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Everything posted by AL3XCruise

  1. Passenger comfort is important, and would probably have been within company acceptable levels had the power not failed. Stabilizers, rudders, engines, etc. are all used by the crew to reduce the impact of outside conditions, without these tools ship motion increases significantly. I'm sure one of the Captains or the Chief can explain in far more detail, but having traversed similar conditions to those reported as a passenger I never once questioned the safety of the ship, the decision making of the Master, or the impact it was having on my vacation. Certainly the motion had an impact when walking around, but we didn't deal with tumbling furniture; I'd surmise the biggest reason for this was a skilled bridge and engineering crew with access to a lot of resources. As far as business, I doubt a non-fatal accident will have a long term impact. Historically companies have taken a short term hit even for far worse situations than this. If something is ultimately uncovered about Viking's maintenance, for instance, I'm sure that could dog the company for several years, but at this point there is no credible evidence that something like that occurred. Also, I'd be curious what your source is for the $100 billion number... Most estimates seem to peg revenue at around $30 to $40 billion.
  2. That looks right ;). Still, the sharpness of the first picture makes it the winner IMHO. A friend of mine was in the Wing the F-35 you posted belongs to, though he was flying the F-16.
  3. I think it definitely qualifies as a "divisive" concept: some love it, some hate it. The concept art looked more appealing to me than photos I've seen, but I'll admit the idea has its place. On a colder weather cruise I'd jump at the option of having a quasi-balcony that can become an extension of interior space, all with a big window. In the Caribbean, not so much. The marketing push behind IVs didn't help either. Along with Eden and some other features, it all combined to give people an experience different than what they were used to and expected. In addition to marketing, I think a mistake was going almost all-in on IVs with the Edge, especially considering the ship was intended to sail the Caribbean market! It think a mixture of IV and traditional balconies, with the ratio determined by the ships intended market would make sense. A bit like comparing RCI's Quantum and Oasis class. The former has a lot more interior attractions for comfort in cooler climates, the latter has massive outdoor areas.
  4. Given this risk, I'm curious if variable pitch propellers would be valuable in certain situations? Adjusting blade pitch would provide an additional method to change RPM and torque as required, but I don't know if they are responsive enough to matter in these conditions.
  5. This is not correct. Ships rotate around a given axis the further you are from that axis the more the apparent rotation. In pitch, that means anyone fore or aft experiences more motion. For roll, generally higher decks are more impacted. The ship can also move in other ways. A naval architect could give you more details and specifics for the Escape, but the center of rotation is not the aft end of the ship. It is possible aft cabins will be better in motion than forward cabins depending on how far they are from center of rotation, but none will be as good as cabin nearer to that point. The props move with the rest of the ship; the crew will adjust speed and heading based on conditions to try and limit pitching in order to keep the props where they should be. The props themselves don't "hold" the stern in the water. Some interesting notes over in the Viking board as discussion on how the relationship of wave conditions, pitching, and props nearing the surface may have contributed to the loss of power. Despite that, I'm willing to bet that on most cruises the difference perceived by a passenger is slight. If the OP hasn't had issues with motion on ships before, I think it is unlikely the aft cabin would make enough a difference to be a problem.Personally it doesn't bother me at all, but I'm pretty tolerant. As noted, there can be some vibration though in my experience its only been noticeable while the ship is maneuvering into a port or weather conditions require frequent power and steering corrections. I would make the same choice on the Escape, even versus the M6's. An aft balcony may not have the big bathroom, but if chosen carefully you can find one with a comparably sized outdoor area. Personally I like the larger overhang compared to the M6, both for privacy and shade. In fact, it may be more private than an angled balcony; not only can adjacent balconies see in, but they are pretty easy to see from down on the Waterfront. I would probably aim for one at least a couple decks below the buffet and Spice on Escape. You might still hear some "party" noise down there, but it isn't really bothersome and mostly drowned out by the wake.
  6. Astrophotography is probably the most complex editing there is, at least short of certain industrial and scientific applications. Do you like the Tamron? I'm seriously considering a 150-600 lens, and both Tamron and Sigma have options in my price range. I thought it was a corn maze for ants ;).
  7. You are correct... the source I read mistakenly described the Promas system as a pod; I think they made an assumption because it is described as "combined propulsion and steering". Its more of a a traditional system with a large hydrodynamic fairing built into the hull and an integrated rudder. Corrected that using info from some other sources. Regardless, I don't think it two independent failures would result in this issue, but stranger things have happened.
