Indulge in the wild wonders of Carnival in Rio on Silversea’s new mystical Muse

museOne of my most memorable experiences was a cruise to Rio de Janeiro that began with a fast flight from Miami on the since defunct Concord,  and included three booze-soaked, fun filled days attending Carnival. The cruise line, which is long gone, had secured tickets to the balls for passengers to attend. It was surreal with people partying day and night, scantily-clad carioca women dancing on tables, and many next morning hangovers.

Although a flight on the SST is no longer on the table, you can indulge in the wild wonders of Carnival in Rio on Silversea’s new, super sonic Muse which is heading south from Fort Lauderdale on a 69-day Grand Voyage on Jan, 3, 2018. The spiffy vessel will completely circumnavigate South America, visiting 34 ports in 14 countries, while experiencing the mystery and pulsating rhythm of this vast continent on an intimate, ultra-luxury voyage that is Simply Divine™.

The  Grand Voyage 2018 combines the luxury of sailing aboard an intimate, elegant ship with the excitement of discovering fascinating destinations. Highlights include a crossing of the Panama Canal, cruising Chile’s majestic fjords, a three-day stopover in Rio de Janeiro in time for Carnival, plus overnight calls in Valparaiso, Punta Arenas, Buenos Aires, and Manaus, nestled in the heart of the Amazon.

“Grand Voyage 2018 is perfectly tailored to travelers who have the time and passion to indulge in travel on a grand scale. It combines adventure and immersive cultural experiences with leisurely days wrapped in the exquisite luxury and impeccable service of our beautiful new Silver Muse,” said Mark Conroy, Silversea’s managing director for the Americas.  As usual passengers will enjoy free drinks from Champagnes and cognacs an beyond, have tips covered, get transportation in ports,  and savor culinary experiences. Through Silversea’s association with Slow Food Italy, a selection of Ark of Taste products, such as Ecuador’s Nacional cacao, Peru’s native potatoes, Chile’s Merkén chili peppers, and sugarcane products from Santa Rita, Brazil, will be sourced locally by Silversea chefs to introduce guests to the remarkable flavors of these cultural treasures, which are being catalogued by the Ark of Taste to help ensure their preservation.

Exclusive Added-Value Benefits

In addition to a gala Bon Voyage dinner and overnight stay at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Fort Lauderdale on January 2; a unique “Panama Hat Party” event at the Montecristi Golf Club in Manta, Ecuador on January 12, showcasing the talents of local artisans; and a box-seat view of the Carnival Winners’ Parade at the Sambadrome in Rio on February 17, full-voyage guests will enjoy a generous array of benefits, including:

–$2,000 Onboard Spending Credit (per suite)

–Free unlimited Wi-Fi

–Baggage valet service

–Visa service (U.S., Canada and select markets)

–Commemorative gifts

Fares for Grand Voyage 2018 start at $36,955 per guest, based on double occupancy. For further information and the complete itinerary, please visit



Carnival signs pop star Nick Jonas to perform on two ships

Singer/song writer will do shows on Carnival Victory and Liberty
By Patti Pietschmann

Carnival ships grand cayman1 (2)

Teen favorite and multi-platinum and Grammy-nominated recording artist and award-winning songwriter will be performing for Carnival Cruise Line passengersjonas this fall while the ships are docked in Nassau as part of the  Carnival LIVE Concert Series. A recipient of the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s prestigious Hal David Starlight Award, Jonas will do two high energy shipboard concerts – one aboard Carnival Liberty on November 17 and the other aboard on Carnival Victory November 18. This is not part of the lines free entertainment with  tickets for Nick Jonas going for  $75 for general admission, significantly less than land-based venues.  VIP tickets are available for $250 and include seating in the first few rows, a photo opportunity with the artist and a commemorative concert pass.

Carnival LIVE is a unique entertainment experience offering the tops in live music and comedy at sea.   Performances are held in the ships’ main show lounges – which range in capacity from 900 to 1,300 – meaning there’s never a bad seat in the house. “This will be my first time performing on a cruise ship, which I’m really excited about because it’s so different than any other venue. I’m looking forward to seeing and performing for my fans that will be there.”

