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With over 18,000 staff at sea and serving 1.7 million passengers a year, Princess is the third largest cruise line in the industry. While that is a lofty spot to be in, the company strives to move into pole position. How does one achieve that you may ask?

It all started in the fall of 2012 during Princess’ preparation to launch its newest, most technologically advanced ship in our fleet, Royal Princess. Our guests rely on the onboard newsletter, the Princess Patter, delivered daily to provide information on events and activities, safety and security notices, advertising, venue details and hours of operation. Knowing that a good majority of our guests are reliant on their mobile devices, the idea of having our onboard newsletter readily available electronically was born.

Drupal and Princess

Tasked with a project with less than 9 months to launch, Princess’ IT team brought the above idea from concept to reality, creating the [email protected] app using Drupal. The free, open source system was chosen for its flexibility and dependability; it was simply a solid platform that enabled us to deliver customized content to many different areas of communication. We realized that Drupal could not only power our [email protected] app, but many others, such as our free, video-on-demand system delivering the latest movies, TV shows and satellite live TV, and our digital signage system serving up content to 120+ screens around the ship.

Princess Cruises has always been an industry innovator, introducing concepts that have become industry standards, such as 24-hour dining; Movies Under the Stars, a giant outdoor LED screen; and The Sanctuary, our adults-only retreat. With Drupal, the technology provided us with yet another incredible opportunity to move to the forefront, giving us the ability to create a unique digital experience that connects our guests to the worldwide destinations we visit, and specifics on the ship’s amenities and services.

Today, with seven ships currently running [email protected], we have literally put the whole Princess experience at the fingertips of our guests:

  • We’re able to deliver dynamic event information, provide details about the itineraries and ports we visit, as well as information on dining venues, including menus.
  • Our guests can be in any location onboard and immediately find information about the venue they’re interested in, what show will be featured in the theater, what movie is playing at Movies Under the Stars or what time the next fountain show is.
  • Guests can check their stateroom account in real time or access the Internet (for a fee) to browse their favorite websites.
  • Free instant messaging enables guests to keep in touch with each other wherever they may be and at any hour.
  • A customized feature within the app called My Cruise Planner gives guests the ability to bookmark events or create their own events for a seamless way of scheduling their time onboard—morning, noon or night.
  • We even have a multi-lingual version of [email protected] Drupal allows for integration with other systems, such as Lingotek’s translation system, which we use now on one of our ships catering to Chinese clientele.

As 2014 comes to a close, we will have nine ships outfitted with [email protected] For 2015, the remaining nine vessels will also have the invaluable app. The possibilities are endless and we intend to utilize Drupal to further improve [email protected] with targeted marketing, feedback and reviews, personal concierge services, location aware services and more.

Princess on mobile

Princess Cruises allows people to reconnect with each other and build lifelong memories in a relaxing, rejuvenating environment, all while visiting some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Our technological advances help to enhance our product and services, enabling us to not only gain a competitive edge against other cruise lines, but push us to be the Consummate Host to our guests around the globe.

Mario Siebaldi is Vice President Hotel Operations at Princess Cruises