Smart phone app

Royal Caribbean provides smart phone app and online check-in feature updates

In:
Category: 
15Aug2018

Royal Caribbean issued an update to travel agents on the current status of its new smart phone app and mobile check-in options for guests sailing on select cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean's new smartphone app is available on six ships currently (Mariner of the Seas was recently added), with Allure of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas offering real-time folio access, along with an expedited arrival option.

The folio option allows guests to see all charges being made while on the cruise, directly in the app.  Instead of going to Guest Services for a print out, or checking the stateroom television, the app will offer a real-time look at what they have spent onboard.

Expedited Arrival is part of the mobile check-in process, and once guests complete their mobile check-in in full, they may qualify for expedited arrival. When the guest arrives to the pier with their digital Set Sail Pass, they can go into the Expedited Arrival line. This means these guests can bypass the traditional check-in line and instead check-in very quickly via the mobile station. Royal Caribbean hopes this will mean getting from curbside to onboard the ship in a matter of minutes. Expedited Arrival is currently available on Allure of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas, and will roll out to other ships in the future. 

The new app is still under development, but the arrival of folio management and expedited arrival marks another milestone for its development. Version 1.9.0 of the Royal Caribbean app was released on August 10. The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Last month, Royal Caribbean introduced the mobile check-in option to the app as well (and its website) for a simpler check-in process.

Royal Caribbean has also introduced recently online web check-in on three of its ships to offer a cleaner traditional check-in process.

While online check-in is available for all Royal Caribbean ships, the enhanced online web check-in is a new features fewer steps needed for check-in completion, along with some other improved functionality:

  • Option to check in one person or your entire party simultaneously
  • Ability to edit previously entered information without repeating any steps
  • Easy add-guest or remove-guest functionality from check-in process
  • The ability to stop and save at any point
  • Easily pick up where you left off on either the website or the Royal Caribbean mobile App check in
  • Convenient digital SetSail pass for mobile use at terminal

Guests can check-in from 90 days to 72 hours prior to the sail date. If a guest misses the check-in window, the guest has the option to check-in at the Port.

Royal Caribbean talks Symphony of the Seas, new app progress, big demand in Caribbean and more

In:
02Aug2018

During Royal Caribbean's second quarter 2018 financial call with investors, the company shared some interesting anecdotes, facts, and insight into the ever changing cruising environment.  While most of the information discussed in these earnings calls deal primarily with financial indicators, cruise guests can glean some insight into how Royal Caribbean runs its business.

Symphony of the Seas debut has been spectacular 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) Chairman and CEO Richard Fain started off the call with investors beaming about the positive response Symphony of the Seas has received in her inaugural season in Europe.  Fain indicated that not only is the ship booked well, but guests are raving about the experience and the high level of service they are experiencing.

"Her performance for a first time ship in a new market. For her to perform so amazingly well when she is the fourth in a series, is a testament to the innovations the team has incorporated and the power of the Royal Caribbean International brand.

This ship has remarkable new wow's, new shows, and new activities, but what truly sets her apart is the careful execution and high level of service which have been pivotal in achieving these record-breaking ratings."

Smart phone update

Of particular interest to Royal Caribbean cruisers is an update was given on the progress being made with the cruise line's new smart phone app and technology innovation, known as Project Excalibur.

Fain offered an update on where the project stands, and seemed bullish on the prospects of rolling the app out to most ships in the fleet by the end of 2019, as well as the progress being made.  There were no specific updates in terms of when certain functionality will be completed, but it did sound like they wanted to get it right the first time, instead of just pushing out an app that may or may not work well.

"The program is on track and the progress is impressive. We have taken a methodical, hands-on approach to this implementation, rolling out new upgrades on a monthly basis or even more frequently. We're finding that this 'softly softly' approach allows us to move more quickly, but also to correct the errors early before they impact a lot of vacations.

We continually add features to the app, and we remain on our trajectory of having half the fleet connected by the end of this year and most of the rest by the end of next year.

The most complete version of the app today is on Symphony of the Seas, and in December, that distinction will be taken over by Celebrity Edge.

One interesting milestone is the introduction of frictionless arrival.  We have been rolling this out on a limited basis and expect that it will be operational on a large scale basis on Symphony of the Seas and on Celebrity Edge later this fall.

By the way, we recently trademarked the term 'frictionless', so don't expect to see that being used by any other cruise line."

Higher onboard revenue is up (again)

If you spend time listening to these earnings calls, one trend that continued again this quarter was higher spending by guests, namely in the form of drink packages and other packages that can be purchased online or onboard.

In short, a lot of Royal Caribbean's revenue can be traced back to guests not only booking cruises in droves, but also because they are spending more than ever once onboard.

RCL Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty spoke about onboard spending during his summary of the quarter, "The beat was driven by stronger than anticipated close-in demand, and better than expected onboard revenue spend.

Onboard areas, such as beverage, specialty dining and internet, helped deliver a 5.5% year-over-year increase in onboard revenue."

