Harris CapRock Communications, a global provider of fully managed communications for remote and harsh environments, has signed a five-year agreement with cruise operator Royal Caribbean Cruises  to provide communications services onboard its fleet of 34 ships in the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises brands. The hybrid satellite and terrestrial communications solution will enable Royal Caribbean to dramatically improve overall communications performance while enhancing guest experience and crew morale.

"At Royal Caribbean, our goal is for guests to have the best experience possible while vacationing on our ships," said Bill Martin, vice president and chief information officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "An important part of that experience is the communications service made available to them and making sure it performs above their expectations. We set a goal to change the market expectations for onboard communications, and with Harris CapRock's innovative solution, our guests will be able to remain connected with friends and family onshore in ways not possible on any other cruise ship."

To meet Royal Caribbean's needs for vessel administration, guest satisfaction and crew welfare, Harris CapRock will deploy a fully managed, end-to-end Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) and terrestrial communications solution that will enable access to Royal Caribbean's corporate network and business applications, broadband Internet, and telephony services. Royal Caribbean will receive equipment, installation, maintenance, service and 24/7 proactive monitoring and support from Harris CapRock's global Customer Support Center.

The hybrid solution combines Ku-band, C-band and shore wireless connectivity, designed so that the ships can switch seamlessly from one preferred platform to another to maximize service availability and avoid downtime. Each ship will be equipped with two or three of Harris CapRock's stabilized VSAT antenna systems to provide the optimal level of flexibility and availability.

"Harris CapRock worked hand-in-hand with Royal Caribbean to develop a customized solution required to meet their needs," said Rick Simonian, president of Maritime Solutions, Harris CapRock. "Royal Caribbean is known for using information technology innovations to provide its guests and crew with the best onboard experience possible. By selecting Harris CapRock as its provider, they can rest assured that we are there to meet their communications needs of today and tomorrow."