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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2006, 11:15 AM
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With the Meditteranean Sea itineraries becoming more and more popular, with SSUS' speed, nothing would be better than a 12-14 day round-trip Meditteranean cruise from New York - hitting all of the ports that RCCL, Carnival, Princess, etc. During the "off season" she could then cruise from California to Hawaii round-trip. Great and popular destinations without having to be burdened with awkward and expensive trans-atlantic/pacific flights. What scenario could be better?
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 12-06-2006, 06:26 PM
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Love that idea, tncruiseman... I'd sign on for a couple of those cruises!!
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 12-06-2006, 09:43 PM
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I agree. It's approximately 2300 miles from San Francisco to Hilo.
The SSUS at 30 knots, its normal cruising speed, could travel that distance in 67 hours, slightly less than three days. If the SSUS left San Francisco Sunday night at 6 pm, it could be in Hilo by 1 pm Wednesday afternoon. Tack on NCL's common 7 day itineary to that, it could be in Honolulu as the last stop for those wishing to fly back Thursday morning a week later, for a total of 10 days. For those sailing back, it could be back in San Francisco Monday morning, for a grand total of 14 days.
You could market the same cruise either way.
Sail both ways, or just one way and fly the other. That's something you couldn't do with a cruise ship with an International Flag. They would have to visit a remote foreign port (Fanning Island being the closest) to not have to do a round trip cruise. Cruise ships that do one way Hawaiian cruises start or end their itineraries from Mexico or Canada, not from a US port. Possible money earning itineraries exist with a true American flag ship.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2006, 08:57 AM
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NCL needs to see that itinerary! Count me in coach! A Meditteranean itinerary could probably be just as successful too. I know many that are wanting to cruise Europe, but are hesitant because of the transatlantic flights since 9/11. Take out the logistical planning for a Med cruise and you've hit a home run!
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2006, 09:07 AM
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While we are solving the USSUS dilemna, lets add one final touch to the program - allow anyone sailing on the ship to be able to deduct the entire cost of the cruise automatically on their taxes, just like a donation to a foundation is now deductible. Most ships are flagged outside the US for tax reasons...lets give some reasons to offset that!
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2006, 03:24 PM
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Hi Ron,
Based on the actions made to the SS Norway and the SS Independence by NCL/Star Cruises, it is very doubtful that they will spend the kind of money that's needed to make the Big U sail again. In fact, the opportunity for that has passed when the ship's fittings and equipment was sold at auction in 1984.

Had Mr. Hadley simply given the Big U a new paint job and upgraded its safty requirements, I believe that the ship would be sailing today. Although, there would have been many changes to her, both inside and outside, like the SS Norway.

If NCL decides to put the Big U into service again, the ship's powertrain would be gutted down to make way for a new disel plant. The one element that has kept the ship with us today would be lost forever. The ship's Naval powerplant was the one thing that makes this ship so special. The Cold War relic. No; I no longer have faith the NCL will ever refit the Big U.

The only option I see for the ship is to make it into a museum/hotel in New York City.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2006, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by MV Augustus:
Hi Ron,
Based on the actions made to the SS Norway and the SS Independence by NCL/Star Cruises, it is very doubtful that they will spend the kind of money that's needed to make the Big U sail again. In fact, the opportunity for that has passed when the ship's fittings and equipment was sold at auction in 1984.

Had Mr. Hadley simply given the Big U a new paint job and upgraded its safty requirements, I believe that the ship would be sailing today. Although, there would have been many changes to her, both inside and outside, like the SS Norway.

If NCL decides to put the Big U into service again, the ship's powertrain would be gutted down to make way for a new disel plant. The one element that has kept the ship with us today would be lost forever. The ship's Naval powerplant was the one thing that makes this ship so special. The Cold War relic. No; I no longer have faith the NCL will ever refit the Big U.

The only option I see for the ship is to make it into a museum/hotel in New York City.
NYC doesn't have a shortage of hotel rooms, and it already has the USS Intrepid as a museum, I don't believe NYC needs or wants the SSUS. It barely finds the financial resources to care for the Intrepid, I don't see them finding extra finances to care for the SSUS too.

Someone suggested using the SSUS in New Orleans as a hotel/casino. At least casino's should create enough profits to pay for the ship's upkeep. However, I believe a river barge would be cheaper to maintain, creating more profits for the casino's investors. Then again, the SSUS name might attract more gamblers. But at least that's a viable possibility.

Yes, the existing steam propulsion on the SSUS is a fuel guzzler, which is why many suggest replacing it with diesel electric or gas turbines. But these conversions aren't cheap, and raising the costs significantly for refurbishment, possibly too high.

I still believe the existing steam propulsion could be retained, which reduces the refurbishment price significantly. If placed on itineraries that take advantage of both its speed and American flag, I believe it could ask and get higher fares, high enough to pay for its fuel consumption bills.

For example, the Dawn leaves NYC Sunday afternoon at 4 pm and arrives at Cape Canaveral Tuesday morning at 10 am. The distance is approximately 1,000 miles, the Dawn averages 24 mph or 21 knots for this trip, using 42 hours. The SSUS, with its existing steam propulsion, at its cruising speed of 30 knots or 34.5 mph, could reach Cape Canaveral at 9 pm Monday night, using 29 hours. It could travel the extra approximately 200 miles to Miami in 6 hours. So, instead of sailing to Port Canaveral it could reach Miami from New York, and arrive in Miami at 3 am Tuesday morning. Move to Port Canaveral in 6 hours overnight, spend Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and depart Cape Canaveral at midnight, and still get back to New York by Sunday morning at 5 am.
Whether it spends one day or two days in Miami, it still could spend two to three days at Cape Canaveral. The Florida cruises from New York are popular, especially those that stop near Orlando. No other cruise ship can get you that many days at Cape Canaveral from New York in just one week. Wouldn't an extra day or two in Cape Canaveral be worth more?
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 12-08-2006, 03:53 PM
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Ron, I beg to differ with your assessment that I am not being realistic. While I would love to see her sailing again, it will take a lot to get her there -- both work-wise and $-wise.

