While the covid pandemic had very few positives, it did force the cruise lines to work out ways to limit passengers crowding in the same space.
That was done for social-distancing reasons, but Royal Caribbean, Carnival, MSC, and Norwegian Cruise Line also understood that some of the changes actually improved the cruise experience. That was certainly the case when it came to changing how muster drills work.
After all covid restrictions were dropped, Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get Free Report, along with many of its rivals, kept the virtual muster drill in place. That’s because passengers never liked having to stop what they were doing to go stand someplace — often in the hot sun — to complete the virtual drill.
The new system, which Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) – Get Free Report and Norwegian (NCLH) – Get Free Report also employ, uses a virtual muster. Under this new system, passengers watch safety videos on their phones and check in at their muster stations during their first few hours on board. The system no longer punishes prompt passengers by making them wait around for late ones.
The virtual muster also has served as a blueprint for getting the cruise lines to look at other passenger pain points — everything from dining times to show reservations and tender tickets — in an effort to make cruises more about having fun and less about standing in line.
Now, Royal Caribbean has made a change to something that’s very important to a lot of passengers. It used to involve making an appointment or waiting around.
Royal Caribbean’s app is free to use onboard and does not require an internet package.
Image source: Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean Brings Your Pictures to Its App
Royal Caribbean has never been a technology leader. The company’s app, however, became a lot more important during covid as the cruise line stopped printing paper “Cruise Compass” daily schedules. It also put menus for its restaurants and bars in the app, which can be pulled up directly or via QR code (although it never fully dropped printed menus).
You can also use the app to make reservations for dining and shows (whether that can be done before you board or only on the ship varies by the cruise). In addition, Royal Caribbean enabled cruisers to buy drink packages through its app before their cruises and added a chat feature for them while they are onboard.
Now, the cruise line has added — on one ship so far — the ability to buy the photos taken by the cruise line’s photographers through the app. The change was spotted by a reader of the Royal Caribbean Blog on a Wonder of the Seas sailing.
Previously, buying photos involved going to a physical photo shop on the ship and reviewing your pictures at stations there. The new system does not eliminate the in-person visit but it does make your visit more efficient.
“Providing copies in the app potentially saves time for guests, as they no longer need to go to the photo station to review photos,” Matt Hochberg of Royal Caribbean Blog wrote. “Not only is there only one area on the ship to go to review photos, but the photo area becomes inundated with other guests on the final day who all want to see how their photos came out.”
The new system should cut down on those crowds, removing a passenger pain point. Not every feature on the app works on every ship and the cruise line has not made any public comment on this new feature.
Passengers can purchase a photo package, which entitles them to digital copies of a certain amount of shots. Prices vary by ship and by how many photos you want to buy. Packages allow you to buy any picture that someone from your cabin appears in.
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