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Mainstream ocean cruise lines have been expanding their mobile technologies. Now, river brands, not to be outdone, are pushing the limits with their own native apps.
Next to the party is AmaWaterways with myAmaCruise following Avalon Waterways’ recent AvalonGo, as well as Scenic’s Scenic Tailormade.
Given how ocean lines such as Princess Cruises, with OceanMedallion, have surpassed apps alone to pursue turnkey solutions ship-wide, it will be interesting to observe if river lines may do the same in time. Avalon is closest with its digital portal integration, but many river lines outside those here have yet to even introduce an app.
Clients expect such technology, so it’s safe to say more is coming.
AmaWaterwaysThe myAmaCruise app is now available for all AmaWaterways’ itineraries in Europe, Vietnam and Cambodia, excluding only Portugal. Prior to embarkation, guests can download the app on the App Store or Google Play to learn more about their trip and share the journey along the way.
“As we continue embracing innovation in all areas of our business, it is very important that we use technology to meet the evolving needs of our guests,” said Rudi Schreiner, president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “We were the first river cruise line to offer complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout our ships, and with this new app, we’re happy to now provide even more ways for our guests to stay connected and share their experiences with friends and family.”
App features encompass Live Itinerary Tracking, Mobile Daily Cruiser, Personal Cruise Album and Email Postcards. Live Itinerary Tracking is an interactive map that follows the ship’s route with details of each port. Mobile Daily Cruiser is a digital program listing of onboard activities and excursions ashore.
As for sharing the cruise with others, the Personal Cruise Album gathers a library of images taken during the trip and tags them on the itinerary map. Email Postcards then lets guests send e-postcards of port images right from within the app.
“With the myAmaCruise app, our guests will now have all the information they need to make the most of their trip in new and exciting ways,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “With so many diverse, included excursions and beautiful destinations to visit during an AmaWaterways journey, myAmaCruise makes it easier for our guests to share the memories being made in real time.”
What’s more, shipboard Wi-Fi access is further sped up thanks to the AmaWaterways ships making fiber optic land connections in every European port. The new AmaMagna will even come with mobile Wi-Fi devices for those in suites. The line is also constantly expanding its Entertainment-On-Demand film and television content.
Avalon WaterwaysAvalon Waterways is making waves with its AvalonGo app. I had the chance to use it briefly when onboard the line’s newest Avalon Envision, and it certainly comes in handy. As a digital daily program, it makes for a more sustainable alternative to printed schedules.
It’s also chock-full of port information (attraction hours of operation, historical facts, etc.) and GPS-enabled maps that do not require a cellular data connection. Points of interest in each stop are listed according to attractions, restaurants, cafes, nightlife, entertainment and shopping.
Even ahead of the cruise, guests can pull up details about their flight schedules and shoreside transfers. Those wishing to let friends and family back home in on the fun can also journal the trip in words and photos and further share their experiences on social media.
Onboard digital portals act as extension of the app, displaying their own information such as weather, daily schedules and even dining menus. They also check guests in and out for the day by tapping their key cards.
ScenicMeanwhile, Scenic takes a slightly different approach, incorporating its VoiceGuide into its Scenic Tailormade app. This means that guests can use their own smartphone as a receiver for guided walks as opposed to third-party devices. Just select the group number, and they’re tuned in. Or, they can use the CityGuide to go touring ports on their own. The built-in GuideBook further details extra information.
Naturally, an outline of daily programming is available as is FreeChoice to see all activities across the cruise. RiverView pulls up info along river maps as divided into five categories, and TravelWallet gathers together all travel documentation in a central location.