Carnival Corporation expanding next-generation Wi-Fi connectivity with SpaceX's Starlink

   January 19, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Carnival Corporation (the world's largest cruise shipowner) signed a deal with Elon Musk's SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) to provide Starlink LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) satellite internet and high-speed onboard WiFi connectivity on CCL-Carnival and AIDA ships.

This is SpaceX’s second "cruise deal" for Starlink, following RCI-Royal Caribbean.

Carnival announced on January 18th that it had begun installing Starlink on Carnival and AIDA ships in December 2022 and also planned to bring the Starlink internet fleetwide - on all its vessels, including the ones managed by the other subsidiaries - Princess, HAL-Holland America, Seabourn, P&O Australia and P&O UK, Costa, and Cunard.

Josh Weinstein (Carnival Corporation's CEO) said the added bandwidth would "give the brands the capabilities and flexibility to introduce new guest services and features, as well as help boost operational functions like onboard equipment monitoring and real-time communications between ship and shore teams".

“And importantly, adding Starlink’s innovative technology to the company’s existing connectivity platform will also help our amazing crew stay in touch with friends and loved ones.”

Carnival Jubilee cruise ship

Carnival is a longtime customer of SES, and the announcement clarified that Starlink was part of a “growing portfolio” of communications, technology, and satellite providers in the connectivity ecosystem of the company.  

In 2020, Carnival Corp. brand Princess Cruises got access to SES‘s O3b mPOWER network, and the line's President John Padgett recently attended the launch of the first O3b mPOWER satellites of SES. 

Carnival said it had nearly tripled fleetwide bandwidth over its ~100 ships that visited 700+ ports around the world.