David Friedlander

How Carnival Corporation Creates Customized Guest Experiences with Docker Enterprise

David Friedlander
Regal Princess cruise ship. Photo by Jamie Morrison on Unsplash

When you get on a cruise ship or go to a major resort, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes. Thousands of people work to create amazing, memorable experiences, often out of sight. And increasingly, technology helps them make those experiences even better.

We sat down recently with Todd Heard, VP of Infrastructure at Carnival Corporation, to find out how technology like Docker helps them create memorable experiences for their guests. Todd and some of his colleagues worked at Disney in the past, so they know a thing or two about memorable experiences.

Here’s what he told us. You can also catch the highlights in this 2 minute video:

On Carnival’s Mission

Our goal at Carnival Corporation is to provide a very personalized, seamless, and customized experience for each and every guest on their vacation. Our people and technology investments are what make that possible. But we also need to keep up with changes in the industry and people’s lifestyles.

On Technology in the Travel Industry and Customized Guest Experiences

One of the ironies in the travel industry is that everybody talks about technology, but the technology should be invisible to the guest. Travel industry players use technology to differentiate their capabilities and products and services, but essentially guests want more engagement with their travel provider. Technology helps us build and customize memorable experiences for each guest, but the technology itself isn’t the experience.

In the travel and hospitality industry, digital transformation is all about the guest experience. And now you’ll see more companies investing in more innovation that drive more personalized interactions and experiences for the guests. For us at Carnival, digital transformation means that the more that a guest interacts and participates in a particular brand or experience, the more personalized it becomes because it’s always adapting and adjusting and anticipating those guests needs.

Carnival Corporation’s MedallionClass Experience

We are rolling out the MedallionClass experience which is powered by a wearable OceanMedallion that gives the guests more ways to engage with us and receive personalized service on demand at any time on the ship.

For example, traditionally you think on a cruise ship if you’re sitting by the swimming pool you have people walking by you and you can order a drink. But what if you’re somewhere else? Perhaps you’re sharing an intimate moment with someone at the back of the ship and you want to order a bottle of champagne. The Medallion allows the crew to find your location and deliver it to you.

We also have gamification built into the platform, “find your shipmates,” room entry and dozens of other services tied to MedallionClass. All of that allows us to provide very personalized interactions with our guests.

The Technology Behind MedallionClass

The MedallionClass program is based on a micro strategy architecture with over 300 services deployed. All of these services work together to create very distinct experiences for our guests. Each ship has about 120 containers running across two shipboard data centers. That gives us high availability in a very small footprint to make sure our guest services are always available.

As part of MedallionClass, we use a hybrid cloud based architecture where we use Docker Enterprise in all of our lower environments and also deploy it on the ships to run our services that provide these experiences for our guests. 

How Docker Makes MedallionClass Possible

Docker plays a very critical role in our digital transformation with the MedallionClass. Cruise ships are essentially mobile cities that provide everything that a guest could need or want, including food and beverage, recreation, accommodations, transportation, telecommunications, gaming and more. And what Docker gives us is the unique ability to control the entire guest experience by connecting all these elements together.

Docker lets us be very agile so our developers are more productive. As we develop and create highly innovative new personalized guest experiences we can get those to market quickly for our guests.

Docker Enterprise has also allowed us to reduce our overall infrastructure footprint on the ship, and it helps drive standardization as we continue to rollout MedallionClass experiences to our fleet of ships.

To learn more about how Docker Enterprise can help you create memorable customer experiences: