(1:45 p.m. EDT) — A competition is brewing for the fastest Internet at sea, with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings becoming the latest cruise company to enhance its onboard Wi-Fi experience.
The company — which owns Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises — plans to quadruple the bandwidth across all three of its brands to meet cruisers’ demand for stronger Wi-Fi onboard. Through a new partnership with Emerging Markets Communications (EMC), Norwegian will install multimillion-dollar bandwidth and performance-boosting technology on all ships before the end of June.
Among the upgrades are new satellite dishes and EMC’s SpeedNet program, which, according to the company’s statement, delivers popular websites at speeds that mimic high-speed fiber optic networks, similar to those available in homes and offices. The new services will complement the recent deployment of high-speed connectivity in popular ports.
"With the addition of new hardware, combined with the significant increase in satellite bandwidth, shoreside connectivity and EMC’s SpeedNet, we have moved beyond the decade old problem of slow data speeds from satellite to deliver a much more efficient and faster internet experience for our guests," said Ross Henderson, vice president, onboard revenue, at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. "Our guests can consume content, post to social media and stay in touch with family and friends on the ships’ network just as they are used to on land."
Passengers sailing on all three lines’ ships can expect to see changes by July 2016. Regent Seven Seas offers its Wi-Fi free of charge, while Oceania and Norwegian Cruise Line passengers can choose from various Internet packages available for purchase. Oceania currently offers an OLife Choice promotion that includes free unlimited Internet.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ announcement comes days after Royal Caribbean International revealed it would roll out its Voom high-speed Internet to all ships.