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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 6th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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Default Computer Systems Manager / Informations Systems Officer

Hi,

Stumbled across this excellent forum while browsing for information on Cruise line recruitment.
I'm an IT professional currently working in the Airline Industry, and have decided I would like to move into another arena of the travel industry.

I've done a fair bit of searching the various cruise line websites and have found a few different positions advertised. I have to say some of the ad's at best are pretty vague. Some positions seem to refer in the title to you being a Manager, when the job description mentions nothing that really relates to a "Manager" type position other than just managing the equipment on board, rather than a department or staff.

Anyway I have a few questions which I hope someone on here can answer or at least assist with

1. Are the IT Manager roles, actually management roles or is it more a case that you are just another set of hands . It doesnt bother me as I have as much experience doing support and admin as I do management, and I'm very hands on, but it would help to understand so that I can adjust my CV appropriately.

2. Off the back of question one then, if there is a distinction between manager and support/admin staff, which type of position is in more demand/ has higher turnover?

3. Are all the recruitment agencies that ask for money scammers?? So far most of what I read seems to say yes, but just want to check here.

4. Have people got better responses when applying directly or via the recruitment agencies? Some cruise sites just say they will pass your info onto another recruitment company anyway.

5. Any tips as to key skills, technology that is in particular demand would be useful.

Any other tips/info appreciated.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 02:29 AM
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Hi taoist,

My experience is from NCL where the systems manager has officer priviliges. However, he is not in charge of any department, and as far as I'm concerned he practically did all the work related to him himself.

I would guess that in most companies the systems manager is hired directly by the cruise line.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 04:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMate
Hi taoist,

My experience is from NCL where the systems manager has officer priviliges. However, he is not in charge of any department, and as far as I'm concerned he practically did all the work related to him himself.

I would guess that in most companies the systems manager is hired directly by the cruise line.
Hi MrMate,

Thanks for that info, useful. From your experience do you think then cruise lines are more interested in just having a support type guy rather than anyone with management experience?

Also one other question , I dont know if you will know this but I looked at the NCL website and noticed there are two parts to NCL. I noticed the have separate recruitment for NCL america which seems to be tailored to US citizens, does that mean non US citizens cannot apply to NCL jobs??
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Old December 7th, 2007, 05:51 AM
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As for the IT systems onboard I think the cruiselines look for a support guy and call it IT manager to get qualified personnel. The department is managed by the Hotel Director and other technical matters are handled by the engine department which also consist of elctricians and elecronic engineers.

NCLA (NCL America) is a daughter company of NCL that operates three ships (soon to be two) in Hawaii. Rules and regulations says that ships operating on domestic routes in the US should have US flag and US crew.

But NCL - the original cruise line is international and has crew from all over the world. I'm norwegian myself and lots of people from the UK work there too.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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Thanks again Mr Mate, did not know about the US Flag issue.

I have a better idea what to look for and I guess I just need to get my CV out to as many companies as possible.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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Hi Taoist,
I’ve recently accepted a similar job, although I do not have any on-board experience as of yet I can tell you what they looked for in my case. As far as I can tell they are basically after someone to carry out 1st / 2nd level support across all the hotel dept systems such as office pc’s, epos terminals, backend servers, file & print etc. As I understand it’s more of an operator role (i.e. performing regular tasks such as checking backups etc) & support role as far as supporting staff with any issue’s.
The reason they use words like Manager / Officer is because the pay is generally of a better level than other hotel positions (but bear in mind IT guys don’t get tips , so it’s really not well paid all in all) & you get the privileges associated with someone of that level. As far as management goes, I think on the bigger ships you do have a support worked to assist but management experience isn’t really required. Mr mate may well have explained already that a computer officer is not a real “officer? as such other than the fact that you do have extra duties outside of computer support such as manning a muster station & advising the passengers with regard to emergency disembarkation procedures. I have been told that you have one emergency evacuation drill a week when the guests are ashore + one evacuation drill for guests once per cruise (i.e. once a week).
As far as the computer support goes it covers all manner of areas such as windows, Unix, epos & looking after all the hardware. You are also responsible for the access cards all guests are given on arrival which controls access to their rooms & is used as a charge card throughout their trip. You are backed up by 24/7 support in California. I got the impression they like to do the majority of pro-active work themselves onshore so I don’t think you get anything too technical on-board to get your teeth into, however just going by the diverse systems on board I’m sure there are things to be learnt!
That said, I am only going on what I have been told & won’t know anything for sure until I get aboard as I have been unable to find anyone who has first person of the IT role on-board. But I would say to you it’s definitely worth looking into a bit more!
Good luck with it all,
J
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Old December 7th, 2007, 01:52 PM
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Yes, Jersey Lad I think you got it all covered.
I could have started again on the officer issue but I did't have the time or strength at work today
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Old December 7th, 2007, 05:24 PM
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JerseyLand

Thanks for your reply, and good luck in your new role! I have a good idea of what they are looking for from your description. Although I have a bit of management experience, I have also done support and admin and prefer that anyway.

