Technological innovation. Real-time interactivity. Enhanced operational efficiency. While one or two of these facets may be incorporated into a cruise ship's communications system, it is unlikely that you will find all three. Facing challenges that cruise lines have faced for some time, such as providing informative yet unobtrusive guest communications as well as maximizing cost-savings, Royal Caribbean International went in search of a digital signage solution that would fuse all the three aforementioned factions into one network. This highly complex digital signage network would need to be designed in a way to offer guests an unparalleled travel experience while creating significant back-end efficiencies.
After years of planning, Royal Caribbean successfully redefined technological innovation with the introduction of the world's largest and most technologically-advanced cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas.
Oasis of the Seas is comprised of sixteen decks and 2,706 staterooms. What's more, it is home to seven distinctly themed neighborhoods, thirty-seven restaurants and bars, twenty-one swimming pools and Jacuzzis, as well as the first ever zip line and aquatic amphitheater on a cruise ship. Navigating a vessel 1,187 feet long and 208 feet wide would demand a highly intuitive yet complex communication network.
Royal Caribbean tapped Four Winds Interactive (FWi) to design an unprecedented digital signage network for Oasis of the Seas. With fifty-five interactive touchscreens and 156 passive displays operating off of the FWi digital signage network, the system provides real-time data that offers a guest experience like no other. Wayfinding technology enables guests to obtain directions to their destination, gauge restaurant options, interact with the daily Cruise Compass to get information on the day's events, and find answers to common questions.
Knowing that the ship plays host to guests from around the world, FWi developed the digital signage content to enhance guest communication and assist passengers in their native language, whether it is English, Spanish, French, Italian, German or Portuguese.
Guests in search of step-by-step directions to their stateroom can access an interactive mapping feature, similar to the directions produced by popular online mapping solutions, on any one of the forty-six touchscreens in which it is offered.
Similarly, guests hoping to satisfy hunger cravings can reference menus for each of the restaurants aboard the ship as well as real-time occupancy rates shown through a color coded thermometer, indicating seating availability. Passive signage has also operationally supported Oasis of the Seas, informing guests of events, production show times and shore excursions.
Enhanced operational efficiency
Behind the scenes, the digital signage network allows Royal Caribbean to create cost-savings efficiencies ranging from minimizing demand for guest services and concierge staff to streamlining restaurant operations. Sophisticated data integration between Royal Caribbean's back-end systems and FWi's hardware and software solutions has resulted in reduced lines and wait times and increased guest satisfaction, resulting in the development of a similar network on Royal Caribbean's yet to be launched Allure of the Seas.
Ronnie Farzad is Analyst, Guest Interactive Communication at Royal Caribbean International, a global cruise brand with 21 ships currently in service and one under construction. The line offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.