Middle East Cruise News

MSC unveils first-at-sea digital assistant ‘Zoe’ aboard Dubai-bound Bellissima

MSC Cruises officially launched Zoe, the world’s first digital personal cruise assistant, at an event in London ahead of MSC Bellissima’s inaugural cruise season in the Arabian Gulf, sailing roundtrip from Dubai.

The voice-enabled AI device, similar in design and operation to an Amazon Echo, will be available in every stateroom aboard MSC Bellissima.

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Zoe has been programmed to answer 800 typical ship-related questions, in seven different languages, and will feature machine-learning, so that when someone asks a question it cannot answer, it will store that query and develop a response for next time.

“There was a core guest need to be met, which was to find answers to common questions in a quick and easy way, enabling guests to make the most of their holiday,” said Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO. “We researched the latest connected technologies and identified voice assistants and Artificial Intelligence as the way to meet this need and the work on Zoe began.”

Passengers aboard MSC Bellissima, and all MSC ships after her, will be able to use Zoe to find out information about shipboard services and venues, as well as advice about activities taking place around the ship.

MSC Bellissima is the largest cruise ship in the MSC fleet, and the largest ever to homeport in Dubai.

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Voice recognition technology will make it easy for anyone to access information in one of seven languages with the words “okay Zoe”. More advanced abilities, such as making reservations and bookings, and controlling lights and air-conditioning, will come in time through the MSC for Me app.

Onorato said these abilities are very complicated to implement, and for the same reason the cruise line is not actively considering retro-fitting the AI technology into the rest of the fleet.

Developed by Harman International and Samsung, Zoe is a true first for the cruise industry. While several cruise line are trialing voice recognition technology during embarkation and through their apps, none are operated through Artificial Intelligence.

MSC Bellissima will debut in Southampton on March 2nd, and aboard MSC Grandiosa in October later this year, as well as MSC Virtuosa in 2020, and every other MSC cruise ship onwards.

MSC Bellissima will be the largest cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet, and the largest ever to homeport in Dubai. She’ll cruise 7-night roundtrip itineraries from the city visiting Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Muscat and Khasab.

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