Technology is making cruising seamless, from the time a person enters a ship until their vacation ends.
At SeaTrade Cruise Global 2019, TechRepublic Senior Editor Teena Maddox spoke with Bill Panoff, CEO of the PPI Group and EIC of Porthole Cruise magazine, about how technology is making cruising seamless, from the time a person enters a ship until their vacation ends. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.
Teena Maddox: How is technology changing the cruise industry?
Bill Panoff: Technology is of paramount importance to the cruise industry because it enhances the cruise experience and allows the guests to have more of a seamless experience onboard, from the moment they step foot on the ship to the moment they leave the ship, the shore excursions, the delivery of content, to anticipate the guests' needs in terms of their wants and desires in the ports and onboard. It's just a phenomenal way to enjoy cruising even more so.
Teena Maddox: What are the ways that the cruise industry itself is using technology?
Bill Panoff: For example, Princess Cruises has introduced the Princess Medallion, which is an opportunity for the guests to interact on a digital format onboard their vessels. They have it on several vessels, and they plan to expand that throughout the fleet. From the moment you book your Princess Cruise, you receive your medallion at home, and that medallion has all your vital information on it. You can use that medallion to open up your stateroom door. You can use it for onboard purchases. It anticipates your needs.
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MSC, for example, has introduced one called MSC for Me, kind of a similar technology. It makes the experience so much more enjoyable and more efficient in the eyes of the cruise lines.
Teena Maddox: Will we be seeing AR and VR onboard ships?
Bill Panoff: In the very near future, that will be introduced onboard ships. Incidentally, with the onboard shopping experience, artificial intelligence already is being incorporated in many ways. If you step onboard some of the new Celebrity ships, you'll see artificial intelligence. You'll see an interaction with the guests in terms of a digital component whereby people can do their shopping from their staterooms and have the items that they actually order onboard delivered to their staterooms through this digital format. Artificial Intelligence, in the future, will be on all cruise ships and will make it a much more enjoyable experience.
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