At theICEway, we love technology. We also love the cruise industry, being as we have completed a lot of work there over the last 20 years. Therefore, ‘Tech for cruise’ as a topic is one we’re keen to revisit every so often – such as today. Here then we look at some of the ways technology is being leveraged by cruise lines and IT service providers. We also look at some of our work for the cruise industry before turning to the future.
Technology And The Cruise Industry
Perhaps more than most, the cruise industry has been significantly impacted by rapid advancements in technology. Tech has been used to enhance the guest experience and to improve operational efficiency:
Cruise lines can now provide far better connectivity for guests. Expectation levels around this have grown exponentially in recent years. We all expect high speed internet connections but at sea, this has been a real challenge. Guests can now stay connected throughout their voyage, able to share their experiences via social media. They can work remotely now too, something which has become very important to many of us. Cruise guests also now benefit from interactive TVs, streaming services, on-demand content and more. Wearable devices and smartphone apps have also improved, as have on board entertainment options – a lot of ships now feature VR experiences.
Crew Management and Operations
Technology also continues to play a pivotal role behind the scenes. Crew scheduling and training can now be streamlined through dedicated software systems. Inventory management, fuel consumption monitoring and maintenance are also optimised using tech. All of this leads to significant cost savings and improved efficiency.
Read similar articles from theICEway:- Innovation in technology and cruise
- Tech improving cruise ships (Tech Talks #4)
Our Work In Cruise
We are proud to have worked alongside some true cruise industry giants. We continue to do so today, counting among them brands including: Azamara, MSC Cruises, NCLH, Virgin Voyages and Windstar Cruises. Newcomers such as Cruise Saudi and Explora Journeys have also opted to step aboard theICEway. It is fair to say that our efforts in cruise have been varied, challenging and deeply rewarding. You can find a small selection of case studies about our work on our website but more will be coming in the months ahead. Heading into the UK winter months, we plan on adding updates on projects involving the following (and more):- Seaware implementation
- tzChromar installation and support
We have not always been vocal about our cruise work in the past but it has been a real privilege to serve such a wonderful industry. Working on IT in cruise is demanding, often requiring an appreciation of innovation which is not always the case in other industries. That is in part due to the unique challenges that must be faced and overcome. It is not easy to maintain a ‘smart ship’ in – literally – the middle of nowhere, for example! Moving forwards, we’ll aim to talk a little more about what we do and with whom. You can expect to hear from different voices than that of this writer, too. Well, that is the plan at least – true IT experts can be difficult to pin down. But enough about us, let’s turn towards the future…
The Future For Cruise
This is poised to be shaped even further by increasingly more advanced and innovative tech. Some key trends and possibilities for the cruise industry are as follows:- Increased personalisation via digital platforms and apps: Guests will be able to fully customise itineraries, book onboard activities and access real-time information about their journey. AI and ML algorithms will also be used to analyse preferences, then allowing for tailored experiences to be suggested
- A growth in ‘Smart Ships’ and automation: The concept of “smart ships” will become more prominent. Robotics and autonomous tech will play a larger role in housekeeping, maintenance and potentially passenger services, too (i.e., Via self-service kiosks)
Other possibilities include further growth in immersive VR and AR experiences. We touched upon AI and ML analysis above, and advanced data analytics will also enable cruise lines to gather insights on operational performance and maintenance. Predictive maintenance algorithms will help anticipate and prevent equipment failures. There will likely be further advancements in entertainment and connectivity as well, as we strive to maximise that all-important guest experience.
A potentially ‘hot’ topic, we should pause for a moment to reflect upon biometric technologies. Facial recognition and fingerprint scanning are well-known to most smartphone users. In the cruise industry, it is thought that this tech will simplify the embarkation and disembarkation processes. Security will be enhanced and waiting times reduced, contributing to a smoother, more efficient guest experience.
This ‘Tech for cruise’ piece is designed for people interested in those 2 wonderful creations. Where would we be without technology? What would the world be like without cruise holidays? Whether you use tech or not, it simply has to be appreciated. Similarly, whether or not you are a cruiser, anyone who has been near a cruise ship marvels at it. They can see how much pleasure cruise holidays provide to people, young and old. Of course, this piece is also aimed at anyone working in the cruise industry. Hopefully you will be inspired by the amazing examples of IT innovation. Maybe you need help with IT and are not sure who to turn to? Or maybe, like this writer, you are simply buoyed by the tremendous possibilities that lay ahead. Whatever your take on it, we’d love for the piece to start a conversation.
What do you think is the best use of technology in cruise?