First impressions count, and embarking thousands of passengers on a cruise ship can be a complex business. That’s why cruise lines are keen to bring technology to bear to smooth out the often complex logistics of getting us all aboard. These days, MSC Cruises has moved much of the process online. Passengers can upload their photo and receive their digital boarding information via online check-in. And, once on board, they’re free to get their holiday started with the help of one or two other rather clever innovations.
Don’t Worry, Be Appy! With ‘MSC For Me’ It’s All About You
MSC Cruises’ MSC for Me has been designed as a digital bridge, bringing together the guests, the crew and the ship. An interactive wristband allows the wearer to dispense with the more normal cruise card whilst simultaneously using the app’ to provide a further 130 smart features like a reservation service and a digital way-finder. With the latter you just need to indicate where you want to go and the app’ will sync’ with one of the ships interactive maps and show you the way!
As well as making a dinner reservation for you, you can, just as easily, make an appointment at the spa or reserve seats in the theatre. And, whilst you’re planning your time – a personal agenda records all your reservations - you can also use the app’ to keep tabs on your kids too - not in an Orwellian way, but for additional peace of mind your kids bracelets allows you to locate them in any of the ship’s public areas.
Of course, the technology that’s here now won’t stand still, it will, undoubtedly, improve and expand.
ZOE Is Hanging On Your Every Word
Guests aboard MSC Bellissima (and on subsequent builds) will be able to chat with ZOE, a voice- enabled assistant who has been programmed to keep learning in order to build a stock of knowledge about everyone’s questions and needs. But, from the get-go, ZOE will be able to check your bill, reserve a restaurant or an excursion and generally assist in every aspect of life on board. As ZOE gets to know you, it won’t be long before you might be taking her tips on everything from a good wine to go with the fish course or what to do for a day in Naples.
New Tech’ That Helps The Next Generation To Share
Many parents feel that new technology can, potentially, isolate children behind their screens and, therefore, for older children (usually 10-plus), the focus is now on helping them to share technology. For example, employing an interactive multimedia table – it resembles a giant iPad! – really helps youngster on board to interact with each other.
In order to stretch kid’s minds in a more creative way, MSC Bellissima has teamed up with Lego and Chicco to create a veritable ‘Ship of Magic’. With facilities like the Doremi studio and Webstar room and the Doremi Lab 2.0 their imaginations can run riot.
Clearing The Air - And Maybe, Catching The Wind
As well as providing cutting edge cruise experiences for passengers, MSC are equally keen to harness new technology to tackle some of the planet’s biggest issues. Aside from becoming the first carbon neutral cruise line, MSC are also forging ahead when it comes to building cruise ships that will use cleaner fuel. The latest vessels, the first of which are currently under construction, are known as ‘MSC World Class Ships’ and will help break new ground by being LNG-powered. The use of Liquefied Natural Gas, compared to standard marine fuel, decreases sulphur emissions and particulate matter by 99% as well as cutting CO2 emissions by 20%. In a warming world that’s a welcome advance, but it’s unlikely that progress will stop there…
In conjunction with ship building partners Chantiers de l’Atlantique, MSC are looking to develop a prototype ship-class concept to explore the opportunities that wind power and other advanced technologies could bring. So it be that, long after the age of sail disappeared, major vessels will, once again, start to catch the wind.
We Have The Technology….
As they used to say on the ‘6 Million Dollar Man’ we do, indeed, have the technology, although technology on its own isn’t really going to enhance anyone’s cruise experience for the better. Just like Steve Austin in the ‘6 Million Dollar Man’, the technology has to be put to work as a force for good, in order to be judged a success!
We all get quite excited about new technical innovations but, in the realms of cruising, the technology is really only a part of a larger effort aimed at bringing better entertainment and greater comfort and safety to all our guests. Technology is great, but it has to work in harmony with good service, fine food and well planned itineraries to enhance everyone’s cruise in order to fully pass muster. If you’d like to put our new technology to the test, and discover how we believe it can take cruising to the next level, why not visit the website and find a cruise that’s right for you?