There are two ways to spend the unexpected downtime provided by the pandemic: you could opt to veg out in front of the TV with an array of endless snacks — or you could take advantage of the slower pace and opt for self-improvement. This week, Princess Cruises announced that it's doing the latter.
"During this downtime, we've worked behind the scenes to re-engineer our operation to give guests maximum control of their cruise vacation, as well as to activate the Princess MedallionClass Experience on all of our ships,” Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure.
Entitled the MedallionClass Experience, the new feature centers around digital technology onboard the ship for a contactless setting. When the ships come back into service in 2021, they will feature touchless technologies that “significantly enhance and personalize the guest experience, as well as support new health protocols."
Passengers aboard each ship will be given an OceanMedallion, a wearable quarter-sized device. The medallion can be used for touchless boarding, keyless room entry, touchless shopping, and on-demand food service. Guests will also be able to download a mobile app to chat with guest services, complete safety training, and watch on-board entertainment. The technology eliminates potential build-up of lines and lessens the amount of necessary contact between passengers and crew members, making it safer to sail in agreement with the CDC’s new health guidelines.
"The same technology we've used to simplify and personalize the guest experience on our Princess MedallionClass ships for the past three years is now being further leveraged to safeguard our guests and crew as well," John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation, said in a statement. "That means that the smartest ships at sea are now enabling intelligence-driven safety processes via the OceanMedallion."
All Princess Cruises are cancelled through March 31, 2021, the cruise line announced last month. And all cruises seven days or longer in or out of U.S. ports are cancelled through Nov. 1, 2021. Additionally, due to the uncertainty surrounding international travel, all cruises in or out of Japan are cancelled through June 25, 2021.
When the ships come back into service, the Coral Princess, Diamond Princess, Emerald Princess, Grand Princess, Island Princess, Majestic Princess, and Sapphire Princess will officially be classified as “MedallionClass” ships. The new Enchanted Princess will also make its debut as MedallionClass.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, on Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.
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