Southampton, England -- Royal Caribbean says its new Quantum of the Seas cruise liner is so wired with "smart" technology that guests will ditch the idea that vacation is all about unplugging.
"We've got more bandwidth on this ship than all the other ships on the ocean put together," said the ship's Technology Ambassador Jason Bradbury. It's wired with Quantum's new satellite-enabled internet service fast enough to download movies and support XBox Live gaming with players on other ships or back at home.
The 2,090 cabin Quantum of the Seas -- the third-largest cruise ship in the industry -- aims to be the most futuristic cruise ship on water. It has the first ever bar featuring robotic arms that mix drinks for customers who order alcohol from iPads on bar tables. Guests pay for their drinks and can track other on board purchases by swiping a wireless-enbabled wristband that also serves as their door key.
Royal Caribbean launched new apps for passengers to track their luggage, reserve off-shore excursions ahead of ports of call and book activities like sky diving; Quantum of the Seas has the first skydiving simulator on any cruise ship.
"Obviously, it is to attract the millennials," said Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain of the ship's high-tech offerings. "Our family business is growing very quickly. We want to be able to attract everybody. I use technology to make everything easier. Simple, easy, no hassles."
Simplicity doesn't come cheap. High speed internet, beamed via satellite by service provider O3b Networks, reportedly costs around $100 per day, a fee that Fain said passengers find as a good value.
But not all of Qunatum's innovations come at a price. The ship offers 15-minute rides in a glass pod powered by a massive hydraulic arm on the ship's upper deck. The pod, which holds up to 14 guests at a time, has stunning 360-degree views while suspended up to 300 feet over the ocean.
Inside the ship, nighttime entertainment includes an acrobatic-themed show, with a dramatic backdrop of six massive video screens and a three-story-high video wall.
The technology onboard also ensures passengers staying in less expensive cabins don't miss out on the view. In windowless rooms, Royal Caribbean installed 80-inch wall monitors that show live video streams of balcony views.
Royal Caribbean's CEO said he isn't afraid that passengers will forgo time on the sun decks to stay online in their rooms. "Because the connectivity is so good, people can [log on] quickly and move on. I think it will mean people will spend less time on their computers," Fain told CBS News. The cruise industry magnate said the launch of this technology-savvy ship shows the company is moving on from difficult times. In January, nearly 700 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise got sick from a virus.
Fain averred that customer satisfaction is growing: "Ships like [Quantum of the Seas] bring guests on board. Once you've been on this ship, you tell your friends about it -- and [then] we own you and your friends."
Quantum of the Seas will next cruise from southern England to America. The 167,800-ton ship sets on its maiden voyage from the New York City area in mid-November.
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