Duncan Writes

Adventures of a part-time traveller.

Technology and Check-in

16 October 2015

Many people often say that one of the downsides of sailing from Southampton is how badly organised the port is, and how long check-in can take.  Most people want to be through check-in and security as quickly as possible so they can start sipping their first holiday cocktail as soon as humanly possible.  I want to talk about how technology on Anthem of the Seas makes this as quick as possible!

I’ve heard these complaints often, but have never had a bad experience sailing from Southampton.  Our recent cruise on Anthem of the Seas was the most recent example of this, and was actually the quickest and most pleasant check-in experience yet!  I posted a clip from this video during my daily vlog from our honeymoon, but I’ve had a couple of requests for the full length video, so I figured I’d put it here.  This is the entire check-in process from walking through the door of the terminal right through to walking away towards security.  There are no edits or cuts – what you see is exactly what Alex and I experienced in September.

Technology went a long way in making the check-in process as easy as possible.

Online Check-in

Almost all cruise lines offer some sort of online check-in these days.  This normally allows you to fill in some basic information online to ensure your arrival at the port is relatively quick.  On Anthem of the Seas, Royal Caribbean have taken this to the next level.

In addition to the normal information, Royal Caribbean will also have you take your own photo which will be used for security on the ship.  This can be done on the website using the webcam on your computer if you have one, or using a photo you have taken.  Assuming this meets the standard, no photo will be taken during port check-in.  Additionally, they take full credit card information online so you no longer have to present this to the check-in agent.

Where most lines allow you to print some sort of express check-in document, Anthem of the Seas prints a full boarding pass which you use until you get to your stateroom.  There is one for each gust, and it has your muster station printed on it, as well as your folio number for making purchases.

Arrival & Baggage

You can print your own luggage tags as normal (or request ‘proper’ ones online) but when you park your car at the terminal there will be porters with RFID luggage tags waiting to take your bags to the ship.  One luggage tag is applied to each bag, and a sticker with an accompanying barcode is given to you to be stuck in the relevant place on your boarding document.  Every bag needs one of these luggage tags.  They look just like paper tags as the RFID circuitry is very very small – you wouldn’t know there was anything special about them at all.

The check-in agent will scan these barcodes to link them to your account, allowing you to track your luggage using the RoyalIQ app while on the ship!  If you’re the sort of person that likes to unpack as soon as possible (I know I do!) then being able to check where your luggage is from anywhere on the ship is wonderful!  It’s also reassuring to see that your luggage has made it on to the ship, even if it hasn’t quite reached your stateroom yet!

Where’s my SeaPass?

You might be wondering when you get your SeaPass card if all you board with is a little bit of paper.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to use that for the whole cruise!  The lead guest’s SeaPass is waiting in an envelope in the mail slot outside of your stateroom – you can use this to enter.  Other guests’ SeaPasses and all guests’ WOWBands are on a little plastic presentation podium inside the stateroom.  Easy!

I hope this has given a little insight into the technology on Anthem of the Seas and how that expedites the check-in process and makes everything a little more pleasant for guests embarking on their cruise.  I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments!

So what do you think about this?  Are these changes welcome?  Maybe it’s time other cruise lines adopted this sort of technology to help make things quicker for their guests too!