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Everything posted by AmazedByCruising

  1. The ship was near shore and could have stranded. People were already being evacuated by helicopter and they were really close to having to evacuate using life boats.
  2. Not to replace the normal training, and the pax would be not be existing crew. I'm suggesting that a group of trained volunteers would visit ships once in a while to enable a drill that should resemble a real emergency more, with passengers behaving similar to what has been observed in previous actual emergencies. And then exaggerate a bit to make sure in a real situation the pax would behave better than during the training. Probably most show up, and shut up. But to prepare the crew for the worst: a few pax are panicking, a few are deaf and fast asleep, one broke his ankle, one keeps telling the crew that he's platinum and should have priority access to the tender, another faints leading to more panic, one feels he should take the lead, some are confused, some are drunk, some don't speak English, one can't leave his cabin without assistance, etc. Similar to https://www.casualtiesunion.org.uk/ .
  3. Crew is continuously trained to be as nice as possible, and don't really look like an average guest. 🙂 At least in theory you could have a team of (possibly volunteer) actors in Miami whose sole job is to act like passengers, visiting a few muster stations during turn around day. Planned such that at least a certain percentage of the crew has had to cope with them in the last 12 months. But, as you say, it's the Captain who can turn an accident into either a disaster or a smooth process.
  4. A bunch of people doing their chore during muster drill does resemble a cardboard sign saying "panicking pax" a bit. The crew would learn more than learn than with the new method, but it wouldn't have one person acting like RGEDad was asked to, but perhaps many of them. If the muster station is a restaurant, I can totally see people running to the lifeboat instead "to be first in line" and the rest of the group following those. I wonder what they found out after Costa Concordia and Viking Sky.The latter looks quite relaxed.
  5. Why is it that ships need a floating ground instead of mimicking what happens on land? (The whole structure and subsequently the ocean is "earth"). And could an exception be made for cabins, for the electricity to "act normal"? I.e. any appliance bought from Walmart deemed safe for domestic use would be just as safe when used in your cabin, and no way to even detect a shortcut somewhere else on the ship?
  6. Spain wants to be paid when you order a drink in their waters, but there is no VAT that could be avoided by sailing to a non EU port. Who told you this?
  7. I didn't check in on line and I didn't use a credit card to purchase the ticket.
  8. Domestic voyages in Europe would mean a cruise from one port in Italy to another. Nobody would be interested in such a cruise. The EU doesn't have a rule saying that a Panamese ship cannot transport people from Denmark to Spain without a detour to Iceland. I wonder why we don't have the problems that the US avoided by adopting the PVSA.
  9. Which means that you must know which fines the cruise line might make you pay for. There are examples on this site where even representatives of the lines themselves didn't understand the law when it gets a bit more complicated, like B2B cruises. I don't think people simply booking a cruise instead of a resort should need to read the fine print of their contract, then the law itself, then how it is interpreted, to find out that that if grandma dies on the ship she can't be flown home but must enjoy the rest of the cruise first. (But after submitting enough forms you will probably not need to pay for it). IANAL, but I wonder what a judge would say about such an unexpected clause in a contract. BTW, I have never signed a contract with the cruise line, nor with my TA. All that was needed was a copy of my passport and payment.
  10. Of course not. Nobody does. A perfectly valid argument could be that you didn't know that the government would punish you if you kill someone. To make sure that you cannot use such argument in court, you are "supposed" to know each and every law. Most people understand that killing and stealing is probably written down somewhere without actually reading it. PVSA is different. Any 5 year old can tell you that stealing stuff is bad. But you need a lawyer to find out if your vacation is allowed or not.
  11. You are "supposed" to know the law. So you cannot kill someone and say that you didn't know that there's a law saying you shouldn't. It gets ridiculous when you need advice from a website to understand if your vacation is allowed or not. If that's needed, there something wrong with the law.