Mariner of the Seas singlehandidly helped drive up Caribbean demand

If there is one ship not named Symphony of the Seas that has hit a home run for Royal Caribbean, it is definitely Mariner of the Seas.  Mariner of the Seas has the distinction of being a very popular choice with consumers that are looking for short cruises, and has been a boon for the cruise line in terms of being booked well and driving up revenue.

In providing an overview of the Caribbean cruise market, Jason Liberty spoke about the impact Mariner of the Seas has had, "Demand for the Caribbean sailings has been strong, with bookings trending ahead of last year's very storng numbers. Our Caribbean capacity is up in the back half of the year, due mainly due to the addition of the reimagined Mariner of the Seas for the short Caribbean market.

Our strategy behind modernizing the Mariner of the Seas was to offer the best alternative for a short Caribbean getaway as a response to consumer trends. The younger generations are opting for shorter, more frequent vacations and the Mariner of the Seas is very well positioned for this segment with onboard activities, dining options, and entertainment similar to those on Oasis class ships.

Mariner of the Seas is booked very well and we are particularly excited about 2019. While we generally don't expect to recieve many bookings for short Caribbean sailings that are more than six months away, Mariner of the Seas' load factors in the first half of 2019 are closer to those of seven-night products than they are to shorter products."

Lessons learned from 2017 hurricane season

Towards the end of the call, an analyst asked Royal Caribbean's leaders about any lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane season that they can apply to the 2018 hurricane season.  This was an opportunity for Royal Caribbean to talk about the impact the cruise line had on the people affected by the storms, and the positive public relations and humanitarian response that Royal Caribbean saw.

Richard Fain spoke about the lessons learned, "We felt our response last year was really ended up being quite good. Probably built up a fair amount of good will from the way we handled it, and I'm not sure that from a pure financial point of view we learned much that would significantly change the outcome if you had, again, a hurricane that exactly tracked as our ships itinerary and exactly hit the ports of call on the days that they would be most impactful. So we constantly try and learn, and obviously there are always some lessons to be learned, but overall, I think we felt that last year we did pretty well.

I do think though that people should be impressed by how well the destinations responded afterwards. These were horrific events for them, but now people are reporting back and travel agents, which are always an important source of information as well as internet chatter, shows how well they've recovered and I think that may help us a little bit in terms of assuaging the concern that people had that if they went to some of these destinations afterwards they would encounter a bad experience. And that simply hasn't been the case."

Royal Caribbean provides official update on new smart phone app

In:
Category: 
24Apr2018

Royal Caribbean offered travel agents an official status update on the new Royal Caribbean app for smart phones.

Royal Caribbean says the new app is already available on Symphony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, and "currently being tested on other select ships."  The capabilities of the app vary from ship to ship and new functions will be "rolling out across the fleet throughout the year."

If you download and open the new app, the app lists the preview ships are

  • Allure of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas

The app takes advantage of the new Universal Guest Account, which was rolled out to, "deliver many capabilities of our digital cruise experience, to simplify the guest experience online and to allow guests to quickly access features and information."

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean updates new smartphone app and enables login & features for Allure and Symphony

In:
29Mar2018

Royal Caribbean has released version 1.6.2 of its new official Royal Caribbean International app, which locks down the app to select ships, introduces a login feature, and opens the app up a bit more to two ships.

With the 1.6.2 release, guests on Allure of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas have access to improved guest accounts, and can make reservations for specialty dining restaurants.

Guests on Symphony of the Seas may now take advantage of the app’s online check-in functionality.

The app is now available on Allure of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas. 

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean expands new smartphone app to Symphony of the Seas

In:
10Mar2018

Royal Caribbean has released a new update to its smart phone app, which primarily adds support for use on Symphony of the Seas.

Version 1.6.0 of the Royal Caribbean app was released to fix bugs, improve performance and also be compatible with Symphony of the Seas.

According to the app description page on iTunes Store, version 1.6 lets guests

  • Learn about the hundreds of activities, movies, and shows available onboard, and use category filters to sort them to their preferences
  • Explore off-ship adventures to make the most of our port stops
  • Peruse complete restaurant, bar, and lounge options onboard
  • Plan a day of indulgence with our array of spa offerings
  • Use deck plan illustrations to navigate the ship

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean expands new smartphone app to Enchantment of the Seas

In:
22Jan2018

Royal Caribbean's new smart phone app has been updated to include support for Enchantment of the Seas.

Version 1.4.0 of the Royal Caribbean App was released, which expands functionality and makes it work on Enchantment of the Seas, beginning with the January 19 sailing. Enchantment joins these other Royal Caribbean ships that already have the app enabled:

  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean expands new smartphone app to Serenade of the Seas

In:
27Dec2017

Royal Caribbean's new smart phone app has been updated to include support for Serenade of the Seas.

Version 1.3.0 of the Royal Caribbean App was released, which expands functionality and makes it work on Serenade of the Seas, in addition to Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

6 cool features coming to Royal Caribbean's new smartphone app

In:
Category: 
17Nov2017

Royal Caribbean made big headlines with their recent tech announcement that will usher in a new generation of smart technology to enhance the guest experience. At the heart of this new initiative is a brand new smart phone app that the company has been working on in earnest to provide a seamless experience online.

