Tag-Archive for » Ocean Princess «

What It's Like To Captain A Cruise Ship

Capt. Ravera-9

All cruise ship captains have stories to tell about life as a captain. Some tell, some don’t.

Captain Stefano Ravera of the Star Princess has a few he’s willing to share…

About what happened in Papeete, in the South Pacific:

“We were supposed to receive the food for the first leg of the world cruise. The ship bringing the container over from New Zealand was two days late because of bad weather. We started our cruise but we did not have enough food so when the container arrived, we were already at the second island. We rented a small boat capable of transporting a truck with the containers; we took it to the next island, Moorea.  We were using tenders for the passengers so I dedicate one tender for provisions. I said: ‘Since we all eat, I need people from all departments. We took ten people from every department, and we loaded 20 tons of food. It took just a good afternoon.”

About a funny response in Dakar (Senegal):

“They wanted us to send ashore only the people on tours. When I asked why, they said: ‘Oh, we don’t know if they will want to go back on the ship.’ I said: ‘I’m very sure that they won’t stay.’ We had quite a long discussion with the authorities. They thought passengers Capt. Ravera-4wanted to stow away in the car. I said I don’t really think that they will.”

About what it takes to be a captain:

“Lots of people think my only challenge is the nautical side, which is not really true — this challenge is everywhere and anywhere. It can go from nautical to receive the food supply, like that time in Papeete.”

About all the ships in his resume:

“This is number 12. Yes, you do get attached. My first command was the Dawn Princess. Then to the Ocean Princess, which was the Tahitian — she will be sold in 2016 — because I was four years with her. I was very sad.”

About the Gulf War of 1991:

“I was working on a military ship as a liaison offer for Italian merchant navy, to organize and assess preparation for navigation in the gulf for our expedition there, because I had experience in the Gulf previously with the merchant marine. One time I was on a cargo ship that was hijacked, but we were released after a relatively short time. Militarily, let’s just say we were involved to a certain degree…”

About why cruise ships generally enjoy smooth sailing:

“Various reasons, such as the distribution of weight…the provisions…number of passengers and crew. The center of gravity is always monitored…and we must comply with an extra safety margin taking into account rough weather. The ship will be comfortable, and aways safe. The vessel may move but we will have gentle movements, especially for first-time cruisers. Stabilizers tilt at positive and negative angles to achieve the dampening effect to smooth down the rolling of the vessel. The pitching of the vessel — back and forth, front to back — cannot be dampened by any instrument or equipment, only by changing the course of the ship.”

About his scariest day in the Italian Navy:

“Thank God I didn’t die. We were sent out to rescue people. It was August 2, 1982. We capsized — and I woke up in the hospital.”

Today at portsandbows.com: First looks at new river cruiser AmaDara

Carnival Fascination
5 nights
October 5, 2015
Jacksonville (return): Nassau, Freeport
Inside: $279
Cost per day: $55

The City Many Canadians Hate To Love


Vancouver has this reputation among many Canadians. They’re envious or jealous or just plain angry about their western countrymen. It starts with the weather the far-westerners enjoy when the rest of the country is in a deep freeze.

And now this.

There will be cruise ships in Vancouver in December.

This will be the latest sighting of a cruise ship in Vancouver waters that never turn to ice. It will happen eight months from now, when the Ruby Princess sails under the Lions Gate Vancouver-portBridge and docks at Canada Place on the third day of the month, completing a 3-day non-port cruise from Los Angeles.

The ship will sail out of Vancouver 12 days later and, since there are no Ruby Princess cruises in between those dates, that can only means it’s going to be refurbished in British Columbia. And that may be why this December sighting may be a rare one.

That will culminate Vancouver’s longest, if not best, cruise season. It began last month with the Grand Princess, currently on its second of two return cruises to Hawaii. That’s a new itinerary for passengers who board ships in Vancouver, known mostly as a port stop or starting point for Alaska cruises.

Since its introduction of shore power for ships in 2009, Canada Place has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 11,000 tonnes.

This is not just an attractive city (sorry, Eastern Canadians) but also an attractive and efficient port. At the Seatrade Cruise Global Convention a few weeks ago, Vancouver won more awards than any port — Best Turnaround Destination, Most Efficient Port Facilities and Most Efficient Terminal Operation.

It’s expected that 800,000 cruise passengers will experience that this year in Vancouver. If first-timers, they’re likely to be impressed.

It usually starts with the weather.

Today at portsandbows.com: More room service "tests"

Ocean Princess
30 nights
May 5, 2015
Cape Town, Luderitz, Walvis Bay, Luanda, Sao Tome, Mindelo, Tenerife, Funchal, Casablanca, Ceuta, Malaga, Lisbon, Rouen, London
Inside: $1,799
Cost per day: $59

The ‘R Ships’ All Alive And Popular

When we ventured into the waters of the cruise world, the infamous “R Ships” were already history. Consequently, we have neither much knowledge nor appreciation for what they were, but every once in a while we hear about one of the R Ships, and what great ships they were when Renaissance Cruises was in business.

