A personal mini-cruise guide in your pocket


DFDS passenger app

When DFDS asked us to create a digital product to enhance its mini-cruise service experience, we set out to accentuate and personalise the pleasurable, and discretely convey then hide the routine.

  • Making information accessible when needed, and out-of-sight when not

    To help passengers take full advantage of what’s available on board, DFDS asked us to create a digital product that would increase customer satisfaction, simplify some internal processes, and enhance its brand image.

  • After in-depth research of the DFDS universe, we uncovered a key insight: guests sail with DFDS to have a good time and immerse themselves in the service and the maritime experience.

    They want DFDS to be present when they need it, and disappear when they don’t – in short, completely invisible yet always in sight.

    Our vision was to create a seamless experience that would help passengers to relax and focus on enjoying themselves and the maritime experience, and make standard practicalities, like booking numbers, and reservation details only visible when you need them.

  • As helpful as a tour guide, and as discrete as a concierge

    We sailed with DFDS to Oslo to interview, observe, and analyse, then generate ideas and test these on the return trip.

    After some fine-tuning back at HGW headquarters, we sailed from Amsterdam to Newcastle to validate and refine our latest ideas.

    The result is a personal guide that informs, raises awareness, reminds, and assists you at every stage of your journey.

    Learn why we tailor the process to the project

  • Who you travel with shapes your entire journey

    The services and activities are divided into easy-to-navigate categories. But the moment you open the app, the information becomes contextual.

    Login with your booking number, and the home screen and ‘On board’ sections discretely offer personalised recommendations and tips about what to do, depending on who you’re travelling with, where you are on your journey, and your booking.

    If you don’t yet have a booking number, you can still explore what’s available on board, and at your destination.

  • If you’re travelling with children, in need of some luxurious self-indulgence, or would like to enjoy a quiet drink or fine dining, it’s easy to discover exactly what’s on offer.

    Dive deeper, and you’ll find the opening hours, location, and how to make a reservation, and even the dress code.

  • Real-time nautical information keeps you constantly informed

    For most of us, spending a few days at sea is a special experience. And as we’re naturally curious about anything new, we often have a lot of questions. What’s the wind strength? How high are the waves?

    To provide answers, we created the ‘At Sea’ section, which offers real-time information about the current wind strength, wave height, and other contextual information to ensure you get truly immersed in the maritime experience.

  • Create your own travel itinerary

    While relaxing on board, there’s a lot of time available to plan your time at your destination. To help you get the most out of what’s on offer, the app provides tips for what to see and do.

    From shopping, and sightseeing, to cafes and restaurants, or inspiration about areas off the beaten track, the app helps you plan your onshore itinerary.

    You can save the experiences you’re interested in under ‘My Journey’, and create your own personal travel itinerary when logged in.

  • The first step towards a digital future

    The app provides a smooth, personalised experience, from check-in to check-out.

    By gathering the activities and services into one easy-to-use product, the app enhances the exciting, fun aspects of the DFDS mini-cruise, and ensures that routine practicalities are always at hand when needed, but never intrusive.

    A first step towards making digital technology a central part of the DFDS experience, the app will hopefully make a difference to over six million passengers annually.

    And with booking systems and off-shore communication rapidly improving, there are already ambitious plans in store for the app’s next release.

  • In two days, we observed and talked with cruise passengers, ideated, sketched out concepts and tested them with passengers. It really goes to show how far you can get in very little time.

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