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No More Deck 9 Cookouts for HAL


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No just that they were unwilling to do what was required to keep the service going for the guests, another way of saving money for the company at the clients expense!
What do you think was "required to keep the service going"?
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How much would it cost to retrofit all their ships to provide this occasional and not universally welcome benefit?

 

I really don't have a dog in this fight and could not care either way if buffets were offered or not. However, I can safely say that the cost to retrofit the ship would probably be less than they are currently spending to retrofit the Crow's Nest into the EXC Tours space which is also not quite universally seen as a benefit, but rather a loss of current amenities.

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Got off Westerdam a few days ago. Fantastic cruise but we did note that there was no deck party/picnic. Over the past few years, we enjoyed food on the deck when cruising the Greek Isles and again during our Baltic cruise (food matched to each port) on HAL. Also there was a dessert night on deck (yes, admittedly pared down each time). This year, nothing-- not even the charade of "try a local specialty," being passed around on trays in hopes you would also buy a drink. These european cruises are so port intensive that we thought it was nice to come in from a day of touring and not have to rush to the cabin and shower and change to eat in the dining room.

With all of that said, generally the food on this cruise was the best we've ever had.

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On Avalon Illumination in Durnstein Germany [emoji629] yesterday and we had the best BBQ on the sky deck I have ever had, Hamburgers, Salmon, Steak, Chicken . Potato Salad Cold Slaw Corn on the Cob,AMAZING! and they are going to do it again tomorrow in Bratislava! First river cruise and will not be my last every thing first class nothing to complain about what so ever! The Chef and staff are brilliant !1eddfb70a094c94542e29d81705b3708.jpga71c6ccc2e6a6b224316414323a6559d.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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What do you think was "required to keep the service going"?

 

The general public has a difficult time understanding how the United States Public Health Service really works.

Their Cruise Ship Sanitation Manual is very long, very comprehensive and extremely detailed.

One needs to study it for years to get even fairly familiar with all the rules and regulations.

 

During a routine surprise inspection, if every regulation was applied, very few ships would be able to get a passing grade. And if every regulation was applied, the inspection - which normally takes from 3 to 6 hours - would require several days. Your cruise of a lifetime would sail a bit late.

 

So the inspectors come aboard, looking for the most obvious signs of a clean - or unclean - ship. When they see those signs, they then decide to start looking harder - or not.

 

Deck BBQs are a red flag for a USPH Inspection. Most cruise lines try to avoid having them in a US Port - unless they are reasonably sure that they are not scheduled for a surprise inspection that day. Difficulties with sneeze guards, open sky above food service areas, uneven heating of prepared foods, lack of handwashing facilities, open flames, lack of fire blankets and fire extinguishers, ashes flying around, electrical cords running on wet decks, and trip hazards are all things that get USPH inspectors very excited to look for even more problems - which they can always find.

 

Many of the mass market cruise companies got a bit smart and eliminated many of those red flags. Many ships today have electric rather than charcoal BBQ Grills. HAL refused to spend the money to fix that problem.

 

Many of the mass market cruise companies installed overhead electrical outlets for the BBQ and other powered machines needed for the BBQ. HAL refused to spend the money to fix that problem.

 

Many of the mass market cruise companies purchased portable handwashing stations to place next to the BBQ cooking areas. HAL refused to spend the money to fix that problem.

 

Many of the mass market cruise companies installed either portable or fixed bain-maries to keep the BBQ food at the proper temperature, behind sneeze guards. HAL refused to spend the money to fix that problem.

 

Many of the mass market cruise companies purchased market umbrellas and other tent-like structures to keep food service under cover. HAL refused to spend the money to fix that problem.

 

Do you see a pattern forming here??

 

All the cruise lines will still try to avoid deck BBQs in American ports. They just do not want or need the aggravation from USPH. But most of them have made the investments that allow them to serve a proper and safe BBQ to their clients whenever they would like.

 

HAL just is not willing to spend the money.

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The general public has a difficult time understanding how the United States Public Health Service really works.
Indeed, and yet the general public is quick to criticize authorities when something happens that they feel the authorities should have guarded against. It's kind of like a corollary to someone wanting consumer protections to apply when that someone is purchasing products or services but wanting them to not apply when that someone is selling products or services to the public.

 

Do you see a pattern forming here??
I see one person's perception. The problem is that I have seen people posting corresponding criticisms against every other mass market cruise line, with regard to what those cruise lines have done to contain costs. If you read everyone's perspectives, paying especial attention to those of people who have cruised a similar number of times on a number of cruise lines, you get the clear message that they're all basically the same (with some minor compromises vis a vis Carnival and some minor biases in favor of Celebrity).
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Does this mean the Mexican Food Kiosk is gone as well.?? or is it close enough for the washing sinks at the Dive In window ?? One of my favorite things to do on HAL is to swing by the Mexican station around 4:30 and pickup a plate of chips, salsa etc.

for a cocktail in my cabin before dinner. Say it ain't gone please !!

