Two cruise ship operators and owners have invested in VSAT for their fleets to enhance passenger experience and crew welfare.
Germany-based TUI Cruises, a joint venture between TUI Group and Royal Caribbean Cruises, has selected a provider of satellite communications and onboard connectivity services for its newbuild ships Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2.
Panasonic Avionics Corp’s subsidiary, ITC Global, has become a new entrant to the cruise ship communications market through this extensive deal. For the next four years, ITC Global will provide connectivity at sea, serving passengers and crew, on these two ships.
It will use Panasonic’s Ku-band satellite network on up to 98% of maritime traffic routes using coverage from various beams and satellites, including high-throughput satellites from operators including Intelsat, Eutelsat and SES.
TUI Cruises’ ships will use this coverage as they sail across the globe from the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea in Europe to the Canary Islands, the Caribbean and various ports in the Americas and in Asia.
ITC Global has installed VSAT hardware, including 2.4-m diameter multi-band antennas, modems and other network management devices on Mein Schiff 1 and its passengers are using the Ku-band coverage.
Equipment for Mein Schiff 2 has been ordered and will be installed later this year as the ship is still under construction at Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. It is scheduled to join the TUI Cruises' fleet in March 2019.
In another deal announced in the last week of August, Marlink won a contract from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. This includes VSAT services to the existing fleet of expedition cruise liners and for the new adventure cruise ships in production.
Under a contract renewal, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ three existing ships – Bremen, Europa and Europa 2 – will continue to use Marlink’s Sealink VSAT for passenger and crew communications as these ships voyage into the Arctic and the Antarctic regions. Hanseatic is due to leave the Hapag-Lloyd fleet in October this year.
Marlink will also install Sealink VSAT on two new ships under construction, Hanseatic Nature and Hanseatic Inspiration, which are due to be delivered from the shipyard in Norway in April and October 2019. It is also likely to deploy Sealink VSAT on another newbuilding, to be named Hanseatic Spirit, scheduled for delivery in 2021.
Marlink will provide global connectivity for secure onboard ship management and seamless internet access for passengers and crew alike. It will provide carrier services for onboard GSM (mobile phone) services for passenger voice, messaging and data connectivity.
This will use overlapping Ku-band beams across Marlink’s satellite network that includes high-throughput satellites operated by Intelsat and SES.
Marlink added more Ku-band coverage in Q2 2018 in areas where these cruise ships will be sailing, such as in northern Canada and Alaska, in the Mediterranean Sea and Caribbean region.