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Costa Group is the first cruise company to start trialing humanoid robots

Pepper will improve guest experience and provide help and entertainment on board the ships of the Costa Group’s cruise brands: AIDA and Costa.

The Costa Group signed an exclusive agreement, worth more than a million euros, with the French company Aldebaran, a subsidiary of the SoftBank Group, for the use of “Pepper” robots. Pepper is the world’s first robot that reads main human emotions. He is ideally suited to help and delight guests on board of cruise ships. Pepper will improve guest experience and provide help and entertainment on board the ships of the Costa Group’s cruise brands: AIDA and Costa.

“With an emotional robot on board our cruise ships we are once again continuing our tradition of innovation. For us, this is an important step towards a digital future for our brands. I am confident that our guests will love Pepper,” said Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group.

“I am very happy that the Costa Group gave us this opportunity. Pepper is built to interact with humans, their emotions and needs. We hope that it will fit to improve AIDA’s and Costa’s travelers’ experience,” said Fumihide Tomizawa, President of Aldebaran and SoftBank Robotics Corp.

Pepper has already completed an internship on board of AIDAstella with flying colors, demonstrating his seaworthiness while engaging with customers and crew.

The first batch of Peppers will join the crew and start helping on board of AIDAprima and Costa Diadema in spring 2016, guiding guests when they embark and while onboard. They will also be on hand to provide recommendations and tips on restaurants, events and excursions. Of course, all while speaking impeccable German, Italian and English.
By the summer of 2016 the rest of the robots will be joining the crew aboard the Costa and AIDA fleet where they are sure to delight guests of all ages.

Who is Pepper?
Launched in June 2014 in Japan by SoftBank and Aldebaran, Pepper is the first humanoid robot in the world capable of recognizing the main emotions and to take his environment into account and proactively act accordingly.

Pepper is well equipped with features and a high-level interface for communicating with those around him, to move fluidly and analyze expressions and voice tones using the latest advances in voice and emotion recognition.

Pepper in figures:
  • Pepper is 120 cm and weighs 28 kg
  • 17 joints for graceful movements
  • 3 omnidirectional wheels to move with agility
  • 1 3D camera for detecting people and their movements and interact with them
  • A 10-inch touch screen
Costa Cruises presents “Happiness squared”
Also, Costa Cruises presents a series of major innovations that will make vacations on board its ships even more exclusive and unforgettable starting in 2016.

To make its guests happy, Costa has combined its renowned art of hospitality with outstanding testimonials: an incredible gala menu created by Michelin-starred chef Bruno Barbieri; must-do excursions suggested by the couple on “Turisti per caso”, Syusy Blady and Patrizio Roversi; guaranteed fun when the famous television talent shows, like The Voice of the Sea, are replicated on board; without forgetting the kids, who’ll be able to meet the legendary Peppa Pig.

Costa’s biggest novelty will be the focus of a new international communication campaign, to be broadcast starting on 20th December 2015 in Italy, including the slogan “Benvenuti alla felicita al quadrato” (“Welcome o happiness squared”). The main character of the most important film of the campaign will also be an outstanding testimonial: Shakira.

“Despite constant growth over the last few years, the cruise market still has great development potential. In Europe, slightly more than 1% of the population takes a cruise. To increase the number of cruise lovers, we have focused not only on new constructions, ordering two ultramodern ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be delivered in 2019 and 2020, but also on product innovation on ships currently in service. Starting in 2016 we will propose a series of exclusive and unique experiences that can be enjoyed only on vacation with us. We came up with things that are quite different from each other in order to satisfy the very diverse tastes and expectations of even those who have never taken a cruise. That’s why our communication campaign is based on the idea of happiness squared. When even the persons vacationing with us are happy, our happiness increases exponentially. And that’s just what will happen on board our ships” declared Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises.

Costa Diadema.

The first big new initiative is a partnership with an eye on great Italian cuisine. Starting in January 2016, guests cruising on Costa ships will be able to savour, during the gala dinner, a signature menu created by Bruno Barbieri, the Italian chef who has garnered the highest number of Michelin stars, a total of seven. The menu will be an authentic voyage of traditional Italian tastes and flavours, from North to South. Happiness during a cruise will not only be found on board ships, but also during the calls to various destinations on the itinerary. To propose unique and unforgettable experiences, Costa is relying on the couple of expert travellers from “Turisti per Caso” that in 2015 received an award for the best tourism site. Syusy Blady and Patrizio Roversi have picked the best excursions from among the more than 2,200 offered by Costa ships, concentrating on those that allow guests to discover the most amazing and particular features of each destination.

Guests will become the real stars of all onboard fun activities. Starting in April 2016, Costa cruisers with a special singing talent can’t miss the chance to take part in the wildly popular talent show The Voice, broadcasted in over 180 countries around the world and that will come on board Costa ships under the name of “The Voice of the Sea”. Participants will be chosen during onboard karaoke sessions, and will have the opportunity to perfect their singing skills by rehearsing with onboard musicians and voice coaches. Like in the television format, on the evening of the show a trio of Coaches will select the singers, without seeing their performances but only listening to them, who will become part of their team. The public will vote to choose the final winner.

Onboard fun will be guaranteed also for young cruisers, who will enjoy a truly exciting experience in the company of their favourite cartoon character: Peppa Pig. Loved by children from more than 180 countries around the world, in April 2016 she’ll come on board Costa ships for exciting and fun adventures. Kids will be able to meet and play with her in the areas of the Squok Club, in a space that recreates the cartoon locations, with sets that change from ship to ship. Numerous creative games and educational activities will be proposed around the colourful world of Peppa Pig for all children, under the constant and skilful direction of the Squok Club entertainers.

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