The Voice of the Cruise Industry
Six of the Best

Cruise ship technology: six of the best

Cruise ship technology: Bionic Bar

Despite common misconceptions, the cruise industry is at the forefront of the travel tech revolution. Here’s our pick of the most ground-breaking cruise ship technology developments that are revolutionising the industry. 

Battery power

Much has been made of efforts to reduce emissions and improve environmental performance in the cruise sector, but few have gone as far as Hurtigruten. The line recently unveiled Roald Amundsen, the first cruise ship to sail on battery power. Estimates say the ship’s hybrid propulsion will reduce CO2 emissions by about 20 per cent. Roald Amundsen sails along the Norwegian coast to Svalbard and Greenland and will be the first hybrid-powered ship to attempt the legendary Northwest Passage. A 29-day Northwest Passage cruise on Roald Amundsen departs 16 August 2020. Prices from £17,751pp.

Cruise ship technology: MS Roald Amundsen
MS Roald Amundsen is a game-changer for being first cruise ship to sail on battery power

Medallion magic

OceanMedallion is much more than a snazzy  free fashion accessory. The 10p-sized device holds a unique digital identity for each guest and interacts on board and in port to improve guest experience, from personalised entertainment and food and drinks to gaming and smart navigation. The OceanMedallion tech is being rolled out across the Princess Cruises fleet and is sure to change the whole cruise experience radically. An 11-day Australia and New Zealand trip on Regal Princess, departing 3 February 2021, starts at £1,379pp.

Edging forwards

Everything about Celebrity Edge has made headlines and its technology is no different. From an air lubrication system to reduce drag and increase efficiency to the Magic Carpet platform, Le Petit Chef 3D animation creating a theatre experience in Le Grand Bistro, and facial recognition software to speed up check-in, Celebrity Cruises has made some pretty bold moves. The line also introduced an app earlier this year to give guests a full tour of the ship through a mix of audio and 3D augmented reality technology. An 11-night Italy, Croatia and Montenegro itinerary on Celebrity Edge departs 4 May 2020. Prices from £1,949pp.

Cruise ship technology: Princess Cruises' Ocean Medallion
Princess Cruises’ OceanMedallion tech is being rolled our across the fleet

Ok, Zoe

MSC Zoe – think Amazon Echo – is a virtual cruise assistant, in all guest cabins, that first launched on MSC Bellissima. The device acts as a hub of information for questions about life on board and enables guests to reserve restaurants, excursions and more. Zoe can converse in seven languages and has been designed to learn the more it is used. MSC Grandiosa – the first of MSC’s Meraviglia-Plus class of ships – will be the second to feature Zoe. A seven-night Dubai, Abu Dhabi and India cruise, on MSC Bellissima, departs 11 January 2020. Prices from £689pp.

Expedition energy

It may not have the bells and whistles of other tech developments in the industry, but Aurora Expeditions’ Greg Mortimer – launching in October – is setting its own type of industry trends with its X-BOW. This design, which gives the ship its distinctive look, will enable it to punch through the water reducing impact, splitting a wave’s energy and making journeys smoother and easier. What’s more, Aurora will use anchorless technology, through GPS positioning and advanced steering, to protect the polar sea floor. A sister ship, launching in 2021, will also feature the X-BOW. Prices for the 21-day Arctic Discovery cruise on Greg Mortimer start from about £12,600pp, departing 30 August 2020.

Cruise ship technology: Bionic Bar
Royal Caribbean’s Bionic Bar

Shaken, not stirred

There’s nothing better than enjoying a cocktail of some description while sailing the high seas. Royal Caribbean took this in a new direction when it introduced the Bionic Bar – two robot bartenders who mix everything from a classic Pimm’s to… well, anything, really. They can, says the line, mix up to 1,000 drinks a day. The bar has become a favourite among guests, not least because of its novelty factor. Prices for a seven-night Bahamas and Perfect Day cruise start from £789pp, departing 8 March 2020 on Anthem of the Seas. 

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