No matter what anyone says, once you’ve experienced cruising with a balcony it’s hard to go back. Yes, most people when they are “testing the waters of cruising” may start with an inside stateroom because of cost. Or they may justify that inside cabins are great because “how much time do you really spend in your cabin?” This was us on our first cruise. An Alaskan cruise too. We weren’t real educated obviously and no, we don’t do the inside cabin thing, but we’re open to trying a new type of inside cabin.
A couple cruise lines have thought “outside the inside stateroom box” and created an experience for those in these cabins to capture a little bit of the outside world. The first cruise line to introduce an outside-in approach was Disney Cruise Lines with their virtual portholes. This added a new dimension where select inside cabins could have a way to “see” outside using technology to project an outside view on a fake porthole on the wall. Disney even stepped it up a notch to include special “visits” by some Disney characters who show up on the virtual porthole. These rooms have been so popular that they often sell out before some of the actual porthole staterooms.
Royal Caribbean recently announced their version on the Navigator of the Seas. They stepped it up to create an 80″ virtual balcony. Wow! It is an HD display that shows real-time video. It even has a pseudo banister. We think it looks a lot like a French balcony.
This ship will feature 80 interior staterooms with virtual balconies, and they are all the way up on deck 15. From the photo above, you can see the screen stretches nearly floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall. And to take it a step further, it is a live feed of what people with the actual balconies are seeing.
The technology behind mimicking the actual experience is mind-blowing. They actually even had MIT and Harvard consultants help with creating the life-like experience. And if you do like the inside cabin feel at times, you can turn off this virtual experience anytime.
We can’t wait to get a hands on look aboard Navigator of the Seas.
What do you think of “virtual balconies?” Comment below.