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Royal Caribbean has a ten year plan to use robots on its cruise ships

13 Mar 2024
Matt Hochberg

Robotics is seen as the future for many functions, including cruise ships.

Robot evolution for entertainment

An evening show on a cruise is as synonymous with the industry as the buffet or the ports of call visited. Royal Caribbean sees the future of entertainment with robots as integral to the show as the performers.

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Entertainment Nick Weir has not only been the head of Royal Caribbean's productions for decades, but he has been an early adopter of robots to augment the show experience.

Robotics offer a way to bring show elements previously impossible, or requiring a great deal of man power to accomplish.

Mr. Weir shared on Twitter that Royal Caribbean has, "a ten year program" for robotics.

Nick Weir Tweet

While we don't have yet a clear indication of what robots the future holds, it's clear the line is deeply invested in iterating robot technology and opportunities with each new ship.

A foothold in robotics

Royal Caribbean's love affair with robots started with the Quantum Class ships that first launched in 2014.

At the time, Quantum of the Seas was referred to as an innovative new kind of ship, with plenty of tech to go with the robots. There were virtual balcony cabins, high-speed internet access (relative to the time), a new app, and wearable wristbands.

Robots were part of a big that tech push with Quantum. There were robot bartenders, robots in the theater, and even a robotic arm to take guests high above the ship.

The first glimpse passengers got of robots on Quantum was at the Bionic Bar, where robot bartenders take drink orders via tablets located around the bar. 

Bionic Bar on Ovation of the Seas

Passengers then watch as their drinks are prepared by the robot. The robotic arms draw liquor from dozens of bottles hanging from above, and are programmed to add just the right amount of mixers, ice and even lemons and mint. They can even shake the drink to mix it.

Bionic Bar would make its way onto a number of other cruise ships around the fleet, becoming a spectacle for anyone that walked by.

Show in Two70

The other massive robotic presence on Quantum was in the Two70 venue, and this clearly resonated the most with Mr. Weir, as robots in theaters continue to appear in the line's latest ships.

Roboshow dev

On Quantum, robotic entertainment took to the stage with its Roboscreens. Partnering with ABB Robotics, Royal Caribbean utilized a handful of robot arms with screens attached to them to tell the stories in the new Two70 venue.

According to Royal Caribbean, it was the most complex robotics project that was happening outside of Mars.

An Iconic step forward

Aquatheater on Icon of the Seas

Robots on Quantum Class ships continued, and it took another step forward on Icon of the Seas.

The Aquadome is not only a new neighborhood, but also the first Aquatheater to incorporate robots into the show.

Combining the AquaTheater from Oasis Class ships with the roboscreens of Quantum Class, you get the next generation of robotics in a show. The idea was to create the greatest canvas to do entertainment on to date.

The six-axis robot arms in the Aquatheater are in the stage area on Icon had never been done before. When ready, the robot arms will be able to pick up the skate boarding half pipe during the show as part of the experience.

Robots on Icon of the Seas

Not only does this tech allow for great stunts, developing this tech also allows them to build all sorts of heavy equipment for stage use.

Robots can recreate any sense of forced-motion and direction. One idea is to put a platform on a robot arm, so instead of having a spring board, divers can use the robot arm to be propelled. It's an idea Royal Caribbean has patented.

"Huge plans for robotics"


This ten year plan is to continue the advancement of robots in the shows you find on Royal Caribbean's next batch of new cruise ships.

Mr. Weir tweeted that they're making better progress than originally anticipated, "It’s going really well so far, we are in advance of schedule. Already adding concepts that were destined for Star of the Seas to Aqua Action on Icon."


One idea is what he calls, "Robolights", and they are being prepared on Icon of the Seas. Instead of a screen, the arms have lights on them to help control the lighting precisely to what the performers need.

"The Robolights™️ preparing themselves for a performance (literally) and a clip of them doing their thing in the actual show. "

"Theater World, meet Robot World… a natural partnership."

Robotic fountain

He shared concept art for what he calls, "robotic fountain system" that appears to be able to spray multiple streams of water from each arm.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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