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Allure OTS Propulsion Issue - Real reason for change of itinerary?


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I’m curious what others think as I got to wondering today about the following:  We are on Allure now (14-21 July 2019). 

Originally we where supposed to go to St Thomas, USVIs, which I was really looking forward to visiting. We received an email a while ago about the change of port to Puerto Rico.  While on the ship, we were monitoring the protests and other RC ships that skipped PR.  We were a bit surprised to wake up this AM and find ourselves there docked at pier 3. We received a phone call around 0745 ship’s time stating that our Food Tour of Old San Juan was canceled - no further explanation given, but surely it must have had something to do with the ongoing unrest in PR.  Additionally, we talked to others on the ship today who got off and walked around the city this AM but we’re never told there was an issue until they were already out of the port, by one of the local shops.  That seems a bit negligent on RC’s part, but not the point of my question...

This leads me to wonder - why did RC make us go to PR in the 1st place?  I know very little about these big ships, but I can read a map and the difference between USVI and PR seems to be about 65 NMs. Seems like we have time to make the next port of call. We’ve been making 18-19 knts both SE & NW over the water and I think I read somewhere normal cruise for Allure is 20 knts. Even at 22 knts, the difference in time between the two islands and Nassau seems relatively small.  Additionally, why take us to port at all with the already on going protest which are projected to get bigger..?

I’m just curious if anyone else thinks we were routed to PR for other reasons yet told it was due to propulsion issues on the ship? I have no doubt there is an issue as I’ve read about the potential need for early dry-dock - but is that issue really the reason for an itinerary change that seems so small of a distance over such a period of time...

Maybe I’ve had one too many sea days and I’m all wet...  ?

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Today you departed San Juan at 2pm on the way to Nassau for a 10:15am arrival (guest walking off the ship at 11am).

The roughly 60nm extra for St Thomas may seem trivial but that is 3 to 4 hours for a ship especially for a ship that can't run at full speed.  

For a 10:15am arrival into Nassau you would need to leave St Thomas 3 to 4 hours earlier then you left San Juan, departing at 10am to 11am.  That would have created a port stop in St Thomas something like 7am to 11am.  That's not a very nice day in St Thomas.  

As an alternative you could have left St Thomas at 2pm and arrive into Nassau at something 2pm (with guest walking off the ship at 2:45pm) but you are leaving at 6:30pm so another short ugly day in port.

While 60nm may seem like nothing, it is for a ship.  Lobbing 3 to 4 hours off a port visit is a big deal.  

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2 hours ago, MikeY137 said:

I’m curious what others think as I got to wondering today about the following:  We are on Allure now (14-21 July 2019). 

Originally we where supposed to go to St Thomas, USVIs, which I was really looking forward to visiting. We received an email a while ago about the change of port to Puerto Rico.  While on the ship, we were monitoring the protests and other RC ships that skipped PR.  We were a bit surprised to wake up this AM and find ourselves there docked at pier 3. We received a phone call around 0745 ship’s time stating that our Food Tour of Old San Juan was canceled - no further explanation given, but surely it must have had something to do with the ongoing unrest in PR.  Additionally, we talked to others on the ship today who got off and walked around the city this AM but we’re never told there was an issue until they were already out of the port, by one of the local shops.  That seems a bit negligent on RC’s part, but not the point of my question...

This leads me to wonder - why did RC make us go to PR in the 1st place?  I know very little about these big ships, but I can read a map and the difference between USVI and PR seems to be about 65 NMs. Seems like we have time to make the next port of call. We’ve been making 18-19 knts both SE & NW over the water and I think I read somewhere normal cruise for Allure is 20 knts. Even at 22 knts, the difference in time between the two islands and Nassau seems relatively small.  Additionally, why take us to port at all with the already on going protest which are projected to get bigger..?

I’m just curious if anyone else thinks we were routed to PR for other reasons yet told it was due to propulsion issues on the ship? I have no doubt there is an issue as I’ve read about the potential need for early dry-dock - but is that issue really the reason for an itinerary change that seems so small of a distance over such a period of time...

Maybe I’ve had one too many sea days and I’m all wet...  ?

