The cruise lines are using new technology to improve the customer experience in many ways. From the looks of things, the future of cruising is pretty wild. At an event for Royal Caribbean and its sister company Celebrity, guests were asked to download an app, snap a selfie, and turn on their Bluetooth. Once those steps were taken, the techie magic took over. Guests were greeted by name, thanks to Bluetooth signaling. Pull up the app’s drink menu, make your choice, and a server delivers it wherever you are in the crowd thanks to a face-recognition system.
Tech is also integrated into the staterooms, starting with doors that unlock with a flick of the wrist (and the WOWband attached to it). The accompanying app can tell you when to leave to make your dinner reservations, give guests the ability to chat with each other, and serve as a virtual concierge. Celebrity Cruises is using new technology to add an innovative attraction to its new Edge class. These ships will feature something they call the Magic Carpet. It is the first cantilevered floating platform at sea. It will offer great views as it can reach a height of 13 stories above sea level. With lounges and comfortable seating, it will function as everything from an outdoor dining venue on one deck, to a concert space on another. Stay tuned for many more incredible changes onboard!
Ships with Different Designs and features
Most of the major cruise lines have new ships slated to have their maiden voyage in 2018 and 2019. The cruise lines are fighting for your business by making their ships stand out. For example, MSC’s Seaside to set sail in 2018, sets itself apart from its competitors by having an innovative design that includes a hull that looks more like a luxury South Beach condo complex than a cruise ship.
Royal Caribbean continues to design ships that are bigger and more impressive. In April of 2018 it will inaugurate the Symphony of the Seas. It will take over the title off the World’s largest cruise ship. At 215.5 feet wide this ship will offer 2,775 cabins and accommodate 5,550 passengers based on double occupancy. With 18 decks, it is predicted to be as tall as the leaning tower of Pisa. As usual, Royal Caribbean plans to make the Symphony a ship that thrill seekers will love with lots of attractions and active options.
Alaska-bound Norwegian Bliss would feature a two-deck-high racing course where passengers compete against each other in electric go-carts — a first for a vessel based in North America. also revealed Bliss will have an open-air laser tag course on its top deck, another feature that first debuted on Joy. Other deck-top features announced for Bliss include an Aqua Park with two multi-story water slides. One of the slides will have a loop that extends over the side of the ship and a second, see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below.
Celebrity Chef Restaurants
Cruise lines are continuing to partner with award winning and celebrity chefs to take their dining options to the next level. Crystal cruises has partnered with famed LA chef Nobu. MSC has partnered with James Beard award winning chef Roy Yamaguchi. Oceania, a cruise line known for top notch dining, has long partnered with Jacques Pepin. Royal Caribbean has partnered with Michael Schwartz and Jamie Oliver. Their Quantum class of ships features Chef Schwartz’s “Michael’s Genuine Pub”. Holland America has partnered with Master chef Rudi Sodamin. Even Carnival has embraced this trend and partnered with Guy Fieri.
More Time in Ports with Overnight Stays
While some cruise lines are focusing on their ships, others are focusing on their destinations and time in port. Azamara Cruises President takes pride in the fact that his company’s cruises spend more time in port with several overnights and some multi-night stays in certain exciting ports.
Celebrity Cruises is adding overnight stays on more than 40 Caribbean sailings in 2016, allowing passengers to stay longer in popular ports such as Cartagena, St. Maarten, Aruba, Cozumel, Curacao and Barbados.
River cruises are continuing to gain in popularity due to the intimate, all-inclusive experience they offer. It also allows you to really immerse yourself in the culture and local flavor of the destinations. 13 new river cruise ships are on order for this year, adding to the more than 184 ones that currently exist. River cruise itineraries are also becoming more varied and exotic. The decor of many of these new cruise ships is elegant, modern and streamlined.
Crystal launched two completely new river yachts in 2017, plus two more coming in 2018. As usual with Crystal, the early sailings are already selling out or sold out.