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Cruise tech trends 2020

by Asa Sargeant | January 15, 2020 | News & Events | 0 Comments

We’re midway through January and it’s time to look at the year ahead; 2019 was an eventful one for us here at ICE Technology Services – part of theICEway – and 2020 looks like being another. As IT and cruise industry specialists for over 20 years, we have always been on top of the tech trends in cruise and here are some of the key ones that we think will be big this year…

Sustainability in cruise industry to be given greater importance

Environmental sustainability was a hot topic at last month’s CLIA Technology Initiative Executive Summit in Miami, and it is clear that cruise lines have started taking action to reduce their environmental impact.

Indeed, most have announced bans on plastic and NCL have replaced all plastic drinks bottles with sustainable alternatives in an effort to save up to 6 million bottles per annum. Starting with the Norwegian Encore, all 17 of its ships will eventually adhere to this move, with other initiatives set to follow.

NCL has also introduced eco-ballast technology, a water treatment system that stops ships sending toxins into the water. Technology in cruise is helping with environmental sustainability in other ways too, as last year there were more than a dozen LNG ships on order, with another ship sailing on battery power, and many cruise lines have also either implemented scrubber technology to reduce emissions or they have started making much more use of shoreside power.

2020 is likely to see a lot more developments with an environmental focus as the cruise industry attempts to become ever greener.

Food and Beverages on Demand Onboard – no matter where you are

In recent years we have seen the implementation of ‘OceanMedallion’ technology from Princess Cruises, a wearable device designed to provide guests with a more personalised cruise holiday. The device communicates with readers on the ship and in port, giving the crew information they can use to improve service levels and also enabling guests to make payments and order food and drink, custom entertainment and more.

Other cruise lines are testing food and drink on demand and most Carnival ships can now offer pizza delivery virtually anywhere onboard – an unthinkable development 30 years ago, when 3 million passengers enjoyed a cruise holiday, but now something that is less an impressive feat and more ‘the norm’ for the 30 million+ passengers expected to travel this year.
Indeed, it is the ever-growing level of expectation that continues to fuel digital transformation in cruise.

Gaming to enjoy huge growth on Cruise Ships

Cruise ships have a huge number of leisure and entertainment facilities for guests to choose from, including ziplines, water slides, go-kart tracks and more – one even has a roller coaster on board.

But in this modern age, with a marked growth in the number of ‘super ships’ setting sail, virtual-reality gaming is becoming more and more popular.

NCL has the Galaxy Pavilion, a veritable VR playground that boasts ‘goggle rides’ during which the riders can hang glide, walk across tightropes hundreds of storeys up or engage in a casual F1 racing experience – and all from the comfort and safety of the arcade.

NCL guests can also enjoy a Jurassic Park-style jeep ride being pursued by dinosaurs, a warehouse battle against aliens and much more. In addition to these adrenaline-fuelled adventures, the Galaxy Pavilion is also home to ‘The 7D Cinema’, where guests take a seat, arm themselves with a laser gun and are then placed inside a ‘3D shooter-mini-movie’ where they have to fight their way through a zombie horde – it’s not quite shuffleboard…

Another cruise giant, Royal Caribbean, have their ‘Sky Pad’, which allows guests to bounce on a bungee trampoline whilst wearing a Virtual Reality headset, thereby transporting them to a different time or place, or even a different world.

This year, they are set to launch a VR playground on Odyssey of the Seas, so this is clearly one area of digital growth that looks set to thrive even further…

As cruise specialists, we are continually delighted by the amazing things taking place in the industry, and the combination of our strong IT-focus plus the fact that digital growth is a key component behind the current boom only makes the situation that much sweeter.

Keep an eye on our Innovation Hub for more updates on the wonderful worlds of IT & Cruise!


CLIA – Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association. Established in 1975, CLIA’s mission is to enhance the success of their members and to represent the general interests of the cruise community.

NCL – Norwegian Cruise Line

LNG – Liquefied natural gas

Scrubber technology – An exhaust system designed to use water to wash exhaust gases from the ship, which removes sulphur dioxide (SO2)

Shoreside power – While a ship is at berth and its engines are shut down, this can be used to power them whilst eliminating their fuel consumption and eradicating the air pollution generated by that.

Top Tip

If you’re in the cruise industry and you need help with IT, it makes sense to turn to cruise IT specialists and we certainly believe that we fit that particular billing – but don’t just take our word for it:

“We engaged ICE to assist us in reviewing current technology processes with a view to optimise and build on, existing technologies.

Review of current technologies and our aspirations enabled ICE to provide us with options and recommendations resulting in a successful concept development”.

- Teemu Piipponen, Saga Cruises

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