HARMAN Connected Services and MSC Cruises co-create the future of Cruise Experience using Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing and Smart Audio technology.


When you embark on board MSC Bellissima, one of the most innovative cruise ships to launch this year, be prepared for a new experience that provides answers to your questions and easy access to a range of onboard cruise services. Just walk into your cabin, you don’t even need to press a button, say ‘OK ZOE’ and know that your very own virtual personal cruise assistant will immediately start responding to your question.


ZOE is powered by Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing which can recognize the intent and context of what a guest says and provide them with easy access to cruise-related information, from guidance and suggestions to helping booking services and much more. Built with the ability to speak multiple languages, answer hundreds of questions, ZOE will pave the way for next-gen user interaction. 


ZOE has been ideated to further enrich the MSC for Me ecosystem, the connected digital experience MSC Cruises launched in 2017 starting from its first Smart Ship MSC Meraviglia and then deployed on further ships including MSC Bellissima. MSc for Me was designed for Guests to experience a more seamless and carefree holiday, reinventing the way they interact with the Ship and its crew


Behind the scenes, MSC Bellissima is powering forward with new technologies, so let us have a closer look at what is coming in 2019.


Reinventing the Art of Hospitality


When it comes to redefining hospitality ‘personalization’ is the name of the game. Enabling artificial intelligence and machine learning to become a new crew-member within the cabin, HARMAN and MSC Cruises have created a true first of its kind in the cruise industry.


Delivering responses in 7 languages


Our aim was to design a solution that would provide the guests of MSC Cruises a simple and stress-free way to access onboard cruise information. So, we created a guest-centric, bespoke, on-premise solution. The process involved spending a lot of time on-board, working with the crew, carefully analysing 2.2 million questions and carrying out intensive testing by 400 people. 


ZOE has been exclusively trained to interact with guests in a natural and polite way. Backed-up by Deep Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques, ZOE can initially answer over 800 core questions using conversational UI techniques. To further enhance this feature, we incorporated real-time, predictive analytics and machine learning technologies to anticipate common guest needs.  To further ensure that the response time is quick we also installed a quad-core processor into the in-cabin speaker.  


What’s more? Guests can interact in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese, and Mandarin. Built with the latest technologies that can stay relevant, learn, and adapt based on real-time guest interactions, ZOE will only improve her capability over time.


Guest-first experiences 


When guests walk into a cabin, they just have to say ‘OK ZOE’ to begin their experience. From then on, ZOE will be their personal crew member focused on helping them to get the most from their cruise experience. 


ZOE's advanced voice recognition feature makes it easy for guests of all age groups to control and access information using only voice commands. And that’s not all, the virtual personal cruise assistant can be paired with a phone’s Bluetooth device to listen to music. And adding to all this fun is ZOE's speaker which packs a powerful punch.


While ZOE acts as a 24/7 virtual personal cruise assistant, she is not designed to replace human interaction between crew and guest, but rather to provide guests with the flexibility to communicate and discover information right from the comfort of their cabins. Thereby, saving time and allowing them to make the most of their cruise experience.


ZOE onboard MSC Bellissima


ZOE is truly the result of a deep collaboration founded on a joint vision to shape the future of the cruise industry through the introduction of emerging technologies. Presenting travellers with innovative solutions of comfort and personalisation, we are offering an indulgent escape into a private world – an experience that cannot be found anywhere else, pushing the boundaries of technology and delivering a personalized guest experience unlike never before.


For more information on how we are taking the cruise experience to the next level, in the not-too-distant future, please write to us here or on LinkedIn/Twitter.