Hurtigruten Expeditions is the first to implement SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet fleetwide

   October 13, 2022 ,   Cruise Industry

Hurtigruten announced it will install SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service fleetwide, joining RCI-Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Silversea.

Working with the provider Speedcast, the Norwegian company started testing Starlink LEO broadband on its ships in March 2022 - 4 months before SpaceX announced Starlink would be available for ships. All Hurtigruten vessels will have the service by the end of October 2022.

In a statement, Asta Lassesen (Hurtigruten Expeditions' CEO) said that as the world leader in exploration travel, it was only fitting that they brought the world’s most innovative technologies onboard their ships to further enhance the experience and day-to-day lives for their guests, crew, partners and the communities they visit.

According to Speedcast, the installation would give Hurtigruten's expedition ships better coverage when they operate in high latitudes, where geostationary satellites have limited reach. 

Starlink is currently in the buildout phase but markets an advertised bandwidth of up to 350 Mbps per terminal which is several times faster than the average home cable installation. The company also advertises lower latency, a function of the low orbit of its satellites.

The satellite constellation/downlink coverage of the company is growing beyond coastal areas. By the end of 2022, it is due to introduce Antarctic coverage for maritime regions, allowing 3 Hurtigruten ships to sail in Antarctica with high broadband speeds. 

MS Fridtjof Nansen cruise ship

Lassesen said that the fleetwide introduction of the new service not only put them ahead of the rest of the cruise industry, it also put them ahead of the technology.

"When Starlink introduces maritime coverage in Antarctica and the Arctic, we will be ready.” 

He challenged other major cruise companies to make the internet free for crew members, as Hurtigruten intends to do. 

Note: CruiseMapper's TRACKER uses real-time, satellite-provided AIS data for the vessels' current location at sea and in ports.