Ship sail

Technology for kids is changing the cruise ship industry, see what Royal Caribbean ships have to offer

Technology is helping kids be amazed and entertained as the cruise industry picks up. SEE WHAT’S OFFERED

Scream time replaces screen time in this high seas Disneyland.

Royal Caribbean makes it very easy to remove children from their smartphones and iPads by raising the entertainment stakes.

Powered by the latest technology, the Quantum-class Odyssey of the Seas offers a playground where the ship is a destination unto itself.

Want to learn to surf? No problem.

Try skydiving? Sure thing.

Do you like bumper cars, glow-in-the-dark laser tag or want to try your hand at rock climbing?

As children have changed over the years, so has the entertainment offered on cruise ships, as it is now a big part of the appeal of the family market.

But for mine – Odyssey’s biggest surprise, the Bionic Bar: a fully functional cocktail bar, made entirely of two robot bartenders.

Yes, it’s a gimmick, but heck it’s fun.

And what better way to try my first Shirley Temple – that grenadine darling that has stood the test of time.

Alcohol-free, ginger ale-based, bright red and oh so sweet.

But there is something about these two robots present that draws the crowd at level 5.

Their statistics are impressive:

They can produce two glasses per minute for a total of 1000 glasses per day;

It took 416,000 man-hours to manufacture and test the robot bartenders;

Screens on either side of the robots display fun facts such as the most ordered drink of the day – anyone for a frutely?

But it’s the movement patterns that capture you – it’s a ballet of AI appetizers… and that’s exactly what it is, a ballet.

The movements of the arms of the bionic bar are modeled on the gestures of Italian dancer and choreographer Marco Pelle of the New York Theater Ballet.

Cruise director Ana Ribeiro agrees that the increased space available on mega-ships has allowed cruise lines to expand what they can offer children.

So much so that teenagers, aged 13 to 17, have their own exclusive space called Social180 – where they can hang out with friends, relax with games, music and movies.

On the Odyssey – they also have their own private lounge and patio, and adults are not allowed to access this.

“Royal Caribbean has been a game changer with this…we’ve really focused on providing quality entertainment for kids and teens,” says Ribeiro.

“It’s no longer an afterthought and parents can enjoy a relaxing holiday knowing their children are safe and having fun.

“Children and teens are different digital consumers than they were 15-20 years ago and we want to provide our customers, of all ages, with a memorable experience.”

And if something that starts on a cruise becomes popular, it may end up being launched to the general public.

This was the case of Royal Caribbean’s immersive video game, The Treasure of Barnacle Briggs, which is full of puzzles to solve.

The interactive quest was so popular with passengers that it was launched on the Apple App Store.

Thanks to advances in technology, parents can also relax with electronic record keeping.

Parents must tap their room key when dropping off or picking up their child from a kids’ club and no one can take children out without permission.

As for teenagers, they have their own cards to grab and pull – taking everyone into account.

WHEN TO GO

During Royal Caribbean’s 2022-23 summer season in Australia, two Quantum Class ships will return to Australia.

Ovation of the Seas will launch departures from Sydney in October 2022 and Quantum of the Seas from Brisbane in November 2022.

In Brisbane, Royal Caribbean is making its debut and will welcome Quantum of the Seas to the new $177 million Brisbane International Cruise Terminal for the first time ever.

Selina Steele traveled as a guest of Royal Caribbean