At today's Mac IT conference opening session, Bruce Wolf from the Royal Caribbean cruise line discussed the computing infrastructure for some of the company's newest ships. Since these ships are built for an extended lifespan, the technology choices made during the build process are still critical up to 15 years later. Apple and Nanonation provided a solution proposal that apparently knocked the socks off of the RC executive committee, and some of the proposed tech began to make its way into the ship's operations.
Beginning in late 2006 with the Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, shipboard signage onboard was driven by Mac Minis with an XServe back end and Samsung displays. Later, custom messaging to the passengers (announcements, shore excursions, fitness center scheduling, casino promotions and touchscreen ship maps) appeared on the largescreen displays. Moving on from the big displays, some newer builds have entertainment and reservations capability (dining and activities) in the staterooms.
Moving forward, ships will be equipped with a broadcast room that feeds content to both guest staterooms and crew cabins (each driven by either a Mini or an Apple TV). Back-of-house crew signage, guest enrichment centers for learning opportunities and public signage will all be Mac-driven. Eventually, every television on the ship will be backed by a Mac. On the Celebrity Solstice, now under construction, the build in progress is supporting 1000 stateroom TVs from a bank of XServes and Mac Minis.
Next time you cruise the shining seas, keep an eye out for the Mac in the back!
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