Less Lining Up To Get On And Off Mega Passenger Liner ‘Icon Of The Seas’.

Filer photo. Icon of the Seas is the biggest cruise ship on earth, and can carry more than 5000 passengers. It made its inaugural cruise in January 2024. It has already visited St. Kitts.
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Most people who go on cruise ship voyages enjoy the experience, but if there is one thing that they complain about most it is the waiting in line to get on or off the ship.

Clearly if there are a more than 5,000 passengers on a ship, (which could be the case if the Icon of the Seas is fully occupied, they cannot all embark and disembark at the same time, hence the standing in line or sitting around waiting for the doors to open.That’s a problem that Royal Caribbean Lines has been working on, specifically with respect to passengers having to stand in line.

Icon of the Seas, the cruise line’s newest, biggest ship, has introduced some new procedures that help with this problem.

Making getting on and off the ship a bit less tiresome is a key focus for the cruise line, according to Royal Caribbean Chief Product Innovation Officer Jay Schneider

“We spent a lot of time researching with guests what their day-one experience is. And what we’ve learned in that journey is that there is a lot of heavy lifting … that we wish it didn’t,” he said, according to a report from Royal Caribbean Blog.

“They want to start their vacation. They don’t want to go find a Voom desk.”

Voom is a proprietary satellite Internet service that enables Royal Caribbean vacationers to stay in touch with their work while they are cruising.

The FAQ page about ‘What is Voom and how much does it cost?” does not say how much it costs. You must buy your ticket first, and then find out the price, it suggests. (However an article in Cruisecritc.com suggests that the price might be $12.99 per day for basic Internet with an extra $5 per day if you wanted to add streaming movies or videos.

Royal Caribbean has used Icon of the Seas, which was recently seen in St. Kitts,  to launch a number of changes that will be easier to roll out fleetwide.

This video was made by passengers on the ship during their visit to St. Kitts.

One change Royal Caribbean has made is an improvement improvement to its cell phone app, which will enable passengers to talk to guest services without waiting in line at the desk.

That process starts with an artificial intelligence virtual assistant that can answer some simple questions, but it that doesn’t work, then they can communicate with a person. This “Human in the Loop”  features can connect you to an actual agent without having to physically visit Guest Services.

Royal Caribbean has also improved its disembarkation process by letting passengers use the app to select how they plan to leave the ship.

On disembarkation day they can also track when it’s their time to leave, something that was previously available only on state-room and other ship televisions.

Passengers who have sailed on Icon of the Seas may have also noticed another innovation that has been introduced to speed up the  boarding process.

Passengers who scanned their passports, took an identification photo, handed over their credit card details, and completed the health questionnaire in advance were given access to an Express Boarding lane.

Passengers who did all those things thus don’t have to wait in line behind passengers who need to complete one or more steps before boarding.

Another improvement is a state-room attendant app. With this passengers can request clean towels or report a blocked toilet without having to speak to anyone.

All these changes are  being beta-tested on Icon of the Seas, but they could easily be added to more ships in the fleet as app-based changes are relatively easy to implement put into practice on other ships.

Royal Caribbean has generally taken the approach of trying out any major onboard changes on a single ship before expanding it to others.

Sources: The Street, Royal Caribbean , Royal Caribbean blog, 
Cruisecritic.com.
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