Marlink delivers smart hybrid connectivity to Ponant’s polar cruise ship

Smart network solution combines multiple GEO networks with LEO technologies for large data consumption and high quality passenger connectivity at high latitudes.

Satellite service provider Marlink is supporting French cruise operator Ponant’s first polar exploration ship Le Commandant Charcot, with unrivalled data and voice connectivity to create a unique, seamless communication experience for guests on board.

Le Commandant Charcot became the first vessel of her kind to reach the geographic North Pole on 6 September during sea trials in preparation for her maiden voyage later this year.

Marlink provided what it says is a truly unique and industry-first hybrid network solution, combining Sealink dual C- and Ku-band VSAT connectivity, GEO and LEO L-band connectivity and a high-data volume LEO store & forward capability. The network employs the latest technologies, including software defined routeing (SD-WAN) for an optimised and unparalleled guest experience. Marlink’s LTE/GSM service completes the hybrid network solution and enables Ponant to provide aggregated delivery of hundreds of gigabytes per month, offering a record amount of data to connectivity-hungry customers.

Constructed at VARD’s Tulcea shipyard in Romania, with outfitting completed at the VARD shipyard in Søviknes, Norway, Le Commandant Charcot is the first hybrid electric polar exploration ship powered by LNG.

“Le Commandant Charcot will enable guests to follow in the footsteps of French polar scientist Jean-Baptiste Charcot, a challenge that demands the best in vessel design and operations,” said Mathieu Petiteau, Director of Newbuilds, Research & Development at Ponant. “The challenge we gave Marlink was simple: to create a communications solution without compromise worthy of polar explorers and tailored for those who follow their footsteps and they have delivered.”

“Le Commandant Charcot will feature a new level of connectivity, enhancing the experience for guests and keeping them connected when at extreme latitudes,” said Tore Morten Olsen, President, Maritime, Marlink. “By combining GEO and LEO constellations with our managed services terrestrial connectivity and global network know-how, Marlink is able to provide the best possible services and keep Ponant’s promises to its customers.”

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