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Demand for connectivity doubles on Marlink serviced expedition ships

Hapag-Loyd's new expedition class ships will operate with Marlink VSAT. HANSEATIC nature illustrated. Image courtesy of Hapag-Loyd Cruises. Hapag-Loyd's new expedition class ships will operate with Marlink VSAT. HANSEATIC nature illustrated. Image courtesy of Hapag-Loyd Cruises.

The demand for connectivity in the expedition cruise market is growing rapidly, says satellite communications company Marlink who is today contracting twice the satellite capacity specifically for the expedition sector as it was 12 months ago.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}A surge in the popularity of expedition cruising has led to a focus on capacity in the cruise market, particularly in the remote Arctic and Antarctic. According to Marlink, cruise lines are venturing off the beaten track but still wanting to provide all conveniences, including high-speed connectivity, regardless of location.

Marlink customers in the expedition cruise sector include Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which is operating in remote locations using Marlink VSAT. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises New ‘expedition class’ ships will have the same high-level connectivity for guests and crew. Marlink also renewed its contract to deliver multi-band services to French luxury cruise specialist PONANT late in 2017, a deal that included provision for four new PONANT Explorers yachts. 

Marlink says that as well as deploying state-of-the-art onboard systems and making capacity available globally, it also focuses development efforts on ensuring that customers have improved support tools to optimise their communication services. Marlink is also committed to ensuring its clients can minimise the risk of cyber-attack through inherent security at the network level and the fully integrated ship and shore-based Cyber Guard portfolio, offering harmonised solutions for detection, protection and recovery.

With the cruise market in focus, the company recently introduced several new capabilities that can be accessed via an online portal, including an onboard internet Wi-Fi landing site or captive portal with capabilities to connect APIs to the clients own customised cruise management systems for more automated processes, to reduce manual labour. The new support tool also features a dashboard which provides information on best line of sight between the vessel and available satellites, which is especially relevant close to the poles with low elevation where obstructions such as icebergs or cliffs could affect link availability, and therefore the quality of service that guests experience.

Tore Morten Olsen, president Maritime, Marlink, explained: “Regardless of the remoteness of where they may be, guests on expedition class ships still expect to be able to connect to the internet. They want to show their videos and photos on social media, and stay in touch with the office, and family and friends, so operators are looking for the highest network quality to deliver on these expectations.

The latest adventure cruise ships are also hotbeds of technology, most of which only starts to reach its real potential when it is integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT) and Operational Technology (OT), creating more demand for satellite capacity and a strong rationale for ensuring that your satcom partner is committed to network quality with an eye on the future. In that context, our future-proof network concept has already led to testing for forthcoming new LEO networks, which will be important for continuing to service demands from the cruise segment.”{/mprestriction}

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