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8 Incredible Technologies Onboard Cruise Ships

15th January 2015

Whether you are a tech lover or not, there is a part of everyone that gets excited when a new gadget takes the world by storm. Whether it’s a new app on your phone, a robotic hoover that claims to clean your house without you moving or an exciting new wireless device that you all of a sudden 'need' in your life, we can’t help but evolve into the ever changing technical world.

Technology is everywhere and plays a major part in all of lives, and this doesn’t stop when we go on holiday. The cruise industry has taken a lead on the technology front and these floating hotels are now home to some of the most exciting technologies in the world.

Here are eight incredible cruise ship technologies:

Movies Under the Stars

It is possible to catch the latest flick almost anywhere now, whether on an aeroplane, train, or pretty much anywhere with your smartphone or tablet.

Although all cruise lines have televisions in staterooms and throughout the ship, it was Princess Cruises that took this one step higher with the 'Movies Under the Stars' concept. A gigantic 300 square foot, 69000 watt movie screen was added to the top deck of select ships. Offering guests the unique opportunity to enjoy blockbuster movies with a real backdrop of sea and sky, this concept has been a huge hit.

Available on: Royal Princess, Regal Princess

Robotic Bartenders

The leaders in cruise ship technology, Royal Caribbean did not disappoint with their latest creation on new ships Quantum and Anthem of the Seas. The Bionic Bar consists of two robotic bartenders that serve up a host of exotic cocktails.

Guests order their cocktail of choice via tablet and then watch in amazement as the robotic bartender mixes their desired drink. Each robot can produce one drink per minute and up to 1000 drinks a day.

Available on: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas

Interactive Restaurant

A dining experience like no other, Disney wanted to create an experience for guests to bring their imagination to life and successfully accomplished this with 'Animators Palate'.

As guests sit down at their dining table, they will find a black sheet and markers where they can draw characters of their choice within the lines given.

During dinner the restaurant changes colour and design through a shift of lighting and digital walls. As dessert time approaches, the entire restaurant comes alive. The interactive screens throughout will display movie clips featuring your very own drawn character.

Available on: Disney Magic, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy

Digital Wayfinders

With cruise ships increasing in size, it made sense to cater for those with a fear of getting lost or missing a show due to not finding their way.

When the world’s largest ship, Oasis of Seas launched in 2009 she came equipped with a new LCD wayfinder system. Located throughout the ship these screens offer a way for guests to find their way around using a touch screen display. These screens also show whats on, the way to your stateroom and a map of how to get to the location of your choice.

These Wayfinders won three awards for technological excellence from the Digital Screenmedia Association and Hospitality Technology Magazine.

Available on: Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Vision of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Legend of the seas

Cruise Apps

There is an app for almost everything nowadays. From fitness, cooking, and checking your finance to making your shopping list, booking a taxi and even planning your next holiday. With the significant increase of smartphone users, apps are vital.

Many cruise lines now have their own apps to enable guests to pre-book entertainment, view their itinerary and find out what’s happening onboard.

Some cruise lines raised the bar even higher, among our favourites are Norwegian Cruise Lines who realised an app where guests can keep all their holiday pictures in one place, navigate around the ship and get up-to-date event information.

Available on: Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises 

Virtual Balconies

Everyone likes to see the outside view when cruising so Royal Caribbean wanted to ensure even those staying in an inside stateroom could experience the incredible views the ship is passing. Early in 2014 it was announced virtual balconies would be added to select ships, starting with Navigator of the Seas.

These 80 inch LED screens are attached to the inside wall and project a real-time view of the outside. They work both in port and at sea so guests can experience exactly what it is like to have an outside stateroom.

Available on: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas 

Salt Room at Sea

Norwegian Cruise Line made a breakthrough in the spa category with the first ever Salt Room at sea onboard Norwegian Breakaway.

This special treatment room releases dry aerosol micro particles of salt into the room in a session with is proven to improve the immune and respiratory systems, leaving guests feeling healthier and refreshed.

