Royal Caribbean has hired the mastermind behind Walt Disney Co’s Magic Band mobile app to lead the charge into the seafaring digital age.
The cruise line revealed their aim to become more high tech when they unveiled an innovation lab last week at its headquarters in Miami, Florida.
There’s a new ship on the horizon for Celebrity Cruises and it is on the way to being filled with high tech goodies as parent company, Royal Caribbean, works on a digital transformation for its entire fleet of 49 ships across six brands worldwide.
Celebrity Edge, the newest ship from the brand, has been designed completely in 3D and the company’s tech team is working on a range of new features. These include facial recognition to allow for check-in at ports, wayfinding, and automatically unlocking cabin doors for the cabin’s guest.
There will also be a new mobile app for guests and crew that will include machine learning and AI to act as an intelligent personal assistant to passengers.
CEO of Celebrity Cruises, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo has stated: ‘One of the many things that are exciting to us about Celebrity Edge is the fact that it’s been designed in 3D and we’ve used 3D for every aspect of the design of the ship, whether it’s virtual reality simulation, full 3D mock-ups, 1:1 scale mock-ups, or 3D screens that we use to look at every different angle of a space to ensure that what we’re building is right not only for our guests but our operating teams.”
Read more about Celebrity Edge here, the ship that’s transforming expectations.
Royal Caribbean is plunging into the high-tech arena as many of its biggest cruise industry competitors are too. Cruise ships are installing better, faster Wi-Fi, adding tech-enabled wristbands and luggage tags, and entertaining guests with robots to greet them as they board the ship.
CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Richard Fain, has stated: “The issue that we are confronting as a company and an industry is, I like to say, that the pace of change, while it has been rapid, is slower today than it ever will be again. We need to recognize that. It’s simply a fact of life.”
At Carnival Corp., guests will find a new robotic crew member on some of its ships: a 47-inch tall humanoid robot that greets guests and answers general questions from passengers. Other technology includes dinner menus and professional photographs of guests being available to view on iPads located through the ship.
Fain stated that he is not worried about competition from Carnival Corp.: ‘We started developing our WOWband two years ago, so because we had that head start, we will have this in 20% of our ships by the end of the year, compared to 1% on Carnival. We’ll have it on more or less 50% of our ships by the end of next year.’
Royal’s WOWband allows guests to make on-board purchases and access staterooms on ships equipped with the technology whereas the Carnival Medallion will be debuting on Princess ships later this year as a proprietary digital portal that assesses data analytics for passengers.
Fain furthered: ‘We’re using more open source technology that makes it easier to build as the world of technology improves.’
Most recently, the cruise line have hired former Walt Disney Co. guru, Jay Schneider, as senior vice president of digital to lead its digital transformation.
Schneider who spent 10 years at Disney said he created the mobile app for the Magic Band and stated: ‘We have no dates yet on how soon this app might roll out, but with six ships scheduled to have it in 2017, it means we’re going quickly.
‘We’re trying to figure out how do we get solutions to scale across our fleet. For the wayfinding, we finally have it down to a reliance on our existing network, as well as the sensors on your phone to dead reckon between access points using your sensors and accurately map where you are.
‘It’s one of our goals. Technology will continue to evolve, so the more we can multi-purpose use the technology we do have, we’ll be able to speed to market faster.’
Fain finishes: ‘Technology is not simply about inventing new things. It’s also about taking cutting-edge technology and using it in different ways.’
What are your thoughts on Royal Caribbean’s high-tech plans? Which is your favourite piece of technology from the line’s ships? What technology do you think the brand hasn’t created yet? What else would you like to see onboard? Leave us your comments!
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