Florida Today has a nice article about a topic that most passengers don’t know much about – cafes and "calling stations" which cater to crew members and are operated by former crew members.

"Cruise Crews Find Love, and Everything Else, at ‘Matt-Mart" by reporter Keilani Best focuses on former crew member Zvonimir Matkovic who used to work as a busboy and waiter for Premier Cruise Line.  In 1999 he incorporated Europe Crew Corner, L.C. at the Merritt Square Mall in Port Canaveral, Florida to serve crew members who sail into Port Canaveral.  His store provides telephone and internet services Port Canaveral - Crew Storeand sells European food, beverages, magazines and more.

Stores like this are often called "crew stations" or "calling card" stations.  They developed because of the inadequate facilities at the port for crew members.  When crew members disembark the crew ships, there are only a few pay phones and long lines and no place to relax.  The planners of the hundred-million-dollar port facilities have traditionally given no thought to designing the ports to provide services for hard working crew members. 

Enterprising former crew members like Mr. Matkovic provide a real service for crew members by opening stores nears the ports where they sell phone cards & internet services and provide a comfortable place for the ship employees to sit and relax.  The crew members can enjoy an espresso while using the internet or telephone to re-connect with family and friends before they have to return to the cruise ship.    

One of my friends and former clients, June Tunay, opened a crew store called the "I-95" crew station in Key West after working 14 years for Royal Caribbean.