The popularity of the cruise holiday is on the rise. When it comes to what’s on offer on-board, cruise lines must be forward thinking and they are coming up with new and innovative ideas on how they can improve the experience for all their guests, and to cater for their ever-changing needs. 

From the embarking process to dining, they are looking at how they can make the experience as seamless and pioneering as possible, utilising technology along with virtual experiences. 

Over the recent years we have already seen the improvement of Wi-Fi availability on board, and this goes hand in hand with incorporating the technology available. 

On-board with your smartphone 

Smartphones are already something at most traveller’s fingertips, with almost 84% of the world’s population owning one, and with Wi-Fi readily available on-board, this is one of the main ways in which technology can enhance a cruise holiday. 

Mobile phones now function more like tiny computers rather than just a means of communication and with this in mind, it’s no wonder cruise lines have developed their own tools for smarter sailing.  With Apps available offering plenty of handy features like booking dinner reservations and excursions, organising, and viewing your itinerary, along with convenient interactive maps, these all make life on board much simpler. 

For those who would prefer less screen time, there are cruise lines offering wearable technology that’s revolutionising the whole experience. Princess Cruises is paving the way for this tech with the Ocean Medallion. As small as a 10p coin, the wearable technology replaces your key card as the must-have item to always carry with you. 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.

Revolutionary cabins with virtual balconies 

There are a range of cabins available to book on board a cruise ship and choosing the right cabin for your holiday is crucial. With so many available it can be difficult to know which may be the most suitable for your needs. Royal Caribbean have made choosing your cabin much easier with their virtual balcony. So, what is a virtual balcony on a cruise ship? 

Bringing floor to ceiling HD displays showing real-time views, along with a realistic railing to make the cruise ship virtual balcony more lifelike, you can have a taste of outdoors without the price tag.  With the addition of a host of natural sounds, the whole experience is true to life. The display shows the actual footage as though you have a balcony and offers a truly immersive experience.  

Virtual Reality Dining and Bionic Bars 

Virtual reality dining is an experience like no other. Dining is not just about the food you are eating, it’s the whole culinary experience. With a virtual headset you can watch a virtual chef cooking the cuisine of your choice, in the surroundings that suit the mood and setting, bringing your table to life. Following the truly theatrical show you will be served with the food to enjoy. Dining with a twist and an experience you will never forget. 

You can also experience fully robotic bars on-board, The Bionic Bar. Featured on-board Royal Caribbean’s 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 watch as the robots choose from 30 spirits and 21 mixers, the cocktail combinations are endless. 

Hologram Tours and Digital Assistance 

Finding your way around a cruise ship has never been easier and more convenient. At a time that suits you and your itinerary you can now take a virtual tour of a three-dimensional cruise ship while a holographic person guides you around. This enables you to navigate the ship to become more familiar to where everything is located, and if you forget, simply access again and at your own convenience.  

If you have any questions about life on- board, some cruise ships now have ground-breaking technology in the form of a digital assistant, available any time of the day. MSC Cruises have introduced Zoe, the assistant who 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. Zoe can offer instant information about cruise events, entertainment, journey updates and she can even play music whilst you get ready for your day ahead. 

With restrictions easing from travel during the Covid-19 pandemic, cruise technologies continue to develop ensuring passengers health and safety on-board. With more and more cruise lines looking at how technology can create more hands-free processes innovative and everchanging technology is breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising – making it a fantastic experience for travellers of all ages and lifestyles. And the best part about it all? It doesn’t show any signs of slowing down so we can look forward to more innovative improvements to come! 

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Bethany Ward

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