The Medallion Experience on Princess Cruises
Last week I had the opportunity to experience Princess Cruises Ocean Medallion system while sailing on board the Caribbean Princess. This was my first time sailing on a Princess ship, and I was so excited to try out this new technology.
If you’re not familiar with Ocean Medallion, it's a collection of new services focused on improving the guest experience leading up to and throughout your cruise vacation. It's centered on the Ocean Medallion itself, a small wearable device about the size of a quarter that uses RFID and Bluetooth to allow the crew, passenger, and ship to interact on a level that has never been available on a cruise ship until now.
If you've been on a Walt Disney World vacation in the last several years, you've experienced their MagicBand, a wristband that acts as your room key, charge card, and park admission. The MagicBand is coupled with My Disney Experience, a website and app that lets you customize and plan elements of your Walt Disney World vacation. Ocean Medallion is a similar concept. That isn’t surprising considering that the creators of the MagicBand at Disney are now with Carnival Corporation. The experience of Ocean Medallion, however, goes far beyond what Disney is currently doing with MagicBands and My Disney Experience to really bring your vacation experience to the next level.
Like a MagicBand, your Ocean Medallion will also serve as your stateroom key and charge card, but rather than needing to tap in, devices will respond as you approach them without you having to take any specific action on your own. Walk up to your stateroom and the door unlocks instantly. Walk up to one of the many 4K touch screens around the ship and you can instantly interact with your personalized avatar (called a Tagalong by Princess), get directions, view your custom schedule, play games or even see where your family and friends are on the ship. Using an app from your smartphone, you can even order a drink or food from your lounger on the sun deck and have it delivered right to your chair - even if you move after ordering - since your Ocean Medallion pinpoints your location in real time. Ocean Medallion completely elevates your vacation in every way and I loved using it throughout my cruise.
Speaking of using Ocean Medallion, here are the five apps you can use before and during your Princess Cruise to maximize your experience:
OceanReady: Avoid lines and save vacation time by using OceanReady to upload your passport, take your security photo and pre-order your Ocean Medallion and accessories to arrive before you leave home.
OceanCompass: Allows for point-to-point directions throughout the ship so you can seamlessly navigate your way from your exact ship location to your next point of interest.
OceanCasino: On smart devices and select portals, guests can wager real money on games, including slots, poker, bingo, roulette, keno and the lottery from anywhere on board.
OceanView: Guests can stream more than 100 hours of award-winning Ocean Original travel shows which air nationally on weekends on ABC and NBC to their smart device anywhere on the ship at no additional cost.
PlayOcean: On portals located throughout the ship, guests play family games, including trivia, word jumble, a matching game and Ocean Treks Adventure – an interactive, ship wide digital scavenger hunt. PlayOcean also transforms guests’ mobile devices into game controllers for interactive gaming during "Games Under the Stars" where players enjoy arcade and trivia fun on the cruise line’s Movies Under the Stars screen.
While having five apps to download at first felt excessive, each app worked perfectly and felt like it had it's own meaningful contribution to the Medallion experience. Having the PlayOcean app separate from the others allows parents to put it on devices for children without having to worry about them navigating through lots of menus to get to game play. Similarly, having a separate casino app means there's no worry that any of the games played will incur additional shipboard charges.
Lastly, my favorite feature of the Medallion experience on Princess is the new MedallionNet WiFi. Anyone who has been on a cruise before will tell you the WiFi on board is traditionally both expensive and S-L-O-W. However, billed as the best Wi-Fi at sea, MedallionNet truly lived up to the hype. It felt like I had a land-based internet connection the entire time. I was able to make calls over Wi-Fi, stream Netflix, send emails and post photos of my trip on Facebook effortlessly. This is a huge plus for anyone who loves to keep in touch while on vacation!
Ocean Medallion is currently available on the Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess, and coming soon to the Royal Princess (4/13/19), Crown Princess (7/24/19), Sky Princess (10/27/19) and Enchanted Princess (6/19/20). Since Princess sails to destinations all over the world, that means you can experience a Medallion Class ship on cruises to Alaska, Australia & New Zealand, California & the Pacific Coast, Canada & New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and the Panama Canal.
Where will you go on your next cruise vacation? Let's start planning!