Smart phone app

How Royal Caribbean will make check-in, Adventure Ocean and its app easier & faster

In:
27Nov2019

Royal Caribbean has a reputation for being a leader in a variety of areas, including integrating technology to make the guest experience easier.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. SVP Digital Experience Jay Schneider has been at the helm of Royal Caribbean's next-gen tech, known as Project Excalibur, for three years and shared the plans, challenges, and successes the company has with leveraging technology.

The origins of Project Excalibur

All good stories have a beginning, and Project Excalibur began with a simple task from the very top of Royal Caribbean.

"Project Excalibur started as a result of really a passion from Richard (Fain); Seeing what was happening elsewhere, both across the industry, travel and hospitality overall, and just frankly, the planet. With more and more Millennials sailing with us, with more and more digitally enabled consumers at all ages, it really became an opportunity for us to step back and look at how do we transform our company through the use of technology."

"It really became an opportunity for us to step back and look at how do we transform our company through the use of technology."

"It wasn't really an idea of what it exactly meant, but the goal was to unpacking how to digitize everything. Digitize the things that we could remove the hassles from guests, put them on vacation faster, pull friction out of the experience."

"We see friction in a number of different ways; It's interacting with the Cruise Planner website, it's doing your check-in process... Friction can be digital, it can be physical. There's real friction: your key doesn't work, you'll have to go Guest Services. Sitting through muster is friction. Not being able to get into your room is friction. Not wanting to have to wait in line for a cocktail, or have to run down to Sorrentos, is friction."

App development isn't easy

Like all software development, creating a brand new Royal Caribbean app that sought to simplify the cruise experience for guests is not an overnight task. Moreover, developing an app to work on a cruise ship comes with its own set of challenges.

"Everything you expected on land, is designed for you to be on land. Your phone wakes up through a push notification, because you're connected to the cloud somewhere, whether through WiFi or cellular. There are so many ways where technology on land is easier."

"The problem is we also operate 50 data centers at sea that have to work in a redundant way, and so if you think about that, our challenge is to figure out how, you, the consumer can work with us when you're on land and then when the guest is onboard, how everything is localized."

How close are we to chat across the fleet

One of the most-requested features for Royal Caribbean to offer is a guest-to-guest chat communication feature. Royal Caribbean has been testing a chat function in its app on Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas for months, so we asked Mr. Schneider when chat will roll out to the entire fleet.

"One of the things we've gotten complaints for, is the pace of our evolution. In fact, the number one reason people rate us poorly in the app store is, 'You're not on my ship.' That's deliberate. We want to make sure that the technology we put onboard every ship works flawlessly, and chat isn't there yet."

"We know people want chat. We know it's the number one feature they ask for, and it's something we're trying to rush to the market."

"I hope in early 2020, we will be able to light chat up on every ship that has the app. I think we're a couple months away of final testing."

"You asked the question around why it's hard to put technology on a ship, chat is the hardest. There is a number of ways Apple, and even Google on an Android platform, expect you to operate that doesn't exist at sea in the ocean."

"We know people want chat. We know it's the number one feature they ask for, and it's something we're trying to rush to the market."

How to make embarkation super smooth

We asked Mr. Schneider how his team's work is making embarkation as easy as possible, and he shared a few easy tasks anyone can do to take advantage of the cruise line's expedited arrival process.

1. Create a guest account with Royal Caribbean before the cruise.

2. Download the Royal Caribbean app from either the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.

3. Begin check-in and make sure you do a few steps:

a. Fill out all the questions in the short form provided.
b. Scan your passport with the app (do not manually enter the passport information).
c. Take a security selfie photo. Make sure you do not have a hat on or sunglasses, and have as muted a background as possible.

Adventure Ocean: A new challenge

On Oasis of the Seas, the Project Excalibur team faced a brand new challenge: Adventure Ocean kids programming.

"The reboot of Adventure Ocean on Oasis is amazing...We wanted to bring technology to the experience that was contextual for each of the different age ranges that we serve."

"We wanted canvases that we could continue to tell amazing creative on, and digital gives us the ability to do that."

"You'll see technology that we've partnered with companies and bought. You'll see custom content that we've created. We wanted canvases that we could continue to tell amazing creative on, and digital gives us the ability to do that."

"I think one of the game changers is kids registration, instead of filling paper out for parents. Parents no longer have to fill paper out, it's tap your SeaPass card, we know who you are; tell us what we need to know about your kid and go on.  Eventually that'll be available pre-arrival in the app, so you could just do it pre-arrival and not even hassle onboard."

