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Patriot and Critics

February 11, 2001

Regarding the article about the Patriot ship in Hawaii ("Not-So-Smooth Sailing, Feb. 4): On Jan. 6 I boarded the "refurbished" Patriot for a seven-day cruise of the Hawaiian Islands. Most of the refurbishing is in public areas.

I'd booked a superior ocean-view stateroom. The carpet was not new and was badly stained. I picked up a virus, as did 40-plus other passengers, so I was in the stateroom when the steward made up the beds. When he removed the sheets, I saw that the mattresses were old and filthy. He turned them over, but the reverse sides were even worse.

I e-mailed the federal Centers for Disease Control regarding this. They replied that they've had several other complaints, but this is not in their jurisdiction because they inspect cruise ships with international itineraries. (The Patriot calls on U.S. ports.) The CDC said it forwarded my message to the Food and Drug Administration, which conducts inspections.

DON VANDERHEI

Los Angeles

*

Thank you for your honest article about the Hawaiian cruise. We went on a similar cruise in January 2000, when only the Independence [also owned by American Classic Voyages] was available. We were hesitant about boarding a ship that had been built in 1951, but our cruise agent told us that the line had spent millions on refurbishing the ship.

The visit to the islands and the optional tours were nice, but our cabin was a dingy, smelly, small box with a porthole that was partially encrusted with sea salt. The shower was so small that we and the other passengers would hold discussions as to the best method to retrieve a bar of soap if it fell to the floor. (One could not bend over.) The food was fair. As veteran cruisers, we were greatly disappointed.

On the questionnaire filled out at the end of the cruise, we said we could not recommend this cruise to our friends, particularly if we wanted to retain their friendship.

IRVING and

BEVERLY BENGELSDORF

Oceanside

*

Susan Spano's article certainly seemed mean-spirited and probably aroused anger in others of us who love Hawaii and especially enjoy cruising there. I had the feeling that she stepped on the ship determined not to enjoy herself.

Hey, it's an older ship, and though I have not sailed on it, I have been on the sister ship, the Independence, many times and always found it special and easy to love despite its age.

NANCY EMERSON

Glendora

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