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Firepath

Are Plumbing Problems Common?

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Recently back from our first cruise, 7 nights NCL. We had a lot of off and on problems with our toilet despite never attempting to flush anything inappropriate. When we would call, they were very quick to respond and correct the problem (not sure what they did as we were never in the room). We heard neighbors on both sides (thru the thin walls) also calling with problems. One engineer told us that if one cabin in an "area" had a problem, they all would. So when we'd hear our neighbors having a problem, we would just use the public facilities. Did we just have bad luck or is this a common problem on ships? It seems like it would be common given the vacuum system and I just assumed it was normal, so no big deal.

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We had trouble on one of our RCI cruises (deck 9). We researched it before we called because my husband didn't want to be embarrassed 😃 but after a few minutes, it flushed itself. I read that sometimes the shower drain can impact your vacuum for the toilet so it seemed common. It only happened once and it resolved itself within 5-10 minutes. 

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It happens fairly often - usually because some yahoo on the same sewer line did not believe that the caution of not putting anything other than human waste and ship-provided toilet in the toilet applied to him/her.

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There are a number of staterooms that share a common system in any given location, so it does not need to be you that caused the issue, or you who are alone in having suffered the affects the issue.  Typically there is that one individual as suggested by navybankerteacher who doesn't follow the guidelines and causes the issue for a number of people. 

 

As a result, it would be as common on any ship as there are people who would flush something down the system that doesn't belong there.  In other words, it happens all the time.

 

A ship's septic system (as the OP mentions) is a vacuum system that is completely different from any home system and, as a result, needs to be treated as such based on the guidelines provided.  There is generally nothing wrong with any given ship's system and when something does occur, 99% of the time it is due to "operator error".

Edited by leaveitallbehind

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We had that problem on brilliance a few years ago we were in a grand suite and concierge gave us several hundred in cruise credit was shocked .

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Never had a problem, but heard reports of others fairly regularly.

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BTW, the reason they were never in the room is that each room's system is accessed by way of a panel in the hallway, and most issues can be resolved from there.  The actual clog could be down the system from where your stateroom is and the correction would take place there.  The only reason they would need to be in your room is if the issue cannot be corrected from the outside access and the system would need to be cleared or repaired in the bathroom itself.

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7 hours ago, SherieW321 said:

We had trouble on one of our RCI cruises (deck 9). We researched it before we called because my husband didn't want to be embarrassed 😃 but after a few minutes, it flushed itself. I read that sometimes the shower drain can impact your vacuum for the toilet so it seemed common. It only happened once and it resolved itself within 5-10 minutes. 

The shower drains and the toilet system are completely separated piping systems, unlike your house, so no, the shower drain cannot affect the vacuum in the toilet.

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7 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

It happens fairly often - usually because some yahoo on the same sewer line did not believe that the caution of not putting anything other than human waste and ship-provided toilet in the toilet applied to him/her.

I'll bust the myth again about the "ship provided toilet paper".  It is nothing special, it is not like the marine toilet paper needed on small boats for their sanitation systems, it is merely the cheapest TP they can find.

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8 hours ago, Firepath said:

Recently back from our first cruise, 7 nights NCL. We had a lot of off and on problems with our toilet despite never attempting to flush anything inappropriate. When we would call, they were very quick to respond and correct the problem (not sure what they did as we were never in the room). We heard neighbors on both sides (thru the thin walls) also calling with problems. One engineer told us that if one cabin in an "area" had a problem, they all would. So when we'd hear our neighbors having a problem, we would just use the public facilities. Did we just have bad luck or is this a common problem on ships? It seems like it would be common given the vacuum system and I just assumed it was normal, so no big deal.

Unfortunately, toilet clogs are all too common, I've spent years roto-rooting them out.  The things that folks will flush down the hopper on a ship when they would never consider doing it at home is absolutely mind blowing.  However, in areas of the ship where the toilets are all crew cabins, and they know that flushing inappropriate items down the toilet (and the plumbers are real good at tracing things back to the point of origin) is a firing offense, we don't have many problems.

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10 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

I'll bust the myth again about the "ship provided toilet paper".  It is nothing special, it is not like the marine toilet paper needed on small boats for their sanitation systems, it is merely the cheapest TP they can find.

I was really talking about the wet wipes that some people bring because they do not like to use the regular toilet paper the ship provides.

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I was told that many older people have bathroom issues and use too much toilet paper which clogs them up.   And like others have said - they put things down that should not go in the toilet.

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1 hour ago, compozer said:

I was told that many older people have bathroom issues and use too much toilet paper which clogs them up.   And like others have said - they put things down that should not go in the toilet.

I don't believe I've ever had a clog caused by too much toilet paper.  As navybankerteacher says, the wet wipes are a different story, as these are made differently than toilet tissue, and are designed for strength so they don't break down, or "give" enough for the piping.

