Royal Caribbean WOW Bands Now $5

Last year, when Royal Caribbean announced that RFID technology would make its cruise-ship debut on Quantum of the Seas, it was kind of cool that passengers would be able to wear Dick Tracy wristwatches, for those of us who remember Dick Tracy, the comic detective who talked into his watch.

The “Radio Frequency Identification” watches — later branded as WOW bands — allowed Quantum’s passengers to open their staterooms, track their luggage while getting on and off the ship, charge drinks and pretty much leave their rooms without a wallet or a key Wow Bandcard. Presumably, passengers are still using them on Quantum of the Seas even though the ship is now living in Singapore.

It was inevitable that all Quantum Class ships, called the most tech-heavy vessels at sea, would have the same technology.

And they do.

For a price.

The cruise line is now charging Anthem of the Seas passengers who want a WOW band $4.99. Either the bands proved to be so successful on Quantum that Royal Caribbean moved it into the revenue department…or the cruise line decided that, like so many things, if something is free it has no value.

While five bucks isn’t going to break anybody on a cruise ship (one special coffee), it will be construed by some passengers as yet another way of nickel-and-diming the people on board. And when they find out the people who can better afford to pay five bucks — the ones in the suites — are getting it for nothing, said passengers are likely to be more irate…or at least annoyed.

If it’s an experiment, and that’s not an official position, our guess is it will be a short one.

And that they’ll either be free once again, or available by making a deposit that guarantees they’ll be returned.

In the news…

• Cruise lines offer passengers options in the wake Paris attacks
• Ocean Endeavour damaged by ice in Antarctica — next cruise canceled
• Four finalists named for Princess Entertainer of the Year showdown in March

Today at Viking's sticking with winning new-ship formula

Norwegian Sky
4 nights
February 1, 2016
Miami (return): Grand Bahamas, Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay
Inside: $269
Cost per day: $67

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