Signs of the cruise apocalypse…or just interesting anecdotes about cruising:
The r2d2 effect
In case you thought you would only see this on the big screens playing the record-breaking latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens, guess again. If next year you’re on a Costa ship, as we were fortunate to be this year, there’s a good chance you’ll be talking to a robot. And the robot will be talking to you.
Costa Cruises will begin placing “emotional robots” on its ships after New Year’s, starting with the Diadema and the AIDAprima, a Costa brand. The robot’s name is Pepper and he, she or it will greet passengers as they board and help them find their way to restaurants and entertainment.
Pepper is apparently the world’s first robot capable of recognizing major human emotions and responding accurately in real time. So we are officially in the “talk with a robot” age.
The people who will be most nervous about hearing this news?
21st century X-rays
A few years ago, we met a scientist who was commissioned to dissect the brain of a fruit fly, so we know that with fruit flies anything is possible.
That’s what is happening at four New Zealand cruise ports. A mobile X-ray machine is being installed to keep destructive pests from infesting the country…not rats or bats or snakes, but the dreaded Queensland fruit fly.
Areas near Auckland have been under strict restrictions to prevent the Australian pest from disembarking. To that end, the “biosecurity” machines will X-ray the bags of 260,000 or so cruise passengers next year to make certain there is no fruit inside that could be carrying the fruit fly to shore. Presumably, passengers will be warned about putting apples and oranges in their pockets and purses before leaving the ship.
The object is to make New Zealand “fruit fly free.”
In the news…
• Empress of the Seas returning to Royal Caribbean after 8-year absence
• Costa back in Port Everglades for winter season with the Deliziosa
• New 62-passenger Crystal Esprit christened in the Seychelles
Today at portsandbows.com: Oceania kicks off Wave Season