  12. Lobbying isn't necessarily done by companies or unions. I think, but cannot prove it, that the much earlier Steamboat Inspection Service was not entirely based on uproar about accidents that politicians felt should be addressed. I've seen it happen myself. Leaving out all details, there was an NGO, completely paid for by the government, that would be useless without law X. After law X didn't make it the boss told us that his only priority was to keep the jobs. He didn't care at all about the disasters that would happen without law X, my impression was and still is that nobody at the organization cared. It was about jobs. That was in 2012, but it would have been the same in 1887 or 1871. The safety of passengers (let me be clear: pax on cruise ships, not the duck boats or ferries or whoever does coastal transportation of people) is not increased by a law if the only result is not that the ships get safer, but sail to a so called far port which the passengers don't care for. Besides PVSA, I don't think it's really needed that the government makes sure that chlorine levels in a pool are OK to protect he public. There are enough ambulance chasers making sure that the companies even rethink opening a window because it happens that a guest lets a toddler fall through the window and then blames the company.
  13. Even if you die on a ship, you can't simply be flown back before having visited a foreign port without a fine for the company. The whole concept of "transportation of people" is completely obsolete when most passengers fly to their ship to embark, and fly back after disembarkation. The law originally and officially meant to make sure steamboats were safe, and I do doubt that that was the real reason for making it a law as lobbying is not a recent invention. I guess the owners of gambling ships back then didn't want their ship to explode either. Now, in the cruise line business (not the duck boats, not the ferries, I think your lawmakers are perfectly able to make a distinction), it protects jobs that don't exist. At the same time, there could have been a thriving Miami-like industry to supply the ships to make West Coast cruises happen. Unfortunately it's so much easier to see a job that could be lost than it is to see how many new jobs could have been created. It's also hard to convince voters that some of their vacation options are stolen if they didn't have them in the first place. A super-waver, simply saying "ships that are on the list of officially accepted cruise ships, which is overseen by our important Committee that can decide that a duck boat is not a cruise ship but MS Rotterdam is, can hire whoever they want, can be built anywhere in there world, and we don't care about their itineraries." Recent Covid-laws did simply include a list of ships. Those "experimental" laws will show all unwanted results and welcomed results. I'm convinced that the current waivers won't lead to job losses, threats to the environment, or threats to the safety of guests. Let's see how it works out.
  14. If I got to decide, and I think most people in Europe agree, there wouldn't even be an "EU". You probably understand that I cannot "tell the EU" to put an end to their cabotage laws. I'm happy to throw stones at at whatever stupid thing I see.
  15. IIRC , crew costs about the same as fuel, 15% or similar. Without much calculation, let's assume that paying US crew according to US standards would raise a $500 fare to, let's say $750. If PVSA was just about hiring US crew, there would be ships going up and down at the West Coast. In reality, almost every cruise ship is registered elsewhere, sailing to "far" ports that their guests don't care for, and can't do West Coast cruises because there's no far port available. PVSA leads to a lot of damage which cannot be easily seen, whereas the "saved jobs" are easy to show. The simple fact that there aren't any cruises on the West Coast shows that something is amiss. The only reasonable explanation is PVSA. There could have been companies that could have supplied the ships with food. There would be farmers growing food for the suppliers. So many travel agents. So many cab drivers, hotel owners, tourist guides, piano tuners. So many magicians, so many people who know how to arrange flowers or how to keep the guests happy even during bingo. They are not on CNN saying that they'd lose their job without PVSA because due to PVSA the job they would have preferred doesn't exist. It's hard to explain in sound bites, and the piano tuner might not even realize it, but there would be more pianos to tune if PVSA wouldn't be so busy protecting US jobs. People flying to port X to sail to port Y after which passengers fly back is not "transportation from port X to port Y". Such cabotage laws were obviously meant to mean actual "transportation of people" that should be done by US ships only. In 2021 people fly to port X, sail a bit, and fly back from port Y. The product is obviously not "transportation". PVSA was officially installed to prevent exploding steam ships. Again it's obvious that passengers don't need such protection. I think it's more than reasonable that lawmakers thoroughly think about PVSA and make some adjustments that would allow more itineraries and wouldn't force ships to sail to ports nobody cares for. I'd say that PVSA should be gotten rid of altogether.
  16. Not the Chief, but CO2 from the air will soon make it less pure and lower the pH depending on the amount of available C02.
