Skift Take

Faster Wi-Fi will make passengers of all ages happy, but it takes turning that connectivity into a facilitator for sharing via influential accounts to turn greater bandwidth in a grassroots social movement.

For many cruise lines, the battle for first-time passengers is a matter of life and death. And the market with the greatest potential is the 95 million millennials that have yet to take a cruise.

“We know that the future is bright for us if we can get them on their first cruise — they will come back multiple, multiple times,” says CLIA senior vice president Dwain Wall.

One of the ways to accomplish this is to encourage young guests onboard to share photos, videos and comments about their cruise directly from the ship.

Royal Caribbean executives talked about their plans to introduce faster functional connectivity that facilitates onboard sharing during today’s first-quarter earnings call.

A new satellite system provided by O3b will be rolled out to the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas this summer.

The service is currently being tested onboard the Oasis and is expected to increase bandwidth from 22 to 500 megabytes per seconds. That’s more bandwidth than every other cruise ship of every other cruise line combined, according to the Royal Caribbean executive.

The new technology will reduce the wait time between hitting a button and seeing an action from 750 to 140 milliseconds.

Royal Caribbean is the first to use O3b’s Maritime product, which according to an O3B spokesperson, “delivers the reach of satellite and the speed and latency of fiber at a fraction of the cost of conventional providers.”

The partnership with O3b was initially announced in 2012.

The chart below, a remake of one shown during the earnings call, highlights the expected improvement to Wi-Fi bandwidth onboard Royal Caribbean ships.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 10.42.44 AM

The connection will be strong enough to download streaming video or post video clips to Facebook. A pricing plan is still in the works.


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Tags: millennials, royal caribbean, wi-fi

Photo credit: The Royal Caribbean logo on an Oasis of the Seas cruise ship. Cruise News Weekly / Flickr

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