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  #1  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 10:26 PM
seaventurer seaventurer is offline
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Default Expert Summary of Dawn Incident (Objective)

The ongoing and subjective assumptions of the Dawn's incident prompted my posting of a summary based on (i) 35 years of cruising, (ii) over 70 cruises on (iii) 30 ships, (iv) a comprehensive understanding of newbuild and passenger vessel construction, (v) marine forecasts and weather tracking, (vi) sailing through hurricanes and confused seas on cruise ships (up to 60 foot seas) and a desire to remedy some of the misinterpretations posted as a result of the incident.

The NCL Dawn was designed, built and is a cruise ship. Cruise ships within the last ten to fifteen years are constructed with a reduced draft (or draught - hull under the waterline), sometimes a flat bottom hull, lightweight materials, and at a cost which maximizes revenues and profits based on space ratio and density. The Dawn has a draft of 27 feet and again, was purpose built as a cruise ship (vs. Ocean Liner).

The Dawn is NOT an Ocean Liner (eg Queen Mary 2, QE2, etc.) but has a decent draft. Ocean Liners are designed to "weather" the forces generated by large ocean swells, waves, winds, and structural stresses resulting from the heaviest sea conditions. The QM2 has a draft of 32 feet - The Norway has a draft of 34 feet.

The Dawn sails through some of the world's roughest sea conditions; the North Atlantic AND the Gulf Stream. She has managed to perform fairly well through her history of sailings out of New York, through the North Atlantic and Gulf into the South Atlantic - and to date, has been very lucky (albeit the rough seas and late arrivals we have all viewed through via her web cam), but her design does not lend well to the forces of the North Atlantic.

NOTE: Stablizers are not effective at speeds under 14-16 knots, so at 4-6 knots, nothing would have reduced the rocking of the ship.

NOTE: The Dawn's Master and navigational staff were well aware of the conditions which resulted in 20-40 seas enroute to New York prior to the rogue wave.

Without the rogue wave "incident", the sailing (cruise) would have been nothing more than a rough voyage from Miami north - and into a very obvious and evident significant weather system that was destined to generate a very predictable rough transit.

THE ROGUE WAVE IS THE ULTIMATE ISSUE AND ALL PASSENGERS MUST READ THEIR CONTRACT WHICH CONTAINS A DISCLAIMER - Force Majeure. Get your ticket and read it... THE ROGUE WAVE which is in reality the core of the issue at hand was an act of God.

NOTE: Read this definition of Force Majeure: "A French term literally translated as "great force," this clause is included in contracts to remove liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events and restrict participants from fulfilling obligations."

- I do not believe NCL corporate placed pressure on the Master of the Dawn to get to New York regardless of the circumstances. However, the miscalculation of the sea conditions combined with the revised itinerary could have been avoided.

- The Master could have ported the ship knowing that the sea conditions were increasingly building and of a maginitude close or equal to hurricane force - again avoiding the outcome as it ocurred (except for the rogue wave incident).

- Slowing the ships speed is not an excuse for error. If the ship continued cruising at 14-18 knots through those seas, the ship would have been heavily damaged and many people would have been hurt.

LAST WORD: The Dawn consistently sails through large seas and conditions associated with the North Atlantic and has been successful until the past week in maintaining safe passage. The combination of the events that took place including (i) the knowlege by ship's staff that the seas and approaching weather and sea conditions were adverse, (ii) a desire but not demand to arrive in NY early, (iii) and finally, the rogue wave which added insult to injury and can NOT be blamed on human error has culminated in a media and industry disaster. The message is that while cruise lines are in business to make money, and are seeking to lower costs and raise efficiencies, NCL did nothing out of the ordinary and/or compared to any other cruise line that if in the same position, would have ended in the same or similar circumstance.

We are judging a cruise line and the Master of a vessel after the fact. Within reason, and in reality, no one is to blame for these series of events. Cruising, flying, travel, driving and life all have risks...when you go to sea, you trust that the adventure will be pleasant and carefree but remember - the ocean is a power that changes and at times out of the realm or imagination of even the most savvy, experienced sailors...

