MSC Cruises has unveiled plans for a new generation of “smart and connected” ships as it becomes the latest cruise line to unveil wearable technology.
The MSC for Me programme combines a mobile app for passengers and crew, interactive bracelets for guests and facial-recognition technology.
The initiative follows two Carnival Corporation investments in wearable and interactive technology, with Holland America Line’s digital destination guides released in December, and Princess Cruises’ Medallion and app unveiled the following month.
The cruise line will encourage agents to promote the onboard features as a key selling tool, providing collateral and a dedicated support team.
The technology will debut on MSC Meraviglia, which is due to launch in June, before being installed across the entire fleet.
Passengers can use the app to book services, restaurants and excursions before or after boarding, while Bluetooth beacons will send them reminders, based on their location in the ship.
The bracelets will act as a cabin key and payment method, allowing passengers to log in to more than 300 interactive screens. They will also help guests to navigate the ship and find their children.
Crew members will be able to access guest profiles and manage special requirements on tablets, while facial-recognition cameras will feature at service points.
MSC Cruises’ chief innovation officer, Luca Pronzati, said the company had spent three years developing the technology.
“We are bringing some of the latest and most-advanced solutions and technology on board our ships,” he said.
“Like smart connected cities, but with the added complexity of being at sea, our fleet will demonstrate MSC Cruises’ commitment to true innovation today, and for years to come.
“Life on board will be easier and more convenient for guests, enhanced by the use of technology.
“Without leaving the sun deck they will be able to book an excursion or a table at one of our specialty restaurants.
“Guests will be able to get a taster of their next destination or the excursion we offer by using our virtual reality centres and parents and will have peace of mind with the kids locater so that they can see where they are at all times.”
The bracelets will be free for children and cost a maximum of €5 for adults, with a ‘kid locater’ service priced €15.
Managing director for UK and Ireland, Antonio Paradiso said: “Our guests are our first priority and this new digital programme will be yet another way for our guests to customize their holiday to their needs and likes.
“MSC Meraviglia will be the inaugural ship to offer this new state-of-the-art technology, paving the way for a fleet of MSC Cruises smart ships.”
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