There are a number of ‘smart ships’ sailing out there. Laced with all the luxury that one could think of for a fun-packed, utterly comfortable experience on the seas, these cruise ships are also loaded with technology. Take, for instance, MSC Bellissima in which each cabin boasts of a virtual assistant – similar to Apple’s Siri – that can help one navigate the humongous ship. Called ZOE, this virtual assistant can help one with reservations, tell what’s on the menu and in which part of their extensively elaborate restaurant, help plan an excursion, and pay bills.
Power to the passengers
The pandemic had brought the tourism estate to a standstill, and this gave time to the cruise companies to up their game and provide a better, smoother experience to their customers. ZOE on MSC Bellissima is a cherry on top for on-boarders who now have tech-supported access to know the Bellissima that has a multi-purpose karaoke bar, comedy club, TV studio & Bar, an amusement park, and a sports center, water parks, 12 dining venues, and 20 bars. ZOE has been programmed to keep learning with every interaction, and if she didn’t immediately know a particular question – let’s say, which of the ship’s dining spots serves baked lasagna – she will adapt, learn, and will know next time. The ‘MSC for Me’ app is the platform through which the cruisers can access the facilities of digital technology that literally interconnects the guests, the crew and the ship, your time on board is in your hands. The easy-to-use interactive touchscreens around the ship, the In-Cabin Smart TV, and the app – all take the cruising experience to a whole new level.
Cruise ships are increasingly adopting Internet of Things (IoT) systems to support smart wearables on board. Cell phone connectivity is spotty at sea, and many people keep phones off to avoid expensive data roaming charges, making apps impractical for contact-free interactions, but IoT systems enable fast connections and data sharing even in the middle of the ocean.
Hassle-free modus operandi
As well as enhancing the passenger experience, the latest technology being introduced by the major cruise lines can ease concerns about health issues associated with close contact. Royal Caribbean’s seamless check-in is one example of the touchless boarding experience, allowing passengers to take a selfie and scan their passports. From there, Royal Caribbean’s partnership with Tascent Inc has resulted in a smart door device that can control access to a stateroom or common area using facial recognition. Enabled with a wide-angle camera, the smart device detects a person’s face in its field of view, uses facial recognition algorithms to identify the person, and unlocks the door if the person is authorized to enter. It eliminates the need to constantly carry a key card during a cruise. There’s also a robot-powered Bionic Bar, where robotic arms mix up custom cocktails, along with a skydiving simulator and North Star, a viewing pod that provides 360-degree views from 300 feet above sea level. You’ll also find RFID baggage tracking, state-of-the-art internet connectivity, and USB power ports in every guest room.
Tech-Providers penetrating the cruising business
TraceSafe, a global leader in location-aware Internet of Things (IoT) platforms for large-scale industrial and enterprise operations, were the one behind Royal Caribbean’s custom wearable devices and bands that are equipped with long-lasting batteries and RFID modules. MSC Bellissima’s personalized digital assistant service ‘MSC for Me’ is an innovation partnership with tech giant Samsung. Carnival Corporation — Princess Cruises’ parent company — debuted its latest open seas innovation: the Ocean Medallion, a tiny wearable device that will allow passengers to have a largely hands-free experience. Created with the assistance of the tech whizzes at Nytec, the waterproof device — which can be worn as a bracelet or necklace, on your belt or simply be dropped into your pocket – works a bit like your very own butler.