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52 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

I don't believe I've ever had a clog caused by too much toilet paper.  As navybankerteacher says, the wet wipes are a different story, as these are made differently than toilet tissue, and are designed for strength so they don't break down, or "give" enough for the piping.

I can only imagine the kind of, um, stuff you've had to dig out of the pipes. 

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3 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

I can only imagine the kind of, um, stuff you've had to dig out of the pipes. 

Hand towels, face cloths, dinner napkins, articles of clothing (predominately underwear), crack pipes, coke spoons, and 9mm ammunition are some of the more "mentionable"  items.

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21 hours ago, SherieW321 said:

I read that sometimes the shower drain can impact your vacuum for the toilet so it seemed common. It only happened once and it resolved itself within 5-10 minutes. 

 

The only issues I've had with shower drains were odor.  But when that happens, it's usually an easy remedy of pouring a bucket full of water down the drain.  

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On 11/1/2019 at 9:28 PM, chengkp75 said:

I'll bust the myth again about the "ship provided toilet paper".  It is nothing special, it is not like the marine toilet paper needed on small boats for their sanitation systems, it is merely the cheapest TP they can find.

 

Interesting.  I noticed on a recent Celebrity cruise the TP in the public restrooms was definitely a better quality than what we get in the cabin.

So this seems to back up what you're saying...?   The quality of the TP has nothing to do with the plumbing issues? 

 

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On 11/1/2019 at 10:40 PM, chengkp75 said:

Unfortunately, toilet clogs are all too common, I've spent years roto-rooting them out.  The things that folks will flush down the hopper on a ship when they would never consider doing it at home is absolutely mind blowing.  However, in areas of the ship where the toilets are all crew cabins, and they know that flushing inappropriate items down the toilet (and the plumbers are real good at tracing things back to the point of origin) is a firing offense, we don't have many problems.

 

On 11/2/2019 at 8:37 AM, navybankerteacher said:

I was really talking about the wet wipes that some people bring because they do not like to use the regular toilet paper the ship provides.

One of the banes of my job is fixing what others flush down their residential toilets.  Wipes are the worst.  Add in rolls of toilet paper, dirty underwear, plastic bags, paper towels, napkins, tshirts, rags, feminine napkins, paper notes....

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2 hours ago, BridgeMates said:

 

Interesting.  I noticed on a recent Celebrity cruise the TP in the public restrooms was definitely a better quality than what we get in the cabin.

So this seems to back up what you're saying...?   The quality of the TP has nothing to do with the plumbing issues? 

 

They likely just got put out from different deliveries of TP.  TP quality has nothing to do with clogs.

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On 11/2/2019 at 9:45 AM, chengkp75 said:

I don't believe I've ever had a clog caused by too much toilet paper.  As navybankerteacher says, the wet wipes are a different story, as these are made differently than toilet tissue, and are designed for strength so they don't break down, or "give" enough for the piping.

I have.  People will use a roll of thick toilet paper, flush once.  Go again, use a roll, flush once.  

https://www.familyhandyman.com/plumbing/best-toilet-paper-for-plumbing/

image.thumb.png.3e248ebfcf6fe56b05aa71c833803169.png

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But the ship's toilets don't have the S-trap in the toilet, and the flow velocity is much greater in a vacuum system than in a gravity system on land.

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On 11/1/2019 at 3:18 PM, Firepath said:

Recently back from our first cruise, 7 nights NCL. We had a lot of off and on problems with our toilet despite never attempting to flush anything inappropriate. When we would call, they were very quick to respond and correct the problem (not sure what they did as we were never in the room). We heard neighbors on both sides (thru the thin walls) also calling with problems. One engineer told us that if one cabin in an "area" had a problem, they all would. So when we'd hear our neighbors having a problem, we would just use the public facilities. Did we just have bad luck or is this a common problem on ships? It seems like it would be common given the vacuum system and I just assumed it was normal, so no big deal.

I just returned from a 15 day cruise.On night number 2 the toilet backed up.We called Guest Services,an hour later a plumber showed up and fixed the problem.The next morning the same problem.Fixed again and yesterday the same thing happened.

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On 11/2/2019 at 12:52 PM, chengkp75 said:

Hand towels, face cloths, dinner napkins, articles of clothing (predominately underwear), crack pipes, coke spoons, and 9mm ammunition are some of the more "mentionable"  items.

Wow!

 

On 11/2/2019 at 12:59 PM, Aquahound said:

 

The only issues I've had with shower drains were odor.  But when that happens, it's usually an easy remedy of pouring a bucket full of water down the drain.  

I remember seeing this mentioned before.  On our last cruise there was a faint odor in the bathroom and I poured some water down the overflow drain in the floor - problem fixed 🙂 

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