Are the new generation of cruise ships just getting too big ?

john g
22nd October 2008, 16:31
Having done my time with Brocks many years ago I have taken a few cruises with the P & O, being British about it. The quality is great but having taken the Oceana this year I can't help feeling ships of greater capacity must loose a lot of character. The Queen Victoria seen in Italy looks fantastic as does the Queen Mary but I can't help feeling you would just become a money making statistic on board. Having seen a documentary on sky about some huge Royal Caribbean vessel I think my suspicions are confirmed.
So what do you guys think, are we approching a "Butlins on water" or is there a place in the future for tradional quality like the Canberra and even the good old Victoria ( P&O).......I reckon 1200 max passengers is about right.....well look at Fred Olson he seems to do ok

Frank P
23rd October 2008, 09:04
"Butlins on water" or is there a place in the future for tradional quality like the Canberra and even the good old Victoria ( P&O).......I reckon 1200 max passengers is about right.....well look at Fred Olson he seems to do ok
John I agree with you entirely, I would not even consider going on one these new giant ships, I always thought that going on a cruise was supposed to be relaxing, how can it be pleasant to arrive in some port and the town is swamped with thousands of passengers from these large vessels.
Cheers Frank(Thumb)

Albert Bishop
23rd October 2008, 09:50
Agree with you both. Tried the big jobs, and a day at sea is like being on a cattle boat. Found one of Thomsons, The "Calypso," that was once a ferry and only carries 400 passengers in the Medi, Exelent, almost felt like a real ship. Cheers Albi.

GWB
23rd October 2008, 12:32
John i agree with you they have no character did a trip on the Diamond Princes
a couple years back it was like a block of flats with a shopping center thrown in. Trip was great but ship had no personality.

Cheers
GWB

Trevor George
23rd October 2008, 12:51
Having done my time with Brocks many years ago I have taken a few cruises with the P & O, being British about it. The quality is great but having taken the Oceana this year I can't help feeling ships of greater capacity must loose a lot of character. The Queen Victoria seen in Italy looks fantastic as does the Queen Mary but I can't help feeling you would just become a money making statistic on board. Having seen a documentary on sky about some huge Royal Caribbean vessel I think my suspicions are confirmed.
So what do you guys think, are we approching a "Butlins on water" or is there a place in the future for tradional quality like the Canberra and even the good old Victoria ( P&O).......I reckon 1200 max passengers is about right.....well look at Fred Olson he seems to do ok

Hi John,
I totally agree wtih what you have said. We recently went to a wedding with some friends of ours who we met on the Caronia in 2003. One of their friends has just returned from a cruise on the largest Cruise ship ever built, I think it's the "Freedom off....... not sure!

It had the surfing facility along with a climbing wall, large shopping malls, streets etc.etc they said it was awful! and used the words "Butlins at sea"

Regards
Trevor

tankerman2
23rd October 2008, 12:57
Think the problem is more with the ports that can take these ships.
Have sailed on a number of the new HAL big boys and you end up in some far away docks because the ships can't get near the twon centre.

I see that the top of the range cruise lines are now advertising the smaller ships going to more of the unusual destinations.

It was the same with the tankers I sailed on.

The smaller product carriers used to get right into the towns, but us VLCC ended up at anchor.

GRA17
23rd October 2008, 21:41
Having done my time with Brocks many years ago I have taken a few cruises with the P & O, being British about it. The quality is great but having taken the Oceana this year I can't help feeling ships of greater capacity must loose a lot of character. The Queen Victoria seen in Italy looks fantastic as does the Queen Mary but I can't help feeling you would just become a money making statistic on board. Having seen a documentary on sky about some huge Royal Caribbean vessel I think my suspicions are confirmed.
So what do you guys think, are we approching a "Butlins on water" or is there a place in the future for tradional quality like the Canberra and even the good old Victoria ( P&O).......I reckon 1200 max passengers is about right.....well look at Fred Olson he seems to do ok

Hi,

You are right about floating Butlns as I have previously put on a questionaie on a recent cruise I was on ( Ventura ). 3000 passengers + 1200 crew far to big, it's all about money. I have sailed with P&O for approx' 30 yrs, firstly on Canberra then most of the other ships, all new ships have luxurious decor, but have lost their way on tradition

