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cruiseej

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  1. I don't think that "conventional wisdom" is correct. There are all sorts of plastics used to make bottles. Some, like the ones being deployed on cruise ships, are designed to be washed in high temperature commercial dishwashers repeatedly with no degradation. The weight and size issue for shore excursions -- the .75 liter reusable bottles, versus the .5 liter lightweight single use bottles -- is definitely going to be an issue for some passengers, especially those who don't typically take a backpack, camera bag, or large enough fanny pack to hold the new bottles. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over time. The cruise lines will need to accumulate experience about how many get lost/broken/damaged while being sued off-ship. Until now, these systems have been used primarily in gyms, hotel pools and guest rooms, so there probably hasn't been a size/weight issue. I wonder whether the cruise lines might be able to get Nordaq/Vero to manufacture smaller bottles for this purpose.
  2. The initial uses of their water purification systems were for restaurants. Glass carafes were the appropriate vessel to use for that purpose. But that shouldn't create any concerns about the plastic bottles. As they expanded at hotels, hotels needed a solution for pools, health clubs, etc., and plastic bottles were added. As noted above, BPA-free, reusable plastic bottles designed to be used in commercial dishwashers have been around for a long time, so Vero and Nordaq added these products to their systems -- and that is what made it viable for cruise ship companies to look at widespread deployment. Suggesting that the plastic is less safe because it was added to the product line later has no basis in fact. Many high end hotels sell bottled water at a huge profit, so they may not be quick to give that up! But they may use plastic bottles in gyms and pools even if they don't put them in every guest room. Vero lists Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Kimpton, MGM Resorts, Gaylord, Iberostar and Hard Rock hotels among their customers. Nordaq lists Shangri-La, Marriott, Sheraton and Mandarin Oriental among their customers. I imagine how and where they use these water systems varies from property to property, but there can be no doubt a transformation is happening in the hospitality industry. No system is infallible. We've all had a dirty glass, a dirty plate, dirty silverware come out of dishwashers that should prevent that, but there are always both human and mechanical factors which can render any system fallible. I'm only saying that I see no reason to expect the cleaning of reusable plastic bottles to be any more problematic than the cleaning of other vessels and tools we're all used to eating and drinking from.
  3. £300 really sounds like a mistake. If it includes all you say, consider yourself incredibly lucky! No matter what sort of contracts Seabourn has with airlines, £300 just has to be a mistake. Just the hotel and transfers at both ends should run £300. With two flights -- one premium economy, the other business class -- I can't imagine that costing less than £3000. Can you make final payment today to lock it in? 😉
  4. This is exactly the misinformation I'm trying to debunk. 😉 First, BPA-free, resuable, dishwasher safe hard plastic water bottles have been around for a decade or longer. Second, the "micro-fissure" issue with bacteria concerns the single-use water bottles that are being phased out. Single-use plastic bottles -- the ones we're used to on the ships -- are mostly made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, and that is the plastic that develops micro-tissues and is not recommended for re-use. That problem has nothing to do with the hard water bottles of the type Seabourn is using; all they really have in common is that they are both commonly called "plastic" bottles, although they're nothing alike. (There are hundreds, maybe thousands of different types of plastics.) As @sfvoyage has pointed out above, Seabourn and other cruise lines have long used re-usable plastic "glasses" on the pool deck, which get washed several times a day and constantly reused, yet I don't know of any concerns that has raised. Look, everything we use in everyday life is subject to changes as science unveils some new unknown hazard. Perhaps something bad will be found in dishwashing detergent. Or the chemicals used to finish glassware. Or a reaction between silverware and residue in towels after washing. Maybe some day they'll tell us the polyethylene coating of milk cartons isn't safe, and there will be a shift to another vessel. Red wine will be found to be bad again, then good again… 😉 My point is there are always new discoveries and theories, and I'm all for being guided by legitimate scientific findings. But people protesting the switch to reusable bottles on the grounds that it might not be safe is not, to my knowledge, based on anything factual. (And not to get political here: facts still matter. 😉 )
  5. And you think Seabourn (and the entire cruise industry) has decided it's acceptable and worthwhile to trade off passenger health and safety in order to save some money not hauling plastic water bottles around the world and to fill a marketing checkbox for sustainability? I believe the cruise line executives know that if passengers on their ships get sick from germs transmitted on reusable water bottles, their reputation will collapse and they would lose millions or billions of dollars.