Available on: Norwegian Breakaway

Sky Diving Simulator

Known for pushing all industry boundaries, Royal Caribbean wowed once again with their latest innovation on Quantum of the Seas. iFly is an indoor sky diving simulator that stands at the back of the ship to offer flying views like no other.

This 23-foot tall glass cylinder blows wind up to a speed of 160 mph for guests to feel like they are taking part in a real life sky dive.

Available on: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas


By Sally Grimes


Quantum of the Seas - First Impressions

28th August 2014

Robot Bartenders, WOWbands and 40,000 Tablets...

With three weeks left until the 'big completion day' our Commercial Manager, Dave was lucky enough to be whisked off to the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Germany to get a first glimpse of new ship, Quantum of the Seas.

Set to be a complete game changer, it has been revealed she will be the world’s first SMARTship with innovations never before seen on land, let alone at sea. The most tech-savvy ship ever designed, prepare for something new.

Goodbye Seapass cards…Hello WOWband

One of the new technologies causing a controversial stir is the introduction of the RFID WOWband. These bands will act as a key to enter staterooms, payment for onboard purchases and access to the Royal iQ app. Unlike a Seapass card, it is waterproof and will not demagnetise, as well as being convenient to wear with no worry of it getting lost.

After a discussion on Facebook, it appears many are not so keen on the WOWband idea and fear it will not match formal outfits and look more like a branded all-inclusive resort band. The good news for these people is that the bands are optional and you will be able to keep your Seapass card instead.

WOWbands will cost $2 and can be purchased at any Royal iQ station.

Exclusive Cruise Apps

Two revolutionary new apps completely raise every bar in cruise ship technology. These apps allow every guest profile to be tracked, from stateroom number, dining preference and show times.

In connection with the WOWband, at the tap of a finger guests can interact with Royal iQ with hand signals at screen stations throughout the ship.

The app will also allow guests to track their luggage. Each bag will be tagged with an ID number on arrival and then you can track exactly where your luggage is and its expected time of arrival to stateroom.

Ensuring a hassle-free travel experience guests will be able to create boarding documents, upload ID photograph and receive digital boarding passes through the Cruise Planner app. Making it easy on the first day of a cruise, there will be no lines, check-in or waiting around and Royal Caribbean guarantee a 10 minute sidewalk to ship time.

High five to land-based internet speed

With so much technology onboard, my first thought was that there would have to be an extremely fast and reliable internet connection for this to work properly.

However, rest assure the internet speed onboard will match those on land. With a network of low-orbit communications satellites, they are a closer distance to earth than satellites used by other cruise ships, allowing a constant efficient connection.

This connection will also allow guests to use Skype and Facetime, features that are not yet available at sea.

Great news for teens – this new technology will allow them to play interactive games with friends the other side of the world.

Getting to know you

With every phenomenal ship, there is a phenomenal crew and Quantum of the Seas has made a revolutionary introduction to allow a closer connection between crew and guest. Every single crew member will be given a tablet with custom apps to keep a track of guest preferences including food allergies, show times and special requests.

Robot Bartenders

Yes, just when you think you have heard it all! A robotic arm will now be crafting your perfect cocktails. Is this the future of bar staff? Who knows, but for now this is one thing I cannot wait to see!

A single robotic arm can get ice, mix drink and shake them into the ultimate liquid treat. Located inside The Bionic Bar, guests will order their cocktail on a tablet and then sit back and watch in awe as these human-like machines make their cocktails of choice.

And that’s not all

As well as all of these new technologies, Quantum of the Seas and sister ship Anthem of the Seas will boast an array of industry first activities including bumper cars, an indoor skydive and an elevating pod that will rise guests 300 feet above sea level.

A new dynamic dining concept will take away the traditional dining room and allow guests to alternative between three different dining venues. A range of specialty restaurants will also be available including Jamie’s Italian featuring a menu created my renowned chef Jamie Oliver.

