If you haven’t taken a cruise in a few years, get ready to be wowed by how much smarter ships have become. Thanks to technological advancements and huge investment by cruise lines, the latest ships combine technology and innovation to offer customers a unique, immersive and memorable on-board experience.

This is no more evident than with Royal Caribbean’s ‘Quantum of the Seas’ – the world’s most futuristic ship, which embarked on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in November.

Dubbed the ‘world’s first smartship’, Quantum of the Seas stands at an impressive 18 decks tall and can carry 4,180 passengers. It is packed to the gills with first-at-sea experiences, from skydiving (in a 23-foot tall indoor vertical wind tunnel) and bumper cars, to virtual seascapes and robotic waiters.

Here’s how Royal Caribbean are using smart technology and experiential marketing principles to improve our sailing experience.

Immersive, Sensory Experiences: There is an on-board viewing capsule – (the North Star), which is attached to an arm that lifts cruisers 300 feet above sea level, offering 360-degree panoramas of the ship and its surroundings.


The aptly named Bionic Bar is manned by two robots. The idea came out of a desire to explore digital intent and physical production, and the result is quick and impressive service, as there’s no waiting while the barkeep gets distracted by other customers! You order your drink on a touch screen, and once the order is taken, your place in the virtual line is shown on a video wall.



Transformational spaces: The star of the ship is Two70, a two-story lounge that offers dramatic 270 degree views of the ocean. Two70 is a common area for meeting, reading, and relaxing by day, and a live music, dance and theatre venue by night. In the evening, the ocean-view windows are transformed into seamless video projections that dance with light, colour and wild digital images.

Inspiration for the performance side of Two70 comes from avant garde theatres, where artists turn spaces like old parking garages into venues where actors and dancers seem to pop out of nowhere. The design team’s goal was to use this same approach to create immersive experiences.


Inside cabins with a view:  Virtual balconies have been installed in every windowless room. The ‘balconies’ are actually 80-inch LED screens, that display a live feed from the opposite side of the ship (complete with ocean sounds). So window or no window, everyone can enjoy the ocean views.

You can see the ship’s unique features here:

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on info@hotcow.co.uk.