  6. Well, I think that's a misperception. The cruise industry didn't come up with the idea of plastic bottles. Nordaq shows them as one of their core products on their website: Similarly, competitor Vero (which Seabourn and Oceania are using) on their website talks about the system being designed around reusable bottles… I do understand passengers wanting complete information and assurance that the system is safe. I just think when you take a step back, there's no way these companies could be implementing systems like this if they weren't rock-solid convinced that they are hygienic and safe. (That doesn't assure that people will like the taste, but that's a different matter.) I do think the size/weight issue for shore excursions is a valid one. I haven't yet held one of these bottles, but I understand that a larger circumference and heavier weight will make them less desirable for some people.
  7. Yes, that is concern people are expressing -- and I am questioning why. These bottles are designed to be washed in high temperature commercial washers, repeatedly, over the long term. I understand that there are a wide variety of things we lump together as "plastic", but there is science and testing behind what is being produced for this purpose. So why is "the washing of glass and porcelain a different matter"? Only because we're used to it and don't think of it as harmful, right? (At least we're not European royalty of a couple centuries ago, who died from using pewter plates that were high in lead content; they blamed certain foods, not the plates!)
  8. Every major cruise line has eliminated, or is in the process of eliminating, single-use plastic bottles. Perhaps I'm being naive about this, but I find it impossible to think that these large multi-national billion-dollar companies are implementing systems they haven't thoroughly tested, and that they would put their reputations at risk for health code violations and, worse, illnesses to passengers and crew, on unproven systems. People are questioning how we know whether water bottle cap has been cleaned, and I don't know the answer, but I do believe the people running these cruise lines absolutely do know the answer. It's as if Seabourn had always served meals on paper plates, and not announced they were switching to reusable, washable porcelain -- and customers said "How do we know they are getting these new plates clean? How do we know the paint on them doesn't contain dangerous chemicals that will seep into our food? Nope, I'm going to bring my own paper plates and use them on my cruises." I say that somewhat tongue-in-cheek, of course, and I'm not firing insults at fellow cruisers who have concerns. I do think it would be smart of Seabourn to provide information -- on ships and on their website -- of the how's and why's of the water systems they're employing, to build customer-confidence that they have done their due diligence, they have done their testing, and to assure customers that drinking from water bottle is as safe to use as picking up a wine glass at the dinner table.
  9. Well, that's a reasonable concern with the buffets, but I'd say it's a different problem for another thread…
  10. No, these bottled are made of a hard plastic that's designed to be cleaned at high temperatures hundreds of times. BPA-free water bottles are nothing new; they've been in use for many years. It's a very different type of plastic than is used in the single-use water bottles. There's not much posted on the Nordaq website about their cleaning, so I'm not sure if they actually provide the cleaning equipment. But if you look at their competitor, Vero, the bottles are designed to be cleaned by high-temperature dishwashers found on cruise ships ands restaurant kitchens. I don't know if they have specific machines just for cleaning the water bottles, or if they can go through existing cleaning equipment. But surely you wouldn't have nearly every cruise line in the world, as well as thousands of hotels and restaurants, switching to these filtered water/reusable bottle systems if they weren't proven to be safe; no one would even pass health inspections if the bottles weren't cleaned properly. Now, can there be human error in cleaning? Sure! Have you ever sent back a dirty plate or utensil in a restaurant? But if we trust a cruise ship to have cleaned a wine glass or water glass properly, why is there so much doubt that they are equally capable of cleaning water bottles specifically designed for cleaning and reuse? I don't think this is going to come down to a health issue. I think the question will be whether the water tastes good -- a subjective thing reasonable people will naturally disagree about -- and whether the bottles are convenient enough. (People have been talking about whether they're too big/heavy to take on excursions, but I'm more interested in whether there's a way to get them into the refrigerator, because I like my water cold!)
