(4:25 p.m. EDT) — Carnival Corp.’s upcoming line of Medallion-class cruise ships will feature custom avatars, designed by passengers before or during their trips, that will be displayed on digital screens throughout the vessel and can be used for interactive experiences like games.
The avatars, known as Ocean Tagalongs (as in, the creature “tags along” with you), will appear first on Regal Princess when the Ocean Medallion personalization platform debuts in November. You’ll then find it on Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess when they launch Ocean Medallion in early 2018, and Island Princess in May 2018.
Creating a Tagalong starts when passengers booked on a cruise create a profile within Ocean Compass, available this fall at ocean.com. People can select from three sea creatures — a sea turtle, seahorse or butterfly fish — and customize it by changing the body shape, color, pattern, marks and more.
“Every one is unique,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. “There’s millions of combinations of things they can do with the Tagalong. … The Tagalong should feel very special to the guest.”
Once the Tagalong is created, it appears online with a passengers’ profile. It will also appear in interactive PlayOcean games that people can play online and pop up on the digital Ocean Portals that will be found on Medallion-class ships.
“When you’re walking past a digital portal, your Tagalong will swim across the portal,” Padgett explained. “That will let you know that it’s there, and you can engage with it as you choose. It will make the presentation of screens more fanciful and more fun than a bunch of digital portals hanging around the ship.”
He noted that the Tagalong will not display a passengers’ name or other identifying information. You’ll know your Tagalong because you created it, but whether you want to reveal that it belongs to you is your choice, he said.
Here’s one scenario where having a Tagalong would be fun, Padgett said: During Movies Under The Stars, the ship might announce a Tagalong contest, where passenger avatars can “race” each other on the big screen.
There’s no requirement to have a Tagalong, and creating one is free. If someone forgets to make one before they board, they can create it during the cruise if they see other peoples’ swimming around and decide they want their own, Padgett said.
“It’s there solely to enhance the guest experience,” he said. “It’s all about creating more fun.”
Tagalongs are just one part of the Ocean Medallion experience, which is designed to personalize cruise vacations. The medallion itself is a wearable disc that will be used to gain entry into cabins, track luggage, book shore excursions and spa treatments, make dining reservations and pay for purchases onboard. Besides storing the Tagalong information, the Ocean Medallion will keep cruiser preferences and dining restrictions.
While it’s debuting on Princess Cruises, the medallions eventually are expected to roll out to other Carnival Corp. lines, including Carnival, Holland America, Cunard, Seabourn, Costa, P&O and P&O Australia.
-Original in Cruise Critic, May 24, 2017 By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor
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