Your meeting attendees and incentive qualifiers demand rapid speed WiFi and smart digital tech, and cruise lines are exceeding expectations. How? By ramping up shipboard connectivity, lowering rates, and developing apps and wearable devices to provide more personalized experiences.

Read on to learn more about cruise ship technology that’s surprising…and smart!

Here are 5 surprising cruise ship technology trends

Cruise ship technology includes innovative digital devices and infrastructure with pervasive WiFi, RFID tagging, GPS mapping and Bluetooth-enabled beacons throughout cruise ships.

1. Easy Embarkation With No Check-In Lines

Royal Caribbean Cruises Excalibur App for speedy embarkation.
Royal Caribbean’s new app for a speedy check-in.

Royal Caribbean developed the Excalibur tech platform to ensure speedy embarkation on their larger ships.

Guests use a free mobile app to scan their passport, take a security “selfie “and receive a digital boarding pass before they arrive at the port. They then breeze through embarkation, thanks to facial recognition technology.

Once on board, the app also serves as a room key. A luggage tracker will monitor bags and alert guests when their luggage is delivered to their rooms.

2. AI & Voice Recognition Cruise Ship Technology

MSC introduces Zoe, the first voice-activated digital personal assistant at sea.
MSC introduces Zoe, the first voice-activated digital personal assistant at sea.

MSC introduced voice-activated technology onboard MSC Bellissima. This is the first ship to feature Zoe, a ‘digital personal assistant’ powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

Available in every guest room, Zoe speaks seven languages. The device can provide information and suggestions about onboard facilities, daily programs, and entertainment.

Zoe is an extension of MSC for Me digital platform that relies on 3,500 sensors fitted around the ship, smart TVs, touch screen signage and an app.

3. Apps & Wearable Devices Provide Personalized Experiences

The hottest trend in cruise ship technology is the development of new onboard apps designed to enhance the entire passenger experience. With these apps, your cruise meeting attendees can review daily itineraries, see restaurant menus, book spa treatments or shore excursions, make purchases, and chat with each other for free.

Several cruise companies have introduced complimentary wearable devices to deliver more personalized services. The waterproof devices (which include bracelets, medallions and key fobs) act as identification, charge card, and location beacon; and enable hands-free keyless stateroom access.

Princess Ocean Medallion bracelet for personalized cruise experiences.
Princess Ocean Medallion bracelet

For example, using Carnival’s OceanMedallion, a guest can order a drink using a mobile app. The medallion relays their name and location for on-demand beverage delivery.

Several ships in the Princess Cruises fleet already offer the medallion.

Carnival cruise ships also offer a Hub App, featuring the popular “Pizza Anywhere” function. To place an order, guests mark their location on the ship’s map, take a selfie, and select their desired pizza and toppings. Pizzas are cooked to order and delivered hot to the guest’s exact location on the ship.

Holland America Line recently launched a free app fleetwide. Using the Navigator app, guests can select and save activities to personalize their daily schedule. Those activities appear alongside booked dining reservations and shore excursions, keeping everything easily accessible in one place. Notifications can be set up to send reminders and alerts for reservations, messages and more.

Norwegian Cruise Line free app
Norwegian Cruise Line app

Racing to keep up, Norwegian Cruise Line recently announced they will be rolling out their new Cruise Freedom technology, including wearables, on Norwegian Edge later this year.

4. Super Fast, Reliable Connection

Superior connectivity is now available at sea, thanks to enhanced bandwidth and state-of-the-art cruise ship technology. And group event planners will be happy to know that daily and package WiFi rates are dropping as service improves.

Royal Caribbean VOOM, currently the fastest internet at sea, is now available on every Royal Caribbean ship. Royal Caribbean claims Voom WiFi speed is six times faster than what you’ll find on other ships now sailing.

MedallionNet WiFi on Princess ship
MedallionNet on Princess ships

Not to be outdone, the MedallionNet on Princess cruise ships promises to set the industry standard for high-speed internet. The service will provide land-like speeds so guests can stay connected from anywhere onboard.

According to Princess, MedallionNet is “as good or even better than typical land-based hotel WiFi.”

Faster and still free: Regent Seven Seas Cruises is nearly doubling internet bandwidth size across its fleet by January 2020. making their free internet service faster and even more reliable on all devices.

5. Free WiFi for Everyone!

Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers free WiFi to all guests on every ship.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers free WiFi to all guests on every ship.

Here’s a cruise ship technology trend you – and your program attendees – will love! While contemporary cruise lines continue to lower WiFi rates, premium and luxury lines are steadily increasing the scope of complimentary connectivity on their ships. For example:

Regent Seven Seas continues to offer free unlimited WiFi to all guests on their upscale cruise ships.

Silversea has extended unlimited Wi-Fi access to every guest throughout its fleet of luxury classic and expedition ships.

Oceania premium ships include free, unlimited service for all stateroom and suite categories on all sailings.

Crystal Cruises and Crystal River Cruises offer all passengers complimentary internet and Wi-Fi access onboard their luxury ocean ships, river vessels, and yachts.

Viking Ocean Cruises, Ritz-Carlton Yachts, and Virgin Voyages also offer free WiFi service to all guests, as do most premium river cruise lines.

Learn More About Meetings and Incentives at Sea

No matter what your group size, budget, or meeting requirements, Landry & Kling can help you find the perfect ship and itinerary for a flawless event! Just give us a call at 305-661-1880, send an email to inquiry@landrykling.com, or request a group or charter quote