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Posts posted by yyjguy

  1. I too would be interested in Princess's response. At least the tour guide/driver tip is a suggested amount, not the MANDATORY put on your bill tip for on board services! How could Princess explain the differences between an option for driver/guide and an outright take away for bar etc aboard. I hear part of the issue is that the good drivers and guides, and the good coaches are assigned to work that generates tips. The left overs are given to the customers that do not generate tips. In the Rocky Mountains of Canada, Australian groups are referred to as "canoes"; a canoe sometimes tips while an Australian never does. The result is that tour companies like Scenic and Australian Pacific which hav Australian passenger get very inferior guides/driivers/coaches while Tauck, Grand Circle, Globus, Trafalgar get the top of the line. I think it is simple, regardless of what your custom is at home, "when in Rome do as the Romans do", and adhere to customs of the area in which you have chosen to visit.

  2. National Express is affected by traffic congestion on the motor ways. Today for example, a Friday, the 13:15 coach departed Heathrow 1:15 late. The 1:50 trip took 3:30 hrs due to "motor way congestion" (their words). Those types of delays do not sit well for me, all to save a few pounds!!

  3. Northender-I admit that there were comments on the costs, and yes they are high; that is the nature of the maritime industry. I did find the "mafia" inference very negative when the tug companies in San Francisco are all very reputable. The negative inference of a pilot just reading the newspaper and drinking coffee was also taken as a slight to very highly trained and qualified mariners. Perhaps because I work in the marine industry I am a bit sensitive!!

  4. BruceMuzz-your points are well made, but I do take issue with some of them!! The tugs are required for a very good reason. The combined horsepower of the tugs must equal 5% of the gross weight of the ship, and have the power and bollard strength to control the ship should it loose power and or steerage. Can you imagine the cost and havoc if a ship hit the Golden Gate bridge and damage or destroyed it? Or perhaps ran aground and caused a massive oil spill killing and destroying marine habit and shorelines. All over the world, not just San Francisco Bay such escort tugs are now required by local authorities to help prevent such incidents. Perhaps in some parts of the world marine Pilots just stand around and drink coffee leaving all forms of navigation to the ship's officers. However in many areas of the world the "local knowledge" of the pilots is essential for the save movement of the ship. Concerns such as traffic management patterns, strong currents and eddies, effects of winds and their vortexes all are things that deep sea mariners, regardless of their expertise, have no hope of knowing for each of the many ports they visit. Pilots are often a nation's first line of defense for potential dangers sailing in from the seas, with a keen eye open to competency of the crew, condition of the vessel, and compliance with local regulations and laws. Tugs and pilots should not be taken lightly, they have a very important role to play in the safe navigation of ships. I have to comment on the longshore situationl

  5. EdmPair-if only that was true, your boycotting would make sense. However, if you do not sail and visit St Petersburg, it does not mean that one less person visits and spends money in Russia. That cabin you would have occupied will not be empty, someone else would be occupying it. And, they might drop more money in Russia than you would have-perhaps it you wanted to make a difference you should have sailed!!

  6. 168Nemo-- This particular cruise gives one a chance to visit some wonderful cities around the Baltic, at a cost much cheaper than doing an independent journey through the region. If the idea of going ashore in St Petersburg bothers you, by all means stay aboard. It would be a shame to miss the other great stops. There of often minor problems in travel but I just shrug it off and chalk it up to just another experience. See you aboard!!

  7. I have stayed at the Blue Horizon a few times. An older high rise that has been well cared for and upgraded over the years. Excellent location for a walkers and shopper as it is on Robson St. Rooms on the south side are directly over the street and are noisier than the other faces. Only 8 rooms per floor. VERY popular with British and German tour groups. A $10 dollar cab ride for the 5 minute journey.

  8. Sunshine Nana-The VIA station is not in a very good part of the city, but it is only a $6.00-$10.00 dollar and 5 minute ride from any down town hotels. I have taken the train many times and recommend arriving at the station no earlier than 6:30 as that is when the preboard lounge opens for sleeping car passengers. Prior to that, you would be in the general waiting area for the bus station/train station, and it is not that pleasant. So-try for a hotel with late check outs. Enjoy the cruise and the rail journey-fantastic.

