Virgin Voyages is deploying an end-to-end Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP) network to deliver connectivity for guests and crew onboard all four of its 'Lady' ships, two of which are currently sailing.
Virgin Voyages selected the network in cooperation with Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, and technology partners DeCurtis Corporation and Axians. The network also includes Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6 access points with built-in location services, as well as access switches. In addition, Virgin Voyages will use Aruba’s ClearPass for network access control and policy management, and AirWave for network management.
“It was the Aruba team that stepped up to work with our Virgin Voyages team as well as our partners DeCurtis and Axians to solidify and enhance a comprehensive network for our ships,” said Frank Farro, vice president of technology at Virgin Voyages. “The Aruba team in the yard, on the ship, and the team behind helping those two teams, have all been responsive and engaged.”
The new network allows Virgin to provide real-time services and always-on connectivity for crew members. Crew members can open a repair ticket on their issued device if they see a maintenance issue, which is then sent immediately to the person who can address the problem.
Virgin Voyages is also now able to provide location-based services. The cruise line has created a virtual queueing system, in which the Virgin Voyages app alerts passengers when it’s their turn to board the ship, sit for dinner, enter the spa, or disembark in their port of call rather than having to stand in a line.
“The network is built to accommodate around 15,000 devices,” said Farro. “This includes crew devices, PCs, laptops and tablets, in addition to tablets and TVs in each cabin, as well as in the crew rooms. The seamless experience is best illustrated in our ability to duplicate ‘smart home’ features in each cabin, which are controlled by the app on the cabin tablets. When a sailor walks in and their cabin is in night-time mode, the lights automatically come on and the curtains close. It’s just an incredible experience.”