Skip to content

Another cruise line plans a robot bartender -- and this time it'll almost look human

Feb. 11, 2021
4 min read
Another cruise line plans a robot bartender -- and this time it'll almost look human
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

You'll soon be able to have a drink on a cruise ship mixed by a human-shaped robot bartender.

MSC Cruises on Thursday announced that its next new vessel, MSC Virtuosa, will have what it's calling the "first-ever humanoid, robotic bartender at sea."

To be called Rob (that's short for robot, of course), the never-tiring drink slinger will preside over a futuristic lounge called the MSC Starship Club.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's new cruise newsletter.

Just to be clear, while Rob will have a humanoid shape, you shouldn't expect anything as sophisticated as the Michael Sheen robot bartender character in the 2016 film "Passengers."

But MSC Cruises does say Rob will be able to speak eight languages (English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese) and have "a clear personality that evolves with the surrounding setting and atmosphere."

Related: How to plan a cruise with points and miles

The MSC Starship Club on the MSC Cruises ship MSC Virtuosa. (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

Rob will use his LED face "to convey emotion so guests can enjoy his performance while sipping their cocktails," MSC Cruises said in its announcement.

MSC Cruises isn't the first line to add a robot bartender to a cruise ship, of course. Royal Caribbean is famous for the Bionic Bars on several of its ships that have robot bartenders.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Related: The ultimate guide to MSC Cruises

But the "robots" in Royal Caribbean's Bionic Bars are not humanoid. They're just mechanical arms that are programmed to make drinks to order.

The Bionic Bar on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

The first Bionic Bar debuted in 2014 on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, and they have since been added to four more ships: Anthem of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas.

The MSC Starship Club where Rob will be based will be inspired by MSC Cruises' vision of the spaceship of the future, the line said. It'll have a futuristic atmosphere with 3D holograms, an immersive digital art wall and a 12-seat digital interactive table.

The latter will give passengers "the opportunity to explore space with their own personalized galactic tour," MSC Cruises said.

Meet Rob, you're new favorite cruise ship bartender. (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

While mixing and serving drinks, Rob will engage with and speak with passengers, the line added.

Rob's first day on the job will be April 16, 2021 -- the day MSC Virtuosa debuts. Or, at least, that's the plan. With the current coronavirus-related shutdown of most cruising around the world, Rob's true start date may be a bit up in the air.

Related: The 9 most anticipated new cruise ships of 2021

MSC Cruises said it took the company nearly six years of work with leading robotics and automation experts to develop Rob and his spacey surroundings.

MSC Virtuosa is scheduled to sail in the Mediterranean briefly when it first debuts in April, with a series of three-, four- and five-night voyages. It'll then redeploy to Northern Europe for the summer of 2021 for a range of itineraries to the Norwegian fjords and Baltic capital cities.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by The MSC Starship Club on the MSC Cruises ship MSC Virtuosa. (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023