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Everything posted by Donald

  1. The answer depends greatly on the type of cruise line you choose. If you go mass market, the answer is easy. The majority of mass market cruisers try to eat their money's worth for the first 72 hours of a cruise. On day 4 they all realize at the same time that they are going to die soon if they continue at that pace. From day 4, food consumption drops considerably. Mass market lines load the menus with the cheaper items for the first 3 days of the cruise to save a lot of money. From day 4, the better quality items start appearing. That's the same time that most mass market cruisers are on a self-imposed "diet", which lasts until the final day or so of the cruise. Then they pig out on the final 24 hours to save money for the trip home. If you cruise the premium or luxury lines, there is a completely different pattern. Most of these cruisers do not feel the need to eat themselves sick, just because it is "free'. Food consumption starts quite low, and continues low until the end of the cruise, when the Chef puts out all the luxury items he wants you to remember when you fill in your cruise rating forms. The final 1 or 2 nights see an increase in food quality and consumption - but nothing as shocking as on the mass market ships.
  2. On this itinerary you will experience seasickness on odd-numbered days while heading North and even-numbered days while heading South.
  3. Everyone wants local cuisine on a cruise. Very few get it. The US Public Health Service (USPH) claims jurisdiction over just about every cruise ship in the world. They do not approve of protein items purchased locally. Many North American passengers have a variety of food allergies / phobias / problems. Local spices, sauces, condiments are rarely labeled in English - if at all - and pose a health threat to all those who have food issues. In many countries, authentic local food is not very appealing to North Americans. They prefer the "Americanized" version. On every ship I have managed over the past 38 years, everyone wanted local food - until they tasted it onboard. The common complaints were: 1) It tasted better on shore; 2) It was far better at the restaurant in our home town in Florida / North Carolina / Montana.
  4. There are telephones in Turkey. You can call Princess to verify. Any information you get on this website will be anecdotal stories or guesses.
  5. I'm not defending them either. I couldn't be bothered to look it up. When Orlando first joined HAL, he visited all the HAL ships to meet the employees. One day he had lunch with the Senior Officers on my ship. At that lunch he confided that he had been Arnold Donald's room-mate in college. Maybe he was lying??
  6. Arnold Donald is currently the head of the Carnival Corp Board of Directors. Orlando Ashford was his room-mate in college. That's all you need to know.
  7. Would you be surprised to learn that individual cruise lines know exactly how profitable they are and discuss it internally all the time?
  8. You are missing the basic problem. On Carnival's other brands, the guests do generally spend an average of $60 per person per day onboard the ships. The numbers vary by ship, itinerary, season, weather, and many other factors. But the fleet average is $60 per person per day. HAL has the same $60 hold, but HAL passengers rarely reach that $60 limit. You and a few others may well exceed that number, but the average HAL passenger does not. That is why you have never seen HAL increase their credit hold. There is little reason for it. I worked on HAL ships for years, trying to reach that magic $60 average daily spend on a cruise. My yearly bonus was tied to that number. I almost never made it. Neither did my colleagues.
  9. Between Whittier and Vancouver, the seas are roughest on alternate Tuesdays, and on Thursdays of the weeks that begin on an even number.
  10. The Carnival Corp Group, which owns about half of all the mass market cruise ships on earth, targets an average daily onboard spend of $60 per person on their ships. That is where they get the $60 credit hold number. This doesn't seem to be much of a problem on most of the Carnival-owned lines. But HAL has a particularly "frugal" demographic that finds the number excessive. This also explains why HAL is the least profitable of the nine Carnival Corp companies: AIDA Carnival Cruise Line Costa Cruises Cunard Line Holland America Line P&O Cruises P&O Cruises Australia Princess Cruises Seabourn Cruise Line
  11. Vancouver Port Authority has informed other cruise lines that Island Princess will remain at Canada Place at least through tomorrow (Thursday).
  12. Jim, You may be surprised to learn that fires occur on ships quite regularly - from all sorts of sources and devices. You might also be surprised to learn that cruise lines are not very fond of publicizing those fires. In most cases, when we experience a fire onboard, most passengers are not even aware of it. But the most surprising thing for most cruisers is who is responsible to pay for the damage when a cruiser starts a fire in their cabin. The cruise contract makes it very clear that the passenger who causes damage to the ship is fully responsible for the payment. In my 37 years at sea, I have seen only a dozen or so fires caused by heat producing devices in guest cabins. Nearly every time, the guests who caused the fires were as surprised as anyone. The typical response was, "Gosh we have never done this before". Next, when I inform them that they owe the cruise line $200,000 for repairs to the cabin, their responses are priceless - but cannot be repeated here.
  13. You probably meant to type Wind Spirit? A great pun, in any case. Tahiti is a French colony that is a very, very long way from France. They are very proud to offer a wide array of French products - including wines - that have been shipped at high cost from France. On top of that the Tahiti government adds a high import tax on alcohol. Prices for French wines in Tahiti can be shockingly high. You might want to think about a "Plan B" for wine.
  14. Donald

