Cruise Ship Debate

Pompeyfan
9th May 2008, 23:32
There has been much debate in the gallery about the ugliness of modern cruise ships compared to conventional passenger liners of the past. Therefore, I thought I would start a thread to continue this debate in more depth in this forum rather than the gallery.

Firstly, there is no comparison with conventional passengers liners of the past, and modern day cruising. It is not only the appearance of the ship, but nautically, politically, financially, their trade, mail service as Fred has explained, type of passenger, type of crew, the lot. The two trades are completely different, ‘line voyages’ and cruising. Conventional passenger liners were also built differently to withstand the oceans of the world whatever their size, which I will come to in a moment.

It has also been pointed out how that modern day cruise ships offer luxury and safety that passenger liners of the past could not that more people are going on these cruise ships than ever before with the market still growing. That is very true, I would agree with that statement. Cruising is now affordable for a wider section of society it is no longer the domain of the rich. However, what is rarely discussed at length, and never in any part of the media is why cruising has become so popular, and perhaps more importantly to the nautical profession is the effect that the mass exodus of landlubbers to the high seas is having on the nautical profession from crew to the ship itself with the change from passenger ‘line voyages’ to cruising which is far more alarming in my opinion as to its effects on the nautical profession in general.

Therefore, lets start at the beginning. As I have said so many times, the design of ships passenger or otherwise has been dictated by the trade of the ship. Today, cruise ships are nothing more than floating holiday centres. They are the destination themselves that just happens to call at ports as part of that holiday. They have absolutely nothing in common with working ships, vessels that plied the oceans from the beginning of time transporting cargo, mail around the world, countries trading with each other, the cargo being passengers as well as goods. This cargo was going somewhere. The ship was not a holiday home, but a means of transport. It was only home to those of us who worked on them.

Before the airliner was invented, ships were the only means of transporting cargo and people from one country to another. It was a very different world to that of modern day cruising. The trade these ships plied was essential for countries they supplied.

The early liners cargo or passenger or both were very unstable as trade around the world increased. These pioneering liners were sailing ships, often foundering causing great loss of life. Comparing these brave souls with cruise ships today is an insult to the bravery of our nautical pioneers. As I have said before the term liner has nothing to do with the type of ship plying that trade. Many people think the name applies to all passenger ships, but that is not true. Cargo ships still ply regular ‘line voyages’.

As time went on, passenger ships provided more luxury, not on the scale of today, but luxurious for the era, especially trans-Atlantic liners, the kind we compare today with the modern cruise ship regarding looks. I can’t emphasize enough however that not only do they look different their trades are millions of miles apart.

Ships that traded with the world were built to withstand heavy seas, even smaller ships. That is why I always maintain that the old Arcadia, at 29, 664gt was better in a heavy sea than the new Oriana at 69,153gt having sailed the world’s oceans on both, one as crew, one as passenger.

A few years ago a person criticised Steven Payne, designer of Queen Mary 2 for trying to hold on or to return to styles of yesteryear when he designed QM2. Steven said, and I quote: “ The form of Queen Mary 2 follows the style of Queen Elizabeth 2 because it has to. The new ship is a true liner, designed specifically to be at home in the hostile North Atlantic just like QE2 being the first true liner for 34 years since QE2 herself”. He then quoted modern cruise ships like Explorer of the Seas and Millenium saying they are cruise ships, not trans-Atlantic liners. He went onto say that the boxy characteristics of such cruise ships make them totally unsuitable for the winter North Atlantic route. This is the words of a Senior Naval Architect, not mine.

Life aboard ships during the ‘line voyage’ era was also very different to cruising. The crew were different, passengers different travelling from A to B rather than on holiday as such. Language was different, everybody spoke shipboard terminology even some passengers especially the wealthy who used a ‘line voyage’ as a cruise, totally different to today’s cruise passenger. All crew ranks were well versed on shipboard life, terminology and crew drill. Shipboard terminology was standard speech.

Today, going back as a passenger it is very different. Passenger and crew drill alarm me greatly, I just hope that my fear is unjustified if one of these giants get into trouble miles from land. I was a trained lifeboat man having my own boat and crew on Arcadia. In addition as a nurse, I was in charge of the stretcher party. I knew the drill backwards and cringe when I see crew drill today. As for terminology, apart from the captains address at passenger drill midday reports from the Bridge or what side of the ship to disembark etc you can go for an entire cruise and never hear one nautical word. The entire shebang is revolved around shore side activity and language. You will never hear the word deck, always floor. Deck heads are ceilings, cabins rooms and so on. The only thing nautical about cruise ships is the officers and deck crew. Except for that, modern day cruise ships are nothing but floating holiday centres a world apart from passenger liners of yesteryear in looks or trade.

The only upside is that the cruise market is providing income and jobs for those supplying the ships in our ports. Other than that, the merchant navy as we knew it aboard passenger ships at least has gone because except for officers, you will not see many British crew. So what do we do about it, try to preserve what little we have left, or do we let landlubbers take over our seas and ships completely?!.

I am soon to organise another Canberra Reunion on a two-day cruise aboard a P&O cruise ship. For two days at least the old days will as we reminisce the good days as many of us go back to sea. I wonder what the modern day passenger or indeed modern day crew will think of our get together?!. 261 of us turned up last time1.

Hopefully this will provoke more debate. I would be quite happy to be totally wrong with my assessment as to how modern day cruising is killing the nautical profession as we know it. Not only the appearance of the ships, but life aboard. Or am I totally wrong?! (egg)

David

John Rogers
10th May 2008, 01:21
No you are not wrong David however the difference is like apples and pears. Cruise ships are floating hotels,a place to lay your head while visiting different port of calls,its money driven. As for killing the nautical profession I don't think so as they still have officers, engineers and crew ABs,and many hundreds more waiters and cabin stewards than there ever was before. If there was any chance to make big money over the airlines passenger routes the ship owners would jump right on it,but its sad to say there is no place for passenger line ships anymore.

John

Pompeyfan
10th May 2008, 09:30
I take your point John regarding officers and engineers etc, but some of them are using shore side terminology the same as passengers. Bad habits seem to spread like wild fire. The deck department are trained sailors of course, but a lot of the crew these days are different to my day, a far bigger entertainment crew, more shops, its more like a town than a ship, and during crew drill I wandered around and actually heard crew saying they were not sure what their duties were. They stood in sections looking as if they knew what to do but in reality did not. That is why I am so concerned as to what would happen in a real emergency aboard one these cruise ships, especially the monsters. As Coxswain of my own lifeboat aboard Arcadia I made sure my own crew knew exactly what to do. However, those days were different, all crew were well drilled, even my stretcher crew all made up of the U Gang. I trusted every one.

As for killing the nautical profession I mean the language being used and the poorly trained crew as just mentioned. Bad habits lead to sloppiness. It seems that crew especially deck officers who know the correct terminology is allowing shore side language to become rife aboard because the passengers/guests are paying their wages so they use the same language that passengers understand. One captain basically told me that. However, as I said bad habits lead to sloppiness. If the crew use the same language as passengers, what happens in an emergency where they would go into automatic mode I would hope using correct terminology they were trained for. Would they have time to translate to shore side language?. I have found that few cruise passengers these days know port and starboard, they don't know the very basics. I explained to one that a venue was on Deck 8. I was asked what floor that was. They were not able to comprehend that floor and deck were the same thing. I found a lot like that because when you think about it, they do not have shipping terminology imprinted on their brain like we do. That is why I have suggested to P&O at least that they put a notice on the back of the cabin door next to the safety notice explaining the different names they will hear when finding their way around the ship or more importantly in an emergency such as floors are decks on board, walls are called bulkheads, ceilings deck heads, corridors alleyways, port side left of the ship, starboard right, bow front, back aft/stern. The very basic stuff which few passengers I spoke to know.

In a real emergency they are going to hear words alien to them. Surely it is only common sense to explain as much as possible. The captain explains as much as he can at passenger drill, to read the notice on the back of the cabin door, so why not have a notice explaining basic terminology. What is the point of going through all the procedures if the passengers have not got a clue of language used on board?.

That is what I mean by killing the nautical profession. I can see nothing but total mayhem if there was an emergency on one of these monsters especially in the middle of the Atlantic or something. I hope I am wrong, but the rush at passenger drill, bumping into each other, swiping other around the head with their lifebelt, tripping over the straps, not knowing where they are going or knowing how to put the lifebelt on fills me with dread. And that is in a calm and almost party-like atmosphere. Imagine what it would be like in a real emergency?. Bad enough when you know what to do, but a 100 times worse when you do not have a clue. If passengers find it hard to put a lifebelt on in the one and only drill of each cruise which goes in one ear and out the other, the chances are not good in the real thing?!.

I personally always check out the lifeboats and where the life rafts are when I first board a cruise ship. I will not be too keen to muster in a public room full of headless chickens with the ship sinking?!!.

David

John Campbell
10th May 2008, 10:14
David, I agree this system of mustering in public rooms is fraught with danger and I was very happy to observe that Holland America Line insists that passengers muster and are checked off wearing their life jackets directly on deck at the lifeboats. According to a P&O Chief Officer whom I meet at Nautical Institute Meetings - mustering at lifeboats is too time consuming and there are health and safety implications for some geriatric passengers!!!
I too fear that should these new 'giants'have an abandon ship incident
there willnot be a good outcome
JC

Pompeyfan
10th May 2008, 10:42
Thanks for that John. Glad hear that Holland America Line muster on deck. RCL ships do the same, well the one I went on anyway. If it is time consuming on P&O ships to muster on decks at passenger drills, and there are health and safety risks for some less mobile passengers, one shudders to think what it would be like in a real emergency. This is exactly why I am so concerned.

David

JoK
10th May 2008, 10:43
If the overlarge ships have an incident and if they manage to get everyone off, who has the resources to rescue 5000 people in lifeboats. I can pretty well guarantee we don't here in Eastern Canada. How about off the UK with the lifeboat stations? Will they manage? Even towing liferafts?
How about two of these monstrosities colliding and both having to abandon ship. Now there is double the people in the water. Unlikely you say? All you need is a loss of power in a channel on one of them.
We all know **** happens at sea.

Chris Isaac
10th May 2008, 13:40
In Union Castle we always mustered the passengers in public rooms rather than the boat embarkation deck.
The reason being that in the event of a real emergency, fire collision etc it is possible that some life boats maybe out of use. Therefore it was considered wiser to allocate passengers to boats after the event rather than prior.
I am sure there will be other points of view.... but that is what we did.

treeve
10th May 2008, 13:58
All of which underlines the fact that a) I could not afford a cruise and b) I have no desire to be stuck on a ship with only a few hours on land in between and c) whilst I have a considerable degree of acceptance of risk and will happily stand on the edge of a live volcano, or stand on the edge of a crevasse, there is less risk of danger than on one of those floating hotels you describe. No thanks.

