Published at Monday, June 04th 2018. by daniel amoien in Cruise Ship Cabins.
One of the hallmarks of NCL`s acclaimed Freestyle Cruising is the choice of dining options and not surprisingly the Epic takes this feature to a new level. In addition to the two main dining areas the Epic offers 17 other dining venues each with its own cuisine and ambiance. This includes the spacious main buffet area (the Garden Cafe) in which the food was consistently fresh and of high-quality (albeit with somewhat less variety than we`ve experienced on some other ships). It also includes the poolside grill (Spice H2O) O`Sheehan`s (a huge sprawling pub that became the meeting place and social nucleus for many of the ship`s guests) and several specialty restaurants such as La Cucina Italian restaurant (which was even more attractively decorated on the Epic than on other NCL ships) Tepanyaki Japanese grill (much larger than on other NCL ships) and Le Bistro French restaurant just to name a few. Each of the specialty restaurants has a cover charge (which ranges from $10 to $35 per person) but in my opinion they are all well worth the money.
There are actually some savings resulting from living aboard a ship. The ship`s executive chef buys food and kitchen supplies in bulk for the ship and can get better prices than the average shopper. Other savings result from the large freezers and the mobility of the ship giving the food service management the ability to stock up on supplies in countries where prices are low. Some crew and owners may choose to fish for leisure. This can supply some fresh food at even lower costs to the owners. Labor savings are realized when the crew is hired based upon the best global labor rates. The laws of supply and demand drive prices down in some places in the world. Proper ship management can capitalize on these disparities. All the savings would be passed on to the cabin owners resulting in an economical cost of living similar to what you could expect to spend with a conventional home. Ship management should have accounting transparency will all books (financial records) open and available for any owner to inspect. Also ship management should submit all financial records quarterly to an outside auditor for the peace of mind of the owners. Anybody in the chain who spends any of the ship`s operational funds should also be periodically audited. For example a good way to audit the executive chef would be for one or more of the live-aboard co-owners of the ship to go to the food market district of each port of call and they should try to haggle and get a better price for the same food than the price the executive chef was able to acquire. If the executive chef cannot find better deals than the ship`s co-owners then the executive chef should be given his walking papers. The executive chef position is a vital position on a cruise ship. This is a position of trust because he will bill the food he buys to the ship. He must never be tempted to accept bribes from vendors or suppliers. Therefore he should know that he will be routinely audited and any substandard performance will result in termination of his employment.
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.
Operating a cruise ship is expensive. The expenses include the cost of fuel labor maintenance repairs spares food port charges insurance technical management shore management registration and the other costs of operating the ship. At first glance these costs may seem expensive but in reality the cost of living at sea is actually a bargain considering what you get based upon what you pay. The best value does not always translate to the cheapest price. If the ship is well managed the management will seek the highest quality goods services and labor at the very best global value. If the owners are dissatisfied with either technical or shore management they replace them.
The first obvious benefit of shared ownership is acquisition cost. There are many cruise ships on the market in all price ranges sizes ages and conditions. There are many smaller and older cruise ships available for less than one million dollars. At the lower end some smaller cruise ships in fair condition can be acquired for about $250000. At the highest end the biggest new mega cruise ships now cost about $500 million to build.
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