As cruise ships begin to cater to younger audiences, demand changes for what’s offered on-board. Forward-thinking and innovative new additions to your dining experience or embarkation process can make your cruise that much more enjoyable and, with the cruise industry booming as 30 million passengers are expected to set sail this year, it’s the best time to take technology to the high seas.
Smartphones make smart sailings
One of the main ways technology is being adapted at sea is with the use of smartphones. Nowadays, mobile phones now function more like tiny computers than just a means of communication. With the internet at your fingertips and social media connecting more of us together, it’s no wonder cruise lines have developed their own tools for smarter sailing.
Royal Caribbean’s Royal iQ app has plenty of handy features such as the Cruise Compass to get around the ship. Other features include booking dining reservations and shore excursions; tracking your luggage; sending messages to fellow on-board passengers; and keeping a personal calendar to help manage your time aboard. The app is available on-board Quantum, Anthem, Ovation, and Harmony of the Seas and makes life much easier during your sailing.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s iConcierge app is similar, with the ability to pre-book your activities, dining, and excursions, as well as view your itinerary and summary. Most of this can be done prior to sailing to help you organise your schedule. During your time on-board, iConcierge can also be used to chat with fellow passengers, view your account and purchases, as well as get a daily timetable of on-board events.
MSC for Me is another cruise line app which strives to provide a seamless sailing for all on-board. The app features mobile check-in functionality, an interactive map for easier navigation, a planner for activities, lists of daily events, bookings for spas and excursions, as well as the chance to locate and chat to family and friends on-board.
Strike a pose, technology is now fashionable
While some of us might want to spend time posting about our travels on-board, others might want to get away from our digital lives during a cruise.
Did you know that over 4,000 images are shared on Instagram with the tag #travel every second?
Smartphone apps are definitely changing our cruising life, but for those who would prefer less screen time, there are cruise lines offering wearable technology that’s definitely revolutionising the whole experience. Princess Cruises is paving the way for this tech with the Ocean Medallion. As small as a 10p piece, the wearable technology replaces your key card as the must-have item to carry with you at all times. The device can be worn either as a bracelet or necklace and has a multitude of features that will make you feel like a futuristic cruiser.
One of the most impressive features is the ability to order food and drink from any location on the app, perfect for those lazy days on a sun lounger. Another innovative ability is that the device serves as your cabin key, with your door reading the medallion and unlocking with ease – no more rooting around in your pockets or bag for your key card!
Ocean Medallion also doubles as a payment device and has other functions to aid with embarkation, navigation, playing games with fellow passengers, enjoying live casino games and streaming TV shows. The best bit? It won’t cost you a penny. The service is available over the cruise line’s built-in network, so you don’t need to purchase an internet package to use it. The technology is currently only aboard Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess, though it will be rolled out to more ships by October, before going fleet-wide.
Suggested read – Ocean Medallion: The revolutionary technology from Princess Cruises
Cruise with these digital assistants
Starring in staterooms, dining venues, and bars, digital assistants are also bringing artificial intelligence and ground-breaking technology to your cruise.
MSC Cruises’ latest addition of Zoe is the first-of-its-kind. Featured in all cabins aboard MSC Bellissima, the assistant is able to answer hundreds of questions about life on-board, help with excursion and restaurant reservations, as well as answering a huge range of unique customer queries.
So far, she can answer 800 questions in seven languages and 30 different accents across the globe. But she doesn’t stop there. Her artificial intelligence means she is continually expanding her knowledge and offering a more personalised experience for passengers. She can offer instant information about cruise events, entertainment, journey updates or just playing music to get ready to.
Outside of your cabin, Royal Caribbean’s Bionic Bar serves drinks for passengers at the world’s only fully robotic bar. Featured on-board Quantum, Anthem, Harmony, and Ovation of the Seas, the robot bartenders are built to muddle, stir, shake and strain all types of drinks. Start by ordering your drink on one of the tablets in the bar than watching as the robots choose from 30 spirits and 21 mixers. The cocktail combinations are endless, with up to 1,000 drinks served here each day!
Celebrity Cruises’ recent addition, Celebrity Edge, also includes a dining experience with a twist with the revolutionary Le Petit Chef. The culinary experience uses innovative technology created by Skullmapping and TableMation Studios to bring your table to life. Sit down to dine here and you will see your dish prepared before your very eyes by an animated character before you’re served the actual dish. The venue is featured in Le Grand Bistro during the evenings and is currently only available on-board Edge Class ships. However, there are plans to roll this own across the rest of the fleet eventually.
Suggested read – Experience the future of cruising with Celebrity Edge
Gone are the times of feeling disconnected at sea. Smart apps and innovative technology are merging our digital know-how to rebrand cruising as a forward-thinking and revolutionary holiday option. With the ability to plan your days before even leaving the house, speak to fellow passengers online without additional charges and even unlock your room with a wristband, cruising is fast-becoming the future.