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'Robot crew members' for new Royal Caribbean ship Featured

The Quantum of the Seas' Bionic Bar will have robot bartenders mixing drinks The Quantum of the Seas' Bionic Bar will have robot bartenders mixing drinks Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International is taking some of the industry's first steps towards introducing robot crew members with its newest ship, the Quantum of the Seas.

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Among a host of high-tech systems installed aboard the ship, which will officially set sail in November, will be a couple of robot bartenders working in the vessel's Bionic Bar.

Guests can submit their orders to the bar via tablets and then sit back and watch the robotic bartenders get to work mixing their cocktails.

New technology has also been applied to the check-in process, which promises to allow Royal Caribbean guests to go from “sidewalk to ship” in 10 minutes from the time they arrive at the cruise terminal by using an online boarding service prior to arrival at the port.

The company says that the process at the terminal will involve no check-in counter, forms to fill out or queue to stand in. Instead, luggage will be tagged with RFID technology at the roadside at drop-off and guests can track their luggage in real time on their smartphones en route to their room. On departure, the process is reversed.

Guests will also be issued with RFID WOWband wristbands, which will act as their room key and allow them to navigate the ship or make on board purchases.

"Cruise vacations have a romantic past – but they also have a lively, adventurous, state-of-the-art future," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

"We were determined to take the best advances in modern technology, turn them into shipboard 'wows', and take the frustration out of the vacation. This ship’s combination of ease and flexibility would make a yoga instructor proud."

These on board services will be backed by connectivity to shore via the recently launched O3b Ka-band network.

Royal Caribbean says that Quantum of the Seas passengers will be able to watch streaming video, check e-mail, share images on social media and enjoy face-to-face video conversations in the middle of the ocean using the internet services on board.

"Even when they are getting away from it all on vacation, people want to be able to connect,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, executive vice president, Operations, Royal Caribbean International.

"Our satellite network will make things possible at sea that could never have been done before, and will make all the difference in the way guests share their Royal Caribbean experience."

Royal Caribbean also plans to provide every crew member on Quantum of the Seas with a free, personal Microsoft Windows tablet.

While the tablet will belong to the crew member for personal use, it will also be loaded with custom apps for working that will allow the crew to keep track of guests’ tastes and preferences, to tailor personalised services.

The company says that this could include information on whether a guest prefers gluten-free dining, early show seating, or shiatsu massage, and will aim to help the crew to anticipate guests' needs.

These tablets will also be rolled out to every shipboard employee in the entire Royal Caribbean International fleet – a total of 40,000 tablets.

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