High Tech on the High Seas
Discover Royal Caribbean’s smart ship design.
By Matt Hochberg
When you think of smart technology, devices such as smartphones, smart watches, or smart home gadgets probably come to mind. But Royal Caribbean International offers a whole new kind of “smart” in its latest cruise ships. Beginning with Quantum of the Seas and continuing with sister ships Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean offers what it claims to be the first “smart ships” at sea.
So what makes these ships so smart?
With its Quantum-class of cruise ships, Royal Caribbean has redesigned the cruise experience from the keel up, with smart experiences that cover nearly every aspect of the cruise. At each ship’s very core is impressive connectivity that even rivals land-based Internet connections.
For starters, the line partnered with global satellite service provider O3b Networks to bring the fastest broadband connections at sea. This allows guests (and crewmembers) to stream videos, capture and share vacation moments in real-time, and stay in touch with loved ones from ship to shore. Royal Caribbean calls this high-speed Internet “Voom,” and it certainly lives up to its name with the kind of speeds it provides.
“The O3b connectivity is radically different,” said Bill Martin, Royal Caribbean International’s retired chief information officer. “It’s in a low mid-Earth orbit, and it’s three, four times closer to Earth. It’s very, very fast and it changes the game of onboard bandwidth.”
This fiber-like Internet is available throughout the ship, from aft to stern, and can keep the ship connected anywhere on Earth. With this kind of fast speed, the entire ship is wired to enhance guests’ onboard experiences with all sorts of smart ship innovations.
Royal Caribbean promises that with its “Smart Check-In,” the boarding process will be simpler and faster. By taking advantage of this new check-in process, which lets guests take care of all necessary documentation online before their cruise, including uploading their own photo and receiving digital boarding confirmation, the line says that guests can go from sidewalk to ship in approximately 10 minutes.
Once on board, guests can utilize Royal iQ, the brand-new smartphone app that Royal Caribbean developed specifically for these smart ships, to take advantage of Voom and reserve entertainment, dining, and shore excursions.
The Royal iQ app also includes a pertinent smart ship feature: luggage tracking. There is no more guessing when your checked….
Photo: Royal Caribbean International