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.

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 Unfortunately, in the next instant it's out of date.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 day."

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. 

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