MSC Cruises introduced its voice-activated personal digital assistant, which has a female name and voice, like Alexa and Siri.

MSC calls its assistant Zoe, named for chairman Gianluigi Aponte's granddaughter.

In addition to having "a nice lady voice", said MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato, Zoe will turn on with a simple voice command "Okay, Zoe."  The name is uncommon enough that the device won't often be activated accidentally, Onorato said.

MSC has conducted 2 million tests of Zoe before deploying it live, to be sure it is ready. A list of the 800 most frequently asked questions has been programmed into its system.

Onorato said Zoe differs from other digital devices in that it is customized to each ship. It won't just say the casino is open, it will say the casino on Deck 5 is open, he said.

Guests will be briefed on how to use Zoe in pre-sailing e-mails, and there will be an e-guide on MSC's app. MSC said Zoe will use artificial intelligence to gradually improve its responsiveness to guest questions.

Onorato said the initial focus will be in equipping new MSC ships with Zoe (the MSC Bellissima enters service in March), but there are also plans to install Zoe across the existing fleet. 

Zoe was developed in partnership with Harman and Samsung Electronics.

Zoe is one aspect of a broader package of personalized technology being developed at MSC under the name MSC for Me.

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