That's it !
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  #2  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 10:33 PM
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Expert? credentials? While it sounds plausible, personally I will await what the USCG and NTSB has to say. Do I believe the Captain did anything wrong...not from what I have read so far. Do I have questions that an independent third party should answer. I do. I know that the NTSB still hasn't decided what caused the Norway boiler to explode(I understand that have not been able even with experts to determine the cause--and clearly they have not determined that there was any wrong doing). I have no idea who you are for all we know you stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
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  #3  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 10:35 PM
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Wow, very well said. It puts it all in perspective. Thanks.
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  #4  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 10:39 PM
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Default Bravo!

you have a wonderful talent for stating the facts: clearly, calmly, fair and impartial, and i for one salute ya!
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  #5  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 10:46 PM
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Question Sailing the Atlantic to the Caribbean

I am curious if Seaventurer is suggesting that no "cruise ship" is capable of sailing year round from New York to the Bahamas and the Caribbean? Next winter, two more cruise ships, Norwegian Spirit and HAL's new Westerdam will also be doing these cruises out of New York. Are they also unsuitable? The problem with having only deep draft "ocean liners" doing this itinerary limits their docking in many southern ports.
Many "cruise ships" on many cruise lines do repositioning cruises across the Atlantic every year, thus far without any serious incident. I doubt that most cruise ships over 90,000 tons are in any way unsuitable or potentially unsafe to sail the Atlantic.
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  #6  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:11 PM
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Seaventurer, I like your style. I hope you hang around these boards. It's a nice change to read a well-written post. I don't agree with all that you say, but I respect the way you said it.
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  #7  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:15 PM
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I asked for your credentials---- I never said I was an expert in anything. and yes my comment was aimed at your credentials. Yes you sail a lot...but you still aren't an expert. No one with any sense would recognize you as anything but an experienced amateur. You are entitled to you opinion. I will still await someone who knows, whether or not they stayed in a Holiday Inn Express not withstanding....You haven't questioned the crew. You haven't questioned the passengers- you don't know what reports the Captain recieved about the weather. I am sure we will eventually learn all the facts. I haven't drawn any conclusion but I am haven't held myself out as an "expert"

and by the way since you obviously respond to critism by calling people names...look in a mirror...
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  #8  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:56 PM
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Seaventurer, I thought your contribution to the board regarding the Dawn incident was unbiased and well stated.

This thread reminds me of a certain football rivalry (Auburn vs Alabama comes to mind ). Each side is over emotional and quick to blame the coach or anyone else that doesn't agree with their perception of what happened.
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  #9  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seaventurer
The ongoing and subjective assumptions of the Dawn's incident prompted my posting of a summary based on (i) 35 years of cruising, (ii) over 70 cruises on (iii) 30 ships, (iv) a comprehensive understanding of newbuild and passenger vessel construction, (v) marine forecasts and weather tracking, (vi) sailing through hurricanes and confused seas on cruise ships (up to 60 foot seas) and a desire to remedy some of the misinterpretations posted as a result of the incident.

...

That's it !
I think your expertise is well stated, as is the summary you prepared. I've read lots of the posts, mainly in search of new material, links, and references, and appreciate your comments. I have come across much of what you have said, but nowhere was so much of it compacted into one report. Other than hearing from the committee members conducting the review, and the NCL administration involved before and after the event, I do not anticipate hearing or reading much more that will change my current understanding of the incident, or how it may impact my future cruising plans. Right now the only impact is I must diseminate related information to family members cruising with us to Bermuda on the Majesty in June, and your summary may well fit the bill. By the way, what's the norm for a ship like the Majesty travelling to Bermuda in late June?

Thanks for your well founded and "expertly" written summary, and for Smeyer418, what's the problem if he did indeed stay in a Holiday Inn Express? For someone whose comments have been looked upon quite favorably on this board in the past, I would say your reputation takes a big hit on the manner in which you have attacked seaventurer. With so many "amatuers" out there clutterring up the board with their emotional outbursts, we should welcome such input and not shoot it down so hard.
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Last edited by Tomct; April 23rd, 2005 at 12:10 AM.
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  #10  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 12:09 AM
seaventurer seaventurer is offline
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Default Cruising in the Atlantic - Dolphins

FACT - cruising from New York to the Bahamas and/or the Caribbean includes sailing through and in the North Altantic and Gulf Stream. Regardless of the time of year or season, sea conditions in the North Atlantic can be not only unpredictable but unrelentless - witness the rogue wave the Dawn experienced this past week.

Never did I propose that...as you stated, " no cruise ship" is capable of sailing year round from New York to the Bahamas and the Caribbean?"... While all of the newbuilds can and will tolerate significant sea conditions, these ships will not provide the comfort and level of stability as say the QM2 in large seas.