Pompeyfan
23rd October 2008, 23:59
Having done my time with Brocks many years ago I have taken a few cruises with the P & O, being British about it. The quality is great but having taken the Oceana this year I can't help feeling ships of greater capacity must loose a lot of character. The Queen Victoria seen in Italy looks fantastic as does the Queen Mary but I can't help feeling you would just become a money making statistic on board. Having seen a documentary on sky about some huge Royal Caribbean vessel I think my suspicions are confirmed.
So what do you guys think, are we approching a "Butlins on water" or is there a place in the future for tradional quality like the Canberra and even the good old Victoria ( P&O).......I reckon 1200 max passengers is about right.....well look at Fred Olson he seems to do ok


The new giants are already Butlins on the water. I was aboard Independence of the Seas back in May with her surfing and rock climbing. She is huge, but basically huge with nothing. Smaller ships like Oriana have far more public rooms, better laid out, better daily and evening entertainment, still with the tradition of the older ships like Canberra. In fact, many former Canberra passengers have gone to Oriana.

I think it is an insult in a way to compare Butlins with these giants because there is more going on at Butlins, more variety for all the family. At present there is a market for the new type of cruiser who like the modern and massive ships who offer better facilities for children than traditional ships, and smaller ships for those who prefer traditional cruises. But the credit crunch mentioned in another thread may have the last say with families going back to Butlins and other shore side holidays because that is all they may be able to afford with the richer people who possibly prefer the more traditional ships able to afford to weather the storm with companies finding it harder to fill the bigger ships?. Independence of the Seas for example is certainly not for the traditional cruiser, and could suffer if families are feeling the crunch.

David

Shipbuilder
28th October 2008, 21:49
I sailed for a number of years in the large Union-castle liners & the cruise ship REINA DEL MAR (1,000 passengers). But the longest time I ever served in one ship was 11 years in the RMS ST. HELENA. we were only 3,150 gross tons & 300 feet long. We carried a mere 76 passengers & it was great - most of them loved it. Here is a typical evening's entertainment in the main lounge - frog racing. Everyone knew everyone else & the passengers could wander about freely, up the foredeck (weather permitting) & even onto the bridge. We were one small happy familiy & I doubt it the present generation of passenger ships could give their passengers such good value for money.
Despite our small size, we were on the long haul from the UK to Cape Town & back. Round voyage about two months!
Bob

bryanm
29th October 2008, 08:54
Back in the late 80's while sailing on the ACT3 and ACT6 between east coast of the states and Australia and New Zealand we used to carry between 8 - 10
passengers on average. These were mainly middle aged or elderly who had all
done the rounds on the big passenger ships of the day, QE2 etc and many of them told me how they preferred the more relaxed way of travelling on cargo ships and how they got to mix with the crew for social events. So even then
passengers were getting fed up of these luxurious liners

passenger john
31st October 2008, 10:53
We to took a trip on Oceana this summer to Norway. Proberbly my last cruise. The ship felt like Butlins on water. Do this; do that; buy this; come to this COMMERCIAL presentation, when the word commercial was not mentioned till you went. Oh and the Art Auctions.

So called Freedom Dining, queued for a table for up to an hour some evenings, along with older people having trouble standing!

As for destinations over run with people. Called at Flam for a trip on the railway, the main reason for picking this trip. As we went up the fjord an Italian (Costa) ship overtook us and grabbed the berth, we had to anchor out in the fjord, land by tender. By the time we reached the station ALL trains were full and the village was seething with people, just went back to the ship and sat in cabin.

Worst was to come, Bergen, when we docked there were FOUR other liners in town.
It was like Oxford Street in the January sales, Germans to the right, and Italians to the left all shouting in their respective languages, jostled along through the streets.

CRUISE COMPANIES WATCH OUT – you may be going to kill the Goose that laid the golden egg, We will consider very carefully before taking another cruise.

Pompeyfan
31st October 2008, 13:30
John

Seems about right for P&O, art auctions and so on.

As for other cruise ships, it is the luck of the draw as to how many are in port at the same time. Norway is a busy destination during the summer, as is the Med and Caribbean, the latter always busy in most ports. I personally like that because it means lots of pictures.

