Royal Caribbean International has unveiled a wide range of new technologies to be implemented onboard its recently-floated Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, with features ranging from 10 minute check-ins and high-speed internet at sea to robotic bartenders.
Royal Caribbean unveiled the new tech this week during a press event at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, where the 4,100 passenger Quantum of the Seas is under construction. The new amenities are targeted towards tech-savvy travelers unwilling to leave modern-day amenities onshore while cruising, including even more industry firsts from the world’s second largest cruise operator.
Highlights include “Smart check-in”, which promises “sidewalk to ship” in just 10 minutes by allowing passengers to check-in and generate all boarding documents at home, eliminating long lines at the terminals. Guests will even be able to track luggage in real time using their smartphones by way of RFID technology that will pinpoint luggage from curbside drop-off until delivery to staterooms.
Perhaps one of most promising and much-needed technologies will be the unprecedented bandwidth using satellites launched by tech partner O3b Networks. Royal Caribbean says that speeds will match fast broadband connections onshore, allowing guests to stream video, check email, log on to social media, and Facetime or Skype, even while cruising in the middle of the ocean.
“Even when they are getting away from it all on vacation, people want to be able to connect,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “Our satellite network will make things possible at sea that could never have been done before, and will make all the difference in the way guests share their Royal Caribbean experience.”
One of the more, er, entertaining technologies will be the Bionic Bar, where guests will order drinks using tablets and then robots will literally mix the cocktails and drinks behind the bar.
More amenities include new smart wristbands, which will help guests navigate the ship, make purchases, and serve as room keys, as well as “virtual balconies” that will ensure every stateroom has a view, or at least an 80-inch LED screen to make it look that way.
Of note, Royal Caribbean also announced a partnership with Microsoft that will provide each crewmember with free Microsoft Tablet to help them better track guests’ tastes and preferences, as well as use it keep in touch with friends and family back home. In fact, Royal Caribbean says that as technology upgrades are made across the its fleet, every shipboard employee in the entire Royal Caribbean International fleet will also receive their own tablet – a total of 40,000 tablets.
“The Royal Caribbean men and women who provide such great vacations are the real heroes of our fleet and these gifts demonstrate our appreciation in a tangible way,” Fain said. “This technology isn’t only about giving our guests a better vacation – it’s also about giving our crew and their families a closer connection than we’ve ever been able to.”
The 167,800 ton Quantum of the Seas will span 18 decks and be able to accommodate 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms. The vessel is expected to be delivered in November and will spend its inaugural season sailing out of New York Harbor before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China this Spring. A second Quantum-class ship, Anthem of the Seas, is expected to debut in Southampton, U.K. in April 2015 sailing Mediterranean itineraries. A third is also being planned.
Quantum of the Seas illustration courtesy Royal Caribbean