See our Facebook photo album for exclusive first images of Quantum of the Seas.


By Sally Grimes


Top Apps For Cruisers

14th January 2014

With smart phones, tablets and iPads becoming a significant part of everyone’s life it is no wonder that you can find an app for almost anything these days.

Travel apps have become extremely popular and provide a quick, fun and efficient way to enhance the travel experience.  From apps to search holidays, check-in flights, find a local taxi, translate languages and check that all important weather forecast - your phone will soon be all you need when travelling.

From spending years at sea and constantly travelling I can vouch for one who relied on my phone and it's apps. Now I go cruising for fun or familiarisation trips, I've researched and tested the apps that all cruisers should have.

During my research I could not believe how many cruise apps are out there – there is one for every cruising need.

It was a tough job but I have managed to narrow it down to my top 5:

Pack The Bag

The only thing I dislike about going on holiday is packing! When I was going to work onboard it was easy as I only had to pack uniforms, however when cruising for pleasure it is a different story. Rest assure this app will save your life as it does everything for you, except physically put the items in the suitcase! You are required to enter some information about your holiday including type of holiday, duration and how many people travelling. This clever app then compiles a check list of all the items you should take, including the things you often forgot - like medicines and plug adapters. It allows you to tick off when you have packed a certain item and set alerts for the things you still need to pack. Amazing!

Cost: Free

Good for: Those who find packing as stressful as me.

 

Touchnote

One of the best things about going on a cruise is sharing memories and pictures. It can often be hard and time consuming to send a postcard on a cruise due to travelling to various destinations in a short period of time. However, with this app you will not need to worry about running around buying and posting postcards. Touchnote allows you to send personalised postcards with your own unique photo and message to other smart phone users – without even having to find a post office. A great way to share pictures with those left back at home.

Cost: Free

Best for: Sharing memories with friends and family.

 

Ship Mate

I love this app and it’s definitely a must for cruisers. It is basically a diary/forum/cruise planner/gallery and webcam in your pocket! It's features include a countdown to your next cruise, webcams from onboard ships (totally awesome), ship locations, picture galleries and a message forum. The web cams are terrific and allow you to see live footage from over 40 different ships. I really like the ship location finder that allows you to see where in the world ships are. My favourite feature of the app is the image gallery where you can upload and share pics from your cruise and browse other cruisers snaps.

Cost: Free

Best for: Cruise lovers

 

Simply Declare

Everyone loves shopping when they go on a cruise, whether onboard or in port. I am sure I am not the only one that worries about how much duty free I am carrying and if I am going to get stopped at the airport – so this app is a life saver. Simply Declare allows you to easily manage your purchases and enable declaring them hassle free. All you need to do is simply set the total amount you can spend and as you buy items, it will tally up what you have left to use. A great feature of this app is that it will automatically calculate the exchange rate between multiple currencies, and the rates are updated in real time.

Cost: Fee

Best for: Hassle-free shopping

 

Iglu Cruise

Searching for a cruise should be just as fun as going on the cruise itself. The Iglu Cruise app makes searching for a cruise enjoyable with its easy to navigate and helpful layout. You can search all cruise lines and itineraries aswell as browse the current Top 10 deals. When you find a cruise you like you can enquire, call or add it your saved shortlist – which means you will not have to search for it all over again. The way the cruises are shown ensure all relevant information is clearly displayed including itinerary specifics, accurate price details and ship information. Browse, search and book cruises from wherever you are..perfect :-)

Cost: Free

Best for: Browsing and planning cruises from the train, a bar or during a walk!

 

Some other apps I think are great for cruisers but couldn't squeeze into my top 5 are Cruise Critic, Royal Caribbean’s WOW Finder, Pin Drop and Wi-Fi Finder.

I really enjoyed testing out these apps and I definitely recommend you to try them when going on your next cruise - I have a feeling you will thank me.


By Sally Grimes


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