Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2021

1 2 8 INTERV IEW Shaping the future with data Technology is a driving force in almost every aspect of the cruise journey. Susan Parker asks Royal Caribbean Group’s Martha Poulter how it is being deployed to make ships Covid-19 secure F or many of us, the word technology connotes mobile phones, laptops and computers but for Martha Poulter, chief information officer of Royal Caribbean Group, technology is the “key glue” that works behind and alongside onshore and shipboard employees and delivers an enjoyable guest experience. “There is almost no aspect of the business which does not have a key and critical tie in with technology,” she says. For the past year, technology has played a key role in helping Royal Caribbean Group’s marathon effort to bring its most precious assets – the crew – back home after the shutdown of the global cruise industry. “We created a whole new communications centre mobile site where we share information,” says Poulter. “Initially, this helped in getting crew home and, more recently, has allowed us to share information on our protocols and how we plan to return to service. Communications are a crucial point for managing the crew and keeping them safe. “Staying in touch is the one thing we most crave during this pandemic, especially when onboard ships. Communicating back with family is a tough area of concern for our crew members, so we have been offering them a free texting service.” Technology was also critical in enabling Royal Caribbean Group to prepare for operating its first post-pandemic cruises out of Singapore on Quantum of the Seas in December 2020. It was primarily used to establish the group’s Healthy Return to Sail programme. “ Data is really at the forefront of so many components of our operations”