Carnival Is Using Facial Recognition on Cruises to Help Passengers Buy Photos of Themselves

Souped-up ship plays with digital photography

The next time you take a Carnival cruise, don't be surprised if the brand digitally tags you in photos taken aboard the ship.

The Carnival Vista just finished making its first transatlantic trip and is docked in New York this week to show off what Carnival Cruise Line claims is its largest and most souped-up ship to date. Among the ship's high-tech amenities is a digital photo experience built by SapientNitro-owned Second Story that uses digital accounts to store photos professional photographers take on the ship.

Here's how it works: Carnival Vista passengers are given accounts that are tied to their room information and photos of themselves. There are a handful of photographers on each trip paid to take photos of travelers.

In the past, the photographers took photos, printed them out and hung them on a wall on the ship. Consumers could then pick out and pay for the photos they liked.

"You're looking at a bunch of pictures that have been printed out, and you're trying to find yours among thousands—not only does this generate a lot of waste, it costs a lot of money to print out these pictures and then throw them away," said Frank Gomez, associate creative director at SapientNitro. "What we created was a way for all of these images to be sorted digitally, and searchable."

    

Now, Carnival is testing facial-recognition technology that matches photographs with the correct passengers. Instead of printing out the photos, they're automatically dropped into passengers' digital accounts. Tablets on the ship let consumers select and buy photos. The photo feature is also built into an interactive TV app in guests' rooms and Carnival's own mobile app.

"We took them from an analog way of doing business into the digital world where people cannot only search for their images—now they can interact with them," Gomez said.

In addition to the digital photo experience, the Carnival Vista is equipped with an Imax theater and LED light displays.