Caribbean Princess 8/9/19 – Medallion Class Cruising Review
The purpose of this review page is to assist you when planning and sailing on an Ocean Medallion vacation with Princess Cruises.
Medallion Cruising is currently live on the following ships:
Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Caribbean Princess, and Crown Princess
In October 2019 it will launch on the new Sky Princess
During 2020 it will launch on Ruby Princess, Grand Princess, Emerald Princess, Coral Princess, Island Princess and the new Enchanted Princess
Originally, Princess had only one or two apps that did everything OCEAN. As that app grew too large, they broke it up into MANY different apps, and now you have a mind-boggling number of different apps you may or may not need or want.
Here is a list of the apps I downloaded before my cruise or on the ship, as well as whether you should get them for yourself or not.
Need: Ocean Ready
Probably Want: Play Ocean, Ocean Compass, Medallion Class, Ocean Now
Maybe Want: Ocean Casino
Before you cruise:
The first thing you should do is go to the Website Ocean.com and create yourself a login and a profile. It’s easier to have this all set up before you start any of your apps. And, also, if you have a bigger computer screen than just your phone, you might enjoy entering all your name, address, etc basic stuff there. Be sure you make a note what your login is, as you’ll use it over and over pre-cruise and potentially once you’re on the cruise.
Next, if you have a cruise booked, then go to this link with your booking info, and fill in the Guest Check-In section for all passengers within the Cruise Personalizer. You will know you’re done when you get a green “Complete” at the top of the page for each person. You will have to put in your address, phone, credit card to be used for onboard charges, passport info and emergency contact info, so be ready with all of that.
The next step is to get yourself Ocean Ready. NOTE that you have to do this step 75 – 14 days before your trip. If you try too early, then you will get an incomplete on the Cruise Personalizer. If you work on it too late, you won’t have time to get your physical Ocean Medallion sent to you in the mail.
Open the Ocean Ready app, and begin the process of getting ready for each person. Have your passports ready, and make sure you look as beautiful as you wish to be, as you’ll need to snap a selfie photo of yourself to be your official profile photo as part of the process. Also be sure you know your Ocean.com login information that you created in the first step, as this could speed up your process. Lastly, when Ocean Ready asks when you are leaving for your trip, tell it which date YOU are leaving for this trip, i.e. which date you fly away from your home. Do NOT put in the date the ship sails. That could have your Medallion show up to your home after you’ve departed.
When you complete everything, you will be Ocean Ready, and you will be able to print or save a photo of your completed information. I found in my own Medallion cruise that nobody asked me for this Ocean Ready boarding info. They wanted to see my boarding pass still printed out from the Cruise Personalizer. So, even though you’re on this high-tech cruise, you’ll still need to print on paper the boarding pass for each person, as well as the luggage tags for all your ‘checked’ bags that you plan to hand to the porters at the cruise pier. You may or may not need the paper boarding passes, but it’s better to have them then not.
Back to Ocean Ready, as you complete each person’s information, you will be able to select some kind of ‘carrying’ case for your quarter-sized magnetic Medallion. Princess will give you a very long, white, lanyard for free that advertises OCEAN and Accenture (a consulting firm). However, you can also buy a variety of other holders. You can carry your Medallion in your pocket with NO holder, you can get a rubber ring to clip it to your pocket/anywhere you want, get a fancy necklace or bracelet, and much more.
I used my own lanyard with Princess’ Medallion holder / plastic case hooked on, and my husband got a black rubber wrist holder to wear. These seemed to be the most popular (lanyards for women, the rubber wrist band or pocket holder for men). Whether you choose the free lanyard or one of the other holder options that cost money, they will all be mailed to you directly from Princess to arrive about 15 days before you sail. You will have to pay for any of the optional items on the spot / in the app. Or, you can just get the free lanyard to start, and then shop for the holders / accessories onboard when you can eyeball all the cool choices and colors.
IMPORTANT - if you have a pacemaker, you MUST NOT use a lanyard. Its not good for the magnetic RFID Medallion to be near your heart. You will need to use one of the other options.
Once you get yourself Ocean Ready, you will NOT need this app again. You may wish to delete it from your phone as soon as you sail and have boarded successfully.
