Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas rolls out new service for friends and family to track and talk to each other.
Ever been on a cruise ships and not been able to find someone important, like your wife or kids. If you are lucky they turn up at the cabin or they are in some place you intuited they would be - the gift shops, casino, lunch, etc.
But there are times when you just can't find your loved one, especially on the bigger ships. These situations start out a little challenging; soon become frustrating and quickly become absolutely maddening. After an hour of looking for someone, you really start to feel crazy, it's like losing your car in a big parking lot - you get the feeling you probably walked right past it several times but you never know for sure.
If this has already been a problem for you on average cruise ships, imagine what it could be like on a ship the size of Oasis of the seas, a ship with twice the public area of the average cruise ship.
That is why Royal Caribbean has already solved the problem in the form of a simple cell-phone application. It's called "Royal Connect" and it not only can show you exactly where your family members are on the ship, it can a number of other important functions as well, such as letting you communicate with them by texting. You can even use the handset to dial any shipboard extension, such as your stateroom or the front desk, at any time. In fact, there's never been anything like it on a cruise ship before.
Royal Connect is a simple iPhone application - but it doesn't run on the ships Internet or cell-phone networks. The app runs on a dedicated Wi-Fi network separate from the rest and dedicated to shipboard communication using voice and data over an IP Network.
The custom software, written by the DeFi Mobile of Scottsdale, AZ, will be installed on iPhones that can be rented from Royal Caribbean during the duration of a cruise. Guests who have the devices can enable it to show the whereabouts in real time of other people in the same group who want to tracked. It is perfect for parents, for example, who want to keep track of the locations of their children at all times. For kids who are too young to be trusted with a handset, Royal Connect can also use wristbands with locator chips installed.
Other features include the ability to access the ships "Daily Compass" to read up on activities and other offerings available on the ship at any given time. The handsets are available for rent for $17.50 apiece per cruise, first come-first serve, as long as they are available. They are basically Apple iPhones, but they are not activated to work on any cell phone network. They only work when connected to the shipboard Wi-Fi network set aside for shipboard communication.