The idea of a cruise generally evokes images of leaving all of your worries behind and disconnecting from the world. Checking your email or texts should be the furthest thing from your mind. But the cruise industry is finding ways to make mobile tech less of an anchor to day-to-day life and more of a vacation necessity. Here’s how technology is enhancing the cruise experience:
Norwegian Cruise Line’s complimentary app is an asset to travelers both before and after they board their vessel. Upon downloading the app, users can enter the date of their cruise to enable a countdown timer. Once aboard, passengers can keep up with daily activities, check services offered on the ship, view dining hours and book restaurant reservations.
The app also lets passengers message or call other guests directly from their tablet or smartphone. iConcierge currently works on Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Breakaway cruise ships. And with free bow-to-stern wi-fi connectivity, guest will have no problem accessing the app or sharing their favorite Titanic reenactments on Instagram.
Available on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, Royal Connect Phones are basically smartphones for passengers to use while at sea. They let guests call and text other passengers, and look up activities without cutting into their own data plan. They can also help locate family and friends on board by connecting to RFID-enabled wristbands. Each phone costs $30 for the entire length of the cruise, and guests can rent as many as they need.
RFID technology has been used in several Disney parks and resorts to help guests do everything from refill drinks in special chip-equipped mugs, to saving a spot in the line for rides. Disney also started rolling out their RFID MagicBand bracelets. With the wave of their wrist, guests will be able to make purchases, access rides and unlock hotel rooms. Since Disney already uses RFID bracelets to help parents keep track of their kids on cruise ships, it’s only a matter of time before every shipmate gets a Mickey Mouse tan line above their hand.
If a guest doesn’t have their own tablet, but want to stay connected while overseas, many cruise lines are now offering in-room tablets for passengers. Royal Caribbean has been offering iPads in suites of some of their swankier ships for a while now. The iPads help passengers check daily updates, make reservations for activities, watch movies and access the Internet. If you decide to bring your own mobile tech device, just remember, safety first.