Princess Cruises’ Ocean Medallion launch on schedule

“It’s all about enabling the crew to give the guests what they want, when they want it, how they want it.” — Arnold DonaldSAN DIEGO — Carnival Corp. is on track to launch its Ocean Medallion on the Regal Princess this November, CEO Arnold Donald said at the ASTA Global Convention this week.

Donald spoke about the medallion and other topics at a general session.

“We’re marching full-steam ahead, and the beautiful thing about it is while it is technology for the guests, they won’t notice any of that,” Donald said after his address during the general session, calling the technology “effortless” and “comprehensive” for cruisers.

The Medallion is a small disc-shaped device that cruisers can choose to wear as a wristband or pendant or carried in a pocket, purse or wallet. Carnival plans to use it to offer personalized experiences, among other functions. The Medallion will function as a room key.

For instance, Donald said, a guest could walk into a bar and the bartender will know his or her name and the last drink they ordered. If, for some reason, they leave the bar before their drink is ready (his example was to see a whale appearing off the side of the ship during an Alaska cruise), the crew will bring their drink to them.

“It’s all about enabling the crew to give the guests what they want, when they want it, how they want it,” Donald said. “It’s a personalized, customized service for the guest, and that’s what the technology enables.”

Currently, employees are undergoing “very extensive” training to use the technology effectively. Donald said key staff members are working with Medallion’s development team, and “their jobs are going to completely be redefined” when they start using the technology.

To outfit a ship so it’s Medallion-ready, the entire vessel has to get sensors put in place. The Medallion itself works like a beacon, Donald said, and the sensors connect the Medallion with an intelligence system. Ships have to be outfitted with portals throughout the vessel, both inside and outside of cabins, where guests can interact with the Medallion if they wish (they can also set preferences via a smartphone).

From a physical standpoint, sensors need to be placed and wiring needs to be installed in dry dock, the CEO said.

The first Medallion sailing will be aboard Regal Princess this November, and other Princess ships are scheduled to follow. A rollout to Princess’ entire fleet could take a few years.

Donald said other brands could opt to install the technology once they “decide to push the go button.”

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