Princess Cruises claims Medallion Net offers ‘best WiFi at sea’

Image result for Medallion Net

Princess Cruises claims it has rolled out the “best WiFi at sea” which will help attract new-to-cruise passengers.

Princess Cruises has fitted nine ships with Medallion Net WiFi so far and plans to complete rolling it out across its fleet by July next year.

The WiFi will power the line’s Ocean Medallion technology, which is fitted on new ship Sky Princess.

Speaking onboard the ship during its shakedown cruise from Trieste to Athens, Prag Shah, the line’s global head, experience and innovation, said: “One of the biggest detractors people have of cruising – like the younger generation – is that they cannot be connected as well as on a land-based holiday.

“Millennials always like to be posting and sharing their experiences with everybody.

“We wanted to make connectivity onboard better and a lot of effort and creativity went in to do that. From a cruising standpoint, being able to promote and sell longer cruises brings another type of cruiser into the equation.”

John Padgett, Carnival Corporation’s chief experience and innovation officer, addressed media and travel agents via the internet to demonstrate the connection strength on the new vessel.

He said: “There are no longer any sacrifices by coming on a cruise vacation. Cruise holidays have been an amazing value for years, but you have tended to sacrifice this feeling of connectivity.

“There are no longer any sacrifices there. We are the only cruise line that offers anything like this. I want you to use as much bandwidth as you like because that makes your experience better.”

Padgett told the audience Medallion Net, which costs $9.99 per day, as the “best WiFi at sea”.

Sky Princess is the first of the line’s vessels which was built with Ocean Medallion. Several guest services, including ordering food and drink anywhere on the ship, locating friends and family, and navigating your way around the vessel are available through the wearable technology.

The line has retrofitted four of its existing ships with Ocean Medallion.

When asked what developments would be made to Ocean Medallion technology going forward, Shah said: “Personalising [Ocean Medallion] is going to be where we are putting a lot more focus [in 2020].”

Carnival Corp to Rollout ‘Best’ WiFi with MedallionNet

Image result for Medallion Net carnival wifi

Carnival Corporation today announced MedallionNet, what the company is calling “a game-changing connectivity service enabled by SES Networks that will deliver the best WiFi experience in the cruise industry.”

SES Networks will leverage both geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO) constellations, managed services, antenna and shipboard technology to offer high-performance and reliable broadband connectivity at sea, according to a statement.

The unique GEO/MEO combination also includes O3b Networks’ low-latency satellites. The company has global coverage backed up by 65 satellites.

“Staying connected is inextricably linked to our daily life experiences and that now extends to the vacation experience, even when sailing in the middle of the sea,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. “MedallionNet will set the new standard for Wi-Fi service at sea and we look forward to rolling it out to our guests. Our top priority is doing everything we can to exceed guest expectations, and by listening closely to our guests, we know Wi-Fi connectivity is important to many of our guests. For guests who want to disconnect, they are free to do so. But for those who want to stay connected, MedallionNet will make it easy for them – and that includes being able to easily send photos, videos and messages letting everyone know they are having a fabulous vacation.”

“MedallionNet is another development that came out of Carnival Corporation’s Global Experience and Innovation Center located in Miami and is the first end-to-end Wi-Fi service development formulated with a focus on exceeding guest expectations through “GuestCentricity” – an initiative to enhance all aspects of the vacation experience by delivering guests what they want, when, where and how they want it,” Carnival said.

“SES Networks is privileged to be associated with Carnival Corporation’s Global Experience and Innovation team and to be powering MedallionNet,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks. “We share Carnival Corporation’s passionate focus on connecting people, places and cultures around the world with amazing experiences. As the only company to offer a GEO and MEO constellation, unmatched in scale, performance and technological diversity, SES Networks is uniquely positioned to enable the highest performing Wi-Fi connectivity at sea as well as immersive media and gaming content.”

MedallionNet leverages multi-band antennas configured in a shipboard formation to minimize any potential impact to guest connectivity due to seasonal weather or ship positioning. By combining multiple sources of bandwidth to achieve the highest capacity shipboard network ever brought to a cruise ship with an unprecedented volume of shipboard access points, MedallionNet introduces a level of service reliability and signal pervasiveness not previously achieved on ships sailing at sea.

More specifics about MedallionNet and specific cruise brand implementation will be announced later this year, Carnival said.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Andy Stuart ~ Q & A

Norwegian president and COO Andy Stuart
Norwegian Cruise Line has worked hard to make value-added amenities rather than price discounting its go-to tool for making sales. The current Free at Sea promotion offers a pick among five items, including shore excursions, WiFi, unlimited beverages, specialty dining and third and fourth berths free. But Norwegian introduced Sail Away fares in March designed to eliminate those amenities with a reduction in fare after finding that the value of Free at Sea was hard to convey in some online searches. It disclosed the fares in a recent conference call with Wall Street analysts. Norwegian president and COO Andy Stuart spoke with senior editor Tom Stieghorst about Sail Away.

Q: What are Sail Away fares?

Andy Stuart
Andy Stuart

A: As a brand, we want our business to be very focused on value and away from price. The majority of what we sell comes with some value-added feature, either a beverage package or an internet package or onboard credit or free shore excursion or some other way. The Sail Away fares … come without a value-add.

Q: Why were they created?

A: What we were seeing is there are environments where the fares look too expensive. If you just have a conversation, it’s quite easy to explain. If you move into a more price-driven environment, it becomes more complicated. Most online sites were designed to show a particular cruise for seven nights or three nights or four nights. It tends to be cruise, the number of days it is and price.

In an online environment, it starts to get a little more complicated. There are two things going on. The higher prices move the cruise down in the search results. The second thing going on is even when we were well-positioned in search results, with the higher price the value-add doesn’t come through.

Q: How long has Sail Away been available?

A: We started testing it in March and April on a relatively small number of cruises, and we were quite pleased with it. It’s been widely available since the beginning of May.

Q: How much lower are the fares?

A: It’s hard to generalize because of the varying length of cruises involved and different itineraries. In most cases, if a customer were choosing between the Sail Away fare and a fare that includes the value-added items, we would expect them to choose the value-add. The cost of a beverage package on its own can be $600, and I don’t think any of the Sail Away fares are reduced by that much.

Q: Are they available only to OTAs?

A: They’re generally available. In the conference call we were talking about the OTAs because that’s the environment where people are selling in an online world.

Q: Can Sail Away be purchased as soon as inventory becomes available?

A: Most of these are available close-in, but we’re testing a lot of different things. But they’re only available in four categories; you can’t buy them on a suite. So it’s a tiny percentage of our inventory. There’s one inside, one outside, one balcony and one minisuite. It’s less than 10% [of the inventory].

Q: Are Sail Away fares contrary to Norwegian’s value-add strategy? If not, why not?

A: It’s not contrary. The reason it isn’t is that it applies to such a small percentage of our inventory. Secondly, the discount will never equal the value of the value-add. It’s a tactic that we think will ultimately be used on a very small percentage of our business.