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About Donald

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Viking Ocean
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    Tokyo, Japan

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  1. If you do manage to get a water kettle onboard, consider this. Your cabin's fragile electrical system probably cannot handle the load required by your kettle. Plugging it in will most likely trip the electrical breakers that power your cabin. Since cabins are normally grouped in 3's and 4's on the electricity grid, all your neighbors will be blacked out as well. Then you have to telephone Reception, report the outage, and wait for an electrician to restore power to you and your neighbors.
  2. The words "dining" and "NCL America" do not belong together in the same sentence.
  3. This thread truly shows the extremely low levels that mass market cruising has reached. People arguing over mediocre American fast food on a cruise ship.
  4. No problem. So the sky is falling. Lock your doors, turn off the lights, draw the curtains, hide under your bed. Do not answer the door. I will telephone you as soon as it is safe to come out.
  5. Donald

    Sakway, Alaska

    Maybe they are asking about Safeway?
  6. This is why 10% of the US population had Norovirus last year and nearly 800 Americans died from it.
  7. Alcohol in concentrations above 60% has been proven to kill many (not all) norovirus spores - but only if the dwell time is longer than 3 minutes. When you wipe down the machines, do the wiped surfaces stay wet with alcohol for at least three minutes? If not, you are wasting your time.
  8. Norovirus contamination is typically fecal-oral. This means that someone with infected fecal matter from their body has touched you or something that you touch or eat. That infected fecal matter remains contagious on a clean dry surface for several weeks. The amount of Norovirus spores required to infect you would easily fit on the sharp end of a pin. On a big mass market ship, how many people have the opportunity to infect a public toilet in one day? A public toilet that looks and smells clean is rarely virus-free. If you walked into one with an ultraviolet lamp, you would be shocked and sickened. How many people have the opportunity to contaminate your cabin toilet? Do you feel lucky?
  9. Last year in the USA, over 700 Americans died from complications coming from Norovirus.
  10. The CDC conducted many surveys on cruise ships over the past decade. They discovered that ships pushing the hand sanitizers had far more Norovirus cases than ships that do not. Too many cruisers do not understand that hand sanitizers are an adjunct to handwashing - NOT a replacement. Other CDC surveys pinpointed the best locations to contract Norovirus; 1. airplanes, 2. schools, 3. prisons, 4. old age homes, and 5. hotels. Did you or any of your fellow cruisers visit any of those locations before the cruise? Just about everyone. The next surveys pinpointed the best places on a cruise ship to contract Norovirus; 1. Self-service buffets, and 2. public toilets. Where does just about every mass market cruiser go immediately upon boarding? 1. Buffet, and then 2. Public toilet. So if you carry a container of sanitizer with you, where do you store it? Most people opt for a trouser pocket, possibly the dirtiest place on a human being - or a purse, the second dirtiest place. So you take the contaminated bottle of sanitizer out of a pocket or purse. This guarantees that your hands are contaminated. Then you sanitize your hands. Next you use your clean hands to place the still-contaminated bottle back into your contaminated pocket or purse. So your hands are contaminated again. You have just defeated the system. Purell may not be effective against Norovirus. But there are some hand sanitizers that are effective. In order to kill Norovirus "spores', there is a minimum requirement called "dwell time". This is the length of time a liquid sanitizer remains liquid and in contact with the viral spores. Most sanitizers require a dwell time of several minutes in order to be effective. How many of you squirt the sanitizer on your hands, work it around a bit, and then quickly dry your hands? You have just defeated the sanitizer and rendered it ineffective. The dwell time was too short to be effective. How many cruisers squirt enough sanitizer on their hands to keep it liquid for several minutes? Hardly anyone. Now let's talk about the mobile telephone that you carry in your contaminated pocket or purse. This is the thing that you are constantly pressing against your face, letting others press against their faces, and handing it to any number of people to hold and view a photo or video. How many times a day do you properly sanitize that mobile telephone? Wiping it on a trouser leg or a shirt doesn't count. Do you sanitize your hands every time after you use your mobile telephone or loan it to somebody else? You should. Do you wash your face every time after you press that contaminated phone against it? You should.
