Two cruise lines are going head to head in the battle of the gadgets, offering guests wearable devices which they claim will improve passenger onboard experience.

Last week, Virgin Voyages announced that it would be rolling out a wearable gadget called The Band, which sounds incredibly similar to Princess Cruises’ long anticipated Ocean Medallion.

The Band is designed to eliminate the need for cabin keycards and stores data about passenger preferences, like coffee and cocktail orders.

And The Band can even pinpoint your location so you can get your champagne delivered to you. The gadget is rolling out on the Scarlet Lady, the first ship from billionaire and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

She’s due to set sail in April this year and will be an all adults ship. She’ll have 20 dining venues, seaside lounges and casual eateries, a focus on wellness and health and even a tattoo parlour.

Premium line Princess Cruises launched the Ocean Medallion in Australian waters with the debut voyage on Ruby Princess out of Sydney on Saturday 8th February. The Ocean Medallion, which launched on American ships in 2018, will be eventually rolled out throughout Princess’ entire fleet.

Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll get onboard on the two lines:

The Princess Cruises’ Ocean Medallion – worn as a bracelet

Virgin Voyages: The Band

Virgin’s Band will be mailed to cruisers prior to sailing on Scarlet Lady and will be made of recycled ocean plastic, thanks to a partnership with BIONIC Yarn, a company dedicated to reducing pollution in marine environments.

What it does:

  • The Band will allow passengers access to their cabins.
  • Enable speedier boarding.
  • Act as an onboard payment method that can be used in the ship’s bars, shops and casino.
  • Keep tabs on wearer’s locations using GPS technology to allow for the delivery of Shake for Champagne — Virgin’s Champagne-on-demand service that allows customers to simply shake their Bands (or app-enabled phones) for glasses of bubbly on the spot.
  • It will complement the “Sailor App” (yet to be released) that will allow passengers to complete their pre-cruise check-in, book shore excursions and customise experiences.

Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages told Cruise Critic that: “Just like our stunning fleet of Lady Ships, and through our partnership with BIONIC, our wearable technology marries sustainability with smarts and style, which is quintessentially Virgin,” he said.

“The Band will be our seamless and worry-free way for [passengers] to not only unlock their cabins with ease, but to explore all of the thrills and great experiences that Scarlet Lady and the rest of our fleet will have to offer.”

The Virgin Voyages’ Band

Princess: The Ocean Medallion

What it does:

  • On-demand food and drinks.
  • Interactive gaming.
  • Custom entertainment.
  • Smart navigation (Medallion holds your unique digital identity and communicates with thousands of readers onboard and in port. With no on-off switch, menu or charging needs, it helps you discover everything around you).
  • Use Medallion for all on board payments.
  • Unlocking your stateroom door.
  • Speeding up embarkation.
  • Lets crew see information they can use to serve you better.
  • You can wear your Medallion as a wristband, pendant, clip or keep it in your pocket or bag.
  • Your Medallion is included in the price of your Ocean Medallion Cruise.
  • For extra personalisation, accessories are also available for the Medallion.

Jan Schwartz, the president of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia said: “With the addition of Golden Princess to the fleet of Medallion Class ships, we will make available a more personalised holiday to guests sailing in and around Australia.

“And, as we continue to enhance our ships with the Ocean Medallion, we do so to further our commitment in providing our guests the most memorable and relaxing holiday.”

Either way, the introduction of these new gadgets at sea is an indication that cruise lines are seeking a way to streamline guests’ onboard experiences and store data for a smoother experience.

The medallion knows your drink preferences