Who has been on a cruise


Kammy Tribus

Member
Aug 6, 2006
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86
Hi,

I didn't see this any place else so I thought I'd ask. I've read much discussion here about concerns over modern cruise ship safety and I have to agree that it is not what it could be. I agree with those who have said we are overdue for some sort of cruise disaster with multiple injuries, perhaps fatalities, and plenty of media headlines.

I would like to hear from those of you who have taken a cruise. I'd like to know if anyone recommends one line over another for safety issues as well as pleasantness of the experience.

Personally, I would love to take a cruise! I've never been on one and the idea of being pampered a bit is most appealing. I'd like to take my kids and I know they are dying to get on the "Mickey Mouse" boat. So who has recommendations based on either your own experiences and/or the research you have done on cruise line safety.

Thanks in advance and happy posting!
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Kammy
 

Kammy Tribus

Member
Aug 6, 2006
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0
86
Actually, I've not been on one of them, but I have heard nice things about the disney ships.

Thank you for that information Peter. I've heard good things about them too. I have a few friends that are such Disney fanatics they've been more than once - LOL!

One thing that did surprise me is in the fine print, there are a lot of regulations regarding kids with certain special needs being left for the kids' activities. My son has a form of Autism and can be difficult to handle sometimes. I do understand their concern about medical conditions and generally unruly kids but I expected more from Disney. Surely I'm not the only person in the world with a special needs kid that wants to go on a cruise! I would think Disney would have at least a few people on staff trained for special needs. They are so wonderful about it at their theme parks.

Not to complain though. Having lived with my kid for his entire life, I do understand their concerns.

Have a nice day.
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Kammy
 
Dec 3, 2005
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>>Not to complain though. Having lived with my kid for his entire life, I do understand their concerns.<<

Ya. Especially considering how litigious people are nowadays.

Off topic (and this is a big confession that I'm making because I trust people here so I'd prefer if this stays among my ET friends for now) years ago, I was diagnosed with a very mild form of autism. As an adult now, it's not even noticeable. I forget it exists usually. As far as I'm concerned, I'm as healthy as anyone. So tell your son to keep his chin up.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,641
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Easley South Carolina
>>because I trust people here so I'd prefer if this stays among my ET friends for now<<

Just a fair heads up...while posting in most of ET is restricted to registered members only, this is still a public access forum. In other words, even if non-members can't post, any Tom, Dick, Jane, and Harriet can still read what you put up here. Since you're basically stuck with anything you put up after an hour, I would admonish anyone to be very careful about posting sensitive personal information here.

[NOTE: Even if the post were to be deleted, a Google Search can generally dig it up out of an internet cache somewhere.]
 
Dec 3, 2005
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That's fine, Michael. I just meant that I'd rather it not become some sort of spiraling rumor. Honestly, most people who simply browse there forums could probably care less about who I am, and will probably forget the trivial details of what I wrote. But I appreciate your concern.
 

Bill West

Member
Dec 14, 2005
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111
Kammy, a very good board for current cruise passenger interests is www.CruiseCritic.com. Far and away the most complete guide and discussion site for all modern cruise passengers. Its popularity sometimes results in it overloading so just try again later if it stalls on you. It even has a “Whatever Happened To...???”￾ topic for us historians.

For safety I think there is little to be concerned with amongst the US marketed lines, the Coast Guard keeps a very close rein on them. For pleasantness of the experience I think matching the line and cruise to your interests is very important. This is where Cruise Critic can help you learn what the companies are offering. Then I would very much recommend the advice of a travel agent who specializes in your type of cruise, in this case family cruising.

Michael, good point about privacy. In my other hobby I keep searching for new info and keep coming up with my own posts repeated over to other forums!

Bill
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
17
298
>Surely I'm not the only person in the world with a special needs kid that wants to go on a cruise! I would think Disney would have at least a few people on staff trained for special needs. They are so wonderful about it at their theme parks.

You might want to check with them to see if arrangements can be made to accomodate your son. It is possible that services are available and not advertised in the general catalogue~ so have your travel agent phone the booking department and ask.

As Mr. West has already said, research the cruise lines before booking your cruise. Each has its own distinct personality and, as many have discovered, one person's heaven is another person's hell afloat. Cruise Critic is a must-read since, I have noticed, people are most likely to post reviews after A) the best vacation they've ever had, or B) the worst, and by reading the reviews you can quickly discern patterns of satisfaction or discontent.

