Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Oak Hill Cruisers

Just Booked Rickmers Seoul for Houston to Antwerp Run

Recommended Posts

After years on our bucket list and lots of research, we just booked passage on the Rickmers Seoul going from Houston to Antwerp late August, 2017.

 

We've read several blogs and we're aware that we have to be flexible & self-reliant for this cruise. After the quiet & solitude of this cruise, our return the USA on the RCI Independence of the Seas in October will seem awfully crowded & noisy.

 

Would like to hear comments & suggestions from fellow freighter cruisers who have sailed on the Rickmers Seoul or one of her sister ships on the Rickmers Pearl String Service cruises.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They say prospective freighter cruisers have to be 'flexible'. That's proving to be the case with this booking. At the time of booking, the estimated departure from Houston was August 26th which would have given us about a four-week buffer before boarding our return cruise on the RCI Independence of the Seas.

Revised departure is now September 7-11 which gives us a buffer of only 10 days. Looking like we'll cancel the RCI cruise in order to accommodate our freighter.

It's funny to think that the RCI cruise was booked way back and was to be the fall of 2017 'main event'. Now, this freighter cruise has now moved to number one in our cruising priority for the end of 2017.

Crossing our fingers to be sure that it's not delayed so much that it impacts our world cruise departing January 4th next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting to see that our vessel tracking site, Vessel Finder, stopped showing our current ship location yesterday as she was approaching the pirate-infested waters of the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb. Good move -- don't want to show the pirates ship positions.

Hopefully, we'll see her again when she clears Yemen and is sailing by Oman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Interesting to see that our vessel tracking site, Vessel Finder, stopped showing our current ship location yesterday as she was approaching the pirate-infested waters of the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb. Good move -- don't want to show the pirates ship positions.

Hopefully, we'll see her again when she clears Yemen and is sailing by Oman.

 

Unless you have subscribed to the "upgraded" or "premium" package with VesselFinder, or any consumer AIS site, you are relying on land based AIS receiving stations, and your vessel will drop out of coverage anytime it is more than 20-30 miles or so from a station, not just from land. There aren't a lot of stations in the Bab area, even though the straits are narrow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your reply and comments. I did register for Vessel Finder 'Premium' but stopped short when they were asking about 50 euros for joining. Have had good coverage in the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal, and about half-way through the Red Sea.

I'll ask the dear wife if I can spend the 50 euros for the Premium package or hope for the best tracking the vessel through the Panama Canal so I can determine when to get to Houston for boarding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for your reply and comments. I did register for Vessel Finder 'Premium' but stopped short when they were asking about 50 euros for joining. Have had good coverage in the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal, and about half-way through the Red Sea.

I'll ask the dear wife if I can spend the 50 euros for the Premium package or hope for the best tracking the vessel through the Panama Canal so I can determine when to get to Houston for boarding.

 

You may want to hold onto that cash. Even their "premium" satellite AIS package is limited to 2 updates every 24 hours (a limitation placed on consumer use of the satellite AIS system since there are thousands of ships out there and the satellites are for national agencies to track ships, not you and me. One thing you can do, and I've been off VesselFinder for a while (use MarineTraffic), but these days they will show "ghost" ship images, and if you click on them they just say "cargo ship located by satellite". If you follow your ship from when it is within range of a land based AIS station, and you know the general route and speed of the ship, you can get a pretty good indication of which "ghost" is yours as it travels across the wide open spaces. I am currently on a ship that is in the southern Med, heading for the North African coast, and AIS service is very spotty here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our ship is now docked in Beijing. Watching for movement by tugs to see if she's ready to sail again. Estimated sailing/boarding for us in Houston is holding steady at 3-7 September with arrival at Antwerp on 4-7 October.

 

So far, about a 21-day buffer until our TA from Southampton to Miami sails on 29 October. Fingers crossed and staying 'flexible'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Submitted our health certificates yesterday to Maris Freighter & Specialty Cruises (our 'TA'). Awaiting review & approval from Rickmers Line.