"For kids, there's games they've never played before, stories they haven't come through yet, really ways to entertain them that we haven't put on ships yet, that I think is going to be awesome."

Empress of the Seas added to Royal Caribbean app

In:
15Nov2019

Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Empress of the Seas.

Empress now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

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

Spotted: Digital stateroom key on Oasis of the Seas

In:
09Nov2019

Guests with upcoming sailings on the amplified Oasis of the Seas are seeing a new option to use Royal Caribbean's app to open their stateroom door.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers Ashley Chandonia and Victoria Wittle shared screenshots of their app offering the new option.

The app works in conjunction with a SeaPass card.

Spectrum of the Seas was the first Royal Caribbean ship to offer a digital key and control the stateroom television from the app.

The app is available for download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Voyager of the Seas added to Royal Caribbean app

In:
17Oct2019

Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Voyager of the Seas.

Voyager now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

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

Royal Caribbean testing onboard food delivery on Symphony of the Seas

In:
15Oct2019

Royal Caribbean is testing out a new feature of its smartphone app that allows guests to order food from specialty restaurants via its smart phone app.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Preston shared details of the new app feature, which provided guests the option to order food items from restaurants such as Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Izumi sushi or Johnny Rockets. Food items that do not have a fixed price, such as Johnny Rockets, cost anywhere from $3-$7 and a large pizza from Sorrentos costs $5.

Guests can choose to have the food delivered to their stateroom, or anywhere on the ship. If stateroom is selected, the room number is pre-selected by the app based on the guest's reservation. 

Alternatively, guests can have food delivered to them by selecting what deck they are on, and then drag and dropping a pin on a map to indicate where you are located on that deck. There are some no-delivery zones, like pools, waterslide lines, theaters, and other restaurants. 

Once the food is ordered, the server locates you based on the pinpoint and delivers the food as soon as it is ready. Thanks to Mark for doing "research" for us!

 

Many thanks to Mark and Danna for providing screenshots and "field testing" this new feature!

Royal Caribbean adds Ovation of the Seas to new app

In:
20Sep2019

Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Ovation of the Seas.

Ovation now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

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

Royal Caribbean adds Anthem of the Seas to new app

In:
15Aug2019

Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Anthem of the Seas.

Anthem now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

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

Royal Caribbean updates app to add location tracking at Perfect Day at CocoCay

In:
22Jul2019

Royal Caribbean has released version 1.19.1 of its new smartphone app, which makes the personalized calendar easier to access and the ability for guests to see their location on the Perfect Day at CocoCay map.

The new update makes it easier for guests to use the app to find their way around Royal Caribbean's private destination in the Bahamas.

The enablement of location services in the app is important, because it is one possible step towards a goal Royal Caribbean has previously advertised of one day allowing guests to order food or beverages via the app and be subsequently delivered to them (known as the Bring Me program).  That feature is being actively worked on, but the digital team is still taking the necessary steps to ensure that the program meets Royal Caribbean's program goals around guest service, technology and operations. 

It remains to be seen if the cruise line will roll out Bring Me first on a ship, or at a location like Perfect Day at CocoCay.

In addition, the 1.19.1 release made the personalized calendar easier to access.

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

Royal Caribbean adds support for Quantum of the Seas and The Key to smart phone app

In:
Category: 
16May2019

Royal Caribbean has released version 1.17 of its smart phone app which adds app support for Quantum of the Seas as well as identifying guests who purchase The Key.

The new app update is available via the Google Play store, and will be available for iTunes App Store shortly.

Quantum of the Seas is now listed as being supported with the app. Moreover, guests who are enrolled in The Key are now identified as members at check-in.

Thanks to RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers Michael S. and Michael C. for alerting us to these changes.

Royal Caribbean app allows guests to open stateroom door on Spectrum of the Seas

In:
29Apr2019

Guests on Spectrum of the Seas are the first to be able to use Royal Caribbean's new app to open their stateroom door.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Stephen O’Brien shared with us a look at how the new app allows guests to use their app to open their doors.  The app works in conjunction with a SeaPass card or WOWband.

 

After installing the digital key, the home screen of the Royal Caribbean app adds a door icon.

In addition, the bed icon also allows guests to control the stateroom television from the app.

Spectrum of the Seas is the first Royal Caribbean International ship to offer these features.

The app is available for download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Pages