In addition to the detailed analysis by @twangster , there was a "boycott" of St Thomas which was recently announced for various reasons.  Not sure if your itinerary was caught up in that, and I'm not saying it was, but there's been some press...  All this means it made sense to go to San Juan. 

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7 hours ago, ChessE4 said:

In addition to the detailed analysis by @twangster , there was a "boycott" of St Thomas which was recently announced for various reasons.  Not sure if your itinerary was caught up in that, and I'm not saying it was, but there's been some press...  All this means it made sense to go to San Juan. 

I'm still trying to determine the validity of the St Thomas story.  Empress went to St Thomas today.  While it doesn't have the capacity of an Oasis class ship, it's still some traffic and revenue for the port.  In fact in the wake of the Cuba changes, St Thomas is picking up a number of ship visits from various cruise lines.  

It's possible the reporter that published that story was drawing conclusions to suit tbe narrative.   The story has since been taken down if I'm not mistaken.  

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5 hours ago, MikeY137 said:

That seems a bit negligent on RC’s part, but not the point of my question... 

To all those reading who may not already, I highly recommend all those who travel do their own research on their destination(s) to see if there are any current travel advisories.

The State Department is an excellent resource if you are going out of the country: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

In addition, enroll in the STEP:

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

  • Create an account at STEP.state.gov and provide the details of your specific trip, including dates of arrival and departure for the countries you choose.
  • We will email you new Travel Advisories and Alerts as soon as we issue them, so be sure to provide an email address that you can access during your trip.

Finally, if you are traveling within the US or one of it's territories you can always google: Travel Advisory NAMEOFPLACEYOUAREGOING and see what comes up as often other countries (Canada for example) might go more into detail on US locations as they are not part of their own country.

While I grasp the thought that RC maybe should have said something re demonstrations, I still see it as my responsibility to be aware of conditions or concerns wherever I am traveling to. But then, I have trust issues so I am not going to rely on a cruise company to have my back at the end of the day. No offense to RC but that's just how I roll.

For example, I am going to Bermuda in 281 days (who's counting!?!?) and I am already checking their page on the State Department weekly just to make sure I am on top of things there. They list out:

"Valuables left unattended in public areas, in unsecured hotel rooms, or on rental motorbikes are vulnerable to theft. Criminals have been known to target visitors on motorbikes and at popular tourist attractions, and purse snatchings (perpetrated by thieves riding motorbikes) and muggings have occurred in the past. The back streets of the City of Hamilton have been the setting for nighttime assaults, particularly at night after the bars close. Travelers should exercise caution when walking after dark or visiting out-of-the-way places on the island as they can be vulnerable to theft and assault, and because narrow and dark roadways can contribute to accidents.

Travelers should note the presence of gangs and illegal drug activity in Bermuda. There have been no reports of gang violence targeted towards visitors to Bermuda, although gang-related shooting incidents have occurred and continue to occur throughout the island."

Does this mean I have to panic and be scared? No.

But it probably means I will exercise responsible precautions based on the intelligence I am compiling as I prepare for my trip.

Educate yourself on beyond the drink packages and dining menus. Stay safe.

Or don't. Your call. But that's what I'll be doing.

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1 hour ago, JennyJenny said:

While I grasp the thought that RC maybe should have said something re demonstrations, I still see it as my responsibility to be aware of conditions or concerns wherever I am traveling to. 

 

@JennyJenny - I applaud your preparedness and appreciate your additional insight and education. I also agree that, in the end, we are all ultimately responsible for the safety of ourselves and our families.  However, in my travel experiences, as an example, airlines give you a heads up if you are heading into potentially dangerous territories, and being on a cruise for many days at sea, it’s very easy to lose touch with reality.  I believe everyone should heed your advice, and still, even the slightest heads up from RC would have been much appreciated.  I’ve seen plenty of drinking going on around this ship, and yet, the families I referenced in my original post seemed relatively well informed, in general, and didn’t seem to be overly indulgent in the booze onboard. ?

FWIW, and maybe I just missed it, there seem to be no advisories on DoS website related to PR and yet ‘More protests expected Thursday... Marches and "cacerolazos" -- protests with people banging pots and pans -- were expected across the island Thursday and over the weekend.’ as reported by CNN...  

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/18/us/puerto-rico-protests-thursday/index.html

I guess that just proves your point, that you have to find ways to stay informed and remain aware of your surroundings. 

