April 10, 2012
Royal Caribbean International’s new Oasis-class ships, the largest in the world, boast more than 2,700 staterooms and can carry up to 6,400 passengers. As planning began for the launch of the new vessels, it was clear the demands of passenger service on the Oasis-class ships were greater than ever before. Royal Caribbean’s previous shipboard service programs relied heavily on manual processes and fragmented data stores. PAR Technology Corp. and Agilysys, which had implemented point-of-service systems on other Royal Caribbean ships, worked with cruise-line staff to develop an intelligent system targeting improvements in food service, maintenance and POS processes to streamline the flow of data across vital information and processes at every level of the ships.
“We have more than 2,300 employees working in many different areas on board ships,” says Jason Miller, technology analyst at Royal Caribbean. “We wanted a solution that would cut down on the time it took them to find information.”
With help from Agilysys, Royal Caribbean deployed approximately 325 PAR EverServ 6000 POS terminals and 50 tablets on Oasis of the Seas. The terminals and tablets, which run Agilysys InfoGenesis POS software on Windows Embedded POSReady, handle financial transactions and collect data on spending patterns and sales promotions; that data is stored on server computers that run Microsoft SQL Server data management software on the Windows Server operating system. Crew members can use that data to ensure food safety and quality, respond quickly to service requests, and develop personalized promotions and service offerings to cater to passengers’ individual needs.
April 09, 2012
Royal Caribbean International manages passenger purchasing and services through the PAR EverServ 6000 terminals, running Windows Embedded POSReady. The terminals link passenger data and shipboard services for faster, more efficient service and data analysis.
Speeding and Improving Food Service Inspection
Cruise ships are known for their outstanding food, from vast and varied buffet spreads to elegant plates at the captain’s table. Less well-known are the rigorous, federally mandated inspections carried out to ensure that hot dishes and food storage coolers are in the correct temperature zones for safety and quality. Before the EverServ system was implemented, crew members equipped with probe thermometers and paper-based logs walked from galley to galley to manually check and record the temperature for each food item. For the new ships, with 11 sizable galleys and dozens of passenger service areas spread across four decks, Royal Caribbean determined that carrying out the inspection process the old way would take more than five hours — a tremendous burden given that the inspections must be repeated every eight hours.
“On an Oasis-class ship with hundreds of locations to check, we realized that a team of employees would have time for nothing but inspections during a shift,” says Bill Martin, vice president and chief information officer, Royal Caribbean. “We wanted to find a solution that would reduce their workload so that they could do other things.”
With the PAR EverServ SureCheck system, food storage coolers are equipped with RFID tags that can be scanned from outside the closed door with a SureCheck device powered by Windows Embedded. Crew members use probe or infrared thermometers attached to the handheld devices to check individual food items in buffets and service areas. If the temperature reading exceeds safety limits, the crew member doing the inspection is automatically prompted to take corrective action, such as clearing dust from the fan vents in a cooler or discarding the buffet item; maintenance staff are also alerted if equipment needs to be repaired.
The SureCheck system has cut food inspection from five hours per shift to two hours, freeing crew members for other tasks. Inspection records are loaded into the ship’s data systems to be quickly and securely relayed to the appropriate health inspection authorities when the ship is back in port.
April 09, 2012
The PAR EverServ SureCheck handheld device, running Windows Embedded Handheld, enables crew members to automatically log temperatures for coolers and food items. The system alerts crew members to food with temperatures that fall beyond safety limits or coolers that require repairs.
Reducing Travel Time for Crew Members
The system has cut the time required for other shipboard functions as well. To check in for a shift, crew members used to have to clock in at a central location, then walk to their work stations — which on a ship the size of Oasis of the Seas could be a 15-minute trip. With the new system, crew members can log in for a shift at their work stations and immediately start assisting passengers. Maintenance dispatch was also subject to travel-time delays; a maintenance worker would have to return to the maintenance dispatch area after completing a work order, perhaps to find that the next request was located a only few yards from where he had just been working. Now workers can check their handheld devices to identify the tasks closest to their current location, responding more quickly to passenger requests and wasting less time with back-and-forth trips.
The EverServ system saves passengers time and effort, too. In the shipboard photo galleries, passengers used to have look through a wall of photo printouts to find the ones they wanted to purchase as souvenirs of their trip, then fill out paper forms to order reprints. Passengers now can electronically browse and order photos from network-enabled devices in public areas or their own staterooms. And throughout the ship, more than 300 digital signs running Windows 7 display useful passenger alerts in real time — for example, which restaurants are near capacity and which are able to seat diners immediately.
April 09, 2012
Oasis of the Seas, one of two Oasis-class ships in Royal Caribbean International’s fleet, is the largest in the world, accommodating up to 6,360 passengers.
Royal Caribbean is also using DataMagine, a document-management solution from Agilysys, to manage previously paper-based passenger documentation, such as receipts for shipboard purchases and waivers for potentially risky leisure activities. DataMagine centrally organizes each passenger’s information, saves significant amounts of paper — and the fuel that would have been needed to transport it — and makes it easier to resolve customer disputes about specific items. The information can be aggregated and analyzed to identify spending patterns, track the success of sales promotions and improve personalized services for passengers.
“The more information we can collect about our guests, the more we can customize our products for them,” Martin says. “With a PAR and Agilysys system based on Windows Embedded, we can capture data in numerous ways, and that’s incredibly enabling information in the hospitality industry. The guests love it because they know we’re catering to them, and we like it because we can make more money.”
From galley to stateroom to poolside bar, the EverServ solution powered by Windows Embedded enables Royal Caribbean to raise passengers’ already high expectations even higher by providing a streamlined, personalized passenger experience aboard the ship.
“The Windows-powered technology on board ships just seems to complement the whole experience,” Martin says. “When you provide information in one place, the data is shared throughout the system. From the photo gallery to the digital signage to the point-of-sale solutions, everything works together seamlessly.”