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RFID Sets Sail With Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has installed RFID technology on its brand-new ship, with wristbands that let passengers pay for food, drinks and services, as well as unlock state rooms, while RFID bag tags are used to provide updates about the location of luggage.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 31, 2014

When Royal Caribbean International's newest cruise ship, the Quantum of the Seas, embarks on its maiden voyage on Nov. 2, its passengers will be treated to several RFID-based features, including passive high-frequency (HF) RFID "WOWband" wristbands that they can use to unlock their staterooms' doors and make purchases onboard. The ship is also adopting RFID luggage tags, enabling guests to use their cell phones to view the locations of their bags during loading and unloading.

Quantum of the Seas, the world's third-largest cruise ship, will be based in Bayonne, N.J., during its inaugural season sailing (2014 to 2015). The 1,142-foot-long ship includes 2,090 passenger staterooms and 16 passenger-accessible decks, and features multiple new technologies. For example, passengers can access RFID-enabled Royal iQ kiosks (as well as a Royal iQ app on their smartphones) to access updates related to the events in which they are scheduled to take part, and to manage details regarding their voyage.

Quantum of the Seas' passengers will be able to use passive HF RFID WOWband bracelets to unlock the doors to their staterooms and make purchases onboard.
Royal Caribbean has set a goal for a maximum 10-minute check-in time for Quantum of the Sea passengers, who will have already created a boarding pass online that includes their own ID photo. When embarking, guests will proceed through a smart check-in process that starts with a scan of the bar-coded boarding ID card that was sent to their home prior to the cruise. Staff members will then attach a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag to each luggage item, and will link the unique ID number encoded to that bag's tag with the passenger and his or her stateroom number, using an MC9190-Z handheld reader provided by Motorola Solutions (now part of Zebra Technologies). When the bags are then moved from the receiving area onto the vessel, personnel will read the tags in order to update their status. Porters will again interrogate the UHF tags as they begin carrying them to passengers' rooms, and one final time as each bag is deposited at its appropriate room. Guests can download the Royal iQ app and use its luggage-tracker feature to monitor the movements of their bags and receive status updates, such as "checked in," "onboard," "in transit" and "delivered." (At press time, the Royal iQ app was available only iPhones and iPads, but a version for Android devices was expected to be posted on the Google Play website soon.)

Guests can use the Royal iQ app's luggage-tracker feature to monitor the status of their RFID-tagged bags.

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