Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2024

36 When Princess Cruises’ newest ship Sun Princess debuted in early 2024, it introduced multiple new innovations and also became the latest in the fleet to offer the MedallionClass experience. Designed to personalise the cruise experience for every individual passenger, MedallionClass is powered by both the cloud-based Ocean Guest Experience Platform and the OceanMedallion, a wearable disc that interacts with thousands of sensors as passengers move around the ship and selected cruise ports. Passengers can use the medallion to locate friends and family, unlock their stateroom doors, purchase merchandise, food, beverages and shore excursions, and much more. Meanwhile, the medallions capture real-time data about individual guests’ behaviour and share it with an xIoT (experience Internet of Things) platform to build continuously evolving guest profiles that help crew customise onboard experiences and services. Underpinning the entire offering is Cruise mPOWERED, a multi-orbit satellite connectivity solution developed and delivered by managed services provider SES. Cruise mPOWERED is the second generation of SES’s O3b product, which was the first in the industry to use geostationary (GEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite networks to deliver fast and reliable connectivity services to cruise operators when it launched in 2013. “Cruise mPOWERED sets an entirely new standard for worldwide cruise ship connectivity and is pivotal for helping Princess Cruises and other cruise brands to deliver transformative guest and crew experiences,” says Greg Martin, vice president of product management for maritime at SES. “This is because it offers guaranteed network availability, low latency performance, high throughput, and seamless regional and global coverage at multigigabit scale, wherever their ships are located.” Cruise operators also benefit from “unprecedented flexibility”, says Martin. “Capacity and coverage can be scaled up as and when needed, enabling shipowners to increase bandwidth and the optimal upload and download speeds to keep pace with their passengers’ evolving demands and individual vessel requirements.” Driving efficiency with automatically optimised traffic Cruise mPOWERED features SES’s Adaptive Traffic Management technology, which is crucial for helping operators keep pace with changing Enabling a new era of connectivity experiences Greg Martin explains to Rebecca Gibson how SES’s industry-first connectivity solutions are helping cruise brands to optimise smart ship operations and deliver superior guest and crew experiences at sea COVER STORY