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About rogerc1944

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Lincoln, CA, USA
  • Interests
    travel, exploration, history
  1. rogerc1944


    I've always found the AC to be a bit weak on all of the Star Clipper ships. The worst was in French Polynesia aboard the Star Flyer (2/09). The AC was totally dead throughout the ship. Ten days in a steel box on a tropical sea in the tropical sun! Star Clippers refunded half the cost of passage it was so bad.
  2. rogerc1944

    Questions - first TA first time Star Clipper

    Hello Hugh, The food aboard all Star Clippers' ships is European. However, there are always three entrees at dinner including a vegetarian entree. An hour or so before dinner, they put display dishes of the entrees and hor dourves out in the main saloon. If you don't like any of the entrees, you can have a steak (although these tend to be cut a bit thin) Also, you can let Star Clippers know about your dietary concerns and they will take care of you. They say they want to be notified in advance of sailing so they can stock proper foods. Breakfast and lunch are buffets (lots of salads in addition to hot and cold entrees and sandwich makings including a carving station--lots of desserts too but I'm sure no one would ever, ever dream of actually eating them). The breakfast buffet has made to order eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes as well as lots of fruits, cereals, toast, fish, cheese, etc. Their wine stewards are incredible. They will know you by name, cabin number and wine preference from the first day. Wine prices by the bottle aren't too bad (starting at about $20/bottle). Here's another thought about dressier clothes for dinner. My wife thought I went a little too far on the casual side. Especially aboard the Royal Clipper, people do dress more and it's true that the Europeans in particular dress up alot more at dinner. So, you might want to take that into your luggage calculations. The religious services I helped with were totally non denominational. Just about every religion in the world was represented by the passengers and crew. This made the service lots of fun and a real learning experience. I used to be Chief Archaeologist for the CA Dept of Transportation. That's getting further and further in my rear view mirror. I've been retired for almost 7 years and am now actively involved in being a bum. My professional outings tend to be limited to giving a paper or doing volunteer work. I'm getting to be venerable (how awful!) and most questions that come my way begin with, "Good Lord! I thought you must have died years ago!". I'm beginning to feel like "Father Time" but look more like "Father Christmas". Oh well. Roger
  3. rogerc1944

    Questions - first TA first time Star Clipper

    My best advice is to pack lite. There is laundry service available (generally next day) and you can buy some new stuff on board too. Also, much of your trip will be in tropical waters so less is more. Keep in mind that no one really cares what kind of clothing you wear. Be boring and just pack a couple of pairs of khakis, a couple of polos, and a single pair of loafers. The rest of your wardrobe would include shorts and tees, trainers, a couple of swimsuits, socks and underwear. We took jackets (fold up in their own pocket variety) but never had occasion to wear them. If you really want to be formal, bring some kind of sports jacket. Of course, some people like to really dress up and enjoy formal clothing. That's fine too but it's a choice--not a requirement. Your guess as to the nationality makeup is pretty accurate. Sometimes, there are also quite a few French and a few Italians. A good portion of the English speaking passengers will be Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders. As to fitting in late, that shouldn't be a problem. New people and stories are always welcome to the group. As a suggestion, you might want to participate in the night time entertainment. I had to write (and sing!) a sea shanty for the passengers' No Talent, Talent Show. I got complaints for weeks that people couldn't get the tune out of their heads! I also helped to conduct church services for the crew and passengers (although I haven't been in to church in nearly 50 years). This sort of personal involvement really makes the voyage more fun. Anyway, I'm sure you'll have fun. Wish I was going too but I promised the grandkids I'd take them all to Harry Potter World and Walt Disney World in Orlando. Then ... there's a trip though the Panama Canal. Some day we'll get back aboard one of the Star Clippers crossing to somewhere.
  4. rogerc1944

