Earlier this year, one of our vice presidents from NanoLumens took a vacation on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and she came away impressed yet intrigued by the role LED display solutions played in her experience. From the moment our VP arrived at the Port of Miami to begin her week-long adventure at sea, the first thing that caught her eye was naturally the enormity of the facility she was about to enter. In the fall of 2018 and in collaboration with Miami-Dade County, Royal Caribbean completed the largest cruise port in the United States. The state-of-the-art Terminal A engenders comparisons to many of the world’s best airports with its size and sophistication but it also leaves a bit room for improvement, especially with regard to its implementation of digital signage.

After parking her car and beginning her path to check-in, our VP soon encountered wayfinding signage to help her along the way. The facility made use of static and perhaps a few examples of LCD signage to help guide arrivals but as other transportation hubs have learned, these solutions can leave value on the table. Far more visible than static and LCD signage in the face of ambient light due to their superior brightness, LED way-finding displays give owners the ability to deliver advertising and branding content to an audience they know will see it. Travelers have to rely on wayfinding displays for assistance; cruise lines who don’t supplement this information with their own promotional content are missing a big opportunity.

Inside the terminal our VP noticed plenty of small-scale digital display kiosks to help passengers orient themselves but couldn’t she see anything larger until she spotted a few displays being used for artistic purposes. We’ve written extensively about how much we love such use cases and these displays help establish the image of modernity Royal Caribbean is trying to establish.

Once on board the ship, our VP found further environments where LED signage could (or already did) thrive. She was pleased to spy a handful of ticker displays integrated throughout common areas on board that scrolled through useful bits of information throughout the day. What she loved even more was that the backdrop to the theater space primarily comprised LED displays. Cruise ships in many ways function as entertainment meccas, delivering a wide range of performances to their eager audiences and outfitting their event space with LED displays is an innovative way to avoid constantly building and striking sets for disparate styles of shows. As entertainment venues like sports arenas and concert halls embrace the experiential benefits of large-format digital display technology, cruise ships have an opportunity to follow their lead. Nearly every big concert these days will include some sort of light show to support the artists and if cruise ships want to recreate these shows, they ought to recreate those lighting elements as well. Large-format LED is perfect for that.

One of the complaints of cruise ship trips is that unless you are stopped at a port, passengers are really stuck within the confines of the boat. Our VP felt LED was well positioned to address this dynamic. With digital displays adorning interior walls of the ship, content creators and display owners will be able to dramatically alter what these previously unchanging confines look like. Static décor can get oppressive if it is all passengers see for a week or two at a time but LED lets you switch it up to keep passengers feeling energized.

Overall, our VP ended her well-deserved cruise vacation with an optimistic outlook for the future of LED within the cruise line market both portside and onboard. The comparisons between this market and others with a more established LED presence are easy to make. Cruise ports share plenty of commonalities with airports while the onboard experience has a lot of overlap with the land-based experiences it seeks to recreate. The future looks bright! If you’d like to learn a little more about how airports and entertainment venues make use of LED display solutions, you can find information on those subjects here, and here, respectively.