“Game-Changing Guest Experience” to Launch on Princess Cruises This Year

“Game-Changing Guest Experience” to Launch on Princess Cruises This Year

Cruise News – Jan. 4, 2017

Carnival Corporation has announced that it has developed the world’s first interactive guest experience platform that will bring a vacation to a highly personalized level of customized service before, during, and after your cruise.

The new platform will officially be introduced by Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald on January 5 in Las Vegas when he becomes the first travel industry executive to deliver the opening keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s largest annual consumer technology trade show.

The new guest experience centers around a newly unveiled “Ocean Medallion,” a first-of-its-kind wearable device that delivers a new level of personalized service for cruisers including sophisticated wayfinding, food and beverage on demand, an array of interactive gaming, personalized entertainment experiences, and more. The quarter-sized, 1.8-ounce disc can be carried in a pocket or pocketbook or it can be accessorized with interchangeable jewelry, clips, key chains, or bands (which can be purchased for an additional charge.) It has no discernible technology — no on-off switch, no charging, no menu to navigate. The device, laser-etched with the guest’s name, ship, and date of sailing, is provided to all passengers at no cost.

Powered by proprietary technology developed by Carnival Corporation that features an Internet of Things (IoT) network of intelligent sensors and experiential computing devices, the Ocean Medallion revolutionizes guest service not only for the cruise industry, but the broader vacation industry. What’s more is that the medallion goes beyond already-existing wearables used by theme parks and other vacation companies by eliminating the need to “tap” the device. Instead, a user simply needs to have it on their person for it to work, bringing the technology into the background and not as part of the experience.

Some of its benefits will include:

  • streamline and expedite the port embarkation and disembarkation process
  • allow guests to access their staterooms as they approach the door (no keycard required)
  • locate friends and family around the cruise ship
  • enable guests to purchase merchandise without any transaction, cards, or paper
  • deliver enhanced dining experiences based on food and beverage preferences
  • power an array of interactive gaming and immersive entertainment experiences
  • significantly enhance interactions with crewmembers and guests

“Our focus is on exceeding guest expectations every single day and consistently delivering great experiences, and we do that extremely well,” said Donald. “Now we are in prime position to take the guest experience to a level never before considered possible and build on cruising’s popularity and value as the fastest growing segment of the vacation sector.”

The Ocean Medallion is the only accessory needed to elevate the guest experience before, during, and after each cruise in what the company is calling Medallion Class Ocean Vacations™. The Ocean Medallion pairs with a personal concierge called the Ocean Compass™, which is a digital experience portal available online, on smart devices, on kiosks in homeports, on stateroom TVs, on interactive surfaces located throughout the cruise ship, and on devices carried by all guest service hosts.

The Ocean Compass requires no education or instruction thanks to its intuitive, innovative interface. Guests can use Ocean Compass to select experiences and create personalized event-based itineraries. No guest is required to have a personal device to access Ocean Compass, which also serves as a digital media platform that features custom experiential media content as well as access to vacation photos captured during a cruise.

Both innovations combine with an invisible network of proprietary sensors and computing devices embedded throughout the ship, homeports, and destinations that collectively form the “Experience Innovation Operating System” — xiOS.

The new guest experience platform will debut on Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess in November 2017, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in 2018. The new Medallion Class Ocean Vacations will be rolled out over multiple years aboard the entire Princess Cruises fleet.

“The Ocean Medallion creates an elevated level of service that’s made possible by technology, but doesn’t feel like technology,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. “Whether guests are exploring new experience options, having a drink delivered to their seat at the night’s show, or trying their luck gaming while lounging poolside, we will assist our guests wherever they are, while engaging with them in a uniquely personal way. Our mission is to help our guests make the most of every moment of their vacation.”

Throughout each guest’s vacation, the Ocean Medallion will enable ease and simplicity, while also creating special moments to delight guests in unexpected ways, creating an entirely new level of service that will elevate the vacation experience.

“Its simplicity is what makes it so special,” said Donald, noting that there’s no need to charge it or even really learn how to use it. “It places the guest at the center of thinking.” Arnold also said that there will still be the traditional key card option should a guest prefer it, but he’s confident that most guests will go for the medallion experience.