Thanks!

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3 minutes ago, MikeY137 said:

FWIW, and maybe I just missed it, there seem to be no advisories on DoS website related to PR and yet ‘More protests expected Thursday... Marches and "cacerolazos" -- protests with people banging pots and pans -- were expected across the island Thursday and over the weekend.’ as reported by CNN...  

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/18/us/puerto-rico-protests-thursday/index.html

I guess that just proves your point, that you have to find ways to stay informed and remain aware of your surroundings. 

Thanks!

State probably won't have advisories as Puerto Rico is a US Territory, I believe.

And for the record, I agree. RC should have....

But as my grandmother would say, "Should have, would have, could have...."

Sadly, I have given up expecting anyone (person or entity) to do what they SHOULD do.

And, my post wasn't so much geared to you in particular, just to all those reading who don't travel often so might not be aware the resource exists.

Part of my job involves giving travel briefs, so it's just something I do as a matter of habit.

If an individual isn't used to doing that then it stands to reason they might be happy to IF they knew they could research it the same as they would research packing cubes or drink prices ?

If you or anyone happens to be in an area where a demonstration is brewing or appearing to gather, the advice I give my people is to duck into a store or other building and try to go out the back then make your way AWAY from the nexus of the gathering as quickly as possible without drawing too much attention to yourself by behaving in a way that suggests you are frightened or in a panic. And, of course, avoiding areas of demonstration altogether is even better but it's not always easy to anticipate those.

Even the State site isn't perfect and they can only report on trends or already publicized gatherings.

Maybe when I retire, I can live on a nice ship and do safety, security, and travel briefs for my retirement job ?

Side note: surprised they don't have those. They spend so much time doing a muster drill but don't prep you to be safe unless the ship is sinking or the deck is wet?

 

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18 hours ago, MikeY137 said:

My kids make fun of me because I actually give them general safety briefings as well as CT briefings depending on the area. Avoiding large gatherings, to include protests, is always on the check list.. haha!

That is just being a good parent! Good to know I don't have the only kid who knows the difference between cover and concealment! ?

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Puerto Rico’s Governor seems dug in at the moment, and protests are ramping up. I have a stop scheduled there in a few weeks aboard the Symphony, and was wondering if an alternative port is being looked at by RCCL, or we will just have 2 ports on a seven day cruise. Seems like there is time to make a contingency plan.

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30 minutes ago, flipflopper said:

Puerto Rico’s Governor seems dug in at the moment, and protests are ramping up. I have a stop scheduled there in a few weeks aboard the Symphony, and was wondering if an alternative port is being looked at by RCCL, or we will just have 2 ports on a seven day cruise. Seems like there is time to make a contingency plan.

Likely the sort of thing that keeps folks at Royal HQ up at night.  Royal isn’t alone.  Other cruise lines are mulling over the same issue.  With so many ships visiting a finite number of ports it’s a delicate game of musical ships. 

I’m confident they are aware of options but those change over time and there are contracts and other financial considerations.  Ships can only go so fast and so far.  

I’m also going in a month but am hopeful it’s resolved by then.  Only time will tell.  

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I am feeling like a curse.   I booked a cruise to Cuba for August.    It got canceled. Oh well.  I found a fabulous alternative ( grand suite on harmony for 500 more per person).   Great!!!   Ports include coco cay, San Juan and st marteen.   Now San Juan may be canceled.   I know I’ll have a great time-second Royal cruise and first oasis class But.... still feel like a jinx.  I’m seriously worried that no cruise line will ever let me book another cruise. ?

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14 hours ago, twangster said:

Likely the sort of thing that keeps folks at Royal HQ up at night.  Royal isn’t alone.  Other cruise lines are mulling over the same issue.  With so many ships visiting a finite number of ports it’s a delicate game of musical ships. 

I’m confident they are aware of options but those change over time and there are contracts and other financial considerations.  Ships can only go so fast and so far.  

I’m also going in a month but am hopeful it’s resolved by then.  Only time will tell.  

Yep.  We fly to San Juan on Saturday to get on the freedom on Sunday. I am still a bit nervous but honestly i think we won't have any issues.  But maybe everyone can keep their fingers crossed for me. ?

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