OceanMedallion

The Colors of Cozumel

This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises.

What was the best part of our final port day with Princess Cruises? It could have been the exclusive and indescribably delightful Chef’s Table dinner we enjoyed that evening—I mean, a four-course meal including a tour of the galley and special cocktail hour with the executive chef himself? In fact, let’s stop here and take a moment to appreciate it.

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Mai Tai sorbet, to-die-for mushroom risotto and a world-class dessert…I’m no food writer, so I can honestly say that I can’t even begin to describe the level of quality this dinner was at. With so many elements involved, Chef’s Table is not an event you want to be late for…and Michele and I very nearly were! Although we’d been sailing a few days, it was only our second trip to this dining room. If it hadn’t been for the OceanCompass app guiding us directly from starting point A to ending point B, who knows how long we may have been wandering from deck 5 to 6 to 7 and back? OceanCompass quickly became one of my go-to apps on this MedallionClass Caribbean cruise. It’s the fastest way to get to know your home at sea.

Back to our final day in port. Like I said, we had a delightful dinner, but before that, the best part of our day could have been when Michele and I enjoyed a stunning sunset on the Lido Deck overlooking Puerta Maya’s colorful vista. And before that, we devoured a couple of ice cream treats from Coffee & Cones, and the ice cream cones are free, y’all—the ice cream cones are free. Even before that, we raced our Tagalong avatars in a cutthroat (not at all cutthroat) game of TagalongSprint on the portal right outside the café. Any of these things could have been my favorite part of the day—but let’s not forget the colorful, multisensory experience that is the beautiful port of Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico.

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If you’ve followed this or any of my other past Princess trips, you know that one of my favorite things about the brand is their close tie to one of my favorite television shows, The Love Boat. An Aaron Spelling classic from the 1970s, The Love Boat is a hilarious hour-long comedic, romantic, silly drama set on the Pacific Princess and full of glamorous and dreamy colors and tones. Walking through the Cozumel port felt like being placed right in an episode along with Julie, Isaac, Doc, and all the other characters. While it didn’t necessarily feel like a step back in time, there was just something about the brightly painted walls, embossed leather souvenir bags, dreamy shadows and rustic fountains that made me half expect to see Patty Duke walk around the corner.

Enjoying a chill day shopping, snapping photos, and lazing in the Mexican sunshine was the perfect way to end the land portion of our trip before relaxing at sea on our way back to Fort Lauderdale. Although this was my second time in Cozumel, it was my first time getting to explore the port, and I’m so glad I finally got a taste of it. And, of course, a taste of a tangy, salty, frozen margarita right in the middle of its homeland. You know what they say….the lower the latitude, the better the attitude.

Photography by Michele Equitz




Come Back New with Princess Cruises' OceanMedallion

This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises.

Even though I’ve now been on three Caribbean cruises, every cruise and every ship is different and I still find new experiences to savor on each trip with Princess. Can you believe this was my first time attending a show or visiting Skywalkers Nightclub? I had no idea what I was missing out on all these years, and want to make sure you aren’t either on your next Princess trip. Exciting as Skywalkers and the Princess Theater are, the biggest new thing about sailing with Princess is exclusively on Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess, with many more ships to come: the MedallionClass experience! Below are five tips to make sure you live your best #ComeBackNew life onboard, featuring OceanMedallion.

Point Your OceanCompass Toward New Eats

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  • Princess is known for its world-class dining, but not every ship has all the same dining options. It was my first time on the Caribbean Princess, and my first time enjoying a meal at seafood restaurant Steamers on deck 17. Since I live in Seattle and that makes me kind of a seafood nut, I was in heaven when I got to order a basket of seafood onto which you can add crab and lobster…really no other word to put here other than “wow.”

  • Another new thing I love to try while cruising is new tropical drinks. Mai Tais or Monkey Lalas aren’t very common to drink in the Pacific Northwest, and since Princess’ bartenders can whip up just about anything you like, it’s the perfect time to spice up your routine. There’s nothing better than kicking your feet up in your stateroom with a cold drink and flicking on a new episode of The Voyager™ with Josh Garcia on OceanView!

Keep Active

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  • I’ve always known there was a ton of stuff to do on board, but this time—I actually did it. We discovered the elusive location of the Sports Court—deck 19, reachable from an exterior staircase on deck 17, and played a very friendly game of PIG on the basketball court—which I’m obliged to tell you that I won with a left-handed layup. There are ping-pong tables just off the Terrace Pool at the back of the ship as well.

  • Don’t forget the fitness center and group workout classes! If you can’t stop working on your fitness even on vacation, there are a ton of ways to stay active at sea while sailing away on Caribbean Princess. Ever wanted to work out with the endless blue ocean and horizon line in front of you? You can do that! Even I’m tempted to jump on a treadmill in the middle of that gorgeous ocean blue.

New Technology

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  • Checking in and boarding a cruise has gone from what some might call a practice in patience to a picnic in the park thanks to the OceanReady® app. All you need to do is tap the wearable Medallion device with all of your pre-loaded boarding information—you don’t even need to wait for your stateroom keys, because your OceanMedallion unlocks your door as soon as you walk up to it. Cruising is more interactive and more personal on Princess, from being able to order a drink to your lounge chair or stateroom to playing Games Under the Stars to adding your fellow cruisers as Shipmates on the OceanCompass app. You even get to create one of the new friends you’ll make—your Tagalong! Michele and I had so much fun designing our sea animal avatars (and let’s be honest…naming them) and seeing them swim around on the technology portals that are scattered around the ship.

Connect with New Friendly Faces

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  • On every cruise itinerary, it’s natural to form a bond with your stateroom steward, your favorite bartenders, the waiter at your usual table or the band whose music you dance to every night, but every ship has new people to meet and OceanMedallion makes it even easier to meet them. If you’re in the area, bartenders are able to see your face and information on their tablets to get to know you and help with whatever you need faster than ever. Princess crewmembers are such interesting people from countries all over the world—some you probably never even heard of—and are full of fascinating stories about life at sea. Broaden your horizons by saying hi to people; you never know who you’ll meet onboard. Making small talk with fellow passengers is incredibly easy since you’re all bonded by the simple fact that you’re out in the middle of nowhere on a gigantic ship. Don’t “come back new” alone…come back new with some new pals!

Relax: “OceanNow” or Never

  • Allow me to set the scene. You’re relaxing in your lounge chair in poolside bliss, wind whipping through your hair. The (male) winner of the “best legs” competition has just been announced on the Lido Deck and they’re back to blasting your favorite classic rock tunes. Everyone’s singing along, you’re finally getting some color under that SPF 50, and that’s when it strikes—the lunchtime stomach grumble. But your friend is in the bathroom and you don’t want to have to pack up all your stuff just to go grab a hamburger. That’s when the best OceanMedallion app comes into play—OceanNow. Just like UberEats or Postmates back on land, with a few taps you can have a couple slices of pizza and a fresh, icy margarita on their way to you in minutes. Don’t let hunger interrupt your sunny afternoon of relaxation!

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Princess always ensures that I come back from a cruise thoroughly rejuvenated. As I always say, there is something onboard for everyone even if you may think cruising isn’t for you. Even I wasn’t sure how I would feel about cruising before I went for the first time. But, if a shy and reserved homebody like me (who normally just likes to read alone for fun) can #ComeBackNew, you can too, and you can do it in MedallionClass style.

Bon voyage!




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.

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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!

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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.