John Rogers
10th May 2008, 14:28
I have taken five cruises on Holland American ships and within 3 hours after boarding and prior to sailing we have a drill at the assigned lifeboat wearing our life jacket. Also the crew assigned to the lifeboat get the experience of lowering and using the lifeboat because in some ports of call they are used as the tenders to take the passengers ashore. I have noticed that a few passengers act like jackasses and talk when the lifeboat captain is giving the safety talk and think its one big joke to wear the jacket.

John.

sydney heads
15th May 2008, 10:46
As an earthbound lubber, I cannot add comment to the traditions discussed above.
However, on the very point of the debate regarding the ugliness of todays vessels compared to the traditional designs of the past, can I say that whether landlubber, seaman or passenger, the first and lasting impression is what is seen of her design.
I think we all take that first look, and maybe unconciously, decide then and there- ooh that's nice or, how ugly!
Size obviously leaves an impression, as newbuilds take on a steroidal appearance. The only difference between the new one and the previous new arrival, being that once again the latest is just that little larger. I admit that like many I am indeed impressed by something huge, if for no other reason than to be in awe of how the damn thing floats! But, that doesn't mean that I necessarily like it.
To me design is about shape. A ship with a lovely sillhouette is a lovely ship- simple as that. And that leads me to the point that I would like to add to the discussion. What is missing today is the sheerline- those beautiful curves that highlighted the fact that they were ladies- stylish sirens of the seas.
Today, everything is straightruled. Decklines are flat, even sterns are becoming regularly squared nowadays.
Then just to top it all, as a fine head of hair is a womans crowning glory, so a vessels funnel can make or break that first opinion. Compare the beautifully round and tapered funnel of the Saga sisters or even QE2, with the chunky stacks on many of todays cruisers.
Yes indeed, todays massive floatels are but functional cities- who needs outer decks when everything to do is inside? But they will never be loved in the same by those of us who have been around awhile and seen both sides of the coin.
Like the magic that unfolds when a steam train makes a rare appearance, the traditional classic ships of almost-yesteryear will always stir a special fondness in my heart.
The reality is that todays young, being none the wiser, probably think these modern megaships are the ants pants. What will they think in forty years?

Chris Isaac
15th May 2008, 11:24
There are many parallels between the evolution of passenger ships and that of cargo ships over the last 40 years.
It is not just passenger ships that used to delight the eye with their design and form. The cargo ships such as Blue Flue, Ben Line, Blue Star and some Clan Liners amongst many others also had many features that gave us pleasure.

By the mid 1970s the writing was on the wall for both passenger lines and cargo ships. Passengers going on a journey, rather than cruising, now went by air and cargo now arrived at the port in strange metal boxes. Instead of aesthetics, economics now became uppermost in the minds of naval architects.

Cargo ships became little more than oversized barges with a pointy bit one end and an engine at the other, the only consideration was how many of these metal boxes could be crammed in. Cargo loading and discharging that used to require seamanship now required a computer programmer and systems analyst.

The thinking process for naval architects was very similar when it came to passenger carrying ships, now cruise ships. The hull simply became an oversized barge into which the architect stuffed a Las Vegas style hotel that could be propelled around the world. Passengers were now loaded into cabins that were little more than containers fitted with windows.

Back in my day (how many of us have said that?) we used to gaze admiringly through binoculars at passing cargo ships and liners, and even some tankers and feel a sense of admiration of their form and the impression that the sea was their natural environment.
Now I see a container ship or a cruise liner and I couldn't really care what the name of her is or where she is going, she is just an oversized barge with a pointy bit and an engine and boxes containing cargo either human or otherwise.

This Sunday I am going to Southampton to attend a reunion of people that sailed every week bound for the Cape in those magnificent lavender hulled vessels. We shall cry in out beers and long for days that will never return but at least we have the memories of a time when priorities were different and standards were much much much higher.

Thamesphil
15th May 2008, 11:35
Times change. Some may think for the worse, some think for the better. From a "landlubbers" point of view I'm glad that cruising has become more affordable. It's something that myself and my wife have been considering for a while and although we have no plans to go cruising in the forseeable future, I think it is certainly something we will do in a few years. The idea of a floating resort certainly appeals. Although more traditional vessels are aesthetically more pleasing on the outside, I wouldn't like the life onboard. it's a bit like having a classic car. Nice to look at and perhaps use very ccasionally, but for everyday driving I want the luxury of modern gadgetry, comfort and and safety.

Do maritime traditions really matter? After all, they are just that, tradition. As I said times change and, provided safety is not compromised, I see no point in harping back to the past. It's great to look back on things fondly but sometimes you just have to move on.

passenger john
15th May 2008, 12:30
Would like to repeat a comment I made as a landlubber a while ago in another cruise ship thread.

I have been on two 7 day cruises with P&O and about to go on a third, all on Oceana, and as a passenger that kind of holiday just suits me fine.

We do try to use nautical terms when on bord and do understand ship terminology. We know our cabin is on A deck on the starboard side towards the stern and not forgetting what my father taught me when I was quite little No Red Port Left in my Cellar. He was a regular traveller in the 1920s and 1930s to South Africa and India on the traditional P&O liners so brought me up with his stories.

Accommodation great (just love our balcony) food and entertainment 100% and of course the "Hotel" is no further than Southampton. I to are in my sixties and remember the great ships in Southampton as a teenager, but is it not better to have modern cruise ships then no ships at all.

Dulcibella
15th May 2008, 13:56
As a former P&O, Sitmar and Chandris Lines shore staff I would support most of what David has said concerning 'Liners' and 'Cruise Ships'. I tend to regard all modern cruise ships as 'slab-sided' and they definitely do not have the visual appeal of what we would call the traditional passenger liner. I will make one distinction and that is P&O's current Oriana. Though she is slab-sided outside, inside she is PURE P&O in the old snse of the word. Her interior decore very much reminds me of Canberra - especially when I went aboard her on her maiden voyage arrival in Melbourne.

Regarding boat drills, I travelled aboard Arcadia on her New Zealand Cruise in 1958, together with many other members of P&O's shore staff (the Owners Managaing Agents in Australia were Macdonald, Hamilton & Co) and the only time I saw life boat drill at the lifeboats was when the ship's crew did it. As a passenger we were congregated in a lounge. I remember similar occurences aboard Strathnaver, Stratheden and Himalaya.

As to a 'real voyage' feel.... my wife and I have just returned from a Maritime Memories voyage from Manaus, 1000 miles up the Amazon & Negra rivers, aboard M.V.Discovery, formerly Island Princess ( and P&O's Love Boat of the US TV show some years ago.) We joined her during part of a 3 month voyage and cruise. The whole voyage was, and is, aimed at trying to re-live the days of liner voyages, and though there were entertainers on board, passengers were encouraged to join in and provide entertainment themselves, as was indeed the case on line voyages. We also had good days totally at sea wnich, again, was reminiscent of liner voyages. For example when I originally migrated to Australia in 1953 aboard New Australia, we had ten days sailing from Southampton to Port Said (first port of call), equally many days at sea from Aden to Colombo and Colombo to Fremantle.

During our voyage to Harwich, it was mentioned time and again that companies like Carnival don't like the smaller independent and more specialised cruise companies. When they took over P&O Cruises, they also got Swan Hellenic but sold it, I think late last year, to Geoffrey Sterling, who latterly of course was Chairman of P&O.

Ducibella,

Pompeyfan
15th May 2008, 19:37
Chris

I agree entirely about the look of cargo liners as well as passenger liners of the past like Blue Star, Ben Line and the Clan liners. Sadly as far as cargo ships went, containers changed the look of the ship, but they are none the less liners still, cargo liners still plying the same service but in boxes on uglier looking ships or even worse those horrible looking car carriers. Yes, cargo ships has also changed in looks, and for the worse as you say, but the trade is the same. And the crew are there to sail the ship, not entertain the passengers. But although uglier than cargo liners of the past, modern day container ships etc are possibly built better to withstand the worlds oceans than cruise ships. These are true working ships supplying the world with vital goods.

Thamesphil.

Take that cruise, I am sure you will enjoy every minute. However, you would have almost certainly liked life on board the more traditional vessels. I for one get a little irritated by those who put the older passenger liners down, saying they were classic looking on the outside, but poor inside compared to the modern day cruise ship. They were not as bad as some people would lead us to believe.

I worked aboard Canberra and the old Arcadia and frankly without being biassed, I do not recognise the poor facilities and safety that we are now being told they were so bad for. I know one thing, if I had the chance to go back in time and suffer a tragedy at sea in either Canberra or Arcadia rather than a modern day cruise ship with all the modern safety stuff I would chose Canberra and Arcadia every time because I would have far more confidence in their crew.

Yes, maritime traditions does matter. It is not tradition but a profession. Yes, times have changed, and safety is being compromised in my opinion because the crew in general do not seem so well drilled as my day. The ship may be safer, but what is the use of that if the entire crew are not so well drilled. I had all ranks in my boat aboard Arcadia that I was coxswain of. Every single one was well drilled, I made sure of that. I would not have stood for the hesitant stuff I heard at crew drill on cruises, a few new ones had no idea what their duties were. That is why former crew like me pick up so much on cruises that passengers miss. I was medical department, but also a trained lifeboat man. I took my exam in Hong Kong but steering ticket on board finishing it on Canberra. However, I was well versed before joining the merchant navy having sailed all my life around the Isle of Wight and of course knowing Uffa Fox and his friends. All top sailors. That is why I am so concerned that maritime traditions have deserted cruise ships, that tradition being very handy when needed?!.

Passenger John

So glad that you like cruising and that it suits you fine. That is what it is all about. I am all for cruising, certainly not against it. But I am concerned as to how it is affecting the nautical profession. Therefore I am delighted that you try to use nautical terms on board. Well done, and I hope you pass your fathers wise words onto others?!.

I do not like to point out what I see as potential problems, but I think it only our duty as current or former seafarers to point these problems out. I can tell you that privately current senior officers and indeed captains I have spoken to agree with me, but they are bound by company rules. One captain told me that the passenger pays his wages, so he agrees with them whether they are right or wrong!. On Oriana last year on her world cruise, all former seafarers amongst her passengers were invited for a chat with a deck officer. They were all saying the same things as myself and others in this thread, and the officer agreed.

Dulcibella

I agree with you about the current Oriana. Having been on her world cruise, I got to know her well and she is certainly pure P&O and talking to her passengers many ex Canberra passengers she has taken over from Canberra.

