Starlink Internet On Cruise Ships? It’s Coming – Just Don’t Bring Your Own Unit!

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Ukraine, Kherson - November 14, 2022: A SpaceX Starlink satellite dish stands on a green lawn in the city center for free distribution of the Internet to citizens. (©iStock.com/nndanko)
(©iStock.com/nndanko)

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Have you ever used internet on a cruise ship? If you have you were more than likely less than impressed. Some days it may have worked OK while others, well, just about not at all. Add to that that some cruise lines (looking at you NCL) block VPN use unless you pay up for a much more expensive unlimited service.

One way that may be improving in the not so distant future is via Starlink high speed, low orbit, internet. Business Insider recently stated that:

Royal Caribbean said in August that Starlink would be available across its fleet of Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International ships.

But it will not be available everywhere as the service does not cover the globe (yet) but all reports so far are that the service is yielding impressive results at sea.

a man sitting in a chair with a laptop on a balcony
Me – Years ago with direction wifi antenna

I can not tell you how many Frequent Floaters have asked me about bringing their own Starlink units from their RV’s to use on ships (FYI Starlink Roam starts at $150 per month). Some have even bragged how they have used this service at sea to get cheaper, faster and more reliable service than what the cruise ships can provide.

That idea seems to be coming to an end soon.

Last week Yachting World posted that Starlink is not going to allow customers to use the ground based units to work at sea. They posted a quote from the company sent to users that:

Your Starlink has been used in areas that violate the terms and conditions of your service plan: your plan does not include service on the ocean. Starting as early as May 9th, 2023 you will be unable to connect to the internet on the ocean except to access your Starlink account where you can make updates to your account.”

Now there is a sea based option that users can pay for, that is, Starlink Maritime but that costs you more starting at $250 per month.

Personally I can not see the hassle of bringing a Starlink unit onboard and make due with what the ship provides paired with my T-Mobile cell service. With the latter I can pay $5 per day or $25 per week for high speed data worldwide and that has proven to work very well for my needs. That said if I spent months at a time each year on ships I may feel differently.

What do you think. Would you even consider bringing a Starlink dish onboard? – René

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