This week, tech-savvy travelers should also be giving thanks for the generous dollops of iPads being doled out across travel industry plates. We just reported on the first hotel on the European continent to offer iPads in each and every guestroom (the Hotel Heritage in Bruges, Belgium), and now we’re happy to follow up with the same trend at sea, with Royal Caribbean’s 1,804-passenger Splendour of the Seas acting as the first cruise ship to feature the coveted iPad tablets in each and every stateroom.
Set to emerge on November 25 from a 5-week refurbishment, Splendour's fresh-from-a-face-lift guestrooms will include highlights like new flat-screen TVs, revamped bathrooms, remodeled interiors (with fresh new linens and furnishings), and an additional 124 balcony cabins – the tablets will mark the final tricked-out trimming come February 2012. Guest can use the digital devices for free services like perusing the daily cruise calendar of events and activities (as well as personalize onboard itineraries), book shore excursions, monitor onboard accounts, and view restaurant menus (as well as order room service). Aside from the cruise-centric offerings, passengers will also be able to watch movies (guests can bring their own) or use the Internet (for a fee) – with WiFi being installed ship-wide, guests will be afforded the opportunity to roam freely with their on-loan toys. The iPads are set to be accessible in either English or Portuguese (tying in to the ship's seasonal homeports in Brazil and Portugal) when they debut.
The high-tech amenity is due to roll out on all Vision-class ships (Vision of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, and Legend of the Seas) in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, as they undergo refurbishments over the next two years. Book a Splendour of the Seas sailing to sample them firsthand during its upcoming winter South American sailings from São Paolo; rates start from $669/night (per person) for 7 nights. www.royalcaribbean.com
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