Here’s how wearable technology is transforming CX on cruise ships

Wearable technology is cruising on a sea of opportunities.
27 December 2019

Wearable technology is transforming life on cruise ships. Source: Shutterstock

Technology is transforming just about every sector imaginable, and the travel and tourism line is no exception. Service sectors – including cruise ships and hotels – are equally ripe for disruption, with technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) or robotics not only serving as a springboard for scaling a business, but in enhancing the customer experience. 

Examples can already be seen in the industry; the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is using AI to navigate its pricing systems while Alibaba’s ‘future hotel’ has deployed a range of new technologies for its patrons to enjoy the next-gen experience.

With the global travel and tourism economy surpassing US$8.7 trillion, many are realizing the importance of digital transformation and innovation to stand out in the service industry.

The cruise industry is also taking note, with industry players’ intensifying their efforts to create a ‘seamless experience’ for customers. This includes deploying technology that speeds up the check-in process to simplifying onboarding procedures for cruise guests. Customers are also increasingly expecting service providers to deliver enhanced services and entertainment onboard, further accentuating the need for businesses to adopt new technology to meet customer demands.

This has paved the way for the meteoric rise of wearable technology – or wearables – among industry players. 

Bon voyage cruise cards

For decades, cruise guests were required to carry access cards to pay for their meals, check into their rooms and to utilize other cruise facilities. But this will change with the introduction of the Ocean Medallion, a wearable technology that replaces traditional cruise cards.

In October, Princess Cruises’ newest ship, Sky Princess, made its debut as the company’s first ship designed to support the company’s Ocean Medallion technology. The Medallion is a circular pendant – about the size of a quarter – which guests can wear as a necklace or bracelet, or keep it in their pockets. 

Prior to the cruise, passengers will receive their Medallion via mail and are required to download an app before embarkation. The Medallion syncs with the app.

With the Medallion in hand, stateroom doors will automatically unlock; during special occasions, it will greet guests with a personalized note. Guests will also be notified when the doors are locked upon leaving the staterooms.

Guests can use the Medallion to pay for their meals and settle their bills; this wearable technology also has a nifty feature that tracks passengers on board, which has proven useful for parents and families who are eager to explore the cruise without losing contact with each other.

This feature is also used by cabin members to deliver food and drinks to guests directly – regardless of where they are on the ship – in addition to helping crew members easily access important information relating to their guests, such as food allergies, emergency contacts, as well as their hobbies. 

It’s clear that the Medallion offers safety benefits, as well as the potential to provide guests with enhanced personalized interactions with crew members, but its use also raises questions about privacy; access to passenger’s personal information may not sit well with everyone.

Despite that, wearable technology continues to enhance the customer experience and is poised to grow and evolve to meet consumer demands in the foreseeable future.