The new app is packed with features, and we picked our six important ones you should be aware of before using it.

6. Track your luggage

With the new app, guests can see exactly where their luggage is on embarkation day to know precisely when it has been delivered to their stateroom.

This feature means you do not have to play the game of walking back to your room on a number of occasions to see if luggage has been delivered.  Instead, simply open the app and follow the luggage's status, just like you would a package in the mail.

5. Book shore excursions and dining reservations

From the palm of your hand, you can manage your shore excursions and dining reservations onboard your Royal Caribbean ship.  This is great for when you are at the pool, breakfast table, or milling about in your stateroom and have your family around to make a decision.  Open the app, select the option you want and you are all set.

The new app means guests can quickly manage their onboard and on shore plans without making a trip to Guest Services, or anywhere else onboard.  This means less lines to wait in, and no restaurant phone extensions to look up.

4. Chat with friends

A really common question we get asked is how to stay in contact with friends and family on a Royal Caribbean ship.  The new Royal Caribbean app will allow for easy text communication, and no internet plan is required.

Unlike Royal Caribbean's previous smart phone app, Royal iQ, there is no additional cost to use the texting feature in the app.  This means everyone can easily communicate onboard and synch up.

3. Interactive Cruise Compass

Carrying around a paper copy of all of the events and remembering to pack a highlighter is so twentieth century.  With Royal Caribbean's app, you can easily see what events and activities are occurring onboard.

Moreover, you can add any Cruise Compass entry to your own personal calendar, so you never forget which events you wanted to check out.

2. Board the ship even faster

Royal Caribbean wants to streamline the check-in process to the point that it is as simple as walking in.  Forget the forms to fill out, pictures to take, or agents to speak with.  The new app will allow for a "frictionless check-in" that gets you onboard your ship very quickly.

Royal Caribbean is utilizing technologies ranging from facial recognition to RFID tagging to GPS mapping to Bluetooth-enabled beacons to streamline boarding, manage check-ins automatically and improve wayfinding.

This means other than the security check, there are no lines to stand in.

1. Order drinks to delivered to you

By far the most intriguing feature of the new app is the option to order beverages and have them delivered to wherever you happen to be seated or standing.

You simply order the drink from the app, and the bar staff use software on their end to triangulate your position.  The waiter has a photo of you that you took when you set up the app, so it is easy enough to track you down and deliver your drink.

This means there is no more trying to flag down a waiter, or squirm your way to the bar in hopes of getting an order in among other guests competing to do the same.

Which feature are you most excited about to use? Let us know in the comments below!

Royal Caribbean expands new smartphone app to Oasis of the Seas

In:
05Oct2017

UPDATE: The app has been updated again and Oasis of the Seas references have been removed. Support for Oasis of the Seas will come in "a few weeks".

The latest version of Royal Caribbean's new smartphone app that is under development has been expanded to work on Oasis of the Seas.

Version 1.1.0 of the Royal Caribbean App was released, which expands functionality and makes it work on Oasis of the Seas, in addition to Allure of the Seas.

The new app version includes a few new features:

  • Learn about the hundreds of activities, movies, and shows available onboard
  • Explore off-ship adventures in places like the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Cozumel, and more
  • Peruse complete restaurant, bar, and lounge options
  • Plan a day of indulgence with our array of Vitality at Sea Spa offerings
  • Use deck plan illustrations to navigate the ship

Additionally, the daily planner is easier to navigate, and added a daily ticker with port, weather, and sunrise/ sunset information.

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

New Royal Caribbean smartphone app spotted for use on Allure of the Seas

In:
12Aug2017

Browsing the iTunes App Store has revealed a new smartphone app that is only supported currently on Allure of the Seas.

The Royal Caribbean app was released on August 10, 2017 and might be part of the highly anticipated new smartphone app promised as part of a new digital strategy refresh.

The app description describes the new app as a new, official app for the cruise line, "The new, official Royal Caribbean mobile app gives our guests all the information they need to make the most of their cruises. We’re introducing it on Allure of the Seas®, and as we test and adjust this new app, we’ll gradually roll it out across our entire fleet."

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

The current version features include

  • Learn about the hundreds of activities, movies, and shows available onboard
  • Explore off-ship adventures in places like the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Cozumel, and more
  • Peruse complete restaurant menus and bar and lounge options
  • Plan a day of indulgence with our array of Vitality Spa offerings
  • Use deck plan illustrations to navigate the ship

Royal Caribbean has been hinting at a new app ever since Royal Caribbean CIO Michael Giresi mentioned it in an interview in January 2017. Since then, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has referenced it during earnings calls with analysts, but feature sets have not been divulged.

Dubbed internally as, "Project Excalibur," this new app will offer new ways for guests to have a simpler experience onboard.

"Starting over two years ago, we have found intuitive digital applications to make the guest experience simpler and more comfortable," Fain announced during the an earnings call earlier this year. "You'll be able to open the door to your room without pulling out a card or a key, request a beverage real-time from the comfort of your lounge chair, and get recommendations for your traveling companion based on their preferences."

"We take our guest vacation time seriously, and technology is a great enabler to improve the use of that."

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