And glad you travelled aboard Arcadia in 1958. Yes, passengers mustered in the lounges, but we crew mustered on deck after fire drill where I took my stretcher crew to a scene often in the bowls of the engine room.

I am also glad that you have been on the Maritime Memories cruises. These are organised as you know by Des Cox, who has made lots of videos of passenger and cargo liners of the past, the Great Liners. Des like me is keen at preserving the past. I once sent him a recording of Canberra's steam whistle which he used in one of his videos. And you are right, Carnival do not like the smaller and more specialised cruise companies. And they would not like ex crew like me who point out possible problems aboard their ships :sweat:

David

Dulcibella
15th May 2008, 20:16
Pompeyfan David,

Interesting to read that you sailed in Isle of Wight waters... I come from Lymington, which in the 1940s and to mid 50s was the home of such yachts as Dyarchy, Bloodhound ( at Berthon's) and E. Keble Chatterton's Charmina.

Regarding Des Cox, yes he and his daughter are doing sterling work in trying to save for posterity maritime film footage. He is,of course, ex NZS Co., also owned by our former 'boss' Lord Inchcape along with many others which made up the P&O Group in the mid years of the 20th Century. My wife and I have already booked on the next Maritime Memories Cruise for next year from Istanbul to Harwich and have no doubt that the voyage will be as good as the one just finished.

Regarding Carnival, to show you how the 'owner(s)' of that organisation seem to hate any reference to company history of the companies they have taken over, I was in Melbourne in April 2003 - not that long after P&O Cruises together with Princess Cruises - had been swallowed up by Carnival. I went to P&O's office in South Melbourne, only to find that the passenger department had closed and only the semblance of an accounts section were left.I asked them about the company records only to be staggered by the reply that instructions had been received from the new owners that ALL records were to be destroyed! I said why not send them to either the State Library of Victoria, or to the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney... it was too late.

One good piece of news, however,was that a fomer colleague in our (Macdonald, Hamilton & Co) Sydney office, being told of similar instructions in Sydney, managed to rescue thousands of photographs of P&O and Orient ships that also were to be destroyed. He has them in steel cabin trunks in his garage. He has become the unofficial P&O Historian in Australia but has a problem in ultimately knowing what to do with the photos. Ideally they would be better off being included in the P&O archives at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich,however the cost of getting them there is prohibitive! Alternatively I suggested that they could be donated to the Aussie MM in Sydney, after all the ships they depict all contributed to Australia's history. As a Maritime Historian, and as a historian in general, I find it totally unacceptable that important company records are destroyed, but alas it is only too common these days.

Dulcibella (Ian)

Pompeyfan
15th May 2008, 22:09
Ian

I am still in Isle of Wight waters!.

That is dreadful news what Carnival did in Melbourne, but glad that your friend in Sydney rescued photographs. Has he contacted the National Maritime Museum?.

David

Dulcibella
16th May 2008, 11:53
David,

Glad to know you are still in Wight waters! Did you ever hear of the " Slipway Five Tonner", designed and built by Lymington Slipway in the early 1950s??

Re Liner Photos: Yes the official P&O Archivist and Historian, now retired I gather, at the NMM knows Rob in Sydney and is aware of the photos, however it appears that the NMM would welcome the photos, but would not be able to fund their return to UK hence my suggestion that he get into serious dialogue with the AMM in Sydney. From a historical,and indeed personal one, these photos are too valuable to just rot away. Here'shoping anyway.

I am in fairly regular contact with him so intend to keep gently pressing him! I understand that, for reasons that are not clear to me at present, there had been some 'unpleaseantness' between himself and AMM but he does appreciate the importance of getting something sorted out.

Ian

Pompeyfan
16th May 2008, 16:12
Ian

No I have not heard of the "Slipway Five Tonner" but Uffa would have.

I will get in touch with contacts regarding getting those pictures to the UK. If successful I will send you a PM.

David

Dulcibella
16th May 2008, 16:58
David,

Noted... thanks.

Ian

PhilColebrook
13th June 2008, 14:58
Very interesting discussions. I never had the chance to go on the old liners. I'll be doing a crossing on the QE2 in October which will be the closest I'll get. I, for one, am thankful that we have the QM2 and she will be the natural choice when the QE2 goes.

Concerning safety, I have spoken to a naval architect heavily involved in surveying cruise ships. He has stated on more than one occasion that he would not voluntarily travel on one, and he was not alluding to matters of mere taste.

Pompeyfan
16th June 2008, 00:39
[QUOTE=PhilColebrook;223646

Concerning safety, I have spoken to a naval architect heavily involved in surveying cruise ships. He has stated on more than one occasion that he would not voluntarily travel on one, and he was not alluding to matters of mere taste.[/QUOTE]

Glad that my concerns are echoed by a person of his standing. I hope such safety concerns never become reality but sadly I think it only a matter of time.

I am just back from the Boudicca and was impressed with their passenger drill. Will compile a report as soon as I can.

David

PhilColebrook
17th June 2008, 17:00
I am just back from the Boudicca and was impressed with their passenger drill. Will compile a report as soon as I can.

David[/QUOTE]

I'd love to take a trip on her or the Song of Norway class ships. Classic cruise ships. The Boudicca looked ship-shape when I last saw her down in Southampton.

Lksimcoe
17th June 2008, 21:48
I have a fascination with old liners, since my mother came to Canada in 1944 on the Aquitania, and my grandparents regularly came to Canada in the 1950's and '60's on the Cunard ships (I beleive they were called the Saxonia Class). All this talk about how the new ships are ugly (which for the most part I agree), reminds me of my grandfather complaining when I was about 10, how ugly the liners of the 30's and 40's were, and how they weren't as good looking as the Aquitania. WHen asked about the liners they came on, his Geordie accent got so thick that I couldn't understand him. I guess that was a good thing.

I guess we're never satisfied.

JimC
18th June 2008, 13:44
I live in Funchal. From my window I cab see the harbour and all the 'soapbox- like' vessels referred to as 'ships'. As everyone here has remarked- these 'things' were not built to be beautiful. I suggest their designs are much like the modern car - the result of a marriage between marketing people and economic design engineers. The ideal child of such a marriage would be ugly beyond belief and counter-productive as far as passengers or potential buyers are concerned therefore the resultant 'mutant' is what we have. Basically that's why a BMW looks like a Ford - looks like a Saab, looks like a Nissan etc. Each year, ship design becomes that little bit more bizarre - like the 'modern art' example of a painted beam. However; the people who man these vessels have also grown-up with and accept rapid change (like computer design) so they don't have the same hang-up as we older hands do. personally; I think there were two distinct period in history when vessels were 'beautiful'. After the big square stern sailing vessels of the early
19th.century and before the metamorphosis from sail to steam in the early 1900s - ie the days of the really beautiful Ships, Barquentines, schooners etc. and from the early 1900s until the late 1960s. when the terms, Passenger Liner, Cargo Liner, Pleasure Steamer were coined. Lots of Tramp Ships also had individual, graceful lines. I suppose the word 'graceful' sort of sums it up. Perhaps the design of sailing yachts is the nearest thing to retaining the old aesthetic values but then you build for an individual.
I must say though - the greatest innovation as far as I was concerned was the advent of air conditioning. You haven't lived until you've sailed the Red Sea in a 16 knot passenger ship without it!
As far as safety of life etc is concerend. Where the boat muster takes place should be secondary to the training of those who have to actually man the life boats. In the case of passengers and non-essential crew - I suggest the practice of mustered a short distance from the boats while the lifeboat personnel get the boats ready makes sense. Read the transcript of the evidence given at the 'Titanic' enquiry and this becomes clearer. As for rescuing huge numbers of people from a modern 'Tatanic'-like disaster - The main differences would be the availabilty of accurate navigation, superb communication systems and the rapid response capability of nearby or even far resources. However, the last thing I want is to be proved wrong but such disasters do most certainly bear thinking about.

Supergoods
18th June 2008, 15:39
In Union Castle we always mustered the passengers in public rooms rather than the boat embarkation deck.
The reason being that in the event of a real emergency, fire collision etc it is possible that some life boats maybe out of use. Therefore it was considered wiser to allocate passengers to boats after the event rather than prior.
I am sure there will be other points of view.... but that is what we did.

I missed this topic in May as I had just got back from three weeks with minimal web access and had to delete many of the new postings without reading them all.

I have taken two cruises, one on Princess before the sell out to Carnival and one on Carnival proper for a fun trip to Mexico with my daughter.

The Princess cruise was from Vancouver to ports in the inner passage of Alaska and return to Vancouver.

The first suprise was that although the ship was still British Flag, the Master was Italian from the Sitmar merger.

The second was more serious and, as you noted the muster was in the lounges.

No roll call was taken on the principle the they searched all the cabins and therefore all passengers were presumed accounted for.

I have seen the catering crew search cabins on board an oil rig during an audit and about 25% of the time a deliberately planted casualty was not found, I wouldn't expect it to be any different on a cruise liner.

At the muster itself, the crew members supposedly in charge made no effort to take charge of the muster and although they may have been to the appropriate schools, in my opinion they would have been totaly useless in a real emergency with the inevitable passenger panic.

I heard it said somewhere that in a real emergency, if you get a 35% active particiption from the crew, you are doing well.

Certainly this is confirmed by friends who have been through fires at sea.

The less said about Carnival's arrangement the better.

Another issue I have with cruise ships in general is that they are deliberately ballasted to be very tender in a seaway, it follows that if the calculations were not made properly or if additional free surface is introduced, the ship could very easily list to the angle of loll.

Pompeyfan
19th June 2008, 20:20
I missed this topic in May as I had just got back from three weeks with minimal web access and had to delete many of the new postings without reading them all.

I have taken two cruises, one on Princess before the sell out to Carnival and one on Carnival proper for a fun trip to Mexico with my daughter.

The Princess cruise was from Vancouver to ports in the inner passage of Alaska and return to Vancouver.

The first suprise was that although the ship was still British Flag, the Master was Italian from the Sitmar merger.

The second was more serious and, as you noted the muster was in the lounges.

No roll call was taken on the principle the they searched all the cabins and therefore all passengers were presumed accounted for.

I have seen the catering crew search cabins on board an oil rig during an audit and about 25% of the time a deliberately planted casualty was not found, I wouldn't expect it to be any different on a cruise liner.

At the muster itself, the crew members supposedly in charge made no effort to take charge of the muster and although they may have been to the appropriate schools, in my opinion they would have been totaly useless in a real emergency with the inevitable passenger panic.

I heard it said somewhere that in a real emergency, if you get a 35% active particiption from the crew, you are doing well.

Certainly this is confirmed by friends who have been through fires at sea.

The less said about Carnival's arrangement the better.

