Passengers sailing across the Solent are set to be offered ground breaking, innovative technology as the new-look Red Falcon re-enters service on Red Funnel’s East Cowes-Southampton route in early April, following her £2.2 million refit.
The Red Falcon will boast a contemporary interior with more than 35 digital screens, which will be used to inform and entertain guests during the crossing. Live footage from bridge-top mounted TV cameras will be screened at intervals during the crossing, interspersed with a map showing the vessel’s GPS position and the latest weather forecast and news headlines. Information about local points of interest along the route and details of any passing cruise ships, including voyage data, will be shown automatically.
Live TV will be screened in the bar area on B deck and extended to other areas of the ship when there is a major sporting occasion such as the World Cup, or a major news event.
The system shows content which is relevant to the direction of travel, such as onward travel connections. On sailings to Southampton, real time information showing rail departures from Southampton Central, flight departures from Southampton Airport, and traffic updates from the Highways Agency will be shown alongside scheduled CityLink bus connections. On sailings to the Isle of Wight, the next scheduled bus departures for Services 4 and 5 from East Cowes will be displayed, together with tourist information supplied by Visit Isle of Wight, the Island’s official tourism organisation.
Each of the spacious new passenger lounges on A deck will feature a 65″ touch-screen which guests of all ages can use to access a gallery of Isle of Wight images, as well as children’s games and a wealth of interactive content.
A large visitor map of the Isle of Wight on B Deck contains QR code links to smartphone friendly content featuring the Island’s major attractions and places of interest. For the first time, attraction and festival tickets can be purchased during the crossing from the ‘Ship’s Stores’. Guests will also have the ability to amend or make new ferry and accommodation bookings on board and seek tourism advice from specially trained staff.
The new-look Red Falcon also features more charging points for phones, tablets and laptops, and the first stage of an improved Wi-Fi solution, which promises better coverage on board with the caching of popular content to help manage internet access at peak times.
Jonathan Green, Sales & Marketing Director commented:
“This technology is at the forefront of the ferry industry – our aim has been to entertain guests who are travelling on holiday and also to provide real-time travel advice to make crossing the Solent as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. We are also confident that tourists will benefit from staff who are very knowledgeable about the Island and who can arrange holiday accommodation, attraction admission and even tickets to the Isle of Wight Festival or Bestival.”
James Acketts, Operations Director of Navaho Technologies commented:
“We are delighted that Red Funnel chose Navaho’s latest MediaCAT digital signage solution for the new look Red Falcon. The creative and dynamic content has largely been produced by our in-house team and is designed to considerably enhance the travel experience for passengers to and from the Isle of Wight”.
Red Falcon is due back in service in time for the Easter Holidays.