Carnival Horizon equipped with smart elevators

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Carnival Horizon is the line's first ship to use a "destination-based" elevator system.
Carnival Horizon is the line's first ship to use a "destination-based" elevator system. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

ABOARD THE CARNIVAL HORIZON -- Carnival Cruise Line has introduced an elevator system on the Carnival Horizon, one increasingly in use in tall buildings worldwide.

Known as a destination-based elevator, the technology eliminates the push buttons inside the cab of a traditional elevator. Floor selection is relocated to a touch screen in the elevator waiting area, which functions for all of the elevator cabs servicing that floor -- typically four or six.

The touch screen passengers use to choose their deck.
The touch screen passengers use to choose their deck. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

A guest chooses the floor and the system assigns an elevator cab to the guest. The cab then takes the guest to that floor without intermediate stops.

On the Carnival Horizon, the cabs are assigned letters -- T, X, Y, Z and so on -- and the letter pops up as soon as the floor is selected.

"For people who have not experienced those elevators in hotels, it takes a little bit to figure it out, but we've found it to be very efficient and certainly popular," Carnival president Christine Duffy said.

"It's definitely a talking point," added John Heald, Carnival's brand ambassador and senior cruise director. "It is fun watching people get in -- even I still do it -- looking for the buttons."

The only buttons in the cab are for accelerated opening and closing of the doors.

Duffy said the system was initially drawn up for the Carnival Vista, the Horizon's predecessor that was delivered in 2016, but it wasn't ready in time. The system is being built into the upcoming Carnival Panorama, but Duffy said she didn't know if it would be retrofitted onto older Carnival ships.

Video monitors explain the new elevator system.
Video monitors explain the new elevator system. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

"At this point, it is so new for us on this ship, we really want to be sure how it is working and what is the guest reaction," she said.

Kathy Mayor, Carnival's chief marketing officer, said the use of destination-based elevators is growing in New York, with its abundance of very tall buildings.

One advantage to the system is that it can be reprogrammed on embarkation days, when some elevators are programmed to stop only at Deck 3 (where passengers embark) and Decks 5 and 10 (where lunch is served). When staterooms are ready to be occupied, the elevator programming is normalized.

Hotel director Pierre Camilleri said the ship embarks about 1,800 guests an hour. He said guests are curious and cautious with the elevators for about two days. "After that, it's just 'thank you,' and 'wow,' all the way to the end of the cruise," he said.

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