Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

Pushing the Envelope: Guest Blogger Bill Martin Discusses How Royal Caribbean Stays Ahead of the Curve

 

I am the Chief Information Officer for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, which basically means that my desk is where the proverbial “buck” stops if it involves technology.  Our IT organization is responsible for all of the technology onboard the Royal Caribbean International ships as well as those of her sister brands.  We also have more than 40 shore side offices around the world that we operate. 

 

2010 was a year of major technological innovation, from redesigned websites to the delivery of Allure of the Seas, who along with her sister, Oasis of the Seas, are the two most technologically advanced ships at sea.  It was also a year of awards, winning Information Week magazine‘s top innovation honor in the category of customer intimacy.  And 2011 is shaping up to be even bigger. 

 

Royal Express KioskIt’s difficult to talk about my role without recognizing the 500+ technology employees on our ships and on shore that make nearly half a billion dollars worth of technology assets work.  We have an amazing team of technology professionals.  Combine this team with the best operating teams in the industry and you’ve really got a powerful combination.  It’s partnerships like this that create the many award winning innovations you’ll see on our ships.  From facial recognition applications that eliminate the “Photo walls” where you had to look at almost every professional photo until you found yours, to interactive digital signs that let you know where the action is, it all comes together to make an amazing vacation experience even better.

 

 

Many in our organization refer to me as a “rogue CIO” (a moniker I wear proudly by the way).  This doesn’t mean I break the rules, it simply means I press our teams to “push the envelope” of what can be done with technology.  I am an avid user of technology, and trying new stuff is something we must do if we expect to stay ahead of our guest’s expectations.  It’s this constant experimentation that gave me the nickname.

 

When Adam asked if I would write a guest blog post about going from “Res to glitches” (a cute way of covering my 27 year career here at Royal Caribbean), I was proud to take a shot.  I won’t bore you with a lot of career details but suffice it to say that I have been very lucky at Royal Caribbean, finding the right opportunities at just the right time over the years, to maintain a career with the same company.  That’s very rare these days, so I consider myself very lucky.  As the phrase implies, I started in the call center taking reservations over the phone way back in 1984 while I put myself through college.  Computer reservations in 1984 were very different … everyone agreed that seeing available staterooms in less than TWO minutes was a real step forward from the “berthing books”, but the system would frequently go down, so the computers could be a real pain!  Today we measure down time in minutes per year.  So I guess it has gotten a little better.  ;-)  

 

There have been many steps along the way, including stints in Accounting, Revenue Management, Customer Service, even running all of the call centers in North America, and finally, to my current role as CIO, which started a little over three years ago. 

 

Funny side note about my current role, I called my brother to share the news of my move to the CIO role.  His reaction?  “ARE YOU CRAZY!   CIO stands for Career Is Over!”  He said I wouldn’t last two years in the role.  I’m happy to report that Tom was wrong. 

 

On a personal note, I have 4 children (ages 21 to 8 ) and have been happily married going on 25 years (I guess I have a thing for sticking around)!  We love living in South Florida (even if it felt like Chicago this past December – Yea yea, spring time in Chicago   We’re planning to vacation in Hawaii this summer but still have to convince the kids of this since they are hoping for another cruise on Allure!   LOL

 

We produced a webisode about some of the technology highlights on Oasis and Allure. Take a look. It’s pretty ground breaking stuff.  

10 responses to:
“Pushing the Envelope: Guest Blogger Bill Martin Discusses How Royal Caribbean Stays Ahead of the Curve”

  1. bRENDAN cORRIGAN

    I love hearing about the techno geek stuff on the ships, but i would love to hear more about how the cellular at sea works. I work for AT&T mobility, and was on a call with a guy right before he deactivated the SS7 to Soveriegn. I assume a DAS system is being used, but what type of equipment is being used (EX nodeb, BTSM etc etc)

    • Adam

      Hi, Brendan. We’re glad we sparked your interest with our technology onboard. Our current Cellular at Sea system is by WMS, which you might find interesting since you work for AT&T, a joint venture between AT&T and MTN. Our system supports GSM and CDMA and all major carriers worldwide, which allows our guests to stay connected via voice and data while they’re sailing with us. One thing we do want to point out is that using your mobile phone on the ship is considered international roaming, so you might want to check with your service provider to make sure you have the right plan as well as information on their international roaming rates. As far as the equipment, you guessed correctly, it is a DAS system but we use a variety of manufacturers for the equipment, depending on specific ship requirements. Our DAS system is dedicated to cellular and similar to what you might find in large stadiums and convention centers – except at sea! We hope this helps, but you can definitely find more info on our Cellular at Sea system here: http://www.cellularatsea.com. Thank you for your question and hopefully we will see you onboard soon so you can have the chance to experience our system first hand!

  2. CIARAN SMULLEN

    Hi Adam Goldien and all Royal Carribbean staff,

    I would like think about special event for St. Patrick’s Day on the Oasis or Allure of the seas next year, of course Irish people and over the world would love to see all green lights on the cruise ships for St. Patrick’s Day!!! Of course there is lot of Irish people living in the US and boost tourists on board! What you think, Adam?? I would like congratulation you for new cruise ships in future.

    • Adam

      Hello, Ciaran. Thanks for the suggestion and we will make sure to pass it along to the appropriate department. Also, if you would like to check out our onboard holiday events which also includes all of our St. Patty’s day activities you can find them here.

  3. jackie

    We were amazed at the Photo experience last year on Oasis of the Seas. The “facial recognition” is just amazing. We used to hate to sort through all of the photos that they take on board. Now every stateroom has their own private folder to look into and it’s so much easier & convenient.
    Also the ineractive signs are amazing. Certainly helps you to get around on a mega ship like Oasis. Can’t wait to use new & improved ones on Allure late this year.

    • Adam

      We are just so pleased we can make our cruising experience more convenient and enjoyable for our guests, Jackie. We look forward to having you “navigate” your way onboard Allure later this year! See you soon.

  4. Samson bill

    ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTL. HAITIANS ARE PROUD OF YOU….
    Dear,
    I want to congratulate you for everything, I can say you are doing very well,Keep going! I want to thank you for Haiti…I hear about your work in Haiti. You take som crew from Haiti… but on every ship they are few… I encourage you to take more because in doing so you participate in rebuilding Haiti…… I hope you understand the way I speak… May God continue to bless ROYAL CARIBBEAN

    • Adam

      We are truly touched and honored with your kind words and support. We are so glad we could have such a positive influence on Haiti. Thanks so much, your praise means the world to us and our efforts.

  5. iren rasmussen

    Hi Adam!
    I love the inovation-program of yours! And I hope you will upgrade it to your Vision-class & Radiance-class ships very soon, as i love your smaller ships (had my honeymoon on the Rhapsody). I am due to the Liberty in june with all my family, and are looking forward to it very much. Just want to say: dont forget the smaller ships! We love them too!

    • Adam

      We’re so happy you love our innovations, Iren. We will be sure to take your suggestion of upgrading our Vision and Radiance-Class ships into mind. We hope you enjoy your time this June on Liberty of the Seas and be sure to check our blog periodically for new on future innovations.

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