Credit: Princess Cruises

Mind-reading, cocktail-producing & contactless - how Princess Cruises' Medallion really works

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Princess Cruises first rolled out its award-winning technology, Medallion, back in 2017, and now it's leading the way in innovation within the cruise industry. What's so special about it?

"I'd love a beer," you think, as you amble towards the bar - and somehow, before you've even opened your mouth, the waiter is reaching for your favourite pint. How?

Are the staff on Princess Cruises mind-readers? Is some mind-boggling witchery at play? How on earth did they know your penchant for Pilsner?

The answer, cruising chums, is no magic but Medallion technology, a coin-sized wearable device that does everything from opening doors to sensing where friends and family are onboard. Like a tiny Yoda living on your wrist if you will.

This is everything you need to know about Princess's marvellous Medallion.

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What technology does Medallion use and how does the Medallion work?

To get technical about it, Medallion is a revolutionary wearable device – and accessed using the MedallionClass app – that persistently connects a cruise guest's unique digital identity with an intelligent shipboard Experience Internet of Things ecosystem.

This enhances guest-crew interactions and delivers a high level of personalised service on a large scale. Hence the waiter's ability to see on their systems what your go-to beverage is (see, not wizardry, although that would be fun...).

- READ MORE: What you didn't know about dining on Princess Cruises -

Innovation significantly improves the guest processing time and allows the ship and crew to operate more efficiently during embarkation, safety drills, port calls, disembarkation and throughout the cruise.

The good news is that it will continue to work no matter what you get up to on your holiday. No, not that, we mean swimming or sunbathing; it's waterproof, heat, sand and salt resistant.

If you need help with the Medallion device once onboard MedallionClass ships, guests can visit the OceanFront area and get assistance from an OceanNavigator. You can also call the Guest Services Desk or talk to a Stateroom Steward.

Medallion is a revolutionary wearable device – and accessed using the MedallionClass app. Credit: Princess Cruises

How to use Medallion

Contactless boarding: By downloading the app in advance of your cruise you can choose your preferred arrival slot and benefit from a speedy embarkation, with Princess promising kerbside to poolside in 20 minutes. You might even beat Sally and that gaggle of women from Wakefield to the sunbeds.

Keyless Stateroom Entry: Hand full of bags, booze or booty? No worries, your cabin door will unlock as you approach and even give you a personalised greeting. And no, it won't judge. We don't think.

Wi-Fi: MedallionNet Wi-Fi lets you access the internet anywhere onboard, so you can text, video-chat, photo-share and stream to your heart's content at low daily rates. MedallionNet is also available on the cruise line’s private island in the Bahamas, Princess Cays.

- READ MORE: What's cruising onboard Regal Princess really like? -

Contactless payment onboard: Buy everything from food and drink to laundry tokens with Medallion. Yes, we agree, this could be risky after one too many Malbecs, but at least you can monitor your onboard expenses by accessing your portfolio on your device. Tony, I told you not to order that second dessert...

Contactless payment onshore: Guests can now use their Medallion to shop and dine out with a number of merchants in ports of call in the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera and all Alaska ports, and receive 7 percent back on shoreside purchases as onboard credit.

MedallionPay currently is available in Saint Thomas, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, and Puerto Vallarta, with more destinations and merchants being added in the near future, including extensions into all Alaska ports Princess ships call on.

Order on Demand: Like Deliveroo but on a cruise (and you'll be greeted with a smile) the Medallion device lets you order whatever you need, whether it's a spare towel or a Mai Tai, with no service charge. And nope, this won't be available once you return home, so try not to get angry at your partner/family/housemate when they don't turn up at your door, burger in hand the minute you've developed the craving.

Dining reservations: Bag the restaurant you want and change your bookings with ease. With Dine My Way you can also avoid queues and wait times. Hey, maybe you'll be friends with the Wakefield women by then.

Like Deliveroo but on a cruise, the Medallion device lets you order whatever you need. Credit: Princess Cruises

Onboard Navigation and Shipmate Locator: Got lost wandering around your cruise ship? Panic not, you'll quickly orient yourself with the Medallion app. Shucks, there goes the 'I got lost and ended up at the pool bar' excuse. Although on that note should you wish to track your cruise companions down, this can also be done on the device. Looks like you'll be dragging Dad out of the casino again.

Events onboard: Find out all about the events and activities onboard to ensure you don't miss out. The same applies to upcoming ports. You can even check how many people have reserved a venue at any given moment. Zumba here we come, hi Sally!

- READ MORE: Drink your way around California's wine country with Princess -

Stateroom TV: Watch live TV, movies and Ocean Originals on your stateroom TV or your mobile device - available fleetwide on all MedallionClass ships.

Family games: Perfect for keeping restless little one occupied, with Medallion you can enjoy Games Under the Stars, location-based scavenger hunts and other games.

Casino Play: Whether you fancy sports betting or casino favourites, you can play for cash anywhere onboard via Medallion. Good luck getting Dad away from this one.

Medallion: To track your cruise companions down, whether they're in the bar or casino, you can use the app. Credit: Shutterstock

How do I get my Medallion?

For Princess guests in the UK, the Medallion device will be waiting at the port, however, you can enjoy the expedited arrival benefits of completing OceanReady steps before embarkation.

- READ MORE: Princess Cruises launches new sustainable accessory -

Princess' Medallion wristband

Not only will this device prove hella useful, but you can also rest easy knowing you're doing your bit for the planet. Medallion now comes with a new sustainable accessory called OceanTide - a wrist strap made of completely reclaimed plastics from the world’s oceans and coastlines.

Each accessory is formed of the equivalent of two water bottles turned into high resistance polyester yarn to produce the watch strap with glass fibres added to improve strength and impact resistance.

MedallionNet Wi-Fi lets you access the internet anywhere onboard as well on the line's private island. Credit: Princess Cruises

Princess Medallion reviews

One cruiser said of the device: "I love Medallion because it's so easy to open your cabin door when you're wearing it. But the best bit is that wherever you are on the ship, you can order drinks and snacks instantly. That meant a lot of chips and cheese plates to go with a glass of wine in my case. Dangerous!"

Another elaborated: “From touchless stateroom entry, on-demand services such as drinks, food and retail items, games, a family and friends locator and an interactive voyage timeline, there’s very little onboard Princess ships that hasn’t received the Medallion treatment.

- READ MORE: All about Princess Cruises' 111-night 2024 World Cruise -

“It all sounds great on paper, and after using the device firsthand, there’s little doubt that the device – and the technology infrastructure behind it – represents a seismic shift in how passengers travel and interact with their ship. Everything feels that bit easier and more streamlined.

“In a time where more and more cruise lines are embracing technology to differentiate their brand, it could be argued that it is Princess Cruises that has taken the biggest plunge."

The best way to find out for yourself? Give it a go! No, Tony, you don't need to stretch out your hand and say "Feel the force" every time you reach the cabin door...

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