On Monday my Vessel Ops class and I had the wonderful experience of going on a tour of a cruise ship. I was very excited because I had never even been near a cruise ship before Monday. As soon as we chain locked all our belongings and tied off Indy alongside what seemed to us a very sketchy port we went to get checked in. At the front desk besides being bombarded with tons of security we were greeted by a lovely young lady named Tabea Nele Bouwman. Tabea is A college student back in Germany. She goes to a maritime college which I admire because I would like to attend a maritime college as well. Tabea is an apprentice and has only a year left of college which is just a year at sea. She just finished a month on this cruise and has 5 more months to go off her contract. Tabea’s schedule consists of an 8am-12pm shift with an hour break for lunch and then her shift continues 1pm-7pm. She is allowed to dine at most restaurants but isn’t allowed to use all the amenities that the ship has to offer like the swimming pool. I found to have some similarities with Tabea like we both share a love and passion for Tall ships. Tabea has worked with Fair Transport which is a company that takes experienced and inexperienced people out on sailing cargo ships and teaches them all about being responsible global citizens. Its an opportunity for people to learn more about the industry while also learning skills and disciplines that have grown too old to be used in today’s maritime industry. Tabea took part of this adventure for an astonishing 8 months. Tabea is planning on going back on Nordly which is an engineless cargo ship. She plans her return once she graduates college this upcoming year.
The Vessel Ops class had the amazing opportunity to board the Mein Schiff 6 cruise ship. We got a tour around the ship from the bridge apprentice, Tabia. She’s actually studying what all of us seniors are doing right now. She’s currently enrolled in a maritime college in Germany. A fun fact is that after two weeks of being on the massive ship, she knew her way around. When she took us to the bridge, I was speechless. The view was incredible and the navigation stations were fascinating. We met Captain Todd, we were well aware that he used to work on tall ships. He talked about his love for tall ships and he had recently been in a race in Florida on a German ship. He was an interesting person to learn about. When he was in graduate school he had accidentally checked that he spoke German fluently on a job application and he ended up on a German line. So he was forced to learn German. He remained on that line and his line is going great. I think that would’ve been a challenge for me, I admire his bravery. Every morning he has to make an announcement in German and it’s his biggest fear. Captain Todd taught me a lot in just an hour. In the Maritime Industry, it’s really all about building. You do what you have to do, so you can do what you want to do. You may start out one way but anything can happen and if you keep trying you can make it anywhere. You can really do anything you set your mind to. The biggest thing is to just not give up. You’ll get where you need to be it just takes time and dedication.
When our class met Captain Todd on his brand new cruise ship, he began to tell us of his extrodinary life. He told us about how he came to be the successful captain he is today with an unlimited ton masters liscense. When he began to explain his education to us, he told us that he didn’t go to a maritime college; he was a hospiper. He originally went to college to become an economics professor. Captain Todd would come to the South Street Seaport on the weekends to be the Captain aboard the Pioneer and slowly upgraded his liscense. He continued to sail for fun and eventually worked his way up an unlimited ton masters liscense. He had to recertify his liscenses when he began to work for the cruise line; Royal Carribean. Overall, his introduction to the Maritime Industry was extremely interesting to me because I’m considering going to a non-maritime college but I still wanna keep being involved in the Maritime community.
On September 25, the senior Vessel Operations class visited a German cruise ship named Mein Schiff 6. But before we were able to board we had to go through security. It was exactly like walking into an airport, there were security stations and cameras everywhere. Our every move was being watched, every station doubled back and checked what the station before did. For me, this was a nightmare! Earlier that day I was running late and had left my wallet at the house. That wallet contained my ID and money, so I essentially walked out the door as a nameless person. Getting through security without an ID alone was hell. Unfortunately, my luck didn’t end there. Whoever wrote the visitor list had forgotten to put my name. So I was an unidentifiable person who wasn’t invited. Eventually, after many radio calls we got through to the head security who cleared me but the whole situation was quite embarrassing. So Lesson Learned : Never Forget Your ID, because without it your nobody.