  8. I can't be sure, but I doubt that is the issue. Not only are modern azipods far more reliable than older models, they are largely independent of each other. Viking sky appears to have the Promas system, which is an integrated steering system but not a traditional "pod design" Someone with ship handling experience can correct me, but I believe even in rough conditions one propulsion unit would be able to maintain control of the ship. Two are required for high speed cruise, but a single unit is fairly capable on its own. Regardless of the cause, I hope for a swift resolution that enables the safest outcome for the passengers and crew!
  9. I'm not experts on ships, but I assume the Master is concerned about a situation arising that would require the immediate evacuation of the ship by means that wouldn't be as safe as helicopters? I would imagine that is a decision they would not take lightly, especially since helicopter evacuations have their own hazards. That isn't saying such an emergency is imminent, but it means in the Master's opinion the risk his great enough to justify his current course of action.
  10. That's basically what I said in my first paragraph, except assuming the Vision class ships are paid off and not expected to receive major refurbishments, you are looking primarily cash streams from operations more than considering an initial investment. Once the value of that drops below what they can get for a sale, the ship is sold.
  11. Exactly. Over time, I'm sure they become less profitable than there larger cousins due to rising maintenance costs and a reputation of "old and small" driving down prices. Eventually the value of quick cash from a sale will exceed the future earning potential of the ship, particularly if that money can be reinvested into a more lucrative ship. But until that math works out, the small ships keep sailing. I very much doubt that. RCI would move or sell the ship long before it was operating in the red. I agree. I imagine there are some savings on small ship due to fewer amenities, but based on what I have read (and seen corroborated by folks like Cheng) it generally doesn't make up for the economies of scale enjoyed by large ships. That said, as mentioned above, small ships are still profitable; otherwise, they would be gone!
  12. As Ldubs said, the sample size isn't the issue. What matters is how that sample is generated. Furthermore, statistical conclusions are used when the data is numeric, or can be made numeric. If you are looking at only the X out of 5 part of a review, that has some relevance. If you actually read through the review, your interpretation of the review is going to be far more relevant than any statistical data. Certainly true, which skews the sample when looking at numeric data and results in a lot of negative writing! Personally, I find some reviews very useful but ignore most of them. The problem I see is that tons of reviews are poorly written. Whether negative or positive, the writers do not employ sufficient details to determine if their experiences are relevant to me. "The ship is dirty" can mean lots of different things. If there is mold on food, that's a major issue to me. If there is a little rust on the balcony, I can live with that. Some people will write "they ship is lacking activities". If that means there is no live music, I'd be concerned. If it means there is no ropes course and laser tag, well, I don't really care. If they fail to explain why they are being critical their point doesn't have much value to me. Things like food quality and service can be very subjective, so I'm always hesitant to put too much faith in positive or negative reviews. Some people expect Michelin star food, others seem to think everything tastes better when your at sea! I'm also a realist who understands that variations occur, accidents happen, and consistency can be sketchy. I have had one truly miserable cruise experience, yet I decided to give the line another try and found it far better the second time. In short there is no one size fits all cruise, but people frequently write reviews as if there is and fail to explain what specifically matters to them and influenced their experience. Add in the fact angry folks review more than happy ones, and you have a lot of negative sounding but largely useless reviews!
  13. While there will always be people that jump into a cruise without any research, I give VV credit for trying to market what will be unique. A few minutes on their website should give people an idea of what they are about and if they will be a good fit. When Celebrity launched the Edge, for instance, the experience their customers expected was well established. When it got shaken up by the Edge, a lot of people reacted negatively. Celebrity did say the Edge would be innovative, but I don't think they really articulated what would be changed or lost. This may have been intentional; even though they were trying to appeal to a new demographic, they wanted to keep current customers booking on the Edge. The result was a lot of seasoned Celebrity cruisers who did their research and still found the ship too different for their tastes. VV is different. For one, VV benefits from being an all-new brand. They don't have previous customers who will be upset, nor any reputation other than the one they are making now. VV also seems perfectly willing to target one demographic at the expense of others. Celebrity seems to wallow around trying to appeal to its traditional customers, millennial, families, etc. They try to tailor marketing to each group, and when they get on the ship they may find certain things disappointing. VV has made it explicitly clear what experience they provide and effectively said "if this isn't for you, we respectfully suggest you go find another line." Please note: I'm not trying to rag on Celebrity as I am a fan (I plan to sail with them again) and I understand the pressures to increase revenues, but the comments on the Edge introduction certainly show the strategy has a downside. Marketing is very complex, and customer satisfaction is not the only driver behind it. Still, I think VV's more transparent and focused effort will alleviate some confusion seen when lines try to provide something for everyone.
