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Galveston’s Navigator of the Seas to Be the First Ship with “Virtual Balconies”

Galveston and Royal Caribbean are making history. When the Navigator of the Seas sails on February 5th after a recent update, it will be the first cruise ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet to offer “virtual balconies” within inside staterooms.

What exactly is a virtual balcony?

Well, for decades the inside cabins on the ship have been the lowest cost and the reason is clear. With no balcony or even windows, the cabins have no real connection with the outside. Some people even refuse to sail in these cabins — no matter what the cost.

Virtual balconies are designed to bring passengers more in touch with the ocean outside the cabin. Taking up nearly an entire wall, the virtual balcony is actually an HD screen that projects the view from outside the ship in real-time.

The result? Interior passengers get a real view of outside the ship 24 hours a day. But this is much more than just tuning a TV into a camera feed and putting it on a wall.

The display takes up nearly the entire wall and is framed like a real balcony, according to a report from Fox News.

Furthermore, the design team took into account every detail — even shadows. As Fox noted, “Designers wanted to create virtual banisters and even balusters, the vertical poles that hold the banisters in place. But the banister had to appear to be outside the window, like on a real balcony. And that created a whole new set of visual challenges, because the look of a real banister changes all the time as the sun and the ship change directions. The answer was to incorporate sun movement charts and powerful GPS data to add “real” shadows and highlights to the virtual banisters.”

The view is taken in from cameras at the front and back of the ship using high-end Red Epic HD cinema cameras. In addition, the display will feature sound, giving a more realistic feeling.

And yes, if you want to turn the display off, passengers can do so, as well as control the volume.

A total of 81 staterooms aboard the Navigator will feature the new virtual balconies. While we haven’t had a chance to experience them personally, we can’t wait to try them out.

In the meantime, here is a short video showing exactly what you can expect from the new feature:

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