So in terms of the recruitment process how does it compare to your typical land based job. Do you have a telephone interviews first then face to face interview, is it with a recruitment agency or the company themselves.

Also what sort of timescales were involved in terms of replying to a job, being interviewed and then starting, as I read there can be long waits before you can start your job, is that correct, or is it a case they just expect you to work your one months notice and then start with them??
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Old December 8th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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Hi Taoist,
Ok, well the recruitment process is pretty straight forward, especially if you live on the mainland (bit more expensive if you’re in highlands or islands as they don’t cover flights for anything other flying you out to the ship to start your contract). Basically you have a face to face interview first (mine was in Southampton but I guess it may depend on the cruise line). Next is a phone interview with the technical dept in California, although they didn’t ask me anything particularly technical & seem more interested in your customer service ethics.
Once you get passed that you need to apply to the US embassy for a seafarers visa, & you also need to have a medical carried out by a registered ENG1 certified Doctor. (More expensive, but all required I’m afraid!)!
With regards to applying I would recommend going to the cruise companies sites directly, there is usually a section to submit your CV. From what I was told in relation to the IT job they usually recruit twice a year so depending on when you submit your CV you could be waiting anything up to six months to hear back from them. When they get in touch your 1st interview would usually be within a month & the 2nd a week or two after the 1st. It then all comes down to when the next contract is up & a slot becomes available to fit you in. They are pretty good though – firstly they offered me a contract on the 2nd of Jan next year, but when I explained my current job requires 3 months notice they came back with another contract starting on the 9th of March so they seem quite flexible.
Back to the face to face interview, this was more of a general interview with regards to working on a cruise ship (due to the big change in lifestyle etc), they seemed to be looking to see if I would be happy away from home for six months at a time & also keen to see an understanding of customer service etc. I am lucky enough to have travelled fairly extensively so I think that went in my favour, & as I’m sure you know most jobs in IT require a good level of service at all times so you shouldn’t have any probs there!
Hope this helps!
J
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Old December 9th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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Hi JerseyLad,

Thanks for the detailed reply. Customer facing skills is a priority, which is what I has expected, Ive done desktop support and telephone support so like to think Im not too bad in that area :-)

Thats good that they were flexible with your start date, I suppose that might not happen with evry cruise line.

So as you have accepted I take it they've given you a good idea of the setup, are you working along or with 1 or 2 other people? Do you have a shift pattern or anything. I imagine if your on your own, your on call 27/7?
What about your accomodation, Ive read you can be sharing upto 4 people or some cases you can have your own room do they tell you all this in advance.

Hope you dont mind me asking all these questions!!!

Thanks in advance.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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Taoist,
Yeah I have a pretty good idea of the set-up within reason. At interview stage I was told that there can be another one or two IT people on board but it is usually one IT officer & one assistant on the bigger ships. I have been told that the standard hours are 7-12 then a three hour break then on again 3-7. After hours it is an on call system (yup 24/7) either on your own or between two of you on a bigger ship.
Accommodation – I have been told I get my own cabin but again I think you have to be flexible about these things as they are based on the bigger ships with more space. I have only just found out that the ship I am going on is the Tahitian Princess which is one of the smaller ones among the fleet so I am guessing there may be a chance I will have to share a room due to the size of the boat. Again, maybe someone with some actual experience in this may be able to answer definitively as, as yet I am unsure to be honest!
Either way I don’t mind. The fact that I am heading to the South Pacific means I’m more than happy to share a cabin if needs be. My advice would be to be flexible & open to change as the way I see it take nothing as a given & you hopefully won’t be disappointed.
Let me know if you have any other questions, will try to help! & again if anyone out there has actually done this type of work on a cruise ship please post your thoughts / comments !
Cheers,
J
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Old December 15th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Hi Jersey,

Well thanks for all the info, hopefully some other people post on here as you say.
I check this forum from time to time so no doubt will be posting. Good luck with the position, hopefully you will post back here to give us an idea of what its like!
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Old January 25th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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hi Jerseylad
May i ask how much money an IT manager or assistant earn?
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