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Everything posted by Heidi13

  1. It can vary by cruise line, as in addition to having the equipment the ship's doctor must be qualified in giving the required sedation and using the equipment. However, most ships I have sailed, the medical centre has the shock machine, pads and the doctor was qualified.
  2. Having both a Canadian & UK passports, I have experienced a multitude of Visa issues when booking World Cruises, or cruises in Asia, South America etc. Therefore, Visas are not just an issue for non Americans/Europeans. You also need to consult your cruise contract, as every cruise line I have sailed with includes a clause that the onus to provide all required documentation is the sole responsibility of each pax. This sheds the liability from the cruise line, as having a vessel refused entry into a port due to Visa issues is extremely expensive. This is the primary reason liability of transferred to the pax. Cruise lines could make money providing a Visa service, but they could quickly lose more, in the event of an error. In researching Visas, I use the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office website and the Canadian equivalent. They maintain a database of every country in the World, which is updated on a regular basis. These websites advise what, if any, Visa is required and any limitations. I then pick the passport which has the most favourable requirements. In addition, they provide extensive additional information relevant to tourists. You may want to check your Govt's website to determine if they provide a similar service. The other option is contracting with a Visa procurement company, but they can be very expensive, and you still retain the liability of ensuring your documentation is correct prior to embarkation.
  3. You are so correct that a single poor culinary experience may not be representative of the overall quality of the culinary experience due to the number of variables. The cruise line's daily budget per pax is a major determining factor, but in our experience, the Executive Chef and Sous Chefs are also a major factor. On the same cruise where the Executive Chef changes in the middle of the cruise, we have seen the quality change, sometimes better, others not so much. Therefore, a poor experience on a single cruise may not be reflective of the normal quality on the ship and certainly not the cruise line. With respect to Princess, we experienced their quality deteriorate for almost 40 yrs before we gave up and stopped sailing with them. It was a combination of menu planning reducing the daily cost/pax, cheaper victuals and on the last World Cruise a very poor Executive Chef.
  4. The arrival time at LHR will depend on the traffic conditions and which terminal you are using. If the M3 and/or M25 motorways are congested your arrival at LHR could be delayed. Even traffic around Stonehenge can be busy.
  5. It is a weather buoy permanently moored at the intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian. It is secured to the ocean bed by a long chain.
  6. There is nothing to prevent you from disembarking in Victoria, but since you are sailing on a foreign-flagged cruise ship, you would be in contravention of the Coasting Trade Act. The cruise line is liable for a fine of up to $50,000, which in accordance with their terms & conditions will be charged to the pax. Returning from Seattle may be less convenient, but disembarking in Victoria could be rather expensive. If you experience heavy weather in the Pacific, the cruise line could easily cancel the Victoria call, as it is not required for PVSA compliance. So you may not have the option of disembarking in Victoria, being disembarked in Seattle. If the cruise is late in the season, the potential for heavy weather is increased.
  7. Whether you feel an obligation to tip tour guides is predominantly based on your Nationality. Personally, I feel no obligation to tip any guide. However, if a guide provides my wife or i with exceptional service, we will provide a tip, with the size of tip relating to how we valued the service. If they just did the minimum, they get nothing, but a thank you.
  8. Unfortunately, the Master has a number of additional factors to consider in addition to berth availability and weather. Currents are also a concern, with the current favourable until you reach the Equator and then you are bucking the current. Delaying departure by a day means the speed required is the key factor. I'll suggest that if the vessel departs on time, if the speed required is over 15.5 to 16 kts, you have a risk of being late at the next port. Using 16 kts, the vessel steams 384 miles in a day, discounting any cloxs, as the voyage is predominantly Northerly. If you delay departure by a day, those 384 miles must be steamed on the now only 6 available days, so each day requires and additional 64 miles, or an additional 2.7 kts. If the original speed was 16 kts, to delay departure, the new speed is 18.7 kts, which would place a significant risk of being late for the next port, if you encountered any weather.
  9. I can relate to the disappointment. While Viking can't control the weather, they can build ships that can be handled safely in higher wind speeds. Based on the fixed props, basics rudders, installed HP and thrusters, my best guess is the Master can comfortably hold the ship against a sustained 25kt beam wind, possibly as high as say 28 kts. I would be surprised if they can comfortably handle a sustained 30 kt beam wind. My last command was comfortable up to 33 kts and I have seen cruise ships handle 40 kts. I suspect the Queen Victoria, waiting outside Cape Town could handle 40 kts. The Viking ships are well designed to handle ocean seas, but not so much for docking in winds. This is becoming more evident, as I am seeing increasing instances where Viking ships miss ports due to wind, while other ships are docked safely. Some may be due to the respective Master's risk tolerance, but it happens too frequently, to only involve risk tolerance. I'll suggest the Viking ships need high-lift rudders and double/triple the HP in stern thrusters and a little more thruster capacity at the bow. This would require an additional DG in each E/R. Even with high lift rudders, they require more power on each shaft, as they have about the same as my last command, which was about 1/2 the gross tonnage and 200' shorter.