On a similar note, research the prices and availability of family-friendly shore based excursions well in advance. THIS IS IMPORTANT (sorry for shouting) because, quite often, the tempting beach party shown in the brochure is on a beach 10, 20, 30 miles from the ship and can be reached only by cab or by booking a place on a bus chartered by the ship, in advance. If the bus, filled with passengers, gets caught in traffic while returning, you are 'covered.' If your cab gets held up in traffic, you are not. And, sometimes, the shore based excursions have little or no "kid appeal" based on the expected passenger demographic~ believe me, you'd MUCH rather be asking "Do you want to go to the beach party, or on the reef cruise?" than "shall we visit the glass factory, or watch the batik dyers?" if your travelling companions are under the age of 12. The excursions can be pricey, sometimes extremely so, so it is good to know the cost in advance to allow yourself to budget for them.

If you've never cruised before, try to book an outside cabin as low down in the ship and as close to the center of the vessel as you can- you'll feel the motion least there, reducing the chances of an attack of seasickness. Ships do not roll as they once did, but they still pitch, and the further aft or forward you are the more you feel it!

Ignore the paragraph in all the travel books and brochures advising you to "pack light." My advise is "overstock on the neccessities" since things like film, aspirin, batteries and deodorant tend to sell for extortionate prices in the ships' stores and, since the ships tend to dock in touristy areas, aren't always much cheaper on land in the easily accessible stores.

Since you have kids, I'd advise that you request that the refrigerator full of (expensive) extra price treats either be emptied or locked on day #1, lest someone young innocently consume the $15 tin of nuts and wash it down with a $2.50 can of Coke. It happens
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and since the staff checks and restocks it on a daily basis (and bill your account) it can happen more than once before mom and dad notice.
 

Jerry Nuovo

Member
Jan 22, 2010
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New Jersey,USA
Kammy, I and a lot of other people who post messages on this website have taken cruises.I could only speak for myself and I have never had any problems when I have taken a cruise aboard a ship and as a matter of fact I have enjoyed every cruise I been on.As to which cruise line to take a cruise on if you have an interest in the history of the great ocean liners and also enjoy the traditions of the great ocean liners such as dressing up on formal nights which means that the women must wear an formal evening gown and that the men must wear either a tuxedo or a dark suit,then the only cruise line that has both the history of the great ocean liners and formal nights is Cunard.Cunard's 2 ships which are real ocean liners are the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2.The Queen Mary 2 or QM2 just came into service a few years ago in January,2004 and the Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2 has been in service since May,1969 and also has been renovated and refitted many times since 1969 such as in 1986-87 when the steam plant on the QE2 was ripped out and replaced with a diesel-electric plant.Aboard the QE2 is a very large model of an earlier Cunard Ship with 4 funnels named Mauretania which was in service from 1907 until the early 1930s and also aboard the QE2 are paintings of many Cunard Ships.The QM2 has a model of the first Queen Mary and also has many paintings of many Cunard Ships.The thing about Cunard is that Cunard is kind of pricey which means it can be expensive in the price of the cruise fare.For instance the cheapest fare for a 6 day transatlantic crossing aboard the QM2 is in the range of $1,300.00 to $1,600.00. The QE2 still does about a few transatlantic crossings a year and the transatlantic crossings aboard the QE2 may be cheaper than the QM2.I am booked to be aboard the QE2 next January for the first segment of the QE2's World Cruise from New York South on the Atlantic Ocean through the Panama Canal and then sailing North on the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco where I'll then leave the QE2.This N.Y. to S.F. segment aboard the QE2 is 16 days and is costing me a little less than $3,500 and also next January the QM2 will be doing her first World Cruise,And both the QM2 and QE2 will meet each other in Fort Lauderdale,Florida and then later in Sydney,Australia.If you are interested in Cunard here is their website www.cunard.com
 
J

João Carlos Pereira Martins

Guest
I'm with you, Jerry! Cunard ships may be the last great ocean liners afloat in the World. The cruise ships making small crossings in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean Sea are only floating hotels or skyscrapers at sea, don't have the classic spirit of the early century's ocean liners.

