A dual high-speed Fleet Xpress solution from connectivity partners Inmarsat Maritime and Alphatron Marine has been installed on Oceanwide Expeditions’ vessel Hondius
As the cruise ship owner’s fleet and cruise experience capabilities have evolved, so have its connectivity needs, its chief operating officer Mark van der Hulst explained. “Communication needs are changing continuously in today’s world. It is good to have a partner such as Inmarsat who is joining us on that journey. Because of our remote operating areas, the standard solution is not always possible. Inmarsat and Alphatron have worked together with us to find the optimal package.”
“Since introducing GX we have worked together with Inmarsat and Alphatron to achieve the best solution for our onboard needs,” Mr van der Hulst commented. “Because of the number of passengers on board Hondius and the quality we want to provide, we chose the dual Fleet Xpress solution offered by Alphatron Marine, where the aggregate bandwidth available over the GX network is 16 Mbps on the downlink and 4 Mbps on the uplink over the GX network.”
Oceanwide’s three-mast Arctic expedition ship Rembrandt van Rijn operates the FB500 FleetBroadband service, allowing its 33 passengers and crew of 12 to take advantage of a 5 GB data allowance.
The owner has also installed the Fleet Xpress high-speed maritime broadband service on board the Ice Class 1A vessel Ortelius and the Ice Class 1D vessel Plancius.
“Fleet Xpress was the perfect solution for us with high-speed Global Xpress (GX) network availability in our Antarctic sailing region,” said Mr van der Hulst. “We know that in the high Arctic satellite communications are challenging, but our experience in the Antarctic with the other vessels is of 95% uptime at least. Sometimes we sail inside fjords knowing a connection is not always available, but that is an accepted consequence of the areas we operate in.
“Additionally, we require stable remote access to the IT environment of the vessel to keep this up-to-date and in good shape.” Online monitoring possibilities have been an especially attractive capability, he said. However, the refurbished vessels Ortelius and Plancius base their connectivity requirements on having capacity for 108 passengers apiece.
Hondius needs extended capability to match demand not only for 174 passengers, but for the 74-strong crew serving them.