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Carnival's New Cruise Tech Is Impressive, 'Creepy'

Presenting the all-knowing Ocean Medallion
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2017 2:40 PM CST
Updated Jan 5, 2017 1:03 AM CST
Carnival Hopes Cruisers Will Trade Privacy for Convenience
In this Monday, June 20, 2016, photo, the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship leaves PortMiami, in Miami Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

(Newser) – “It’s the first time that a company can know who you are, it can know what you want, it can know where you are, it can at least make a good guess at what mood you’re in," a consumer expert tells the Miami Herald. If that statement doesn't horrify you, consider booking a Carnival cruise in the new year. The New York Times reports Carnival Cruises is unveiling a new piece of technology—developed by two former Disney executives—Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show. It's called the Ocean Medallion, and it's a smart device the size of a quarter that cruise passengers can carry or wear on them. "I think initially most people ... will say, ‘We have stuff like that,’ and they are wrong. They don’t," Carnival's CEO tells the Herald.

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Cruisers can use the Ocean Medallion to buy food and drinks and open room doors without even taking it out of their pocket. When their medallions approach cruise staff, employee tablets display their names and information about them. The medallions collect info about cruisers' meals and activities so staff can customize both without cruisers asking first. The medallions will let staff know where cruisers are and even allow entertainers to give shout-outs to cruisers watching from the privacy of their rooms. Jennifer Jolly at USA Today tried out the Ocean Medallion and says it's like returning to childhood, when you didn't have to worry about your wallet or keys. Carnival says some guests will find the new technology has a "creepiness factor," but they'll be won over by its benefits. (This cruise company is going to pay someone to post cruise pics on Instagram.)

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