Royal Caribbean launches new iPad game


Royal Caribbean launched a new iPad game called Penguin Ahoy for free in the Apple App Store. An iPhone version is expected to be released shortly.

The premise of the game is to help a penguin that has snuck aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to make sure he does not get caught.

During the game, you play as the penguin and avoid sprinklers, dodge basketballs, and slide under inflatables to keep the penguin running for as long as possible without being caught by the crew. Players of the game and past guests will notice many familiar features from Royal Caribbean’s ships including the FlowRider surf simulator, Rock Wall, H2O zone, ice skating rinks, mini golf courses, sports courts and more.

Royal Caribbean wants to replace iPads with apps


InformationWeek spoke with Royal Caribbean's Chief Information Officer Bill Martin about how the cruise line uses iPads aboard its cruise ships.  For a while now, Royal Caribbean has offered iPads for guest use in select suite staterooms. 

The iPads let guests order room service, make reservations for events on and off the ship, watch movies from the onboard movie library, and receive customized offers for onboard spas and restaurants.

Martin spoke about how currently Royal Caribbean opts to swap out iPads in the same way they change bed sheets.  The "old" iPad is swapped out for a fresh one that is ready to go, while the "old" iPad is taken to an IT office onshore and completely re-imaged.  This is done to ensure any photos or changes made by the previous guest aren't seen by the next guest.

Martin indicated that while this operation is sufficient for now, the cruise line wants to eliminate offering iPads and instead develop apps for guest use.  

"So many people have these now. And we're starting to see other mobile devices come into the picture, not just Apple's" Martin said.

Royal Caribbean wants to provide the app only and for all devices, including iPads, Kindles or Android.

Martin has been relying on outside developers for tablet apps and development. But the company is "going to have to bring some of that in house," he says, so that it doesn't have to contract outside for every project and can call a vendor's bluff when needed.

Martin also talked about the need for WiFi throughout the ship and for better onboard internet.  He acknowledges that 75 cents per minute for internet "sounds ridiculous" so Royal Caribbean's recent deals with O3b will help with that problem as well.

Will Royal Caribbean replace iPads with Microsoft Surface tablets?


Microsoft's recent announcement of upcoming Windows 8 tablets will cause some businesses to take a look at their tablets in business. The new Microsoft Surface tablet may have some novelty to it right now but is it enough to get companies to change?

Royal Caribbean CIO Bill Martin made the decision to put iPads in every stateroom in its most recently renovated ship.  When asked why Martin chose iPads, he responded, "That's what the hotel team wanted."  However, Martin did note that the choice could change in time if viable Windows tablets came into the market and Android tablets gained in popularity and stability.

If companies like Royal Caribbean are going to invest in a new tablet deployment, such as giving them to all of their salespeople, the company will need to know that the tablet they choose will be supported and around for a while.  Apple doesn't provide the kind of long-term product roadmap IT teams are used to getting for enterprise software, server, and PC lines. But for Martin at Royal Caribbean, the lack of a roadmap wasn't a big issue. "It's more around our confidence that the product has a viable life," he said. Apple's iPad has that.

Royal Caribbean's use of iPads highlighted in Information Week


Royal Caribbean introduced iPads in every stateroom aboard Splendour of the Seas last year and it's got the IT world talking.  Royal Caribbean was mentioned in Information Week magazine as utilizing tablet computing for business.

One use for tablets is for companies to put them in the hands of their customers, which is what Royal Caribbean is doing on its most recently remodeled cruise ship. Here we're not talking about creating a tablet app for customers, but actually giving them a device to use. A related customer use is encouraging tablet use while they're at your venue, whether it's a resort, baseball game, restaurant, or retail store.

Royal Caribbean this month will put iPads in every stateroom of its revitalized Splendour of the Seas cruise ship. Guests can check daily activities on the ship, book shore excursions, and receive personalized promotions from Royal Caribbean, based on analytics the company runs in real time during a cruise. Royal Caribbean has used interactive TVs to provide that kind of information, but iPads are a more intuitive and enjoyable way for guests to receive it, says CIO Bill Martin.

Royal Caribbean to offer iPads in every cabin


When Splendour of the Seas comes out of drydock next week, she will be offering all of her passengers soon an iPad in every cabin.  In addition, Royal Caribbean is planning on rolling out iPads to every Vision class ship (Vision, Grandeur, Rhapsody, Enchantment and Legend of the Seas) by 2014.

With the iPads, passengers will be able to

  • Access the daily Cruise Compass of events and activities
  • Access personal daily itineraries, including shore excursions
  • Monitor their onboard account
  • Order room service
  • View restaurant menus
  • Access the internet
  • Watch movies

All of the features of the iPad will be complimentary, except for the Internet access.

Royal Caribbean senior vice president of Hotel Operations, Lisa Bauer, commented on the news, "Based on consumer research, we added the iPads to greatly enhance guest communication, interactivity and to continue to offer industry leading technology that helps enhance the guest experience.  This is just one of the many exciting ways that Royal Caribbean continues to provide our guests with the ultimate cruise experience."

Royal Caribbean expects every cabin onboard Splendour to have an iPad by February 2012.