Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas may be the world’s first ‘smartship’ – but smart enough, it seems, to see that some of her amazing technology might upset some passengers.
This week, it was announced that when she launches in November, she will feature wi-fi that is six times the speed on any other ship, robot bartenders and a new online check-in feature that cuts boarding time to ten minutes.
But one change that has really stirred cruisers is the 40,000 Microsoft tablets being distributed to crew across the fleet.
Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain said the tablets allow the crew to stay connected with family at home. They’ll also be able to better assist cruisers through custom apps, which links to a cruisers’ WOWband, and allow crewmembers to keep better track of guests’ tastes and preferences.
Currently, they use their memory power to remember how many spoons of sugar you like.
Although some cruisers welcome higher level of personalised service, others are saying it’s actually becoming impersonal.
A Cruise Critic reader said the move seemed to remove the personal touch, which is a highlight for cruising.
“Now cruise lines can track your every move. The entire herd is tagged with chips that do just that. That’s what they’re made for,” he said.
“They will know when you are in a venue, how long you stay, what you do there, where you go next, what time you get up, go to the bathroom, the list is endless.
“I guarantee that it will have personal information encoded in it. I wonder what an unscrupulous person might do with that information.”
A reader on online site, Engadget, said: “Sounds very cold and impersonal.”
Others cruisers aren’t so bothered by the new initiative, instead welcoming the benefits of new technology.
“I for one LOVE the technology available to me! I couldn’t care less what info they get from me or what they find out about my preferences or what I do on the ship,” a Cruise Critic reader said.
Another reader said technology should evolve and believes the ‘smartship’ will offer cruises more choices.
“It’s amazing and in the end I believe it brings better choices for all of us, maybe even more personalised choices. I don’t care what they know about me,” she said.
“This is the future.”
What do you think about being served by a robot and staff using iPads to remember what you like?