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Norwegian Cruise Line follows MSC and Princess with wearable technology aboard Bliss

Norwegian Cruise Line is a step closer to rolling out an enhanced passenger experience through the use of wearable technology, but implementation is expected to be slow and careful.

Norwegian will begin a phased implementation of yet-to-be-revealed “preliminary elements” on-board Norwegian Bliss in late 2018, and those preliminary elements will only be introduced to another ship in the fleet in late 2019 when Norwegian Encore is delivered.

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The wearable tech will be tested aboard Norwegian Bliss later this year.

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The careful approach to the introduction of this technology mirrors comments made by Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart last year. “We think we can meaningfully change the guest experience using technology but we don’t want to do it in a detrimental way, we take a thoughtful approach to technology,” he said.

Those comments were made in April, 2018 during the delivery cruise of Norwegian Bliss. Aboard Norwegian Bliss the cruise line’s new Cruise Norwegian app was introduced, replacing iConcierge and offering a multitude of functions that can be used from the time of booking through disembarkation day.

“You don’t want 4,000 people wandering around the ship staring at their phone,” said Stuart. “And I think you’ve got to be careful you don’t have 1,800 crew with their heads in iPads.”

A month after those comments were made, talk of Norwegian’s new technology platform began to get louder when it partnered with U.S.-based software development company DeCurtis Corporation on a new project called Cruise Freedom.

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Norwegian Encore will be the next ship to receive the new technology in late 2019.

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Details of the project have not yet been officially announced, but Stuart has indicated to TTG Media that the project will likely involve wearable technology. Wearable tech would prevent the ‘face in a phone’ problem that Stuart spoke about all those months ago.

“Well-known for their award-winning proximity-based technology solutions, DeCurtis is working to leverage the latest in location-based technologies, including wearables, to meaningfully enhance the guest experience from the moment of booking and throughout their Norwegian cruise,” Stuart told TTG.

“We will be sure to share more details as information becomes available,” he added.

Norwegian’s efforts with Cruise Freedom follow the development of similar wearable technology platforms by Princess Cruises (Ocean Medallion) and MSC Cruises (MSC for Me).

Like Norwegian, these cruise line are slowly and carefully rolling out the new technology. Ocean Medallion is only available aboard Caribbean Princess, while MSC for Me has been introduced only aboard the line’s newest ships, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview.

It will, however, also be featured aboard MSC Bellissima, the cruise line’s new Dubai-bound mega-ship, with also sports the cruise industry’s first-ever Alexa/Siri-like digital assistant. Aboard Bellissima, this digital assistant will be called Zoe.

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