Using O3b‘s network of mid-orbit satellites, Royal Caribbean will be providing broadband-level bandwidth for the Oasis and Allure . Instead of near-dialup speeds, the O3b network will be a game changer for cruise passengers wanting to have broadband, low-latency access to the internet. Oasis and Allure signal the beginning of the race for other cruise lines to upgrade their internet capabilities.
In part Royal Caribbean said:
By pairing a new generation of medium-Earth-orbit satellites (originally designed to bring the Internet to emerging markets like sub Saharan Africa) with sophisticated antenna arrays aboard its newest ships, the popular ships are vaulting competitors and delivering guests the kind of technology they expect in a connected world.
“Vacations aren’t just about getting away from it all for modern families anymore,” said Adam Goldstein, President & CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “A great vacation today also means keeping friends updated over social media, and enjoying downtime with streaming content played on tablets and phones, not just movies on TV in your stateroom.
“But matching or exceeding the best on-land service was a tough challenge when the nearest cell tower or cable hook-up was 1,000 miles away. That meant we needed some real breakthroughs, not just incremental increases,” Goldstein said. “But real breakthroughs are what we do. And once we cracked the download code, we also got to dream up some pretty interesting new uses for all that connectivity. Our ships go to incredible places – and this makes getting there even more incredible.”
A set of new, custom-built antennae were shipped from Israel to Florida last month, and installed on Oasis of the Seas. Testing confirmed the ships’ ability to match the fastest broadband connections on shore. “O3b, our satellite communications partner, calls it ‘fiber speed with satellite reach,’ and this is exactly the result we are seeing in our tests,” said Bill Martin, Chief Information Officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.