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Princess will usher in a new generation of sailing when they introduce Ocean Medallion this fall. The so-called “smart cruising” experience will debut on Regal Princess in November. It will allow passengers to ditch the traditional key card and accompanying tacky lanyard for a personalized high-tech vacation.
Ocean (or O-C-E-A-N) stands for “One Cruise Experience Access Network“. Princess touts that it “is a lifestyle that brings amazing travel experiences to you. It is about connecting people, places, and cultures around the world.”
How Does It Work?
The Ocean Medallion itself is a wearable device that gives each guest a digital identity. That identity can be read by sensors both onboard and in the port area. In turn, it allows crew members access guest information to provide customized service. It also unlocks stateroom doors, can be used for embarkation and disembarkation, and can be activated for onboard purchases.
Ocean Medallions are created in advance of sailings and laser-etched with guest name, ship, and sailing date. Guests receive them at home and may utilize them to board the ship on embarkation day. They can also be color-customized and can reflect status levels. They are designed to be carried in a pocket or worn on a wristband or pendant. The preliminary marketing brochure shows guests wearing the Ocean Medallion on a variety of stylish jewelry options. There is no word yet on what the up charge for those wearable items might be. (Given that lanyards have traditionally been a revenue generator for cruise lines, I would expect this to be as well!)
One of the features I like is the ability to locate members of your party via the Ocean Medallion. It makes it easy to figure out where your partner or kids may have wandered. You can also pre-order drinks to be waiting in the theatre for a show. Or you can have sunscreen delivered to you at the pool. This brings a new level of luxury and ease to the cruise ship experience. I’m not accustomed to that on a larger ship.
The preliminary marketing also advises that the Ocean Medallion will be able to suggest activities for guests in real-time. I’ve always been fascinated by traffic flow tracking on cruise ships. The “big data” geek in me is imagining the possibilities this will yield for analysts. They will now have scores of data for passenger activity on a 24/7 basis. For example – how we move about the ship, what/where we eat, how we spend, what we do all day. Your waiter may be able to suggest you order a refreshing margarita knowing you’ve just come from a hot sweaty on-deck activity. Or you may get a suggestion for a spa special on a massage after a shore excursion involving strenuous activity.
Passengers who think this is too “big brother” can still elect to turn off most the Ocean Medallion features. Likewise, there are also built in fraud controls lest a passenger lose or misplace their Ocean Medallion. Stateroom numbers, for example, are never included on these – much like key cards now. For purchases, a photo is matched on a computer screen to ensure the appropriate guest is using the Ocean Medallion. Parents can place purchasing restrictions on the accounts of children to prevent an unexpected arcade or gift shop binge.
When Can You Try It?
Ocean Medallion class cruising will debut in November aboard the new Regal Princess sailing from Fort Lauderdale. Princess is offering a monthly sweepstakes drawing for a cruise for two on the November 15th sailing to Grand Turk. The Ocean Medallion experience will begin rolling out to other Princess ships in 2018.
Are you booked on an upcoming Princess Ocean Medallion cruise? Or would you take one in the future?