It also reminds me of the old days in Southampton when the port was full of real passenger liners, not these cruise ships which are no comparison at all to the proper liners.

Like you say, they do feel like Butlins already. They are simply floating holiday camps. Indeed, it is almost an insult to put them under the same heading as passenger liners of yesteryear. However, cruise ships are all we have left for people like myself who worked and sailed on the proper liners to go back to sea and try to reminisce. It can be done if you ignore all the other going on an just watch the sea go by.

Oceana is very Americanised because she was built for the American market. Try Oriana or Aurora. You may find they have a lot more tradition. However, ports are indeed full of tourists from different ships.

I remember being in Bergen on Oriana with a German ship. I bumped into some thinking they were English to ask the way to the Cable Car. They could not speak English, but I knew they were German so I did the Basil Fawlty routine saying: Oh you are German, I thought there was something wrong with you" (Jester) . They had no idea what I was saying, I think :sweat: Up the top I spoke to to some more people again thinking they were English saying that the other ship was full of Germans. It was reference to the Dad's Army Film when the Verger said the loo was full of Germans. This bloke said: "YAH". He was German as well. I put my foot in it again (Jester) But I didn't mention the war. I did once but got away with it :sweat: This bloke could speak English and saw the funny side.

Sadly cruising is now very much a tourist thing on the ship and at ports. Most passengers do not have sea legs and know next to nothing of life at sea which is why the ship itself is now the destination. Few people go on a cruise these days just for the sea travel, and particular ports. They want far more. I wanted to go to Flam for the railway and it rained all day!.

David

Ian6
31st October 2008, 14:12
Have to agree with most of the above. My wife and I have taken 3 trips by sea, I avoid the term 'cruise' deliberately. In each case it was the only, or at least obvious, way to get where we wanted. In 1998 we went to Alaska in the old 'Universe Explorer'. She was built as a MorMac passenger liner on the New York - Rio route called 'Brasil'. In size between my two P&O mailships, Canton and Strathmore. About 700 passengers, no evening cabaret, and when we arrived in small places like Wrangell we didn't change the experience by the hordes of people disgorged at once.
In 2000 we went briefly from Cyprus to Egypt in Louis Line's 'Calypso' (mentioned by Albert Bishop in post #3). It should have been Israel & Egypt but the interfada erupted between us booking and sailing. As it was we went to Alexandria one day and over night round to Port Said. Then to Cairo by coach, following the Suez Canal down to the road bridge, then being built. That all brought back so many memories. By going from Cyprus by sea we were able to visit Egypt by day (packed lunches from the ship) and return to dinner in the evening - no food prepared ashore, no Farouk's revenge stomach.
This year we took Hurtigruten's 'Midnatsol' from Bergen to Kirkenes and then back to Trondheim, then rail to Oslo. Wonderful, not cheap, not luxurious and no entertainment but a real working ship with some 'round trip cruise' passengers and many one or two stop ferry passengers (with cars and cargo). Unlike the giant ships cruising the Norwegian Fiords Hurtigruten's fleet make over 30 calls on the round trip.
There is a demand for big ship cruising, fine, but it isn't for everyone. So many British tourists to the USA think Orlando is it. We've been to America on holiday 15 times. We did go to Orlando 14 years ago (as a week of autumnal sun after leaf-peeping in New England) but have only ever made repeat visits to National Parks like Yellowstone. Again each to his taste - we are glad the masses are safely out of the way on giant cruise-ships or in Florida.
Ian

TonyAllen
31st October 2008, 14:45
Shipbuilder.How I envy you it was a long standing wish of mine to sail on the Helena never made it whilst at sea and when I could afford it illness stopped me from making the trip Regards Tony Allen

Thamesphil
31st October 2008, 15:00
It must surely depend on which side of the fence you sit. The large cruise ships cater for a different sort of customer to the traditional vessels of the past. I think it's fair to say that the cruise industry would be more or less dead and buried if it wasn't for the cruise companies looking ahead and building ships more attractive to Joe Public.

As a potential cruise passenger, I have always been put off by the thought of stuffy traditionalism, dressing up at dinner, that sort of thing. But the new side of cruising definately interests me and I hope to go on my first cruise within the next couple of years.

