Attitudes toward cruising are often anchored at the extreme ends of the spectrum: you either profoundly love it or you harbour an intense resistance. However, a new wave of innovative concepts and technologies is bridging the gap for objectors.
The move to a more tech-driven environment is part of a trend to attract new markets, such as families and younger travellers, and capitalising on the increasing popularity of cruising in Australia.
In 2013 the Australian cruise industry generated $1.72 billion in direct economic expenditure, according to a report commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia. The 2013 Cruise Industry Source Market Report, released in June, revealed Australia was the worldwide leader for industry market growth and penetration, surpassing North America for the first time ever.
Royal Caribbean’s mega cruise ship, Voyager of the Seas, has been dry docked in Singapore for the past month, receiving a multi-million dollar makeover.
The refurbishment is not just a refresh of the ship’s existing offerings, there’s a heap of innovative new features and amenities that will alter some of the preconceived notions you may have about cruising.
Here are some of the new additions to Voyager of the Seas.
These floor to ceiling screens display what you would see in real-time if you were lucky enough to be staying in a ocean-view room with a balcony. Cameras positioned on the side of the ship continually record and beam back the video to the in-room displays. While you can't replace a fresh sea breeze, the virtual balconies do provide an added sense of space and reprieve.
And if you'd rather not see the sea, you can always turn it off.
The 12 metre-long surf simulator, which will be located on the top deck of the ship, also has stadium seating with awesome wipeout views. Use of the machine is included in the cost of your cruise and there's no reservation required. You can also try a private lesson for a nominal charge. Just be prepared to line up.
Another addition to the ship's entertainment inventory is a giant 3D cinema, showing a bunch of the latest films on a daily basis. This popular technology will appeal to children, with DreamWorks providing new animated titles for the experience, adding another dimension of sensory recreation at sea.
For a one-off fee you can dine at one of these specialty restaurants and really add some value to your holiday. There's also a ton of new bar and lounge options which are more trendy than the previous cliche offerings.
Voyager of the Seas is a monstrous ship and can be incredibly daunting to navigate, so these uncomplicated touchscreen way-finders will go over well with guests of all ages.
Voyager of the Seas returns to Sydney on 8 December 2014 for the 2014/2015 wave season.
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