Navy Pier

Access Control Case Study

Entertainment Cruises: Benefits of Integrated Access Control

Located off of Chicago’s famous Navy Pier, Entertainment Cruises offers a distinct fusion of dining, entertainment, and amazing skyline views to its customers.  Entertainment Cruises Chicago is comprised of three cruise ships (Odyssey, Spirit of Chicago, and Mystic Blue), that offer their own unique blend of memorable experiences.  It also offers faster-paced, speedboat excursions through its Seadog line.


The design of the cruise ships’ Access Control system was based on the nature of their disparate schedules and open environments.  Each vessel cruises multiple times throughout the day, but they operate on separate schedules.  In addition, doors leading to common areas of the ships need to be unlocked during cruises and locked while the ships are docked.  All private doors need to be restricted to authorized personnel at all times.

Prior to implementing Skynet’s integrated access control system, Entertainment Cruises Chicago used basic standalone keypads.  This keypad-based entry system eliminated the need for traditional lock and key access, but lacked the flexibility to conveniently manage authorized users, provide employee audit trails and execute door commands remotely.  Furthermore, there was the hassle of having to reprogram key codes due to employee turnover.


Skynet designed and implemented an integrated electronic Access Control system, which addressed their needs from both a security and an administrative standpoint.  The ships’ were equipped with over 40 card readers and electric door strikes.  An extra level of security was added to highly restricted areas by requiring the user to present a key card and enter an access code before entry is granted.

The Access Control management software provides the administrative staff with the ability to manage their customized system from their office, home, and phone.  This graphical user interface enables managers to unlock a specific door, or even a set of doors, through the push of a button.  Doors are scheduled to lock and unlock in synchronization with each ships cruise schedule.  If the schedule changes due to unforeseeable circumstances, management can adjust the schedule accordingly in a matter of seconds.


Entertainment Cruises Chicago has become more efficient through the use of an integrated electronic Access Control system, and they no longer have to use low-security PIN codes.  Card access has helped them not only improve security, but also save time and money.  The Access Control system provides an audit trail for every card that is presented to any of the card readers, whether access is granted or not.  This helps track and recover any missing items.

The Access Control software allows Entertainment Cruises to delete card users from the system, thereby restricting access to former employees.  This eliminates the need to change locks and issue new metal keys, while saving Entertainment Cruises the associated cost and burden.  In addition, the ability to assign access levels to different employees ensures that only authorized personnel can enter highly restricted areas, such as the finance office and liquor room.  This methodology maximizes their loss-prevention efforts.

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"I can sum it up in only two words, Totally Awesome! Our experience from beginning to end and beyond has been a pleasure. Hani was my first contact with the company. His no pressure expertise was refreshing, along with Skynet's incomparable tech team. Skynet has brought about a positive experience for me and our company. Whenever I need alarms, access control, or video surveillance, I look toward Skynet for my solutions. Kudos! to Skynet!"

Wayne Holler, Urban Investment Group