Page 40: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (September 2019)
SATCOM CONNECTIVITY DRIVES INNOVATION
Cruising in the Cloud
Turning a necessary cost center into a revenue stream is the new normal for savvy and successful cruise operators.
By Joseph Keefe s the ? ourishing expedition cruise market photos of your holiday to social media are particularly takes passengers on innovative itinerar- unwelcome. Guest satisfaction is any cruise company’s ies to remote and untouched destinations, top priority and improvements in cost and quality of the
Athese well heeled guests want something connectivity on board is very important aspect. As an else at the same time: a 24/7 quality internet connec- added driver, pictures and videos of a cruise on Face- tion. If Marlink gets its way, that sort of communica- book or Instagram are new marketing channels for a tions service will soon be the rule, and not the excep- cruise company.” tion. It is the ability to throttle bandwidth per voyage and/
In April, Marlink revealed that the expedition cruise or switch capacity from vessel to vessel, depending market is in full-on growth mode in terms of demand on demand for a particular voyage that is the key to for connectivity in the most remote corners of the plan- keeping costs down and service high. This must in- et. As a satellite service provider and communications volve close collaboration with the customer; MSC in partner for more than a few luxury and adventure cruise this case. “We provide MSC Cruises with a cloud of ships and ? eets, Marlink says that it is today contract- bandwidth concept, where the huge amount of capac- ing twice the satellite capacity speci? cally for the ex- ity they have can be distributed according to demand pedition sector as it was just 12 months ago and is now around the ? eet. We ensure that capacity is available regularly providing megabit connectivity on a truly for vessels when and where it is needed, but our space
Photo Marlink global scale. Marlink customers in the sector include segment team works at least 18 months ahead with ac-
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as well as French luxury cruise cess to future customer itineraries to support planning. specialist PONANT. Of course, the service can be reactive as well, should a
The expedition cruise vessel sector has been gaining short notice change be applied to a vessel’s routine for pace over the last ? ve or so years, driven by a market instance.” that wants to see and do new things on holiday. On that ity of expedition cruising.
A straightforward process handled by a simple script
Marlink customers in the sector include Hapag-Lloyd bucket list for many is the far north, where the reduc- de? nes all available connectivity carriers. As soon as tion in sea ice is creating new opportunities. For its Cruises ? eet which is operating in remote locations the primary system becomes unavailable, the script is part, Marlink has kept pace with demand and in some using Marlink VSAT. New ‘expedition class’ ships, de? ned to automatically jump to alternative carriers de- cases enabled expedition vessels to go further a? eld by HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration, ? ned in a prioritized way to ensure least cost with high- opening up new areas of coverage, for instance in the due to be delivered this year and HANSEATIC due in est throughout and lowest latency at any given time. 2021, will have the same high-level connectivity for
North West Passage, which is becoming quite a popular “Delivering global availability and reliability can re- route. guests and crew. Marlink also renewed its contract to ally only be achieved through a multi-band and multi-
Providing that coverage and delivering it in an afford- deliver multi-band services to French luxury cruise orbital approach. Marlink customers essentially don’t able package is another thing altogether. specialist PONANT late in 2017, a deal that included need to choose a speci? c single service as we deliver
Tommy Konkol Dybvad, Director Cruise and Ferry provision for four new PONANT Explorers yachts – Le their bandwidth using the best satellite networks for at Marlink said, “We work closely with all major sat- Champlain and Le Laperouse, which joined the ? eet in their needs,” said Dybvad.
ellite network operators to ensure that we can deliver 2018, and Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d’Urville,
The availability of relatively low cost bandwidth to the highest quality of service in cost-effective packages which will enter service in 2019. Another customer is cruise passengers is a great selling point for MSC, but for all customers. The challenges to ensure that guests MSC Cruises.
it also bene? ts that operator in so many ways. These can connect in remote areas on an expedition cruise are include (a.) the partial funding of business Internet/
All In: Low Cost, High Quality not easy to overcome compared to the traditional cruise satellite coverage costs, (b.) providing more for less to
The practice of providing very low cost for passen- markets closer to equator, however our customers [the cruise customers, and (c.) the transfer (and leveraging) cruise lines] know that they must deliver connectivity gers (on expedition ships, it is likely to be an all-in of marketing costs through social media goodwill from on board for passengers who expect to be connected at situation) is a remarkable development, and one which happy cruising customers.
most will be able to afford. all times. “It’s essentially a closed-loop,” said Dybvad, who
Dybvad explained, “The idea that lower-cost con-
The 100% increase in capacity required to keep added, “Hitting the right price point and service qual- guests, crew and company connected as far a? eld as nectivity would be popular is not ground-breaking of ity delivers more consumers on board, and this revenue the Arctic and Antarctic is due to the surge in popular- course. Cruising isn’t cheap so high bills for posting goes towards funding the high levels of capacity that ‘Cruising in the Cloud’ continued on page 43 40 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • SEPTEMBER 2019
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