Carnival’s ‘Smart Ships’ Know Your Name and What You Want

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CarnivalImagine a future world defined by technology so subtle you hardly know it’s there.

Servers know what you want ahead of time, so your food is ready when you sit down. The “what should I do today?” question is answered by a list of curated options based on your personal interests. Standing in line is a remnant of a life long ago. And perhaps best of all, the technology works so smoothly that no users’ manual is required.

But this isn’t some distant, Trekkie future. Within months, passengers will find these features aboard Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess.

For the last 18 months, in a boxy building across from a Doral, Fla., cow field, Carnival Corp. — parent of Princess and 9 other lines — has been imagining and then devising a seagoing smart city. In November, it will be introduced first on Regal Princess in Fort Lauderdale, creating a world in which the crew and even the ship itself respond to each guest’s needs — often before anyone asks.

The Doral-based cruise company announced its futuristic innovation at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Wednesday, delivering what it promises will be the idea that changes how companies approach not only cruising, but the hospitality industry altogether.

The project directly addresses the argument that cruises are floating behemoths that carry thousands of people like they’re cattle and not individuals with specific needs, said Joe Pine, co-author of the “Experience Economy,” which theorized in 1998 that what consumers truly want are personalized experiences rather than goods.

Carnival is hoping its new approach reduces or even eliminates the major gripes surrounding cruising — both for those who have and haven’t traveled on a cruise ship before — such as crowding, queues to get on and off the ship, impersonal experiences and a lack of authenticity.

“It’s the first time that a company can know who you are, it can know what you want, it can know where you are, it can at least make a good guess at what mood you’re in and take everything on the ship and customize it to your individual need at this time,” Pine said.

What Carnival’s new system does well, he said, is maximize the time a vacationer spends on the things they enjoy, while minimizing the tedious logistics that can cut into their precious leisure experience.

(Source: TNS)