We quite enjoy technology. After all, it gets us going in the morning (the fancy iHome gadget that doubles as an alarm clock and iPhone charger at the same time); it provides the entertainment on our Smart TV (certainly smarter than the shop assistant who tried to explain how it works); and it powers our new Blendtec Professional Grade Power Blender that mixes perfect cocktails.
We are happy to take advantage of it while we are in the coffee shop to check emails and look for any last-minute cruise deals online. And we don’t object to people rabbiting away about their meaningless existences on their mobile phones on the train. We consider it a worthwhile trade-off to avoid having to talk to them.
But there is a time to draw the line, and that is when technology starts to take over that most precious of commodities, our cruising time.
Consider this – Princess Cruises wants all its passengers to have the new MedallionClass technology that “connects” people to its all-encompassing social networking hub that promises to deliver “a personalised, effortless, innovative” experience on board.
Now, irrespective of the fact there is nothing new about this technology, it absolutely, positively reeks of the very essence of how to RUIN one’s holiday. In fact, we can’t think of anything worse than having an e-gadget that knows our whereabouts at all times and wants to tell us things to “enhance our vacation experience” at every minute of the day.
Not only does it smack of Big Brother (and even a benevolent Big Brother is a creepy idea), it goes right to the heart of what a holiday should be – an escape from the everyday that threatens to over-burden us with information and technology with every passing week. Not only do we NOT want ‘MedallionClass’ at sea, it’s one of the very things we take a cruise to AVOID.
To put it another way – as renowned mathematical technophobe Dr Ian Malcolm so succinctly stated when faced with the prospect of a dinosaur revival, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Can we not have some part of life that ISN’T controlled by technology, or by some people’s idea of what we want technology to do?
No, we DON’T want a device that will order a drink from wherever we are on the ship. If there isn’t a waiter within hailing distance, the ship is too big. Pure and simple.
No, we DON’T want another gadget that will open the door to our cabin. We already have a key-card for that, which doubles as our ship ID. That’s quite enough, thanks.
No, we DON’T want a ‘portal’ that allows us to gamble on things like ‘bingo on deck’ or ‘Queen’s Sea Poker’ What’s next? Roulette while you’re sitting in the loo or virtual Baked Alaska on Parade??
And we certainly DON’T want anything to do with a system that plugs us in to some kind of all-connecting bloody mainframe that tracks our every movement and wants to offer us “features” all the time we’re on board.
Ideally, Princess wants you to sign up and start using it BEFORE you even set foot on the ship. It’s technology – and, more importantly, a desire to control guests’ reliance on technology – gone absolutely, stark-staring mad. Bonkers.
Who wants their leisure time to be ruled by any kind of “revolutionary wearable device” that “opens the door to an entirely new level of service and personalised attention”? Isn’t that what the staff are for? Have we totally forgotten that a “human experience” needs to be conducted by, you know, actual humans?
And here’s the statement that really rankles our rigging and boils our blood pressure:
“We’re taking the world’s largest cruise ships, with thousands of guests and crew members, and making sure the experience feels unique to you. Innovation is taking the entire experience back to the roots of what makes cruising special. This ship carries the most-connected internet of things implementation for humans on the planet.”
No, you’re not doing anything of the bloody kind. You’re trying to make technology take the place of actual, honest-to-goodness personal service.
Moreover, if you have “thousands of guests and crew members,” how can it be unique when everyone’s getting the same experience? Just a moment…
Unique; (adjective), being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
One of a kind; unlike anything else.
That doesn’t mean “exactly like the thousands of people also using this device.” Ye gods. Do they really expect us to swallow this marketing bullshine, this disingenuous psycho-babble?
Then they go and put the tin lid on this particular pile of maritime poo by insisting, “Innovation is taking the entire experience back to the roots of what makes cruising special.”
No, you’re not, because that doesn’t even make SENSE. What makes cruising special is the genuine feel of relaxed luxury, the sense of pure, personal indulgence. And that has NOTHING to do with technology, unless it means serving your Martini at exactly the right temperature.
So you can keep your meaningless corporate advertising twaddle that suggests you can somehow create an individual touch on a vast scale (go on, try explaining THAT complete non-sequitur in your malodorous misconception of facetious fallacy), and we’ll happily cruise with someone who actually understands what cruising is all about.
MedallionClass, indeed. Stuff and nonsense.
Treadwell & Tenny
So, are we wrong? Do you welcome all this high-tech wizardry on your cruises? Tell us what you think in the Comments section below.