Jonas needs no introduction pop music buffs. He  released his self-titled, critically acclaimed debut album in November 2014 that included the double-platinum and No. 1 U.S. radio hit, “Jealous” and his sultry chart-climbing radio single, “Chains.”  Jonas released his sophomore solo album “Last Year Was Complicated” in June 2016 featuring the platinum him “Close” featuring Tove Lo that debuted as the No. 1 selling album of the week.

A full listing of all Carnival LIVE performances is available at For reservations, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL. You  can connect with Carnival on: FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube. Journalists also can visit Carnival’s media site, or follow the line’s PR department on Twitter at

Carnival Liberty Carnival LIVE Concert Series Carnival Victory Nick Jonas on Carnival shipboard entertainment

Edie and the jets

Crystal Cruises CEO/president gets keys to spiffy new Boeing 777

edie and the jet It’s luxury travel provider Crystal Cruises latest extravagance. An amazing, over-the-top  swank aircraft that will fly the friendly skies with  Crystal AirCruise.    Edie Rodriguez took possession of her company’s spirited member of its expanding fleet of luxury liners, river boats and yachts,  Crystal Skye.
 The official passing of the keys took place  at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington where the keys to the exquisitely outfitted Boeing 777-200LR were delivered to Crystal’s CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez from Greenpoint Technologies. Crystal Skye, the largest privately owned tour jet in the world and probably most deluxe, will be used for chartered service. Steep fares, and posh interiors,  will most likely attract celebrities and other wealthy  travelers. Crystal Skye will be christened in Las Vegas on August 12.
 “We are ecstatic to welcome Crystal Skye to the family, as she marks the beginning of a new chapter and realm of luxury travel for guests who seek the unmatched Crystal Experience,” said
 Rodriguez. “As we embark on new global adventures with Crystal Skye, we are inspired by the shared vision of our own experts and those at Greenpoint Technologies, who brought this sky-high dream to fruition.”
Just how luxurious is it?
With a spacious design for up to 88 guests,  Boeing 777, Crystal Skye is appointed with features rarely found in even the most luxurious private jets.
 She has the highest crew to passenger ratio of any twin-aisle aircraft and a non-stop range of 19.5 hours, allowing travelers to explore the far reaches of the earth while enjoying the personalized service.
  •  Bespoke Crystal Exclusive Class™ seats are designed for maximum personal space and ergonomic comfort, and convert to 180-degree lie-flat beds.
  • An  expansive social lounge with stand-up bar fosters friendly camaraderie among luxury travelers.
  • Cuisine will be prepared by an executive chef, in two state-of-the-art galleys and paired with an elegant premium wine list from the Crystal SkyeCellar.
Crystal collaborated with Greenpoint Technologies for the extremely specialized development of Crystal Skye, as the company is renowned for its innovation and leadership in the creation of superior aircraft design. Greenpoint Technologies worked alongside Crystal’s own experts to conceive the standard of excellence and luxury required to ensure the unparalleled guest experience aboard a Crystal vessel, then brought the vision to life. The interior installation of Crystal Skye began in August 2016 at Greenpoint’s Moses Lake facility in Washington, focusing on exclusive features such as a 24-seat lounge with a central bar, sofas, custom coved ceilings, the largest wine cellar in the sky and ample space to socialize. Stone veneers, colored LED lighting and other premium details adorn the extraordinary interior.
Feeling flush?   For charter inquiries contact in the U.S. 855-207-2778 and/or 1-786-971-1010 (international calls); and in China 86-400-800-0348 and Hong Kong 852-2378-5760.
For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888.799.2437, or visit  Follow the Crystal Cruises’ Facebook page and @crystalcruises on Twitter and Instagram, and engage in the conversation with #crystalcruises.
 Read more about Crystal here:

