Virgin Voyages Standardizes Aruba ESP to Deliver Exceptional Sailing Experiences

From spa appointments to champagne shakes, the award-winning cruise line offers luxury onboard amenities via Aruba’s Wi-Fi network.

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, announced that Virgin Voyages is deploying an end-to-end Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) network to deliver world-class premium experiences on board its four inaugural ships.

Together with DeCurtis Corporation, Virgin Voyages set out to create an extraordinary, technology-enabled cruise experience. Based in Plantation, Florida, Virgin Voyages is a joint venture between the Virgin Group and Bain Capital.

Virgin Voyages currently has two award-winning ships deployed and two more in development, all with capacity for nearly 4,000 passengers and crew on each ship. Scarlet Lady was named “Best New Cruise Ship for 2021” by Cruise Critic, and Scarlet and Valiant Lady both received top spots on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of Favorite Cruises for 2022. As a cruise experience Exclusively for adults, Virgin Voyages offers a sanctuary at sea for Voyageurs 18 and older with more than 20 unique dining options, immersive entertainment and wellness-focused programming.

“From the moment a sailor books their voyage or uses mobile ticketing, all onboard experiences through departure to the end of their voyage are enhanced by technology,” said Frank Farro, vice president of technology at Virgin Voyages.

“One of sailors’ favorite luxury pleasures is our unique ‘Shake for Champagne’ feature. By simply shaking their phone with the Virgin Voyages app open and pressing a button, the crew is alerted to deliver chilled champagne to the sailor wherever they are on the ship. The same capability is extended to other services such as Ship Eats, to ensure a high quality service to every sailor’s dining, snacking and dining experience.

A primary objective of Virgin Voyages is to deliver a premier seafarer experience by providing real-time services and always-on connectivity to crew members to facilitate fast and reliable service. For example, if a crew member sees a maintenance issue, they can open a repair ticket on their issued device and it is immediately escalated to the right person to resolve the issue. The technology behind these capabilities is ubiquitous for crew members and seamless for sailors, creating a seamless five-star experience wherever they are on the ship.

Another important goal for Virgin Voyages is to provide location-based quality of service through location-based data. A striking example of this is the dramatic reduction in the time sailors wait in line. Virgin Voyages has created a virtual queuing system so sailors don’t have to congregate in long queues. Instead, the Virgin Voyages app alerts them when it’s their turn to board the ship, sit down for dinner, enter the spa or disembark at their port of call. Virgin Voyages’ focus on a frictionless experience allows sailors to relax and enjoy amenities, rather than queuing or dealing with service issues.

To achieve frictionless location-based services that enable world-class Sailor services, Virgin Voyages turned to trusted technology partner DeCurtis Corporation. With extensive experience working with some of the best and most recognized hospitality brands in the world, DeCurtis and Virgin Voyages sought to transform existing experiences for sailors to make them better, faster and more impactful through creative application. of the latest technologies.

In cooperation with DeCurtis and Aruba, Virgin Voyages selected and deployed a flexible and resilient Aruba ESP network comprising six Aruba Wi-Fi access points with integrated location services, as well as access switches. Additionally, Virgin Voyages uses ClearPass for network access control (NAC) and policy management and AirWave for network management.

“It was the Aruba team that joined with our Virgin Voyages team as well as our partners DeCurtis and Axians to solidify and enhance a comprehensive network for our ships,” said Farro. “The Aruba team in the yard, on the vessel and the team supporting both of these teams have all been responsive and engaged.”

Virgin Voyages has seen the multiple benefits of its new Aruba network, including reliability, fluidity and scalability.

“The network is designed to accommodate approximately 15,000 devices,” Farro said. “This includes crew devices, PCs, laptops and tablets, in addition to tablets and TVs in each cabin, as well as crew rooms. Add to that the myriad of devices that every sailor brings on board.

“The seamless experience is best exemplified in our ability to duplicate ‘smart home’ functionality in each cabin, which is controlled by the app on cabin tablets. When a sailor enters and their cabin is in night the lights turn on automatically and the curtains close.It’s just an amazing experience.

Looking to the future, Virgin Voyages will continue to provide seamless but ubiquitous seafarer services and expand features such as wayfinding. Its focus will remain on making sure sailors’ devices connect seamlessly to the internal Wi-Fi network, so they don’t even have to think about connectivity from boarding to departure and all that.

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