Sea and weather conditions regardless of weather forecasts, predictions and even existing circumstances can change without notice. I am not only a seasoned cruiser but a mariner. No radar, satellite, buoy or sextant can tell what the ocean can and will do - I have witnessed first hand conditions at sea that changed without notice; within a heartbeat; and surprised Captains to the point that in minutes, our ship was involved in circumstances which went from calm to confused.

NOTE: Many cruise lines reposition their ships from the USA to Europe via the Southern Caribbean and the Southern Atlantic Route. For example, they will sail from Ft. Lauderdale to San Juan, then Barbados, and then North to Tenerife so as to avoid a direct Mid-Lantic route from say Miami or Baltimore to Southampton.

NOTE: Fortunately and historically, the spring season is the calmest in the North Atlantic - coming home in the fall (reverse transatlantic) can be different...there are several accounts of green water over the bow and bridges of every single ship that comes home to the US for their Winter season.

Is cruising from NYC safe? Of Course. Will these ships and those onboard be subject to very rough seas and circumstances beyond the control of the powers to be? - YES.

Nature of the business...have fun.
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  #11  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 01:32 AM
seaventurer seaventurer is offline
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Default THANK YOU and FYI

Cruise ships are at the mercy of the sea. It is the responsibility of the Master of the ship and his/her staff and crew to ensure safety to its' passengers (and crew). If you don't understand the force of an ocean, take a cruise during hurricane season and test the waters.

The cruise industry is in an explosive stage - first time cruisers - the majority of passengers today, are in general unaware that regardless of the size of their floating destination, there is motion. Do cruise lines promote motion at sea: and that rocking and rolling can affect the outcome of the experience? Of course not.

SHIPS ARE SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS AT HAND -

NOTE: Any ship regardless of size, design, age, and destination is subject to conditions which may adversely affect their passenger's experience and expectations. 25 foot seas on RCL's Explorer of The Seas will make lots of people sick - dining rooms will be half full, and sickness bags will be carefully positioned everywhere. The pool table will remain level.

POINT: Am I THE expert - NO. Is there ONE expert - NO. I am an expert in surveying these type of circumstances and situations based on not only past circumstances but a very elevated expertise in cruise ship design, maritime and weather patterns and how vessels react and perform at sea - yes...and once again, thanks to the media, NCL has taken a big blow to what happens to many cruise ships every year...want more? I'll gladly post the reports...

Are we safe sailing on today's cruise ships - you bet. Just plan accordingly. Winter in the North Atlantic, or anytime is a throw of the darts...and nothing would stop me...
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  #12  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 08:13 AM
Dolphins Dolphins is online now
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Thank you for your reasoned reply to my inquiry regarding cruise ships vs ocean liners. I only raised the point that you may cause anxiety in cruise ship passengers by suggesting that today's "cruise ships" were not suitable for ocean travel. While they may not be as desirable as "ocean liners," they are certainly more than adequate for ocean travel anywhere. They are almost all built in Europe and must cross the Atlantic to reach their eventual home ports. I have sailed HAL's Rotterdam from Dover to New York in September via Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland without incident. I have sailed the Pacific from San Diego to Hawaii and return on HAL's Statendam without incident. Cruise ships sail regularly around the Pacific and South America and have been doing so for years. To my knowledge there have never been any incidents that posed serious danger to passengers. To suggest that they are not properly configured for ocean travel would appear to me to be an exaggeration.
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  #13  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 08:33 AM
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Seaventurer, thanks for the opinion and the post. I like to read from someone who has been on so many ships. I also agree with Dolphins that said that we need to be careful about stating that other ships might not be as seaworthy because of their drafts.....while this might be true in some respects, it is not entirely correct as they are very seaworthy vessels.....no need to cause undue anxiety to cruisers of these ships....

Also....the "Holiday Inn Express" statement from the other poster seemed confrontational, so don't loose sleep over posts like this....consider this with the territory....
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 09:27 AM
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Seaventurer,

Thank you for your information and your opinions. I am embarrassed at the attack. This board is getting meaner and meaner. Sometimes it even makes ME mean

You are obviously a fan of ocean liners, as am I.

My DH and I were talking about the many cruises we have been on and of the many storms we have gone through. The best (for me) The worse (for him) was on an old 10,000 toner sailing through the Florida Straits.

The dining room was below the water line and as I was having dinner water was pouring down the walls and dripping from the ceiling I like storms at sea, I find them exciting. For some reason I don`t get scared, call me crazy.

I would love to sit down with you and glean info. and swap stories.

Happy Sailing, and don`t let some posters scare you away
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 11:36 AM
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Another point on stabilizers, which are designed to reduce roll, and are not designed to lessen pitch.

