Princess Cruises is expanding its contactless MedallionPay system to select businesses in ports of call in the Caribbean, Mexico and Alaska, so passengers can leave their wallets on the ship.
So far, more than 65 shoreside businesses are accepting MedallionPay, including restaurants, stores, bars, museums, attractions and shore excursion operators in Cabo San Lucas, St. Thomas, Puerto Vallarta and all of the line’s Alaska ports of call.
Passengers who charge their onshore purchases with MedallionPay will immediately get a seven percent onboard credit, at least for the first year. The MedallionPay account must be associated with a credit card.
“They get cash back in the form of onboard credit, which they can also convert into future cruise credit, if they choose,” Princess President John Padgett said in a virtual news conference.
Contactless payment is “the wave of the future,” said Wendy Tarapani, founding partner of Diamonds International, whose retail stores in numerous vacation destinations are participating in MedallionPay.
MedallionPay also can be used at participating restaurants as well as some shore excursion operators, including Ocean Safari in St. Thomas and Cabo Dolphins in Cabo San Lucas. Plans are underway to expand MedallionPay to more overseas destinations.
Padgett noted that the wearable Medallions are waterproof and sunproof, so passengers can take them to the beach. “It takes the stress out of swimming with dolphins and losing your wallet,” Padgett said.
Princess said no credit card or personal information is stored on the device, and the MedallionPay ecosystem “exceeds the security levels used in financial institutions and passports by using the latest methods of tokenization, abstraction and encryption.”
MedallionPay allows for touch-free payment that eliminates the need to hand over, tap, swipe or insert a card, or provide a signature or enter a PIN.
Princess has been using the quarter-sized Medallions since late 2017, constantly adding to its features and uses. The Medallions allow expedited, contactless boarding, a way to find traveling companions on board, the ability to make restaurant reservations and order food and drinks to be delivered anywhere on the ship.
Padgett said Princess also is expanding its sportsbook, adding future games later this month. “Guests who aren’t from an area of the world that has sports betting can come on a Princess ship and place a wager into the future on an event and then head home, Padgett said.
The Princess press release quoted a Crown Princess passenger named Lori Woodbury, who trialed MedallionPay in St. Thomas in early 2020. “You don’t have to remember your room key, and you never have to have cash or a credit card with you,” she said.
Padgett became president of Princess Cruises in October 2021, after serving as chief experience and innovation officer for parent company Carnival Corp. since July 2014. He was a key player in the development and implementation of the Princess MedallionClass experience that is now available on the entire Princess fleet.