  10. Just checked Marine traffic and they have departed.
  11. The breadth of a ship is actually known as the "Beam". Length and beam have totally zero impact in a ship's ability to manoeuvre in wind. The ability to dock has nothing to do with sea and all to do with wind speed and the resultant force applied to the ship's windage.
  12. Sorry, but Queen Victoria and Viking Neptune aren't even close to being comparable vessels with respect to handling characteristics. Queen Victoria has 2 Azimuthing thrusters, which are commonly called Azipods, whereas the Viking ships have fixed bladed props with non-high lift rudders. Any vessel with Azipod type propulsion is considerably more manoeuvrable than a vessel with conventional rudders & props. Also consider the installed horsepower, with Queen Victoria having almost triple the installed power than Viking ships. Masters are also required to operate the vessel in accordance with the company's Safety Management System, with the latest SMS providing Master's with limiting wind conditions. The Master cannot sail, as that would be a serious non-conformity. The only option provided to the Master in these circumstances is the ISM Code 5.2, where the Master has overriding authority to take any action required for the safety of the vessel. This would only apply if the Master deemed the risks of staying alongside were greater than the risks of departing. Having spent almost 30 yrs in command of pax vessels, I have made similar decisions many times. If you believe the Master can sail, please advise regarding your professional experience in making this determination? BTW - gotta love the "Armchair Experts"
  13. Naw Jim, you need to remove 922 pax for the ultimate experience, but retain the full crew.😁
  14. Territorial waters extend for 12 miles off-shore, so the casino can open at that point. Ships also need to be 12 miles offshore before making fresh water from the evaps or RO's. Therefore, unless cruising narrow channels, or similar passages, the Master normally sets courses at least 12 miles offshore and in my experience, it is usually further offshore. The Hotel Supervisors are not ship's officers, as they do not require a Certificate of Competency. Viking does an excellent job differentiating the Officers from Hotel Supervisors/Managers, with the Master and Officers (Deck/Engineering/Medical) having gold stripes and Hotel Supervisors/Managers silver stripes. You may be surprised at how many and how often auditors/mentors are onboard the vessels, and they rotate through the ships on a regular basis, so no, it is not a "Very Small Chance", as it is very possible with having a small fleet, that auditors/mentors have been on the old Viking Sun at some point during the past 3 years. I have performed this role extensively as a Master and shore based manager, visiting most of the ships in the fleet.
  15. That may not be an accurate statement. They clearly can't work in an operational capacity, unless they were a Chinese National. However, if the vessel continues to use the Viking Safety Management System, any auditor or mentor does not require to be a Chinese National. Vessel audits by the company are a regular occurence, especially in preparation for Class Document of Compliance Inspections and SMS Audits. Therefore. it is entirely possible that Viking Officers have been aboard the vessel in a auditing or mentoring capacity. I also note that at least one of the senior managers in Basle also relieves onboard as GM, and he has been aboard the vessel in China.
  16. You're options for getting to limited when travelling with baggage. In addition to the harbour to harbour float plane service, you also have Helijet from Vancouver Harbour to Ogden Point, but that is most likely not a viable option due to baggage. Therefore, your flight options are commercial airlines YVR to Victoria International, with Air Canada and Pacific Coastal Airlines both having flights. Sorry, but have no idea on costs. The other option is taking the BC Ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. The Wilson Connector is a bus service that goes from downtown to downtown. It will depart Vancouver about 90 mins before the ferry departs, so about 09:30 to catch the 11:00 ferry. The ferry arrives in Swartz Bay about 12:35 and it takes about an hour from docking to arriving in downtown Victoria. So leaving Vancouver at 09:30, you would arrive Victoria about 13:30, provided the ferry is on time. You can also reach Tsawwassen Ferry terminal using a combination of Skytrain and buses, and then on arrival Swartz Bay you can also catch a city bus into downtown. These options are cheaper, but take more time. Not an easy option with baggage. Another option is hiring a car, which may get you to the ferry terminal faster, but you must arrive 30 - 60 minutes before departure to maintain a reservation. I'll suggest making a reservation is mandatory. The Wilson Bus does not have this 30 - 60 min arrival and if late, the ferry often waits for the bus. This is a more costly option, as in addition to car hire costs, you must also pay for the car + foot passengers on the ferry. All in all, with baggage, I'll suggest the Wilson Connector is the most convenient and cost effective option.