Ian6
31st October 2008, 16:00
Thamesphil, I think you will find that you can choose the level of 'stuffy traditionalism' in the same way that you can choose the size of cruise ship. Within the same ship there are sometimes different levels of formality - the new Cunarders tend to assign a restaurant according to cabin grade, whilst other lines within Carnival's stable (should that be boat-house?) offer 'free seating' and 24 hour dining. Giant size doesn't automatically bring formality, the 'new side' of cruising isn't automatically informal, what is automatic is that on a giant cruise ship you are ashore with some thousands of your fellow passengers. No quaint little Mediterranean ports remain very quaint with 3,000 tourists (like 10 Jumbo Jets at once).
Ian

Shipbuilder
31st October 2008, 16:12
Tony,
Yes, the old ST. HELENA was a great ship & we had excellent food & long stay in port. Often a week in Cape Town or St. Helena. We had lots of regular passengers who preferred us to the big ones. I sailed for 5 years in the WINDSOR CASTLE & had a great time there.
Thamesphil
You are quite right, times change & a lot of passengers would not like the dignity of the old ships at all. As long as the new breed continue to pay vast profits, no doubt they will continue to be built, but they may get too expensive if the price of fuel goes up. That was what did for the Union-Castle steamers. The WINDSOR CASTLE guzzled in excess of 250 tons a day!
The new ST. HELENA was rather too modern for me. Everywhere you went there was the constant drone of piped music & internal broadcasts. I often took the piped music off & the only ones who ever complained were the younger Hotel Services staff. A number of passengers told me it was very distracting!
Walking past big cruise ships alongside, they seem to radiate a contant peal of noise, bing bong chimes followed by public address broadcasts.

I have no desire whatsoever to return to sea as a passenger. I guess every dog has its day & I am eternally grateful that I had mine when ships were what I wanted them to be.
Anyway, here is a picture of deck sports on the old ST. HELENA, a bit ramshackle you may say - but oh so happy. Our only disruption to the 11 years was when we got taken up for 13 months MOD service with the Falklands Task Force. But all in all, the happiest 11 years of my total of 31 at sea.
Bob

TonyAllen
31st October 2008, 16:56
Thank you for your reply and a great picture looks like all were having a good time.Funny you mention the Windsor Castle I had a year out after having an operation on my face after an accident,got a job at Camell Lairds Birkenhead as a platers helper lousy job and a lazy plater, anyway it was the Windsor Castle and she was a good looker.went back on the pool and they sent me to the Windsor as scullery man and I signed on but the strike broke out in Liverpool and I got a VNC oh well Tony

Pompeyfan
1st November 2008, 01:47
It must surely depend on which side of the fence you sit. The large cruise ships cater for a different sort of customer to the traditional vessels of the past. I think it's fair to say that the cruise industry would be more or less dead and buried if it wasn't for the cruise companies looking ahead and building ships more attractive to Joe Public.

As a potential cruise passenger, I have always been put off by the thought of stuffy traditionalism, dressing up at dinner, that sort of thing. But the new side of cruising definately interests me and I hope to go on my first cruise within the next couple of years.


Phil

When former crew like myself mention tradition, we do not mean the the facilities offered on modern cruise ships in comparison with passenger liners of my era and before.

Tradition does not only mean dressing up and all that stuff. It also means the ship herself. Ships of my era were built for ocean travel, proper working liners able to cope with all weathers, and well trained crews. Even many of our passengers were old hands, well versed in drills.

Today, we don't just have different ships, we have a different type of passenger, and a different type of crew. I am not saying that the new ships are less stable. They certainly roll more having been on a few giants, but safety wise they are better. However, I am a bit concerned about the crew having watched many crew drills, and cringe at the antics of some of them. If my crew acted like that they would be up before the Old Man.

There is a large entertainment crew now, and many jobs that never existed during my day. In that era all crew were well drilled whatever their job on board. I know, I had my own lifeboat. My crew were everything from waiters, cabin stewards, shop workers to leading hands and officers. They were all very well drilled, I could trust them all. All crew, could take their lifeboat ticket and many did. I was also in charge of the stretcher crew all of whom were U Gang. Utility Stewards, but again very well drilled.

