Royal Caribbean’s Quantum is a sea of technology


Royal Caribbean to sail from Shanghai during the Asia-peak season. Image: Royal Caribbean

Bartender robots mix your cocktails, Wi-Fi is as fast as it is on land; and purchases are made with a tap and go wristband.

This is the future of cruising. This is Quantum of the Seas.

Less than two months before Quantum launches from Southampton, Royal Caribbean has revealed additional technological advancements, which will feature onboard the world’s first ‘smartship’.

Royal Caribbean chairman and chief executive Richard Fain said the vessel is designed to make cruising easier for guests from the moment they leave their homes to the moment they return.

“There’s a lot of things different about this ship, but today we talk about what makes this a smartship,” he said a press conference in Germany.

“All technology on this ship make it easier and hassle free for guests and it all started at check-in.”

He said there are six kinds of smart. They include:

Robots – Smart Experiences

Royal Caribbean has already revealed robots will be part of the live entertainment in the three deck high Two70 room. Now, the line has recruited three electronic arms to work behind one of its bars.

Night venue, Bionic Bar, will have cruising’s first robot bartenders who mix, shake and add a lemon before serving your cocktail.

“When we first turn her on she will have a limited number of drinks she can make, but as she learns, we’ll add different variations,” Mr Fain said.

In room the three-deck room, Two70 (mentioned above), guests will have a 270 degree panoramic view of the ocean.

Throughout the day the room transforms and during special entertainment, screens come down in front of the windows to form one large screen and project anything from the New York Skyline to someone sliding into second base.

The window screens are paired up with dancing roboscreens to offer first of its kind entertainment at sea and on land.

Quantum of the Seas is 90 percent outside staterooms, 80 percent have balconies. Of the ten percent remaining, Mr Fain said the line has added floor-to-ceiling virtual balconies.

No boarding – Smart Check-In

Royal Caribbean has introduced a new system that allows guest to check-in, upload their own ID photo (selfies accepted) and receive digital boarding information before they even leave their house.

You then head to the terminal print out a boarding pass, the picture you uploaded will come up and then you head on over to the ship.

“The idea is to get cruisers from sidewalk to shipboard in less than ten minutes,” Mr Fain added.

For guests who prefer the traditional method of boarding, the line will have people at the pier manually checking cruisers in.

Another feature of Smart Check-In is a new luggage app that allows guests to monitor their bags.

The porter will put a radio frequency tag on your luggage while your board. This transmits to the app, which will show your baggage go through seven different steps until you get to your stateroom.

Bye bye lanyard – Smart Concierge

Forget the lanyard and strap on the new WOWband.

The tap and go wristbands can be used to navigate around the ship, make onboard purchases, open your room door and more.

They can even be used in the Focus Photo Gallery to digitally access and print on-demand photographs.

Royal Caribbean has also launched two new apps, Royal IQ and Cruise Planner, which can be used to organise activities and appointments onboard.

Cruise Planner allows guests to research and book dining reservations, shore excursions, spa appointments and more before the cruise begins.

Royal IQ is the onboard app. It manages details throughout the cruise and includes a convenient calendar that provides at-a-glance views of the cruiser’s program. It also allows guests to keep in touch with family and friends back home with phone and text capabilities.

Royal IQ is a downloadable app and is also provided at freestanding IQ stations around the ship.

Finally, fast Internet at sea – Smart Connect

Internet has been a problem on cruise ships because of limited bandwidth that slows the connection down to ‘pulling-out-your-hair’ speed.

Royal Caribbean has launched special satellites with O3b Networks to offer unprecedented bandwidth on Quantum of the Seas.

This means cruising the net at sea will be as fast and efficient as it is at home.

“Satellite’s targeted to our ships will give us hundreds of times of bandwidth and six times the speed you’ve ever had on any ship,” Mr Fain explained.

Tablets for all crew – Smart Service

As a thank you for their services, Royal Caribbean has purchased 40,000 tablets, which will be distributed amongst onboard crew across the entire fleet.

Mr Fain said this will allow guests who spend months away from home to contact family on a regular basis using reliable connectivity.

“It’s a small way to say thank you and should make life a little easier for them,” he said.

“Happier crew means happier guests.”

Greener cruising – Smart Sustainability 

Technology is even playing a role in cutting back on the vessel’s energy consumption with efficient hull configuration, engine design and energy saving devices.

The ship has eliminated the use of incandescent bulbs; all lighting will be provided by low-energy LED or fluorescents.  Motion sensors even dim hallway lighting when no one is present.