Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Quantum to use wrist bands instead of key cards

Quantum to use wrist bands instead of key cards

By Tom Stieghorst

Guests on Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas will be issued wristbands with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in place of the standard issue key cards, which will be used for cabin access, payment and other traditional key card functions.

The wristbands can also be used to navigate the ship, said Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain, who hosted a live webcast from the ship's construction site in Germany to announce the innovation.
The webcast will include a chat with former New York Times technology columnist David Pogue, who now works for Yahoo! Those interested can ask questions via Twitter under the hashtag #QuantumoftheSeas.

It was one of half a dozen technology upgrades on the Quantum that promise to make cruising simpler, easier and more hassle-free, Fain said.

Another eye-catching technology will be a robotic bartender which will tend a new venue, the Bionic Bar. Guests will place orders via tablets and then watch the mix their cocktails.

Quantum will also use RFID to enable guests to track their baggage in real time after they drop it off before the cruise, and after they deliver it to housekeeping on departing the ship. In addition, guests will be able to generate their boarding documents online and upload a photo ID to get digital boarding credentials that will shorten the check-in process. Fain said the process will go from sidewalk to ship in 10 minutes and eliminate the traditional check-in counter and the associated lines.

Quantum is also scheduled to be the second ship to fully utilize the O3B satellite system for telecommunications access, which is expected to dramatically increase Internet speeds. The extra connectivity will enable the Quantum to offer a live global video gaming suite in its new SeaPlex activities area.

The O3B system has been in testing on the Oasis of the Seas and is expected to be fully deployed first on the Allure of the Seas by October.