  11. Yes! We traveled with friends two years ago on their first Seabourn cruise, and quickly took to calling it Ten Forward. And I think it is now our name for any cruise ship observation lounge -- we took a river cruise with the same couple this past summer, and referred to the lounge as Ten Forward, even though there were only four decks on the ship!
  12. All cruise ship lines are in various stages of reducing or eliminating plastic bottles. Norwegian this week became the latest and largest line to state that they will completely eliminate single-use bottles by the end of the year, using the Just system. Earlier this year, Oceania announced they'd do the same, using the Vero system. Sister company Regent also announced a transition to the Vero system earlier this year. This press release from Seabourn (PDF) about their sustainability efforts mentions the expansion of Nordaq water systems, although it stops short of saying if/when they will completely eliminate single-use bottles. Nordaq began as a water purification system to produce water food enough to replace bottled water, landing some of the top hotels and restaurants (Thomas Keller's among them) as early customers. Their "Grab & Go" bottle seems to be a response to Vero's bottle system. Regent gives you a Vero bottle to use during your cruise and take home at the end. I think I like Seabourns' approach better, where bottles are more frequently cleaned, and there's less consumption of bottles (assuming many passengers will not take one as a souvenir). That said, I carry a Hydro Flask insulated water bottle with me all the time, because I like cold water, and I definitely don't purify it daily! (@Catlover54, there's been lots written about the pitfalls of reusing single-use plastic bottles due to micro-cracks which harbor harmful bacteria, and because once used, they can leach a carcinogenic chemical called DEHP, so you may want to re-think your strategy. 😉 )
  13. I was sure this was a joke until I looked it up. Yikes. So I'll apologize in advance to fellow travelers on my upcoming cruise that the total value of my t-shirts and collared shirts is likely less than the cost of this shirt, and because of my apparent frugality, I will be wearing only one shirt at a time. 😉
  14. It clearly depends on when as much as where. I just checked our former-Cuba 12/20 14 night sailing on Sojourn, and a V5 is going for $14,999 per person (OB is $,8999) -- not exactly fire sale pricing! But if you want a bargain, the 7-day sailing the week before (12/14 on Odyssey) has a veranda OB for just $1,999. And that cruise itinerary hasn't changed -- it was never going to Cuba -- but clearly they've got rooms they need to fill that have nothing to do with the ban on Cuba travel.
  15. @seacruiser123 I'm sorry you took my short reply as a "lecture"; I was trying to answer your question: "what does a refillable bottle mean." Refillable bottles are designed to be able to be commercially washed and reused indefinitely, unlike single-use disposable bottles which cannot be effectively reused. You wrote: "We don't want a refillable one at all" and I was trying to explain that I believe you will not have a choice at some point. I haven't seen a definitive statement from Seabourn (or Carnival), but many other cruise lines have said they are eliminating single use disposable bottles entirely. Regent, for instance, has stated they are in the process of switching to Vero in a two phase implementation: phase one replaces disposable bottles in suites, restaurants, lounges and bars, and phase two will replace disposable bottles with reusable Vero bottles for passengers to use when they go ashore. (Here's an article about Regent making the switch. Here's one about Oceania eliminating single use bottles. Here's one about Royal Caribbean/Celebrity/Azamara doing the same.) Seabourn has been using a system from Nordaq to produce their onboard water for the past three years. Posts from Seabourn passengers this summer indicated that the reusable bottles were in suites… … but disposable bottles were still available when leaving the ship. If Seabourn is doing like the other cruise lines, there will likely follow a next phase where the disposable bottles at the gangway disappear. I hope by citing more information, that's more helpful than my previous reply.
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