    Glacier Temps

    Am I understanding this correctly? You are visiting this place for the first time and are speculating on the temperature. You contacted the company that goes there every day and received an answer that does not match your guess. Now you are asking total strangers - many of whom have never been there (or visited once a long time ago) - to further speculate on what the temperature might be this week.
  15. The OUTside of the ship always gives you the best view.
  16. The Centers for Disease Control experts disagree with you. Although the easiest means of viral infection is direct person to person touch, there are many viruses that survive for many hours, days, and even weeks on a completely sterile surface. The stories about aerosolized contamination of viral spores are mostly just stories. Unless someone sneezes in your face or vomits right in front of you, the spores quickly drop to the floor and do not infect you - unless you happen to be on the floor. The CDC experts claim that the most risky places to go on a cruise ship - especially during the first 48 hours of your cruise - are the self-service buffet and the public toilets. With dozens to hundreds to thousands of people touching the same serving utensils in the buffet, the odds are seriously stacked against you. Then you add those people raised by wolves who are putting their fingers/hands into the food, eating things while in the buffet line, tasting things and putting them back on the buffet, dropping things onto the floor and putting them back on the buffet. It is a miracle that more people do not get ill on a ship. Passengers who are experiencing stomach / intestinal problems will often opt to use a public toilet: 1) Because there is not enough time to get safely back to their cabin. 2) Because they prefer to make a mess in a public toilet rather than the one in their cabin. If you can avoid the buffet and public toilets for the first 48 hours of your cruise, those who have a virus and refuse to do anything about it are now either recovering (and less contagious) or are too sick to go to the buffet and public toilet. On any large cruise ship, there are people with viruses - particularly noro-viruses - reporting every day. But the Epi-Curve (the graph that logs the frequency and percentage of reporting people) is normally lowest on Day 3 of the voyage. That is when those who brought the virus with them are either recovering or confined to cabins; and those who caught the virus from them have not yet started to display symptoms. From that point forward, controlling the transmission factors becomes easier, more organized, and safer for you.
  17. Larousse Gastronomique is one of the top printed food books on the planet - but it is not pocket sized. Who knows, they may have an electronic version by now. How can you find out? Google is your friend - and it's free. Google (and Larousse Gastronomique) can also help with spelling those perky terms, like "Bon Apetit"
  18. This week I am completing my annual USPH refresher Course. One of the major topics of discussion by the inspectors was the spread of viruses by mobile telephones. How many of you have personal mobile telephones? Just about everyone. When you are travelling, where do you keep them? In the two dirtiest places on a human; trouser pockets and purses. Now tell me how often you properly sanitize that mobile telephone. - After taking it out of your pocket or purse? - Before pressing it to your face? - After pressing it to your face? - After someone else handles it, looking at photos, videos, or making a call? -After dropping it onto the floor?
  19. Volendam's pools are heated. The source of the heat is ship's fuel. HAL is so cheap that they have severe limits on pool temperatures in order to conserve fuel. In cold climates the ship's pools are usually quite cool as well.
  20. Check out the history of America's first, only, and last nuclear passenger / cargo ship. The NS Savannah. It cost more than twice as much to build as a conventional ship, but carried only a fraction of the passengers and cargo of a conventional ship. It required a high number of very expensive Nuclear Engineers to run it. Design problems forced them to dump large quantities of radioactive water into the oceans. Fueling it was prohibitively expensive - and could only be done in a very few locations. Offloading spent fuel was nearly impossible. It failed in nearly every possible way for 7 years until it was de-commissioned. US Taxpayers took quite a bath on that one.
  21. Canada and USA have issued travel warnings for their citizens visiting Mexico. Austria, Australia, Bahamas, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, and Venezuela have all issued travel warnings to their citizens who want to visit the USA. Some of these warnings are low-level; some are very high level. The most dangerous areas identified are Florida and Arizona. Amnesty International has issued their first and only travel warning to anyone who wants to visit the USA. Will these warnings stop me from visiting Mexico? No. But I will stay away from the US Border areas. Will these warnings stop me from visiting the USA? No. But I will pass on Florida and Arizona.
  22. Donald

    Is Hong Kong safe?

    I was in Hong Kong last weekend. If you decide to join the protests, it will not be very comfortable. If you just do your regular thing, Hong Kong is still safer than any big american city on their best day.
  23. I really miss the good old days of cruising. From the White Star Line Passage Contract (1892): All passengers are liable to be rejected, who, upon examination, are found to be lunatic, idiot, deaf, dumb, blind, maimed, or infirm, or above the age of 60 years;
  24. American Dollars are universally NOT accepted in Japan. Note that if you are exchanging American dollars for Yen in Japan, they will not accept any currency that is torn, dirty, written on, or otherwise damaged.
  25. Amazed, Don't quit your day job. Most mass market cruisers do not pay "thousands for a 14 day cruise" in a balcony cabin. Most pay hundreds (industry average is around $650) for a 7 day cruise in a balcony cabin. When it comes to many mass market cruisers, $5 extra per day is a serious deal breaker. Mass market lines would never even consider such a thing. There are also numerous scientific reports about diesel fumes being carcinogenic. One of the best ways to breathe them is through an open balcony door when the wind is just right.
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