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Royal Caribbean gifts cruise employees with Windows gadgets to keep connected, streamline operations

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Royal Caribbean is gifting each of its 40,000 employees with an 8-inch Windows tablet while the cruise line's newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, is being kitted out with other Microsoft tech.

The Windows tablets will help to preserve the connections between land-loving family members and the cruise line's crew, some of whom pull around 80 hour work weeks. The tablets are equipped with Skype, One Drive and Office 365.

The Dell Venue 8 Pro tablets feature quad-core Intel Atom processors and 2 GB of RAM. On the faces of the devices, there are 1.5-MP cameras and there are 5-MP companions on their backs.

The Venue 8 Pro comes in 32-GB and 64-GB variants, though there's no word on which flavor Royal Caribbean's crew members will find in their treasure chests when the cruise line begins delivering the tablets in October.

While some may interpret the gesture as a means to drive up ship productivity, Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, said the gifts are all about quality of life on the high seas.

"The Royal Caribbean men and women who provide such great vacations are the real heroes of our fleet, and these gifts demonstrate our appreciation in a tangible way," says Fain. "This technology isn't only about giving our guests a better vacation -- it's about giving our crew and their families a closer connection than we've ever been able to."

Jane Boulware, vice president of U.S. Windows Devices, see both potential for the tablets to streamline the productivity of the seafarers and the tech ability to make shore leaves not seem so far away.

"Royal Caribbean is using technology to transform experiences for guests and crew members, and we're thrilled to partner with them on their journey," said Boulware. "Microsoft cloud and mobile technologies are going to help Royal Caribbean crew members who represent so many countries around the world stay in touch with their family and friends. With a tablet in hand, a father can attend a parent-teacher conference, a mother can review her son's book report and friends can check each other's Facebook posts."

The Quantum of the Seas' connectivity will enable the ship to deliver Xbox Live services to Xbox One console on board. Vacationers can engage in games Sunset OverDrive and Quantum Break as they sail to their destinations.

The new ship will also use a point-of-sale system, powered by VeriFone, that will enable crew members to take credit card payments, scan bar codes and read RFID tags.

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