Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced that in partnership with its subsidiary, ITC Global, it has been awarded a four-year contract by TUI Cruises for connectivity services to two new-build cruise ships, Mein Schiff 1 and new Mein Schiff 2.
The agreement establishes communication capabilities onboard the vessels serving guests and crew, enhancing the user experience during the cruise line's travels across international waters. Germany-based TUI Cruises is a joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. Headquartered in Hamburg, TUI Cruises voyages sail across the globe from the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas in Europe; to the Canary Islands; to the Caribbean in the Americas; to the Orient and greater Asia, with various channels in between.
As a Panasonic subsidiary, ITC Global leverages Panasonic's global broadband network to deliver connectivity to energy, maritime and enterprise customers. Panasonic offers a new approach to connectivity at sea, serving passengers and crew, as well as communications for ship operations and corporate networking.
With the world's largest, most comprehensive broadband connectivity service, Panasonic delivers communications to a wide range of mobility markets, leveraging a high-availability Ku-band satellite network that covers more than 98 percent of maritime traffic routes.
The award by TUI Cruises marks the first comprehensive cruise connectivity contract for Panasonic and ITC Global. Installation and commissioning for the first of the sister ships, Mein Schiff 1, was finalized in March and the vessel successfully completed its maiden voyage in May. Mein Schiff 2 is currently under construction at Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland and set to join the TUI Cruises fleet in March 2019.
Equipment for both vessels includes 2.4-meter multi-band antenna systems delivering high levels of bandwidth to accommodate connectivity demands for both ships' capacity of more than 3,000 total guests and crew onboard. The high-bandwidth solution calls for flexible technical and commercial service with dynamic bandwidth allocation and space segment management.
Both vessels are being serviced via traditional geo-synchronous satellites, with future consideration of point-to-point, microwave and other technologies as the demand for additional capabilities expands. Leveraging Panasonic's third-generation communications network, service is backed by high-throughput satellite (HTS) coverage paired with the latest modem technology, and includes 24x7 service monitoring and support from ITC Global's Network Operations Center.
"TUI Cruises is recognized as one of the most successful cruise brands known for its premium, all-inclusive concept," said Ian Dawkins, CEO at ITC Global and Senior Vice President, Global Network Operations at Panasonic Avionics Corporation. "With this contract award, Panasonic and ITC Global have a unique opportunity to further elevate the brand in consumer markets through maximizing the user connectivity experience, most notably for TUI Cruises' guests – whether that's through making it possible for professionals to manage work responsibilities while spending time away with family, or by enabling social media enthusiasts to share vacation highlights in real-time with friends and family back home," continued Dawkins.
"Our job is to manage all aspects of the communications solution so that TUI Cruises is focused on what they do best – creating a memorable guest experience onboard. We take this responsibility seriously and look forward to continuing to work closely with the customer in delivering the advanced technologies required to make this possible," concluded Dawkins.
"Panasonic's extensive background in enhancing the passenger experience via its in-flight technology and entertainment solutions, combined with ITC Global's similar depth supporting crew welfare and connectivity services simplified our service partner selection, as the synergies presented were a natural fit to best meet our requirements," said Matthias Fahrner, Director IT Strategy & Competence Center at TUI Cruises.