The world has never been more connected than it is now. Human beings have found ways to stay in touch with each other when separated across oceans, despite language barriers, and even through the reaches of space. One expedition cruise company, Hurtigruten Expeditions, has partnered with SpaceX to make use of Starlink technology, which has helped to make its fleet of cruise ships more connected to the rest of the world than ever before.
Hurtigruten Expeditions remains dedicated to studying emerging technology in on-board science centers such as this one. Broadband connectivity is strong from the front deck to the stately suites. And, designed for the comfort of both guests and crew, the fleet has world-class amenities, including the stunning infinity pool.
Hurtigruten Expeditions was built “with sustainability and exploration at the core,” according to Kristoffer Halvarp, Hurtigruten’s product manager for network and maritime operational technology systems. “Hurtigruten
Expeditions operates a fleet of small, custom- built expedition cruise ships,” says Halvarp, “including the world’s first battery-hybrid-powered cruise ships” as well as being “the first and only cruise liner to have a chief scientist.” The fleet has evolved quite a bit since their inception in 1896, now committed to sailing to the most adventurous locations on the planet with a commitment to sustainability and advancing technology.
It is partially thanks to that commitment that Hurtigruten sought out a partnership with SpaceX, a company on the forefront of breakthroughs in technology and space travel. One of SpaceX’s major innovations in recent years is Starlink, a broadband service that utilizes a series of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites that provide high-speed internet access. “LEO connectivity has been on our radar for a long time,” says Halvarp, “and it just released as we started Hurtigruten Expeditions’ first sailings out of Hamburg.”
The partnership between SpaceX and Hurtigruten entails the integration of Starlink broadband connectivity across its entire fleet of expedition cruise ships. Halvarp was candid about Starlink’s benefits, saying “We are always trying to push the limits with technology, providing our guests with the most up-to-date digital solutions.” He continued to explain that Starlink’s LEO connectivity is “fast, stable and reliable, providing a low latency, high-bandwidth solution almost everywhere on the planet,” even allowing guests to “share their moments live from Antarctica.” Providing comfort and easy internet access to both the guests and crew of their ships is a top priority for Hurtigruten with this collaboration with Starlink. Halvarp states that “guests can stream and browse just like at home now.”
While Hurtigruten will continue to use its previously implemented Geostationary-Earth Orbit (GEO) broadband solutions as a backup, Halvarp believes in the longevity of LEO solutions like Starlink going forward. “LEO has come to stay,” he says, adding, “Starlink provides a solid service, but many new competitors are coming fast with different models for connectivity.” Halvarp and Hurtigruten believe that the changing needs of travelers requires a strong broadband connection at all times, even in the most rugged and adventurous parts of the world. SpaceX and Starlink are the first to bring this level of interconnectivity to the seas, but don’t be surprised if you start to see faster download speeds and lower latency on all cruise ships around the world in the years to come.