  11. My ship is currently 75% across the Atlantic. We have fantastic weather and very calm seas. We are a very upscale cruise line. My guests are paying more than $1000 per day, per person. Occupancy is 52%. We have more crew than passengers onboard. My guests tell me they have died and gone to heaven.
  12. I can answer your question. Whenever a cruise line makes a change in anything, it is all about the money. Follow the money and you will find out why we do it. Early in my career I worked for cruise lines that offered 3 and 4 day cruises. It was a nightmare. The passengers were mostly bargain hunters, looking for the cheapest everything. Theft of hotel property from staterooms on these cheap cruises was shocking. Many of these 3 day cruises turn into "booze cruises". The low price often attracts a demographic that causes a lot of damage to the ship interior; lots of fist fights, abuse of staff, etc. Operating a 3 day cruise costs the cruise line nearly as much for fuel and food as a 7 day cruise. But the onboard revenues (that result in 100% of profits) are far lower on a 3 day cruise. Food Cost On any cruise, many passengers try to "eat their money's worth" for the first 3 days. Food consumption and cost on the first three days of a cruise are sometimes shockingly high. Then most of those people realise if they continue stuffing their pie holes at the current rate, they will have a heart attack. By day 4 of most cruises, food consumption and cost drop off dramatically. From that point on, the lower costs result in an overall lower food cost for the voyage. If the cruise is only 3 or 4 days, overall food cost never has a chance to average down, raising the cost of providing a cruise that rarely sells for very much to begin with. Onboard Revenue (the only way a mass market ship makes profit) Ships generally make more money and profit when they are at sea. Calling at a port forces them to close the money making venues onboard, and allows passengers to spend their money ashore. On a 3 or 4 day cruise, passengers expect to spend one or two days in a port. All that revenue and profit is lost to the cruise line. Labor The busiest days of any cruise are the first day and the last day. Many of the crew are forced to work extremely long hours to get the job done. The cruise line pays them a lot of overtime on these days and the crew is exhausted. On a 3 day cruise these long and difficult turnaround days happen every other day. The crew is exhausted for months. On a 7 or 10 day cruise, these tough days happen more rarely and the crew has a chance to recover. Less overtime is paid on longer cruises, lowering labor costs. Crew income Crew make most of their income from tips. People on a 3 day cruise tip less per day (on average) than people on longer cruises.
  13. Correction. On most Cheap mass market lines the food is simply average. There is little impetus to show appreciation for mediocrity. But that’s what you paid for. A high end cruise is an entirely different animal.
  14. Is a balcony worth it? Is a Ferrari worth it? Is a Rolex watch worth it? Is a beach house in Malibu worth it? There is one group that likes to do things in style, because they think they deserve it. There is another group that tries to do everything on the cheap, so they can do it more often. Both groups are correct. Which group do you belong to?
  15. Mike, Well done. You are correct. Generally speaking, the newest ships (built to exact CDC Specifications, and with all new equipment operating properly) tend to get the highest inspection scores. If you look carefully at the VSP Inspection Standards, about 50 % involves equipment and 50% involves processes. Most of the newest ships today are also the largest ones, and most of them begin their lives sailing from US Ports. For a number of good and bad reasons, the USA usually has the highest number of Norovirus cases in the world every year. CDC estimates that any ship carrying at least 2,000 pax from a US port - any time of the year - will board at least 60 pax who are infected with Norovirus. Some of them know they have it and are hiding it to avoid quarantine or denied boarding; others have picked it up on the airplane or in a hotel and do not yet have symptoms. These 60 people often do a great job of spreading the virus around to everyone else. If a 2,000 pax ship averages 60 infected guests every cruise, we can extrapolate the number of infected pax boarding a new ship that carries 4,000 or 6,000 pax. With that many infected people running around, touching surfaces that others touch, contaminating buffet equipment, it is a wonder that every cruise from a US port does not get cancelled.
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