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About chengkp75

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About Me

  • Location
    Maine or at sea
  • Interests
    Former cruise ship Chief Engineer

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  1. chengkp75

    Carnival Liberty - Muster Drill Nightmare

    It is not a simple thing to just say, "let's change the muster locations to indoors". This is not a cruise ship decision, it is based on the law, and the classification society that gives the ship its certificate to sail. SOLAS prefers that muster stations be as close to the lifeboats as possible, and the older ships could accommodate this with their relatively large promenade decks. On newer ships, the cruise lines have reduced the size of the promenade deck (non-revenue generating space) to increase interior volume (revenue generating space), to the point where you can no longer hold muster out on the promenade deck. Therefore, the IMO allows indoor muster locations on ships where there is insufficient space on deck. These indoor spaces have been designed and studied, using crowd management paradigm software, to be of sufficient volume, lighting, ventilation, power availability during low power times (emergency power), number of ingress and egress points, their size, and their proximity to the boats. To change from an outdoor muster to an indoor one on an existing ship, would require a change to SOLAS (get a majority of the 174 nations in the IMO to agree to the change), and then hundreds of thousands of dollars for each ship class to study which indoor venue would meet the safety requirements, and then reprint all signage relating to the muster stations, and retrain the crew. One common cause of fainting while standing still on a steel deck in the heat is locking your knees, which traps blood in the lower leg and starves the brain causing the fainting. Always try to stand during muster with your knees consciously bent slightly. As others have said, hydration and alcohol also play a part, as can coming directly from a cool interior location to the blazing sun.
  2. chengkp75

    Early Departure - New Cruiser

    Yeah, no links to possible "customer" countries. What I like was the taping the passport under the bed, and traveling with several expired passports. That sounds just like "promoting responsible tourism" and "protecting it for generations to come". Right.
  3. chengkp75

    Cruise Curiosities for New Cruiser

    Well, by law, the crew can only work a maximum of 14 hours per day, or 91 hours in any 7 day period. Now, the "work day" from start to finish may be more than 14 hours long, but there are "rest periods" during that time. As with all jobs on ships, there are no "days off", you work every day from the day you join the ship until the day you leave the ship, for many cruise ship crew that is 8-10 months long. Most of the crew you interface with (cabin stewards, wait staff) will share a cabin smaller than the smallest guest cabin with 3 others, not just one or two. I've never heard of galley staff "volunteering" to run room service orders, there are dedicated room service staff. Passenger to crew ratios are typically based on the double occupancy capacity of the ship, not the maximum capacity. From your data, the ship has 976 cabins, for a double occupancy (nominal capacity) of 1952 passengers, so the 2679 figure you quote is most probably the maximum capacity (3rd/4th guests in some cabins). This gives a pax/crew ratio of 2.7, which is pretty typical for mainstream cruise lines. Luxury cruises will have ratios closer to 2.0, and some cruise lines go up to 3.5. Not all functions on the ship are staffed "3 shifts" as you think. Essential jobs like the engine room watch and the bridge watch are of course manned 24/7, but the vast majority of staff work "days": stewards work hours as noted above, wait staff and galley staff only work when dining venues are open, bar staff only during bar hours, most maintenance staff during the day only (with one of each specialty (plumber, electrician) on call for problems during the night, laundry staff during the day, deck gang working during days to clean windows or paint and others working only nights to clean pools and pool decks, etc. Room service is manned around the clock (unless the line has limited room service hours), there will always be security working, there will always be Guest Services at the desk, and they will have Housekeeping runners working nights to bring things needed after hours. Having spent 43 years at sea as an engineer, and a few as a Chief Engineer on cruise ships, feel free to ask away about whatever you'd like to know about cruise ship operations. Searching my past posts will lead you to some threads that others have started for just that purpose, to learn about cruise ship operations.
  4. It's not that the passport/document requirement would change, but that the way CBP handles the manifest changes, and CBP could require a more formal disembarkation interview, which can cause delays.
  5. chengkp75

    Early Departure - New Cruiser

    As a professional mariner, not just a cruise passenger, I will say that your idea of wandering off the ship and then trying to find an immigration office to enter the country is liable to backfire on you. When you show up at an immigration office and say "I want to enter the country", they are going to say "how did you get here?" "How did you get from the ship to our office without clearing into the country?" "How do we know you came from the ship?" "How about a night in jail until we can clear this up?" Cruise ship passengers are cleared to enter the country on a temporary basis, on the understanding that they will leave the country in a few hours, on the same ship they entered on.
  6. chengkp75

    Bottled Water Confiscated in Miami

    See my post #69 as to why the water in the cabin sink may taste differently than that from the dining venues.
  7. chengkp75