Play Ocean – One of the ‘fun’ things about Medallion Class cruising is that you can create for yourself a Tagalong. This is basically an avatar representation of yourself as a turtle, fish or seahorse, that will ‘tag along’ as you walk past the Ocean screens around the ship. You can create the Tagalong in the Play Ocean app anytime after you create your Ocean.com profile way up in the very first step. You can choose your own color and patterns in a zillion variations in the app.
You can also play free games in the app.
If you’re happy with your Tagalong, there is no reason to have this app on the ship either. However, you might decide to change it after you board, so that is up to you. You might also like some of the free games.
Ocean Compass – THIS is the most important app to have onboard!
Within Ocean Compass you’ll have access to ShipMates, the skill that allows you to locate your friends and family onboard, and them you. You will have to give them permission to see your location. And you can add contacts that you meet onboard to this app also. The process of adding friends is easy, similar to adding friends on Facebook.
The second part of Ocean Compass that is useful is that there is a Chat function. So, anyone you are friends with within Ocean Compass you can chat with.
The last really useful part of the app was Wayfinding. This allowed you to get directions to places on the ship, with maps.
There are other things within Ocean Compass as well, but they were less important.
We found that Ocean Compass frequently stopped working. Deleting it and reinstalling seemed to work.
Ocean Now – Princess often talks about this feature of Medallion Class cruising. This is the app that will allow you to order drinks, food and merchandise to your physical location on the ship. If you want a drink and some sunscreen delivered to your deck chair in some far off corner of the ship, this is the app that does it. We found it worked well. On the first day of our cruise they allow you to order a free drink so you can test it out (and maybe become addicted to the ease of it).
The only downfall of it is that it is a SPECIFIC list of items you can order. If you like a very customized drink, it would be hard to do in here. It has some areas of the ship where it does NOT work (showroom is one). And there could be more things available to you within the app depending on where you are.
Medallion Class App – Princess actually doesn’t talk about this at all, but we just stumbled upon it in the app store. It was VERY handy. It was basically an easy-to-use interface that had quick access to Journey View (view what is happening on the ship right now, or in future days), Ocean Now, Ocean View (pre-recorded travel programs you can watch on your stateroom TV, or in the app) and Ocean Compass.
Ocean Casino App – This app allows you to gamble real money on the loaded games within the app. You can charge money to your shipboard account onto your ‘casino account’, and play on the app OR in the casino. If you won or charged money in the casino and it is in your ‘casino account’, you can see that balance within the Ocean Casino app.
Don’t forget that whatever money you have in your casino account onboard, you’ll have to cash it out at the casino cage before you leave the ship.
There are ALSO some TVs around the ship that have the live gambling games loaded where you can walk up and tap your Medallion and play. We saw these on Deck 7 aft, right outside Club Fusion. We not once saw anyone playing those.
NOT AN APP – How the overall system works on the ship, or how it’s supposed to work, and what we experienced in August, 2019 on the Caribbean Princess.
As you embark the ship, put your phone / device in Airplane Mode, and then turn ON the WiFi and choose MedallionNet. MedallionNet is the overall name for connectivity on the ship. Once you hook onto the MedallionNet WiFi system, you SHOULD be able to use all the Ocean apps for free. You can log into MedallionNet with your stateroom number and birth date OR your Ocean.com login.
Once you’re connected to MedallionNet, the system will give you a list of the apps to click and go straight to that service, i.e. Ocean Compass for example.
ALSO on the screen for your use once you log into MedallionNet is a square that says Ocean Concierge. If you click this, MedallionNet will actually launch your browser and bring up a Webpage for you that relates to your ship. For example, I was on the Caribbean Princess, so it launched the page Caribbean.Princess.com. Those of us that have been on Princess in the past, pre-Medallion Class, will recognize this page. It is the old Princess App. It does everything the old Princess app always did with a new cute title. So, in here you can view your folio / onboard account, look at the schedule of activities, purchase future cruise deposits, chat with friends, buy shore excursions, and other helpful things.
Again, Ocean Concierge is NOT an app. It is something that auto-launches in your browser after you log into MedallionNet.
Connecting to the outside world – So far, I’ve talked about all the things you can do on a Medallion Class cruise, using MedallionNet, for FREE. This keeps you contained in the on-ship world though. If you want to actually go out onto the Internet / connect with those at home, you’ll still need to buy Internet.