Regarding the subject, I was only in a boat/ship on four occasions. The first one was crossing the Tejo river in a 10-minute voyage. I was five I have few memories of it. The second time was a two-day trip heading up the Douro river and the returning voyage. The vessel wasn't big but had all the facilities, like bars, lounges, cabins and two wonderful restaurants with large sized windows from which the passengers could aprecciate the view of the hills getting greener and greener, and a full length promenade with chairs and a café on the top. The only small problem resided in the cabins. They were located in the lowest deck and we could hear the irritating noise of the engines all during the night. But it was a fine trip.

The third opportunity I got to be at sea was three years ago, when me and a group of friends visited little islands around Peniche, and had to make an insignificant one-hour journey. The fourth was the most fantastic experience that I've ever had at sea. I flew to Madeira Island and had a a four-day voyage to Porto Santo Island in a minor italian cruise ship docked in Funchal. The cabins were great, equipped with TV, DVD reader, private bathrooms, mini-bars, small balconies and single enormous beds. It was during the summer, it was hot and although there weren't really commercial centres like the in the big ones, we had small nice shops and just one promenade and restaurant, and a single pool, but it was amazing! Truly, the voyage between Madeira and Porto Santo doesn't take four days but the ship goes very slowly to give the passengers an opportunity to have fun.

Last night I was at a friend's house with swimming pool. His five-year-old cousin was rowing a rubber colourful boat for children. We tried to get in but it sank at once and reached the 2 meters bottom. Later we recovered it, but this doesn't count as a cruise, does it? LOL!

Regards, João
 

Kammy Tribus

Member
Aug 6, 2006
39
0
86
That's fine, Michael. I just meant that I'd rather it not become some sort of spiraling rumor. Honestly, most people who simply browse there forums could probably care less about who I am, and will probably forget the trivial details of what I wrote. But I appreciate your concern.

Michael,

Though I am generally careful about what I post, I do sometimes forget that my cyberfriends could be just about anyone. I do wonder, can an outsider look at the forum where we introduce ourselves? That's a little unnerving!

Cheers!

Kammy
 

Kammy Tribus

Member
Aug 6, 2006
39
0
86
Kammy, a very good board for current cruise passenger interests is www.CruiseCritic.com. Far and away the most complete guide and discussion site for all modern cruise passengers. Its popularity sometimes results in it overloading so just try again later if it stalls on you. It even has a Whatever Happened To...??? topic for us historians.

For safety I think there is little to be concerned with amongst the US marketed lines, the Coast Guard keeps a very close rein on them. For pleasantness of the experience I think matching the line and cruise to your interests is very important. This is where Cruise Critic can help you learn what the companies are offering. Then I would very much recommend the advice of a travel agent who specializes in your type of cruise, in this case family cruising.

Michael, good point about privacy. In my other hobby I keep searching for new info and keep coming up with my own posts repeated over to other forums!

Bill

Hi Bill,

Thank you or the information on the cruising forum. I will make sure I check them out. It's going to be a while before we get to take a cruise as money is extremely tight right now! Of course, we might just luck out an win one!

I have to disagree with you on safety issues. Our CG really has their hands full with so many other enforcement issues and Congress is forever trying to cut their budget. They may be paying closer attention due to homeland security issues but there are safety issues which are honestly out of their hands.

Do not forget that the majority of cruise lines operating out of US ports are flying flags of convenience. Yes, the machinery issues may be of some importance under US law but not necessarily staffing issues. The vas majority of non-officers are from other countries where certificate issues are far more lax than our own. There is a HUGE language barrier issue amongst the crew, even the officers.

This is why we have seen a spate of cruise ship incidents lately. Especially the fires. I am sure the captains on these ships have the best intentions of conducting proper drills but the company time schedules, which are of the utmost importance to bottom line, may well prevent the type of training you would see on a US flagged vessel.

In addition, there are no real means for background checks on these foreign workers. Hence the reports of rapes, robberies, and who knows what other crimes that go unreported. Having been employed on non-cruise working vessels, I am extremely aware of these issues and pay close attention to news items that relate to them.

This would not prevent me from taking a pleasure cruise. I would just be aware of many things that the average passenger might not take into consideration.

