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Royal Caribbean's clever idea using AI to get help on the world's largest cruise ship

24 Jan 2024
Elizabeth Wright

There is an AI-based chatbot that is available onboard Icon of the Seas


Before launching it on Icon, the Royal Caribbean team tested it onboard Wonder of the Seas

"One of our strategies is to not introduce new technologies onto a new ship, so we try to test it on a ship that's already up and running," remarked Jay Schneider, Chief Product Innovation Officer for Royal Caribbean. 

Icon of the Seas in Miami

This is rather common. Before launching anything new, it'll often be tested on a single ship. Not only does this help the company receive feedback, but it is easier for them to make any tweaks. 

For instance, Royal Caribbean tested out their new menus onboard Symphony of the Seas before implementing them fleetwide in early 2023. 


With a maximum passenger capacity of 7,600, the AI bot is meant to help reduce the lengthy Guest Services line. Instead, you can ask the bot simple questions or even be connected to an actual agent from anywhere onboard. 

According to Schneider, the new chat system "works beautifully." 

Read more: First look Inside the World's Biggest Cruise Marvel, Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas

How does it work?


Rather than having to wait in line at Guest Services, passengers onboard the world's largest cruise ship can ask an AI bot in the Royal Caribbean app certain questions like "What can my SeaPass do?" and "How do I access Wi-Fi?" 

It will also tell you how much the drink package costs, as well as help you add a registered user to your account and opt out of gratuities.

Read more: Royal Caribbean has a $100,000 cup on its new cruise ship that includes a lifetime drink package


There's also something called "Human in the Loop," which helps connect you to an actual agent, without having to physically visit Guest Services. 

"Being able to text someone from your pool deck chair or your swim-up bar seat is where we'd much rather you be [on vacation]," said Schneider. 


Both functions can be accessed through the Royal Caribbean app's chat function. Note that guests must be 13 years of age or older to gain access to this feature. 

Of course, if there's an emergency, you should not waste time on the app waiting to chat with someone. Instead, you should call the ship's emergency number immediately. 

AI has been beneficial for Royal Caribbean in numerous ways

Sorrento's on Icon

There's no denying that ship development is fascinating; however, that's not the only facet of the company that AI has been helpful in. AI has helped Royal in the revenue space, pricing space, and revenue tracking space.

"The other area...for us is food waste," said Schneider.

"We have a very specific...waste program that is all about using a combination of really great hard work from our [food and beverage] staff, as well as AI and technology to reduce the amount of waste from a food perspective." 

Read more: Icon of the Seas restaurant and dining guide


With this new program, Royal can see what's been produced, consumed, wasted, and even repurposed. It helps give better data to the chefs, so they can understand how to make adjustments for the next production. 

They even created a new food & beverage position to help lead the project of control. 

All the food produced for the Windjammer will be weighed and then measured by the user-friendly app. It's also weighed after any given service to see how much of each item was consumed. 


There were certain apps already on the market, but nothing that Royal Caribbean needed, so they produced the app in-house. 

This is a step in the company's goal of reducing food waste across the fleet by 50% by 2025. 

Read more: Guide to Royal Caribbean's Windjammer Cafe buffet

Elizabeth graduated from New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute with her M.A. in Journalism in May 2023. Growing up, she had the privilege of traveling frequently with her family and fell in love with cruising after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas her freshman year of high school. She wanted to pursue a career that highlighted her passion for travel and strengths as a writer. 

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