The Voice of the Cruise Industry

Celebrity Cruises’ Claire Stirrup: How technology is changing the cruise experience

Celebrity Cruises: Claire Stirrup

Celebrity Cruises UK & Ireland sales director Claire Stirrup explains how the cruise line is using technology to improve the guest experience.

What role does technology play on Celebrity Edge?

As you’d expect with a near-$1bn ship, it’s packed with technology. Innovation comes in many different forms, but for Celebrity Cruises, everything we do fits with our modern luxury ethos – whether it is the smart features that guests can enjoy or technology that makes the new ship function in the very best way.

Today’s cruisers expect their ship to be as clean and efficient as possible and Celebrity Edge has more than 40 different features to help reduce fuel consumption. The Parabolic UltraBow helps the ship cut through the water more efficiently and gives a smoother ride, and an air lubrication system creates tiny bubbles to reduce drag. As a result, the ship is 20 per cent more efficient than any other ship in the fleet.

In terms of the technology that our guests engage with, it has to be the Magic Carpet – a cantilevered, floating platform that moves up and down the side of the ship. Also, the in-room technology allows guests to adjust nearly every feature in the room at the touch of a button, including lighting and air-conditioning.

How have guests reacted to the technology?

Interest in Celebrity Edge sailings is incredibly strong, and UK cruisers are booking in significant numbers. It’s the first season, but our trade partners are reporting great feedback and anecdotal evidence from social media is fantastic.

To coincide with Celebrity Edge’s arrival in the UK in May you launched an augmented reality app – can you tell us more?

Since the ship is so advanced, it seems only right that it has its own app. This gives guests a full tour of all of the ship’s features, through a mix of audio, soundscaping, and 3D augmented reality. They get the lowdown on all the cool bits – it takes in the Grand Plaza, Magic Carpet and so on – and allows a 360-degree peek at the galley, the bridge, the engine control room, and the luxurious new Celebrity Edge launches.

How is technology changing cruising?

One of the most immediate changes that guests on Celebrity Edge will notice is the new check-in. We’re using the latest in facial recognition technology so guests no longer have to queue when they join the ship. They upload a selfie via the Celebrity Cruises’ mobile app and will be automatically checked in when they step on board. It can cut the time from transfer coach to Martini Bar to just 10 minutes.

Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Edge
Celebrity Edge – “packed with technology”

How big a part does technology play in determining people’s choice of cruise?

Technology should tick the boxes of what’s important to guests – it has to make their holiday easier, better and more memorable. People aren’t attracted to technology itself, but to what it does to improve the overall experience.

How does it help agents in selling cruise?

It is all about that sense of ‘wow’. Competition is ramping up in the sector and many lines are launching new ships. Technology is intertwined with the innovation that drives the market forward. Everyone wants to be responsible for the next big thing and this creates the buzz that helps agents secure sales.

How will Celebrity Cruises use technology on future ships?

We will definitely be scaling up the facial recognition technology to more ships and terminals, aiming to install it at all major embarkation ports over the next year or so. We also have the Celebrity Revolution programme to update the existing fleet to include many Celebrity Edge experiences. Beyond that, watch this space. We never sit still for very long.

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