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Geoffa30

Royal Princess - Alaska suitability being questioned

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Posted (edited)

This is very interesting.  We were discussing NCL Bliss or a Princess Alaska cruise.  

 

We had already specifically ruled out the Royal Princess because Princess did not see fit to provide forward viewing for the majority of its passengers.  It also did not see fit to provide a traditional outdoor promenade deck.  NCL Bliss has enough regard for all its passengers to provide them with forward viewing AND a lovely outdoor promenade deck...two promenade decks actually (and the worst one still beats Royal Princess’ so-called promenade deck.). I don’t want to go all the way to Glacier Bay and have to struggle to view it clearly!

 

 Now I see there are even potentially more serious problems with the Royal in Alaska.  It looks like we’d need to be prepared to skip Ketchikan.  

 

This report raises so many questions.  Why did Princess feel the need for a non-disclosure agreement, when the other cruise lines did not?  This is a troubling question. Does the pilots’ report create liability for Princess if they take Royal to Alaska and an incident occurs?  In light of any potential liability, would Princess voluntarily decide not to sail Royal in Alaska?  Will scheduled cruises be canceled?

Edited by Loreni

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Thanks for the link. We're on the first and second sailings of the season. Guess my blog posts may have a bigger element of surprise than I anticipated. 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Loreni said:

This report raises so many questions.  Why did Princess feel the need for a non-disclosure agreement, when the other cruise lines did not?  This is a troubling question. Does the pilots’ report create liability for Princess if they take Royal to Alaska and an incident occurs?  In light of any potential liability, would Princess voluntarily decide not to sail Royal in Alaska?  Will scheduled cruises be canceled?

 

Non-disclosure agreements are routine requests. Princess certainly doesn't want the pilots posting screenshots of the simulator on their social media accounts. I find it more troubling that the other cruise lines acquiesced to the Pilots Association's refusal to sign one.

 

Alaskan waterways are one of the very few jurisdictions where the law gives the pilot precedence over the Master of the ship. If an incident occurs it would be due to either the pilot relinquishing that authority inappropriately or just plain ignoring their own advice. Princess does not have the privilege of disregarding the pilot--or ordering them to stand down--when in Alaskan waters, but that does place the responsibility solely on the pilot's shoulders.

 

Princess has gone to the expense of altering the stacks on Royal Princess (and Regal Princess as well) in order to be able to sail in and out of Vancouver. Call it extremely unlikely for them to even consider redeployment of Royal, or substituting a different ship, or going one ship short in Alaska this summer. The Southeast Alaska Pilots do not have jurisdiction over the turnaround ports of Vancouver and Whittier. So no liability in commencing the scheduled cruises--beyond the usual concerns over passenger satisfaction when port calls are skipped due to weather. Princess will certainly blame any issues with Ketchikan solely on the weather--how many passengers on board will be privy to the information that the pilots have lowered the bad weather threshold for aborting approach there? 

 

**let me add that the above is strictly a lay interpretation of the rules as I have read them; I'm sure someone who outranks me will be along with a much more cogent response**

Edited by fishywood

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I've been on the Royal in to Kotor and I would have thought the entrance there was as narrow in parts as Ketchikan. Maybe I want to think that as I'm on the Royal to Alaska in August.:classic_unsure:

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We would be so disappointed to miss Ketchikan considering it is the port with the excursion we booked first and looking most forward to.  Deadliest Catch.  

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6 hours ago, Loreni said:

This is very interesting.  We were discussing NCL Bliss or a Princess Alaska cruise.  

 

We had already specifically ruled out the Royal Princess because Princess did not see fit to provide forward viewing for the majority of its passengers.  It also did not see fit to provide a traditional outdoor promenade deck.  NCL Bliss has enough regard for all its passengers to provide them with forward viewing AND a lovely outdoor promenade deck...two promenade decks actually (and the worst one still beats Royal Princess’ so-called promenade deck.). I don’t want to go all the way to Glacier Bay and have to struggle to view it clearly!

 

 Now I see there are even potentially more serious problems with the Royal in Alaska.  It looks like we’d need to be prepared to skip Ketchikan.  

 

This report raises so many questions.  Why did Princess feel the need for a non-disclosure agreement, when the other cruise lines did not?  This is a troubling question. Does the pilots’ report create liability for Princess if they take Royal to Alaska and an incident occurs?  In light of any potential liability, would Princess voluntarily decide not to sail Royal in Alaska?  Will scheduled cruises be canceled?

I was on Emerald Princess to Alaska in 2017.  This ship has a front viewing area and it has a promenade deck.  There are other Princess ships that sail to Alaska besides Royal;  you may want to look at one of the other ships; that will have better viewing areas.  Princess does an excellent job of providing service on their Alaska cruises

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These ships would be my last choice in Alaska.

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Oh geez. I booked the Royal before hearing anything about the lack of viewing areas. Now this. :( Not being able to dock in Ketchikan would be very disappointing since seeing the bears at Anan is the most important thing on my list. 

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5 hours ago, Coral said:

These ships would be my last choice in Alaska.