    Questions - first TA first time Star Clipper

    I went on the Royal Clipper TA in October, 2003. The water was smooth as glass and we didn't experience a single cool night or day (Rome to Barbados 23 nights). We had no need whatsoever for all the cool weather clothing we brought. It did rain for about 20 minutes the day before we got to Barbados. We were really hoping for rougher weather where we would really sail. No such luck (of course, your crossing could vary widely!). We also went on the Star Clipper's last full TI cruise in October/November, 2009. Once again, we didn't experience any cool weather. Basically, we wore shorts and tees the whole time (except at dinner of course). We did have some tropical rain (heavy but short duration). We did have rough seas so we really sailed. In addition to the type of activities you mentioned, you will find that your fellow passengers are great people and very well-traveled. Meeting such people is the best part of the trip. Peter (cruise director on the Star Clipper is incredible!) will conduct at least one lecture and probably two every day. The crew and the passenger talent shows are incredible. Too bad Star Clippers had to abandon this crossing but the Somali pirates are quite dangerous (we got stuck off the Horn of Africa for 8 days due to contrary winds and currents). This was a true adventure. Have a fun and safe trip. Roger
  5. I just spotted the article below on CNN: (CNN) -- The Canadian coast guard began ferrying passengers on Sunday from a cruise ship that ran aground an unmapped rock. Officials aboard the Clipper Adventurer reported their troubles on Friday. The crew failed to dislodge the ship during high tide on Saturday, while Sunday, a coast guard icebreaker arrived to transport the people on board to land. No one of the estimated 128 passengers and 69 crew members were hurt or injured, said Theresa Nichols, a spokeswoman with the Canadian coast guard. "They are in the midst of completing the operation of ferrying the passengers off," she said. "That operation should be just about finished." The passengers are being taken to Kugluktuk, a small town on the shore of the Arctic Ocean, where accommodations have been arranged by the cruise ship company, said Nichols. They are then expected to fly to the Canadian city of Edmonton. The grounded vessel is stable, but rests with a slight list, according to the company that operates the cruise ship, Adventure Canada. "Weather remains favourable as passengers continue to enjoy onboard programming and hospitality," the company said in a statement.
  6. I experienced the Epic's version of elitism from the wrong side. How did it work? Well, read the comments on the Epic's maiden TA voyage. Those in the suites enjoyed themselves and were generally quite pleased. The rest of us, generally not so much (though I'm sure that there are those who will vehemently disagree). I just felt that as a common passenger (ie, one inhabiting a regular cabin with a balcony), the ship was too noisy (overlapping entertainment venues, bowling alleys, gambling machines, etc.), had too many missing features (library, game/card rooms, quiet areas, promenade, etc), and didn't do enough to control smoking (especially in the gambling areas and folks pitching their cigarette butts down on uncovered balconies). The upper crust passengers had a place to escape, receive premier treatment and enjoy the views that were denied the less lofty.
  7. According to Travel Weekly, Windstars parent company is likely heading for delisting by NASDAQ. Here's the story: Ambassadors likely headed for Nasdaq delisting By: Michelle Baran August 05, 2010 Ambassadors International, parent company of Windstar Cruises, told the Nasdaq Stock Market that it will likely not meet the requirement that stockholders have equity of at least $10 million, which likely will result in the company's delisting. According to an Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Ambassadors told Nasdaq on Tuesday that it plans on reporting the deficiency in its second-quarter earnings statement on Aug. 9. On May 11, Nasdaq informed Ambassadors of its failure to meet the minimum-bid price requirement of $1 for continued listing on the Nasdaq Global Market. After participating in a Nasdaq hearings panel, the panel granted Ambassadors' request to remain listed as long as Ambassadors had a closing bid price of at least $1 for 10 consecutive trading days by Sept.10, 2010. The company has not yet met that requirement; Ambassadors has closed in the 50-cent range since mid-May. The decision also required that Ambassadors comply with all the other requirements for
  8. rogerc1944

    Oasis vs. Epic: Which Will You Choose?

    We were on the Epic. They do have some pretty fancy stuff (huge tv screens, great entertainment, very friendly crew, etc.) but it's nearly impossible to find a quiet spot (no library, game room, etc.). The Epic nickels and dimes you at every turn. The main activity is gambling in their smoke filled casino. You are forced to go thru the casino because they have removed buttons from the elevators and blocked the stairs). Music at full blast is everywhere and almost impossible to escape. Lage crowds everywhere and insufficient seating. The standard balcony cabins are very strange: short beds, entering thru the bathroom, near transparent doors visible thru out the cabin, a dog bowl sized sink that causes water to splash all over the floor, a hair dryer that plugs in below the coffee maker (put hair, etc. in the coffee makings -- yuk!). We so disliked the way Norwegian manages their ship and we will never sail with them again under any circumstances.
  9. rogerc1944

    Please focus on the positives for the Epic

    There were some good things about this ship, such as the entertainment, the magnificant two story screens, and the crew were wonderful. The food was average to excellent. the beds were very comfortable. The ship was also very good at accounting considering the large number of passengers on board. The interactive features on the TV for checking your account was convenient. The odd thing about this interactive feature occured when they dropped the option for booking entertainment venues. The overall quality of this ship was severely disappointing. The ship was designed for gamblers, drunks, people age 18 to 30, and young children. There was very little for anyone over the age of 40 to do unless you wanted to attend seminars for arthritis or diabetes. There was no library. No quiet areas. No place for conversations or playing cards or games. Music venues overlapped and were always played at maximum volume (whether indoors or out). For example, Sheehan's pub was located next to a bowling alley that also blared music from three tvs. There was also music in Sheehans. The sounds from the casino were right nextdoor. There was a live music venue in the atrium below. Then, there was the air hockey clacking. This can best be described as chaos with all the cacaphoney. The casino area covered abou 1/3 of one deck and the smoke was horrid. The elevators and stairways were located at either end of this over thousand foot ship and would force you to go thru the gambling area (removing elevator buttons and blocking the stairway!! Come on!). Embarkation/Deparkation procedures were a mess. Embarkation was from a series of hot airless rooms (passengers actually passed out while waiting). If we had followed the Epic's procedures for debarkation, we would have missed our flight (9 hours after docking!!!). Charges aboard ship were excessive (nearly $30 for a six pack of beer), $25 pp fees for dining in most restaurants or even higher for special meals, etc. The staterooms are very odd: See thru shower and toilet doors and short beds. Soundproofing was inadequate when located over music venues (who wants to sleep with music booming thru the floor?!!!). We didn't feel like we were on a ship. The experience was more like a Las Vegas casino. There were no nautical themes, photos or pictures of ships, seascapes, etc. It was even difficult to see the ocean from the public areas. What on earth was Norwegian thinking of when they built this ship? We couldn't find a single person who liked the Epic. We also found it to be strange that Norwegian has reintroduced the class concept similar to the QM2. There were areas of the ship which could not be accessed unless you were in the highest cabin categories. Strangely, the ship provided almost nothing to celebrate its own maiden voyage (1 hour of free drinks--big deal). Not only will we never go on the Epic again, we won't ever go on a Norwegian cruise again.
  10. rogerc1944

