The last decade or so has seen significant technological leaps that are not just unlike anything seen previously within the cruise industry, but within the holiday industry as a whole. Floating resorts of the 21st century offer a range of amenities such as robotic bartenders, bumper cars, outside cinemas, viewing capsules that lift you above the ship and much more.
While many of these amenities are added in the hope of enticing new-to-cruise passengers, many cruise lines are also looking towards to creating a seamless experience and they are not afraid to think outside of the box. RFID technology has great potential to make our lives run more fluently in the future and cruise lines have become the first to test the waters with a plethora of wristbands, tokens and chips.
Step forward MSC Cruises who, along with the brand new Meraviglia, will be unveiling a brand new system with the intention of listening and watching passenger trends - ultimately enhancing their cruise experience. MSC for Me brings a multitude of personalizable features into your hands in the form of a deep blue bracelet - a device that will communicate with more than 3,000 Bluetooth beacons on board the ship. Furthermore, Meraviglia will come equipped with 16,000 points of connectivity, 700 digital access points, 358 interactive information screens and a total of 2,244 cabins with RFID access technology.
This all comes in a bid for larger ships to compete with their smaller cousins, which are able to offer a more personalised on board service. The device will listen to your habits and learn your interests automatically, before beginning to work out what you may be interested in. Before it paints a picture of you, you may want to use the navigational services, which are available upon synchronising the device with a smartphone.
MSC Meraviglia has become the fourth largest ship in the world, so passengers will almost instantly reap the benefits of a real-time navigational guide, which also outlines all events and activities in any particular place on board. As there is an emphasis on family-friendly cruising across the ship, passengers will definitely want to make full use of the ability to track the whereabouts of their loved ones, another handy navigational perk of the device.
These location services can also be utilised to take advantage of onboard concierge, which is available around the clock, seven days a week. Whether you are in your room or positioned somewhere else on board the ship, you can order food and drink at the touch of a button and it will be delivered to your specific location.
Once you have got a taste for everything the ship has to offer, you can start to compile a list of events and build a personal organiser. Connecting with either a smartphone device or by using an interactive screen, you can learn about even the smallest of events, such as piano recitals, taking place either on board or on shore. Relating to the bid to offer a more personalised service on board, MSC for Me will begin to offer tailor-made services and products that it believes may be of personal interest.
One of the more quirky and unique features of the device comes in the form of the capture mode, which offers the ability to sample excursions before you decide whether or not to book. This service will be offered in the form of augmented and virtual reality, which will place you in the heart of a specific location or landmark and offer a flavour of what to expect. Then, once you have made a decision, you can share images taken during the excursion with fellow passengers.
Perhaps one of the most vital services the device can offer is the ability to chat, both with family and friends on board, as well as newly-made acquaintances. If you are looking to organise a meet-up for a drink in a lounge or for a sumptuous meal, the chat function makes this easier than ever before.
All of these services will be immediately available on board the exciting new MSC Meraviglia, which was launched earlier this month at a ceremony attended by the new French president, Emmanuel Macron. These revolutionary services will also be made available on board MSC Seaside from December 2017 and will almost certainly be available on each of MSC Cruises new ships – with a huge total of 10 scheduled to launch over the next decade.
With an abundance cruise lines and many more scheduled to be unveiled in the coming years, it the cruise industry offers more variety than any other type of holiday. Each line is competing with one another to attract the widest range of consumers, enticing with not only new amenities but also ease of access and personalised services. MSC Cruises is the largest independent line in the industry and has made bold intentions for the future – with the hope of appealing to US and Asian markets.
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