Where next for Cruise? Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises, on new tech
The time that we spend on holiday is precious. We want to be inspired and delighted, to visit new places, meet different people, experience fresh things and to create lasting memories. It is the time we save all year long to spend with our families and friends and, given that many of us spend months planning our holidays, we want the best experience possible while we’re away.
When our customers book a cruise with us they are entrusting us with their valuable holiday time. So the last thing we want to do is to waste that time.
We are all so busy these days and it’s ironic that despite our technological advances it seems that we have less time now than ever before. It is no surprise therefore that we are continually seeking new ways of optimising our time and reducing the instances we waste with those little points of friction such as checking in, standing in line, getting lost or missing out on things that we want to do because we’re stuck doing those things.
Technology that gets to know us and that can anticipate our wants and needs is one way we can optimise our time. Consider Netflix; every time you make a choice that information is recorded, and then every time you log onto your personal account thousands of algorithms compete to provide you with recommendations on what you should watch next based on your past behaviour and the behaviour of countless other users like you.
Similar technology is being introduced on cruise ships that provide an excellent environment to deliver personalisation. Cruising already offers fantastic choice, endless experiences and fine food and drink on a huge scale, but we are moving to a world where each cruiser’s experience will be unique to them; where their preferences and behaviour will dictate the options they are presented with and where the crew will be able to anticipate and deliver their needs and wants.
At Princess Cruises we have introduced the Princess Medallion on the Caribbean Princess, while Regal Princess will follow shortly. The Princess Medallion is a device that interacts with sensors all around the ship, allows you to pay for items purchased on board, access wayfinding and locate other members of your party, play games and even replaces your cruise card, speeding up embarkation and opening your cabin door as you approach. This is allowing us to provide a personalised experience for everyone on board as the crew have real-time information on the guests that helps them to surprise and delight each and every one.
Princess Cruises isn’t the only line investing in technology to improve life for guests. MSC has launched MSC for Me, its new connected experience, that allows guests to interact with the ship and crew. Royal Caribbean introduced its wow bands as an optional replacement for a cruise card.
Cruise lines are unique in that we are able to provide a completely connected environment, which is something that is very difficult to achieve in a land-based resort. Staying connected is also getting easier at sea as cruise lines are offering ever faster and more affordable internet packages. For instance, Princess’ MedallionNet offers land-like connection speeds.
I believe that we are at the start of a very exciting evolution of the guest experience on cruise ships and our ability to provide a unique and personal experience for all guests means that we are delivering experiences that are unavailable anywhere else in the world.