While we may be decades away from truly mind-blowing futuristic cruise ships, there’s some advanced technology that’s already been invented or in development right now that could make your cruise experience feel like it’s 2030. Here are seven pieces of future tech we’d love to see on cruise ships, and why our wishes might blow up in our faces:
Cruise ship maps would be a thing of the past.
While cruise ship internet has been available for a while, having a fully-functioning GPS on the ship is still a work in progress. Ideally, this would integrate seamlessly with apps like our own Ship Mate so navigating around the ship would be just like finding your way around on Google Maps.
Cool Use: Combine this with push notifications so when you walk by a restaurant or theater you could immediately see reviews by other passengers on your cruise.
How It Could Backfire: That secret, secluded bar, restaurant, or hot tub that only you know about isn’t so secret anymore.
2. Virtual Reality “Holodecks”
This is more of an inevitability than a wish. - Photo by Halfpoint / Shutterstock
Unlike Star Trek holodecks where you somehow never run into the wall, home VR use is very much limited by how much open space you have. But you know what there’s plenty of on new megaships like Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas? Space. Lots and lots of space.
Cool Use: Preview the port on the sea day before to see which excursion you want to try for real.
How It Could Backfire: Your kids might not want to leave the ship to see the port in real life.
3. Fingerprint Scanners
Raise your hand if you've ever lost your cruise ID card. - Photo by Shutterstock.com
It’s not as sexy as virtual reality, but it serves a far more practical purpose: keeping you from getting locked out of your room when you lose your key after a few too many drinks at the Red Frog Rum Bar.
Cool Use: Add a thumbprint scanner to every venue on the ship and you can do away with cruise ID cards altogether.
How It Could Backfire: You stay in the hot tub so long your fingers wrinkle and you can’t get back into your room.
4. Sensory Deprivation Chamber
Shutting out the noise on a chaotic sea day? Yes please.
It sounds like a medieval torture device, but a sensory deprivation tank could be one of the most tranquil experiences of your life. A dark, sound-proof tank is filled with water is saturated with epsom salt, so users float peacefully in perfect silence, unable to see or hear anything.
Cool Use: There will finally be a spot on the ship for true peace and quiet.
How It Could Backfire: After getting used to the serenity of the tank, returning to a crowded, noisy lido deck overrun with hyperactive children might give you a heart attack.
5. Holograms / AI
A hologram greets customers at a Duane Reade in Manhattan.
Imagine if you could make a restaurant or show reservation from the comfort of your cabin by summoning a digital butler with a voice command. These personal assistants could be scattered throughout the ship, providing useful advice and recommendations to make the most of your cruise.
Cool Use: Holographic performances from your favorite artists performing live thousands of miles away.
How It Could Backfire: Cruise lines might try replacing real performers with holograms to cut costs. Plus, holograms could never match the warmth of a real crew member you develop a relationship with over the duration of your cruise.
6. Solar Windows
Cruise ships get more than enough sun. - Photo by foxbat / Shutterstock.com
New solar technology does away with clunky panels, replacing them with glass that looks just like a normal window. This wouldn’t have much of an impact on your cruise experience, but it would help your conscience to know that your vacation is significantly more eco-friendly.
Cool Use: Add an interactive touch screen for a truly futuristic feel.
How It Could Backfire: There really isn’t one.
7. Fancy Beams From Satellites That Carry News and Information
Yeah, this one is a bit far-fetched. - Photo by Bernhard Lelle
Pardon our sarcasm, but we’re still not entirely satisfied with onboard internet. Carnival and Royal are stepping up to the plate, but the rest of the industry needs to get on board.
Cool Use: You could, like, post pictures of yourself on vacation and people back home could see them.
How It Could Backfire: Some people like to cruise precisely because it’s so easy to disconnect.