Not clear if you're referring to the Royal or the older Princess ships cruising up there.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, LessWorkMoreTravel said:

Oh geez. I booked the Royal before hearing anything about the lack of viewing areas. Now this. 😞 Not being able to dock in Ketchikan would be very disappointing since seeing the bears at Anan is the most important thing on my list. 

Yes, this news is discouraging for this year's cruisers on the "rookie" Royal.  We've been on her on a TA and in the Caribbean--lovely ship for those cruises.  But considering its lack of protected outside viewing areas, never thought it was a wise choice for Alaska.  Now add to that the potential problems it might/will have navigating the Inside Passage . . .  What were they thinking??!!

Edited by BarbinMich

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I wonder if the pilots, with their “supreme authority,” will intentionally err on the side of extreme caution and bypass Ketchikan more frequently than might be warranted in order to teach Princess a lesson and discourage the company from deploying their mega ships there in the future. No way cruises get cancelled this year. But the pilots may want to send a strong message about the future. 15 knots in Ketchikan is just another Tuesday. 

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2 hours ago, BarbinMich said:

Not clear if you're referring to the Royal or the older Princess ships cruising up there.

The Royal Princess and RCCL and NCL's mega ships that are deployed in Alaska.

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3 minutes ago, Coral said:

The Royal Princess and RCCL and NCL's mega ships that are deployed in Alaska.

I definitely agree!  Pretty soon Alaska won't be Alaska anymore except outside the cruise season!

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8 hours ago, Coral said:

These ships would be my last choice in Alaska.

 

Although we haved sailed to Alaska 7 times now on Princess, we are really excited for our next cruise on the Silversea Explorer, only 140+ pax onboard. The crowds on our last Majestic cruise were starting to annoy me.

Have always wanted to visit Kodiak and Dutch Harbor (of Deadliest Catch fame).

 

20190325_110427.jpg

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, cflutist said:

 

Although we haved sailed to Alaska 7 times now on Princess, we are really excited for our next cruise on the Silversea Explorer, only 140+ pax onboard. The crowds on our last Majestic cruise were starting to annoy me.

Have always wanted to visit Kodiak and Dutch Harbor (of Deadliest Catch fame).

 

20190325_110427.jpg

I would love this trip! I have been to Russia 2x but not on that side of Russia! I hope you write a review. Just noticed it is 2020. Something to look forward to.

Edited by Coral

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15 hours ago, leck57 said:

I've been on the Royal in to Kotor and I would have thought the entrance there was as narrow in parts as Ketchikan. Maybe I want to think that as I'm on the Royal to Alaska in August.:classic_unsure:

 

We have been on the Royal Class ships in many parts of the world and the Captains seem to always be able to maneuver them in tight places and harbors.....again....change seems to be hard for many Princess cruisers to relish....

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, PrincessLuver said:

 

We have been on the Royal Class ships in many parts of the world and the Captains seem to always be able to maneuver them in tight places and harbors.....again....change seems to be hard for many Princess cruisers to relish....

It is Alaskan Marine Pilots that are raising concerns. Did you read the article?

Edited by Coral

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On ‎4‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 11:06 PM, fishywood said:

Alaskan waterways are one of the very few jurisdictions where the law gives the pilot precedence over the Master of the ship. If an incident occurs it would be due to either the pilot relinquishing that authority inappropriately or just plain ignoring their own advice. Princess does not have the privilege of disregarding the pilot--or ordering them to stand down--when in Alaskan waters, but that does place the responsibility solely on the pilot's shoulders.

Here is what Heidi 13, a 30 year Captain and Master as well as much of it in Alaska, has to say about that contention: 

 

"Sorry, but you are incorrect. While SE Alaska waters are compulsory pilotage waters and the pilot normally has conduct (con) of the vessel, the Master remains in command and the Deck Officer in charge of the watch is responsible to the Master for the safe navigation, with advice from the pilot. The correct term we used is courses and speeds to Master's orders & pilot's advice. 

 

When the Captain or Deck Officers, agree with the pilot's orders they are followed without question. When they don't agree, the pilot is challenged and if unable to justify their intended action, the Captain and/or Deck Officer may take any action they believe is required to ensure the safe conduct of the vessel. As a Deck Officer in Alaska, I countered a pilot's orders on a couple of occasions. Mostly with respect to the amount of helm they requested.

 

This is consistent with any compulsory pilotage area I have worked, except the Panama Canal, where the pilots assume complete responsibility for the navigation. It is also noted in the Alaska Marine Pilot Statutes & Regulations."         

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, kennicott said:

Here is what Heidi 13, a 30 year Captain and Master as well as much of it in Alaska, has to say about that contention: 

 

"Sorry, but you are incorrect. While SE Alaska waters are compulsory pilotage waters and the pilot normally has conduct (con) of the vessel, the Master remains in command and the Deck Officer in charge of the watch is responsible to the Master for the safe navigation, with advice from the pilot. The correct term we used is courses and speeds to Master's orders & pilot's advice. 