  17. Not all water is distilled, it could have been made using reverse osmosis or bunkered in port as well. Not only taste, also because pure distilled water is very acid and the ship's piping wouldn't like it. (@chengkp75 would have a precise explanation :)) That aside, most cruisers are used to at least some level of chlorine added to the water at home. If you are not used to chlorinated water, like me, the faintest smell of chlorine reminds you of freshly cleaned toilets or a swimming pool as those are the only circumstances where you meet the smell. I don't think water from a bottle is any safer, healthier or smarter than water from the tap in my bath room, but if there's a bottle left in the fridge I'd drink that. And might decide to get a beer instead of walking all the way back to the bath room 😄
  18. Elons Musk said earlier this year that StarLink will offer 300Mb/s by the end of this year, and he has only just begun deploying satellites. Zoom sessions should be better because the low orbit leads to a lower latency. I expect internet connections on ships to be much faster and more reliable very soon. And a few years from now, passengers will regard internet access as a "basic need" that the ship should provide for free. As an employer, Covid forced us to have everyone working from home. We had no problems whatsoever. I would be totally fine if people don't work from home but want to work while being on a ship. I'd only be jealous 🙂
  19. I'm not in the advertising business, but saying out loud that drinks are cheaper now and gambling is allowed would remind the guests of yet another reason that the seas are better than a resort. I wonder how you'd technically be able to post purchases later than they happened. IIRC, people get a receipt for each beer they order, with a time, and taxes applied. The exact location at that time is not a secret either. It needs just one guest (or IRS employee) who feels that the state is entitled to that money and one receipt is suddenly enough proof for a huge fine. Why would a ship take such risk?
  20. That's not a fair comparison, because the event is there to mark the end of a cruise. Not the end of a dinner. In a land based restaurants, the restaurant owner doesn't come on the speakers to say that we had such good times together, doesn't thank his waiters and cooks, there is not a traditional desert to celebrate, and the waiters and cooks don't start singing goodbye and we'll see you again. Then again, it surely is ridiculous in COVID times. And it should be widely known by now that singing is a super spread event unless 0.0% is infected, especially if you put a lot of pax and crew in a confined space and let the crew sing from above. Pre-COVID I have compared shaking hand with Captains to a well designed tradition to spread Noro, I wonder if CDC has a registration of people who report they were on a ship 5 days ago.
  21. I'd expect a test facility especially for cruisers in Miami, with direct communication with the ships to tell who's OK. If I needed my clientele, paying for and expecting 5* treatment, to go through this inconvenience, I'd make sure that people would show on YouTube that while the test itself was a lousy experience, the fun started before embarkation. Bubbles at the entrance, then the test, the forms, the luggage, and then a few hours waiting for the results. With an open bar with the best cocktails and live music. You'd get texted when the results are in and you're officially allowed to embark. Where "embark" might mean stumbling to your state room and skipping dinner. But I understand correctly that MSC didn't even bother to tell you where to find a test facility in the cruise capital of the world?
  22. Once again, thank you for the wealth of information you provide. It really is fantastic that on a forum meant to discuss formal nights and chocolates someone takes the time to tell the very details of how the ships work. Also, I heard that you are quite soon having enough time to write the book 🙂 I've looked those up. "Crimson Polaris was swept away by a strong wind while anchored and resultantly ran aground". Would a dry dock have prevented this? MV Wakashio "was inspected by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai", the classification society just 5 months before the accident. MV Prestige also was inspected by the American Bureau of Shipping and that apparently didn't help. By a mad Captain, I meant Schettino 🙂. For cruise ships, the biggest risk does not seem to be that the ship or its engines were the root cause for disasters, nor a lack of documentation on how the ship should be managed, it was people making wrong decisions at the wrong time. Most recent and most notable: Viking Sky and Costa Concordia. So if I were leading the risk management department of a company that insures ships, which could be another line and not necessarily an insurance company, I wouldn't rely on dry docks and ISM. So to "refine", maybe I'd want a full time embedded inspector who reports violations and can put an end to the carreer of the Captain. Or, maybe simply ask crew members every few months if they feel that the company wouldn't mind ordering them to use a magic pipe, dump garbage, or ignore alarms. If more than 20% would (anonymously) answer yes, the premium is raised. My company also has its "ISM", and we felt it was necessary to make a short version in the form of a "thou shalt not" kind of document, together with sanctions. While in a perfect world crew would be looking up how to handle luggage in a safe manner, and the Captain would look in the manual to see how far he should stay from land, in reality people simply guess what the procedures are and to what extent the company expects them to follow them. IMHO, the only realistic way to have procedures followed is to train people to the point that they guess right and could write the ISM themselves. So that's another way to assess the risk. Ask the bar crew to write down what they'd do if the ship suddenly lists and count how many mention bottles compared to how many would worry about moving furniture. There's footage of the Costa Concordia incident where bartenders took care of the bottles. In short, I think there is more than "did you have a dry dock no longer than 2.5 years ago" to calculate the risks.
