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Your Guide to the MedallionClass Experience with Princess Cruises

This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises.

 
Gone are the days of carrying around your cruise card, credit card, and passport while hopping from your stateroom to the port to the pool. A few weeks ago, Princess Cruises invited me to come aboard the Caribbean Princess on a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise to check out the MedallionClass Experience, and let me start by saying that it has changed the cruising world for the better. Since I’m now a full-fledged cruiser after my fourth cruise vacation in three years, I can’t wait to share how Princess is taking you from curbside to poolside in a snap. And that’s just the beginning of the genius of the new OceanMedallion™ technology!

What to Do Before Your Cruise

Let’s start from the beginning—two weeks before my cruise, I downloaded the OceanReady® app and after filling out my travel information and mailing address, our OceanMedallion™ wearable devices were sent right to my house so we would be ready to go well before we actually walked into Port Everglades to check in. Once we arrived, all it took was a few minutes and a tap of our Medallions and we were walking onto the ship, ready to relax.

The cherry on top of this convenient new technology? The personal stateroom portal next to your door recognizes your OceanMedallion as you approach and unlocks the door for you. Caribbean Princess is living in the year 3000, guys.

Princess Cruises, travel, Caribbean cruise, Ocean Medallion, cruising, mojito, summer vacation, spring break, Caribbean Sea, ocean, cruise technology
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, pool, lido deck, ship tour, Caribbean Princess

Princess Cruises OceanMedallion Overview

Princess Cruises has created a suite of apps that work in accordance with the OceanMedallion that lets you do just about anything you can imagine on board. My favorites were OceanNow® and PlayOcean®, but I’ll give you a quick rundown of all of them.

OceanNow®

This app lets you order food or drinks right to your lounge chair, your stateroom, or basically anywhere on the ship. No more looking around for a waiter to flag down or getting up to get refills for you and your pals. Since the Medallion has your name and photo encrypted in it, servers are able to spot right where you are for a smooth, quick delivery. Genius, right?

OceanView®

OceanView is like Netflix at sea. There is a huge amount of exclusive content for Princess cruisers, including travel shows like Ocean Treks™ with Jeff Corwin, The Voyager™ with Josh Garcia and more. It’s a cool way to learn about the ports you’ll be visiting all week.

Ocean® Casino

This one the gaming app to play when you want to win big! There are a bunch of games available within the app itself, or you can play on portals around the ship—you just log in by tapping your Medallion. I may not be a big casino-goer, but…there’s always time for Bingo.

PlayOcean

A gaming app probably directed more towards children, PlayOcean ended up being me and Michele’s favorite. You can customize your very own Tagalong®, an animal avatar that is used around the ship on the different OceanMedallion portals. Out of the fish, seahorse, and sea turtle options, I’m sure it’s no surprise I picked a sea turtle. I named him Morris and it was always so fun to see him swim across the animation whenever I walked by with my Medallion! It’s a unique idea to make such a huge ship feel more personal, and I was a big fan. We stopped to play games on our way back from Coffee & Cones…let’s say more than once.

Your Guide to the MedallionClass Experience with Princess Cruises | truelane

OceanCompass®

This app is super useful for logistics during your cruise. Not only does it help you find your way around the ship by literally giving you step-by-step directions to where you need to go from the adults-only Sanctuary to the Sports Court, you can even find something else—your shipmates! Whether it’s whom you’re traveling with or you make new friends on the cruise, you can become pals on OceanCompass and use it to chat as well as find each other’s locations (this can be turned on or off for privacy).

Things To Know About OceanMedallion

Another tool you’ll want to keep in mind is OceanConcierge. It’s a web page you can view without being connected to MedallionNet, and it’s incredibly useful. You can see details about the ship’s itinerary and schedule, look at menus for different restaurants onboard, or keep tabs on your stateroom account.

Speaking of MedallionNet, when you book a MedallionClass cruise with Princess, you get to experience the fastest Internet at sea, and let me tell you—as an Internet person who lives her entire life online, I was thoroughly impressed. I was able to upload videos and photos with no downtime, and Michele and I even streamed Netflix one night (the only night we took a break from watching The Love Boat, which you can find on demand in your stateroom…and I highly recommend doing so). We watched one of our shipmates’ Instagram Lives with no issues, and freaked out over the new Jonas Brothers music video the day it came out. We did as much as we would have been able to do on shore…maybe more!

In this day and age, it’s always a thrill when technology is able to make experiences even more personal rather than impersonal. Connections with crew members are formed easily when your face and name pop up on their iPads as you walk up to the bar. You’re able to stay in touch with your friends and fellow cruisers constantly. We even made new friends just by talking about the different accessories available to style your Medallion with!

Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, Caribbean Princess, dream trip, snorkeling, Belize, white sandy beach, clear water, beach day, solid and striped, one-piece swimsuit
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, Caribbean Princess, dream trip, snorkeling, Belize, white sandy beach, clear water, beach day, solid and striped, one-piece swimsuit
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, Caribbean Princess, dream trip, cruise outfit, outfit inspiration, denim shorts
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, Caribbean Princess, dream trip

I’ll be sharing more diary-style travel posts about our day-to-day experiences and excursions in port, but there are just so many cool tidbits and so much new information surrounding OceanMedallion that I wanted to be able to share a resource for those of you who have upcoming trips planned on a Princess MedallionClass itinerary. As of right now, Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess are the vessels with this technology, with many more rolling out in the next few years…which means it’s the perfect time to #ComeBackNew and get yourself on a cruise!

Photography by Michele Equitz.




Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2

Continuing along from part one of this blog post (read here if you haven’t yet), our first stop after waking up on day two of our weekend was J5. No surprise there! Lake Chelan is a gorgeous one-hour drive from Leavenworth, and no road trip can begin without caffeine. We headed over for breakfast and a boat tour departing pretty early. The weather was exactly what you’d want for a day on a pontoon: hot and humid. We were pumped to get on the water.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

We learned a ton about the properties surrounding the lake and history of the area from our tour guide, Mike, the director of the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce—not to mention sample some of the area’s delicious wine! There are a ton of wineries in central Washington (I’ll get to that later), and we enjoyed a bottle of summer water, aka rosé, from Rocky Pond Winery. We had a few other bloggers joining us on this trip, and it was so much fun getting to know Style Miss Molly and Postcards to Seattle as well as our tour guides.

After we made it all the way around the lake, our group split up to get lunch or cool down—and Michele and I definitely opted to cool down. We felt like we’d been baking in the noon heat! We rented a couple of paddle boards from one of the places near the boat launch. If you can’t find it, just keep asking people until one of them will guide you to where you need to go! After floating and swimming for an hour or so, ice cream was calling our name. Cones from B.C. MacDonald’s in hand, we strolled the beautiful riverfront and downtown areas before the sun got too hot and we had to find some shade again.

Yes, it really was that hot.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

We decided to head to Siren Song Wines for a relaxing evening, and we had no idea what a treat we were in for. Between the rolling vineyards and sprawling tuscan estate, it felt like we’d walked right into the Italian countryside. If you enter the building and walk past the dining room, you’ll exit into a huge courtyard surrounded by palatial stonework overlooking the lake. I know it sounds crazy, but I was having flashbacks to my day on Lake Como in northern Italy with these views—no kidding.

After tasting a rosé, a white, and a red, we decided to stay for dinner and it was a phenomenal decision. While we were enjoying our mouthwatering caprese bruschetta, the owner of the vineyard himself came over to say hello, welcome us, and tell us a few family stories. It’s definitely a place I’ll stop by again on my next trip to Washington’s Playground. But beyond that, there are seriously dozens of other wineries to try: Tsillan Cellars (pronounced Chelan), Nefarious Cellars, Rocky Pond Winery, Fielding Hills Winery, Mellisoni Vineyards…the list goes on and on.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

It’s so satisfying when a weekend trip feels like you’ve been away much longer. You’ve only been away for two nights, but you feel as if you’ve been relaxing for a week. There was so much to do and see in Leavenworth and Lake Chelan that I felt like that, and couldn’t believe we were headed home Sunday. Before we headed back west, we enjoyed an indulgent breakfast at a local golf course overlooking the green (breakfast and a show!) before playing 18-holes ourselves—on the mini-golf course at Icicle Village Resort before we checked out.

It was a great way to wrap up the trip (okay, we grabbed two more Bavarian pretzels go to…don’t judge, they’re my favorite food!) and I can’t thank the tourism and marketing team behind Washington’s Playground enough. I’ll definitely be planning another trip out there and hope you guys will too! Let me know if you do, and use the hashtag #truetravels on Instagram so I can find your photos!

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELE EQUITZ

Thank you to Washington’s Playground for hosting us.




POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018

I can't believe it was two short years ago that I first learned about POW! WOW! On a three-day press trip to Long Beach that truly changed the course of my life, I was introduced to Jasper Wong and his team of dreamers and do-ers that put on dozens of mural festivals each year in cities across the globe. I've been lucky enough to attend both POW! WOW! Long Beach and POW! WOW! Hawaii twice, and POW! WOW! D.C. and San Jose are both on my wishlist for the near future. They explain it this way: POW! is the impact that art has on a person, and WOW! is the reaction the viewer has to it.

