ZOE – The world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant powered by AI

Published February 4, 2019   |   

ZOE is the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant, powered by AI and developed in partnership with HARMAN and Samsung Electronics to enrich the cruise vacation.

ZOE is a voice-enabled AI artificial intelligence (AI) tool found in every stateroom and can speak seven languages, answer hundreds of questions about the cruise and provide information about onboard services, guidance and suggestions or help to book a service. It is a first in the cruise industry.

The advanced voice recognition feature makes it easy for everyone to control and access information using only voice commands. Guests simply say, “OK ZOE”, and she’s ready to help.

ZOE’s physical design features advanced audio with far-field microphones and a professional quality speaker to provide the best audio experience. Guests will enjoy fast response times, thanks to the integration of a top-of-the-line quad-core processor, and also have the opportunity to connect their phones directly to the device through Bluetooth to enjoy music, podcasts and more directly in their staterooms.

To ensure ZOE could respond effectively to all guests, she has been programmed and trained to respond to more than 800 of the most commonly asked questions with thousands of different variants of each question. ZOE’s natural speech recognition and ability to transform speech into text and back again have undergone significant testing, in addition to a variety of other behavioral, experiential and performance tests. As an artificial intelligence solution, ZOE is designed to continue learning and developing her responses based on real guest interactions.

“Today, customers have increasingly high expectations for connected experiences wherever they live, work and, now, travel,” said Sanjay Dhawan, President – Connected Services and CTO, HARMAN. “Digital Assistants and voice recognition technologies are transforming the opportunity to create a guest experience that is highly personal, adaptable and intuitive. Our team at HARMAN Connected Services is incredibly excited to bring this innovation to MSC Cruises as we modernize and enhance the guest experience from the start to the end.”

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 from the comfort of their staterooms.

ZOE will launch on MSC Bellissima and will then be available on each following new ship, including the upcoming MSC Grandiosa in 2019 and MSC Virtuosa in 2020.