Another issue I have with cruise ships in general is that they are deliberately ballasted to be very tender in a seaway, it follows that if the calculations were not made properly or if additional free surface is introduced, the ship could very easily list to the angle of loll.

Great post Supergoods, exactly what I have been saying.

I was aboard Fred Olsen's Boudicca last week and her passenger drill was very good. I will mention it in my cruise log soon in Mess Deck. And although they mustered in a public room, we had a roll call and was told of an alternative muster station. P&O do not do that, or do a roll call.

David

JimC
20th June 2008, 14:00
Just to add a bit of interest and a personal observation.
The QE2 arrived here in Funchal yesterday and left last night. This was probably one of the last times she'll be here so I had a good look at her and tried to discover what was so pleasing to the eye. The main difference and that which, in my opinion made her stand out as a 'lady' among brash, flashy fat 'dolly birds' was the upper deck arrangement. Whereas the modern 'things' all seem to adopt this ' heal' configuration whereby the stern and upper decks merge into a vertical block of flats- the decks of the QE2 are graduated with the lowest nearest the stern and the upper tiers reducing in length toward the bridge. Thus the aft part of each deck forms a recreation and viewing area. In addition it seems she has only three decks like this which gives her a long, low streamlined silhouette - truly beautiful! Unfortunately, due to what seems like the design of the intakes - the funnel looks as if it was put-on backwards. I suppose that was the designer's concession to modernism. She will certainly stand-out against the desert!
As an aside: a friend of mine remarked the other day that if the modern cruise ship was stood on its stern it would be remarkably like a block of flats. Think I've seen one just like that somewhere!

John Rogers
20th June 2008, 18:49
I cannot understand why some cruiseline ships do not confirm to the international law for conducting boat drill,as I mention before on all of my cruises (6) all were conducted at my lifeboat station with the jacket on and tied correctly,and the names of all passengers were called out by the lifeboat captain. Also the lifeboats are not like the old type they are large tenders with poweful engines.
John.

Check this out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W32P_nweb2M


http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=574369



http://timstimes.net/2008/04/24/the-lifeboat-drill/

In the cruisemate site you get the facts from the horses mouth kind of. HAL gets good marks for their drills.

Pompeyfan
20th June 2008, 19:55
I quite agree John, passenger drill should always be on deck under the boat. On the old Arcadia I had my own lifeboat. I never had passengers for drill, they mustered in a public room, but I did a roll call of my own crew at each crew drill. In port my boat was lowered if sea side. It is due to this that I have always maintained passengers should also muster under the boat. I only knew passenger number in my boat, not who they were. How are they going to know what to do by mustering in public rooms because as your links prove, as I have always said, few take it seriously. It is just something they have to do, and more of a nuisance than something that could save their lives.

David

John Rogers
20th June 2008, 20:09
Right on David,I knew you would like to read what they all said about the drills.

John.

Paul UK
21st June 2008, 11:05
Hi John and David

I must admit that the maiden voyage of QM2 the muster drill was chaos with a capital C imagine all circa 3600 passengers gathered in the I think was the winter garden, no roll call, no checking that the life belts where tied correctly " how could they" too many people in too smaller space and if that space is damaged or on fire then what.

From a landlubbers point of view by YOUR life boat is by far better.

Paul

PS Mike Carr on the Arcadia did just that I recall in Barbados although it was quick due to the heat and we where checked for our life belts also I am sure our names where ticked off

Pompeyfan
25th June 2008, 01:21
I worked with Mike Carr on the old Arcadia when he was Junior Officer. He like myself worked under the old school captains. Put a foot wrong at drill and you were in trouble.

David

cboots
25th June 2008, 05:17
As one who would not go anywhere near a cruise ship if they were paying me, instead of the other way around, may I not suggest that possibly it is a lack of open deck space as much as anything else that causes this trend of "indoor boat drill." I cannot speak from direct experience, having never been onboard one of these great floating goddesses of consumerism, but they always look very enclosed to me. Where you would muster the punters in the event of an emergency, the starboard casino perhaps, I can't imagine. Fortunately the idea of cruising immediately brings Johnson's definition of being at sea to mind, so I shall never be exposed to it, but the vulnerability of one of these boats to a total disaster from fire, collision etc, is really quite terrifying.
CBoots

trotterdotpom
25th June 2008, 09:53
...... as I have always said, few take it seriously. It is just something they have to do, and more of a nuisance than something that could save their lives.

David

Maybe they start the drill by running a video of the passenger ship "Explorer" rolling over in Antarctica - just to show it didn't stop happening in 1912, David. Having said that, I only watch the lifejacket demo on planes because the hostesses are cute.

John T.

Pompeyfan
25th June 2008, 10:36
Cboots there is plenty of room on deck, certainly on all the cruise ships I have been on as well as worked on. Lifeboats lower to the open promenade deck and I would have thought all ships are the same. If there is not room on deck under each lifeboat on both sides for passenger drill then something is very badly wrong. I have always argued that drill should be exactly as in the real thing, and the real thing is not waiting patiently in a lounge to be called to a lifeboat. If the ship is sinking people will panic, they are humans not robots. Their first instinct is survival, so would rush to the boats in total panic ignoring mustering in the public room. If they had a boat to go to the the panic would surely be less because they would head for the boat they went to at drill. But if that drill does not take them to the boat how in the name of sanity are they going to know what boat to go to if the comfortable lounge muster station is either under water or burning?!. P&O say boats will be allocated from the muster station. A bit late if the muster station can't be used. They do not give alternatives which is why passengers should always muster directly onto the deck the lifeboats will be lowered to. Life rafts are there as well. Only if the ship is not in immediate danger should public rooms be used for warmth and comfort.

John T. I also look at the stewardess on the plane, but I have never been too worried about putting life jackets on. If a plane comes down, getting off is surely a lot more tricky than a cruise ship if you are still alive that is when the plane hits water or land?!.

David

John Campbell
25th June 2008, 12:00
Many thanks Pompeyfan for your log and for your observations.

I too share your thoughts on the matter of mustering on these large cruise liners. I took particular interest in lifeboat drills on the one and only cruise my wife and I took last year on the Volendam. There they mustered directly at the lifeboats and there was room to do so - we were all checked off and the officers made sure that we were all wearing our lifejackets correctly.
I asked the Master about the practice of mustering in lounges and he said that it was company policy on the Holland American line to muster on deck - any other way was a disaster waiting to happen in his opinion. I agreed with him. We always had to wait for the one couple who got lost or turned up without a lifejacket and there were the usual fools who gribed about mustering and proclaiming that they never had to do this on the previous cruise.

Is it not time that the MCA or other bodies such as the Nautical Institute investigated this issue and issued guidelines etc.

JC

Pompeyfan
26th June 2008, 00:28
Hi John

Full marks to Holland America and the captain of Volendam. I am sure captains of other companies agree but are bound by company policy. I have said for years that a disaster is waiting to happen on a cruise ship.

As for the fools who complained about mustering, these would be the new type of cruiser or those who are always moaning whatever ship they are on and will be the ones who will mess up the works in an emergency.

David

John Rogers
26th June 2008, 01:19
Maybe they start the drill by running a video of the passenger ship "Explorer" rolling over in Antarctica - just to show it didn't stop happening in 1912, David. Having said that, I only watch the lifejacket demo on planes because the hostesses are cute.

John T.

JohnT,Your age is showing,they don't have pretty hostesses doing the life jacket drill on the flight I have taken recently,they show a video now.And they are called Flight Attendance now because some of them are men. (Well they dress like men.)[=P] [=P] (Thumb)

trotterdotpom
26th June 2008, 01:27
JohnT,Your age is showing,they don't have pretty hostesses doing the life jacket drill on the flight I have taken recently,they show a video now.And they are called Flight Attendance now because some of them are men. (Well they dress like men.)[=P] [=P] (Thumb)

I was talking about the men, John! You're right about the age though, airlines aren't allowed to age discriminate and even some of the Old Boilers they've retained are starting to look pretty good.

John T.

John Rogers
26th June 2008, 01:40
I was talking about the men, John! You're right about the age though, airlines aren't allowed to age discriminate and even some of the Old Boilers they've retained are starting to look pretty good.

John T.

Remember the training John"Any Port In a Storm"(Thumb) (Thumb) (Thumb)

Sarky Cut
26th June 2008, 02:12
I have read right through this thread and agree with many things that have been said.

Container ships are not the only "Box boats" these days.

The QE2 had a taller slimmer funnel before her motorisation and looked better than she does these days. Still the most graceful ship out of Southampton. A regular visitor these past few weeks.

Indepedance of the Seas is impressive but not graceful in the way of the great liners.

One thing is certain, We are all getting old and it shows on this thread (big smiley)

The reason I was given for mustering inside on the Cross Channel ferries was exposure, having worked outside on many occasions I can see the point in keeping the punters warm and dry until the moment of embarkation.

Red Sea at 16 knots! Pah!!!!

Try loading up the Gulf with everything closed down and just the vent fans running before AC, that was hot!

Passing Ras al Hadd was a paradise after that.

Lksimcoe
26th June 2008, 15:16
An aquaintance of mine who works on the airlines as a "flight attendant", refers to most of his co workers as "Trolley Dollies".

Some how I don't think it's a compliment.

Dulcibella
27th June 2008, 00:14
I last posted on this subject 15th may, having just returned from a voyage, yes a voyage, from Manaus to Harwich aboard M.V. Discovery.

What I omitted to mention was that boat drill there was held each week both for passengers and crew. We passengers were mustered in lounges that had muster stations numbers up in large letters and on each cabin door was the location of one's muster station, and the quickest way to get there. There was a lifejacket demonstration each time, given by a designated member of the crew, after which all passengers were 'ordered' to put their own on, being supervised by designated muster station crew. Roll calls were made and if someone was missing then the ship's tannoy was used to get them. The drill did not go ahead until EVERY passenger was accounted for and 'on station'. The crew, for their part, mustered, also once a week, at their respective boat(s).

Whilst working for Ulysses Line, which purchased Southern Cross from Shaw Savill and renamed her Calypso, I often travelled aboard her, and there the boat drill at the boats included everyone... boat crews were mustered at their boats, together with the passengers who had been allocated to each boat. Lifejackets were demonstrated and each passenger had to follow suit and put it on. This was also carried out each week, with additional crew drills omitting passengers.

Ian
Dulcibella

Pompeyfan
27th June 2008, 10:19
Discovery has certainly got the right idea. The secret to success is practice. I have always said that one drill is not enough. I still think that mustering directly onto deck is the best way with an alternative being a public room if the ship not in immediate danger. But well done to Discovery for making sure the passengers are kept on their toes and not go ahead until everybody is there. Great stuff.

