vacation starts to upgrade.
Separate internet packages can be purchased when booking a “cruise only” fare with Celebrity Cruises. Ask about using any onboard credit you may have been given in your original booking. Otherwise, book and pay for your internet package before you leave home on your cruise planner. It will be less expensive than doing it on board the cruise ship.