It's an incredibly inspiring week, and the Long Beach tourism board gets that. They generously invited me down for a few days to experience the festival and all that their amazing city has to offer. Long Beach has such a different vibe from Los Angeles despite being twenty miles from the heart of downtown. It's a place I could consider calling home within the next few years, and hopefully you'll be able to tell why by the end of this blog post.

POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane

As soon as I arrived, I took myself for a seafood dinner at King's Fish House just a few minutes from my hotel. After a busy day of airporting, flying, and running errands as soon as I landed, I was ready to head to bed early to hit the ground running the next day. There's an adorable and delicious cafe, Cuppa Cuppa, just a few minutes' walk from the Westin, our home for the week—we absolutely loved our central location & the friendly staff. Coffee and avocado toast was an easy decision for breakfast before a leisurely walk to the beach and back. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool waiting for my friend and photographer Michele to get into town, and when she did...that was when we hit the ground running!

POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane

Long Beach is a surprisingly walkable city. Most neighborhoods contain several murals from the current year and years past, so once you get to the area you're going, you can park for an hour or two and pound the pavement. Make sure to seek out a POW! WOW! "Passport" on the day you arrive, which is your guide to finding the locations of each artist's mural. They're available at most POW! WOW! events as well as select retailers around the city (P.S., they're free!). There's also a digital map on the POW! WOW! website, but if you get your passport stamped you can get discounts at local restaurants and shops.

Typically, my days at POW! WOW! follow a pretty similar schedule. After breakfast, I grab a coffee to go and stop by as many murals as I can to check on the artist's progress. Passersby are encouraged to stop and say hi to the artists and ask them about their work, so I usually like to make conversation. Lots of them are surprised to hear I've attended four POW! WOW! festivals now—which, if I'm being honest, also surprises me. It's just such a powerful event that I get terrible FOMO whenever I don't attend.

However, on this trip to Long Beach, the tourism board set me up with some activities outside of the festival. Alamitos Bay is a popular spot for beach-goers and watersport enthusiasts—you can get on paddleboards, kayaks, or even gondolas. The canals you can paddle through are lined with incredible vacation homes and have five beautiful bridges to travel under that make you feel like you've kayaked into a different country. I love kayaking any time I vacation near the water, so I definitely made time in my schedule.

POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane

Of course, it's always important to break for sustenance, and Long Beach has a ton of incredible dining options in addition to the aforementioned locations. One of our favorite meals was at the newly opened juice bar and health food stop Salud Juice. I am not vegan or gluten-free or any of the things I should be, but I can't tell you how much we enjoyed our savory raw salad bowls! (The acai bowls unfortunately left much to be desired—make sure to get your bowls from Revive Juice Bar, they are too good to be true.)

Another standout meal was Michael's Pizzeria, where we enjoyed pizza, pasta, olives and rosé to our heart's content. For breakfast, a favorite spot is Berlin Bistro (they're also my favorite coffee stop in Long Beach). Matcha, chai, lavender Arnold Palmers...you name it, they have it. Make sure to stop into the iconic Fingerprints Music store next door!

POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane

After spending four nights at the Westin Long Beach, it started to feel like home. My favorite spot on campus? The pool area, of course. It was so serene and made the perfect place to hide out for a few hours and read as a bit of a respite from the city. Even on work trips, I have to step back every now and then to get some time to myself, especially on one like this where I'm constantly meeting new people and going to events every night. This girl has to put her feet up...especially in southern California heat!

POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane

As murals wrap up toward the end of the week, there are a ton of closing events and parties, which becomes a lot of darting back and forth across town. I was so grateful to have our Ford Escape (which is coincidentally the car I want to buy!) from Enterprise. I love the additional space an SUV offers for traveling, and it happened to be the cheapest car option available from Long Beach Airport. Pickup and dropoff is always so easy with Enterprise—they truly run the best customer service game in the business.

Speaking of the airport, Long Beach Airport is one of my favorite airports in the whole country. It's open air and the landscaping is so pretty. JetBlue flies nonstop from Seattle to Long Beach all the time, which is an easy and comfortable flight. I try to fly into LGB every time I go to Los Angeles—it's one million times better than LAX and just about the same distance from everywhere (unless you're in rush hour, then add about forty minutes onto your drive time—still, worth it! It takes me that long to walk through LAX anyway).

POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane
POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane

As always, I'm very grateful to the Long Beach tourism team for having such contagiously positive attitudes toward Long Beach—thanks to them inviting me to visit once, I've fallen in love with the city as much as they have. There's nothing better than being waterfront with such tremendous art opportunities around you. They really are the #BeachWithBenefits

POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018 | truelane

Thank you to Visit Long Beach for hosting me!