David

David W
30th July 2008, 11:32
W have done a number of cruise with NCL, Airtours, Olsen, Princess, P&O & others and my major concern is not so much where the muster takes place, but who is in charge. The crew all seem to have fancy coloured hats, bibs & clipboards, speak in about 20 different languages, and their attitude seems to veer between Prison Guard and comedian, but no seamen appear to be present and everything seems to be controlled by the bodiless voice emerging from the tannoy.
Another point to consider is the state of a lot of the passengers, the good thing, from my point of view, is that in a an emergency I could beat most of them to the lifeboats, in fact I reckon I could be there even before the crew made their own get away, that is if they know how to operate the gear. Watching the crew at drill is quite often a real eye opener, but it does give an indication of what would be the best boat to aim for, at least you know the gear works.
Having said all that we are off on another one in August, roll on Artemis.

PS I wonder if I can get my book stamped ??

chadburn
30th July 2008, 15:33
On some of the Foreign manned vessels just make for the lifeboat with the crew in, it will be the first away. Have a nice Cruise and don't worry, if it happens it happens as they say, just enjoy yourselves.

Pompeyfan
31st July 2008, 19:11
Good post David W. I too am concerned about those in charge at passenger drill, and some are certainly comedians. One moron wearing a cap looking full of pee and importance holding the microphone on the stage as passengers filed into the room praised those who got their early and finding a seat poking of those who arrived late. You would get their early in a real emergency wouldn't you?!.

David

orcades
31st July 2008, 19:49
As an earthbound lubber, I cannot add comment to the traditions discussed above.
However, on the very point of the debate regarding the ugliness of todays vessels compared to the traditional designs of the past, can I say that whether landlubber, seaman or passenger, the first and lasting impression is what is seen of her design.
I think we all take that first look, and maybe unconciously, decide then and there- ooh that's nice or, how ugly!
Size obviously leaves an impression, as newbuilds take on a steroidal appearance. The only difference between the new one and the previous new arrival, being that once again the latest is just that little larger. I admit that like many I am indeed impressed by something huge, if for no other reason than to be in awe of how the damn thing floats! But, that doesn't mean that I necessarily like it.
To me design is about shape. A ship with a lovely sillhouette is a lovely ship- simple as that. And that leads me to the point that I would like to add to the discussion. What is missing today is the sheerline- those beautiful curves that highlighted the fact that they were ladies- stylish sirens of the seas.
Today, everything is straightruled. Decklines are flat, even sterns are becoming regularly squared nowadays.
Then just to top it all, as a fine head of hair is a womans crowning glory, so a vessels funnel can make or break that first opinion. Compare the beautifully round and tapered funnel of the Saga sisters or even QE2, with the chunky stacks on many of todays cruisers.
Yes indeed, todays massive floatels are but functional cities- who needs outer decks when everything to do is inside? But they will never be loved in the same by those of us who have been around awhile and seen both sides of the coin.
Like the magic that unfolds when a steam train makes a rare appearance, the traditional classic ships of almost-yesteryear will always stir a special fondness in my heart.
The reality is that todays young, being none the wiser, probably think these modern megaships are the ants pants. What will they think in forty years?

You mentioned the shape of the different ships funnels, what did you think of the welsh bonnet sat atop the funnels of some of the Orient Line boats the Orcades was one in question(Smoke)

mike N
31st July 2008, 21:21
Hi Orcades, Sailed on Orcades as 5th, 4th and 3rd Sparks in 59/60 .Loved her quirky funnel and at least it kept most of the crap of the boat deck when you guys blew the tubes or whatever!

Shipbuilder
19th August 2008, 20:46
Times change - every dog has its day & I have had mine ( & am grateful for the experience!) Took early voluntary redundancy in late '92 after 31 years at sea (aged 48). Was soon to become "non-essential personel - [radio officer!]" What a relief to leave - the Merchant Navy that I had grown to love had gone & what was left was not to my taste. I am now almost 65, & have never missed it once. BUT - Every day of my life, I am building models or writing about the ships of my youth, & before & that, & it keeps me in touch in a much better way that still being at sea! Never did appreciate getting up at midnight or 0400 hours anyway!

I went to sea because I believed I was not good enough for anything else. (11+ failed, no A or even O levesl either). Being at sea made me realise that if I could cope with that, being ashore was a pushover & so it proved. I have not the slightest interest in modern ships, or how luxurious they are, or what they are doing or what they cost - they simply leave me cold!

In some ways, I am GLAD all the old ships have gone. If there were some left, I may even have regrets about leaving.

My claim to fame it that I believe I sent the very last distress message (using morse) from a British passenger liner engaged on an ocean voyage. Halloween Night, 1984, RMS ST. HELENA between Ascension & Tenerife - on fire. Within two hours, had giant tanker OVERSEAS ARGONAUT standing by, thereby giving me the highest "job satisfaction" of my entire sea career. Burned for 48 hours, drifted for several days before being towed to Dakar (1 week tow) by German salvage tig FAIRPLAY IX. One month in Dakar for repair then sailed south for Cape Town again - business as usual.

No doubt in 50 years time, the present sea staff will be "going on" about roughing it in the "boats" of the early 21st century!

Long - long ago, an old friend aboard the WINDSOR CASTLE (Paddy Roseman, quartermaster) would regale me with tales of his first ship, the four-masted barque GARTHPOOL & other old ships long gone, whilst he was standing gangway duty & I was "day aboard!" He tactfully let me know that times change & I, in due couse, would have "passed my sell by date!" - that was the way it was and always will be. Enjoy your memories as Paddy did (& I still do). Let it go- but NEVER forget it.

Click on Miniature Merchant Ships below to see how I "keep the memories fresh!"

Bob

Lksimcoe
19th August 2008, 22:45
Bob

I hope your family is getting all of your memories on tape. It''s a record of times lost that should be preserved.

If not, start writing!!!!!!!

Shipbuilder
20th August 2008, 07:45
I haven't taped anything, but I wrote the whole lot down in a single A4 sized volume over one inch thick with hundreds of photographs entitled "It All Rubs off When it's Dry!" But I doubt whether it will ever be published in full in my lifetime. But it is safe on computer disk as well. It took seven years to find a publisher who was interested enough to take the 2nd half of it under the title of "RMS ST. HELENA and the South Atlantic Islands." It was published in 2006 & the publisher has virtually sold out now, although there are still some on Amazon etc. My writing these days is confined to short articles, mainly on ship model building or vinatge radio design & construction. Book writing is far too much hassle. My wife sailed with me for a number of years in both old & new ST. HELENA's, so knows pretty much what it was like as well as I do, but neither of us have any desire to return to sea as passengers in these modern ships - the present generation is welcome to them as far as we are concerned!
Bob

IanSpiden
18th September 2008, 21:16
With regard to Ships , beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder

I went to sea in 1969 ,as a Junior Radio Officer I sailed in Canberra , Oriana, Orsova, Arcadia and cargo ships, tankers, OBO’s Bulk Carriers and Gas Ships all these ships served the purpose for which they were built to carry passengers\cargo and make money for the company I swallowed the anchor in 1982, my recollection is that the Passenger Liners were beautiful ships , some of the others were definitely not !

So it is with modern cruise ships , I went back to sea with Holland America in 1996 for ten years as a Communications Officer and have sailed in most of their cruise ships in every Ocean of the world.

I would certainly say that the S Class ships are aesthetically beautiful ships , Statendam, Massdam, Ryndam and Veendam are all products of the Fincantierri yard and I sailed on them all , they are in the smaller sized Cruise ship market at 55,000 tons Prinsendam (ex Royal Viking Sun) is another beautiful ship again smaller at 38,000 tons , built in Finland , she is one of the best sea keeping ships I have ever sailed on , going over the North Atlantic is a breeze for her and I was in some pretty severe weather. I have done world cruises in her and it was a pleasure to sail in her . The Rotterdam 6 60,000 tons does not really look vastly different from the Canberra with the two aft funnels side by side , she also has done world cruises , I sailed on her on the First world cruise and yes she had teething problems but I doubt there has ever been a passenger ship built that did not , she is fast at 24 kts cruising speed when necessary and is again a pretty good sea keeping ship.

It has only been recently , since 2000 onwards where the ships have started to resemble large slab sided boxes and this is all to do with increasing passenger accommodation and the overwhelming desire for passengers to have cabins with balcony space , you cannot blame the shipping company for providing what their customers want , that is what they are in business for and if they don’t provide it someone else will.

As far as safety is concerned there is no doubt in my mind that modern ships are significantly safer that those that were built in the 1940’s and 50’s , the materials are flame resistant , the designs with automatically closing fire screen doors all over the ship , automatic sprinkler systems , smoke and flame detectors in all cabins , improved lifeboat design , vastly improved communications both internally and externally and strong crew training mean that if the worst happens getting the passengers to safety without casualties is a much easier proposition.

It is probably very easy to look back with rosy eyes to the past and say how much better it was but I am not so sure that it is particularly true time will do doubt tell

Pompeyfan
19th September 2008, 21:24
Hi Ian

Nice to read the views of someone who had sailed on modern cruise ships.

It seems our paths may have crossed if you sailed on Canberra and Arcadia?.

And don't forget, we are having a Canberra Reunion next April aboard Oriana. If you are over this way, please join us.

David

IanSpiden
23rd September 2008, 20:12
Hi David

I am pretty sure our paths will have crossed , I have to dig my old discharge book out and check the atual dates I was on Canberra , I was only on Arcadia for about a month in 1974 sailing from Vancouver to Hawaii and back a couple of times I was due to be their longer but they wanted me on a Bulk Carrier and I was whisked away , I was 3rd R/O then and they promoted me which meant more money

Pompeyfan
23rd September 2008, 23:00
Hi Ian

I was aboard Arcadia in 1974 although I left her from Vancouver on 19th May 1974 not returning until the October when she moved to Sydney. I stayed home to have my wisdom teeth out at the Seaman's Hospital Greenwich before working aboard Canberra, Oriana and Oronsay in port and P&O head office before rejoining Arcadia in October 1974. Apart from briefly in 1974, I was aboard Canberra from 1971 to 1973.

David

John Campbell
9th April 2009, 21:13
Thanks for that John. Glad hear that Holland America Line muster on deck. RCL ships do the same, well the one I went on anyway. If it is time consuming on P&O ships to muster on decks at passenger drills, and there are health and safety risks for some less mobile passengers, one shudders to think what it would be like in a real emergency. This is exactly why I am so concerned.

David


David , you will no doubt be interested in the report re the M.S. Explorer which sank in the Antartic with no loss of life we are all happy to see but just look at what took place when the passengers abandoned ship. How they all made it to safety was a miracle!
JC

http://www.photobits.com/dl/Explorer...l%20Report.PDF

Pompeyfan
12th April 2009, 20:39
John

That link brought up nothing, but I would assume a smaller ship with fewer passengers could be better prepared at mustering passengers then getting them to the lifeboats. I would not feel so confident however with 3,000 plus passengers some in wheel chairs on one of these monsters with the ship sinking fast?!.