 

It is not gone. Food is preprepared at this station and does not have the same deficiencies CDC is apparently reviewing..

The issues seems to be the actual cooking of food outdoors, as in the occasional outdoor cookouts .

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This is HAL choice. We don't need to be. Negative toward them. HAL has there own marketing ways and so many repeat folks including my partner and my self. It really looks lot cleaner and nice with out all that food stuff and BBQ,s dragged out in deck.

There big difference between Hal and carnival, princess

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This is HAL choice. We don't need to be. Negative toward them. HAL has there own marketing ways and so many repeat folks including my partner and my self. It really looks lot cleaner and nice with out all that food stuff and BBQ,s dragged out in deck.

There big difference between Hal and carnival, princess

 

Umm, I never saw a messy lay out. check out my live thread on the Westerdam. There were live pics taken.

 

It was well done. And FRESH food.

 

On a Caribbean cruise you might not see it. On longer itineraries you do and speaking for myself (that usually abhors buffets), I will miss them.

 

there was nothing dragged out to the deck, but a nice arrangement of beers for our port, the bbq with the lovely choices, etc.

 

Everyone of our bbq's was a unique and lovely experience and NOT available in the MDR or Lido.

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check out my live thread on the Westerdam. There were live pics taken

 

kazu, can you point me to this thread? I'd love to read it! Yes, I admit that I'm technically challenged! ;)

 

Thanks!;)

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Here is the CDC write up for the poor Amsterdam which did not do so well on the last inspections :Score 86

(Other HAL ships did much better - all in the mid or high 90's - and several got the perfect 100 scores)

 

AMSTERDAM:

Item No.: 13Site: Food Service General-Lido Poolside Luau BBQ

 

Violation: A BBQ function occurred last on 25 November on the pool deck, which is not a food area. Staff explained how grills were staged next to a food employee-served buffet station. Although the area had a retractable roof, staff explained how this area is opened for the function since the function is done weekly and only weather permitting. This setup does not provide adequate protection for food and the nearest handwashing stations for the food employees were over 8 meters away.

 

Recommendation: Because of the risks for foodborne illness inherent to the food operation, ensure the supervisor or person in charge of food operations on the vessel demonstrates to VSP - during inspections and on request - knowledge of foodborne disease prevention, application of the Hazard Analysis Critical Point principles, and the food-safety guidelines in this manual. Ensure that the person in charge demonstrates this knowledge: (1) By compliance with these guidelines; (12) Identifying critical-control points in the operation from purchasing through service that when not controlled may contribute to the transmission of foodborne illness and explaining steps taken to ensure the points are controlled in accordance with the guidelines in this manual.

 

This is pure retaliation for a Princess ship dumping stuff in the ocean...

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We think buffets (which would include the ole BBQ) are fine...but our personal preference is to relax in a comfy dining room and have waiters see to our needs. Standing in queues for BBQ ribs, water logged corn on the cob (with no corn holders)...and then trying to find a clean table....etc etc....if just not our idea of a great time. If there is a BBQ on deck we will stroll past, eye the offerings, and usually end up in the MDR. If I want a BBQ I can do it at my own home and have what I want cooked to my own specifications, served hot, and with no hassles. We will admit that we once experienced an amazing exception to our rule...and that happened on the Grand Med cruise (Prinsendam) where they had a very nice BBQ luncheon. They opened the aft doors of the MDR and had the grills on the aft of the ship just behind the MDR. One could get their food (all served hot off the grills) and then walk a few feet into the MDR where there was plenty of seating and decent waiter service for drinks, extras, etc. The surprise at that particular BBQ is that they had BBQ Lobster Tails (as much as one wanted) which were terrific.

 

 

 

 

I

Hank

 

I love the sound of this. So civilized and nicely done.

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This is pure retaliation for a Princess ship dumping stuff in the ocean...

 

There is a very good chance you are correct.

 

I was working on Oosterdam several years ago when they received an 86 score from USPH.

The Captain and Hotel Manager were very concerned that they might lose their jobs - until the Lead Inspector announced that the score was a retaliation for HAL Senior Management refusing to follow suggestions from USPH Inspectors who were monitoring HAL newbuilds in Italy.

 

After a very painful conference call with Seattle, all was sorted out.

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There is a very good chance you are correct.

 

I was working on Oosterdam several years ago when they received an 86 score from USPH.

