In the summer of 1996, Royal Caribbean, one of the largest cruise line companies in the world, realized they needed specific solutions for their ship board system needs. They called Byte Solutions, Inc. and IBM to join with their Information Technology department managers for a series of roundtable meetings. After careful deliberations, Royal Caribbean selected Byte Solutions, Inc. to design and implement a totally new standard for their ship board systems.

Based on the remote nature of their ships which creates great difficulty in getting service, we proposed utilizing Windows NT Server and Workstations for reliability, security, compatible with Microsoft Applications, roaming profiles and remote administration. Some of the unique challenges were as follows:

  • Employing many full-time support personnel on each ship would be too costly.
  • End-users on each ship work varied shifts and many share computers 24 hours a day.
  • The installation of unlicensed software on individual workstations needed to be controlled.
  • Damage to workstations by inadvertent “tinkering”.
  • We needed a quick and simple turnaround to repair damaged machines and keep them in service 24 by 7.
  • Avoid reoccurring virus problems.

Byte Solutions based the initial design on Windows NT Server 3.51 and Windows NT Workstation 3.51. We also incorporated the following standard applications for each workstation; Microsoft Office 95 Professional, Broaderbund Print Shop Ensemble, Avery Label Pro, McAffee Viruscan Deluxe. Smartterm Office and Anzio were installed for terminal emulation to “talk” to UNIX machines.

The pilot project for Royal Caribbean went extremely smooth. The reliability and functionality far surpassed that of any previous attempts, as well as exceeding their expectations. Since that initial project, Royal Caribbean has built three more ships, and Byte Solutions, Inc. once again designed and implemented the new systems. We have since upgraded all systems to NT 4.0 Server, NT 4.0 Workstations, and also performed an automatic upgrade to Microsoft Office 97. On a separate consulting basis, we have cross-trained their support teams on installation procedures. Currently, fifteen of Royal Caribbean ships utilize our design. This system design has received high marks from their support personnel, end-users and management. We continue to maintain and update the systems as new software products are released and their needs change.