Guests on P&O Cruises will now see a significantly higher level of self-service and interactive functionality at their disposal after the line today launched its first onboard interface for use on compatible smartphones and selected other electronic devices.

The “WhatsOn” program offers a number of features and can be used when connected to the ship’s onboard wi-fi internet, even if you haven’t purchased an internet package. Simply connect to the system, open a general internet browser and you’ll have free of charge access to an instant messaging service allowing you to stay in touch with friends and family on their devices around the ship.

Despite being described as an app, there’s no actual app to download from any online marketplace such as the iTunes Store, with the program working on any portable device’s general internet browser.

Guests can also make bookings for various services around the ship including the ability to book shore excursions, P&O Edge activities, spa treatments, specialty restaurants and more. The app is very social and encourages guests to log-in to “check in” and “like” a particular destination and send recommendations to friends based on activities they should try.

Special promotions going on around the ship can be viewed, guests can check their onboard accounts and even catch up the latest headlines happening back at home. The ship’s daily schedule of activities can be accessed through the app and guests can also create a wish list of things they’d like to do on any given day.

P&O has also installed a number of new cash kiosks in various public venues around its ships. As the line operates fully in AUD, the kiosks allow guests to top up their spend accounts using cash instead of having to line up at Guest Services. This system is available for guests registered with a cash account and who choose not to link a credit card to their folios.

“Australians are getting more and more used to self-service so we thought it was time to bring more of it onboard. We hope that by empowering our guests to organise some elements of their cruise quickly and easily through technology, they’ll have even more time to enjoy their cruise holiday,” P&O Cruises president Sture Myrmell commented.

“WhatsOn” is now active on four of the five P&O Cruises ships, with Pacific Aria coming online later this week.