Easing hassles, increasing demand for cruising
The technology is also drawing new people to cruising, according to Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
'Using technology to reduce the hassle factor of our product also increases demand,' Fain said Thursday.
Current functions include accelerated check-in, a daily planner, access to shipboard accounts and the ability to book shore excursions and specialty restaurants.
The rollout is taking place in three phases, starting with 'crawl,' or testing mode, in which the app is running and a limited number of people are trying it, but the company doesn't say much about it. 'Walk,' equivalent to beta testing, allows everyone who wishes to use the app to do so. 'Run,' the final phase, seeks to engage as many passengers as possible with the app's functionality, and the company vigorously promotes its use.
At this time, Excalibur is use on about 50% of its fleet, according to a chart the company provided during Thursday's third quarter earnings call.
In tandem with the customer-facing progress, a lot of focus is going into the impact on crew efficiency and effectiveness.
Easing embarkation and disembarkation a priority
Fain said RCL is prioritizing taking the hassle out of the embarkation and disembarkation. Next come the ability to book on-board products and services in advance of sailing, a chat function, facial recognition and digital stateroom access.
Excalibur is among a range of new products and services that will accelerate or debut in 2019, including the first full year of operations for Symphony of the Seas, Celebrity Edge and Azamara Pursuit, the introduction of Spectrum of the Seas in China and Celebrity Flora in the Galápagos, the Perfect Day at CocoCay experience and new cruise terminals at PortMiami (Terminal A) and Port Everglades (Terminal 25 for Celebrity Edge).