Royal Caribbean demonstrated its upcoming luggage app. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Passengers on Royal Caribbean cruises will
be able to check in, order drinks onboard, reserve shore excursions and make dinner
reservations, all on their smartphones.
Royal Caribbean held an event at the Brooklyn Naval Yard to
demonstrate the uses of its new Excalibur app for passengers, one of several
pieces of technology the cruise company is working on.
The app allows passengers to do almost anything they would
normally do at the guest services desk or from their stateroom phone. It also
allows them to check into the cruise, track their luggage, open cabin doors and
text fellow passengers.
Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain said that by
streamlining the cruise check-in process to a "frictionless arrival,"
passengers will get back the first day of their cruise, a day they are normally
spending much time checking in, looking for their luggage and organizing the
rest of the week.
"Family time means more now than ever before,"
Fain said that Royal Caribbean
will not use proprietary technology because flexibility and adaptability are a priority.
"The advantage of proprietary software is that you get
everything you want," Fain said. "It's a lot more expensive, but you
get precisely what you want, and for that nanosecond in time you have exactly
what you wanted. Unfortunately, in the next instant it's out of date. And
because it's proprietary, it's prohibitively expensive to keep upgrading every
Royal Caribbean also has decided not to embrace specific
wearables, like its Wow bands, and to instead be device agnostic, based largely
on the fact that guests use a variety of devices.
"You can use your iPhone, your iPad, your Android -- anything
that connects to the internet of things," Fain said. "We'll
accommodate any of those things. And if next year the belt buckle becomes the
technology of the day, you can use your belt buckle."
The app is currently only being used on the Oasis of the
Seas and Allure of the Seas with limited capability. Frictionless arrival will
begin on some ships by the end of this year.