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About AmazedByCruising

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    Cruising ofcourse, and the inner workings of it all
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  1. OK, I think we're talking about different things. If I'm right you are saying that you're so much better of on a ship than in a local restaurant or elderly home, and that is because of the VSP. And I totally agree on those facts. But that's USPH protecting passengers on a ship. Not USPH protecting the US from introducing diseases like those brought by immigrants on Ellis Island, which is their mandate. All diseases you mention are either from bad food or bad water, and more importantly, aren't contagious. Even cholera wouldn't spread in the US. If someone gets sick from eating raw chicken on a ship that's very unfortunate, and the reviews should be bad, maybe claims should be made, you name it. But that has nothing to do with introducing a disease into the US. So IMHO it's not USPH's business to make sure that people don't get sick on a ship.
  2. We do have the same kind of contracts, but unfortunately there is law that nullifies it in a court case. IIRC correctly it was that the patients would be endangered and they should continue their service. Of course, if a doctor can't access the patient records there is a problem, but this GP simply didn't want to change his software provider and he didn't need to according to the judge.
  3. I do :( Not sure we are even legally allowed to get rid of them. We make software for GPs, and that comes with complicated rules. You can't say "we don't like you, you're shouting at our helpdesk, you're blaming us for unpaid bills, now here's your data and good luck". One of our competitors tried to "fire" a customer once, even offered to pay the license fees for a competitor (!), and the end result was that they had to compensate the GP for all the trouble and let him use the software till his pension (luckily just 2 years) for free. It was one of the weirdest verdicts I've ever seen, but we surely won't be firing a client.
  4. That was actually my point. There is no introduction of infectious diseases by cruise ships. The rules seem to be aimed at people not getting sick on board. Undercooked food, fresh fish, whole eggs, cross contamination, flies, slotted screws. As if they are checking a land based restaurant, but this time with rules that would make most small restaurants go bankrupt because they can't pay for a compliance officer whose job it is to check screws and tiles. While it's nice to not get sick on a ship because a cook didn't wash his hands, IMHO, that's not the intended purpose or mandate for USPH. What kind of infectious diseases would now be not introduced to the US because the ships are checked for not having slotted screws in the galley? Ebola? HIV? Noro? Measles?
  5. You know that when I would ask, the answer would be "Thank you so much for asking. Our mission statement says we care about people. That's why. Cheers, the intern. BTW you're Dutch. Why do you even care?" It's undoubtedly something like a politician who knew someone that got sick on a ship after drinking all martinis that where on the menu and blamed his illness on the egg Benedict. But it somehow got through all checks and balances and now the ships are inspected as if ship food is probably poisonous unless proven otherwise. Isn't that a bit ridiculous? Shouldn't there have been at least one passenger who died because the ship gave them a raw chicken to eat before making rules about the right kind of screws? To me it sounds like public servants, knowing nothing, sitting at their desk, their document is too empty and they need at least something to show how much they are needed. So they google a bit and start typing. From personal experience, they put everything to a halt.
  6. What is the reason ships are held to such a much higher standard? Nobody ever died because a restaurant had slotted screws or a cracked tile. Who invented that a ship's galley should be regarded as if it was an operating theater? Obviously you wouldn't want Ebola introduced to the US, but the rules seem to be about salmonella.
  7. I think that makes at least 3 people in the world thinking of a platform, and more precisely a platform that has some kind of a pool. YouTube just told me I really need to get rich soon so I can meet you on your next cruise :) It sounds fantastic. Have fun!
  8. When the platform isn't stored on the ship, I wouldn't compare a large raft to the Apollo program. It's not an artificial island that would allow planes to land, I'd think of wood, steel and barrels to keep it floating. And of course, permission of the port, storage, etc. If it's not a private island, that is a lot of cheap revenue generating space to turn a port day into a "golden" sea day by keeping the passengers nearby. And without USPH inspecting barges, you can organize the best and largest BBQs a ship can offer, with fresh fish and mussels. You can rent out kayaks, clams and motorboats with no competitor in sight. You can allow stalls with souvenirs where you must conveniently pay with your SeaPass. Bumper cars, ice rinks, go-karts and viewing pods all sound less likely than this. It's basically a standard floating quay which happens to be much bigger than usual and needs towing to the ship.
