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Crewmembers If you work on a ship or have in the past

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Old April 17th, 2018, 12:58 AM
ivytopaz ivytopaz is offline
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Default Current/previous crewmembers: what annoyed you about your job?

When you worked on a cruise ship, what are some things that frustrated you about your experience? Any information is helpful, particularly if it relates to keycards and their uses. This could include keeping track of guests' kids, identifying allergies, guests losing cards onshore or around the ship, or having issues with paying for things on the ship.
Any funny stories are also appreciated. Thanks!

Some background: I'm a student conducting some research for a project at Carnegie Mellon University where we're developing RFID wristbands for cruise ships. The intention is to make payments simpler, room access and identifying information harder to lose (since keycards are easy to lose), and generally make both guests and employees' lives easier.
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Old April 18th, 2018, 02:12 AM
Bruce Chafkin1 Bruce Chafkin1 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ibiza / Japan
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Yes, it is true that cabin key cards are a constant problem.

The magnetic strip on the back is often de-magnetized by cell phone batteries, silk shirts, magnetic closures on purses and bags, and the stronger magnetic strips on credit cards. When this happens, the passenger must go to the reception desk, wait in line, and get a new one.

Cabin key cards are often dropped and lost. When this happens, the passenger must go to the reception desk, wait ini line, and get a new one.

Many passengers want a hole punched in one end of the card, so they can attach a lanyard and carry it around their neck (to avoid losing it, and to avoid carrying it in a wallet or purse where it might be de-magnetized). To do this, they must go to the reception desk, wait in line, and have a hole punched in the card.

Often, when the bars are busy, a bar server will mix up the cabin card keys while charging drinks, returning the cards to the wrong passengers. When this happens, the passengers must go to the reception desk, wait in line, sort out the incorrect charges, and get a new cabin key card.

Do you see a pattern forming here?

When I worked for HAL, we had a big challenge with long lines, long waits, and many complaints (especially on the first day) at the reception desk. After researching the problem for a time, I concluded that on embarcation day, as many as 70% of the people standing in line were waiting to have a hole puched in their cabin card key.

I first tried a local solution, placing a hole puncher and a sign at the end of the reception desk, allowing passengers to punch their own cards without any wait.

Great concept, but poor result. Many passengers were not clever enough to avoid punching a hole through the magnetic strip, rendering the card useless and forcing them to return to the line at reception desk to get a new card and a hole punched.

Plan B: I suggested to HAL senior management that they contact the company supplying the cabin card keys, requesting that a convenient hole is punched in them when they are manufactured.
HAL investigated and discovered that the supplier would charge an additional one cent per card to punch the holes.

That seemed like a pretty good deal to me. For a 2,000 passenger ship on a 7-day cruise, with as many as 1,000 lost / demagnetized cabin key cards being replaced (total of 3,000 cards per week), the additional cost for punching the holes in 3,000 cards would be $30.00. This $30.00 would eliminate the need for hundreds of people waiting in long lines (often repeatedly), on their cruise of a lifetime, and actually reduce costs as many previously lost and demagnetized cards might not need replacing with the pre-punched holes.

HAL Senior Management decided that $30.00 was an unacceptable cost to reduce aggravation to so many of it's passengers on a 7-day cruise.
Who says the Dutch are cheap?
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Old April 18th, 2018, 09:23 AM
Nite Nite is offline
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Default I love fixes like pre-punched cards!

Iím the finance guy for a very old-school company in an ancient industry that has changed very little in the last 100 years.
Itís frustrating when you finish an intense feasibility test on something so simple as pre-punched holes, you prove significant direct savings and massive indirect savings, only to see the project rejected by some shortsighted management over a $30 investment in a test run.
I like the RFID fix much better, but a hole in the card could have eased a lot of stress over the last x number of years weíve been using magnetic strips.
I hope youíve been able to move on to somewhere your insight is better appreciated and capitalized on!
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annoyances, frustration, job, keycard

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