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Cruising Into the Future: MSC Reveals Trends at CES

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MSC Cruises released a new report called “The Future of the Guest Experience,” which explores the trends that will impact the future of the travel industry.

Created in partnership with The Future Laboratory, one of the world’s leading futures consultancies, the report identifies the ways in which travel and hospitality brands will need to deliver ultra-high definition (UHD) experiences to satisfy the needs of the guest of the future.

For example, luxury will be hyper-luxurious, spas will be hyper-revitalizing, entertainment will be 5D and beyond, and purpose-driven travel that enriches guests will be the norm.

“One of the challenges of the cruise industry is that we need to design and build new ships that will still be cutting-edge for our guests 30 years from now,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman. “As such, innovation and consumer trends are at the very core of our DNA and we need to have a strong and clear vision for the future while combining this with timeless style. Through intelligent innovation and design, with strong commitment to sustainable travel, we will be able to facilitate all kinds of future experiences.”

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The findings were discussed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. MSC Cruises’ Chief Business Innovation Officer Luca Pronzati participated in a panel discussion on future trends along with Peggy Fang Roe of Marriott International and Mara Winn of the Transportation Security Administration.

Among the findings of the report:

– Data ID Wallets will enable brands to create a seamless and hyper-personalized guest experience. Cruise ships and resorts will become data touchpoints, assessing guest behavior to better inform the services offered. And Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistants and wearables will continue to play an important role in meeting the needs of guests. MSC Cruises is already leveraging voice-activated AI technology to provide a service to guests with ZOE, a virtual personal cruise assistant introduced on board in March 2019. Currently speaking seven languages, with more in development, ZOE will evolve to anticipate needs and tailor information according to each guests’ preferences.

– Subconscious Design, where responsive technologies will seamlessly alter environments to individual guests’ moods and emotions. The cruise stateroom of the future could feature bio signal sensors that track heart rates and facial expression, adjusting light and temperature for maximum comfort. Or smart materials could act like living art, changing to create a visually immersive environment aligned with a guest’s emotional state.

– Hyper-connectivity will drive people to seek human connection to avoid dehumanization, and entertainment will become accessible to all ages, genders and nationalities. The new Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows on MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia-class ships are non-language specific which makes them accessible to all — breaking demographic barriers and giving them universal appeal.

– Travelers will become conscious of the environmental impact of their travel and seek out eco-friendly vacation options. The guest experience of 2030 will place a significant focus on sustainability, social impact and civic engagement.

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Cruises

Cruise Ship Denied by Two Caribbean Ports Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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An MSC Cruises ship was turned away from at least two ports in the Caribbean on Tuesday after a crew member fell ill amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to The New York Times, MSC Meraviglia was denied from docking in both Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Cayman Islands after port authorities learned that a crew member from the Philippines was ill. However, the Associated Press reported that the employee was believed to be sick with the common seasonal flu.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled,” Dwayne Seymour, health minister of the Cayman Islands, said in a statement.

The cruise line expressed frustration over the repeated denial, claiming that the ill crew member and all passengers on the ship had passed a health screening prior to embarking.

“The crew member had traveled to Miami from Manila, via direct connection in Istanbul,” MSC Cruises said in a statement to the Times. “He developed symptoms of common flu and tested positive to Type A influenza after he visited the ship’s 24/7 Medical Center while already on board. He has no other symptoms.”

The ship, which is carrying more than 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew members, is in the midst of a 15-day roundtrip sailing from Miami that had included scheduled stops in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Bahamas, Belize and Honduras.

MSC Meraviglia isn’t the first ship to be turned away from port amid fears of the spreading coronavirus and likely won’t be the last. Tuesday’s unexpected hiccup comes just one week after MSC Cruises updated MSC Bellissima’s Grand Voyage itinerary to Asia.

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