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About ew101

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    USA Midwest
  • Interests
    Cruising in Europe, cruise history, older ships
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Any line that still has ballroom/latin/two step dancing. 15+ cruises.
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. They are back to starting up 7/25. The June dates on the web site seemed optimistic. But the Bahamas seem to be preparing the welcome mat.
  2. There is a cart and horse problem here. The cruise and shipping industry needs to move past denial and into a realistic and sober mode about this infection, droplets, masks, etc. I think most have. Then we need ports and governments to step up. Places that have made money or wish to make money from cruising/shipping (Miami, etc.) need to help the shipping industry first at a crew level. This is not risky, expensive or difficult. You set up a 1000 foot dock. Ships come in. You have one masked customs/port person and a public health nurse with a temperature scanner check the paperwork. A TSA/CBP person or two to check papers or even a robot kiosk. You have couple of dedicated busses with drivers in PPE take the crews to chartered planes at a executive /charter terminal. They get on/off the planes. Done. You don't need 175 troops and flashing lights and overtime from six agencies all trying to get in on it (and risk infection) and running up the tab. This is a routine operation. The risk of a runaway random infection is near zero. Places like Nassau or Freeport could use leverage here. Ahh happy to help - but the resupply containers, 66% of future drydocks, 42% of crew changes come here from now on etc. Make it business. Crew change hubs can be a business. The industry is desperate and the islands need money. Let's leave re-hashing the blame to historians.
  3. I was impressed by the recent ship and crew rescue mission undertaken by HAL down near Panama. The US CDC picked it up as a best practice for the industry. And it was all reported in detail and in near real time on Facebook- the best practice for PR these days is honesty and disclosure. These are strategy decisions undertaken by senior leadership. The industry has an issue with massive refund and cancellation volumes - in the face of zero revenue to pay the bills. I'm having trouble summoning much anger and indignation over this.
  4. I watched the recent video from Simon Palethorpe on the crew return process. The photo in the email showed crew getting off the ship wearing masks. In the video he sounded sober and determined and used the word "change" to describe the future of cruising. This is in stark contrast to some of the other lines (Princess) who appear lost. I'm not a fan of the environmental strategy at Cunard but they do seem to have good leadership. https://www.cunard.com/en-us/inspiration/news-and-events/simon-palethorpe-7-may-2020?utm_source=cupppr&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ce0ms036_436&utm_content=video
  5. The CDC wants the returning crew to not scatter in the community on the way home- the buses to charter flights idea seems best- there was a case where an infected ship docked and everyone "went home" via random routes and prevented or complicated contact tracing.
  6. We have a cart and horse problem. You need a (foreign) port who will take you for a meaningful visit (i.e. get off the ship) and a (US) port you can leave from and come back to even if you have an outbreak. And we will need a new onboard product that meets the CDC guidelines and breaks every "rule" of the modern cruise industry. Passengers will hate wearing masks. Crew in individual inside cabins etc. My money is on Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and Freeport or one of the lines and a private island to pull this off on the foreign port side. Someplace like Costa Maya could be fenced off and run by ship staff, but has minimal medical facilities- but the "hospital ship" idea could help. I wonder which US cruise port will take us? I do have to smile here- the buffet- which is certainly IMHO a villain in the spread of Noro can be helpful here under COVID-19- grab and go /take out seems safe enough. I would want to be on an older ship with lots of open decks and not be indoors sharing air.
  7. The Wikipedia entry says the infection on the Diamond was early and unexpected and the quarantine was not well managed. The lack of HEPA (3 microns) filters was mentioned but this is key: https://www.businessinsider.com/diamond-princess-coronavirus-outbreak-investigation-food-workers-2020-3 -15 of the 20 first infections were in food service workers. The more recent experience on Holland America suggests infection on a ship more recently is not universal which it would be via aerosol /ventilation spread. I do have nurse friend who is supporting the aerosol theory.
  8. So if the ship goes to say Freeport, docks, and the little (fenced off) port village is opened by say Bahamas citizens on the ship's crew/excursion staff (to make it feel authentic) and the passengers go ashore and have a drink and sit by the pool and buy baskets for the afternoon, and then go back aboard at 5PM, does that count as a port stop? I'm thinking of a process that follows the letter of the law but does not put the island residents and limited hospital capacity at risk. The key here is to find at least one port/country that is "all in" on a cruise ships and will take a ship infected or not and allow medivacs, charter flights, hospital stays etc.
  9. The last I looked the virus is most readily transmitted via droplets. These fall to the ground/carpet/floor fairly quickly. Passing in the hall is a close encounter or can be. I'm not sure showrooms will be open, dancing etc. is a problem. I'm not worried about the serving part of buffets much for this virus (don't get me started on Noro) - we have had a month of grocery shopping and take out food here with limited transmission- but tables for eight are a no. It might be a grab and go situation.
  10. I think it might be OK to lobby someone modify or suspend the rules against US based cruises to nowhere (these restrictions are related to crew labor/tax laws I think) for the duration here- or find a loophole like anchoring/docking in a foreign port but not actually going ashore. The idea is the departure US port has to take you back, infected or not. Maybe you sail to Freeport, dock, take on 10 cases of local rum and a pallet of handmade craft items (which might count as a port visit), party overnight and return. ChengKP says Technical Port Stops are not allowed but maybe you go to a shopping village area. This could be staffed by Bahamas locals on the crew so it would not cause problems on land. Yea the idea to be at sea.
