Princess Cruises will become the first of nine cruise lines within the Carnival Corporation family of brands to introduce what it claims will bring a significantly enhanced onboard passenger experience all within the confines of a stylish smart device on the guest’s wrist.
Set to be unveiled overnight in the United States at CES – the world’s largest annual consumer technology trade show – the Ocean Medallion will be a brand new wearable device designed to open up a range of interactive and experiential programs, features, activities and services to improve and even define how a guest enjoys their sea holiday.
Utilising a network of intelligent sensors located all over the ship, in ports and destinations around the world, the Medallion will allow the wearer to access personalised wayfinding to navigate around the ship, interactive gaming both within the watch itself and in concert with existing gaming facilities around the ship (such as the casino), enhanced food and beverage ordering and service and personalised entertainment services.
It will jump between sensors as a guest moves around the ship to ensure service is not interrupted and guests can also customise their device to their own tastes, adding accessories such as jewellery, clips, key chains and bands, or even to carry it elsewhere on their person such as within a pocket. The device is around 50 grams in weight, has no on/off switch, requires no charging and features no complex menu navigation.
Moving on from the required “tap” function of existing smart watches and wearables, the Ocean Medallion will adopt a more sophisticated, automatic and intuitive approach where the majority of its functionality will be available without the wearer physically needing to do anything other than initiate their query.
The device can be paired with a personalised digital concierge known as “Ocean Compass” which will securely store a guest’s personal information and preferences online. This portal can be accessed through computers and portable devices anywhere once connected to the internet, as well as on kiosks in major departure ports around the world, on digital screens located around the ship, on stateroom televisions and through devices carried by a team of roaming guest service hosts.
Owning a smart device will not be required for a guest to utilise the benefits of the medallion.
Once available, guests are provided with their medallion on compatible ships included in their cruise fare. It will be pre-programmed with a guest’s name, ship and date of sailing.
The list of features a user can do with the device is extensive. Guests can:
- Load personal details onto the device via Ocean Compass, which removes the need for paperwork at either end of the cruise. Essentially it allows the guest to walk straight onto the ship as they already have their stateroom key embedded in the watch.
- Guests can access their staterooms as they approach the front door, automatically unlocking the room within a certain distance (such as a few metres), removing any need to fumble around looking for a keycard.
- If travelling with friends or family in other staterooms, the device can link with others and help you locate them anywhere on the ship if you get separated or lost. Venues around the ship can also be located with assistance from the medallion.
- Onboard purchases such as merchandise, spa treatments and ship photos will be able to be purchased without the need to physically sign a transaction slip, resulting is a considerable environmental saving through a massive drop in the amount of paper used.
- Food and drinks can be ordered through the device and can even watch the progress of their order as it is prepared and delivered to them wherever they are on the ship. Guests can even place future orders if they know where they will be to receive the order.
- The device also expands the ship’s casino to encompass the entire vessel as digital gaming, both for fun and at normal casino rules, can be enjoyed through the medallion. Games can be played either independently or with others using their device for the same purpose at the same time.
- Travellers can securely load payment information such as credit cards onto the device to make payment for anything processed through the medallion. In addition to credit cards, cruise gift cards and even selected online payment services can be linked and readied for use with the device.
- All personal preferences and requirements concerning ship access, lodging (such as bedding preferences), favourite foods and beverages, entertainment history, favourite retail items, ship navigation history, payment information and even favourite media accessed such as photos taken of a guest during their cruise by the ship’s photographers.
The Medallion will become available from November this year for general passenger use onboard Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess before expanding to fleet-mates Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in 2018. Over several years, the device and its array of services is expected to be installed across the entire Princess fleet.
No word has been given yet on a rollout timeline for Carnival Corporation’s eight other brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises Australia, Cunard, Seabourn, Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and P&O Cruises UK. A ninth, the Fathom brand is widely tipped to cease operation as a stand-alone ocean-going product from later this year.