I cannot wait to cruise again! Believe it or not social distancing is so easy on a cruise! For me vacation is all about relaxation so I am always seeking out the quiet places to relax and just get away from people. You could say I was researching social distancing even before it was required. I know some people might think that there is no way you could find quiet uncrowded places on a cruise ship but I have always found lots of quiet options on my cruises. Yes even on mega cruise ships with over 5,000 people onboard I was able to find quiet places away from lots of other people.
So if you are like me and ready to jump onboard as soon as the ships start sailing again -
Here are 4 Easy Ways to Social Distance on a Cruise
#1 - Your Room - I don't always think it makes sense to splurge on a balcony room but right about now it seems like a great way to get your own outside deck space. If you really want to splurge go for a suite to give yourself even more space to enjoy without other guests. Some cruise lines also offer special areas onboard just for suite guests so you get even more places to be able to social distance.
Sure you could go to a hotel or all inclusive resort and get a nice room but your view will never change while you are staying in that room whereas on a cruise you could see something new out your window all the time.
#2 - Room Service - Want to avoid the dining room? Most cruise lines offer free room service so eating in the comfort of your room is easy. Again this is where having the balcony comes in handy so you can even enjoy eating outside from your own room.
#3 - The Spa - I cannot think of a better place to social distance and relax! Either with a spa treatment or if the ship offers a relaxation room you can buy a pass to it is always quiet and not crowded.
#4 - Extra Charge Private Areas - Many ships now have some exclusive areas just for guests that choose to pay a little more to access these areas. These might be a private cabana or a private area on deck. I tried out the Sanctuary on Princess Cruise and it was totally worth the cost!
Cruise ships have been adding new technology that will help too, like being able to order a drink or food from anywhere you are instead of having to go up to the bar or get in line for food.
I also find if you explore the ship you can find lots of other corners of quiet either on an upper deck away from the pool, or maybe the library. One of my favorites is if the ship has a middle deck that that is open to the outside where you can sometimes walk around the whole ship outside. Do you have a favorite spot you have found while cruising?
Yes there are some areas or times on a cruise where social distance might be a challenge and I will talk about those next week.
Princess Cruise Line has some pretty cool cruise technology called Ocean Medallion. I will admit I was very skeptical when I first heard about this new technology. I have been on many cruises and experienced the iffy internet so I wondered how using a technology that relies a lot on WiFi could possibly work. That being said Princess did have some bumps along the way when they first rolled it out but based on my recent cruise I think they have sorted through most of those now. Of course I was also sailing on a brand new ship which was the first to be built from the group up with the technology in place.
What Does Ocean Medallion Do?
This fun technology starts even before you leave home. Once have booked your cruise you are prompted to download the Medallion App (note that previously you were required to download multiple apps but I happy to say they have consolidated it to one). In the app you can do your online check in and upload both a security photo along with another photo if you would like something different to be your profile photo (this is the one that will show up your room door and other places). Once you have completed the online check in you are able to confirm the order for your Medallion. Princess will ship these to you free of charge with the basic lanyard. You also have the option to add on other accessories if you would like to have other ways to wear your Medallion. I chose to stick with the free option. The Medallion itself is very nice. They are about the size of a quarter and will have your name and sail date printed on them along with being color coded for the level your are in the Captain's Circle program (side note Captain's Circle is the loyalty program for Princess and there are a few different colors based on how many times you have sailed with Princess).
When you arrive at the port have your medallion out and you can take the quick line for guests with medallions. This was the fastest check in process I have ever had! Now the fun stuff begins!
Once onbaord your Medallion will unlock your door as you get to your room so no more having to get your room key out to tap it or anything. Just walk up to your room wearing your medallion and your photo will appear and your room is unlocked. There are games in the app both Casino games and games just for fun along with some videos you can watch. You can also create an OceanTagalong which like your onboad avatar for playing games and interacting with the large screens around the ship. All the of fun games and videos are free but if you choose the Casino games those are played just like you were in the casino.
There is also OceanCompass which not only helps you find your way around the ship but it will also help you find other guests that are using the medallion. I tried this out a few times on my cruise and it was kind of fun to see where someone else was on the ship. You do have to both agree to being tracked before this will work those so you cannot just stalk some random guest. I can see this being really handy for parents or large groups traveling together.
The daily schedule of events is listed and you can choose to bookmark certain things you want to attend. You can also reserve things like dining and shore excursion from the app. Last but not least, what I think is really the best feature is being able to order things from your app and they will be delivered to wherever your with your Medallion (within reason of course). If you are too far from something the option to choose that location to order from won't show up. I first used this from my room to get robes delivered. It was so easy and so quick. Then we tried it out up in the buffet area to get a couple slices of pizza delivered to our table from Slice the pizza counter out by the pool. It was quick and so much easier than standing in line outside to get them. You can order drinks from the nearest bar (TIP - as of now they are offering your first drink free when you order from the app. Not sure how long that will last but if they are still offering it you will see that pop-up when you go to order). When you order anything from the app you can track the progress in the app so you will it go from processing to delivering. It will even tell you the name of the person delivering your order and might ask you to hold up your medallion to help the server find you. The server will know your name and photo so they will call your name and will make sure you match the photo too.
I didn't have any problems using this fun technology during my cruise and I really do think it improves the experience a lot! The one thing I am really surprised about is that Disney Cruise Line didn't do this first.
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