Last year MSC Cruises introduced MSC for Me, an app with interactive screens set up throughout the ship. Passengers can use the app to check in, make dinner reservations, schedule activities, get directions around the ship and, if they’re parents or grandparents, find their kids — who are given a trackable bracelet. MSC is also offering a new waterproof wristband that works like the now-standard cruise card; it serves as a kind of ID and can be scanned to pay for drinks or open the stateroom door.
Luca Pronzati, MSC Cruises’ chief innovation officer, says, “Our vision was: How can we simplify the experience as the ships are getting bigger? How can we make it frictionless?”
Frictionless, of course, is the travel industry’s favorite term for "hassle-free."
MSC hopes to add other innovations in the coming years, according to Pronzati, including facial recognition technology that will allow passengers to approach the guest services desk, for instance, and have the crew member know their name, language spoken and favorite beer.
Royal Caribbean Cruises’ app, Excalibur, is similar but also allows passengers to adjust lighting in their cabins and track their luggage from pier to ship. And as long as passengers are carrying their devices with the app, their cabin doors will open automatically when they approach. The technology is in the testing phase, but the line hopes it will be available on all ships by the end of 2019.