Respectfully Yours,

Kammy

P.S. My hobby is probably different from yours but I do Google myself all the time. It's a hoot!
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Kammy Tribus

Member
Aug 6, 2006
39
0
86
Kammy, I and a lot of other people who post messages on this website have taken cruises.I could only speak for myself and I have never had any problems when I have taken a cruise aboard a ship and as a matter of fact I have enjoyed every cruise I been on.As to which cruise line to take a cruise on if you have an interest in the history of the great ocean liners and also enjoy the traditions of the great ocean liners such as dressing up on formal nights which means that the women must wear an formal evening gown and that the men must wear either a tuxedo or a dark suit,then the only cruise line that has both the history of the great ocean liners and formal nights is Cunard.Cunard's 2 ships which are real ocean liners are the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2.The Queen Mary 2 or QM2 just came into service a few years ago in January,2004 and the Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2 has been in service since May,1969 and also has been renovated and refitted many times since 1969 such as in 1986-87 when the steam plant on the QE2 was ripped out and replaced with a diesel-electric plant.Aboard the QE2 is a very large model of an earlier Cunard Ship with 4 funnels named Mauretania which was in service from 1907 until the early 1930s and also aboard the QE2 are paintings of many Cunard Ships.The QM2 has a model of the first Queen Mary and also has many paintings of many Cunard Ships.The thing about Cunard is that Cunard is kind of pricey which means it can be expensive in the price of the cruise fare.For instance the cheapest fare for a 6 day transatlantic crossing aboard the QM2 is in the range of $1,300.00 to $1,600.00. The QE2 still does about a few transatlantic crossings a year and the transatlantic crossings aboard the QE2 may be cheaper than the QM2.I am booked to be aboard the QE2 next January for the first segment of the QE2's World Cruise from New York South on the Atlantic Ocean through the Panama Canal and then sailing North on the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco where I'll then leave the QE2.This N.Y. to S.F. segment aboard the QE2 is 16 days and is costing me a little less than $3,500 and also next January the QM2 will be doing her first World Cruise,And both the QM2 and QE2 will meet each other in Fort Lauderdale,Florida and then later in Sydney,Australia.If you are interested in Cunard here is their website www.cunard.com

Thank you Jerry. I remember meeting a gentleman in St. George, Bermuda. He was traveling on a business trip and for kicks, he rode over on the QE2. I can't remember but I think he flew home after his business - he was from the US. It was a bit of a wait for the QE2 to come back!

Anyway, he said it was a bit more expensive but great fun. I am pretty sure he was very well off so he could afford the one way ticket on the QE2 and then the airlines home. I would love to do that sometime! I can't really afford an entire trip on the QE2 but I could probably manage the fare for a short passage from the US, then stay with friends, and take the boat back in a few weeks.

I don't know if they still do the Bermuda run but it sounds like great fun!

Definitely, given the means and the choice, I'd love to go Cunard! IMO, they are probably the safest and best run of the cruise ships, along with the benefit of fine living and historic interest. Thanks again for the suggestion. I have a penny jar for the kids' tuition but, oh heck! They can get financial aid!
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Cheers!

Kammy
 
K

Kyle Johnstone

Guest
The US Coast Guard has extemely stringent minimum safety requirement for any passenger vessel using US ports, regardless of what flag they are flying.
The Coast Guard has a presence aboard every cruise ship every time it is in a US port.
I have full confidence in the crew of any ship I am aboard.
I doesn't matter what their native tongue is, each one of them is drilled on safety matters, and they know that their own safety depends upon such training, let alone other crew or passengers.

Passengers need to play their own part in their safety. The most basic thing is to attend the muster drill, and know how to get from any place on the ship to their muster station. Some people look at this as waste of time, or being beneath them. Only an idiot throws cigarettes over the side, or climbs up on the rails, but they do, even after being cautioned against it. Some are too stupid, too arrogant, and often too drunk and or high to pay attention to their own safety. This is when they make the headlines.

As for crime aboard cruise ships, the industry-wide crime rate is far below that of just about any city or town in the US. Statistically, one is more likely to be a victim of a crime in one's own neighborhood than on a cruise ship.

I would worry about my fellow passengers before I would worry about the ship's crew.

Just my $.02 worth.
 
K

Kyle Johnstone

Guest
Postscript:

Regarding any perceived superiority of US flagged passenger ships vs. foreign flagged.

Currently there are three US flagged cruise ships, doing inter-island Hawaiian cruises.

These are amongst the worst reviewed cruise ships to come along in a long, long time.
They have become notorious for inferior passenger service, inferior training of hotel-services crew, and a huge crew turn-over.

Some travel agents no longer do bookings on these ships.

