O3b Networks to provide high speed internet to Royal Caribbean cruise ship


O3b Networks announced it has signed a multi-year deal worth multi-millions of dollars to provide Royal Caribbean with high-speed satellite-delivered broadband service.  By the summer of 2013, Oasis of the Seas will benefit from O3b's enhanced connectivity at sea that claims it will be like being connected to fiber at home or in the office.

Royal Caribbean will be the first cruise company to utilize O3b's new maritime offering O3b Maritime, which delivers the reach of satellite and the speed and latency of fiber at a fraction of the cost of conventional providers. O3b is enabling maritime service providers to offer affordable fiber-like capacity across the Caribbean and ocean regions around the world. Providing unparalleled bandwidth, O3b's steerable satellite beams will provide cruise industry passengers ultra-fast Internet communications throughout their voyage.

Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein commented on the deal, "Royal Caribbean is committed to delivering the most contemporary vacation to our guests, and that includes pushing ahead for onboard technological advances that offer the modern conveniences that guests enjoy on land. This milestone agreement with O3b Networks enables us to provide our guests with unprecedented Internet service at sea aboard Oasis of the Seas and potentially in the future aboard other ships in our fleet."

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 awards Harris CapRock communication services contract


Royal Caribbean has selected managed communications specialist Harris CapRock Communications to handle its fleet-wide communications.  

The five year deal provides hybrid satellite and terrestrial communication systems that will enable Royal Caribbean to improve overall communications performance while enhancing guest experience and crew morale.

For its part, Harris CapRock will deploy a fully managed VSAT and terrestrial communications system that will enable access to Royal Caribbean's corporate network and business applications, broadband internet, and telephony services.

The hybrid service combines Ku-band, C-band and shore mobile connectivity, designed so that the ships can switch from one preferred platform to another to maximise service availability and avoid downtime. Each ship will be equipped with two or three of Harris CapRock's stabilised VSAT antenna systems.

Royal Caribbean incorporates intelligent systems on Oasis of the Seas


Royal Caribbean chose Agilysys, Inc to develop intelligent point of sales systems for its ships back in December 2010 and today we've seen the fruit of their labors.

Agilysys has developed systems based intelligent Microsoft Windows Embedded solutions, in order to streamline the flow of information collected on Oasis of the Seas and optimize the quality of passenger services (catering, maintenance, points sales / services). 

About 325 Point of Sales (POS) terminals by EverServ 6000 and 50 tablets were deployed on Oasis of the Seas, allowing personnel to collect, centralize and share all the information collected on passengers to be more attentive to their requests. The collection of such information flow is crucial to ensure such quality of food on board (temperature of the dishes in the many dining rooms), to optimize the travel time for passengers on board, put in place of personalized promotions and mobile payment methods, etc.

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.

Video: How technology makes Splendour of the Seas more efficient and stable


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.

Royal Caribbean using new technology to help environment


Royal Caribbean discussed some of its environmental policies with the Sun Sentinel to help show their committment to reducing Royal Caribbean's environmental "foot print".

Royal Caribbean claims its cold storage room aboard Oasis of the Seas is the largest cold storage room of any ship in the world.  The cold storage room can be used to store many of the recycled items on the ship, such as hazardous waste, incinerator ash and cooking oil.

In addition, Royal Caribbean installed new photo kiosks to reduce paper waste from photos that were never purchased.  Royal Caribbean's Associate Vice President of Environmental Programs thinks the kiosks make sense, "Being environmentally-friendly is good business and every organization should strive to cut the amount of waste in their business".

Oasis of the Seas is also equipped with an advanced hull design with ecological coatings that reduce the water resistance of the ship, which has an effect of reducing the amoung of fuel needed.  Oasis also has an advanced energy management system to conserve power usage, and thin-film solar panels on its top deck.

Modern hull designs can result in up to 15 percent energy savings and ecological hull coatings up to five percent, according to the Fort Lauderdale-based trade group Cruise Lines International Association.

Pruitt said the Oasis is about 25 percent more energy-efficient than older ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet.

Royal Caribbean among leading websites in most visits in travel category


comScore, Inc, a company that measures Internet statistics, released its monthly analysis of web activity in the United States at the top online properties for June 2011 based on data from the comScore Media Metrix service.  Summer seems to have propelled the Travel category of websites as several Travel subcategories ranked among the top-gainers in June.

Within the surge came 116 million people visiting the Travel category in June, a record for the category, and of particular interest is the Ground/Cruise sites saw the strongest gains, up 14 percent to nearly 13.5 million visitors.

  1. 2.6 million visitors (up 14 percent)
  2. FirstGroup plc 2.2 million (up 22 percent
  3. Carnival Cruise Lines 1.5 million visitors (up 9 percent)
  4. Royal Caribbean 1.1 million visitors (up 19 percent)

"Summer getaways were clearly top-of-mind for many Americans in June, sending millions of people to hotel, cruise, car rental and travel agent sites," said Jeff Hackett, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix. "And with school letting out for the summer, parents turned to the web to shop for ways to keep their kids active with sporting goods and other fun activities."

Royal Caribbean selects Emsys Emissions Monitoring System for the Independence of the Seas


Royal Caribbean has awarded WR Systems the right to supply its Emsys (Emissions Monitoring System) to Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas ship.

The Emsys system will monitor performance and provide emissions compliance data for an EcoSpec Exhaust Gas Cleaning System. This new tech will be installed sometime in mid-2011.  This is a test program to see if it can be implemented fleet wide to reduce Royal Caribbean's environmental footprint.

The Emsys system is based on solid-state Laser technology and has been awarded full Type Approval from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) in line with the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) MARPOL Annex VI NOx Regulations, and the IMO Exhaust Gas Cleaning System Guidelines. The system also carries the MED wheelmark.

The Emsys system is unique in that it includes the first sensor that can measure Particulate Matter that is "outside of the stack".  This is important because it reduces the capital cost and eliminates the need to install sensitive measurement equipment in each of the monitored exhaust stacks. The integral Particulate Matter sensor has been developed to meet the requirements of the forthcoming US 'Emissions Control Area' (ECA) regulations, where Particulate Matter has been included in the regulatory language.

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President of Marine Operations, William S. Wright, chose Emsys because of its low maintenance and high accuracy capabilities, "It is important for RCL to demonstrate, with the highest accuracy and traceability, the emissions reduction performance of the EcoSpec emissions abatement system. As part of our on-going environmental commitment to reduce our air emissions, the Emsys system can provide the necessary data for both compliance purposes and our own internal technology evaluation criteria".