HAL-Holland America guests and crew members have begun using next-generation internet with the introduction of SpaceX’s Starlink on the Pinnacle Class ship ms Koningsdam, now sailing in Alaska.
The technology was installed during the April drydock and has been operating for 4 weeks.
Starlink is the leader in LEO-Low Earth Orbit satellite technology aimed at providing faster/more reliable Wi-Fi on a global scale. This is important for internet access on vessels in Alaska where weather interference/blockage from structures/mountains can challenge traditional technology.
Gus Antorcha (HAL's President) said that for their guests and team members, maintaining the connectivity they were accustomed to at home was an important part of the cruise experience.
“Added bandwidth means our guests can share the joys of exploring Alaska in real time and our team can stay in touch with their loved ones back home.”
Since receiving the technology, ms Koningsdam has sailed an 18-day voyage roundtrip from Vancouver BC to Hawaii and has begun sailing 7-day Alaska Inside Passage cruises (Vancouver roundtrips) visiting Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Glacier Bay NP.
Kathleen Erickson, vice president of technology for HAL said that while it was early in their usage, the feedback from guests and team members had been very positive so far.
“We’re hearing from guests that emails and social media are performing well, and team members tell us that internet calls home to loved ones are much stronger. That’s a connection that means a lot.”
According to Jonathan Hofeller, vice president of commercial sales for Starlink, high-speed, low-latency internet is critical to our modern lifestyle. He said they were excited that the company was seeing strong results in Alaska.
“And we look forward to helping Holland America Line and other Carnival Corporation ships continue to bring the connectivity experience for their guests and crew into the modern age.”
MS Koningsdam operates with the Starlink internet capability this summer on 20+ Alaskan voyages leaving out of Vancouver. Further vessels will add the technology later in 2023 with the goal of Starlink being available across the full HAL fleet.