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Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Adds Cool New Tech (You'll Like it)

The cruise line has decided to add something that MSC and Norwegian already offer but found a very clever way to do it.

The family-friendly cruise lines generally try to outdo each other when it comes to adding new things to their ships. If Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) - Get Free Report adds a roller coaster to its latest ship then Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) - Get Free Report, has to outdo it with a bigger water park or some other new kind of thrill ride.

It's often a game of one-upmanship, but the cruise lines also look to each other to see what works. If Carnival's Bolt roller coaster proves to be a major draw, then you can assume Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) - Get Free Report, and MSC will look at adding variations of their own.

Innovation attracts new customers. Who doesn't want to try skydiving at sea or ride a bumper car on a cruise ship? But, if a new innovation becomes popular enough, it tends to become something that every cruise line quietly adopts.

That's sort of what has happened with higher-end driving simulators. MSC offers Formula 1 simulators on many of its ships while Norwegian has its own take on that idea. The Norwegian version, at least the one on Norwegian Joy, has actually been built from an F1 car.

Now, Royal Caribbean plans to add F1 simulators to five of its ships and it found a very unique way to decide which ships would get them.

Carnival Cruise Line Mardi Gras Lead

Royal Caribbean Brings F1 Simulators Onboard

For the first time since the pandemic (basically three years), Royal Caribbean hosted its annual Leadership Conference for all Hotel and Marine Operations teams at its Miami Headquarters. This brings captains, hotel directors, and chief engineers together to hear about upper management's plans for the year ahead.

At this year's event, a competition was held with the top-five winners receiving a Red Bull F1 Simulator for their ship, Crew Center reported. The winners were:

  • Fernando Jorge, playing for Freedom of the Seas
  • Carlos Jimenez, playing for Serenade of the Seas
  • Michele Bellino, playing for Adventure of the Seas
  • Captain Marshall Bartlett, playing for Independence of the Seas
  • Ivelin Hristov, playing for Rhapsody of the Seas

The simulators will be added to those ships, but no information was shared as to when (or where they might go onboard). It's worth noting that none of the ships getting the Red Bull F1 Simulator are among the fleet's biggest Oasis and Quantum-class ships.

A Look at the Red Bull F1 Simulator

Red Bull joined Formula 1 in 2005 and technology has been a part of its mix since the beginning. That has been essential for a company entering the sport essentially from scratch that has had to compete with the established giants of the game.

"In Formula One, we’ve seen less and less live testing. Due to rule changes and an effort to reduce costs before and during the season, most teams have invested money in their simulator programs. Using a simulator allows them to test new parts, try new setups, and train their drivers. The ability to run hundreds of virtual laps on any circuit in the world without incurring wear and tear, much less the session costs that come with live runs enables them to optimize their cars without exploding their budget," explained F1 Simulator Maniac, a noted expert in the space.

The writer/blogger believes that using its simulator -- the same one Royal Caribbean will be adding -- has been key to the Red Bull team's success (four drivers' world championships and four constructors' championships in nine years).

"The Red Bull Simulator runs almost every day of the week in a windowless room. With the genuine feel of a single-seater, it’s used by rookies to learn new tracks while more experienced drivers use it to remember the nuances of tracks they’ve raced before," the blogger wrote.

Royal Caribbean has not shared any information about how the simulators will be deployed on the five ships adding them. An email to the company's public relations firm was met with an out-of-office greeting.