Cruise Tech Review: Princess Medallion Class Experience
Princess Cruises is making a move to be decidedly high tech with their new Medallion Class Experience.
Internet access on cruise ships has generally always been expensive, slow, and unreliable - but cruise lines are starting to realize that many of us don't want to disconnect while on vacation - and I'm pretty pumped to see them finally get on board.
Princess is starting to roll out MedallionNet (currently only on the Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess) and I had a chance to test it out on my recent Panama Canal cruise. Like many lines, this service is not free, but it was nice to simply purchase one package that offers unlimited access for one device at a time for the entire length of the cruise (for us, it was about $90 CAD for our 10 day cruise). We had very few issues connecting and Wi-Fi was available nearly everywhere on board.
Part of the Medallion Class Experience are the new Ocean Medallions - these are meant to replace the normal cruise card that acts as your cabin key and charge account. The Ocean Medallions are used for everything on-board - unlocking your door as you approach (hands free), charging items to your account, and checking on and off the ship. Princess gives them to you in a case you can wear around your neck, but the also sell other options for holding them (watch straps, jewelry etc.). One of my favourite features of the new Ocean Medallion is no more signing receipts when you purchase something on board.
To add to this experience on board, you can download apps to your devices which let you access your on-board account to view the balance, check out the daily schedule and other ship information, order food or drinks to your current location, and more. There are also screens throughout the ship that you can scan your medallion at to give you a more customized experience and you can even also use the screens to locate travel companions. Casino games can be played on these screens throughout the ship or your devices, linked to you on-board account. There are also games you can play for fun.
With the roll out of this experience, they have also upgraded the in-cabin TV system to include recent on-demand movies (no charge), on-demand music, audio books, more advanced tracking of the ship's current location (and itinerary), and more.
I'm a fan and with so much potential, I can't wait to see where they go with it.