  14. 1/60th second exposure, ISO 100 full frame Canon using a 2032mm F/10 telescope. Vignetting is a major issue with the adapter I use, but thankfully the moon is round so it isn't noticeable. There are some techniques to deal with that, but I haven't really explored them yet. I'm just learning about wavelets; the idea is you can break the image into multiple layers based on detail and edit them independently. In practice, this image is sharpened at certain layers and not at others, allowing me to avoid making the noise look worse but still getting sharper craters. Another common technique is stacking multiple frames. By averaging them together, it eliminates a lot of the variable distortions caused by the atmosphere. I've been playing with that too, but it never seems quite as sharp as I want it. Still, folks that actually know what they are doing get stunning results! BTW, I love the duck shots, especially the one of the female about to touch down! I need to get a nice zoom lens :). Got a hole between 135mm and 2032mm right now. Plus the big one has a fixed aperture and weighs close to 20 pounds, so not really great for wildlife!
  15. Sadly I had cloud cover, but got a really nice shot a few nights earlier. My first time editing wavelets.
  16. This is an interesting discussion, but I think trying to compare the food on a cruise to land based restaurants is challenging. As mentioned by several people, taste is subjective. However, there are other issues. 1) Consistency can be variable. This is something I have seen on NCL, with food quality and service being dramatically different. I've seen the most prevalent in the MDR, reading reviews it is clear nothing is immune. To be fair this also applies to to some land based restaurants: I've eaten at outbacks that, while not an upper tier restaurant, are an affordable casual alternative to a "true" steakhouse; others are like an Applebees that serves steak. In short, one bad experience does not necessarily mean a bad product, just bad quality control. To be fair, a single bad meal is disappointing, but in most cases shouldn't be seen as a red flag. 2) Ship restaurants rarely match the land-based counterparts they emulate. If you expect Moderno to be like Fogo de Chao, you'll probably be unimpressed. If you go into Cagney's expecting Ruths Chris, it probably won't meet your expectations. The marketing hype doesn't really match what you get on your plate. That said, I have greatly enjoyed my meals at specialty restaurants, but I set my expectations at what I think I'm going to get, not what the marketing folks make it out to be. 3) Buffets are hard to judge. The sheer variety of food and constant turnover make it hard to compare different experiences. I will say that, while boorish behavior at the buffet is a major negative, I don't hold the cruise line accountable for that when reviewing food. It does detract from the experience though. Thus far I have been on cruises where I've been disappointed with the quality of a specific item, but I've never had a problem finding something else that I could enjoy. I'm always skeptical of reviews that say "everything" was bad, as it suggest to me that the person either has very high expectations or a very limited pallet that they have been unable to satisfy onboard.
  17. As far as aesthetics, there is an elegance to two funnel designs like Disney. In practice, whatever takes up the least amount of deck space tends to be the best, though I am partial to the old RCI funnels with the fully elevated lounge.
  18. I agree there are plenty of places where the opportunity to explore for multiple days would be great. Most, however, probably have good alternatives compared to a cruise ship. NYC is a good example of an exception: the cost of a hotel room, food, and entertainment in Manhattan would certainly be more than that of comparable cruise accommodations. In most places, however, I'd lean towards a resort or traditional hotel if I was staying more than a few days AND the ship was not providing me with transportation to/from the location. Queen Mary and QE2 are both stationary, though I think they are marketed more as "floating hotels" than "docked cruise ships".
  19. I'm a big fan of Bermuda. Bermuda has snorkeling, beaches, forts, caves, various boat options, and more. One thing I love about a multi-day stay there is the ability to plan my own adventures; between the great public transit and not needing to hurry back to the ship, you have a lot more options! Based on what you like, I think it might be a good fit. I'd suggest checking out the Bermuda board here for more specific suggestions and making sure my supposition is correct! I've never been to Perfect Day, so I can't comment on that. Obviously PC and Miami have a lot going on, but if I were visiting them (and I have) I wouldn't consider an 8 hour stop on a cruise as the best option. I can't speak on Adventure OTS either as I've never been on that class of ship. Regarding the Escape, I'm a fan, and it has most of the on-board activities you are looking for. You can check for details on both ships, but Escape has a massive ropes course, nice slides, and basketball. There are multiple pools, but as is typical of a ship that size they can be quite crowded. Comedy was excellent, normally three shows (two family friendly and an 18+) every other night, alternating with dueling pianos. Choir of Man, now the headline show on Escape, is regarded by many as one of the best shows on any ship... short of a full up Broadway musical I tend to agree. Lots of live music options in different lounges and bars. One really nice feature of the Escape is the "Waterfront" on deck 8. It is an outdoor deck that wraps most of the way around the ship with seating, bars, and a few restaurant options. Its a nice option if you want to be outside but want something quieter than the pool deck. However, there are always some negatives. You mention trivia: it is held in the atrium where seating can be at a premium. You probably need to arrive fairly early to get a good seat. I didn't pay attention to bingo. There is karaoke, but it is in only one of several venues that have entertainment. The pizza is available most of the day, but not particularly good. When I was a teenager I probably wouldn't have cared, but I notice now. Not bad, but I'd put it on par with average frozen pizza you heat up at home. I also found the Escape to be a very pleasant ship during the school year; it may feel a lot more crowded when schools are out and there are lots of 3rd and 4th guests in cabins. Adventure OTS probably suffers from this as well, but I don't know how it compares. A few pictures of the Escape that might be relevant to you; The Waterfront Slides and Ropes Course Main Pool (right around freezing weather in NYC) Forward sundeck and Hot Tub
  20. OK. That's how A LOT of industries work. Revenue management has been a thing for many years. You can view it as wrong, but if you choose to do business with industries that price dynamically, you either need to try and use the system to your advantage and take the risk of late bookings or accept that you were happy with price you paid, when you paid it, and move on. If you consider it bad customer service, that's your right. But you know that is what it's going to be going in, yet chose to do business with the company anyway.