David

gaelsail
13th April 2009, 10:04
That link brought up nothing
The document seems to have been removed.

forthbridge
13th April 2009, 14:12
The document can still be accessed through the link as follows.
Click on the link
when it opens go to top right where it says recent posts.
Click on MS Explorer accident report, this opens another window where you can click on a link to the report

shamrock
16th May 2009, 16:28
hmmmmm.....As one who has done a bit of 'cruising' on the old timers and the whippersnappers...I am a definite old timer enthusiast, I'm afraid :o

I like the ships that talk to you...you know, the creaks and groans from the cabin module and the body of the ship. I love the atmosphere on the older vessels, the quirkiness, the style and the ambiance.

I don't like the Farcas Fantasies and avoid booking cruises on them.

Costa Allegra is a whippersnapper but she is also extremely quirky and falls into the old timer category too, since she was a containership before being morphed into a cruise ship - but she still has her containership 'smile' stern ;)

As for mustering, I am not fussed where it is done as long as it's done properly and generally every line has performed well...some better than others, ie NCL allowed bunking off muster in South America which astounded me but there ya go.

Pompeyfan
16th May 2009, 23:48
Hi Shamrock

Thanks for your input, and welcome to SN. I see by your profile you are from the Isle of Wight?.

I agree about the ships that talks to you. Older ships certainly have a better atmosphere, and the smaller one more friendly.

David

shamrock
17th May 2009, 08:09
Ello & thanks David :)

Yes, I am a born & bread caulkhead...escaped in 2005 to North Yorkshire. Unfortunately the island got a tad too expensive to live on, so went north...not much cheaper up here but it's OK :)

Pompeyfan
17th May 2009, 09:29
Ello & thanks David :)

Yes, I am a born & bread caulkhead...escaped in 2005 to North Yorkshire. Unfortunately the island got a tad too expensive to live on, so went north...not much cheaper up here but it's OK :)

What is less expensive up north than on the island?. The only thing that affects us all of course is the cost of the ferries whether as foot passenger or with car. Other than that, also being born and bred on the island, I don't take too much notice of prices. Food in the supermarkets is about the same, and petrol in supermarkets about a penny more expensive than the mainland. But it depends what you need I suppose regarding cost. Having been born here, I tend to stay here, and it is certainly quieter, although if you are in James Herriot country, that is nice as well?!.

Another thing you do not have in Yorkshire of course is the cruise ships, going down to Cowes to watch them go out along with the other ships, coming and going, and if course Portsmouth, ferries coming and going and warships (Thumb)

David

shamrock
17th May 2009, 11:03
The ferries were a hurdle, a major one, especially as I am no longer able to drive due to medical issues...no real escape from the island without alot of planning and expense. Sure, I miss the shipping...my last home was a beach hut in Gurnard that backed onto the Solent/Southampton Water...brilliant...but a rent of almost 500 quid a month when I can get something with proper walls and rooms for about half up here...sadly no contest.

Also big bug bear - tourists - I hated it in summer, couldn't get on the buses for tourists, couldn't get in the shops for tourists....nah...peace and quiet all year round for me now. I get my shipping fix on cruise ships seeing far flung areas of the world where commercialisation is a dirty word ;)

Pompeyfan
18th May 2009, 00:18
The ferries were a hurdle, a major one, especially as I am no longer able to drive due to medical issues...no real escape from the island without alot of planning and expense. Sure, I miss the shipping...my last home was a beach hut in Gurnard that backed onto the Solent/Southampton Water...brilliant...but a rent of almost 500 quid a month when I can get something with proper walls and rooms for about half up here...sadly no contest.

Also big bug bear - tourists - I hated it in summer, couldn't get on the buses for tourists, couldn't get in the shops for tourists....nah...peace and quiet all year round for me now. I get my shipping fix on cruise ships seeing far flung areas of the world where commercialisation is a dirty word ;)

I certainly agree about the tourists or grockles as we called them, and of course the ferries especially if you have medical problems.

The grockles not only take over in the summer, but they flood already busy doctors surgeries and St Mary's. Also, it pay not to visit the tourist areas, beaches and attractions etc because you will be ripped off buying soft drinks or ice creams etc?!.

Which are your favourite cruise ships or favourite cruise line?.

David

GeeM
18th May 2009, 02:50
I am a Class Surveyor and Ex Chief Eng who has sailed on Passenger Vessels owned by Safmarine, Pearl Cruises , Princess Cruises and subsequently P&O after Princess was taken over.

The Flags of Convenience that the majority of these newer vessels are registered under and the Class Societies who certify them are afraid to call a halt to the seemingly endless escalation in their tonnage driven by the never ending search for economies of scale. I Imagine the rationale Is. Well if we put our foot down then somebody else will do the job. It seems that cruise ships have not reached their optimum . Large Tanker designs have stabilized at around 350,000 GT but cruise ship designs have not reached that point yet.

Speaking as someone who has sailed on a variety of older (but nicer) cruise vessels . On one occasion I was Involved In a middle of the night precautionary boat muster for an engine room fire which was subsequently controlled. It Is no easy task getting even 750 sleepy passengers organized and motivated to go and stand on a windy boat deck with their lifejackets on. I cant Imagine having to do the same thing with 3000 plus passengers . I work for one of the Top Three Class Societies and we do not seek Cruise Vessel Classification work, believing It an unacceptable risk. I applaud our management.

shamrock
18th May 2009, 07:49
I certainly agree about the tourists or grockles as we called them, and of course the ferries especially if you have medical problems.

The grockles not only take over in the summer, but they flood already busy doctors surgeries and St Mary's. Also, it pay not to visit the tourist areas, beaches and attractions etc because you will be ripped off buying soft drinks or ice creams etc?!.

Which are your favourite cruise ships or favourite cruise line?.

David

My favourite line/ship has to be Costa & Allegra. She is quirky...seriously quirky...like her smaller sister Marina, both built as box ships and converted to cruise ships, neither have lost their box ship lines but they have oodles of character & I love 'em :)

Followed by Fred Olsen's ships....all are nice little ships, not so keen on stretches though but its the sign of the times, I spose.

You can keep Royal Caribbean, overpriced, over sized and just plain over the top...as a solo cruiser they are extortion on sea.

As an example...as if we solo cruisers don't have to pay through the nose anyway...

My cruise next year aboard Allegra, 39 nights inc flights 2960 quid against a 12 night inc flights Royal Caribbean Dubai-India-Dubai 3590 quid :eek:

What Allegra doesn't have in bells & whistles, she makes up for in character and not having to buy a GPS to find your way around the darn ship from cabin to dining room as per Royal Caribbean :rolleyes:

Pompeyfan
20th May 2009, 14:28
I agree about Royal Caribbean, far too expensive for single travellers, and no good anyway. Far too big, and far too commercial. Even Oriana has more public rooms than a ship twice her size. The smaller ships are far better laid out than these giants.

David

shamrock
20th May 2009, 14:40
There is no chance of me ever stepping foot on Oasis or Allure of the Seas...RCI have really overstepped it with those two and with the current economic climate and the fact they are charging a premium to actually cruise on them for what are basic and monotonous itineraries....white elephants come to mind.

cryan
29th May 2009, 01:24
As some one who has served as an Engineering Officer aboard a modern P&O Cruise ship (Aurora 2000-2003) I do take a bit of offense at some of the comments here. I have sailed with many shipping lines and the emergency training and drills on modern P&O liners is by far the best I have ever encountered. We had equipment that put most modern fire brigades to shame and more importantly P&O had the best attitude to emergency training I have ever encountered. Shortly before the end of my time on Aurora we had a crankcase explosion and E/R fire whilst at anchor, from explosion to all clear with fire extiguished and casulties removed took eleven minutes! I have been on ships where you would be lucky to have the crew mustered in that time. The thinking behind internal muster stations is that the deck /engine crew can deploy the survival craft in good fasion while the hotel crew muster the passengers, then the passengers can be brought to the craft in calm and regimented order without the panic and crowding that a muster on deck would inevitable have in a real emergency situation. Having sat both the old STCW 78 and the New STCW 95 courses I can say that the modern training is far more in depth. With new equipment and ship designs they are much safer than older vessels. As for naming parts of a ship it was always fore and aft, port and starboard, deckhead and bulkhead, companionway and ladder when I was there, at least from the Profesional crew, the WAP's (Hotel Crew) may be different now?

cryan
29th May 2009, 01:39
As far as Equipment goes we had things Like thermal imaging cameras and the latest BA suits and fully enclosed helmets etc. We used things like smoke machines for drills and rescued real people (Indian Hotel Crew) to get used to how to lift people as opposed to stuffed boiler suits. Modern PaX ships are all disabled acces which makes evacuation easier with special trained crew employed to move disabled passengers in sedan like chairs. I do believe though that one of the problems you may encounter is most of the training is behind the scenes as the average passenger doesn't want their sunbathing interupted by ten men in full Fire Fighting gear Only really Helicopter drills are performed in public otherwise we used to generaly close off a restraunt or galley for the duration. But it does happen behind the scenes with a drill at least once a week and each watch expected to carry out emergency procedure exercises during daily working hours. It did all become second nature and even now after six years I could probably still roll off positions of equipment and procedures and system isolations from memory and I know I couldn't do that for some of the ships I have sailed on since as we were just not given the time to carry out these things. As for older ships like the Canberra, I have it on good source that towards the end they had as many as eighteen men on each engineroom watch and that it took four or five guys in fire suits and ba to open and close the steam stops on the boilers, a quarter turn at a time due to the heat and fumes due to deteriated exhausts and lagging which is not much good in an emergency. But the training of deck, engine and electrical officers today is as good if not better now than before.

Pompeyfan
29th May 2009, 10:50
Cryan

Nobody is saying that engineers or deck crew are not professional, certainly not me. Modern equipment and so on is bound to be better now than in the past. I was also highly trained during my era working for P&O. Modern equipment aside, the training would be about the same. And of course due to my medical duties as well as having my own boat, I did spend a lot of time in the engine room with my stretcher party on fire drills etc, so I knew a lot about your department regarding drills, of my era anyway.

My concern today is not the professionals such as yourself, but the new type of crew. Many departments are now franchised, far more than before, in fact some jobs never existed during my era, and many jobs, seasoned seafarers in their own right, no longer exist.

