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Princess Cruises debuts wearable tech

In this age of Apple Watches, smartphones, robots and other high-tech gadgets designed to “simplify'” life, Princess Cruises has come up with a device devoted to passenger comfort called the Ocean Medallion — a first-of-its-kind wearable “assistant” that uses interactive technology within the O.C.E.A.N, One Cruise Experience Access Network.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald unveiled the Ocean Medallion on Wednesday during his opening keynote in Las Vegas at the CES 2017 consumer technology trade show, explaining that it will be the only accessory needed to heighten passenger experiences.

The new gadget will roll out in November on board Regal Princess, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018. All ships in the Princess fleet will eventually follow. Princess is one of the cruise lines owned by Carnival Corp.

The medallion can be worn around the wrist or around the neck on a chain or carried in your pocket. The wearer can then use it to summon a virtual digital concierge accessible by everyone using interactive displays throughout the ship, on stateroom TVs or via guests’ own mobile devices. 

For example, it can help passengers can find their way to venues around the ship; make reservations at the Lotus Spa, specialty dining restaurant and shore excursions; arrange celebrations; view photographs; help guests learn about the destinations they will visit and activities at each port of call and more.

Other uses of the Ocean Medallion

Carnival Corp. and Princess officials listed these additional benefits of the Ocean Medallion:

  • Ease of embarkation: Required information is added to the guest profile at home.
  • Keyless stateroom access: The Ocean Medallion will also unlock a guest’s stateroom door — replacing the key card and its sign and sail functions.
  • Dining reservations or room service: It can be used to place dining orders and have them delivered to their current location. For example, by using the Ocean Compass, guests can order select food and beverages from a lounge chair and not miss a moment of Movies Under The Stars. While Stargazing with Discovery at Sea on the top deck, parents can order and surprise the kids with hot chocolate without interrupting a moment of the family fun.
  • Beverage service: Guests can place a beverage order and have it delivered to where they plan to be at a designated time. For example, guests wanting to enjoy a glass of wine at the theater can place an order prior to the show and it will be delivered to them at their seat.
  • Service on board: The Ocean Medallion curates your experiences according to your preferences, allowing the crew to assist at all times. For example, a room attendant or bartender will have the ability to assist a guest with booking Lotus Spa services or specialty dining reservations.
  • Finding friends and family: By accessing Ocean Compass, guests can learn the whereabouts of their family as they enjoy activities throughout the ship and be guided seamlessly in finding their way around the ship. Friends and family will also be able to easily communicate with each other through seamless messaging service.

Royal Caribbean International already offers smartbands on its smart ships like Anthem of the Seas. Called WOW bands, they serve as room keys, allow for wireless payment and make it faster and easier to embark and disembark.

But Carnival told the New York Times its new solution takes such systems much further, in part because its technology is designed to be invisible. Unlike with smartbands, there is no need to tap a sensor on a stateroom door for entry; simply approaching the correct room with the Ocean Medallion in your pocket will unlock the door.

Princess is expected to issue additional announcements about the innovations and enhancements from Medallion Class Ocean Vacations in the months leading up to the first sailing on Regal Princess, so stay tuned.

Patti Pietschmann
I'm the LA Travel Diva and spend time cruising with first mate Richard, traveling the world, reviewing fine restaurants, going to plays, movies and events. It's the good life.