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SeaDog-46

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    Sunshine Coast Queensland Australia

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  1. Bazza - We have just done 28d B2B around Japan cruise with 5 days in Yokohama prior to cruise. Arrived at start of peak cherry blossom season in Yokohama / Tokyo at end of March. Flew into Hanada airport as easier & nearer to Yokohama, via Singapore with SQ. They had lowest prices & convenient timings from Brisbane with afternoon arrival in HND & morning arrival back in BNE. Used debit card for cash from 7/Eleven which was easy & there are many of them around - some open 24 hours. Also Lawson [Station] is similar. Stayed in Shin Yokohama to use Shinkansen with JP Rail pass. There is a direct transfer from HND to the hotel as well as many other places. Coming back had to get taxi from cruise pier to Yokohama City Air Terminal [YCAT] for bus transfer to HND. The bus transfers are easy & very reasonably priced. Taxis are reasonable for short trips but drivers do not speak English & you need printed Japanese or map to show where you want to go. Few rubbish bins around so have to carry a rubbish bag. No tipping. It's a lot easier than most other cities as many signs also have English. Questions - e/m jmnhs95 at the usual google mail. John
  2. Approximately 30 expedition vessels are on order to comply with the Polar Code & for use in high latitudes. According to the advertising blurbs these vessels are all some how special - but are they anymore than specially built to the Polar Code. The ruddish put out by the tour operators should be taken with a grain of salt. Some are even called Yachts - yet a yacht is a PRIVATE vessel. Nearly all are over-running there delivery dates due to having to comply with the code in yards not used to all the new requirements. Scenic Eclipse is still to be handed over - we will have to wait until August to see if it sails this time after multiple delays due to the yard going bust. In the meantime other vessels are completing & operating. Hanseatic Nature a slightly smaller vessel with 230 passenger capacity is cruising in Europe in May 2019. The vast majority of the current expedition vessels operating in the plus 60 latitudes will slowly disappear to other duties or scrap, as 2022 approaches.
  3. Fletcher - Not sure if you really looked into the facts about crossing to Antarctica south of The Pacific. It is considerably shorter from Bluff to Ushuaia going east than to go west. It is around 135 deg. of longitude as apposed to 225 the other way into the prevailing winds. I understand what you say about the Ross Sea - but that goes for any place around Antarctica. National Geographic Endurance has arrived in Norway for fitting out. The Polar Code - comes into full force on 1st Jan. 2022 & will soon put the vast majority of current vessels out of business over the next 2 years.
  4. National Geographic Endurance in Norway for fitting out.
  5. The new Ulstein X-Bow [Cross bow] has been used in over 100 small vessels in the offshore oil supply & research sector since 2006. There are also ocean going tugs & some of the new expedition ships. It's claimed major benifits are - Improved power efficiency because of a softer entry into waves. Lower levels of noise & vibration in heavy seas. Reduced bow impact & slaming. More comfortable onboard conditions in heavy weather. Photos - Bourbon Mistral - Rig supply. Oceanic Vega - Seismic. ALP Keeper - Tug
  6. For those interested in the 2007 sinking of Explorer [near the Antarctic peninsular] - ex Lindblad Explorer built 1969 [38 years old] - see the final report from Liberian authorities online. The master was critisised for going too fast in ice at night that had growlers in it. The vessel had had the port side shell plating replaced but the starboard side that was damaged was original plating. They were very lucky with the weather. 3 of 4 lifeboat engines did not start & they were towed by Zodiacs. Two other vessels were fairly near & assisted. Polar Star - also built in 1969 [42 years old] as a Swedish icebreaker - hit an uncharted rock in 2011 & limped to a research station to off load passengers. The vessel went to Las Palmas for repairs where it has remained after owners went bust. Charts of these Polar regions are not so accurate that vessels can go where it may look safe - new hazards may lurk waiting to hole a vessel.
  7. Ken - don't get your hopes up too far Azamara - I think they are just not up to the new regulations. There has been no information in the "trade" about the refiting of the old R class vessels.
  8. Getting information on what ships have the Polar Code rating is not easy. Many still have one of the older Ice codes. The only vessel that converted to the new code is Silver Cloud when she had an extensive refurbishment in 2017 costing US$14 million. Polar Class 6 that most of the new expedition ships will have only enables them to operate in Medium 1st year ice in summer / autumn. Hanseatic Nature is one of the first of the new expedition ships & was handed over recently. Sunstone's first vessel was launched recently in China as Greg Mortimer is PC5 for long term charter. See the IMO information sheet on the Polar Code below.
  9. Anyone considering an Arctic or Antarctic cruise should be aware of the new IMO Polar Code that comes into full force on 1st Jan. 2022. The code will effect all large cruise ships & current expedition vessels as they renew there 5 year certificates before 2022. New buildings are built to the code & this is why many have delayed completion dates & are costing a lot more to build. A few ships have had very expensive refits to meet the code requirements.
  10. As skurvish has said - the new IMO Polar Code will come into full force on 1st Jan. 2022. But it will effect currect cruise ships before that date as they renew there certificates. New certificates will not include the current Ice Class some vessels have. See Wikipedia & Google.
  11. If you want to go to Greenland - do not put it off - as the new IMO Polar Code is coming into force over the next few years. The Polar Code will effect vessels as they renew there certificates & this is the reason for various ships going to Greenland over the next few summers. The Polar Code comes into full force on Jan. 1st 2022 & only new or a few refitted vessels will operate into high latitudes after that. See Wikipedia & Google.
  12. From Shin Kobe to Hiroshima is a bit over 1 hour & cost one way around Yen 10,000. Info in terminal on how to get to Shin Kobe involves 1 change of train. First train station is on cruise terminal & very convenient for town.
  13. Organise a transfer - you don't want to be on Japan railways with luggage & such a large group at that time of day. Assuming you arrive at the Yokohama Osanbashi cruise terminal you can get off fairly early - by 08:00 Tell the company to meet you near the information deck - they will wait. Disembarkation is quick & well organised. There are free helpers with your bags plus trollies available.
  14. Coming from Australia it would be the local pilot saying it is too rough to board. Coming from Port Chalmers the pilot usually joins there & will decide if it is OK to go in the sounds when they get there. Not sure about the other two but James Cook named Doubtful Sound - because he was doubtful he would get out if he entered.
  15. Plenty of real flowers on HAL. Each table in lido buffet has an orchid. Bathroom has amenities, bathrobe & also a fruit bowl in cabin. Of course no waterslides & few kids. Exercise around the wide teak decked promanade.
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