 

When the Captain or Deck Officers, agree with the pilot's orders they are followed without question. When they don't agree, the pilot is challenged and if unable to justify their intended action, the Captain and/or Deck Officer may take any action they believe is required to ensure the safe conduct of the vessel. As a Deck Officer in Alaska, I countered a pilot's orders on a couple of occasions. Mostly with respect to the amount of helm they requested.

 

This is consistent with any compulsory pilotage area I have worked, except the Panama Canal, where the pilots assume complete responsibility for the navigation. It is also noted in the Alaska Marine Pilot Statutes & Regulations."         

I've no reason to question you or the Captain on the facts. But based on the verbiage from the Southeastern Alaska Pilots' Association exchange card they must share with the Master of each ship they board, their interpretation of the statues is a bit different.

http://seapa.com/MPXcard.pdf

In quite terse language they make a very strong point that per the regulations cited the only way the pilot can be relieved of the conn is "for cause...due to incompetence or misconduct". And making such an allegation constitutes (in their minds) a failure "to treat this regulation with the highest professionalism and regard".

So on the couple of occasions recalled above where the pilot's orders were countered, in the eyes of the SEAPA either there was a declaration by the Captain or Officer of the Watch that only an incompetent pilot would have made that order, or the expected "adherence [to the regulations] by the Master and Deck Officers" was violated. 

So am I reading the Pilot's inflated opinion of themselves correctly?

 

 

 

Edited by fishywood

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On 4/20/2019 at 4:54 PM, JimmyVWine said:

I wonder if the pilots, with their “supreme authority,” will intentionally err on the side of extreme caution and bypass Ketchikan more frequently than might be warranted in order to teach Princess a lesson and discourage the company from deploying their mega ships there in the future. No way cruises get cancelled this year. But the pilots may want to send a strong message about the future. 15 knots in Ketchikan is just another Tuesday. 

Do you really think the pilots association would cut their own throats by cancelling their largest paycheck just to "teach a lesson"?  The pilots will do what is right for the safety of the vessel, the passengers and crew, and the environment.  I can remember when SeaLand wanted to start bringing their largest container ships into Port Everglades.  The pilots association ran simulations, and crashed or grounded 14 out of the first 15 tries.  They notified SeaLand that there needed to be more, stronger tugs available in order to dock.  This was agreed to, and the ships docked for many years.  This will be a similar situation, where the pilots will advise Princess that in order to ensure more dockings in Ketchican, there need to be things like tractor tugs, and that the ship will have to use them and pay for them, and this will be a benefit to an Alaskan tug company.

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1 hour ago, fishywood said:

I've no reason to question you or the Captain on the facts. But based on the verbiage from the Southeastern Alaska Pilots' Association exchange card they must share with the Master of each ship they board, their interpretation of the statues is a bit different.

http://seapa.com/MPXcard.pdf

In quite terse language they make a very strong point that per the regulations cited the only way the pilot can be relieved of the conn is "for cause...due to incompetence or misconduct". And making such an allegation constitutes (in their minds) a failure "to treat this regulation with the highest professionalism and regard".

So on the couple of occasions recalled above where the pilot's orders were countered, in the eyes of the SEAPA either there was a declaration by the Captain or Officer of the Watch that only an incompetent pilot would have made that order, or the expected "adherence [to the regulations] by the Master and Deck Officers" was violated. 

So am I reading the Pilot's inflated opinion of themselves correctly?

 

 

 

While the pilots may feel that the Alaska Administrative Code gives them unconditional control of the vessel while they are onboard, in fact, the international ISM (International Safety Management) convention, to which the US is signatory and therefore has passed enabling legislation embodying the wording of the ISM, gives the Master the "overriding authority" to make decisions regarding the safety of the vessel, passengers, crew, cargo, and environment, meaning that no one can question his decision at the time (not a state agency, not the federal government, not corporate headquarters), as he is the owner's representative on the scene.  So, whatever the Captain calls, "for cause" cannot be disputed when he relieves a pilot in Alaska.  The Master/Pilot relationship is not simplistic, it is a very complex legal relationship, but the ultimate fact is the Captain's "overriding authority".

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On 4/20/2019 at 3:49 PM, Coral said:

It is Alaskan Marine Pilots that are raising concerns. Did you read the article?

 

Based on our travels with Princess all over the world I am in the camp of this is much to do about nothing!!!!  Read on....

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53 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

The pilots will do what is right for the safety of the vessel, the passengers and crew, and the environment. 

 

And I suggested nothing to the contrary. I never implied that pilots would skew in favor of UNSAFE behavior. I suggested that they might skew in favor of EXTRA SAFE behavior. What side effect that may have is currently unknown. The example you cite resulted in more and stronger tugs. What would have been the result if more and stronger tugs were not available or feasible?  Will there be an easy, available workaround such as there was at P.E.?  Unknown. But when skewing toward being extra safe, we could see changes. 

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4 hours ago, PrincessLuver said:

 

Based on our travels with Princess all over the world I am in the camp of this is much to do about nothing!!!!  Read on....

Well, you must be the ultimate authority, then!  Thread over, PL has spoken!

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