Basket case?

16th January 2009, 17:22
Could anybody help,
Whilst on a recent cruise on the Thompson Celebration, we were making our way from Vigo to Cherbourg crossing the Bay of Biscay, on a flat calm day, when from the bar, friends and myself noticed the ship seemed to have come to a stop. After a while I went out on deck to see if there were any signall flags raised on the mast as the captain of this particular vessel seemed to be very keen on signal flags and hoisted them whenever required. As I was a little in the holiday spirit at the time shall we say, I can't remember if there was a flag but there was definitely a mesh funnell shaped basket, like the ones a fishing trawler would hoist when in port, hoisted to the top of the mast. I have since looked up all these signal flags and ther meanings but as yet have no idea what this basket represents. Could it be an alternative to the flag for "I am dragging my anchor" or does it have no meaning at all and was just put there to confuse passengers like myself. After about two hours the ship got underway again and the basket was removed. Please someone put me out of my misery as I have been wondering about this for some time and was reminded of it the other evening whilst watching the quiz Q.I. on t.v. as they did a feature on signal flags.

16th January 2009, 20:01
I would say the basket represented a black ball or is it two black balls, engine broken down and not under command, Im just an old engineer and I could be wrong.


16th January 2009, 20:38
It could also be a diamond shaped shape a in black ball - diamond - black ball in a vertical line for restricted ability to manoeuvre.


John Rogers
16th January 2009, 20:42
Maybe it was mesh to make it a little wind resistance and from a distance it look like balls.


marco nista
16th January 2009, 20:42
Not under command -

By day, two black balls.

By night, two black lights.



16th January 2009, 20:43
mcintyre of balla
your floating hotel would appear to have been fishing, but he should take down this signal while underway and it would be pure laziness to keep it up whilst alongside, and quite misleading
the only thing that represents two black balls is two black balls and to quote the exam howler "by night these balls should be illuminated" (Jester)


16th January 2009, 22:16
I am amazed! Why did you not ask?
If I had been on board I would have grabbed the first
crew member and insisted on an explaination.

17th January 2009, 16:09
Thread No5
How do you see 2 black lights at black night time ? unless it is 24 hr light up north

marco nista
19th January 2009, 20:21
Thread No5
How do you see 2 black lights at black night time ? unless it is 24 hr light up north

Gotcha !



Pat McCardle
19th January 2009, 20:27
Nice one Marco(Jester)

20th January 2009, 19:08
Cheers everyone ,
The black ball theory could be the one although Im still a bit confused. I will be going on one of her sister ships The Thomson Destiny to the Caribbean in February and will make a point of staying sober long enough to ask one of the Officers and get to the bottom of it. Afterall it could happen again, l.o.l. Once again thanks to everyone who responded and I'll report back my findings.

21st January 2009, 10:14
Can't answer your question but why not tell us a bit about your cruise on these Thomson ships being older and smaller than the modern giants, life on board, crew etc, the sort of things I write about when aboard P&O etc. Nice to compare other ships and companies.


22nd January 2009, 21:36
Can't answer your question but why not tell us a bit about your cruise on these Thomson ships being older and smaller than the modern giants, life on board, crew etc, the sort of things I write about when aboard P&O etc. Nice to compare other ships and companies.

Dear David,
Just a few words to tell you about my experiences on Thomson ships. I never thought I would enjoy cruising as much as I do untill I went on my first cruise holiday about six or seven years ago. This was after much nagging from my parents who had been on many cruises before and finaly persuaded my wife and myself to join them on a tiny ship called the Carousel, cruising around the Canaries, Morroco and Madera for a week. the Carousel was at the time run by Sun cruises who are now out of buisiness and who the Thomson Destiny used to belong to, being the Sunbird at the time. Anyway the Carousel was a very old ship and very small in modern standards being only 23,149tons and 1202 passengers with just 402 officers and crew.
this never took away the fact that we had a fantastic holiday on this little boat as it was very intimate and you soon got to know most of the other passengers and a lot of the crew and hotel staff. The entertainment team on this little ship were second to none and there was a real familly feel to the whole ship. A favorite place of mine onboard the Carousel was her promanade deck which was all in varnished teak and wen't all the way round the ship unlike some of the newer ships where the only place to take a stroll is on the roof.
We have been hooked on cruise holidays ever since and rarely do any other kind. We have since been on four of the Thomson ships, some more than once, the Lyrica to the baltic and an Alaskan cruise on the Mercury. These last two ships being of different cruise lines. these were much newer, bigger and more expencive than Thomson ships and in our oppinion not at all as good. They seemed to lack atmosphere, the crew and staff not as friendly and there was just something amiss. It could be that the tipping system on these ships seems to have had an adverse reaction with many of the hotel staff who seem more interested in getting a good report and tip at the end of your cruise than actualy doing a good job in order to earn a tip. I know this is the American system but it isn't what a lot of the people on board seemed to like. We won't be going back on either of these two ships.

As for the Thomson ships I think they have got the formular just right for the Brits who are their target audience. Everything from the food, 24 hours if you can handle it, to the drinks wich are reasonably priced and the entertainment onboard is all geared up for us Brits.

AS you and other people have mentioned in past threads though, many of the crew and staff onboard cruise ships are from overseas and Thomson is no exeption. Apart from some of the officers and the entertainment team most of the rest of the crew are from overseas with most of the engerneering crew being philipeno, and most of the hotel staff being a mix of philipeno, Russian, Ukranian, Indian and many others.
I don't know the answer to this, it is all economics, but I do know that staff on these ships keep renewing there contracts with the same agencys to work back on the same ships year after year . You can tell after you have been onboard a while that there is a real feeling of belonging amongst the whole ships company and this certainly rubs off on the passengers who themselves keep returning year after year. One of the questions that always crops up at dinner etc. is "how many times have you been on this ship?" with the answere all too often "many times".
I notice that you also mentioned in previous threads that once onboard a cruise ship you wouldn't know you were on a ship. I can tell you that all the Thomson ships I have been on do use the correct nauticle terms on all there signage and announcements. Your cabin will be either Port or Starboard, The lifts go up decks not floors and the gangplank today will be either Fore, Midships or Aft.
To conclude, I am not against the so called bigger or newer ships in any way, just that I seem to have a realy good time on some of the older , smaller ships. It is hard to see a way forward for some of these ships though as economies of scale seem to be dictating that bigger ships with more passengers is the way to go, bums on seats etc. Look at the size of some of the Royal Carribean ships.
I know that like my grandfather, many of you have been in the merchant navy, but for people like myself cruising is the only way we will ever experience the sea and see some of these wonderfull places and long may it continue.