The Vessel Operations seniors had the honor of touring TUI’s cruise ship the Mein Schiff 6. Mein Schiff is a brand new cruise ship that had its first voyage in May. We received an extensive tour of the vessel which included the bridge and the massive engine room. Both the Captain and Chief Engineer had many years in the Maritime Industry under their belts. They each gave us a run down of their background and it made me further curious about the difference in responsibilities of a chief engineer and captain on a cruise ship. Both hold large, respected, titles and seem worth the while. The chief engineer takes most of the command in the engine room while the captain takes full command of the bridge. Captain Todd and the Chief Engineer both were passionate about their jobs and were eager to answer our questions. Captain Todd is one of few American cruise ship captains while the Chief Engineer was from Germany. Although their backgrounds were different, the worked together to run a massive cruise ship with over 2,000 passengers and over 1,000 other crew members. This by far has been one of my favorite experiences in Vessel Operations. It was a great eye opener for my classmates and myself. We all walked away with so many great new ideas for our future and even more great memories to add to our list.
Today my class went on the cruise ship Mein Schiff 6, this cruise ship is a newer ship that was released in May. 50% of this ship is owned by Royal Caribbean. The Assistant Officer, Tabia, was in a training program from her college in Germany. I felt like she related to me since I want to go into SUNY Maritime College and after that two years on cruise ships. I asked Tabia if she enjoyed the ship so far and the experience that she got and she said she did like it, also she said that she would love to stick with this type of work on the water. One thing that stuck out to me though is that she would like to go to some smaller vessels.
I felt that that was strange, I would want to be on the bigger ships for the bridge experience. It was great to meet someone in my shoes and to see their side, and how it turned out for them. I can’t wait till I get in that position. Overall I had an amazing time and truly figured out a plan going forward.
When I was aboard the cruise ship, Mein Scheiff 6 I had an experience like no other. One thing that really peeked my interest was the life a deckhand aboard such a large vessel lived. I am currently a deckhand aboard vessels under New York Water Taxi, naturally I was curious what the difference would be and exactly how much more responsibility they took on. As they guided us through just only a few things they do weekly, I was blown away. To hear that it takes 2 weeks to inspect fire extinguishers compared to my 15 minutes aboard the water taxi, blew my mind. We were also informed that they have to stay aboard the vessel for six months which is directed to them from their contract. From the point of view of someone like myself actually considering a job like this, at first I was scared but now I feel like I want to do whatever I possibly can to have a shot at becoming a deckhand on this or any cruise ship.
It was a normal school day when Captain Aaron shows up at our lunch and says we are going on a site visit to a cruise ship. Everybody was so excited. He told us to rush to the mast center right after our classes and that’s exactly what we did. Indy 7 was waiting for us at Pier 101; we dropped lines and went on our way.
At the cruise ship we were escorted by an apprentice named Tabby to the ship. We enjoyed a few conversation and then we made our way to the Main Bridge. We were all squished inside the elevator but we were still enjoying ourselves . We saw the Main Bridge and then the engine room.
As we left the engine room, I looked to the wall and I saw the station bill. The station bill basically took up a whole wall. It was ten times bigger than the station bills that we have on our school boats. Everybody down to the cook has a responsibility. Everyone plays an important role and that’s what helps keep the boat running and everybody safe in case of an emergency. Safety is always the most important thing as a boat is underway. That is exactly what the station bill provides. On a cruise ship the crew is responsible for hundreds of passengers live’s. Without the station bill nothing can run fully. The station bill being the size it is really matters. Every crew member counts no matter what you do.
Today was a new open door for me , we visited Mein Schiff 6 which is one many Royal Caribbean cruise ships. The ship was docked in Bayonne , NJ. With connections to the captain, the senior vessel operations class got to take a tour of behind the scenes parts of the ship. One of which included the water plant system that filters sea water through a membrane to separate pure water from salt and minerals. The water is passed through a mineralization plant, which adds needed minerals. This is important because the healthy minerals naturally found in drinking water have been taken away by desalination. At this stage, the water is also checked for impurities, sanitized, and the pH is corrected. The water is then sent to massive storage tanks on board the cruise ship and kept there until its role needs to be fulfilled.
cruise water plant The link to the left shows the system aboard the cruise ship.
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