What is MedallionNet?
MedallionNet™ is the new high-speed internet service from Carnival that is being rolled out by Princess Cruises.
Developed in conjunction with SES Networks, MedallionNet will utilise both geostationary satellites and medium-earth orbit satellites to “provide guests with easy-to-access Wi-Fi that features exceptional speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and unprecedented service consistency”.
Where is MedallionNet available?
Currently, MedallionNet is only available on Regal Princess and Caribbean Princess. We were amongst the first to try it on the first Regal Princess Ocean Medallion preview cruise on 13th November last year where it was made available to all passengers on the ship. As part of the rollout, additional wi-fi access points had been added to each cabin to increase coverage and three new satellite antennae were installed on the ship just prior to the cruise.
How do you access MedallionNet?
After connecting to the MedallionNet network, you will need to load the login.com page from a browser:
After clicking on the Get Online Now button, you are asked to enter your Stateroom Number and Date of Birth:
You are then guided to the appropriate plan for your status.
How much does it cost?
The introductory price for MedallionNet was $9.99 per device per day or $29.99 for up to 4 devices per day (great value for a family of 4 in the same stateroom). This is very competitive for a premium unlimited internet package from a cruise line.
Platinum and Elite guests are currently receiving free unlimited access for one device at a time, replacing the previous complimentary minutes plan.
You can then start your session and choose to Browse the Internet. If you return at a later point then you simply click the Connect button. If you have multiple devices (tablet, phone, laptop, etc.) but your plan only allows one device, you are prompted to disconnect and use your current device enabling you to switch easily between them.
What about performance/speed?
The speed of MedallionNet is amazing making it probably the best wi-fi available at sea, even beating VOOM from Royal Caribbean which was impressive for it’s time.
MedallionNet can be used for streaming, long-distance Skype calls, accessing VPNs and is a good as, or better than, most offerings on land. And is a vast improvement on the previous Princess pay-by-the-minute internet service. We carried out various speed tests over our 2 cruises and it seem to get quicker each time. This is an example of one of our early tests:
A speedtest event on Regal Princess in the Bahamas on 26th February 2018 recorded 2.25Gbps peaking at 2.6Gbps, eclipsing typical land-based internet speeds.
Any other advantages?
It’s great not having to worry about logging off to save precious minutes or needing to stand in the corridor to get around wi-fi blackspots! MedallionNet can also be used on Princess’ private island Princess Cays and it is hoped it will be rolled out to other ports.
Another great benefit is that you can use messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, iMessage for free just by connecting to MedallionNet wi-fi. In comparison, a number of cruise lines charge for access to social networks.
There was a time when cruising meant getting away from it all and truly switching off – but times and the cruising community are changing. With MedallionNet, guests will be able to keep in touch with friends, family and work all the time. In fact, on our preview cruise we met a number of people who needed to access the internet for work or business reasons on a regular basis.
Princess are now able to free up bandwidth for the crew – this will allow them to have a more reliable way to see their families and see their children grow up. A happy crew is always a good thing!
When will MedallionNet be rolled out to other ships?
Currently MedallionNet is tied into the rollout of Ocean Medallion which is only available on a trial basis on Regal Princess and Caribbean Princess. It is early days, although feedback from guests has been very positive for the new internet service. There were reports of initial performance issues when Regal Princess moved to the Baltic (from end of April 2018). This was to be expected as the SES satellite constellations in the Northern hemisphere would need to be optimised to match the Caribbean connectivity.
Note that, before rolling out further, Princess may review the pricing structure and the complimentary offering for Platinum and Elite guests. In the meantime, other ships in the Princess fleet are being upgraded with some of the necessary infrastructure in readiness – it could be that MedallionNet will have a separate rollout programme. Watch this space!