Passengers often watched us drill. What a difference today. All they want to do is stuff their faces and get involved in ships activities. They are not the least bit concerned about safety, and have no idea what to do anyway. Passenger drill is just an annoyance.

Tradition means far more than dressing up for dinner which is why I and many other former and current crew fear one day that a massive cruise ship will be in trouble miles from land with utter panic on board. Those who ignore passenger drill or make light of it will soon change their tune?!.

I don't want to put people off cruising but you are sailing on the high seas that has claimed so many lives even experienced sailors. The sea and ship must be respected if a holiday is to be enjoyed. It is a lot different to the safety of dry land, and it is time people realised they cannot take shore side activities to sea without learning a bit about the dangers should they have to abandon ship. If I mention it to passengers they all say they are on holiday, they don't want to think about the ship going down. They would if it was (EEK) .

David

wigger
1st November 2008, 11:34
Does it depend on the company that operates the ship? My parents (both retired ) have just come home from their first ever cruise on a largish ship. They spend just over a week on the Costa Concordia in the Med. My initial line when they told me what company they would be traveling with was "I'm not sure if this is going to be your cup of tea" I imagined stories of badly dressed marauding families dragging screaming kids around a tacky, loud shopping mall on water.

It turns out I was completely wrong,(apart from maybe the tacky bit..some of the decor was questionable, but each to their own) the ship was quiet, the entertainment seemed to cater for most people, not too stuffy, but not like a week in Benidorm.
As far as safety was concerned, my father spend the last 30 years of his career involved in promoting various safety campaigns and he could not have been more impressed. Obviously some people will never pay much attention to safety on board ship, some will, common sense is just something lacking in the world in general.

Cleanliness - again, couldn't be faulted, although the ship is very new and maybe an older ship in the Costa fleet would be different.

Looking back on the cruise, both Mum and Dad say they will certainly do it again, probably with Costa and probably quite soon. They enjoyed it far more than they thought they would and recommend it to anybody. They were not looking for major daytime thrills and a pumping nightlife on board ship, more of a relaxing trip, using the ship to ferry them overnight from port to port, some quiet dinners and a few civilised drinks in the evening. I can't imagine they are the only people looking for this sort of cruise.

I didn't intend for this post to become an advert for Costa but on this occaison they surpassed expectations. As with everthing, I bet there a few horror stories about them circulating, same with all cruise companies, hell its the same with ALL companies whatever their business. :)

sidsal
1st November 2008, 22:02
My wife and I did a Meddy cruise from Southampton last May on the P&O Artemis - we had been on her b4 around S America and had a great time. However the experience this time was no so good. For instance - we arrived at Corfu and there was a massive Holland America ship there and R Crrribean - and us. So - 5000 plus people emptied into Corfu town and a stationary thunderstorm> A horrid experience - AND - they are going to extend the wharf to take 2 more big ships so in future there will be nearer 10,000 people milling about> Then - Rome and Dubrovnik were the same.
In my opinion these cruise companies are killing the goose. I know of 2 other neighbouring familes who have cruised recently and they, like us, say that they will not be cruising again. In today's Telegraph it says the cruise companies are slashing their prices and I imagine that the laws of commerce will sort them out.
Also, my seafring colleagues' opinion is that these big ships are a disaster waiting to happen. It would be impossible to evacuate a ship full of largely elderly people in the event of a major incident.

eldersuk
1st November 2008, 22:11
Shipbuilder.
Did you sail on ST. HELENA with ex ED Purser Jim Forsey, a good friend of mine with whom I'll be having a pint or three on Tuesday along with a few other ED men.

Derek

Pompeyfan
1st November 2008, 22:51
Wigger

I am glad your parents had a great cruise and were impressed with Costa Concordia. I have never cruised with Costa so it is nice to have positive reports.

David

Shipbuilder
3rd November 2008, 13:25
Derek,
Yes, sailed with Jim for years in ST. HELENA. He first came aboard when we were in the Falklands, then went back to ED for a while & re-joined us permanently shortly after. His wife Jo also sailed from time to time. Please give best wishes to them from Bob & Christine.
Bob

Andastar
25th February 2009, 06:56
I’m interested in the impact of the large cruise ships like Oceania, Arcadia, Aurora and Adonia on the places they visit – they draw around 26ft of water. As commented by others, the ships are often too big to get into the ports.

