Voyagers on Princess Cruises are to be the first in the Carnival group to experience the company’s Ocean Medallion — wearable technology designed to personalise the passenger’s experience.
The size of a 10p, the medallion can be worn as a pendant or wristband, or placed in a pocket or bag and will do everything from unlocking your door remotely to helping you find and message family members on the sprawling ships.
You can also use it to order food, to be brought to wherever you plan to be at a particular time (waiters are sent your photo to aid delivery) or to find tailored suggestions for activities and excursions.
As well as speeding up embarkation and disembarkation, it can be used for purchases on board — and promises enhanced dining experiences based on your food and drink preferences — although those wary of handing over too much information will have the option to supply less.
The Ocean Medallion will be available from November 13 on Regal Princess, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018. Carnival plans to introduce the personalised discs across the company’s fleet over time. CUE CUBA
Since diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba have relaxed, cruise travellers to the island have a sudden wealth of choice, as America-based cruise companies start adding it to their itineraries. Royal Caribbean (
is planning its first Florida-Cuba trips in April on Empress of the Seas, after receiving approval from the Cuban government, while Regent Seven Seas ( has added Havana to two Caribbean voyages in April. The latter stay overnight in the capital, so guests have plenty of time to explore.
NCL’s Norwegian Sky ( is also sailing from Miami to Cuba, via the Bahamas, on a four-day round trip during May.
If you want some extra culture with your Cuba cruise, Voyages to Antiquity ( is adding the island, along with some of the lessexplored Caribbean, to its schedule for Aegean Odyssey from November. (Trips on sale from this month.) GO-TO GALAPAGOS
With its limited number of visitors and fascinating wildlife, the Galapagos Islands are a staple of travellers' wishlists. And with Celebrity Cruises’ three 100-passenger ships visiting the region from March, it is now easier to discover this paradise. Between them, Celebrity Xpedition, Xploration and Xperience will offer six itineraries visiting 15 islands and more than 30 ports of call.
The company is also offering what is billed as the only seven-night round trip to the Hubbard Glacier from Vancouver, on Celebrity Infinity. You can also sail from Vancouver, British Columbia or Seward, Alaska on Celebrity Millennium.
These are part of an extended cruise offering that covers more than 280 destinations in 76 countries during 2017/18, with 236 overnight stays in 55 cities as well as 31 double overnight stays in 10 ports around the world. celebritycruises.co.uk CURRENT THINKING
River cruises have often been pigeon-holed as for more mature travellers only but, with a new cruise collection aimed at 18- to 40-year-olds, U by Uniworld ( wants to change that.
Targeted at “youthful adventure seekers”, the cruises will go on sale next month for departures from early 2018, promising Instagrammable and Snapchat-worthy stops throughout Europe, from Amsterdam to Budapest.
Two of the company’s existing ships — the River Baroness and the River Ambassador — are being redesigned to give them a contemporary feel, including communal tables, international DJs and creative mixologists.
The itineraries themselves will focus on longer stays in the destinations, to give travellers the chance to discover local experiences and more of the night-life, as well as offering adventurous excursions. DARINGLY DECKED
This year sees the first voyages for MSC Cruises’ ( megaship MSC Seaside — one of the line’s two huge new ships coming into service during 2017. With a 120m zipline, aqua park with four exhilarating slides, a 360-degree ocean-level promenade and 30m bridge on the top deck, her home port from December will be Miami, for year-round sailings in the Caribbean. SINGAPORE ON SONG
Singapore is tipped as one of the big destination trends for 2017: visitor numbers from the UK were up five per cent last year and, with more cruise brands offering pre- and post-cruise stays in the city state, 2015’s figure of one million cruise passenger arrivals might be only the beginning.
P&O returned to Singapore last year for the first time in a decade, while Royal Caribbean’s current season is its longest here. Seabourn Encore is even being christened in the country before her maiden voyage. CANCELLATION CONSOLATION
The year started on a low note for the cruise industry with the demise of the All Leisure Group, leaving passengers who booked with Swan Hellenic or Voyages of Discovery without their trips.
So Cosmos Tours has stepped in to offer those who were due to travel with either cruise brand £50 off if they rebook the cruise (or tour or beach holiday of their choice) through one of the company’s three brands; Cosmos Tours & Cruises, Avalon Waterways and Archers Holidays.
You will need a copy of the cancelled cruise holiday invoice, ready to email, before ringing Cosmos Tours on 0800 440 2797. For more details, see
Champagne? Ask the butler on your wrist, the Ocean Medallion by Princess