Onboarding cruise passengers quickly and efficiently has always made sense. It is absolutely vital in the post-COVID-19 age.
This spring, eCruise introduced an addition to its iPad-driven Mobile Check-In application. The easy-to-use system that cut embarkation times in half was given a health questionnaire option and no-touch thermometer reader. Now eCruise adds another element to that Mobile Health Check application – a self-standing kiosk where passengers and crew can check their own temperatures at key intervals, or anytime they like.
All the check-in information collected is seamlessly transferred by WiFi to the cruise line’s data centers, and the health information sent in a HIPA-compliant manner to the SeaCare system by Triton. It can also work offline and transfer the information when in a WiFi area.
The eCruise systems cruise lines and their terminal partners use covers three critical post-pandemic operations:
Avoiding crowded terminals with speedy embarkations will be key in moving forward.
Standards set by the CDC and its global counterparts will undoubtedly change as the world better understands the virus and finds appropriate responses to it.
The eCruise Mobile Check-In and Health Check applications can easily be adapted for any such change. It’s also easily adjusted to match the needs of the cruise line brand, said Keith Powell, vice president of eCruise Managed Services.
“We want the customer to tell us how they want their operation to go, and we can adjust the technical side, instead of forcing someone to change their operations around our technology,” Powell said.
“We get to see every single cruise line’s operation and they’re all a little bit different. So, we make our applications specifically to each cruise line’s need. It’s very configurable and customizable.”
However the questionnaire is configured, the passengers’ affirm their answers with a signature.
It takes almost zero training to use the Mobile Check-In application and its Health Check components. And the unmanned kiosk sends its information directly to the cruise line’s health experts.
eCruise had it’s expedited check-in product already rolled out before the pandemic, so when it came time to develop the health element they were already ahead of the curve – and first to the market.
The freestanding kiosk was a natural next step.
The system has a facial recognition option that syncs with passenger and crew’s ID photos on file. A person walking up to the kiosk is instantly recognized. Using a no-touch thermometer, the kiosk records the person’s temperature and transfers that information in a HIPAA-compliant fashion to SeaCare or any medical system.
An option without the facial recognition component uses key cards and other ID.
There is no limit to the number of kiosks a ship could use.
The kiosk can sit at the end of a pier for passengers to stop at on their way back from a shore excursion. Others could sit outside restaurants or other common areas.
The beauty of the system is, starting with the baseline health screening at the beginning of the cruise, passengers and crew are checked as many times as they or the line feel necessary. If someone has a temperature, they can easily and quickly be identified and be administered appropriate treatment. The line will have a good idea of where they have recently been and who they may have come into contact with.
The application for crew is bolstered by its speed and ease of use.
“If you have 30 or 40 waiters who are about to go into the dining room to serve food, or kitchen staff cooking the food, they’re all going to line up and go through this kiosk very quickly to make sure no one is running a fever at that time,” Powell said.
“That’s the whole point. To stay in front of it.”
Several cruise lines are already using the kiosks and more are expected to as the industry reopens.
People around the world are slowly returning to restaurants and social gatherings, many with a degree of trepidation. They’re asking themselves: Is this setting safe? Am I making a safe, healthy choice?
“Especially post pandemic, is everyone going to be looking at each other out of the corner of their eye. If someone coughs or someone sneezes, is everyone going to be looking at this person askance?” he said.
After months of mostly staying at home, these post-pandemic customers rely on their hosts and fellow patrons doing the right thing. Their patronage goes only as far as their confidence.
“I think this will be the new norm. As passengers see everyone around them constantly getting their temperature checked – either upon embarkation, or after returning from an excursion, or if the CDC is requiring daily checks – I think it builds a sort of confidence in the guests when they’re sailing.”
Not too long ago, hand washing stations outside cruise ship restaurants seemed like an odd feature. Then the hand-sanitizer dispensers popped up. Soon, both were no more unusual than the standard muster drill.
“There are certain people who will constantly want to know. It’s kind of like the scale in your bathroom. You might check yourself a couple times a day if you see it.”
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