This is simply based on reading passenger and travel professional reviews.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,641
457
453
Easley South Carolina
>>The most basic thing is to attend the muster drill, and know how to get from any place on the ship to their muster station.<<

VERY wise counsel, that.

>>Some people look at this as waste of time, or being beneath them.<<

They would be wise to get over it. There isn't a ship I've served on I couldn't get out of if I had to and that's because I took the time and trouble to get to know as much of her as I could. In all likelihood, you'll never need to use that knowladge, but if things do go to hell, it'll be a lifesaver.
 

Kammy Tribus

Member
Aug 6, 2006
39
0
86
Hi Kyle,

I haven't had time to post these last few days. I want to clarify that I do not consider people of non-US nationality to be inferior seamen as any general rule. I hope you didn't think this and that I have not offended you.

In the shipping world in general, FOC vessels still have a poorer safety record than those flying the US flag. Of course there are many other nations with a long and honorable seafaring tradition. Norway and Britain come to mind and there are certainly others with a reputation for quality. Then there are other countries, Greece and Liberia being two examples, that tend to have a certain reputation for lax standards and as such, they generally warrant a little extra effort on the part of the CG.

Unfortunately, in the ocean going business, the dollar rules and companies will squeeze anything they can to increase profit in an industry where the profit margin can be relatively small. This, of course, holds true for just about any business you can think of. Some more than others, of course.

While many vessel owners do play by the rules, there are and will always be those who try to cheat. Rules are perhaps better enforced among passenger vessels but this does not by any means prove that corners are never cut.

As for the CG, yes, the do inspect the ships that enter US waters, citing violations where found. They do not, unfortunately, travel on those vessels as a regular part of their duties. This is in part because once a vessel is out of US waters, the CG has no jurisdiction. I whish they could do this as I think it would go a long way toward instilling some conscience in those who wish to cut corners. Alas, the CG budget is always threatened with being cut while their responsibilities grow. Were I a member of the CG, I would LOVE to have taking constant cruises as my duty assignment! Given the other options, who wouldn't? Sort of like being in the Navy and being assigned for a tour of duty on the USS Constitution.

I am not surprised that the US flagged vessels left in the trade do not get high marks in customer satisfaction. By flying the US flag, they are bound by a whole host of regulations that an FOC vessel does not have to abide by. This should insure the highest quality in safety and ship ops but also makes the ships more costly to run. Something has to be cut somewhere to turn a profit and it is not at all surprising that passenger comfort and luxury are where the cuts are made.

I do agree with you and with the other members here that anyone going on a cruise should take the time to learn the different routes to the deck when they come on board; that they should acquaint themselves with all of the relevant safety equipment; know where to muster and to which lifeboat they are assigned; and that they should participate in drills. Those who consider themselves to be above this must also be deluded into thinking they are above dying.

I continue my concern over crime on ships simply because we have no way to run the type of criminal background check on many of the nationalities serving on board cruise ships that we do on the US citizens doing so. Our own background investigations are by no means foolproof but at least they are run. It is a given that as a woman, I am highly conscious of my potential to become a victim of crime and so I do think about these things. I blame no nationality in particular as being more likely to commit a crime, just for the record. I have also been witness to, as well as subjected to, some rather bizarre, shocking, and shady behavior while working offshore. From both US and non US personnel. There was no great harm done to me and in the end, it makes for some great stories.

I am sure the passengers are responsible for acts of crime on these vessels as well, in many forms. I can not say which group would concern me more, cruise employees or passengers, as I am generally wary of anyone I don't know very well! I grew up in a city and that's just part of the experience.

I also agree that many of the high profile incidents which have been publicized lately most likely involve a great deal of alcohol and foolish behavior. You can talk safety until you are blue in the face but there will always be at least one idiot who may end up paying for doing something incredibly stupid. Climbing up on a rail is high on the list.

While I respect and understand your opinion, I still maintain that safety on FOC vessels is and should be of concern. As I stated in my earlier post, I would definitely not let this prevent me from taking and enjoying a cruise. Several of them if my financial fortune ever goes that way! Based on my own seagoing experience, I would simply pay close attention to the details that any intelligent traveler should notice. I might notice a bit more having worked offshore but that in no way makes me superior to any of my fellow passengers. A bit more paranoid perhaps but not a better person.
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Respectfully Yours,

Kammy
 

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