Mark Dundore, senior vice president, chief information officer, Princess CruisesFor Princess Cruises, the new Royal Princess is the first ship for the brand that fully incorporates the digital age.

 “Everything runs on the network, and therefore the network design includes considerable resiliency,” said Mark Dundore, senior vice president, chief information officer, Princess Cruises.

“Our previous delivery, the Ruby Princess, was delivered with around 800 network endpoints; the Royal has over 5,000.  The Royal Princess’ network carries everything from traditional data to all telephone traffic and every TV’s HD signal.”   

The primary data center aboard is quite large compared to most ships, and is the first Princess data center to merge the IT functions with the traditional “broadcast center” functions of TV programming.      

Data centers are similar across ships, according to Dundore, but the Royal Princess is different in terms of its reliance on the data network aboard.

 “With voice and video now on the network, which are not only passenger-facing systems, but key systems in an emergency, building in redundancy was crucial. The Royal Princess has a secondary data center supporting redundant equipment for all key systems,” he added.

The Royal Princess ushered in a new ship generation for Princess as a prototype build; the Regal is set to follow in 2014, and P&O will receive its Britannia on the same platform a year later.

 “Among the Carnival group we have teamed up and created a common (IT) newbuild specification,” Dundore said. “This has leveraged lessons learned from past builds, and with each new delivery we review and enhance the specs. When a brand has a new class of ship, as is the Royal Princess, the design process can then be driven by us rather than what the shipbuilder thinks the customer wants.

“We were adamant about getting it right as we knew the Regal was coming and this ship class would be with us for a long time. P&O is taking delivery of this same class of ship as well, and will benefit from refinements made by Princess.”

Dundore oversees Princess’ fleet IT needs, but is busy with a number of far-reaching day-to-day priorities across the Carnival brand platform.

 “Our IT footprint is significant, covering app development, infrastructure and operations,” he said. “This includes development and hosting all of our own commercial web sites and our POLAR and POLAR Online Reservations systems and other applications for our brand partners (P&O UK, P&O Australia, Cunard, Holland America, Seabourn). Princess includes 17 ships plus the Regal on the way, 13 Alaska hotel properties, motorcoach and rail operations, and warehouse and office locations all over the world.

 “We see agility, our ability to quickly respond to business needs, as our greatest strength.”

>> Also in this section: A complete operations overview, both hotel and marine, of the global cruise industry. Articles include the latest technologies for fuel savings at Star Cruises to navigating busy U.S. Waterways, environmental initiatives at TUI, onboard revenue drivers for Holland America Line, new food and beverage strategies at AIDA and much more.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2013/2014