Three developments in the cruise sector

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At sea

The cruise sector sometimes has a hard time in terms of image. Polluting ships, crowding tourist areas and imagine you’ll have to spend two weeks in corona quarantine in an inside cabin … But cruising is also a very comfortable way to see much of an area in less time, because of the efficient combination of exploring during the day and sailing at night. In addition, we can learn a lot from the cruise industry in terms of hospitality, processes and comfort. In this article three developments from which we can learn from the cruise sector.

#1: From limitation to experience

Cruise ships are full of experiences and know how to use every square meter. The least inspiring places are perhaps the inside cabins. Inside cabins are the cheapest on board, but also the least attractive at the same time. A particular disadvantage is the lack of daylight and views. Royal Caribbean has therefore recently launched the virtual balcony.

Screens are placed in the wall from floor to ceiling. The view and the sounds from outside are virtually projected onto it. The view is real time and varies per room based on the position of the room on the ship. A room with the wall on the port side also has a port side view. There is even a virtual railing and there are real curtains that you can slide in front of the virtual window. It not only makes interior cabins more attractive, but it also enhances the experience. Royal Caribbean now also has a concept for a room in which virtually the entire room with projection can give a virtual experience.

#2: Seamless customer experience

Cruise ships are known for their efforts to deliver a seamless customer experience. You will receive a card to which your credit card is linked upon check-in. That way, your cruise pass is all you need on board, for either opening your door, checking in at a restaurant or paying at a bar or shop. To make this even easier, Royal Caribbean, MSC and Disney also offer RFID bracelets with which this is possible. Princess has its own version in the form of a medallion that you can wear as a clip, necklace or bracelet. With the medallion you can also find where, for example, your children are on the ship.

In your cabin you can follow your personal information on a special TV channel or in a mobile app. Which purchases you have made, which reservations you have or which excursions you have booked. You can also make new reservations or orders from these channels.

On the ship itself you will find numerous interactive screens where you can make your reservations, such as reserving a table in a restaurant, your performance in the theater, your spa treatment or excursions. These also appear in your personal agenda.

#3: Personalized customer experience

By using technology, the experience on board becomes hyperpersonal. Biometric technology, big data and artificial intelligence collect data and convert it into a more personalized customer experience. Employees also see when it is your birthday or if there is another special event, so that they can respond to it. But it goes further. A history of preferences or allergies can also be viewed. With special tailor-made tips (for example, which wine or theater show you could try), you get tips that match your preferences.

The personalized experience is increasingly starting at check-in. Via the app you can do part of the check-in process (for example, entering data, linking your credit card or uploading a photo) so that the check-in process is faster. Some ships have started using eye scan technology to optimize and speed up the identification process.

MSC Cruises introduced ZOE in the cabin. A voice-activated virtual assistant (similar to Siri or Alexa) that uses artificial intelligence to answer guests’ questions in seven different languages. It is developing into a tool that anticipates guest needs and custom information and preferences.

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