Sunday, September 2, 2018

Caribbean Princess at (NOT) Princess Cays

We had a stormy day and never made it to Princess Cays today. So no snorkeling for me. Boo hoo. But a big plus is that we will be arriving in St. Thomas on Tuesday in the morning instead of the afternoon. Longer is always better! Another plus was that I needed some extra time today to work. And boy, I've been working. Filming and writing and photos around the ship and voiceovers. Other than out to take pictures I've sequestered myself in the cabin. Hubby even brought me breakfast and lunch so I could keep working. I found out that audio recording doesn't work so great in a big metal cruise ship cabin with a hand held tape recorder. Nothing like my professional quality equipment at home. Oh, well.

Only one other thing worth mentioning today. I received a call about a letter I had sent to Princess a couple days back about the gals smoking on the balcony next to us. When I reported it they had sent someone up, but the ladies had their privacy sign out. Princess policy is that if a guest has their privacy sign out, they can't be disturbed - even if they are smoking. I had shared that these gals had their privacy sign out most of the time. (They are the ones who refused to pay gratuities and thought if the steward never entered their cabin they wouldn't have to.) In my letter to Princess, and again on the phone today, I had encouraged them to revisit their privacy sign policy, particularly when passenger safety is as stake. These ladies could smoke every day and nothing done about it because they kept their privacy sign out.

Not long after that call today a bouquet of flowers arrived. Now I don't know if they had to do with the issue or are from someone else - the card just said enjoy the rest of your cruise - but it was a kind gesture either way.

Medallion™ Update:
To make the progression of the roll-out more clear I've grouped the posts by week. 

The Sept 1-8 update page is here.
August 18-25 updates can be found here.
August 25-Sept 1 updates can found here.

I also did a new video today of updated information.
The one above has hubby in it, but I did one just of him down below. With him being disabled, the Medallion has made his cruise vacation even better. Take a look.

Encouraging Word Money Pocket Drop Off:
In the Piazza.

Another sea day is up tomorrow. Thanks goodness because I've got more work to do.
As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Medallion Class™ and Ocean Medallion™ Updates on the Caribbean Princess

If you're looking for Medallion Class™ and Ocean Medallion™ Updates on the Caribbean Princess for the week of September 1-8, 2018, here ya go!

September 7
Today is a day for me to catch up on all the things I’ve forgotten to mention.

*First up, I see Medallions around passengers’ necks everywhere I go. The first week we were here there were a few but now it seems like everyone has them. I know they all don’t, but they will very soon!

*This past week I learned how unusual the construction happening around here is. Most often when modifications are made on ships they occur during dry dock. On Caribbean Princess they are occurring while the ship is still in service. That comes with challenges. You may have seen in the news about passengers on another cruise line having big time construction happening while they were sailing. It was loud, messy, and disruptive. The folks working around this ship are conscientious about when and where they are working and the impact the construction may have on passengers. While some work is being done when passengers are nearby, mostly the workers are like Santa’s little elves working their magic when we can’t see it. One day a wall is empty and the next it’s something completely different. And the welding? It’s only happening when docked in port with firemen on hand with fire extinguishers. 

*I’ve spoken to both cabin stewards and supervisors about how the Medallion will help both the passenger and the crew. Currently, the Medallion only opens the door. Like I’ve mentioned before, the stewards will soon have a tablet. With that he will be able to prioritize cleaning of cabins because he’ll be able to tell if you are in the cabin, or at lunch, or off the ship in port. At some point we can let the stewards know (through the technology) if we need more ice or additional towels, or any of those other things passengers sometimes ask for. 

*There are several Ocean things popping up when logging into your device. Here are some screen captures. 

Some are coming soon items. I'll be downloading the ones I can and will have screen captures of the steps involved in the next couple days.

*I had a question come in today about whether you have to stand at the screens to play games in Churchill’s or if you could use your own device. (Kevin, I couldn’t get the response to go through to you so I’m answering it here.) This answer applies to all the Ocean Casino screens around the ship. If you want to use the big screens you'll need to stand there, but you'll also be able to use your own device. When functional, the Ocean Casino app can be downloaded and used on your device anywhere around the ship. When the ship is in international waters you can wager and when it isn't you can use it in practice mode. 

