Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

145 Photo: credit “When you select the right materials for the surfaces, spaces look fresher for longer. Instead of implementing what others have already done, we try to experiment and bring something new to guests.” Finnlines also carefully chooses interior design elements to help create a specific ambience and positively influence the emotions of guests, leading to a more luxurious experience. “Through different themes and set-ups in the interior, we can effectively achieve different behaviour among customers,” says Uppala. “Senses have an important role too; not only visually, but also in terms of what guests hear and smell, how comfortable the chairs and mattresses are, and so on.” In order to deliver high-quality hotel operations, shipowners also need to ensure the crew is well-equipped to attend to the guests and their different needs. According to Stacher, MSC Cruises continuously trains crew members to ensure they develop the skills and experience they need to provide a consistent service to all guests. “We have a highly professional network of ‘travelling trainers’ who develop and enhance the technical skills of our onboard departments,” he says. “Our fleet supervisors coach our shipboard leaders in operating their departments to the highest possible levels, with a fully comprehensive training programme that is laser-focused on service and hospitality.” Technology can also help boost the guest experience in various ways. Finnlines is utilising self-service technology in different ways to give guests more control over their onboard experience and free up crew members to focus on critical tasks. “Self-service options through digital channels reduce the workload of the crew, while modern equipment also supports efficient working hours,” says Uppala. “Some good examples of this include the central vacuum cleaning system, digital signage and self-service kiosks for guests. Also, pay-in venue access will be controlled with automated turnstile gates.” Stacher agrees, noting that MSC Cruises is investing in technological solutions to innovate the guest experience too. “In the past few years, our hotel operations team has invested a great deal of time and energy in developing a new property management system that has both service and service recovery heavily factored into its core,” he explains. “The system interfaces with a separate hotel maintenance programme to provide our staff with a full and comprehensive 360-degree view on what factors might detract from our guests having a wonderful holiday at sea and gives us a structured way to remedy any issue in a timely manner. “We have also digitalised our onboard activity tool to allow shipboard and shoreside staff to be more effectively connected in experience planning. This allows us to share best practices on an enterprise level that in turn enables us to adapt to our guests’ requirements even faster.” “ Instead of implementing what others have already done, we try to experiment and bring something new to guests” Kristiina Uppala Finnlines There are a range of dining options available onboard Finnsirius Image: Finnlines Pls