True they are of no use at speeds under 10 or so knots - but in heavy seas, at service speed, they are often retracted, as they can act like diving planes on a submarine, pulling a ship down by the bow, which is not a good thing for a surface vessel.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 12:04 PM
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Seaventurer, as I stated earlier, I appreciate your post. For me it underscores NCL's biggest failure - and that is the way it has handled this whole incident from a public relations standpoint. What NCL should have done is have its PR people at the ship when it docked to meet and speak with reporters. Airlines and other businesses do this when there's been a significant event positive OR negative. In many news stories they are quoted as not responding to questions. This is a kiss of death as any PR expert will tell you. Had they had effective PR crisis control, much of the information you've provided would have been stated to the media, thus taking a lot of the wind out of angy passengers' statements.

Someone on another thread crowed to me that NCL is owned by one of the wealthiest people in the world. Makes me wonder why the owner doesn't spend some of his money on hiring good PR help.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelWarrior
Seaventurer, as I stated earlier, I appreciate your post. For me it underscores NCL's biggest failure - and that is the way it has handled this whole incident from a public relations standpoint. What NCL should have done is have its PR people at the ship when it docked to meet and speak with reporters. Airlines and other businesses do this when there's been a significant event positive OR negative. In many news stories they are quoted as not responding to questions. This is a kiss of death as any PR expert will tell you. Had they had effective PR crisis control, much of the information you've provided would have been stated to the media, thus taking a lot of the wind out of angy passengers' statements.

Someone on another thread crowed to me that NCL is owned by one of the wealthiest people in the world. Makes me wonder why the owner doesn't spend some of his money on hiring good PR help.
They did have management at the pier. Only a couple of reports carried the remarks. I saw him on local NY news. Can't remeber the name but it was the VP of Fleet Operations. Why ruin a story with facts. BTW in my view NCL handled this far better then any other negitive event in the last several years.

Besides having management at the pier, they issue and posted regular releases, they contacted all effected on the next cruise, they made generous offers while passengers were still onboard.

In the past NCL had a the worst PR plan. They would go dark, no updates online or to the press, take weeks to make a reasonable offer to those effected and in some cases make unreasonable offers.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeyer418
Expert? credentials? While it sounds plausible, personally I will await what the USCG and NTSB has to say. Do I believe the Captain did anything wrong...not from what I have read so far. Do I have questions that an independent third party should answer. I do. I know that the NTSB still hasn't decided what caused the Norway boiler to explode(I understand that have not been able even with experts to determine the cause--and clearly they have not determined that there was any wrong doing). I have no idea who you are for all we know you stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
I don't think you attacked the original poster at all. I too want to know what credentials this member has to come to the board and speak as an expert. I'm not saying he doesn't know what he's talking about. But many many many members here are brand new cruisers and believe a lot of what people say here. If I'm going to put my faith in what a self proclaimed expert says, I'd like to know a little more about what qualifies them to say that. That doesn't mean I don't think they know what they're talking about.

I also totally got the joke about Holiday Inn Express. That's in no way an attack or being nasty. It was a joke. So many people here have said that they're tired of all the negativity since the Dawn incident but no one will take the first step to lighten up and realize that we can have a dialog without it being nasty. If someone questions something you've said, answer them. Why then say you were attacked or someone is being mean? I just don't get it.

Sorry for the Saturday morning soapbox. I think I have pregnancy hormones raging.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Host Cecilia
I don't think you attacked the original poster at all. I too want to know what credentials this member has to come to the board and speak as an expert. I'm not saying he doesn't know what he's talking about. But many many many members here are brand new cruisers and believe a lot of what people say here. If I'm going to put my faith in what a self proclaimed expert says, I'd like to know a little more about what qualifies them to say that. That doesn't mean I don't think they know what they're talking about.

I also totally got the joke about Holiday Inn Express. That's in no way an attack or being nasty. It was a joke. So many people here have said that they're tired of all the negativity since the Dawn incident but no one will take the first step to lighten up and realize that we can have a dialog without it being nasty. If someone questions something you've said, answer them. Why then say you were attacked or someone is being mean? I just don't get it.

Sorry for the Saturday morning soapbox. I think I have pregnancy hormones raging.
Yeah....we are all cracking up over the Holiday Inn Express statement.....funny "joke".....(tongue in cheek of course)
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 02:52 PM
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by frontrangecruiser
Yeah....we are all cracking up over the Holiday Inn Express statement.....funny "joke".....

I do not get the joke Can someone please explain it?
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