In Townsville the entrepreneurs have convinced the Queensland Government that these ships are a good idea. They believe they’ll make money out of the passengers. But the only people I know who go on cruises say everything is provided on the ship and that’s where they spend their money.

Townsville is on the coast of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, that is, very shallow, and the cruise ships currently anchor off Magnetic Island and come in by local catamaran ferry.

The draft (all that dredging – and where will the contaminated spoil go?) and the turning circle are serious issues here. Does anyone know what turning circles these ships have?

Any comments would be welcome.

Pompeyfan
25th February 2009, 21:04
I’m interested in the impact of the large cruise ships like Oceania, Arcadia, Aurora and Adonia on the places they visit – they draw around 26ft of water. As commented by others, the ships are often too big to get into the ports.

In Townsville the entrepreneurs have convinced the Queensland Government that these ships are a good idea. They believe they’ll make money out of the passengers. But the only people I know who go on cruises say everything is provided on the ship and that’s where they spend their money.

Townsville is on the coast of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, that is, very shallow, and the cruise ships currently anchor off Magnetic Island and come in by local catamaran ferry.

The draft (all that dredging – and where will the contaminated spoil go?) and the turning circle are serious issues here. Does anyone know what turning circles these ships have?

Any comments would be welcome.

Others would be far more qualified to answer than me, but these large cruise ships can turn in a sixpence with their forward and aft thrusters. In other words the length of the ship. And they have very shallow draughts. Adonia now by the way is Sea Princess.

As for spending their money, cruise ships certainly bring tourist money to the local economy. Shore excursions, and all outlets that cater for tourists should benefit.

David

cptpugwash
25th February 2009, 21:11
as i used to say to my old lady on a cruise i would want a chipping hammer and a pot of red lead

sydney heads
26th February 2009, 13:21
Who would have thought the day would ever come when Sydney would (this Sunday) host four cruise liners, three of which cannot pass under the Harbour Bridge! And it is now planned to build a brand new passenger terminal at White Bay- upstream of the aforementioned bridge!?

QM2 is in Sydney today, berthed at Garden Island naval base, due to her large draft, and her passengers have to undergo immigration checks at another location, kilometres away!

Oh how I wish we could reclaim the days when the biggest cruise liners were rightly and affectionately known as "ladies", unlike today's generation of steroidal, bulked up and square "he-ships"!

Curse SOLAS for quickening the demise of the final few "ladies".

Dulcibella
28th February 2009, 22:36
Last year my wife and I spent a month aboard M.V. Discovery, from Manaus to Harwich. She still retains the atmosphere of a traditional liner, and the fact that she carries a maximum of 650-700 passengers is great. She is a joy to travel aboard and is just the right size.

I think the largest cruise ship that I would consider travelling on would be Oriana.... I think - certainly internally - she is a worthy successor to Canberra. Her interior decor, to me, is typical P&O in layout and room names. The only things missing are the Head Serangs, Pakistani Engine Room Crew, Indian Lascar Seamen and the waiters from Goa!!! but then I'm "old P&O" and a colonialist[=P]

Duclibella (Ian)

Pompeyfan
28th February 2009, 22:54
Ian

The waiters from Goa are still there, and just the same.

David

Dulcibella
1st March 2009, 23:03
David,

Glad to hear it... there was something very colonial about the way the "old" P&O were run... damn good service , nice memories.

Ian

David Williams
2nd March 2009, 16:57
Hi Everybody.
I heard somewhere or read somewhere,that these
floating blocks of flats,can only sail in certain seas
at certain times of the year???.

Dave Williams(R583900)

Pompeyfan
5th March 2009, 00:19
Hi Everybody.
I heard somewhere or read somewhere,that these
floating blocks of flats,can only sail in certain seas
at certain times of the year???.

Dave Williams(R583900)

I think you will find they can sail in all seas. It is just that their design make them unsuitable for winter on the north Atlantic for example. The new breed of passenger moan if the ship rolls anyway. So these giants tend to stick to calmer waters if possible which is why Australian ports are busier during their summer, and we during ours. And the Caribbean is always busy.

David