Upon arrival, cruisers will be able to walk right on the ship without stopping at a desk, as long as they have their phone in a pocket. The app will pair with a facial recognition system at the pier to verify their identity as they head to the gangway. Using Excalibur, guests will be able to take a selfie using their smart device, which will be displayed on a digital boarding pass. During boarding, guests will be able to simply walk through a scanner that will use facial recognition technology to automatically check them in, meaning they can go straight to their staterooms without waiting in line. If a passenger had any uncompleted paperwork, the system would automatically flag them so they could be pulled out of line to finish providing any necessary information. The system will also track guests’ luggage in real-time, allowing them to always know where their bags are. Once on board, the app also will serve as a room key. As long as passengers are carrying their phone, their room doors will unlock as they approach them.
Excalibur features on Royal Caribbean’s smartphone apps, or the Wow Bands, will allow guests to do a number of other tasks after the cruise is underway. In addition to unlocking stateroom doors, guests will be able to order drinks and have them delivered directly to their location, no matter where they are on the ship, reserve shore excursions and make dinner reservations. Excalibur will also let guests control their stateroom’s lighting, temperature and other features from their mobile device, even from outside their stateroom. Excalibur will also allow Royal Caribbean to send guests notifications with personalized recommendations for services they can book onboard, such as relaxing treatments for spa lovers.
Excalibur also incorporates a number of features, which allow guests to play games and interact with their environment using their smartphones. You will be able to point your phone at a poster, which will appear to spring to life on the smartphone screen and become a game the guest could play. Another feature will allow you to point your smartphone at a special area of a wall. A camera behind the wall would project a video to the guest’s smartphone, providing the illusion that they were looking through the wall just like Superman X-Ray vision! This feature could be used to give guests a behind-the-scenes glimpse of certain areas they couldn’t otherwise access for safety or security reasons, such as the galley or engine room.
The overal effect will be to give passengers back the first day of their vacation Royal Caribbean have said. Passengers no longer will have to spend time on embarkation day checking in, waiting in line to board, tracking down their bags, and making show and restaurant reservations. They can just head straight to the pool or to other on-board attractions.
What about guests who don’t have a smartphone, or don’t feel like carrying one around on their holiday? Well the Wow Band will continue to provide access to Excalibur features. Royal Caribbean is even planning to roll out a new version of the Wow Band, dubbed Wow Band 2.0, sometime next year and you will still be able to do everything from checking in to ordering a drink the old-fashioned way. Traditional key cards for opening doors still will be available, for instance and if you want the check-in process on paper, they’ll do it on paper!
Many features of Excalibur started to roll out in August, and the company plans to have them implemented on 13 percent of its ships by the end of the year. By the end of 2018, Excalibur should be active on half the company’s fleet, and across the company’s entire fleet by the end of 2019.