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Everything posted by Donald

  1. Those towel animals are lots of fun. But the cabin stewards are forced to take care of far too many cabins now. The only way to allow them to offer these things is to make then in advance and use them over and over again. A great way to contract Norwalk Virus is to handle towel animals that have been used in other cabins during your cruise. Thank you HAL. Great way to save money.
  2. The OP is from America, questioning the ethics of cruise companies. I am from a cruise company, comparing the ethics of the poster’s country. It is not my business to question what business is good for another country. It is THEIR business. Australians seem to have very strong opinions about certain nationalities coming to live in Australia. Should that be my business? Definitely not.
  3. Cats, The OP cannot afford to sail on a quality line. He is looking for free good coffee on a mass market ship.
  4. Like most Transatlantics I can guarantee that the weather will range between Sunny and Rainy, Rough Seas and Calm, Cold and Warm, and Windy and Still - except on Tuesday.
  5. I’m thinking of buying a Ferrari. It costs $225,000. I could just get a used VW for a few thousand dollars. Is the Ferrari worth it? I’m also looking at a very special Rolex watch. $125,000. I could buy a Swatch for $10. Is the Rolex worth it? Financial advice from complete strangers means a lot to me. Please chime in.
  6. I can have my early supper at 4pm - just like at home. I always get lots of sleep on a HAL Cruise. No pesky shows or entertainment to keep me up. The only sounds coming from neighbor cabins at any hour will be snoring. I have the whole ship to myself if I choose to stay up after 9pm. Always a good supply of prunes and prune juice in the buffet. The medical staff has far more experience than most cruise lines. I never feel like the oldest person on the ship.
  7. The answer to your question changes frequently. Cruise lines / ships that offer “Kids sail free” are usually doing it out of desperation. They have a ship or itinerary that cannot compete with the others. They cannot fill the ship. So they offer free travel for kids, hoping to get more families onboard. The ploy often works, but it also drives away those without kids, who are trying to have a quiet non-family cruise. The result is a noisy all family cruise with lower revenues for the ship. But the families onboard, who cannot or will not afford a regular cruise are happy.
  8. JHawk, Your posts clearly explain why we will not be seeing you working on a cruise ship anytime soon. Good luck.
  9. "Carnival" and "Premier" in the same sentence is an oxymoron.
  10. Taxi services just about anywhere in America are pretty awful: dirty smelly old cars, drivers who speak little English, drivers who do not know the area, drivers ripping you off. By comparison, I have found Alaska taxis and drivers to be better than in most of the lower 48. You could always rent a car and do it yourself.
  11. If you get away from the cheap mass market cruise lines, you will find that the better cruise companies all feature better quality coffee without those extra charges
  12. Most of you are talking about mass market lines. As a general rule, the mass market lines’ budgets for crew feeding are about 50% of their budgets for pax feeding. More specifically, the RCCL brands tend towards the high side of 50% and the Carnival and NCL brands are on the lower side. With some cruise companies budgeting under US$8 per day to feed you, less than half that much does not provide much quality for the crew.
  13. Leave them home with Grandma. Everybody wins........................
  14. Didn't you just answer your own question? Whenever I visit the USA, I always tip people with Chinese RenMinBi. They love it.
  15. Roger, I have more bad news for you. The airlines have the same policies. Maybe you should just stay home.
  16. The Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) is part of the United States Public Health Service (USPH), which is an arm of the US Center for Disease Congrol (CDC). The VSP is responsible for advising, educating, and inspecting Public Health Standards on foreign flag (only) cruise vessels that call at US Ports. Their stated goal is to protect the public health of US Citizens from any health hazards possibly introduced by foreign carriers. They try - and usually succeed - in performing surprise inspections twice yearly on all foreign cruise vessels calling at US Ports. Every ship that is inspected must submit a Corrective Action Report on all inspection findings within 30 days of the inspection. VSP then has the authority to re-inspect the ship to ensure that the Corrective Actions were actually taken. This rarely happens. If a ship fails an inspection, they have the same 30 day window to submit the Corrective Action Report. Then the VSP will re-inspect the ship to ensure that it can pass the inspection standards. The VSP has the authority to stop the ship from sailing, or to bar it from any other US port calls - but only if they determine that their findings are an immediate danger to American Public Health. This almost never happens. Most of the rare failures are technical in nature and have little to no possible effect on public health. Note that USPH health standards for foreign ships are much higher than local US Health Department standards for land-based hotels and restaurants. Last month I attended a one-week USPH refresher course, held in one of Miami's nicer hotels. During the course, we held a mock USPH inspection in the hotel's kitchens. The hotel failed completely. If it had been a ship, it would have been barred from US port calls. VSP has no authority to levy fines for health violations. If a ship fails an inspection, or even gets a low passing score, the F&B Director, Chef, and Hotel Manager are in danger of losing their jobs. Bad PR and the Marketplace take care of everything else.
  17. Yokohama means "Broad Beach" in Japanese. Broad as in wide. Yokohama is officially the largest city in Japan. One would think it would be Tokyo (at 42 Million). But Tokyo is no longer officially a Japanese city. It is an "administrative district", with it's own Governor. Yokohama is unofficially a suburb of Tokyo. Osanbashi Cruise Terminal in Yokohama is the Terminal for the Port of Yokohama. Harumi Cruise Terminal in Tokyo Bay is the Terminal for the Port of Tokyo. Most cruise ships today cannot fit under the Rainbow Bridge at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, and therefore cannot call at Harumi Terminal. A new Tokyo Cruise Terminal is currently being built on the South side of the Rainbow Bridge, to allow larger cruise ships to get closer to Tokyo. Yokahama means "Leisure Time Beach" in Japanese. Sounds good, but no such place exists in Japan.
  18. The same delays occur EVERY time. The only question is how long the delay will be. That depends on how few Immigration Officers attend the inspection. That varies EVERY time.
  19. Donald


    You do not need bear spray or a gun - so long as you can run faster than the others on your hike.
  20. This type of thing happens on EVERY non-Japanese flag ship EVERY time the ship enters Japan from any other country.
  21. Generally speaking, there are no local tour operators on any dock anywhere in Japan. They just do not operate that way. You can find independent operators through the internet, and arrange to have them meet you on the pier.
  22. This file is very good, but not 100% complete. A few ships have already arrived in Alaska last week.
  23. This is actually a red herring news item. Although Komodo Island has the top reputation for these Monitor Lizards, there are several islands in the area with equal numbers of these animals. Now Flores and Larantuka islands will have a chance to develop their tourism based on these amazing reptiles.
  24. So we have 5 posters who were lucky enough to find taxis at the Kai Tak Terminal. Congratulations on your good luck. How many times have you experienced this good luck in Hong Kong? Once, twice? My ship (not HAL) calls at Kai Tak Terminal several times every month, where thousands of passengers try, often unsuccessfully, to find a taxi. Although your personal one-time experience was a positive one, leading the general public to believe that they will also be as lucky as you were is probably setting them up for disappointment.
  25. The HAL people were essentially correct. There are rarely any taxis available at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong. Taxi Drivers only go there to drop off a fare - not to look for people to pick up. The HAL people were trying to ensure that their disembarking pax did not get caught in long lines with no taxis. You got lucky by catching them at a time when many pax were being dropped off. Now, many people reading the title of your thread are going to get stuck in those long lines with no taxis.
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