On to a couple of other issues. As one who travels to NYC often for both business and pleasure, I know firsthand that there certainly are plenty of times during which hotel rooms are scarce. But, I still think she has a more promising future as a museum of U.S. ocean liner history (whereas Intrepid is a warship -- big difference -- and yes, I've visited). I envision several rooms paying tribute to some of this country's great ocean liners, such as America, Constitution, and of course, SS United States. Perhaps even the growth of the modern cruise industry in the U.S., to draw in those who aren't the liner aficionados we are.

NYC is also in the process of creating a huge park and walkway along the Hudson River. I've seen this in various stages as I travel there a great deal, and it's coming along nicely. SS United States -- once the pride of our country -- would be a wonderful attraction, alongside a renovated USS Intrepid.

Again, I'd love to see her sail again, and I'd be onboard in an instant. It's just that I believe there are too many obstacles to make this happen and to sustain it long-term.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 12-16-2006, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by LisaP:
Ron, I beg to differ with your assessment that I am not being realistic. While I would love to see her sailing again, it will take a lot to get her there -- both work-wise and $-wise.

On to a couple of other issues. As one who travels to NYC often for both business and pleasure, I know firsthand that there certainly are plenty of times during which hotel rooms are scarce. But, I still think she has a more promising future as a museum of U.S. ocean liner history (whereas Intrepid is a warship -- big difference -- and yes, I've visited). I envision several rooms paying tribute to some of this country's great ocean liners, such as America, Constitution, and of course, SS United States. Perhaps even the growth of the modern cruise industry in the U.S., to draw in those who aren't the liner aficionados we are.

NYC is also in the process of creating a huge park and walkway along the Hudson River. I've seen this in various stages as I travel there a great deal, and it's coming along nicely. SS United States -- once the pride of our country -- would be a wonderful attraction, alongside a renovated USS Intrepid.

Again, I'd love to see her sail again, and I'd be onboard in an instant. It's just that I believe there are too many obstacles to make this happen and to sustain it long-term.
I agree, it will cost hundreds of million of dollars to refurbish the SSUS. NCL's new Pearl and Gem cost approximately $500 million to build, the new F3 class ships NCL has ordered will cost over $900 million to build. Tack another 50% on top of those costs to build a new ship at similar sizes in America. At some point, I believe someone is going to realize that even with a $400 million refurbishment costs, the SSUS could be profitable sailing on exclusive American port itineraries. That's its only chance. Otherwise, it too will be heading for a scrap yard.
Just about all major American ports already have a ship consuming valuable private and public financial resources as museums.

Boston MA> USS Massachuettes, Kennedy, and Salem.
Groton, CT > USS Nautilus
New York NY > USS Intrepid
Camden NJ > USS New Jersey
Philadelphia PA > USS Olympia
Norfolk VA > USS Monitor and USS Wisconsin
Wilimington NC > USS North Carolina
Charleston SC > USS Yorktown
Miami > ?
Mobil AL > USS Alabama
New Orleans > ?
Houston > USS Texas
Corpus Christi > USS Lexington
San Diego > USS Midway
Los Angeles > Queen Mary
Alameda CA > USS Hornet
Portland > ?
Seattle > ?
Honolulu > USS Missouri

Here's my point, there's only four cities with sufficient population located on our coasts large enough to support any long term restoration efforts that doesn't already have financial resources tied up on other ships.
Only New York City and Norfolk have historic ties with the SSUS. NYC already barely affords the upkeep on the USS Intrepid. Norfolk is attempting to raise funds to save the USS Wisconsin, and has the delicate duty to preserve what's left of the USS Monitor (civil war ship of significant history)). Of the four ports large enough without a ship to care for that could possibly make restoring the SSUS profitable are New Orleans, and that was before last year's hurricane and Miami. New Orleans furbishing the SSUS into a casino is possible, but I still think a casino operator could lower initial costs significantly simply by using a river barge as the base for the casino. That leaves Miami, which has at least a dozen cruise ships arriving and departing weekly. Does it really need a maritime museum celebrating ocean liners?

I still think the only way to preserve the SSUS is for someone to place it back into service as a cruise ship. It's easy to state NYC could afford another restoration effort, but the fact remains it is barely taking care of the USS Intrepid. By the way, they finally got it unstuck and to the shipyard this week, it's first dry dock in 25 years, and which will cost $60 million.
Ships are large holes in water people throw money into.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 12-17-2006, 09:24 AM
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Ron,
You must realize that when NCL supposely claimed to have owned the SS United States, they wanted to replace the entire engineroom with a new disel plant, which would wipe out the ship's history. So far, they haven't done anything to the Big U. They never will.

You comparing the Big U to a warship, which it's not. If the ship can be refurblished into a 5-Star Hotel and Museum in NYC, It'll do very well because the hotel portion of the ship would generate revenue, as well as a small maritime/hotel/cullunary training academy onboard.

As you might have seen, most of the steamships are going to the scrapyard, because its much cheaper to build a new ship at the moment than to maintain an old one, thanks in part to the easy access to new fiancing(loans). But I have a feeling that all the building of new ships that we've seen will slowly come to an end because it'll cause an over stuation in the market, and some of the cruise companies will have a lot of debt that they can't pay off on time. Because they will be too many ships going after the same type of passengers, their profit margins will decline or stagnate.
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