Big Brother is a fictional character and symbol in George Orwell’s 1949 novel, 1984 writes Glynis Sullivan.

Well, Big Brother is here now or should I say has been for a few years now!  I am very happy with new technology, using a computer, storing my work, zooming my friends and colleagues.  Our lives have been “taken over” by new technology.  How often do you look for something on your computer only to find it is appearing on your phone?   Weird or not, these are the influences that are surrounding our way of life. How does my phone know that I need a new sofa?!

Our recent cruise on the Sky Princess was a typical example of “Big Brother”. The key-card has been replaced with the new Medallion system, which allows you to order drinks, open your stateroom door and for staff to be able to locate you where ever you are on the ship!

The Medallion is very popular and the cruise staff think “when it is working well” it is excellent but being a Silver Traveller, I find it very confusing and I am sure I am not the only one.  The Medallion can be worn around your neck, on a lanyard or around your wrist.  It enables you to spend money without thinking about it!  It takes some getting used to but when all the “teething” problems are ironed out it will be the future for many cruise companies.

You can book off shore trips with the Medallion, pay for the Spa treatment, book dinner at the specialist restaurants, pay for drinks or anything that you buy from the shop.   Ask any member of staff and they will look on their ipad and be able to locate your partner or friend – now that may freak you out knowing that “big brother” is watching you but it does have advantages.

My husband went back to the cabin before we went into dinner and I waited for him.  A member of staff asked why I didn’t go into the dining room and I said I was waiting for my husband.  She said “oh he is here, just walking up the stairs” – and there he was.  I am very flexible and open minded but the staff member knew exactly where my husband was by just looking at her ships app?  I was also sat having my breakfast out on the deck when a member of staff said there was a telephone call for me – how did they know where I was?  Well, the Medallion and the app. told them exactly where I was!

I am sure we will all get used to the Medallion which is now the future, but beware, if you order a drink and are asked for your room number by the bar staff (which they shouldn’t but it did happen on our cruise) and someone else hears your cabin number they then can order drinks on your number. The person who we met had had this happen to them, and found that someone else had ordered Champagne!

As a senior traveller this does seem very “alien” to me but we have to move with the times and engage with this new technology.  Soon we will be Dinosaurs” but don’t let your grandchildren sort out your apps and on line forms – have a go and you will be surprised at what you can do.  Lets give the young ones a run for their money.  I love cruising and will take what they give me and ask the staff when in doubt – which is most of the time!

 Contributor: Glynis Sullivan