The Captain and Hotel Manager were very concerned that they might lose their jobs - until the Lead Inspector announced that the score was a retaliation for HAL Senior Management refusing to follow suggestions from USPH Inspectors who were monitoring HAL newbuilds in Italy.

 

After a very painful conference call with Seattle, all was sorted out.

 

Your post makes me loose a bit of faith in the USPH scores that we see. Retaliation by a government agency has no place in a process that is supposed to protect public health.

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There is a very good chance you are correct.

 

I was working on Oosterdam several years ago when they received an 86 score from USPH.

The Captain and Hotel Manager were very concerned that they might lose their jobs - until the Lead Inspector announced that the score was a retaliation for HAL Senior Management refusing to follow suggestions from USPH Inspectors who were monitoring HAL newbuilds in Italy.

 

After a very painful conference call with Seattle, all was sorted out.

 

Interesting that you say USPH was making "suggestions", when the construction guidelines are very clear and very detailed, and required to be met in order to qualify for VSP inspections.

 

Your post makes me loose a bit of faith in the USPH scores that we see. Retaliation by a government agency has no place in a process that is supposed to protect public health.

 

Was the 86 score a "false" score, or was it accurate given that USPH management requested the inspectors to be "extremely vigilant" in inspecting and applying the guidelines. I don't think there were any "made up" infractions, just that the inspectors looked more closely at every single item, which is actually the way they should do all inspections.

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I have a very close friend who is retired after a long career inspecting cruise ships for USPH.

He had - and has - a reputation for being honest and fair.

 

He admitted to me several times that before the inspection begins, USPH inspectors already know the basic score that a ship will receive after the inspection. That is, unless they find any surprises. If the ship is exceptionally clean - or exceptionally dirty - the pre-ordained score can change.

 

As I posted earlier, USPH inspectors can choose which regulations they want to inspect for and enforce. If they inspected every item in the USPH manual, they would be there for several days - and nearly every ship would fail the inspection.

 

When the inspectors want to lower an inspection score, there are several simple ways to do it.

The area and distance between the dirty pan storage and the clean pan storage in the galley potwash area is one of their favorites. The minimum distance is specified in the manual, but splash prevention measures are not clearly spelled out. This is a judgement call by the inspectors. This is a 2 point deduction.

 

Galley can openers is another one. They are always dirty. 2 points.

 

The shepard's hooks at the swimming pools is another. They are almost never as long as required in the manual. It also depends on how they are measured. 2 points.

 

The warning signs at the pool is another. USPH specifies that the text letters must be a certain size. If inspected, another 2 points.

 

Void spaces around galley areas are also good. Gallery cleaners use too much water on the decks. The water seeps into the void spaces and sits there forever. It's too difficult to open those areas to clean them and drain the water. USPH inspectors rarely bother to open those spaces for inspections - unless they need to deduct a few more points.

 

Stainless steel welds in food storage and production areas can result in 2 points deduction anytime they need it. Gaps between steel panels must be tight enough to prevent a credit card sliding between them. But the crew are always crashing trolleys, hand trucks, and fork lifts into the stainless panels and breaking the welds. Very few ships are willing or able to do stainless steel welding repair, so there are always unacceptable gaps in food areas. 2 points.

 

Under counter refrigerators in galleys and pantries are always a problem. On any given day, there are several - or more - that are not maintaining cold enough temperatures. If the ship is in a US port and expects an inspection, they simply remove the food from these reefers and put an out of order sign on the door.

But if inspectors find "too many" of these, or find machines that have been out of order "too long", they can deduct points. How many is "too many", and how long is "too long"? That is up to the inspector.

2 more points.

 

My personal favorites;

Deck-head Condensation around dishwashers and cracked galley floor tiles.

There is ALWAYS deck-head condensation around dishwashers, and ALWAYS cracked floor tiles in galleys.

If the inspector chooses to see them and write them down - and more importantly chooses to make them deductible items rather than just findings - that makes 3 more points deducted.

 

So now you know, more or less, how Amsterdam and Oosterdam received such low USPH scores.

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Or at least we know what one person wants people to believe about it.

 

This message may have been entered using voice recognition. Please excuse any typos.

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  • 8 months later...

What could b e the big deal to insall a few hand wash sinks? Put in some sinks instead of wasting money on changing the long honored HAL logoThat had to have cost a lot of money to change for no obvious reason. The former logo was just fine and far better than the current . iMO.

 

it's a convenient excuse to take away another popular feature from our cruises. Would have been fun night on our Bermuda cruise and would have been so suitable. The DID nothing !! The whole time we were docked There WAS nothing offered. and there should have bee.n. It was Very lackin g IMO What kind of cruise ship offers no fun activities on a 7 day Bemuda cruise with those days docked in port? answer: Veendam

Edited by sail7seas
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