  9. All Princess ships on the Alaskan circuit, must sail through Hecate Strait as they do not embark Canadian pilots until they arrive at northern Vancouver Island. That body of water can be rough, on occasion very rough!! Last season, Rhapsody of the Seas and 3 Hollands all had to divert owing to very heavy seas. So Pacific's sea keeping tendancies should be considered!!

  10. This ship is one of 8 identical vessels. Within the shipping industry(were I work) they are know as having rather poor sea keeping capabilities in certain sea conditions; in particular a following sea. The terms "falling off" a swell and "slewing" are often used. All 8 of the ships underwent modifications shortly after construction (skegs added and visible on the stern) to try and moderate this characteristic. The effectiveness of these additions is debatable. So, if you have a following sea in Hecate Strait on the southbound portion of your journey you might "feel the motion of the ocean" more so than aboard a Grand or Island class vessel. Reason enough to avoid sailing on her? I really doubt it!!

  11. westcoaster: as a local you might like to know the following!! Rare for the northbounds to go in at Milbanke Sound, most often Laredo Sound or Caamano Sound depending on the currents and hours of daylight before the pilot boarding station at Triple Island. Volendam and Zaandam southbound usually head in at Browning Entrance come back out at Laredo.

  12. This summer Holland, Celebrity and Disney all travel the inside passage route between northern Vancouver Island and Prince Rupert NORTHBOUND only. Southbound they sail Hecate Strait to northern Vancouver Island, and then sail the inside eastern coast of the Island down to Vancouver. Holland's Volendam and Zaandam do sail both sections of the inside in both directions but they are 7 day round trips out of Vancouver.

  13. There is one major flaw with the Pacific Princess which frustrates many passengers. There is absolutely no forward view, and thus picture taking, without trying to see through very thick glass. The wind breaking glass towers over your head, and is often covered in morning dew, dried salt spray or bird poop. There is also limited side viewing without glass panels as well. The other ships in Princess's fleet and all of Holland America's have fantastic viewing opportunities.

  14. Several monthss ago I read an article by a very well respected travel writer trying to explain the differences between the cruise lines in a very simple manner. He compared them to General Motor's line of of automobiles. His thoughts:

    Chevrolets-Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian

    Buicks-Princess, Holland, Celebrity

    Cadillac-Seabourn, Crystal, Oceana, Regent, Cunard


    His answer as to which was best for someone was to look in the driveway!! Simplistic I know, but worthy of some thought.

  15. One of the differences that is noticed here in the west coast ports of Canada is where the passengers call home. Relevant to this discussion on the Princess board is that Holland America has a significantly greater number of passengers who reside in the eastern United States while Princess has the opposite with a much greater number of west coast Americans. Holland obviously targets that market more than Princess which must concentrates their marketing efforts out west and in the central states as well.

  16. The hourly wage and annual earnings, do not tell the whole or complete story. Those that make the huge annual incomes are not the low level types you see on the wharf moving passenger's luggage. The high earners are those very unique and highly skilled operators of the massive container terminal cranes you see at big ports like Long Beach. They do not work out of a hiring hall, but are contracted to the actual terminals. Other high earners are specialized in handling hazardous cargoes, chemical and petroleum, precision handling movements and radioactive cargoes. Their wages reflect their additional training, certifications, and licences.


    The low ranks that make that reported $35 per hours are in a vastly different league. They work maybe two days a week, the cruise ship days typically Saturday and Sunday, for 10 hours each day. 20 hours per week at $35 equates to $17.50 per hour for what is considered a normal work week which for most workers in North America 40 hours. In Alaska,Florida and California the cruise ship season is not year round either, with perhaps only 6 months of work at the passenger terminals. Yes there are some problem guys working the docks, but do not lump them all into the same catagory. Maybe a few get into expensive vehicles and drive away, but many are forced to use public transit, car pool or walk!


    There is another side to those that work the docks.

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