  17. The additional longer term consideration is Carnival's inability to submit numerous orders for new tonnage, to replace the older tonnage sold at fire sale prices during Covid. Other cruise lines are jumping on the newbuild bandwagon with Viking having 6 confirmed and 4 options this year and NCL just announcing 8 newbuilds. Due to low order books, they are getting advantageous pricing, so by the time Carnival's debt is written down, newbuild prices will have increased significantly. At present, I believe Carnival have only recently ordered 2 newbuilds across all their brands. Once they can finally order additional new tonnage, the cost per lower berth will be significantly higher.
  18. Having significant cash reserves is an improvement, but they still have a negative ROI, haven't paid dividends for 4 years and have a debt/equity ratio of >4.5. All poor metrics that trump improvements in their cash flow, at least in my experience. They are improving the debt position, but they have a long way to go before they can be considered a prudent investment. One more major marine incident and the cash flow could evaporate.
  19. Until a ship is 15 yrs old, the owner has the option of drydocking every 5 yrs with additional in water surveys conducted by divers. Otherwise they require 2 dockings every 5 yrs. This is mandatory and while Class will provide some leeway in exceptional circumstances, the most we would receive would be a few months. Drydock space is at a premium, so most ship dockings are booked many years in advance. Locally, we had only 2 options, so my vessel docking were normally booked up to 10 yrs ahead. Vessels built or last drydocked in 2019 are due for a drydocking this year. Older tonnage drydocked in 2019 will be due a 2nd drydocking in 2024.
  20. When I read the latest Carnival earnings report it still stated a loss of over $200 Million. May have been better than the forecast, but they are still operating at a loss.
  21. Since even the oldest vessel Viking Star has not yet completed its 2nd Special Survey at 10yrs, all Viking vessels only require drydocking every 5 yrs. Additional maintenance costs start about 15 yrs with increased drydockings and from about 20 - 25 yrs they increase significantly. DG's can't be changed easily, but other technology such as hull coatings, which can save considerable fuel, are easily changed on older ships at the next drydocking. Normally involves blasting to near white and applying new coatings. The increased smoothness of new coatings can save considerable fuel. Prior to retirement, I costed applying the latest anti-fouling and the fuel savings were considerable, giving a payback of only a couple of years. Much cheaper than building a new ship. With the 2 oldest ships paid off, according to the IPO, and no significant increase in maintenance costs, I'll suggest the 2 oldest ships are cheaper to operate than the new tonnage. Personally, I don't see any operational or financial reason to offload the tonnage. The older ships may not be able to cruise in an ever increasing list of environmentally sensitive areas, but they have a new ship each year that can operate in those areas. The cost per lower berth for the new ships is continuously increasing, so I'll suggest the older ships will be the ones making the greatest contribution to the bottom line, for a number of years. Another factor to consider is the going price for used tonnage. At less than 10 yrs they would not be candidates for a breaker's yard, so would be looking at the 2nd hand market. This market has experienced a glut of used tonnage, with multiple cruise lines going broke and mainstream lines offloading their older tonnage. Therefore, the 2nd hand market prices probably haven't yet rebounded.
  22. Once you retire you no longer accrue the seatime required to maintain your Certificate of Competency (CoC). Once issued, a CoC, is only valid for 5-years and to renew it you require 1 yr seatime on ships, or 2 yrs working ashore in a related industry. The Viking Masters, who work a day for day rotation, only get 6 months seatime each year, so need to work 2 yrs at sea in ev 5 yrs. In addition, you have to complete seafarer medicals, radio certification and safety courses. Therefore, for me to return to sea after 12 yrs in retirement, I would need to pass at least a number of written exams, a Master's orals exam, seafarer medical, GMDSS (radio refresher) and safety & survival refreshers. Time required would be a few months and cost a few thousand dollars. Even those of us that retired at 55, rarely return to the sea, as it is way too onerous to renew our Certificate of Competency.
  23. I'll suggest the biggest challenge is finding sufficient crew meeting the required Viking standards. If they take up all 4 options, 10 new ships in 6 years is a lot of crew recruitment and training. It isn't only the hotel crew that is of concern, there is a worldwide shortage of Masters, Deck Officers and Engineering Officers.
  24. Don - Surrey is a huge city that we rarely visit, except driving through to go somewhere else. So unfortunately, I can't suggest any specific stores. May i suggest doing a Google search for Save-on-Foods stores in Surrey selling wine. The best BC wine selection locally is at one of our local Save-on-Foods stores, so I expect the Surrey stores have a similar selection. If no Save-on-Foods is close to your hotel, then a local Govt Liquor store or private beer & wine store should have a reasonable selection.
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