  11. I love classic ships and the Bahamas so I am a BPCL fan. They earned points with me when they jumped in and helped the Bahamas after the horrible storms. Times are tough- but here is a possibly crazy idea. The new US CDC memo is serious- so they need to follow it. The idea is to run an overnight ferry/cruise to Freeport and back. And or Nassau. And or Freeport to Nassau. Charge $79 or $99. Test before you leave, maybe on the way out. Branding: "Ferry to the Fun." Or maybe if ferries are not allowed you leave the current schedule in place. Talk to your Bahamas Government folks. They like you. If you can get a rock solid agreement to let you dock in Freeport *no matter what* (like with 20 infected people- unlikely overnight) you are golden. Figure out a plan to handle/treat/quarantine infected passengers and crew over there. Possibly a clinic or closed resort or a floor of the hospital. You need transportation and medical staff on standby. Talk to West Palm Beach - the same idea. No calling the US Coast Guard- they are tired of this. You will need to social distance. Sorry folks this means masks. I get this is all political but whatever. Complainers can wave from shore. You rent out the outside cabins. Crew and an expanded medical department are on the inside cabins. Air is not recirculated between cabins. Food is probably grab and go or every other table or room service. Bar service the same. Set out beers on the table. Pay with tokens in a slot. Tables 6' apart. A masked steel band on deck seems OK. Make a foot operated elevator button or voice operated or somebody in a serious hazmat suit. Technical detail. No lines allowed. Every other lounger. Same with slot machines. Maybe they get moved outdoors. Yea you will get a funny facemask tan. Let Bahamas people on also- and maybe have some local shops and entertainers aboard. This is a funky cooperative effort but needs both ends (WPB and Freeport) + all the customs rules 100% in. Yea it's not the 2019 cruise experience- but the entire industry is idled. If I'm on a ship and on the way to the Bahamas - what are my complaints exactly?
  12. Chengkp validated recently that generally shipboard passenger cabins do not recirculate air with each other- your cabin has a direct path to a fresh air intake up on deck. I have seen them up behind the lifeboats on our walks on classic ships. This follows my experience - I have never smelled the pizza delivered next door but do detect paint fumes from the big intakes on the decks outside when they are painting.
  13. I just got an email from Princess, campaign PF0MS080- here is a URL I found- the one I got was personalized to me There are three smiling onboard crew photos- including the medical department- none are wearing masks. Does anyone else find this bizarre and surreal? Princess today rules the global public health doghouse. The last time I checked COVID-19 spreads via droplets to receptors in your throat. The message to me is they have no idea what they are doing. https://milled.com/princess-cruises/important-health-and-safety-updates-inside-wE8j4nOtQkZ8k537
  14. Hopefully they are stocked up on masks for all (or can make some from sheets) and have a ventilator or two aboard. The illness spreads mostly via droplets. The recent US CDC memo to the industry was pretty harsh but accurately predicted this was to be the new normal and the lines better be ready to handle things at sea. The recent Holland America experience was an improvement and they can in this case spread the crew out pretty well as there are no passengers aboard. It takes about five staff to run any 24 hour operation long term- what do you do if you have 4-5-6-12 people in an ICU with current onboard medical staff levels? (Looking at the percent of infected people who might need more care). One thing they can think about industry wide - do you have some essential crew on standby - if you have an outbreak on the bridge or engineering or main galley, do you have a few chefs or watchstanders social distancing themselves and not eating dinner in the same room etc. who can take over. Where I live we have a very low infection rate. Grocery shopping and take out food are still allowed. One of the most important rules of cruising (gasp) will have to go out the window. Take out food (i.e. grab and go) is probably safest. Paper containers (remember those) can minimize the environmental carnage from vast plastic.
  15. Whatever has happened in the recent past is behind us, but the US CDC is pretty cranky. The latest memo is strongly worded and the steps needed are well defined. https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/pdf/No-Sail-Order-Cruise-Ships_Extension_4-9-20-encrypted.pdf There is a new article in the Guardian which has good and simple insights on the illness. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/12/five-months-on-what-scientists-now-know-about-the-coronavirus The key message is this: "Virus-ridden particles are inhaled by others and come into contact with cells lining the throat and larynx. These cells have large numbers of receptors – known as Ace-2 receptors – on their surfaces." This is pretty unrelated to Noro - tummy vs lungs- which we have pretty well figured out. So the primary laws of modern cruise industry economics and operations (larger, tightly packed ships) have to be tossed out, modified or put on the shelf. The only 100% proven mitigation strategy at the moment is social distancing. And the quaint idea of calling the US Coast Guard "Uh somehow 21 people aboard are suddenly infected and contagious - can you risk your lives and contaminate your equipment and rescue them?" is gone. So new and bold measures need to be taken if there is to be cruising: Online check in - no packed departure terminals - those video kiosks/carts work fine for US Customs Voice or phone or ? operated elevators Extra Washy Washy Social distancing in the buffet- good luck :) Every other small table at dinner Expanded medical areas - like part of a lower deck + ventilators More medical staff Interestingly the CDC has adopted the brave and clever idea of using another ship to rescue a stricken ship from HAL. The much maligned older ships can be used for this. Test kits and temperature checkers and PPE (which comes from where I wonder) Crew spread out i.e. no room mates - this will reduce guest capacity - which is needed anyhow No packed crew galley Masks - yep Spacing of loungers Pre arranged infected ship docking - when there an outbreak. If no port will take an infected ship- you don't go. This is not an IF question but a WHEN question. Pre arranged upgraded shoreside hospital facilities - can this be done at various ports- yes probably. The lines have cash now but won't by November . The idea is to incent ($$) places like the Bahamas to upgrade a hospital floor to handle COVID-19 cases. Rent some vacant resorts for quarantine Pre arranged private buses /rigs/ planes ashore Positive ventilation in common areas- we already have it in cabins per ChengKP - guest cabins do not share air with other cabins Etc. Many people will complain and raise a fuss- but what are the choices?
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