|Major satcoms provider Inmarsat is expanding its market presence in the luxury expedition market, with new orders for the Fleet Xpress service.
The orders were received for three specialised Galápagos Islands vessels – Quasar Expeditions luxury yachts ’Grace’ and ’Evolution’ and Kleintours cruise ship ’Galapágos Legend’, following two contracts signed with owners by Inmarsat’s partner Comsatel.
Relatively few vessels have access to its waters, and those that do accommodate only a small number of guests. Communications in the surrounding area have typically been poor, with the islands’ topography affecting signal strength. However, expectations for internet access are growing, Inmarsat said.
Christian Cordoba, Inmarsat Maritime’s Channel Manager, Americas, said: “Passenger demographics are changing, and with younger audiences come greater bandwidth demands. Today’s expedition guests visiting the Galápagos Islands want to share their experiences of this incredible destination on social media, or directly with friends and family, and this requires high data speeds and continuous connectivity.
“Fleet Xpress is therefore the ideal solution for high-end operators like Quasar Expeditions and Kleintours,” he said.
Fleet Xpress offers access to other Inmarsat solutions, such as Fleet Hotspot, which provides crew members with dedicated bandwidth to enjoy online entertainment and communication services without interfering with business-critical operations.
Fleet Xpress also includes access to Fleet Connect, enabling Inmarsat’s certified application providers to deliver value-added services to ship operators worldwide, again via dedicated bandwidth.
Vikand, for example, is a telemedicine services provider whose solution, VIKAND HealthNet™, aims to prevent onboard medical situations from escalating into more serious emergencies. With Inmarsat partner Comsatel leading efforts to promote telemedicine in Galápagos expedition cruising, Vikand’s services are increasingly sought after among local operators.
Hector Baquerizo, CEO, Comsatel, said: “The yachts and cruise ships operating in the Galápagos Islands are luxury vessels that offer guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but their onboard connectivity has not always lived up to those high standards. Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress delivers a level of performance and a suite of solutions that will change the game for expedition cruise operators in the Galápagos Islands – in terms of both guest experience and crew welfare.”
Inmarsat’s relationship with Ecuador-based satellite communications provider Comsatel dates back to the early 2000s. In 2017, the two parties identified the strong potential for faster, more reliable connectivity on board Galápagos expedition cruises. Fleet Xpress has since become a fixture in the area, with the service already installed onboard 10 vessels; the recent orders from Quasar and Kleintours further enhance Inmarsat’s reputation in a market where demand for high data speeds and bandwidth is growing rapidly.