(9:30 a.m. EDT) -- Carnival Corp. is slowing down the rollout of its Ocean Medallion technology program, opting for a phased-in approach rather than a full, shipwide implementation as originally planned.
The wearable technology, which Carnival Corp. refers to as a virtual concierge, is set to debut this November on Regal Princess. According to the cruise company, the installation of the Ocean Medallion systems and framework is on schedule and will be complete by the originally set date. However, rather than offering the service to the entire ship all at once, it will be available to only a select number of cruise passengers during an Ocean Medallion preview period that runs through spring 2018. During this period, Carnival Corp. will activate Ocean Medallion features by adding groups of cabins in phases.
"This approach will allow us to receive continuous feedback from a controlled number of guests and crew while the ship is in service," a statement from the company said.
All passengers on Regal Princess' November 13 cruise, however, will be able to experience MedallionNet, the line's new high-speed Internet designed to withstand inclement weather and areas of spotty connectivity.
Ocean Medallion enables cruisers to do everything from get food delivered to any part of the ship to make booking reservations; cruisers all can create a virtual avatar called a "tagalong" that follows them throughout the ship, offering reminders of things to do or interacting with other people's tagalongs.
--By Dori Saltzman, Senior Editor