Examples of service innovations include:

Ocean Ready: Streamlined and expedited port embarkation and disembarkation processes. For instance, at the terminal, Ocean Medallion–carrying guests can board the ship, engage with crewmembers, and begin their vacation at their leisure as they already have the “key” to their stateroom (no check-in required).

Easy Access to Everything: Allows guests to browse and purchase products (utilizing Medallion Pay™) such as retail merchandise, photos, spa services, and destination excursions both intuitively and conveniently from any Ocean Compass (mobile device, browser, stateroom, public) at any time (before, during, or after cruise).

Seamless Navigation: Enables point-to-point wayfinding across the ship thanks to an intelligent navigation assistant similar to a car or phone GPS app.

Personalized Dining: Facilitates ordering, menu exploration, and delivery of food and beverage services. Guests can even place orders and view the whereabouts of their food and beverages, as well as place future orders and have them delivered wherever they plan to be at a designated time.

Anytime-Anywhere Entertainment and Gaming: Expands gaming options to include new digital games guests can play independently or with others, for fun or based on casino rules-of-the-house, inside or outside of the casino, including poolside, in staterooms, or in any other ship location.

Enhanced Crew Interactions: Crewmembers are equipped with a Crew Compass that empowers personalized guest interactions. For example, when guests arrive at the airport, guest service hosts will be able to provide personalized greetings and guest services.

Easy Payment: Enables guests to conveniently and securely make payments for experiences using their Ocean Medallion. Guests can associate any number of credit cards, reward cards, gift cards, and advanced payment services (ApplePay, PayPal, etc.) with Medallion Pay.

For information, visit Ocean.com. To book a Medallion Class Ocean Vacation, visit Princess.com/ocean.

Sneak Peek: The Experience Center

Several weeks ago, Porthole Cruise Magazine got a sneak peek tour of Carnival Corporation’s Experience Center, which is located near the company’s headquarters in Doral, Florida. Referred to internally as the “Trident” project, the medallion’s development has been in the works at the center, which includes a mockup of various areas of a cruise ship that have been outfitted with the new technology to provide an idea what the experience will be like for guests once it’s implemented on board.

Aptly nicknamed “Doral Princess,” the center is broken down into sections of the cruise experience including the Home Scene, Arrival Port, Piazza, Constellations, Good Spirits Bar, Elevator Lobby, Pool & Outdoor Bar, Stateroom, and Guest Genome Wall. So our group got a glimpse of how the medallion will work in each of these areas for future cruisers.

Padgett explained that first-time cruisers can face complex communication, instruction overload, and even a new language, so the ultimate mission of the medallion is to eliminate the complexity of communication, making  a smoother cruise process and a seamless guest experience. This entails empowering the crew, simplifying the process, personalizing the experience, and fostering relationships. Padgett also points out that everyone can experience this level of service, not only elite-level cruisers.

During our tour of Doral Princess, we learned more about the medallion. When you set up your profile ahead of your cruise, it’s not just online check in — you’re becoming “ocean ready,” so that you can arrive at the port and simply board your ship. You can customize your medallion including by color or accessory, download the Ocean Compass on any mobile device, and even create a “tagalong,” or personal avatar for the voyage.

Medallions can either be mailed home pre-cruise or picked up at the port. In addition, at signature airports, there will be “navigators” to meet guests, handle their luggage delivery to their staterooms, and transfer them to the port. Also, select “Medallion-class signature ports” will be transformed to feature more relaxing and interactive experiences for embarking guests.

So why is Princess Cruises the first in line out of Carnival Corporation’s other cruise brands (which includes Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, P&O Cruises Australia and UK, and AIDA Cruises)? According to Padgett, it was because Princess’ president, Jan Swartz, was the most passionate about it. “She raised her hand the highest,” he said.

“It’s been amazing to be involved with the development of something so extraordinary,” said Swartz, who also emphasized the importance of crewmembers in the people-to-people hospitality business of cruising.

Photos: Carnival Corporation

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