And one more screen capture. You know when you’re on MedallionNet too much when you wind up online during one of their rare maintenance times. I know it’s rare because I’m on the Internet A LOT (much more than I should, but hey I’m a blogger) and it’s the only time I’ve seen the maintenance screen.

As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen. 

September 6
I made it back to Churchill's today and found work was completed. I guess hubby was right. (Darn, I don't like when that happens.) There are two screens on the port side wall. These screens will soon be lit and will have the Ocean Casino games available. No need to stop smoking your cigar and leave Churchill's to play Ocean Casino games - the games are coming to you.

Some exciting things are happening in the Ocean Front area. That's the area between the photo gallery and Club Fusion on Deck 7. The desk is looking about ready to be put into use.
On the opposite wall we now have all kinds of optional accessories on display.

We have sports bands, bracelets, and pendants. I've seen the Captain and officers wearing the sports bands.
Both the bracelets and pendants come in gold and silver tones.

We have plastic casings similar to the ones passengers received at check-in. While everyone received blue ones at check-in, these on display are color coded according to your loyalty level. Would have helped keep the lady staring me down in the elevator the other day from knowing exactly how many cruises I've been on. (I told that story in yesterday's post, it's right below if you're interested.)
We also have clips. I've seen some of the Ocean Medallion folks wearing these around the ship.
They also have a box - I'm guessing it's the box the Medallion will be sent to your home in? Not sure.
There are no prices listed yet, and I don't know when things will be available for purchase. I do hope soon because I'd sure like to try out some of the accessories. I just can't do one more cruise with this dang lanyard around my neck.

As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen. 

September 5
Today I'm addressing a few of the questions and comments you've been sending my way. 

I talked to the Princess rep about if my Panama Canal sailing on the Caribbean Princess is a Medallion ship and she said no. I told her people on the ship said they had Medallions and she said, “Nobody should be posting anything about Medallion.“

A couple things on this one. First, the reps don’t yet have the information on Medallion. Not all passenger cabins on the ship have Medallions yet so it would be a bit premature for Princess to announce a Medallion cruise before all decks have been covered. (They are almost there!) The customer service reps will be getting the information and be able to speak about it soon. Secondly, before the internet and social media, companies who were in the process of changing things could keep it secret. We didn’t have phones to snap photos and tweet and text and post to Facebook. That’s changed. People want to know what ‘s going on and there is always someone who is more than willing to share what they know. For me, having been on the ship for three weeks, it has been fascinating to watch the early stages of the roll-out and the changes occurring daily. I’m happy to be able to share what I’ve learned and I haven’t come across anyone on the ship who is trying to keep it a secret. 

You said Aloha deck cabins have Medallions but I’m getting on the ship next week and mine hasn’t come in the mail yet. Are they mailing them or do you get them at check in?  Currently they are handing them out at check in. Not all decks have them yet, but will soon. And eventually, yes, they will be mailed to you if you wish. 

I’m Platinum. Will I get the wifi free or will I have to pay for it? The free MedallionNet offering for Platinum and Elite loyalty members is for a limited time only. No guarantee that it will be free on your sailing. 

I saw the picture of those slots on the wall. They really are free to play in port? Yes, but remember it is “practice mode” so you’re not playing with real money and not winning real money. If the casino is closed, the games will be in practice mode. If the ship is at sea and the casino is open, Ocean Casino games will accept wagers.

Do Medallion cabins get cruise cards, too? Yep. Currently you still need your cruise card to embark and disembark the ship as well as for muster drill.

Do I have to use the Medallion or can I keep using my cruise card? Medallion use is not required.

Have more questions? As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen. 

September 4
I’ve mentioned this before but I just can’t stand wearing a lanyard. It’s not the lanyard itself that bugs me, but what other people do around me when I’m using it. I don’t like getting the stink eye. I don’t like being judged. And I don’t like people looking at my card, looking at me, and looking at my card again. It happens more often than you might imagine.

It happened again just yesterday in the elevator. An older lady saw my black (Elite) card. Then she looked at me. Then she looked hard – really hard – at the number of cruises on my card. I could see her mind spinning, trying to figure out how someone looking like me (younger, chunkier, wearing shorts and a tshirt) could even be in her “Elite” group. The judgement eyes were upon me. Big time.

