I found this simultaneously interesting, kind of cool, and slightly disgusting. Not disgusting in the “foodborne illnesses leaping from reheated tray of food to reheated tray of food on a cruise ship out at sea” sense, but in the sense that this ship is running to give us more of an online, interconnected, networked and logged experience than a change to escape from it.
It’s something I’ve thought about a lot and tried to touch on in my own fiction, but the real world seems to be catching up with the sci-fi and doing things I hadn’t even thought of – for better or for worse.
I wish Mr. Pierce would have asked a couple of questions about this – whether or not making our experiences more online and digital and shareable is a good thing – but he focused entirely on the technology (and why the people running the cruise think it will attract millenials):
You wear an NFC-enabled wristband that lets you into your room, lets you pay for drinks, and lets you book meals and entertainment just by tapping your wrist. You can check in before you ever get to the ship and track your luggage as it makes its journey to your room. Company CIO Bill Martin told me that Royal Caribbean never loses luggage, so it didn’t need a system like this one – but waiting for luggage made customers nervous, and a tracker brings peace of mind. Oh, and there’s Wi-Fi. More Wi-Fi than has ever existed on a cruise ship before, at a price anyone can afford. (Think $15 a day, not $1 a minute.) You can Instagram your cruise to your heart’s content.
Not that I blame him. It is pretty cool.