    Epic's delivery remains on schedule

    Here's the article on the new dumster fire: http://www.saint-nazaire.maville.com/actu/actudet_-Le-feu-dans-une-benne-devant-le-paquebot-Norwegian-Epic_-1365751--BKN_actu.Htm The fire in a dumpster in front of the cruise vessel Norwegian Epic New warning tonight at Epic Norwegian ship, moored in the port shape Joubert Saint-Nazaire, four days after the fire which broke out aboard the ship. This time, the fire was fortunately on a much more benign. It took around 19 hours in a dumpster located not on board, as was the case in the night from Monday to Friday, but on the platform. The blaze was quickly circumscribed but given the events of earlier this week, extensive resources have been deployed. On the spot, besides the men of the security service of the site, we do not less that seven vehicles of firefighters served by a score of men.
  11. rogerc1944

    Epic's delivery remains on schedule

    David--What kind of drinks will be served in the new smoke house lounge? Firewater?
  12. rogerc1944

    Star Clipper more $$$ than Windstar????

    Windstar is probably offering cheaper fairs than Star Clippers as they have had a difficult time with profitability. They need to attract as many people as possible. Windstar offers a wonderful product at a great price but there are some concerns about their stability as a company. They are owned by Ambassadors International whose stock closed today at 57 cents. This is better than last year when the stock was a 25 cents/share. We cancelled a cruise with them as we were afraid that it would go out of business. We were wrong and Windstar is still sailing along. I truly hope they will continue.
  13. rogerc1944

    Suggestions for savings on Star Clippers - U.S.?

    If you go to starclippers.com, you can sign up for their newsletter and other mailings. There is additional information on the starclippersblog.com. Although the blog is not directly affiliated with Star Clippers, they do have all the contact information (800 nos., etc.). There are lots of good stories, photos, and videos.
  14. rogerc1944

    Star Flyer Tahiti Transpacific to Caribbean 02/14/2010

    Some pieces of information: 1. Don't count on the pursers office for exchanging much money or any banking. Their primary purpose is billing you for drinks, excursions, etc. They just don't keep much cash around and banks/atms can be hard to find at some of the stops in FP. Bring lots of small US bills for such a long journey. Also, travelers checks can be difficult to cash and entail some steep fees. Your cabin will have a small safe to keep your money and valuables in. 2. When we flew to FP last Feb, the ATN flight was about half empty. From what I hear, things have gotten worse for ATN and they fly way under capacity. You can probably have a whole row to yourself but that's not guaranteed. You can also buy into business class on ATN at the check in counter. This cost us an extra $700 pp but it was sweet. Going back to our usual place in the cattle car has been tough ever since. 3. Consider bringing a fairly good first aid kit along. They have this stuff on board thru the doctor or nurse. Tracking these folks down can be a "pain" and their meds (although they did forget to bill my wife for some throat lozenges) aren't close to being free. A bottle of asprin/tylenol doesn't take much space. Finding anything on shore beyond a bandaid can be nearly impossible. Stores don't sell medications of any kind. You have to buy all medications from one of the government medical clinics (we decided that taking a water taxi for a 25 mile jaunt to another island where the clinic was located for some asprin was a bit much!). Have lots of fun on your adventures! I wish we were going too. Roger
  15. rogerc1944

    Have you sailed with 9 & 12 year olds?

    Unless you're really fixed a particular dates, you might want to wait to book. Star Clippers often begins offering cruise deals in the late fall with items like 2 weeks for the price of one or free (or reduced) airfare. Also, Star Clippers offers reduced fares for previous passengers (we got 25% reductions last year). One last item you might want to check with Star Clippers is whether they have cabins that will accommodate 4 people. I know they have cabins for 3 (3rd person gets a big fare reduction) but I'm not sure about 4 passengers. Aside from the Owner's Cabin and Category 1's, cabins are adequate but not exactly spacious. I suspect that there are other folks on this forum who have the answer. Roger