Buy Carnival cruise with 3 easy payments

Carnival paradise and freedom in Grand Cayman

Photo by Richard Pietschmann

Carnival Cruises, already one of the most affordable in the industry, is making it easier for passengers to pay for their trips with Carnival EasyPay which allows bookers to pay for cruises in three monthly installments. You must make the perfunctory deposit after which the balance is charged in payments that are taken out automatically on the same designated day for three consecutive months. Additionally, the deposit due date must be at least 90 days before the final payment date.  The first installment is charged to guests’ credit card 30 days from the date of the deposit with two additional monthly installments thereafter.  Guests can either register for the program at or via the line’s call centers.  Travel agents can also sign up for Carnival EasyPay to process payments on behalf of their clients.
“A Carnival cruise is already the most affordable and value-packed vacation there is and with Carnival EasyPay we’re making budgeting and paying for a cruise even easier and more convenient,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.  “Rather than having to remember to pay for their cruise, Carnival EasyPay provides guests with peace of mind knowing that their payment is being processed automatically. Carnival EasyPay certainly lives up to its name!”
To enroll in the easy pay log on to  the  “How Would You Like to Pay” section at when you’re ready to make payment, You can also sign up for or cancel Carnival EasyPay after the initial deposit is made by visiting the “Manage My Booking” tab on
Additional information on Carnival EasyPay is available at A video outlining the program can be viewed here. Carnival can also be found on: FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.

Silversea Silver Cloud prepares to ‘break ice’

Little luxury liner converting to deluxe ice-class expedition ship

By Patti Pietschmann

We not only sailed on the Silver Cloud during her formative years and later, we ere among a small group of journalists flown to Italy for a hard hat tour during her construction in 1994. Now the 16,800 GRT, 296-passenger ship we knew and loved enters a new chapter of her seafaring life as a Silversea Expedition ship–and a beaut at that. Check out the photo renderings above supplied bySilversea:
 Silver Cloud  is actually being converted into an ice-class expedition ship, which will take place between August and October 2017 and will replicate the ultra-luxury distinctions of a classic Silversea ship combined with the strength and maneuverability required for expedition cruising.

The new renderings showcase the luxurious design of  public spaces  such as La Terrazza, The Restaurant, Observation Lounge, Panorama Lounge, and Venetian Lounge. The  Observation lounge will sport  new teak flooring, upholstery and lighting in La Terrazza and new carpet and upholstery in The Restaurant. Silver Cloud will also feature a new gym with Technogym equipment.

In addition to interior updates, the multi-million dollar refurbishment will strengthenSilver Cloud’s hull enabling her to explore polar waters. Silver Cloud’s transition to an ice-class vessel will bring expedition guests the luxury, style and comfort synonymous with Silversea’s classic ships. A guest capacity of 260 in non-polar regions and just 200 in polar regions means that guests will enjoy the highest levels of personalized and attentive service on board. The limited capacity in polar regions also means that all guests can disembark at the same time to explore each region.

“As the first ship in our fleet, Silver Cloud has a special place in Silversea’s history, and we’re delighted to reveal further details of her refurbishment. We look forward to welcoming guests aboard to experience Silver Cloud’s luxurious interiors as well as her incredible itineraries later this year,” said Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea Cruises. Silver Cloud will also have a team of up to 19 dedicated experts on hand to ensure guests leave with the best experiences from their voyages, whether they be the sights, the sounds, the history or the stories. Daily presentations and lectures by experts in the state-of-the-art theatre will also be streamed live to all suites

The first time we sailed on  Silver Cloud  in 1994 we knew .Silversea was deluxely and deliciously  different with a panache unheard of in the industry that set a new standard in luxury cruising.



Lazy days on chic Crystal Cruises(photos)

Nothing like sailing on the open sea on Crystal Symphony or Serenity with nothing to do to but..

