Good morning, Followers –
I am up early so that I can answer some of the questions that have piled up on my desk. As I have previously mentioned, I am not the only one that enjoys your emails. Cadets and crew members who stop by my office for a meeting often ask if anything new has arrived from our Follow The Voyage – Share The Experience participants. Seeing your letters, drawings, and work samples remind them of their favorite siblings, children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews back home.
One class asked if there was a way to make announcements on the TS Kennedy. We do have a public address system similar to the one that you have at your school. Because our PA system is a critical method of communication, it is important that it is not overused. We want everyone on board to stop and listen carefully when an announcement is made. Before making an announcement, the Deck Watch Officer must say, “Now hear this…” That gets everyone’s attention. Usually, announcements are restricted to 1100, 1600, and 1900. The Chief Engineer, the Chief Mate, or COMCAD may make an “on demand” announcement if they feel that it is necessary.
A middle school student asked if the TS Kennedy has GPS. Yes, for safety reasons, ships are required to have navigational systems and equipment. When I began my career with Marine Transport Lines and cruised through the Singapore Straights, the ship did not have a GPS.
One young follower who sent a letter before the Sea Term began, asked if “girls” could have long hair. Many of our female cadets have long hair, but they are required to wear it up while they are in uniform.
Another young follower from the same class asked if we eat a lot of seafood on the TS Kennedy. Chartwells provides us with a wide variety of delicious food that does include fish.
A high school student who has traveled outside of the United States asked how the cadets and crew will be cleared by the United States Customs when we reach Florida. Friday morning in Miami will be the second time that the cadets and crew will meet with U.S customs officials during Sea Term 2019. Each time that a vessel or plane reenters the United States after being in a foreign country, passenger documents must be checked. Because the TS Kennedy left the United States and docked in Barbados, we needed to meet with U.S. Customs officials in San Juan because we were reentering the United States. The TS Kennedy then left the United States again when she visited Tortola, so everyone on the ship will need to complete a two-sided customs form this week. Here is a sample of the front of the form.
Friday morning, we anticipate that cadets and crew will be called to the Computer Lab to have their completed forms collected and their passports stamped by U.S. Customs officials. Some crew members refer to this as a “passport parade” because the line of people snakes around the Main Deck much like a holiday parade. While this process may seem like an inconvenience, it is critical to the safety and security of our country. For many cadets, this is their first experience traveling outside of and returning to the United States. The U.S. Customs process will become very familiar as these men and women transit the globe throughout their career.
A follower who lives near the Massachusetts Maritime Academy campus asked if the ship will be going on any additional cruises between now and Sea Term 2020. At this time, the only voyage planned is our Mini-Cruise that will depart on August 28th. This will be a short trip to New York for the incoming class of 2023.
Well, that’s all the questions I have time for this morning. I will close with two colorful drawings that were sent to me by kindergarten followers.
Thanks for your questions, drawings, and work samples. Have a great day!
Captain Michael J. Campbell