  21. AL3XCruise

    Bermuda help

    I lover Bermuda and have been there on several cruises, likely with around 10 days in port total. Never ran out of things to do, and enjoyed exploring on my own schedule via public transit. When I only have a few hours in a port, it feels much more important to carefully plan everything, choose packaged trips or excursions, etc. That said, @LHT28 is right it depends on what you want. I think most people will be happy in Bermuda, but for details I'd suggest posting in the Bermuda forum (link below) and letting people know what you are looking for. They can give you details on beaches, snorkeling, caves, zoos/aquariums/museums, shopping, sightseeing, and much more. Also, "Being on the water" can have different meanings, but there are tons of ferries and sightseeing boats in Bermuda, so you may be able to enjoy the sea air and the view that way if you choose. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/118-bermuda/
  22. Good point; I'll admit that all my cruises have originated in the US and Canada, where multi-port embarkation is uncommon. I'm sure the distance from the port to various attractions will diminish the appeal of certain ports for large ship passengers, but IF the industry is right about future demand I think there will still be plenty of room for all the 200K+ GT ships currently planned. Some ports will likely expand to accommodate the ships, others will invest in transit of some kind, and some will simply focus on smaller ships. Of course, as you said, if they are still ordering these ships at this rate in 15 years, the problem could become much more acute. I agree that right now the lines market the big ships as a destination. As they become more prevalent, its possible the amenities they provide will become standard expectations, pushing ships that size and bigger and forcing ports and cruise lines to figure out viable solutions. Or you may be right that the novelty wears off and the market trends to more flexible smaller ships. The next few years will be interesting! Publicly, cruise executives seem to think growth in the Caribbean will continue. Of course, they have motivations to promote the most optimistic picture! If they are proved correct, it is conceivable that current ships could be replaced by giants at near a 1:1 ratio. Ships in the 100GT range may be moved elsewhere or transferred to other lines. I've seen quotes from line management admitting some US ports have great potential, but the lines are focusing on maximum profitability routes out of Florida and don't have enough ships to expand. I'll admit I don't know nearly as much about other markets, though. I'm not sure how "on the edge" Oasis is with regards to stability. Enclosing the area in glass would have a much smaller impact on center of gravity than actually building out decks (talk about a lot of inside cabins!), which I'm sure would not be possible without major changes. But given the size of the ship, I'm sure even a relatively lightweight enclosure would be something requiring careful evaluation. I agree, though, that it is far more likely to see that kind of change introduced on the Icon than on Oasis 6, if at all. I agree. I also am really looking forward to the World class, as it will be our first time seeing someone other than RCI enter that territory! Sometimes discussions via text sound more like arguments than a friendly conversation, so just wanted to make sure my thoughts were taken in the cordial manner they are intended! Take care!
  23. I think the issue with that comparison is that there are a lot more situations on a sail boat (or operating any equipment, really) where taking action without communicating first is inherently dangerous, potentially resulting in injury and damage. Not judging the approach, nor saying there isn't potential for injury if someone gets startled or pushed, but its not quite the same. Reminds me of a recent cruise. A woman with a stroller is trying to get on to a nearly packed elevator, and the passengers are quietly talking to each other about how to rearrange everyone so there is room. The woman angrily complains that the discussion is too loud and these people are going to wake the baby. Of course, her nasty complaint is in a much louder voice than anyone else had been speaking!
  24. Assuming you want a tour, it is hard to go wrong with Thenford. You do get off the bus and walk around the fort, Romney Manor, and have some time at the beach, so it is not just sitting. Still, if you are looking for an active adventure it may not be what you want. I don't recall the name of the beach, but it was nice enough and had facilities, drinks, and chairs. And it was neat being at a black sand beach. A few pics from the tour:
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