Royal Caribbean: ‘Very Aggressive’ on Tech Infrastructure

Ovation of the Seas in Hong Kong

At Royal Caribbean Cruises, the idea is to anticipate the future of technology and get ready for it now.

“I believe that the largest challenges for us are the things that we don’t even know will be coming in the next five to 10 years. There are revolutions coming, things like virtual reality and other things that we don’t even imagine. We need to look at the historical growth of those technologies in the past, focusing on the future,” said Guillermo Muniz, director of satellite and network engineering, Royal Caribbean Cruises.

While cruise lines may plan into the 2020s on the technology front, challenges still remain when it comes to internet aboard today’s fleet.

“Royal Caribbean is being very aggressive regarding infrastructure within the ship. We are investing to make sure we have the infrastructure on our ships to have the correct Wi-Fi and the latest technologies to be able to not worry about connectivity over the next decade,” Muniz said.

The newer Royal Caribbean ships are using a new technology, marketed as Voom, that has significantly improved internet access aboard, helped in part by SES Networks.

“On those ships, the connection is comparable to our home experience. You can stream and watch videos on your devices easily. The amount of bandwidth that we provide to a single user today is the same amount of bandwidth that we provided for our entire fleet in 2000,” Muniz noted.

Royal Caribbean is working on a new boarding process that uses facial recognition to speed up the embarkation. Muniz explained that guests will be able to take a selfie at home, upload it via an app, and then be recognized at the cruise terminal by special facial recognition cameras. The cruise line plans to launch the system over the next few years.

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Carnival Corp to Rollout ‘Best’ WiFi with MedallionNet

Image result for Medallion Net carnival wifi

Carnival Corporation today announced MedallionNet, what the company is calling “a game-changing connectivity service enabled by SES Networks that will deliver the best WiFi experience in the cruise industry.”

SES Networks will leverage both geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO) constellations, managed services, antenna and shipboard technology to offer high-performance and reliable broadband connectivity at sea, according to a statement.

The unique GEO/MEO combination also includes O3b Networks’ low-latency satellites. The company has global coverage backed up by 65 satellites.

“Staying connected is inextricably linked to our daily life experiences and that now extends to the vacation experience, even when sailing in the middle of the sea,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. “MedallionNet will set the new standard for Wi-Fi service at sea and we look forward to rolling it out to our guests. Our top priority is doing everything we can to exceed guest expectations, and by listening closely to our guests, we know Wi-Fi connectivity is important to many of our guests. For guests who want to disconnect, they are free to do so. But for those who want to stay connected, MedallionNet will make it easy for them – and that includes being able to easily send photos, videos and messages letting everyone know they are having a fabulous vacation.”

“MedallionNet is another development that came out of Carnival Corporation’s Global Experience and Innovation Center located in Miami and is the first end-to-end Wi-Fi service development formulated with a focus on exceeding guest expectations through “GuestCentricity” – an initiative to enhance all aspects of the vacation experience by delivering guests what they want, when, where and how they want it,” Carnival said.

“SES Networks is privileged to be associated with Carnival Corporation’s Global Experience and Innovation team and to be powering MedallionNet,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks. “We share Carnival Corporation’s passionate focus on connecting people, places and cultures around the world with amazing experiences. As the only company to offer a GEO and MEO constellation, unmatched in scale, performance and technological diversity, SES Networks is uniquely positioned to enable the highest performing Wi-Fi connectivity at sea as well as immersive media and gaming content.”

MedallionNet leverages multi-band antennas configured in a shipboard formation to minimize any potential impact to guest connectivity due to seasonal weather or ship positioning. By combining multiple sources of bandwidth to achieve the highest capacity shipboard network ever brought to a cruise ship with an unprecedented volume of shipboard access points, MedallionNet introduces a level of service reliability and signal pervasiveness not previously achieved on ships sailing at sea.

More specifics about MedallionNet and specific cruise brand implementation will be announced later this year, Carnival said.