Princess Cruises' Ocean Compass

Cruising into the Future

Monday Mantra

Tech-yes or Tech-no?…Tech-yes or Tech-no?…Tech-yes or Tech-no?…

Cruising into the Future

Ready or not, here sails the Internet of Things!

Last week, Carnival Corporation announced the launch of Ocean Compass, a quarter-sized gizmo designed to further elevate the cruise experience by tapping into technology to retrieve guest information and recognize preferences. You and I will benefit through greater personalization of our cruise experience, shipboard direction and cool stuff like our cabin door automatically opening as we approach it.

Initially, I was skeptical about the whole business. Highly skeptical. The medallion itself, often shown as a piece of jewelry, doesn’t exactly compliment my party dresses and, seriously, if I need a pseudo-GPS to find my way around a ship, there’s something wrong with the layout, the signage, or my blood alcohol level. Most important: I’ve seen enough technological stuff go awry that I fear a malfunction where each and every cabin door on my deck flings open as I saunter down the hall.

But now I’m rethinking the gadget, its capabilities and its benefits and have decided to reserve judgment until the technology debuts later this year aboard Regal Princess. Who knows? It might prove to be exactly what we’ve been waiting for! Imagine:

  • Embarkation: With Ocean Compass, all embarkation details are completed at home. Guests simply walk on board! (File this in the “I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it” category.)
  • People Finder/Loser: The technology allows me to locate friends and family members, so I’m thinking it must also work in reverse, allowing me to avoid that geeky guy who’s been hitting on me since boat drill.
  • Personalized Attention: “For example,” reads the Ocean Compass press release, “A guest could be having a drink when a crew member comes by to remind him that a yoga class starts in five minutes.” I’m really looking forward to this … because nothing beats watching someone who’s been drinking attempt the Tree pose on a moving ship.
  • Beverages … Wherever. Who needs a bar?? With Ocean Compass I can order a drink from my smart phone and have it delivered to the theater, the pool, a lounge, maybe even the laundry room or the sauna! (Well … maybe not the sauna, since the ice cubes would melt.)
  • Ship Photographs: If Ocean Compass allows me to DELETE photographs, I’m on board with it. Totally.
  • Social Media: Linking Ocean Compass with my social media will result in even greater personalization of my cruise experience! Which, I assume, means that I’ll be greeted with snarky political jokes, there’ll be Kinks and Strawbs music playing everywhere and I’ll be given hints on how to get past level 14 in Candy Crush Saga.

Ocean Compass is getting mixed reviews from cruise fans, some welcoming it as an exciting and innovative development that will enhance their cruise experience while others consider it entirely unnecessary and even intrusive.

Let’s wait and see. It just might open the door — automatically — to the future of cruising!

— Judi Cuervo

Photo: Carnival Corporation

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Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.