  9. Really? People were better than computers at poker till about a year ago. If the machine does know when to call your bluff or to fold, is it supposed to make mistakes once in a while to still pay out 80%?
  10. They can also charge for chairs according to demand. Sunny day? Sea day? Prices go up. In port on a rainy day? Prices go down. And then, instead of sending the money to the shareholders, give all guests their share of the money in the form of OBC. Nobody would accuse the ship of nickel and diming, and if you're willing to pay for it, there's always a chair. Also, the shops would love to see people having $3.53 in OBC when the cheapest shirts start at $10.
  11. Not in Holland, I guess. I've never seen it anywhere in Europe either. Can you name an example? (in Dutch) https://www.reclameboek.nl/artikelen/hotel-service-charge-blijkt-vaste-kostenpost-dient-als-zodanig-in-prijs-verdisconteerd-te-worden While this is not a "real" judge, this is the official committee to go to for false advertising. They say that HSC is more or less "unavoidable", and should be included in advertised prices. HAL said it was "optional", but the committee says (rightly) that it's opt-out instead of opt-in (where the guest makes a deliberate choice to be charged extra). The committee even said that the percentage of opt-out that HAL stated as proof (but couldn't be checked) that it was "optional", between 12,6% en 18,2%. actually shows that these are unavoidable costs. And should be listed as such.
  12. They wouldn't opt out, however at least someone, like a TA, should be telling what the Romans do. That's not the case. It's not the end of the world to pay a bit extra so the guys in the back get some "tips" as well. But it's simply not sincere to sell cruises at $110 per night, when it really is $12 more. The first TA I looked up, the one with "no hidden costs", even says, after digging through their FAQ, that you can remove DSC but you will be asked for a "proper reason". This might be totally normal for Canadians or Americans but it is not for me. I doubt it's even legal in Holland, but so far I found just one costumer organization saying that it's probably not legal and that was years ago. I wonder how my clients would react if I would come up with an arbitrary "Software service charge", which you really should be paying unless you are willing to stiff my programmers and support desk. They'd think I'd gone mad, and look at their contract to see how soon they can switch to a competitor.
  13. DSC would probably be regarded as "non-commissionable fare" for the TA, similar to port fees. Also, if TAs would get more money for doing the same work, soon one big TA will return the extra money as OBC and the rest would follow quickly.
  14. All the things you mention are, in a way, "extra". At least not a complete surprise. Simply getting billed $12 or whatever per day for "gratuities" is absurd, no matter what reasons the cruise lines have. I haven't been to guest services to remove them, but I do warn friends that when they book a cruise there will be hidden costs that they wouldn't expect. The Dutch don't have a tipping culture, but I'm sure most of my friends would tip nicely in cash at the end of the cruise. But even dictionary.com is very clear about the word "gratuities". https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gratuities noun, plural gra·tu·i·ties. a gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop; tip. something given without claim or demand.
  15. It was a day dream, but mine was a bit similar :). I like the idea but I also believe the technical problems brought to the discussion by Chengkp75 make it very hard. When the ship is moored in the shallows of an island, though, the "deck" doesn't even need to be a part of the ship. It could be stored on the island and towed to the ship. My slightly similar idea: Of course the idea was deemed absurd, ridiculous, and inane. Then again, so was having underwater windows and those got implemented. This is exactly what I like about the "extra" deck at ground floor: You'd be at the gangway and when you get out, you are not at the concrete quay looking for the right bus for a 3 hour drive. Instead you walk to the "swimming pool" on the Seaview Deck where you sit on the deck but your feet are in the sea. Automatically the waiter you only knew from the Casino bar brings you your favorite brand of beer. To the left are some people taking diving lessons. To the right you get to watch more action with guests trying to stay on the banana boat. You are still "at home", your cabin and everything else is 5 minutes away, not a 30 minute commute by tender. It's what the really, really expensive cruise lines offer.
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