The cruise ship industry continues to look for new ways to boost travel sales, increase consumer confidence and improve overall passenger experience. Several new cruise ships have been launched this year, and more launchings are planned for 2015. Since many of the largest cruise ships already boast a capacity of over 6000 passengers, however, the focus of these new ships has nothing to do with size. Rather, the emphasis is now on adding more innovations and luxuries. From hi-tech entertainment and upscale dining experiences to better safety and environmental changes, technology is at the heart of many of these changes.
Cruise ship companies plan to install “scrubber” technology in their ships over the next three years. This system simultaneously removes exhaust from high-sulfur fuel while aiding in the reduction of carbon air emissions. This advanced cleansing technology enables cruise ships to achieve and even exceed the current standards for environmental sustainability.
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Old, inefficient bulbs are being removed and replaced with LED and fluorescent bulbs. This will save cruise ship companies hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in energy costs.
Some cruise lines are implementing the installation of solar panels on newer ships to help provide power for LED lights and elevators.
In an effort to restore confidence in consumers following the events of 2013, many cruise companies are investing in additional emergency generators to help ensure ships retain full power redundancy during events that cause the main power source to fail.
Cruise ships are also implementing RFID technology to access a host of services specifically designed to improve the convenience, safety and enrichment of each passenger aboard the ship. Each passenger’s ticketing information, identification documents, reservation, planned cruise or land tour activities and luggage can all be loaded into the RFID wristband given to them during the check-in process. Children can be safely monitored, check-in will go much faster and passengers can also connect to the ship’s network, make purchases, access their rooms and more.
Entertainment and productivity technologies
Some ships utilize facial recognition technology to sort through the images taken of passengers during their cruise. Once these images are located, they are properly placed into each passenger’s personal photo album.
Share Recognition Cameras use biometrics to monitor foot traffic through various dining venues on-board. Once the data is collected, it is sent to real-time interactive passenger boards to help them find the least crowded venue.
Guest kiosks are being implemented to allow guests to logon to their email accounts, so they can stay in touch with loved ones without having to fork out money for expensive roaming costs on their mobile devices.
Other exciting technology in the works includes cocktail-mixing robots, virtual balcony experiences and 5D movie theater extravaganzas. Whatever innovative plans are in the works, one thing is for certain. The cruise ship industry is more aware than ever-before regarding what appeals to this generation of both seasoned and first-time cruise ship travelers.