- Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship.
- It features the Bionic Bar, a bar manned entirely by two robots.
- I used an iPad to order a margarita, and it was tasty, but a little weak.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The world's largest cruise ship is filled with surprises, from a working carousel to a zip line and even a Starbucks, but one of the wildest things on it is undoubtedly the Bionic Bar - a fully functioning cocktail bar staffed entirely by two robot bartenders.
I recently took a cruise in the name of journalism, and just had to find out whether cyborg concoctions taste as good as human-made ones.
Keep scrolling for the full experience.
Welcome to the Bionic Bar, a bar staffed entirely by two robot bartenders.
Their names are Rock 'Em and Sock 'Em, respectively.
The arms' movements are modeled after those of Marco Pelle, a dancer from the New York Theatre Ballet.
The bar features 30 different spirits, all of which are suspended from the ceiling above the robot bartenders.
Coupled with 21 different mixers, these robots can make a practically endless amount of different drinks. They can also make two drinks per minute.
To order a drink, you tap your SeaPass card (your room key, which doubles as your credit card onboard as you accrue expenses for the duration of the trip) on an iPad that is also a menu.
You then type in your date of birth before scrolling through a seemingly endless list of drinks.
Drinks are visually broken down by ingredient, so you can see exactly how much of everything you're getting — it is measured by robots, after all.
I ordered a margarita, which ended up costing $14.16 (R208).
Then I waited.
Screens on either side of the robots show fun facts (that day's most ordered drink was the Bionic Bahama Mama) ...
... as well as the queue ...
... and the estimated wait time.
When your drink is up, a robot arm will acquire all of the ingredients and add them to a metal shaker of sorts.
It will then either stir, shake, strain, or muddle the ingredients.
It then pours the drink into a plastic cup it had previously grabbed from the back.
When your drink is done (the screen will let you know when and where), you tap your SeaPass to unlock it, allowing it to slide down to you.
That way, no one else can accidentally (or purposely) take your drink.
It looks like a margarita! It even had slices of lime in it.
Pretty good! It could have been a little stronger, in my opinion, but it was definitely a solid margarita.
That said, it lacks the heart of a human-made drink, as well as the ear of a real-life bartender.
The pros are that there's no squeezing through a crowd to get to a stressed-out bartender, no playing favourites, and totally consistent drinks, as well as the showmanship, of course.
I love a good gimmick and this was a super fun experience - but for my next drink, I'll be seeking out a human.
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