March 24, 2003
Lost amidst the hoopla of Queen Mary 2's higher profile features is the cruise ship's interactive television system, which offers two pretty unique services. First: While the ship most certainly has a "Computer Centre" where passengers can surf the web and send and receive emails, all staterooms come with a wireless keyboard that communicates to the television. Think of it as a WebTV kind of arrangement -- and passengers can send and receive emails from their stateroom. Cunard has not yet established an in-cabin outgoing message charge but there will be no charge for receiving emails. All passengers will also -- and this isn't new but is still not a wide cruise industry practice -- receive their own Queen Mary 2 email addresses to use while onboard. The stateroom TV, in addition to doubling as a computer terminal, also will have a musical component and act as a defacto stereo system. The ship will compile hundreds of tunes in all manners of genres, ranging from classical and Broadway to country and easy listening. Otherwise, the in-cabin televisions will handle the usual gamut of services (in addition to simply offering programming). These include shore excursion information and sign-up, ordering and viewing movies, setting wake-up calls, browsing (and making purchases) from shipboard boutiques, viewing daily restaurant menus, ordering wine and reviewing shipboard tabs.