Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Aug 05, 2019
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MedallionClass makes cruising a breeze


John Chernesky says Princess Cruises’ latest innovation gives guests even more time to put their feet up, while sailing the high seas.

The company’s MedallionClass provides each guest with the Ocean-Medallion, a small, free device that’s the key to all MedallionClass benefits. The OceanMedallion can be worn on a necklace, sport band or placed in a pocket and, Princess notes, once a guest has it with him or her, “their door unlocks automatically, they can order things, pay for them, find their family or friends and plan their day.”

“It really elevates every aspect of the cruise experience,” says Chernesky Senior Vice President, North America Sales & Trade Marketing for the cruise company. “The OceanMedallion is cutting-edge technology, but it’s really not about the technology. It’s about enhancing the service provided to each and every guest, so they come back again and again.

“The ultimate goal of MedallionClass is to make a cruise vacation with Princess even more effortless, simplified and personalized,” he continues. “It not only gives our guests, more of their precious vacation time back, so they can use it to relax and connect with family; it also lets our crew offer guests more personalized service. There’s something amazing about having a crew member greet you by name or wish you a happy birthday or know what your favourite drink is… when you’ve never actually met them before.”

Chernesky himself was “amazed” how quickly he boarded when he used MedallionClass, and he’s heard the same from several travel agents who have tried it. “When you arrive at the terminal OceanReady, you breeze right on board!”

He adds that he also was impressed by OceanNow, which lets guests order cocktails, a “slice of the best pizza at sea and the best burger at sea, all the while relaxing in a lounge chair watching Movies Under the Stars poolside.”

Chernesky, the father of twin boys, says MedallionClass also has terrific features for families. “First and foremost, I can find where they [his sons] are on the ship using Shipmates. Try as they might to escape, as long as I know where they are, I have peace of mind, so I can get back to what’s really important – focusing on me! Oh and my wife, too.”

Users will also find OceanCompass, which has three main features: providing directions, so guests don’t get lost using Wayfinding; communicating via a free chat service with family and friends on board using the ship’s free internal WiFi; and then locating people in the guests’ party using Shipmates.

“Regarding the Wayfinding feature, even a cruise veteran like me gets lost from time to time,” Chernesky says. “But OceanCompass is like Waze at sea. It gets you right to where you want to go, step by step. It even has ADA specific guidance, so if you are in a wheelchair or perhaps you’re not as mobile as you’d like to be, it will give you appropriate directions.”

MedallionClass doesn’t require a smartphone, with Chernesky noting that some people like to go on vacation and put their phone in a safe and leave it there for the entire journey. “That’s fine,” Chernesky states. “Because each guest still has their personal OceanMedallion with them (think of it as your new key card), your stateroom door will still open and our amazing crew will be able to recognize you and provide you with personalized service. But even without your smartphone, we have over 100 large touchscreens through the public areas (called portals), so you can still access a number of key features. Access Wayfinding, Shipmates and Journey View, which details the ship’s schedule, so you can plan your day. Using your smartphone takes the experience from 10 out of 10 to 11 out of 10!”

“By the end of 2020, MedallionClass will be available on 11 ships and we are working to extend it to more guests around the world,” Chernesky reports. Starting this fall, all ships sailing in the Caribbean will be MedallionClass and Princess has four ships in each Alaska and Europe for its 2020 season. He notes MedallionClass extends even further with a presence in Australia and New Zealand, Hawaii, South America, Mexico and Panama, and the list goes on.

“At the end of the day, this is what matters most – what do our guests think of it all?” Chernesky asks. “Despite it being relatively new technology, which by the way gets better and better with each passing day, our guest satisfaction scores have really soared on the ships that have MedallionClass. In addition to the enhanced service they experience, and less time spent waiting so they have more time to enjoy their vacation, we also have the best WiFi at sea. Now, guests can share photos, video chat and brag about their vacation and watch their favourite shows while on vacation.

“And MedallionClass is fast and reliable, no matter where you are on the ship, including your stateroom. I’m trying to move my office to the ship. I’m still waiting to hear back, but I think it’s a great idea!”