Why a new era for cruising needs stronger digital foundations


Cruise tourism is a vital contributor to economies around the world, and the impact of the suspension of cruises in 2020 due to the pandemic has had far-reaching effects on the entire cruise community, ports and destinations. service providers and tour operators.

However, the 2022 State of the Cruise Industry Report from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) underscores the industry’s resolve. This year the industry is bouncing back, with more than 20 new cruise ships to be delivered in 2022 – a figure comparable to the years before the pandemic.

The 2022 CLIA report also highlights that millennials are the most excited cruise passengers of the future – 85% of Millennial cruise passengers and 75% of Gen Z passengers say they plan to cruise again. With the changing demographics of cruise passengers, the industry must adapt.

Beyond these tech-savvy groups, guests of all ages increasingly want access to social media, video calls, and streaming content. And no, as the trend of expedition cruises on smaller vessels grows, creating new non-traditional routes, including the Arctic and catering to the ultra-luxury market, they cannot afford to compromise the high demands and connectivity needs of customers when traveling to remote areas.

Inevitably, expectations will only rise for both entertainment and connectivity during vacations at sea. So, as customers become more familiar with their devices, they will expect the same quality of experience. at sea than on land.

An e-drive experience

But that’s only one of the requirements for personal connectivity. As a result of the pandemic, many common digital interfaces on board will be replaced by the equivalent service offered via personal devices – it will be hands-off for bookings, orders, payments and, it could even be the case for the doors openning. The pandemic has also highlighted how essential telemedicine services are to supplement medical teams on board and to adapt the way services are accessed. For example, it helps prioritize in-person care to those most in need and mitigates risk by allowing those with minor issues or standard care to book appointments or be seen remotely. from their cabin.

The challenge is that today’s traditional satellite connectivity is often not fast or reliable enough to meet the growing demand for bespoke applications and instant access that today’s passengers want and operators need. . With an average of 3,000 passengers aboard a cruise ship, online systems and applications will require solutions that incorporate land speed and low latency.

OneWeb is poised to deliver low-latency, fast, and resilient services, enabling much more advanced and reliable service offerings. Data rates will be up to 10 times faster than those provided by GEO solutions. Its services are well positioned to enhance existing networks to provide increased speeds and reliable coverage when and where cruise ships need it most.

Crew well-being, environmental and commercial progress

This next-generation connectivity solution will also play a key role in improving crew well-being. New digital platforms are being used across the industry to support seafarer wellbeing with online courses or access to digital support networks. In addition, fast and reliable internet is essential to enable the provision of e-learning to enhance onboard training, thereby improving vessel safety. As ship operations change, ensuring new and returning crews have access to up-to-date training content, seamlessly both at home and aboard ships, will enable the crew to adapt to new requirements and develop their careers.

Next is the behind-the-scenes connectivity used to keep ships safe at sea and their optimal use of energy and resources. As CLIA’s Kelly Craighead says, “Our members are looking to the future, leading the way in responsible tourism and maritime practices, investing in new ships, and pursuing the goal of net carbon-neutral cruising by 2050.”

New levels of data processing will allow cruise lines to measure and minimize emissions in port and at sea. They will be able to increase the operational efficiency of their ships – with decisions being made on board or ashore – as they make full use of intelligent technologies that support real-time automation and predictive maintenance, while providing end-to-end cyber protection of critical systems. .

These emerging demands, and those to come, are underpinned by the ability to record, analyze and share data in innovative ways, all dependent on Internet services that are both suitable and resilient.

Collaborate to scale faster

From OneWeb’s perspective, we believe that working with partners with proven market expertise will help scale change faster and more effectively. From being part of hybrid connectivity solutions to working with other industry partners to launch technology-driven maritime initiatives, there is significant potential to support industry evolution. cruises in this pivotal period. We look forward to deepening our relationships and creating solutions to provide cruise lines with the tools to provide loyal guests with the best possible onboard experience, from enhanced safety to onboard entertainment. Additionally, for operators, LEO connectivity will finally help unlock the benefits of many technologies that can enable them to improve their environmental footprint, manage performance, support sailors and increase profitability. It’s about putting a solid digital foundation in place now, to build a more connected and prosperous future.

To meet the team and find out how we are bringing high-speed spatial connectivity to the sea, email us at [email protected] or visit oneweb.net


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Carole Plessy is Head of Maritime and Energy for OneWeb, the global communications company that is revolutionizing satellite networks to bring much-needed connectivity to rural and remote areas, and greater connectivity to existing markets.

Carole has in-depth knowledge of the satellite communications industry from her previous role at Inmarsat, where she was Senior Director of Digital Products and previously Director of Marine Product Development, responsible for delivering new products from concept to launch.

Carole holds a Master’s degree in Aeronautics and Telecommunications from the National School of Civil Aviation and a doctorate from Paul Sabatier University.


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