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High Tech on the High Seas

World's first smartship coming this fall

Nothing says high tech like robots serving you drinks.

Hitting the high seas this November is a pair of bionic bartenders who will be slinging cocktails on Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship Quantum of the Seas.

They’re a first – not only for a cruise line, but anywhere in the world – and one of many tech innovations that will create the world’s first smart ship.

The ship’s Wi-Fi speeds rival those on land. Guests can now share their entire vacation experience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more in real time and stream their favorite flicks and shows on Netflix or DIRECTV – all powered by an advanced satellite system. If kids (or adults) want more, they can Skype with friends or play Xbox Live.

“The O3b connectivity is radically different. It’s in a low mid-earth orbit, and it’s three, four times closer to earth,” said Bill Martin, chief information officer, Royal Caribbean International. “It’s very, very fast and it changes the game of onboard bandwidth.”

Some of the new onboard entertainment is rooted in technology as well. In Two70, Quantum’s futuristic venue, the floor-to-ceiling windows transform into a showcase for video projection, multimedia shows and digital mapping. Coupled with six Roboscreens, which are over seven feet high and controlled by robotic arms, guests can observe a digitally based, full-scale production.

Rooms will have live virtual views too. Every interior stateroom on the 167,800-ton, 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas will be outfitted with an 80-inch floor to ceiling HD screen, framed to look like an actual balcony. The screens – powered by the same RED Epic cinematic cameras used to shoot House of Cards, Sharknado and more – bring live, real-time views of the ocean and destinations into 375 inside rooms.

Then there’s the convenience factor.

Royal Caribbean is employing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to further the simplicity and efficiency of the entire cruise vacation experience, from RFID SeaPass Cards that won’t demagnetize, to wearable WOWband wristbands, and luggage tagging and tracking.  

“Its all about making it easy for our guests, eliminating some of the barriers that we’ve had, eliminating lines, and ensuring they have the ability to pre-plan their vacation as much as they want to,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President of Operations, Royal Caribbean International.  

Ultimately, it’s about a better vacation.

“Smart ship means our guests are in control of their entire vacation experience,” said Lutoff-Perlo.

Except for the drinks. The robots got those.