 

Watching closely the schedule for the Seoul. As of today, only a 21-day buffer between its arrival in Antwerp and our embarkation on the RCI Independence of the Seas in Southampton. It could be that we have to ask to be transferred to the Jakarta which is about two weeks behind the Seoul. The Rickmers Line operates their 'Pearl String Service' which has about a dozen MPCs circling the globe about two weeks apart. so we have a good chance to do this voyage, one way or the other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just received approval from the Rickmers Line for our health certs. Good to go.

Now will have to decide if we want to cancel our return cruise on the RCI Independence of the Seas if this ship runs really late or ask to be put on the Rickmers Jakarta which now running about two weeks ahead of our current ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it were me and if the Jakarta is a similar ship I would take it. Do they both have the same itinerary to get to you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, we think that all the ships on Rickmers 'Pearl String Service' are all Superflex Multi Purpose Cargo (MPC) and they are pretty much identical. Both the Seoul & Jakarta have similar itineraries.

We are now booked in the Owner's Cabin (a suite) on the Seoul and we have asked if they have this cabin available on the Jakarta. If not, we'd be fine in a double cabin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we sent in our signed contracts of carriage, proof of trip cancellation/medical insurance & final fare adjustment (subject to constant exchange rates) and we now await specific directions from the shipping agent. As we write this, the Jakarta has just exited the last locks in Colon and will heading to Lake Charles for an ETA of 16 or 17 August. Rickmers has the Jakarta in Houston 20-23 August.

We're getting ready to leave Austin for Houston by Megabus either as soon as the Jakarta ports in Lake Charles or as soon as she leaves for Houston. Looking to spend at least one night in Houston before boarding so we can get some last-minute snacks and some distilled water for DWs CPAP machine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, we sent in our signed contracts of carriage, proof of trip cancellation/medical insurance & final fare adjustment (subject to constant exchange rates) and we now await specific directions from the shipping agent. As we write this, the Jakarta has just exited the last locks in Colon and will heading to Lake Charles for an ETA of 16 or 17 August. Rickmers has the Jakarta in Houston 20-23 August.

We're getting ready to leave Austin for Houston by Megabus either as soon as the Jakarta ports in Lake Charles or as soon as she leaves for Houston. Looking to spend at least one night in Houston before boarding so we can get some last-minute snacks and some distilled water for DWs CPAP machine.

I would love to do that. I'm on a ship in Port Moresby but have to fly here from Houston which takes 30 hours or more and causes a few days of jet-lag.

Enjoy the sea time and the Aranui. I was on her predecessor about 7 years ago. Time flies !

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Forums mobile app

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't worry about getting too much distilled water to bring onboard, since that is what you will be drinking onboard. Most ships make far more water than they use, so they don't buy water in ports, and nearly all of it is from flash distillers, giving pure distilled water. What is done to treat the water produced is to pass it through a bed of calcium carbonate (the active ingredient in Tums) to neutralize the natural acidity of distilled water, and a UV sterilizer. If you are still worried about contaminants in the CPAP, ask them to get your water jug refilled directly from the evaporator, before it goes to the calcium carbonate rehardening filter.

 

A typical cargo ship evaporator is in the 20-30 ton/day production range, and the ship will only use 5-6 tons/day. When the tanks are full, they will generally leave the evaporator running, but switch off the distillate pump so the distilled water goes over the side, as the heat used to evaporate the sea water is from the engine, and leaving this running helps maintain the heat balance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great tip! Thanks. We should have known that ships make their own water.

Now, awaiting further instruction from the port agent in Houston as to the exact day & time they want us on-board.

According to Marine Traffic & Vessel Finder, Jakarta has exited the Panama canal and is now heading to Lake Charles arriving around midweek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it's getting real. the Rickmers port agent got in contact with us. Expected ETA in Houston is pm of Saturday, August 19th and ETS is pm of Tuesday, August 22nd. Port agent offered to pick us up in Houston and bring us into the port and the ship.

We're thinking of taking the Megabus from Austin to Houston either Sunday or Monday and asked the port agent if he could pick us up at the bus station.

Assembling a big bag of snacks and crossword & sudoku puzzles. DW is taking some crocheting. Also taking a year's worth of unread Atlantic magazines. We're each bringing loaded Kindles. Will read, aloud, Douglas Adams' The Ultimate Hitchhikers's Guide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...