Now I know some folks like flashing that black card. Wear it with pride, even. I’m not one of them. All these years I’ve kept mine tucked into my pocket for no one to see. But now with my Medallion, it won’t work when tucked into my jean shorts so I’m having to wear the lanyard. Currently I can't use the Medallion  to get on and off the ship so I'm having to keep my card with me too. I'm told eventually folks traveling on Caribbean Princess will be able to use the Medallion for port visits. Just not yet.

But let’s look at the difference in the information on the card versus the Medallion. For privacy I did hide a couple of items.

On the card we have the name of the ship, sail dates, muster station, and loyalty status. My name. Dining choice. If we had traditional dining it would also have the dining room name, time, and a specific table number. In the right hand corner is a four digit portfolio number tied to our room for charges around the ship. (It starts with a 1 but I’ve hidden it.) Then in the bottom right hand corner is the number of cruises with Princess. I never, ever share this information with anyone, but I am making an exception right now to show what I'm talking about. That bottom right number is the one the lady was trying so hard to read. 

Do we really need all this information on a card hanging around our necks? Actually, nope. Did you know by law there are only three things required on a card (or in this case, a Medallion)? I didn’t, but now I do. All that is required is a passenger’s legal name. The sail date. And the ship name. That’s it. That’s all. Nothing else. So that’s all you see on the Medallion. No extra clutter. And no worries about some lady staring me down in the elevator.

Construction update: Hubby went to check out Churchill’s and told me there was a lot going on in there with construction tools and panels. I went down there this evening and couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. It was all cleaned up and I couldn’t tell where they had been working. They are either really good about cleaning up and hiding things or I had way too much to drink. Could be a little both.

September 3
Two words (or is it a hyphenated word?): MEDALLION NET. 

You know how the internet on the other Princess ships is so…well…problematic? How it takes two or three or four minutes just to get logged on? How you have to wait and wait and wait for pages to load? How it randomly disconnects in the middle of what you're doing, and then when you finally get logged back on it has used up six or seven more of your minutes? If you’re like me, you routinely experience quirks making your allotted minutes just tick away.

Not on the Caribbean Princess. MedallionNet is not like anything I’ve seen before (other than my high-speed internet at home). This ship’s internet is even better than hotels. In a hotel they have access points around the building for guest use. Here, they have access points around the ship but also in every single stateroom cabin. The blazing speed and quality of connection is truly unbelievable for a cruise ship. Now you log on and BAM you are surfing like you would at home. It is amazing! And it’s unlimited. No more have to ration minutes so you have enough at the end to print those boarding passes for your flight home. 

If you’re not platinum or elite you can purchase it per day for $19.99 or purchase a package for the entire cruise with a per day price of $9.99. Right now it is free for platinum and elites. That’s not lasting for long though. The free access for platinum and elite will be ending soon - like really, really soon. The folks I’ve talked to don’t yet know (or aren’t sharing) the details of what the package will look like for platinum and elites. But it’s worth paying for. After having been on 15 different cruise ships, there is nothing like the internet on this ship.

Some construction updates:

A couple days back the wall across from shore excursions looked like this:
 Today we have a screen installed and Ocean Front added to the top.

Word on the street is that some work will be happening on a wall in Churchill’s while we’re in port tomorrow. Check back tomorrow for more info.

As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen.

September 2

I did a video update today. Hope you find it informative!
While hubby is in the one above, I also put his section down below. 

September 1

I was lucky enough to get back to the ship in time before John Padgett and the rest of the corporate crew had left the ship. I again asked tons of questions. They are so very accommodating! I'll continue to share what I've learned throughout the week.

One thing that will be changing soon is the Ocean Front area. Remember the picture I took yesterday of this new, beautiful area?
This is the area on Deck 7 between the photo gallery and Club Fusion. It's now called Ocean Front and will be staffed by Navigators. Navigators are staff members who will be helping passengers through the Medallion roll-out and support them as the ship progresses to a full-blown Medallion Class Implementation. I wish I could be on for another week or two because that's when it'll be operational. So sorry I'm going to miss it.

As for Medallion decks, we have Lido, Riviera, Aloha, Baja, and Caribe. Folks in these cabins received their Medallions at check in and were invited to an informational meeting in Explorers today. The plan is for Dolphin deck to have their Medallions delivered to their cabins sometime during this cruise. 

Check back tomorrow for another Medallion Class update.

As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen.