- Royal Caribbean International, the cruise line that operates 24 ships worldwide, plans to christen the world's biggest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, next year with a high-tech mobile application, according to a press release by the company.
- The brand's app will have a redesigned check-in service to reduce lines and the need for manual check-ins at a counter via a combination of facial recognition, barcodes and beacons. The overall goal is to make the experience "fast and frictionless," the release said.
- Before checking in, travelers can upload an identifying selfie to the app to create an onboard account that's used throughout the journey. After going through a security check, guests can go straight to their cabins, where a key is waiting. The new ship, which sets sail in April 2018, will also offer wayfinding on its mobile app, Wi-Fi connections that are reachable out at sea and virtual balconies.
Royal Caribbean's new ship promises to offer many amenities with smartphone users top of mind, including swift mobile check-in, wayfinding and Wi-Fi. Even though the ship is packed with dining rooms, robot bartenders, live entertainment, arcades, mini golf and a zip-line, the brand clearly recognizes that consumers are growing increasingly attached to their mobile devices and like to share their vacation experiences on social media.
The Symphony of the Seas will carry a whopping 5,500 guests, which could create a headache of a check-in process and make the ship difficult and crowded to navigate once on board. The app will help get rid of some of these pain points. Once guests are on board the cruise, they can find their way around the massive space with beacons and wayfinding features in the app as opposed to human help, allowing them and staff more independence. For Royal Caribbean, the refreshed app also presents a chance to collect more robust first-party data on its customers, though many people still resist facial ID and other contactless technology due to security concerns.
Royal Caribbean isn't the first marketer to enlist these types of features into its suite of technology offerings. Disney World offers special wristbands for guests to gain quick entrance to the park, it rides and mobile payments options that get ride of the need for credit cards or cash. In the same vein, Carnival cruise lines is set to unveil a similar feature where a wearable device unlocks service and content aboard ships for an experience similar to Royal Caribbean's.