I have been on many cruises, and watched many crew drills, mostly P&O. Some crew do not have a clue as to what they have to do, pieces of paper in their hand if new, asking each other things. I have seen this time and time again. I have watched them muster on deck. I had my own life boat after passing my lifeboat ticket. If my crew had acted like half the ones I saw on cruising, including Aurora last year, milling around on deck like idiots, I would have logged them all.

Equipment may well be better today, and in some cases better drill as you say. But from what I have seen from the passenger side, the crew in general are not as well trained today as in my day. Certain areas yes, your department, deck and so on, but not the entire crew. I had them all in my boat, stewards, European and Asian, shop staff, Galley crew, Purses department and so on. But all were very well trained, all been a sea for a long time.

Couple that with the new type of passenger. Few know anything about a ship. Many treat passenger drill with contempt, they are in party mood, and take very little notice. I could see far more of the passenger side as a passenger, than I did as crew. In the engine room, you would not see the mayhem at passenger drill, people struggling to put their life jackets on laughing that they stood no chance in the real thing and so on. They are so convinced the ship will never get into trouble, they take it all with a pinch of salt. They even wonder why the ship rolls. That is how clueless some are!.

I worked for P&O, so would not want to criticise them, so do not take it personally. You say you were offended. Every concern I have posted on this site I have taken directly to P&O, and my letters have gone right to the top, but they do not listen. Yet, some of the captains I spoke to past and present all P&O are concerned, but their hands are tied. They urge me to keep plugging away at their bosses.

Perhaps you can tell me what others cannot, or will not. What is the plan B on P&O. For example, some passengers muster in the Theatre, I did once, and in Carmen's on my last Aurora cruise. What if either room is on fire, where do passenger muster then?. Passengers are told the muster station is a safe place. What if that safe place is not longer safe?. That is when the panic could kick in. On a three month world cruise there is only one passenger muster drill. That is crazy. And P&O are the only company I have sailed with as passenger who do not allocate a lifeboat or do a roll call. They say neither is needed. Perhaps not, until the real thing of course when they may find they were wrong. When you do a drill, you practice the whole thing, muster, then proceed to the lifeboats. Half a drill, especially when new to it anyway is waste of time in my opinion.

I notice you refer to Aurora as a modern liner. Aurora is not a liner, and never has been. She has never been employed on 'line voyage's. Okay, P&O refer to them as superliners, but they to have no idea of nautical history despite employing experts as lecturers. There was one on Aurora last year, explaining the difference between liners and cruise ships. He claimed not to be an historian, but in truth he was.

Aurora like all other P&O passenger ships today are cruise ships, a world away from the former passenger liners who plied a different trade, a different type of passenger, and apart from certain departments like you own and deck etc, a different type of crew.

I hope my fear of one of these giants getting into trouble does not come true. I would rather be wrong, and told off by current crew like yourself, than be proved right. But my training of years ago, plus the new type of ship, let alone the crew tell me that there is a major disaster waiting to happen.

David

shamrock
29th May 2009, 10:59
Case in fact in regards to the lack of knowledge under emergency conditions.

Louis Lines ship Sea Diamond, sank off Santorini just over 2 years ago. Two missing presumed dead. The ship was small and yet reports came out of crew panicking and not knowing what to do, passengers not knowing where to go...lifejackets not being worn etc etc etc.

Video of evacuation taken from another vessel nearby...

http://technorati.com/videos/youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DDxcJNVxifcE

shamrock
29th May 2009, 11:10
And as a really really REALLY bad example of crew/officers that panicked and ran when their cruise ship was foundering, look no further than Oceanos, what happened on that ship beggars belief completely...

http://www.oceanossinking.com/

When you board a ship as a cruise passenger you expect to have crew who will assist you if an emergency happens, those aboard Oceanos went running as fast as they could. Another case of crew leaving ahead of the passengers was Scandinavian Star when she caught fire...

http://www.fire.org.uk/marine/papers/scanstar.htm

One can only hope that crew will know what to do and will stay with you until you are safe in the event of an emergency but as with everything they are human beings and sometimes the inbuilt desire to flee is very strong.

Every time I cruise I get on board the ship, I go to my cabin and I look on that panel on the door, I study the route to my muster station and I walk the route several times...and that is BEFORE I even start to unpack, I do not want to put myself in a position of having to depend on others for my safety, I take responsibility for me and that is how I have always been and will continue to be so.

Pompeyfan
29th May 2009, 11:31
And as a really really REALLY bad example of crew/officers that panicked and ran when their cruise ship was foundering, look no further than Oceanos, what happened on that ship beggars belief completely...

http://www.oceanossinking.com/

When you board a ship as a cruise passenger you expect to have crew who will assist you if an emergency happens, those aboard Oceanos went running as fast as they could. Another case of crew leaving ahead of the passengers was Scandinavian Star when she caught fire...

http://www.fire.org.uk/marine/papers/scanstar.htm

One can only hope that crew will know what to do and will stay with you until you are safe in the event of an emergency but as with everything they are human beings and sometimes the inbuilt desire to flee is very strong.

Every time I cruise I get on board the ship, I go to my cabin and I look on that panel on the door, I study the route to my muster station and I walk the route several times...and that is BEFORE I even start to unpack, I do not want to put myself in a position of having to depend on others for my safety, I take responsibility for me and that is how I have always been and will continue to be so.

Ally

I wish others were like you. I do the same, but possibly go beyond that. I look for the nearest route to the lifeboats as well as the muster station, and also where all the inflatable life rafts are, those round drums you see on deck.

David

shamrock
29th May 2009, 11:53
I go in search of everything that would float if the worst happened and make a mental note of where it all is, David.

When the 'alpha' calls go out I always wonder who has become sick or hurt themselves, have yet to hear a 'bravo' call but no doubt will do one day.

You can relax on a lounger on the sun deck or prom, but you should always be aware of your surroundings...just in case.

cryan
29th May 2009, 12:53
I agree that the training of shopees and saon staff etc has always been a bit of a worry. However they now all have to go through a basic sea survival course and certain other training before being aloud onboard, this only came in at the turn of the century as legislation so I presume before that they were did not undergo this training due to costs. Ofcourse with up to 3000 passengers there is always a worry of something going wrong but I do believe that this is taken in to account from the design stage. Passengers are shown how to put on their Life Jacket before initial sailing and of course this is done in a friendly manner. There are cruise companies where saftey is not as well promoted and indeed I have heard of some horror stories of some of the cheaper end of the market, for example I know of an incident aboard Island Escape where they load tested the open lifeboats above the quayside with real people instead of water bags and the falls were in a sorry state of repair with no grease and rusty. I also know that some of the Italian Officers aboard Princess ships had a, shall we say, more macho aproach to safety. I am not speaking for other companies but I know in P&O the saftey culture was excellent. When I had a boat on the Aurora I spent the time between muster and stand down firing questions at the crew to make sure they new their duty and how to do it. As per calling the Aurora a liner, well I think your splitting hairs there, the cruises are the same every time so effectively they run a number of small lines. But as people no longer emigrate via ship and airplanes do it quicker there are no "real" liners anymore. To be honest passengers turning up to what they see as a safer option like life rafts instead of their muster station is a recipe for disaster as it will invoke panic. If carmens was on fire there ould have been passenger muster personnel posted on the aproaches to guide you to your new station. What if your assigned life boat was on fire? where would you go then? The vessel carries 125% of required survival craft capacity for that reason so that if your Lifeboat is damaged you can be assigned to another or to liferafts etc. This is easier done if the decks are clear. Every emergency action onboard any ship today is well thought out and tested before being implemented and the fact that you don't notice it simply shows that it is done without impeading your holiday, I think your concern on type of passenger is a bit stuffy as well. Without the Bucket and Spade Brigade or Council House Cruisers there would be no cruise industry I personaly think classless ships are a good thing and your assumption that the artisan classes have no regard for their own saftey is pompous and something I know to be wrong.

shamrock
29th May 2009, 13:22
I would not want to witness one of the Royal Caribbean Oasis class ships having to be evacuated in a hurry. The first of the class come into service this year and on lower berths only they carry 5400 passengers, close to 8000 all out loaded without including the crew. At 220k tonnes the ship's are enormous and as much as the safety aspects might work on the computer, I still feel that they will stumble badly when the human element is added into the overall equation.

When Star Princess caught fire off Jamaica in March 2006, one passenger died, others injured and reports from passengers all pointed to a general case of chaos when it came to mustering. When Grand Princess heeled over in February 2006 and then Crown Princess again in July 2006, crew were reportedly completely out of their depth as to what they were doing and many passengers were left to their own devices.

Nothing in life is 100% safe, we take risks in everything from geting out of bed in the morning onwards, but systems must be put in place to regulate and minimise those risks and we have to take some responsibility for ourselves too along the way.

Pompeyfan
29th May 2009, 14:04
I agree that the training of shopees and saon staff etc has always been a bit of a worry. However they now all have to go through a basic sea survival course and certain other training before being aloud onboard, this only came in at the turn of the century as legislation so I presume before that they were did not undergo this training due to costs. Ofcourse with up to 3000 passengers there is always a worry of something going wrong but I do believe that this is taken in to account from the design stage. Passengers are shown how to put on their Life Jacket before initial sailing and of course this is done in a friendly manner. There are cruise companies where saftey is not as well promoted and indeed I have heard of some horror stories of some of the cheaper end of the market, for example I know of an incident aboard Island Escape where they load tested the open lifeboats above the quayside with real people instead of water bags and the falls were in a sorry state of repair with no grease and rusty. I also know that some of the Italian Officers aboard Princess ships had a, shall we say, more macho aproach to safety. I am not speaking for other companies but I know in P&O the saftey culture was excellent. When I had a boat on the Aurora I spent the time between muster and stand down firing questions at the crew to make sure they new their duty and how to do it. As per calling the Aurora a liner, well I think your splitting hairs there, the cruises are the same every time so effectively they run a number of small lines. But as people no longer emigrate via ship and airplanes do it quicker there are no "real" liners anymore. To be honest passengers turning up to what they see as a safer option like life rafts instead of their muster station is a recipe for disaster as it will invoke panic. If carmens was on fire there ould have been passenger muster personnel posted on the aproaches to guide you to your new station. What if your assigned life boat was on fire? where would you go then? The vessel carries 125% of required survival craft capacity for that reason so that if your Lifeboat is damaged you can be assigned to another or to liferafts etc. This is easier done if the decks are clear. Every emergency action onboard any ship today is well thought out and tested before being implemented and the fact that you don't notice it simply shows that it is done without impeading your holiday, I think your concern on type of passenger is a bit stuffy as well. Without the Bucket and Spade Brigade or Council House Cruisers there would be no cruise industry I personaly think classless ships are a good thing and your assumption that the artisan classes have no regard for their own saftey is pompous and something I know to be wrong.

