Following three years of research and development work with 11 digital, tech and behavioural science experts, including Deloitte Digital, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Samsung, MSC Cruises’ digital multi-channel experience available through mobile apps, interactive cabin TV screens, public interactive onboard screens and wearables will provide guests with over 130 smart features geared towards a fully optimized holiday experience.
These include a dedicated app to help guests tailor their holidays at any point on their journey, whether they are booking their excursions prior to embarkation or a specialty restaurant whilst relaxing by the top-deck pool.
Interactive bracelets will provide access to cabin, payments on board, wayfinding on the ship, within a five metre precision, and sharing accurate whereabouts of guest's children onboard and will activate geo-located suggestions through 3,050 Bluetooth beacons.
Intelligent face recognition will help staff take care of guests in a highly personalised way.
First ship to sport MSC for Me is MSC Meraviglia, coming into service this June. MSC Meraviglia will be fitted with 16,000 points of connectivity, 700 digital access points, 358 informative and interactive screens, and 2,244 cabins with RFID/NFC access technology.
The company envisions a fleet-wide roll-out of the programme to its existing 12 ships, and the addition 10 next-generation mega ships planned to be delivered between 2017 and 2024.
The MSC for Me programme will next be rolled out on MSC Seaside arriving in November and then on the existing fleet.
MSC Cruises’ executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago commented: 'From day one, innovation has been at the very core of what MSC Cruises stands for. Each time we bring to the market a new class of ship we develop a brand new prototype, so that we can best address the evolving needs of guests. This distinct approach has led to over 800% growth over the first ten years since we entered the cruising business.'
Vago added, 'Technology at the service of the guest experience is advancing at a rapid pace and that is why we’ve already invested €20m in the first two ships alone, to develop technology and infrastructure that is capable of meeting the needs of guests for years to come.'
Referencing the 11 partners that MSC has worked with to develop MSC for Me, Luca Pronzati, MSC Cruises’ chief innovation officer commented, 'we are bringing some of their latest and most-advanced solutions and technology on board our ships – in fact, this is where most of these will be available for the first time ever on a cruise ship.'
He added, a research study carried out in partnership with Deloitte Digital identified some of the following key findings: 'technology must enable our crew in providing an even better service to our guests, and ultimately must enrich human contact; with 170 different nationalities sailing with us, the challenge for communicating effectively with guests is complex and there is a need to provide relevant information based on the guest profile, and the digital channels must facilitate the effective delivery of this information.'
It also identified the need to simplify and optimise planning before and during the cruise to help guests better understand all of the offerings available, leaving more time to enjoy their holiday and to enhance the experience beyond "the life on board" by integrating the guest experience before and after the cruise as part of a complete customer journey.'
Additionally, MSC Cruises shared the Deloitte research showed that more than one in two guests are increasingly looking at customising their holiday experience both before and during their cruise (59%), with one out of six guests (17%) claiming to do so only once they’re on-board. Nearly three quarters (73%) of guests claimed to be interested in a holiday at sea on a more connected ship.
The research also identified that more than two out of three guests (69%) wish to use a smartphone on board, and more than one in three (36%) uses a tablet whilst at sea.
Earlier this year Carnival Corp. & plc rolled out its Medallion technology aimed at helping personalise passenger experience in multiple ways and Royal Caribbean, which debuted its own wearable technology WOWBands two years ago, revealed it is working on a new application, codenamed Excalibur due to debut this summer.