Royal Caribbean Debuts Virtual Balcony

royal-caribbean-virtual-balcony-0414The coolest thing about Royal Caribbean’s next-generation cruise ships are something called the Virtual Balcony. And, it will help make the worst rooms on a cruise ship some of the best! It will start with their newest ship, the Quantum of the Seas, that will set sail later this year.

What is a Virtual Balcony? Well, if you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know that about 30 percent of the rooms have no balconies or windows outside as they are on the inside of the ship (the middle, if you will). These rooms are as mice as any outward-facing room, but, as they have no porthole, window or balcony to look outside and enjoy the seas, they are the least-favored rooms by cruise-goers. But, they are the least expensive one’s. Well, enter a vertically-mounted 80-inch LED screens attached to a wall — basically it’s a floor to ceiling screen — and then it’s dressed with curtains on either side.

But, the best part about it is that the images being displayed on the 80″ monitors are they are live-streamed video from cameras mounted on the outside of the ship — so you’re actually seeing what you would see as if you were actually staying in an outside room with a balcony. And, because they have mounted multiple cameras in different locations around the ship, you’ll see what you’d see based on your room’s location on the ship, too. Genius!

Royal Caribbean posted on its own blog that Chairman Richard Fain got the idea from Disney Cruise Line’s virtual portholes. “We actually had looked at the idea, and we didn’t think that the technology and the receptivity from the public was there,” he says. Disney “proved that the public does value something like this.”