img_0941_1.jpgAs indicated in my previous blog entry, I’m part of a team of twelve that deploys the computer & network infrastructure of the new Carnival ship, the DREAM, something which takes about two months to complete. The DREAM is being built in the quaint small town of Monfalcone in North-East Italy, and this place isn’t entirely new to me as I have already been here for the startups of the Carnival VALOR and LIBERTY in 2004 and 2005 (the Carnival SPLENDOR was built in Genova in 2008)…

The DREAM leaves for her inaugural voyage: 2954 days ago

There are different stages to deploying the IT infrastrucure. First, all equipment (65 pallets with roughly 1400 boxes) needs to get inventoried, unloaded and distributed to the storage space, next, the 50 hub closets need to get inspected, equipped and verified to be working, the data center racks need to get stacked with UPSs, servers and network equipment. Once the network is up and running, the Cisco cell phones are configured for ship’s management, and finally all computers, monitors, POS terminals and printers are put in place and the installations are validated. That last step isn’t done until just before the ship sets sail due to the fact that work is still going on in many areas around the ship.

We’re living at the Hotel Sam three blocks from the main town square and a 5-minute car ride away from the Fincantieri yard. The rooms are very nice, and my window faces the Alps (which unfortunately can be seen only on clear days, but then it’s a great view). Breakfast is served in a glass-domed hall on the top floor and is something I enjoy every morning – it’s a huge buffet with rolls, various types of bread (packaged, not fresh), croissants, hard-boiled eggs, cold cut meat, cheese, jams and marmalades, fruit juices, yogurths and six different mueslis/cereals. The perfect way to start a day ;-)

We’re then driving to the yard in our three rental cars, normally at 8:30 AM, stop by the site office, don our coveralls, steel-toe shoes and hard-hats, and walk over to the ship berthed an estimated 800m away. We embark on deck 0 near the infirmary and hope that the forward elevators are working to take us up to deck 6 where the data center is located and where we have occupied several cabins to store our equipment until it is needed.

When lunchtime comes around, we’re leaving the ship and head over to the canteen (very close to our site office) where we exchange meal tickets for food. Returning to the ship a while later, we continue doing what we are doing until 5 PM or so and then head back to the site office, change into normal clothes, return to the hotel, take a well-needed shower and get ready for dinner at 7:30 PM. It’s served in the hotel’s restaurant and is expectedly rich, home-cooked and delicious. We can’t choose from a menu but get a surprise meal each night, and so far I haven’t been disappointed. They serve white and red table wine with dinner, too!

That sums up our days out here. We’ll be moving on board once the cabins are all ready which is typically two weeks prior to setting sail. We maintain a website with photos and blog entries (www.dream-startup.net) so for sure check it out. Following are some photos I’ve taken around the ship and the yard. Hope you enjoy them.

kat-small1