Your waiter instantly knows your name and what you like to drink. Your cabin door swings open as soon as it senses you are outside. And on some ships, you’ll be connected to the fastest internet at sea.
The Ruby Princess is due to arrive in Sydney on February 8th and will proudly debut the latest in cruise ship technology: the OceanMedallion. It will make for faster and more personal service, says the line.
In an exclusive interview with creator, John Padgett, we discovered all the innovative ways this new gadget will take cruising to a smart and user-friendly new level.
Thanks to satellite technology now being used by the OceanMedallion, I am able to chat directly with US based creator, while he is on a cruise ship in the middle of the Bahamas on board the Sky Princess.
“We are keeping the original DNA of the Princess Cruises brand and simply taking that service to a whole new level, with technology – this isn’t a change, but rather a magnification of the things that Princess Cruises does best. This is an enhancement of the personal service that the cruise line already provides,” Mr Padgett says.
But while the Ruby Princess will be the first to bring the OceanMedallion to our shores, we are still a year away before it is here to stay when the Princess Regal arrives to call Australia home.
So, what is it?
It’s an unassuming little gadget. The OceanMedallion looks exactly like that – a medallion. It’s a small gadget the size of a coin that can be worn around the neck, or as a bracelet, and it carries an enormous array of personal data for each passenger that makes the on board experience more user friendly.
“Everything across your day becomes easier,” explains Padgett. “From your arrival on board the ship – this experience is faster with the OceanMeallion. All the guest profiles are created, making each experience easier because we already know what you want. Your cabin door opens automatically when you approach, no key cards are required,” Padgett says.
He goes on, “You are greeted by name and the staff know your coffee preference, they know when your birthday is, there’s no signing or payment across the ship, it’s all attached to your medallion. You can reserve your spot in the restaurants, even select your movie preferences.”
So, while many travellers say a holiday is about escaping technology, Padgett is quick to point out that this is an invention aimed at bringing more personal time for holiday-makers.
“We are making sure vacation time is used wisely. We are maximising vacations by making everything simple. It takes away friction and allows passengers to better connect across the experience – connect with each other and connect with their experiences, without having to fuss with the minor details,” Padgett says.
“From entertainment, to bars, and even casinos, everything works universally within the medallion to make your holiday more personalised. Think of it as an elite level vacation, with personalised service,” Padgett explains.
The upside is that you can leave all your other digital devices behind. There’s no charging, you can pop it on and then forget about it.
Padgett says the device is designed to be non-intrusive. “We will have some guests who say “I never used my medallion”… but they used it a fair amount of the time… in fact they used it the entire time, but with no idea.”
Once the OceanMedallion arrives in Australia, passengers can relax in the knowledge that the new technology experience is going to be consistent across every Princess Cruises ship and the experience is going to be universally the same.
Padgett is quick to point out that this style of technology is perfect for the cruise ship market.
“A cruise ship gave me a unique opportunity to integrate this medallion – taking personalised services to the next level. Cruise ships are the perfect platform, since they are like a floating city.”
So with the OceanMedallion already up and running, for Padgett, the next stage of development has become the new focus. This means integrating the Medallion technology into opportunities that extend beyond the ship.
“Trains, lodges, land-based experiences, the princess private island in Bahamas… the next step is about using the medallion on the island itself and bringing this elite level of personalised guest services into a total expansion,” Padgett reveals.
At this stage, there is no comparison to anything else on land, where everything is on demand.
But for those of us who still enjoy spontaneity and freedom of choice…Padgett says that is covered too. “There’s no rigidity to it at all,” he says. “The spontaneity is all still there. It’s adaptable. When your waiter approaches you, he will ask if you would like another one of those margheritas you had yesterday… or would you like to try the strawberry dacquiri that your husband said was delicious?”
Just to test the Medallion’s level of adaptability… Padgett agrees, you should have one of each.