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Digital Transformation in Cruise: Trends

by Asa Sargeant | November 27, 2019 | General News & Events | 0 Comments

We’ve recently been looking at some of the technological advances being made in the cruise industry and with 2019 nearing its end and the festive period slaloming its way into our lives, we thought it would be a good time to reflect upon some of the more interesting trends from this year.

More and more people are beginning to describe cruise ships as ‘floating cities’, with a number of key developments taking place in recent times to augment the customer journey. This augmentation has been such that a cruise experience in 2019 is a vastly different one to that offered to passengers at the turn of the millennium. In fact, some of the key stand-out additions from this year are helping to transform it into a completely different experience to that enjoyed by more than 28 million people just last year...

- Wearable technology

Nowadays, passengers can wave goodbye to key cards and instead gain access to their cabins via bracelets or necklaces such as those found aboard the Sky Princess from Carnival. Their Ocean Medallion technology is designed to make cruising easier for customers, offering them the ability to make payments and capturing information on them which is then used in turn by the crew to provide a more personalised service. Think of it as having VIP status and your own PA...

- More powerful apps

Another innovation, this time from Celebrity, is their new and improved app which is currently on board the Celebrity Edge. Boasting facial recognition software, passengers are able to upload a selfie into the app which gains them an automatic check-in so they can leave long queues behind. They can also view their itinerary, link reservations with those of other guests, view entertainment and dining options and they can even adjust the thermostat in their cabin...

- Mobile ordering

Virgin Voyages are due to launch their very first ship, the Scarlet Lady, next year, and in true Virgin style their guests will be called ‘sailors’. Also in true Virgin style, the sailors will have the ability to order champagne for themselves with a simple shake of their mobile phone – yes, you read that correctly. There is also now such a thing as ‘geolocation-based mobile ordering’, where passengers can order a drink without being anywhere near the bar – it’s essentially something you can do in a variety of pubs these days but on the high seas...

- Advanced leisure activities

This month NCL launched ‘Norwegian Encore’, a brand-new cruise ship that is home to a 10,000-square foot gaming and VR complex. Here passengers can enjoy an escape room challenge featuring augmented reality experiences, plus a virtual-reality racing experience in a retrofitted GT car – it’s not quite Scalextric, is it?!

- Voice recognition

Another innovation at sea is the introduction of a voice-activated system much like Google, Alexa and Siri here on dry land: Zoe, from MSC. Available on all their new ships in all staterooms, Zoe can recognise and communicate in seven different languages and answer a number of questions based upon restaurants and excursions, for example. So, seafarers can soon claim to be like Stephen “words are his power” King...


Carnival – Carnival Cruise; founded in 1972, Carnival are best known for their Caribbean cruises but also provide cruises to Mexico, Alaska, Europe and Hawaii.

Celebrity – Celebrity Cruises; founded in 1988, Celebrity offers the prospect of experiencing 300+ destinations across 7 continents.

NCL – Norwegian Cruise Line; founded in 1966, Norwegian prides itself on being a prime innovator in the cruise industry. The first to eliminate set dining times, Norwegian also gave their guests the freedom to cruise on their schedule to more than 450 destinations worldwide.

MSC – MSC Cruises; the world's largest privately-owned cruise line, providing cruises in the Caribbean, Europe, South America and southern Africa. MSC also offer seasonal itineraries to northern Europe, China, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and India amongst others.

Top Tip

FAO: Cruise lines; all of this tech innovation is very welcome indeed, and on numerous levels for us here at ICE Technology Services. Part of theICEway ecosystem and with more than 20 years’ worth of experience in the wonderful world of cruise, we have seen and continue to see the industry make huge strides forwards. Guests on board new ‘super ships’ can do things never before dreamed of, and it is no wonder that passenger numbers continue to grow exponentially. HOWEVER...

With great tech development comes great responsibility.

We can help with an array of IT consultancy services and application managed services for cruise so contact us today to find out more.

We can also help in other ways too, most notably through our eTestware and CRIBB Cyber Security brands. Those seeking to enhance their cyber resilience, for example, would be urged to look at the latter and more specifically, our CRIBB Maritime Cyber Assurance product, launched just this year...

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