iPad Among Newest Shipboard Amenities

It’s no surprise that seamless service and top-notch amenities are what Coyle Hospitality-referred professional cruise mystery shoppers have determined make certain ships more appealing than others. With competition among cruise lines fierce, they continue to up the ante on the guest experience. For instance, we recently reported how Royal Caribbean and Silversea have introduced new innovations to excite guests,  and this trend continues with Celebrity Cruises’ recent addition of guest amenities,  reported here,  including a world-class tea service, wider selections of beers and even iPad menus on its Southampton-based Eclipse.

The tea service and greater beer options make sense. With a nod to its point of origin, the Eclipse will serve the tea  in Wedgewood china, the favored collection of the royal family. Not surprisingly, the beers will encompass such iconic regional brands as Fuller’s, Boddingtons, Murphy’s, and of course, Guinness. By the way, Eclipse will be the first in Celebrity’s fleet to have beverage charges inclusive of service charges.

The incorporation of the iPad is a surprising addition. Coyle-referred professional restaurant secret shoppers have seen the beginnings of an iPad menu trend, with a handful of tech-savvy land-based restaurants taking this interactive menu approach.  Celebrity is among the first cruise lines to adopt it, utilizing iPads in its dining rooms that offer video options, a touch-screen wine list, and an interactive dinner menu. There will also be an application that allows guests to build their own cocktails.

As part of its hospitality consulting services and mystery shopping program-design services, Coyle helps cruise lines set appropriate standards and evaluate service. These new tech-driven guest amenities undoubtedly will impact service, although how they will remains to be seen.  iPad menus not only have the potential to wow guests, they can also benefit the operator by allowing menus to be updated in a flash based on external conditions. And we all know cruise lines are susceptible to multiple, unanticipated external conditions. By incorporating various applications, operators can keep track of staff performance, record sales, and monitor inventory all with one handheld tablet.  Celebrity also plans to introduce the iPad Green Library, which will replace paper publications. Kudos for taking such a “green” initiative, and in turn effecting positive brand perception among potential passengers.

Because our network of professional secret shoppers evaluate various hospitality segments – including hotels and restaurants – they’ve increasingly seen that cruise lines are moving into the cutting edge of the guest experience. Today’s cruise lines are often the hospitality sector that leads innovations in the guest experience. It’s only a matter of time before we all become better at scrolling across a lighted screen than at flipping pages. And being among the first to incorporate the iPad, Celebrity creates buzz among its passengers, giving them a talking point they’ll surely share with friends when they return home.

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