  23. Maybe. Almost every article I read that has the word "LGBTQ" in it is about politics, gender neutral toilets and safe spaces. I feel we're actually going backwards by carving out gays (and all the other letters) as "special", as if they are an endangered species instead of a big percentage of the population of which most don't want to be treated as "special" and don't want to be categorized as being part of a community. Dorothy is just fine, "you are only allowed when you have a letter or don't feel a need to fight people who do" is a bit weird.
  24. Big mistake of HAL IMHO. The letters make it like "we have dedicated a special bar for people who have the LGBTQ disease". Not sure what the American connotation of LGBTQ is, but to me it's "activism". An 8 year old explaining that "Mike has no father, but he has two mothers" (actual real live example, except Mike isn't really called Mike) is just perfect and it should be just that for the rest of his live. The LGB.. letters puts a perfectly normal couple that happens to be of the same sex into a category of whom it is expected to dedicate their lives to demonstrate against oppression while in reality they don't have time for politics as one works as a teacher and the other just recently got promoted and can now decide if a mortgage should be granted or not. They don't hang out flags and there's no reason why they should either. While I haven't been at a FOD gathering (well, except that I was but also was the only one), Dorothy seems a like a welcoming person for anyone, no need to bring the flags and politics. No need for letters either, everyone who needs to know knows that Dorothy throws the best parties.
  25. Once again I want to thank you for the explanation. And can't help to continue asking more questions :) If I'm correct, it's not the classification society that actually underwrites the ship. They are the auditors, they officialy put checkmarks on a list. If they say the anchor is OK when there is no anchor they're out of business. The ship owner, who's paying for their services, might say that the ship doesn't need an anchor because the ship doesn't sail and is only used as a hotel. If the auditor does insist on a useless anchor, there's another classification society because there are more than one. That is a bit old fashioned, isn't it? Farmers would insure mutually for their haystacks in 1820. In 2021, a bar owner doesn't insure against fire by making a deal with other bar owners, they'd call their insurance company. And that company doesn't sell beer but has specialized at odds. They bet that your bar doesn't get burned down, and the bar owner bets that it does so if it burns down he's still OK. The insurance companies don't ask for minimizing the risk as much as possible, but they do like some measures. Insuring against burglary is cheaper with proper locks and an alarm system, but if you have someone patrolling 24/7 you don't need the insurance company. So, I wonder why each and everyone says that 2.5 years is just perfect after exactly 15 years. You mention azipods but I think that history shows other problems. Failing azipods may lead to OBC for a missed port, but not a disaster that a multi-billion company should insure. Not sure if Carnival insures their ships, but if they do I wouldn't know why. Recent things (for cruiseships) are bad weather combined with a failure to make sure there's enough oil in the engines. A Captain gone mad. A bit earlier: the ice berg. If I were the insurance company, or if the insurance was organized like a crowd funding thing (just like Lloyds started), I'd want to know how experts "feel" about a ship. Does it look clean, is the crew happy, would crew use a magic pipe, what kind of messages are put on the door in the engine room, does the Captain say hello to the guy that cleans plates in an elevator. If it's all neat and tidy, I'd bet that it won't sink and would put some money on the line that says it won't. Obviously, it's easier to have rules like a dry dock every 2.5 years, and have it checked by some auditor, but as there's so much money involved I'd expect a much more refined system. The real problems seem to be a failure to follow procedures and mad captains, not a rusting part of the ship that nobody noticed and the line didn't care to look at.
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