Royal Caribbean has launched another smart ship to its fleet of cruise liners - the Anthem of the Seas - which sets sail for the first time this month to join the Quantum of the Seas that launched at the end of last year.
You might be wondering why we are talking about cruise ships on a technology and gadget site but these ships aren't just any cruise ships. They come packed with all sorts of tech from a giant heart-rate replicating chandelier on the main deck, to the robotic Bionic Bar powered by Makr Shakr that will make you any drink you fancy without you having to utter a word.
For anyone that has seen Fifth Element, you might remember the robot bartender and think this kind of scenario is a long way from our current world. Well, think again.
They may not talk like the robot bartender in Fifth Element, but these bartending robots called B1-O and N1-C are super smart, controlled by a tablet and they even crack out the odd joke through the screens either side of them. We got up close and personal to B1-O and N1-C, to see exactly how these two robots make your perfect drink.
How it works
The Bionic Bar allows you either choose a drink or create your own, starting from scratch. We decided a Sex on the Beach wasn't quite going to cut it this time so we created our own "Pocket-lint Punch", which took us around 5 minutes.
To begin, you have to tap your WOW Band, which is a connected band that is linked to your room and all your details, at the top left-hand side of the tablet. This then welcomes you to add your birth year, for both security purposes and to make sure you are over 21 years of age.
The two robots work independently of each other, so two drinks are being made at any one time and they will do everything from putting the plastic cup in place to pouring the finished cocktail into the cup. It takes them a minute to make a drink, which is probably around the same as your average human bartender.
There are two big screens either side of the bar that display wait time, which drinks are being made and the most popular drinks by age group. These screens give B1-O and N1-C some personality too though, with chat-up lines such as "What are you doing later? I get off in 1000 years", "My muddler is better than your muddler" and "Would you like to have this dance?". How could you possibly resist such charm?
The tablet offers you three options once you have entered your birth year comprising "Choose A Drink", "Create Your Drink" and "Order History", and from here, the robots are in your hands.
Creating your drink
There is a choice of 30 spirits and 21 mixers when creating a custom drink. The right-hand side of the easy-to-use app has the ingredients, while the left-hand side has some starting base concoctions, along with previous orders in case you want to create a variation of something you did in the past. A bit like Blue Peter - here is one we made earlier kind of thing.
You start with ice and garnishes, such as lemon or brown sugar and then you move into spirits and mixers, which include various brands such as Bacardi and Grey Goose in the expandable categories, as well as fizzy mixers, juices and syrups. As you add various components, sections of the rectangle in the middle of the screen are filled in so it's easy to see the proportions you are creating.
As soon as you add alcohol to your drink, the cost at the bottom of the app screen begins to increase. Adding mixers didn't seem to make a difference to the overall cost however.
For each ingredient you add, you can also add an action for the robot to perform comprising stir, shake or muddle. We added shake a couple of times, not because we particularly wanted orange juice and Malibu shaken but because the robots look great doing it.
Once you have finished adding everything you want to, you press order and you are then greeted with the option of changing the name of the drink you have just created. This drink is then added to your cart and you can either start again or send the order to B1-O and N1-C for them to start working their magic.
If you can't be bothered to create a drink from scratch, or your imagination is failing you, the option to choose a drink makes it as simple as if you were talking to a human, but you don't even need to smile or say please. Or perhaps you should, depending on when you think the robots will take over the world.
You can search for drinks in the top left-hand corner or you can scroll down the Bionic Signature list on the left and each signature cocktail offers reviews from previous customers. It's a lot quicker to get a drink this way than to start from scratch but it is nowhere near as much fun and not all traditional cocktails are available. We couldn't find Mojito or Pina Colada for example, so if you want more complicated cocktails, B1-O and N1-C might not impress you as much as your local bartender.
Once your order is ready, the big screens either side tell you which number to collect your drink from and tapping the WOW Band on the number will then deliver your drink to you.
The order history tab will then bring up any drink you have ordered previously so the next time you go back to the Bionic Bar, you can find your favourites nice and quickly.
So how do B1-O and N1-C perform? We love them. In fact, we might even ask them on a date.