My concern about about certain passengers are certainly not stuffy. It is based on observation, what they know about the ship and so on. Also, many have no idea how to put on the life jacket, even when shown. I have seen it time and time again. To do it again for real would be a problem for many especially with crew too busy to show them again in a real emergency.

Saying that passengers would be shown to another muster station if their appointed one was is on fire then great. But tell that to the crew. I asked, and none new.

Also, the real meaning of liner is not splitting hairs. Liner is a trade name. It has nothing to do with the type of ship plying it. The name comes from 'line voyages'. When man began trading with the rest of the world in sailing ships, many foundering with great loss of life, a single word was needed to apply to these ships. So liner was invented. The liner of the time were sailing ships as I said. The term applied to passenger or cargo or both i.e. cargo liners and passengers liners, vessels that plied the same line on a scheduled route where passengers or cargo or both get on and off, just like a bus or train or lorry if cargo only. They were a means of transport, not a means of pleasure. And it is no coincidence that aircraft today are airLINERS.

Cruising is a different trade. They cannot be regarded 'line voyages' just because the cruises are the same every time with scheduled times and arrival etc. Passengers are not using the ship as a means of transport from A to B. The ship itself is the destination, that just happens to call at ports. They are in fact floating holiday centres. Calling them liners is an insult to nautical history. Some words evolve, but not this one. The trade name was invented during an era when many lost their lives pioneering what we today take for granted. We owe it to these brave sailors to preserve the meaning of the term. I am sure that many would be turning in their graves if they thought that these floating holiday resorts were referred to in the same manner as the vessels they sailed, working ships, real ships, not gin palaces.

I am not the only person to try to preserve nautical tradition. Steve, Payne for example, designer of Queen Nary 2 went out of his way to explain that Queen Mary 2 was a liner, designed as a liner, not a cruise ship. The first passenger liner built since QE2. And he was spot on.

The only true liners today are container and other cargo vessels that still ply regular 'line voyages', and apart from QM2, the only true passenger/cargo liner is RMS St Helena.

I support your support for P&O, and your confidence that all is well aboard P&O cruise ships. Please do not take offence at my concerns. I hear what you have to say regarding safety, and glad to hear it. However, as former crew for P&O, I am still concerned. I would never say a bad word about P&O. I worked for them, and they have a special place in my heart. That is why I alone arrange Canberra Reunions.

However, I also speak to current crew, current officers, and current captains, not just when cruising but by e-mail. In fact one lives down the road from me. He has only just got back from Aurora having done most of her world cruise, They all have concerns.

At the end of the day the proof will be in the pudding if one of these giants get into trouble miles from land. I would love to be proven wrong.

We should all be together on this, not slagging each other off. I am looking at it from my day, you from yours, so lets leave it at that.

David

fred henderson
29th May 2009, 18:02
I feel that we need to keep a sense of proportion here.

Oceanos was a 38 year old much modified liner owned by Epirotiki Lines operating out of South Africa when she foundered in 1991. She was in an appalling physical condition. Like so often happens when a clapped out passenger liner that is well past its use by date sinks, the Captain claimed that he was going for help. He stated later "When I give the order abandon ship, it doesn't matter what time I leave. Abandon is for everybody. If some people want to stay, they can stay."

Although utterly inexcusable, the hasty departure of the crew possibly reflected their experience of working for Epirotiki Lines at the time. In 1988 their Jupiter was struck and sunk by a freighter near Piraeus. In 1989 a passenger was killed by an unsecured hatch aboard the Neptune and the Odysseus was fortunate to reach harbor in Portugal after she began taking on water. Two months before the loss of Oceanos an explosion and fire sank the company's flagship Pegasus in Venice harbour.

The Scandinavian Star was in fact a ferry, not a cruise ship. The new crew was untrained and inadequate. The several fires were started deliberately in several places – a situation that would tax a well trained crew. The ship’s “as built” safety standards were not up to those required today and had been severely compromised by subsequent modifications, nevertheless she survived.

These incidents are not remotely comparable with the standards of the ships and crews of the leading cruise operators.

The 2010 SOLAS requirements place much more emphasis on the prevention of a casualty from occurring in the first place and demand that passenger ships are designed for greatly improved survivability so that, in the event of a casualty, persons can stay safely on board as the ship proceeds to port.

The designers share our concerns. This is why they have worked to ensure that ships like Oasis of the Seas never have to be evacuated in a hurry

Fred(Thumb)

shamrock
29th May 2009, 18:11
That maybe so..and that is how it should be..however, it still doesn't change the fact that when you sit through a muster drill on a cruise ship and look around at everyone and see how many are actually listening and taking in what is being said to them, it is scary stuff.

As a passenger I always hope I never have to meet many of my fellow passengers in an emergency cos they would have no idea whatsoever simply cos they did not listen to the instructions given. Some are the 'heard it all before' brigade, others are the 'lets hide in the cabin' brigade....it's flippin' frightening, even moreso when so many of those who can't be bothered to take out 20 minutes of their drinking time to listen to something that might save their lives and they have kids with them.

Its the same on an airliner, how many actually take a blind bit of notice of the safety instructions given...50%?...20%?

Yet when the plane crashes or the ship sinks, everyone wants to sue the owner cos it's always the owner's fault that they didn't get out in time :rolleyes:

ferrandou
29th May 2009, 18:33
That maybe so..and that is how it should be..however, it still doesn't change the fact that when you sit through a muster drill on a cruise ship and look around at everyone and see how many are actually listening and taking in what is being said to them, it is scary stuff.

As a passenger I always hope I never have to meet many of my fellow passengers in an emergency cos they would have no idea whatsoever simply cos they did not listen to the instructions given. Some are the 'heard it all before' brigade, others are the 'lets hide in the cabin' brigade....it's flippin' frightening, even moreso when so many of those who can't be bothered to take out 20 minutes of their drinking time to listen to something that might save their lives and they have kids with them.

Its the same on an airliner, how many actually take a blind bit of notice of the safety instructions given...50%?...20%?

Yet when the plane crashes or the ship sinks, everyone wants to sue the owner cos it's always the owner's fault that they didn't get out in time :rolleyes:

That certainly is the most worrying aspect, I was on a plane last year when the stewardess in charge went through the plane and speaking very loudly told anyone not paying attention to put away books etc and quite a lot with things stuck in their ears she made them remove; a burst of applause made many faces red but she got 100% attention.

A much more difficult task on a ship but could be done by training a small but very active team to make sure attendance is adhered to.

Bob Hollis

shamrock
29th May 2009, 18:39
Attendance at muster drill is mandatory but the listening part is often the stumbling block. None so deaf as those who don't want to hear.

As for getting a lifejacket on properly, I invariably get mine on before leaving the cabin for the drill and end up putting other passengers lifejackets on for them too on the way cos they haven't a clue...including those who say they have cruised several times. Putting on a lifejacket is not rocket science but sometimes I get the feeling that there are those who should not be allowed out of their home on their own, they seem to leave the common sense on the mantlepiece (that's if they had any in the first place, of course).

Pompeyfan
29th May 2009, 19:44
That certainly is the most worrying aspect, I was on a plane last year when the stewardess in charge went through the plane and speaking very loudly told anyone not paying attention to put away books etc and quite a lot with things stuck in their ears she made them remove; a burst of applause made many faces red but she got 100% attention.

A much more difficult task on a ship but could be done by training a small but very active team to make sure attendance is adhered to.

Bob Hollis

I agree entirely Bob.

Certainly as passenger on ships I have noticed that some passengers do not pay attention, often talking to each other throughout the drill, others either not listening, or not understanding even when shown how to put on a life jacket. They find it like putting up a deck chair, don't know which way it goes or how to lengthen or shorten the belt, and they always drag the belts afterwards despite being asked not to. Others, do not turn up at all.

That is why I like Fred Olsen so much. Firstly they called out everybody's names and cabin number, and secondly they allocated a lifeboat. Okay, it is possible that boat may be out of action due to listing badly or whatever in a real emergency, but it gave passengers a better idea of the routine. Life jackets were also checked before the passengers could leave. P&O does not always do this, certainly not on my last two P&O cruises on Aurora and Oriana.

RCI muster on deck, under the allocated lifeboat. Again names are called out, and life jackets checked. I found them the best of the lot. Although the size of the ships frightened me with so many people but embarkation and disembarkation was surprisingly quick, better than some smaller ships.

David

shamrock
29th May 2009, 20:33
Costa...at least in the Far East...physically speak to each and every passenger in the muster stations, they tick the names off according to cabin number and ensure the lifejacket is correctly worn. On Allegra last year my muster station was in the theater and the crew to passenger ratio was around the 10 pax - 2 crew, so no-one was left alone to get confused as to what they should do and if anyone was chatting whilst the instructions were being given, they were reprimanded accordingly by the crew leader on stage. Very effective and efficiently done.

I also agree about Olsen, the 4 cruises I have done with them aboard Braemar have always been very efficient. NCL has been well organised but for some reason some of the US guests seem to have an attention deficit problem and tend not to be too good at listening to instruction.

ferrandou
30th May 2009, 00:17
I agree entirely Bob.

Certainly as passenger on ships I have noticed that some passengers do not pay attention, often talking to each other throughout the drill, others either not listening, or not understanding even when shown how to put on a life jacket. They find it like putting up a deck chair, don't know which way it goes or how to lengthen or shorten the belt, and they always drag the belts afterwards despite being asked not to. Others, do not turn up at all.

That is why I like Fred Olsen so much. Firstly they called out everybody's names and cabin number, and secondly they allocated a lifeboat. Okay, it is possible that boat may be out of action due to listing badly or whatever in a real emergency, but it gave passengers a better idea of the routine. Life jackets were also checked before the passengers could leave. P&O does not always do this, certainly not on my last two P&O cruises on Aurora and Oriana.

RCI muster on deck, under the allocated lifeboat. Again names are called out, and life jackets checked. I found them the best of the lot. Although the size of the ships frightened me with so many people but embarkation and disembarkation was surprisingly quick, better than some smaller ships.

David

My final ship was Fred Olsens "Blenheim" I think 1972 or 73, I made a personal agreement with the chief mate on signing " if he got any grief from any passenger regarding my long hair, "below my waist", we would part company with no hard feelings". He was impressed with my discharge book.
I could not take the transformation from a cruise ship to a summer ferry but the emergency drill was second to none, maybe because most of the passengers were returning "Club Members" as Olsen's liked to call them and they were aware that safety at sea was everyones business, the only fault I had was half of the catering dept. were Spanish "Canary Islanders" great people but language sometimes got in the way of safety.
The heads of all catering departments were Norwegian and did not tolerate any staff pretending to be exempt from boat drill etc.
I quickly learned to ask each person his/her name instead of a general roll call.

Bob Hollis