by Gene Sloan
Royal Caribbean has begun rolling out specially-designed, all-you-can-drink Coca-Cola machines across its fleet.
The new machines are a modified version of the Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers that Coca-Cola began unveiling in 2009, which are capable of offering 125 flavors of various Coke products using medical micro-dosing technology and flavor cartridges.
Royal Caribbean is the first cruise line to debut the machines, which can produce everything from orange-flavored Coca-Cola to peach-flavored Fanta Zero.
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Royal Caribbean director of fleet beverage operations Bob Midyette writes on the company's blog this week that Royal Caribbean worked with Coca-Cola for three years to make modifications to the machines so they would comply with marine environment health codes and interact with special souvenir soda cups that passengers will get when buying all-you-can-drink soda packages on ships. The cups contain a Radio Frequency Identification device that will let passengers serve themselves at the machines, Midyette says.
Royal Caribbean's first Coca-Cola Freestyle machine made its debut on the line's Majesty of the Seas in June and they'll be rolling out to several more ships by the end of the year. The deployment will continue ship-by-ship into 2013.