With an expected 25 million cruise ship passengers in 2018, the lines need to keep up to date with societal trends. As a older passengers get older, they need to be replaced by the next generation.
Like never before, millennials are beginning to enjoy the open seas. While many still are buried in college loan debt, we are seeing CEOs and “senior” VPs in their 30’s. They get huge salaries and stock options and are out there spending. This means they are discovering the fun of seeing the world. To attract them and feed their addiction to “devices,” many lines are upgrading their technology services.
Princess Cruises is rolling out a program dubbed Ocean Medallion. Guests are issued what the company has dubbed a token. With this wearable gizmo, suite doors can be unlocked by being in close proximity. It also stores a memory of what drinks they prefer to make serving faster.
A technology called “geotracking” provides for GPS mapping of where you are on the ship. The idea is that not only can your friends find you, but when you are near the art auction, it might suggest a few works that you might like to see. One of the handiest features I saw on a ship was on a voyage down to Chile. Princess was the brand. On every floor near the elevator was a decent sized monitor with several choices of buttons to push. You could point to restaurants. Then page down to your favorite to find out where it is. But then it will plot you a path from there to the place. Another bonus: it was an easy way to find a toilet! Passengers also can watch videos about the ports of call and play games once they board.
Ships are now incorporating passenger’s smart phonies into the mix. With apps to provide all kinds of help. Make reservations, find out where bingo is, and even what time the Enrichment Speaker is on.
My biggest disappointment is wifi access being a profit center for the ships. True, some control is needed to prevent bandwidth hogging. But I think it needs to be moved to being treated as a commodity. Rates of 75c a minute are truly absurd. I dampen the pain a bit by using Google Gmail Off-Line. This allows you to cache outgoing emails…i.e. write emails to anyone, then the next time you are connected it sends them….while also downloading any that have come into your account and are just sitting there waiting for you. That way you are only on for a few minutes to do the upload/download.
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