Published at Wednesday, May 30th 2018. by daniel amoien in Cruise Ship Cabins.
My wife and I were in a standard stateroom with a balcony (one of the Category B staterooms on the ship). Upon entering the stateroom we had two initial impressions. First of all the curved walls gave the room a very unique look (unlike typical cruise ship staterooms which are almost always rectangular with straight walls). The second thing we noticed is that the stateroom didn`t have a bathroom... well at least not in the traditional sense. You entered the stateroom through a door between a shower stall and a toilet stall (each with a heavily frosted enclosure). A curtain separated these areas from the main part of the stateroom which among other things included the bed a couch storage closets / cabinets and a sink. The advantage of having the sink outside of the toilet and shower area is that one occupant can use the sink while another is using the shower or toilet (a convenience that you don`t often find in traditional cruise ship staterooms). In addition the unique design of the stateroom provided much more storage space than is typically found in a conventional stateroom of similar dimensions. However despite that I found the stateroom to be very tight (particularly in the cabins that have the bed nearer to the entrance door than to the balcony door) and overall I must admit that I would have preferred a more conventionally designed stateroom configuration or one of the larger deluxe balcony (Category D) staterooms on the Epic).
On paper it seems to make good sense to man the ship with a Philippine crew. I love the Philippines. I have been there several times. English is still widely spoken and usually spoken quite well. The people are usually friendly and happy to see foreign tourists. A large percentage of ships worldwide are manned by crews from the Philippines. The Philippine government has a pretty good structure and system to facilitate the export of Philippine labor. In spite of how attractive it seems on paper I would recommend NOT hiring a crew from the Philippines. Philippine workers tend to be envious of others and especially of everybody else`s wages. They tend to think they are getting the raw end of the deal. It is rare to find a Filipino who is happy with his employment. While I am sure there are many good employees from the Philippines there are more who are dissatisfied than satisfied with their employment. There seems to be a cultural anomaly in the Philippines where people feel that employers are bad guys. I would hesitate to recommend a crew from the Philippines in spite of the apparent advantages on paper.
Many cruise ships today have standard cabins of similar size and accoutrements with the price differential being the location. The least expensive inside standard cabins on a mainstream cruise ship run from about 120 square feet to 180 square feet. Since most cruise ships are relatively new or have been refurbished the cabins usually are tastefully decorated with twin beds that can be pushed together to make a queen-sized bed for couples. The cruise staterooms have wall-to-wall carpeting individually controlled air conditioning/heating dresser or storage space closet telephone and satellite television. The television usually has news sports local on-ship channels for broadcasting information on shore excursions or from guest lecturers and movies.
I do know something about what I am writing about here. I am the former President of Adventure Spa Cruise. My advice is not just uninformed ranting. Back to the point now the second best manning nation for a ship is India. I highly recommend India for the medical staff and the entire hotel staff including the spa and every other position except the deck and engineering. The labor costs in India are very attractive. I would also recommend using an Indian based manning agency. It is best if the ship`s owners do not have to deal with every employee issue or concern. The manning agency takes the pressure off the ship`s management and their service is very reasonable. Indian employees tend to make better employees than do Filipinos. Indians also speak English albeit not quite as well as Filipinos. I know Americans tend to get all worked up when someone uses a broad brush to paint an entire ethnicity. I love the people from the Philippines but as employees they tend to be more problematic than do Indian employees. I realize that this statement is politically incorrect and these days that might get me thrown in jail. I usually do not worry so much about being politically correct. I call it the way I see I and I let the cards fall where they may and hope I can stay out of jail for speaking my mind.
The looming SOLAS 2010 implementation date offers both perils and opportunities. The biggest peril is the possibility that the expense to bring a ship into full compliance with international standards will be greater than the value of the ship. However there is a silver lining in this cloud. This pending SOLAS implementation date has already started to show up as a primary factor in the asking and selling prices of ships on the market today.
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