“iPads in every stateroom,” says one cruise line

iPads in every stateroomIn a bold move, Royal Caribbean International announced today the addition of “iPads in every stateroomon board onboard Splendour of the Seas, undergoing dry dock refurbishment right now.

“Based on consumer research, we added the iPads to greatly enhance guest communication, interactivity and to continue to offer industry leading technology that helps enhance the guest experience,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International.

Embracing technology and staying current is nothing new for Royal Caribbean International. Not long ago, sister-line Celebrity Cruises introduced a new iPhone app that represented a natural evolution of their programming, welcoming a new generation of cruise passenger. A Celebrity iLounge is a popular gathering place. As an Authorized Apple Reseller, some ships have a retail area where guests can try out and buy various Apple products and accessories plus an “enrichment center” that offers classes on the iLife suite of programs and other general topics.

On Splendour of the Seas, iPad’s will empower guests with an additional medium by which to receive and use information on their cruise vacation. Guests will be able to access the daily Cruise Compass shipboard newsletter of events and activities, personal daily itineraries and shore excursions, monitor their onboard account, order room service, view restaurant menus, access the Internet and watch movies. The iPads will be available beginning mid-February 2012 on Splendour of the Seas before being extended to all Vision-class ships when each undergoes revitalization in the following two years.

The iPads will offer guests the opportunity to access all of that information not only from their staterooms, but through the ship-wide WIFI system wherever they go onboard.

In addition to the iPads, upgraded Splendour of the Seas will also have new stateroom amenities such as flat screen televisions, new bathrooms, and completely remodeled interiors, including luxurious new linens and furniture, as well as an additional 124 balconies. The ship also will be outfitted with the digital wayfinding technology that can be found on the line’s acclaimed Oasis-class ships.

Upon completion of the refurbishments, Splendour of the Seas will sail a trans-Atlantic voyage on November 25 from Lisbon, Portugal to her seasonal home port of Sao Paulo (Santos), Brazil. From there, she will offer a variety of South American itineraries that take advantage of the summer season in Brazil.

Flickr photo by Chirantan Patnaik

Cruise lines focus on the arts

cruise line artsIt’s often a little-noticed detail on board today’s cruise liners: the artwork that adorns everything from stateroom walls to stairways. While passengers do everything from climb a rock wall to just enjoy a day at sea with a good book, all around them is art that has been carefully selected to create a theme or set the mood of a ship.

New Allure of the Seas stirs up quite the buzz on everything from the ship’s sheer size to the tiny details that go into much of what they do. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, a classic ocean liner with an elegant air, boasts the work of top-shelf artists from around the world. Carnival Cruise Line pays diligent attention to a theme for each ship that separates one from another in their fleet.

What was once simply a way to make a ship look less like a ship and more like a hotel has become a central focus of cruise lines that invest heavily in the arts.

Royal Caribbean’s new Allure of the Seas is one of those ships that has a central theme carried throughout. On Allure its all about “Wonders of our World Cultures” with artwork depicting scenes from all over the planet.

The artwork onboard Allure of the Seas, over 9800 pieces in all, has been created by artists from over twenty different countries such as Norway, Korea, Germany, South Africa, the Netherlands, Iceland, Spain, Colombia, Thailand and the United States. The diversity in artist nationalities in itself adds to the colorful and sophisticated aspect of the curatorial vision of Wonder of our World Cultures.

With pop-artist icon Peter Max along for the ride on inaugural sailings and an on-board Britto store with works from Romero Britto, Royal Caribbean is serious about what they do with art at sea. Sister line Celebrity Cruises has a similar focus on the arts, announcing recently some new additions to onboard programming on new additions to their Solstice-class ships. On those new-builds, the line will offer hands-on instruction from experts in drawing, painting and beading, as well as the art of food with culinary-themed classes.%Gallery-109473%