Or…what great ships they are.

The R Ships are still around, under pseudonyms. When Oceania set a one-day record for selling cruises this month, it was for one of the former R Ships, soon to be re-named (again) as the Oceania Sirena. Clearly, its history with seasoned cruisers had something to do with how anxious they were to sail on her again.

At the moment, the Sirena is still the Ocean Princess, which she will remain until Oceanundergoing a $40-million refurbishment one year from this month. Before she was the Ocean Princess, she was simply “R Four.”

There were eight R Ships, starting with R One in 1998. In case you’re wondering what became of them all, or even if you aren’t, here’s the list.

R One — After Renaissance went bankrupt, she became Oceania’s Insignia, then Hapag-Lloyd’s Columbus 2 and last year returned to Oceania as the Insignia again.

R Two — Chartered to Oceania, she was the Insignia before the Insignia was, and later Regattabecame what she is today, the Oceania Regatta (above).

R Three — Since 2002, she’s been the Pacific Princess.

R Four — See above.

R Five — Despatched to Pullmantur Cruises to become the Blue Dream and now with her Oceania brethren as the Nautica.

R Six — Another Pullmantur acquisition, the Blue Star, then the Blue Dream and R Five abdicated the name and went to Oceania and now, since 2007, the Azamara Journey.

R Seven — Chartered to a line called Delphin Seereisen and named the Delphin QuestRenaissance, then to Pullmantur as the Blue Moon and now, since 2007, the Azamara Quest (above).

R Eight — First became the Minerva II for Swan Hellenic Cruises, then sold to Princess to become the Royal Princess and now with P&O Cruises as the Adonia.

The fact that these eight ships — all of them exactly 30,277 tons in size, all of them carrying about 684 passengers — are still popular today is a testament to their design.

In fact, maybe they’ve improved with age. They certainly did when it came to their names.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Costa Fascinosa
7 nights
May 10, 2015
Savona (return): Rome, Palermo, Valletta, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57

The Hotel That's A Cruise Ship


One of our daughters-in-law, who knows something about the hotel business, tipped us off about a rather unique place to stay. Lots of cruise ships are called hotels…this is a hotel that’s a cruise ship and, yes, there is a difference.

It’s in South Korea. Our daughter-in-law (Kim) found the “Sun Cruise Resort & Yacht” while surfing…the web, that is. She found a site named SlipTalk on which there are posted some fabulous, amazing pictures of this resort. It’s worth checking out.

Back to the hotel-ship.

It’s in a city called Gangneung (or Jeongdongjin), on the coast of South Korea, due east of Seoul. Make that, above a city, because this cruise ship sits on the top of a cliff where you can reputedly have “the best view of the sunrise/sunset in Korea.” The hotel is surely the best-kept secret in the cruise community — maybe because it’s outside competition.

It’s been around for 12 years. Accommodation in its 211 rooms is “luxurious.” It has both condominiums and hotel-style rooms. The “ship” is 165 meters long and 45 meters high, and weighs 30,000 tons. For comparison, it would be slightly smaller than a ship like the Ocean Princess.

And here’s the best part: If our research is accurate, the price of accommodation starts at 80,000 wan, which sounds like a lot until you convert it and discover that’s about $75.

The next-best part: You can’t get seasick.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons: parhessiastest

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Caribbean Princess
5 nights
December 13, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Cozumel, Costa Maya
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $59

New Ship: Norwegian Getaway

The first new ship of the New Year is almost ready to sail. A week from now, the Norwegian Getaway sails a 1-day mini-inaugural cruise to Southampton followed by a 2-day cruise in British waters, before heading across the ocean on its "real" inaugural to make its permanent home in North America.

Launch date: January 15

Capacity: 4,028

Sister ships: Breakaway

Maiden Voyage: Southampton

Home Port: Miami

Ships now in Norwegian fleet: 13

Interesting: This is the second ship in the Breakaway Class and, like the one-year-old flagship Breakaway, it will  feature Geoffrey Zakarian restaurants and an indoor/outdoor dining hub and atrium called The Waterfront (as it is on Breakaway) and 678 Ocean Place (decks 6, 7 and 8). Unlike its stablemate, the Getaway's entertainment focus is the Grammy Experience, with performances by ex-Grammy winners, plus a venue devoted to magic and illusion, called the Illusionarium. The ship will spend Super Bowl weekend in New York as a floating hotel before heading south to Miami.

Ocean Princess
11 nights
January 29, 2014
HonoluluNawiliwiliLahainaHiloBora BoraMooreaPapeete
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $72

  • Categories

  • Archives