    Early Departure - New Cruiser

    The paperwork that Shmoo is talking about is the passenger manifest that must be submitted to each and every country at arrival and departure from port, not something you fill out. While a change in passenger manifest does not cause too much difficulty in ports of call, the real restriction on why cruise lines do not typically allow "downstream" boarding or disembarkation is that US CBP uses the passenger manifest submitted at embarkation to screen the passengers during the entire cruise (or as long as necessary, and this length of time is what allows them to say cruisers on closed loop cruises do not need passports). When a passenger manifest changes during the cruise, it must be resubmitted to CBP, at additional cost, and with limited time to vet passengers, so CBP can decide to do a more formal immigration interview at disembarkation, causing delays in disembarkation and possible missed flights for hundreds of passengers. For these reasons, most lines don't allow "voluntary" downstream disembarkation, or in the case of Royal Caribbean, they charge you $75/person to do so. As for immigration in Mexico, an immigration official boards the ship immediately upon arrival, looks at the passenger and crew manifests, perhaps looks at some passports to see if required visas are present, and then leaves. This happens before passengers are allowed to disembark. Now, if you wish to permanently disembark, at the time you walk down the gangway, there needs to be an immigration official there to enter you into the country, you can't just wander around a port area looking for the immigration office, there are security protocols in place. No, the ship cannot force you to stay on the ship, but you are dealing with international laws here, not cruise line rules, and if you make waves, they will not be helpful in getting you through the immigration process, and would likely charge you for all services required to have you disembark (agent's time, fee for special immigration official, any processing fee for the new passenger manifest, etc). Your adamant attitude will not stand you in good stead trying to accomplish what you want, but then again, since you own a company that "circumvents" the world, you must be familiar with trying to "circumvent" national and international laws. This is reinforced by your use of a "burner" credit card, with which you may run into trouble, as there can always be unexpected expenses, and you would be cut off from charging onboard, or have to put up cash.
  8. chengkp75

    Prinsendam repairs

    Well, then I've done quite a bit of penance over the years. Inspecting fuel tanks is actually better than ballast tanks. With a fuel tank, you've got to wash out the residual fuel, so it is relatively clean, while ballast tanks will still have some marine growth and mud around, and you come out wearing a lot of it, and stinking to high heaven. There have been more fatalities inspecting ballast tanks than fuel or oil cargo tanks over the years. That's because in order to get the flammable vapors down to acceptable levels, you've ventilated enough to get oxygen everywhere in the tank. With a ballast tank, there is almost always at least some rust, and rusting absorbs oxygen, so there can be pockets where there is insufficient oxygen, and people have expired from this. As John has said, there are rigid enclosed space entry procedures, and any type of entry like this must be reviewed by shore staff before permission is given, the bridge and ECR are in constant comms with the inspecting party, and the times that various personnel enter or leave the tank are logged by the standby person at the entrance. I will add that the personnel entering the tanks will also wear personal atmospheric testing meters, that measure oxygen content, flammable vapor levels, and things like CO and hydrogen sulfide. These are all industry wide practices.
  9. chengkp75

    Prinsendam repairs

    All tanks have manholes, which are bolted covers about 18" x 30" oval. The tank is pumped empty, the tank cover opened, and the tank ventilated for several hours with fans to ensure there is proper oxygen available, then the atmosphere is tested to ensure there is sufficient oxygen, and then the tank is "safe for man entry", and if the atmosphere test doesn't show any flammable vapors it is "safe for hotwork" (welding/burning). The tanks are a couple of meters tall or wide, and there are access holes in the frames to allow passing to all areas of the tank. If it is a fuel tank, then there are a couple of ways to do the repair. Believe it or not, if the fuel in the tank is heavy residual fuel, and the crack is below the level of the fuel, you can weld directly on the tank, and the fuel doesn't get hot enough to vaporize and ignite. If the tank is empty, or a diesel fuel tank, you empty the tank, and then you can "inert" the tank with nitrogen (displacing the air), and since nitrogen is non-flammable, you can then do the outside weld without any fire. Or, you can just wash out the tank (removing the residual fuel), send the washings to the slop tank for disposal ashore, and then ventilate to remove the vapors, and "gas free" the tank to be "safe for hotwork". This work is done all the time. I've done many fuel tank repairs, and several welds on full residual fuel tanks. Many countries require the use of a third party "marine chemist" to certify the atmosphere in a tank is safe for work. As for "tank crawling", it is a part of a mariner's life to climb through tanks to inspect them on a regular basis. It's not one of my favorite jobs, especially as I get older, but it's something that has to be done.
  10. chengkp75

    Prinsendam repairs

    The new owner will have obtained the certificate of class at the time of sale. When a vessel is leased, the lessee must maintain, and return to the owner at the end of the lease, the vessel in the condition it was originally leased in.
  11. chengkp75

    Bottled Water Confiscated in Miami

    No worries. I agree that everyone's sensitivity to salt is different. I just don't like folks stating that ship's water has higher salt, apparently since it's made from sea water, or that higher salt is the only reason for water retention.
  12. chengkp75

    Bottled Water Confiscated in Miami

    And I don't think its for you to declare that the water has higher levels of sodium in it, without some specific data to prove it.
  13. chengkp75

    Prinsendam repairs

    Since a vessel cannot be sold without a certificate of class, the class society will ensure that everything is maintained to the same standard, no matter whether the ship is brand new, or being sold in a few months, or even 50 years old (and that older ship will require more maintenance to keep the certificate of class.
  14. chengkp75

    Bottled Water Confiscated in Miami

    As you say, everyone is different, but I would dispute that it is the salt in the water that is causing water retention. In fact, it is likely that the lack of minerals in the water onboard (particularly magnesium and potassium) from the distillation or Reverse Osmosis processes are to blame for water retention. If you find that using the water filter helps, then I suspect you have an intolerance for chlorine, which is in the water in higher concentrations than municipal water. And for those who say the water tastes differently between the cabin sink and the MDR/buffet, that is because the water dispensers in the buffet/water stations in the MDR have carbon filters in them to remove the chlorine, for maintenance purposes, not for taste.
  15. chengkp75

    Bottled Water Confiscated in Miami

    Any salt in the ship's water comes from the water loaded at the embarkation port from the municipal supply. Ship's water produced onboard will have no more than 20ppm of sodium (just at the limit set by the EPA for reduced sodium diets), while Miami water, in it's last water quality report noted 30-50ppm sodium. Why do you think your $20 Brita filter works better at removing sodium than the equipment onboard costing hundreds of thousands of dollars?