Some people board cruise ships so they can power down their electronic devices and relax on an Internet-free vacation. Others won’t agree to step on a cruise ship until they know that they’ll be able to connect to the Internet while at sea. Whether they need to check in with work, with people at home, or just want to keep up their social media presence, more cruise passengers are looking for better, stronger, more reliable Wi-Fi on the waves.
Fortunately for them, ship-to-shore communications have come a long way in the past few years. Most cruise ships are now fully equipped for wireless communications, with onboard Internet cafes, Wi-Fi hot spots and cell phone service. Connecting isn’t free, but cruise lines have been working to make connectivity more affordable for passengers and provide a choice of plans so you can buy only as much access as you need.
Cruise ships are applying new technology in other ways that enhance the onboard experience. One of the most spectacular examples is the robotic arms that are the featured bartenders at the Bionic Bar on some Royal Caribbean ships. They select from 50 ingredients stored in suspended bottles to mix classic or custom cocktails to order. They don’t have human characteristics, so they won’t give you an extra-generous pour – but they are fast, mixing two cocktails per minute.
More high-tech features popping up on cruise ships include:
• Daily schedules and menus on an in-room iPad to help plan your day.
• A shipboard mobile app you can use to instant message family and friends while on board.
• RFID luggage tags let you use a mobile device to track your luggage and see when it will be delivered to your stateroom.
• Wristbands (instead of keycards) that you can use to open your stateroom door, pay for drinks and other onboard extras, or book reservations at specialty restaurants.
• Facial recognition technology that will help you quickly find your photos in the photo gallery.
• This may be a little way off, but watch for game centers the feature the latest in virtual reality experiences.
If you would rather keep your cruise vacation unconnected, you certainly can – but it’s nice to know that new technology will keep making life onboard more convenient, easy, and fun. To book a ship that offers some of the latest advancements, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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