As was the case in the past, you CAN buy limited access to the outside world plans. If you buy some kind of ‘by the minute’ plan, or you just want to log in and pay by the minute, you will have to remember to do login.com to get OUT to the world, and logout.com to turn off your link to the outside when you’re done. If you forget to logout, your minutes will zip right out the window. I believe Princess is moving away from the ‘by the minute’ plans entirely, so don’t plan on this option.
What Princess expects you’ll want to do though is have an Unlimited plan. This gives you 24/7 access to the super-fast MedallionNet, so you can use all the onboard apps AND be always connected to the outside world for communicating with friends and family. Princess lists the Unlimited as costing $9.99 per day, but if you buy it on the first day, it’s less than that. I’d say, wait and buy this onboard unless you see a screaming deal pre-cruise in your Personalizer.
If you are Platinum or above in the Princess Captain’s Circle past guest program, you’ll still get 250 free minutes of access per person; OR you can get a discounted unlimited plan. I am Elite and I had to pay $63.74, listed as 25% off, for my 10-day cruise for Unlimited. I was expecting $7.50 per day with the Elite discount, so there was some kind of small additional benefit for buying on the first day. My husband used is 250 free minutes and did not pay for Internet.
So far, I’ve talked about how Medallion Class cruising and the apps that go with it are SUPPOSED to work. Let’s talk about real world experience now.
The apps work best when you have the Unlimited access to the outside world plan. If you have unlimited, your device seems to stay connected to MedallionNet well. I had the Unlimited, and I had a lot more success with my apps than my husband, or others I met onboard. The Ocean folks, I believe, designed it for everyone to be paying for Unlimited access and tested it for that. Most of the issues I had were created by myself. I logged into my phone while out and about, and then into my iPad when I was in my cabin. I was constantly turning the WiFi off on one, and on in the other, and having to re-login to the MedallionNet because I had a 1-device plan.
As I mentioned previously, my husband had the 250 minutes plan. He noticed that if he logged into the outside world for 1 minute, and then logged out, his MedallionNet would stay connected to his phone for a few minutes. After a short while though, it would log him out. Everyone we spoke with who was doing the free-only, or my husband using his Captain’s Circle minutes, was getting constantly kicked off of MedallionNet. This made it pretty useless. It was NOT doing what it was supposed to be doing. You can’t text/chat within any of your apps Princess provides to other members of your party if everyone’s phone is getting constantly kicked off the MedallionNet.
We found the most useful thing for communicating in this imperfect world was using the WayFinder TVs to locate our family and then just walking there to talk to them.
My husband went to the Ocean Navigators (the helpful Ocean folks) and told them of his issues. Turned out he had everything on his phone set correctly, it’s just an imperfect system. I’m sure they’ll continue to improve it, but be forewarned. The Unlimited access plan is really the way the system works best. NOTE also that the Ocean Navigators have their own space on the ship SEPARATE from the Internet Café. If you have problems or questions onboard, you can go to the Internet folks when they’re open. You can also go to the Ocean Navigators, who on the Caribbean Princess had a desk / area near the aft section of the Photo Gallery right in the hallway.
In the various public areas of the ship, they have TVs installed. Some of them had Ocean Compass up, the WayFinding part, that would allow you to find places you wanted to go. It also allowed you to tap your Medallion on the tv and ‘log in’ to that TV and search for your ShipMates. Other TVs had Journey View installed and showing. These TVs allowed you to see what activities were happening onboard. Unfortunately, we guests didn’t get to choose which of the two features each TV were doing. We seemed to be able to use one or the other. So, if you were in an elevator lobby, you probably had one of each type of TV/program. However, in random places of the ship, you might find a Journey View TV, and it would not be helpful to find your ShipMates.
There are also TVs in some areas that were PlayOcean TVs. These ones show your Tagalong and allow you to play free games on them while you wait for your elevator. (Think, fun things for kids to do while standing there.) I often played the ‘match’ game, where I matched up symbols as I waited.
That’s it for the Medallion Class portion of my review. I will write up a review for my actual cruise as well, and post it separately. Look for Caribbean Princess Canada & New England.
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