"We all grew up in the company. Executives started as room stewards."
— Jim Bussey, VP, Information Systems

Unisys 2200, Sun Sparcs DMS-1100, UNIX, ORACLE
Cruise ships Large shop


Carnival Cruise Lines carries more passengers than any other cruise line in the world. Its ships travel primarily in the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and the Mexican Riviera, on 3-day, 4-day, and 7-day trips. With a current inventory of 9 ships, the company will shortly have 15 ships. The largest cruise ship ever constructed is slated to carry 2,600 passengers. Carnival Cruise Lines was named one of Computerworld's 100 Premier users of technology.

Founded in 1972, Carnival Cruise Lines is publicly held. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, the company has 14,870 employees and revenues of $1.8 billion. Its parent company, Carnival Corporation, is also based in Miami and owns Holland America and Windstar cruise lines, which are based in Seattle, Washington.



Carnival Cruise Lines has a Unisys 2200, model 900 mainframe, Unisys U6000 UNIX platforms; 17 Sun machines, including two SPARC stations on each ship and one at each port; and 1,200 PCs attached to Novell Netware Local Area Networks (LANs). Software used includes the DMS-1100 database and ORACLE financial packages.

PC-based optical imaging projects have been initiated by several user groups. The financial group, for instance, uses an imaging system in which invoices are scanned, distributed electronically for approval, signed electronically, and closed with checks printed by the accounts payable department. In another user group, shipboard blueprints are scanned to facilitate maintenance and integrated with a GUI parts ordering system. Imaged personnel records facilitate the movement of staff from one ship to another.

Carnival Cruise Line's 125 computer professionals work in five functional areas. The first is application support with job titles of Programmer, Database Administrator, Project Leader, Supervisor, Manager, Director, and Vice President. The second area is systems and technical support, which covers networks and communications. The third is microservices and shipboard support, which includes the help desk, desktop publishing, the educational center, and IS managers for each ship. The fourth is voice communications and the fifth is the data center. Staff members are currently installing a Visual Basic middleware database management system between DMS-1100 and PCs for reservations.


Computer professionals work in cubicles and offices in a nonsmoking environment. Standard office hours are 9 AM to 5:30 PM. The average week is 40 hours to 50 hours. Overtime is paid. Office dress is business semiformal (shirt and tie). Shipboard staff members travel approximately 50 percent of the time. Other staff members rarely need to travel. Carnival Cruise Lines offers its computer professionals a family-oriented atmosphere in which teamwork is fostered and staff members regard each other as guests of the cruise line.

Carnival Cruise Lines observes the standard holidays. Employees earn two weeks of vacation to start, three weeks after five years or achieving management level, and four weeks after 15 years. Employees receive a $10,000 bonus after 10 years. The company offers a cafeteria plan of benefits and contributes to the costs of medical, dental, and disability insurance. Life insurance is company-paid. Employees may take two 3-day or 7-day cruises a year at reduced rates. The company has never had a layoff.


While technical experience depends on the job being filled, UNIX and ORACLE experience are helpful. Candidates should be motivated and enjoy working, but should have interests outside of work as well. Current staff have an average of from 2 years to 10 years of experience and most have some college education. Carnival Cruise Lines does hire entry-level computer professionals. Candidates must have good references from a coop program or other jobs.

Carnival Cruise Lines generally hires four or five permanent employees and 15 contractors a year. Candidates are found through the Internet, inhouse recruiters, employment agencies, campus recruiting, employee referrals, and networking in the industry.


Letters are preferred.

Mr. Jim Bussey, VP, Information Systems
Carnival Cruise Lines
3655 N.W. 87th Avenue
Miami, Florida 3378-2428
(305) 599-2600

Copyright 1998. Carol L. Covin. Covin’s Southeast Computer Job Guide