Marlink recently entered into an agreement with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) to supply its satellite voice and data connectivity services to five adventure cruise ships.
Under the terms of the arrangement, Marlink will provide OAT’s small ships with a suite of solutions; equipment, bandwidth and operations to meet guest voice and data requirements; uninterrupted voice and corporate connectivity to facilitate shipmanagement tasks; and flexible connectivity services to support the integration of a third-party GSM operator.
The growing popularity of the adventure cruise sector presented OAT with a series of unique challenges, not least of which was the correlated need to consistently provide an optimal passenger experience, enhance safety and promote crew satisfaction, however remote the destinations on its itineraries. The ability to offer and maintain a robust communications link in previously inaccessible regions was a pivotal concern to the company.
Starting this year, when OAT’s small ships start sailing for destinations beyond the scope of larger, mainstream cruise ships, they will benefit from Marlink’s global C-band, Ku-band and L-band coverage, which crucially encompasses Antarctic and Arctic operational capability.
Marlink’s bespoke satellite service will enable bandwidth to be dynamically shared between each of the OAT small ship travellers, depending on current demand for each vessel.
The first OAT vessel connected by Marlink’s Sealink maritime VSAT service was ‘Corinthian’, in January. 2019. The remaining vessels – ‘Clio’, ‘Athena’, ‘Arethusa’ and ‘Artemis’ – will follow later in the year.
They will be fitted with Marlink’s newly-developed dual-band antenna system: This solution automatically switches between frequencies to provide coverage regardless of where they sail, also to provide compliance with local authorities when close to shore.
The on board system will be reinforced in turn by an L-band out-of-band back-up enabling remote access to Marlink’s Maritime Network Operations Centre (MNOC). This VSAT support service allows network and antenna engineers to pro-actively monitor on board connectivity performance and manage any bandwidth and coverage amendments during the contract life cycle.
“At OAT, we pride ourselves on making the comfort, welfare and satisfaction of our customers and crew a primary consideration,” said Simon Laxton, President GCCL & OAT WW Fleet Operation, “so it’s only natural that we should draw upon Marlink’s pioneering expertise in end-to-end managed connectivity to make flawless communications to and from more remote destinations a reality.”
“OAT’s Small Ship Adventures remind us that there is still a great deal of the world for us to admire and explore,” said Tore Morten Olsen, President Maritime, Marlink, “but our connectivity solutions bring even the most remote areas within real-time reach of everyone, wherever they are, via social media video and photo uploads, phone calls, SMS texts and emails. We’re excited to be such an integral part of this journey with OAT.”