By Patti Covello Pietschmann with photos by Richard Pietschmann

Love days at sea? Most seasoned cruisers do. Some of us  actually more than others.  For instance my first mate, Richard, and I often choose itineraries where there are more days at sea than in ports. A couple of times we took 18-day cruises that only stopped in four ports along the way to Europe or back from Lisbon. We’re not  alone,  many of our ship mates on these cruises have been there done, that, so they pick a cruise where they can simply  chill out. Some ships are more fitting for sea days like

Photo courtesy Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises Serenity and Symphony.

On sea days on either luxury liner there are scads  of activities in which to take part, or not.  You can take exercise classes (Pilates, Yoga, stretch, cardio and more;or work out in the fully-equipped fitness center on your own).  There are language lessons, games, a jogging track, one of the most impressive Enrichment Programs and Computer University at Sea (with 40  27″ Apple iMacs)

where I mastered PhotoShop and other technical tricks. There is a well-stocked and inviting library that holds more than 2,000 books and a thousdand DVDs from which to choose movies to watch in your  stateroom.

offering head to toe  pampering; large swimming pools; steam baths and saunas; golf cages, paddle tennis courts,
 movies in a well-equipped theater complete with free popcorn, evening shows, bars and lounges with free drinks all around all the time and plenty  of deck space  and cushy lounges in which to plotz for moments of Zen. There is WiFi hookup throughout the ships for those who want to  stay connected, and  big screen computers to use in the Cyber Cafe.

Of course there’s also lots of  food options with casual breakfast and lunch buffets, the main restaurant and two  tops of the sea alternative dining venues: the Nobu-inspired Silk Roadwith mouth-wateringmenus,
and the equally exceptionally tasty food at the Valentino-like Prego.

You can also spend your sea days  in your stateroom wrapped in a big fluffy  robe ordering  room service,which is available around the clock, watching movies on the TV, sitting on your balcony or napping in a  Frette-linen-covered bed.

Butler service

Carnival Corp. signs MOA with China to build new ships

This just in by Patti Pietschmann

Carnival breezeThe world’s biggest operator of individually branded cruise lines such as Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Fathom, Costa etc, is growing even larger with the pending addition of new ships that will be built in China.  Carnival Corporation (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), CUK)just revealed that its cruise joint venture in China–where the cruise industry has been growing rapidly in recent years– has signed a new memorandum of agreement (MOA) to order the first-ever cruise ships built in China for the Chinese market. This deal updates the terms of an initial shipbuilding MOA announced in September 2016.

The  MOA was formalized during an official signing ceremony held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian President Sergio Mattarella. Representatives of Carnival Corporation, CSSC and Fincantieri executed the agreement on behalf of Carnival Corporation’s cruise joint venture and the shipbuilding joint venture, respectively. The result of this negotiation will be an agreement by Carnival Corp. to order two new cruise ships to be built by a China-based shipbuilding joint venture between CSSC, the largest shipbuilder in China, and Italy-based Fincantieri S.p.A. The MOA also gives Carnival Corporation’s cruise joint venture the option to order four additional China-built cruise ships.

Carnival Corporation will operate and manage all cruise ships owned by the cruise joint venture as part of its plans to launch the first multi-ship cruise brand in China. The two new ships will be built with a design tailored for the cruise brand and the specific tastes of Chinese travelers. Under the agreement, Carnival Corporation will provide onsite supervision and support during ship construction. The first of these ships is expected for delivery in 2023.

“We are proud to order the first China-built cruise ships and play a meaningful role in developing cruise shipbuilding capabilities for the first time in China,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “This represents another important milestone in building a sustainable and prosperous cruise industry, and demonstrates our commitment to contributing to China become a leading cruise market as part of its five-year economic development plan.” “Our cruise joint venture’s agreement to order the first-ever cruise ships built in China and specifically designed for our cruise brand to serve Chinese guests is a tremendous opportunity to grow interest and demand for cruising as part of China’s rapidly expanding tourism market,” said Michael Thamm, group CEO, Costa Group and Carnival Asia. “We are very committed to working closely with our partners to further develop the Chinese cruise industry and continue supporting China’s efforts to become one of the leading cruise markets in the world, which will remain a key driver for cruise growth across Asia for many years to come.”

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