U.S. Markets closed

Carnival is turning its ships into floating connected hotels

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

Carnival Corporation (CCL), the company behind the Carnival and Princess cruise lines, is bringing a little bit of high-tech to the high seas with its new connected cruising experience that’s being unveiled at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.

Called the One Cruise Experience Access Network, or OCEAN, the initiative lets you control virtually all aspects of your trip from a personalized smartphone app and a tiny quarter-size medallion that acts as your access pass.

OCEAN uses a series of sensors positioned throughout your ship that are able to locate you based on where your medallion is located. The sensors read the NFC and Bluetooth low-energy chips embedded in your medallion to do things like recognize when you’re walking to your suite and automatically activate the lights and turn on your air conditioner or heater before your even get to your door.

Speaking of doors, the medallion, which you can gussy up with optional wristbands, pendants or pants clips, is used as your room key. Just have your medallion on you, touch your door’s handle and it will automatically unlock. Better still, a touch screen display outside your door will provide you with your upcoming schedule and other information about your trip.

The OCEAN system leverages an app and wearable medallion.

The medallion system also allows you to order margaritas through the OCEAN app and provides crew members with your location so they can bring your drink to you no matter where you are. With the exception of the restroom … I hope.

Each passenger sets up their app based on their OCEAN profile, which they customize through Carnival’s website prior to their cruise. The app will then use your preferences to suggest different things to do while on vacation, whether that includes dinners or onboard entertainment. You can make reservations and schedule excursions from the app.

The OCEAN app also has a new gaming experience that lets you gamble or play adventure games without having to visit the onboard casino.

Naturally, you can message other cruise passengers through the OCEAN app to help you and your group keep in touch. Or you can send other guests “Messages in a bottle” that include one-time notes and access to your room. You know, if you meet someone “special” on your trip.

You can use the OCEAN medallion to unlock your suite doors and order drinks.

Carnival says your medallion also acts as an easy way to make onboard payments rather than having to carry around a silly keycard. What’s more, the medallion and your OCEAN app provide you with an easy way to navigate your ship without having to use any onboard maps.

If you don’t happen to have your smartphone on you during the day, Carnival says you’ll also be able access your OCEAN profile through large touch screen displays positioned throughout the ship’s hallways.

The OCEAN cruise experience will first debut on Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess in November 2017 and across the entire Princess Cruises fleet in the coming years.

More of Yahoo Finance’s CES 2017 coverage:

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.