Cruising into the future: How a high-tech watch is revolutionising life on board
- Sara Macefield tried out the OceanMedallion on her Princess Cruises voyage
- The small disc can open doors and it doubles as an onboard payment device
- When ordering drinks, waiters are guided by the guest’s picture and location
Getting into my cruise ship cabin has never been so easy. The door automatically unlocks as I approach, leaving me to nudge it open with minimal effort instead of having to fumble about for my keycard.
It’s simple but effective and part of the quiet revolution that’s helping cruising cast off its old-fashioned image.
Having just set sail from Florida on Caribbean Princess, one of Princess Cruises’ ships, I’m trying out a neat new piece of kit called OceanMedallion.
Sarah Macefield set sail from Florida on Caribbean Princess, pictured, one of Princess Cruises’ ships
It’s a small 10p-sized disc which is starting to appear on Princess Cruises’ ships in place of the keycard.
Aside from opening doors, it doubles as a payment device so I don’t even have to sign for anything. It makes the entire process blissfully easy.
The new Princess Cruise OceanMedallion that can be worn like a watch
OceanMedallion comes into its own when combined with the six apps that can be downloaded to a phone and accessed through the ship’s intranet.
I downloaded them before departing and submitted a photo of myself along with my payment details.
I’m wearing my medallion on my wrist, but it can also be worn as a pendant (one of the special accessories passengers can buy) or simply slipped in a pocket.
One of the cleverest features is ordering food and drink from around the ship, with waiters guided by the guest’s picture and location.
I put this to the test while lazing in the pool deck hot tub as we sail towards the Caribbean island of St Thomas.
I reach for my smartphone and request a mojito. Within minutes, a barman is striding towards me, holding my cocktail aloft. Sweet success indeed.
As I’m travelling with friends, I can track them down via my phone thanks to a locator function that shows where they are on the ship.
Princess Cruises claims this little disc is revolutionising the cruise experience for guests.
If that means more cocktails in the hot tub, it certainly floats my boat.
A 14-night round-trip voyage from Fort Lauderdale includes stops at Antigua, Barbados and Trinidad from £1,590 pp full-board, including flights and a pre-cruise hotel stay (0344 338 8663, princess.com).