Wearables provide public health and security teams onboard Royal Caribbean with a solid means of contact tracing, but the future may be in facial recognition. Royal Caribbean is certainly not the one and only company to offer wearables, in fact, the practice is widely used among cruise and amusement park or entertainment companies.

But, speaking at the Seatrade Cruise Virtual conference, Royal Caribbean Group SVP Digital Experience Jay Schneider, talked about how he believes facial recognition will be the the best long-term solution for guests.

Why facial recognition over wearables, such as a wristband, token, or watch?  The rate of adoption among guests would be universal with facial recognition, Schneider says, whereas wearable technology requires passengers to want to adopt and wear something all day long for it to truly be useful.

"There are use cases where a wearable on your arm or a lanyard, et cetera, might be relevant, but your face is a better wearable for you long term than having to distribute something to you."

In 2017, Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line to implement facial recognition technology as part of the boarding process in select cruise terminals, but in terms of removing the wearables in place of facial recognition on board, the company isn't there quite yet, he says.

In terms of privacy of passenger information, Schneider says that the data is destroyed and not even shared off ship to maintain a high-level of privacy.

movements of every single guests onboard, but Mr. Schneider was insistent the data is destroyed and not even shared off the ship for those reasons.