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.

 

 

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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
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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.”

Want to learn more? Go to www.carnival.com, www.fathom.org, www.hollandamerica.com, www.princess.com, www.seabourn.com, www.aida.de, www.costacruise.com, www.cunard.com,www.pocruises.com.au and www.pocruises.com.

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A Silversea Cruises photo recall

The Grand Suite Life on Silversea (Reprinted  from 2009)

By Patti Pietschmann

Photo of Silver Whisper courtesy of Silversea

I squealed with glee as the steward let us into our Grand suite—a 1,434 square foot concert of marble and mahogany mini mansion—which would be our floating home onboard Silversea Cruises’ Silver Whisper for 33 glorious days on a voyage from Los Angeles to Sydney. I’d been in shipboard suites before, but this went outside the box. The bedroom was huge with an exquisite vanity and a king size bed covered in fine linen with Piumi Salpi down pillows and comforters. I couldn’t get over all the storage space, and the walk-in closet large enough for two steamer trunks and more. The Italian marble bathroom dazzled with a Jacuzzi tub, twin sinks, and separate shower. Lavish soaps, shampoos, conditioners and toiletries lined the glass shelves. Thick Frette terry robes hang on the door.

The living room was so inviting we eased into a nightly routine sprawled out on the comfy sofa or recliner room watching movies on the Flat screen plasma television, or listening to CDs playing on the Bang & Olufsen or Nakamichi entertainment center. While we love the dining venues on the ship, the suite proved so comfortable that we opted to for room service about half the nights of the cruise. The waiters set our mahogany dining table elegantly with candles, Christofle silverware and Bernardeau Limoges china. We dined on truffles from Rome, foie gras from France, Italian-style pasta, filet mignon, and luscious desserts like Viennese tortes.

A beautiful wood bar, stocked with Schott-Zwiesel crystal, and complimentary beverages (Philipponnat Royale Reserve champagne, wines, liquor and soft drinks) proved perfect for entertaining new friends we made during the voyage. Our steward always ensured sure we had plenty of hors d’oeuvres for our soirees.

The suite sports a large private teak balcony where we ate breakfast by day and sat sipping champagne at night.

We did manage to wrest ourselves from our suite to work out in the nicely equipped gym, take free Pilates and exercise classes, and swim in the 30 feet by 12 feet lap pool. We also got out to explore the ports of call.

Sidebar

The company that redefined old-world elegance to contemporary cruising when its first two ships debuted in 1994, Silversea’s four stylishly refined luxury liners: the 16,800 ton, 296-passenger Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, and the 28,000, 388-passenger Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow—are compact enough for intimacy yet large enough for comfort. Each provides ample space, and 75 to 80% stateroom balconies, single, open-seating dining in The Restaurant with its dramatic glasswork art, black cherry wood chairs where leisurely multi-course meals are served by a tuxedo-clad wait staff.

The cruise line’s obsession to details is displayed by free flowing French champagne, afternoon canapés and Godiva chocolates delivered to your suite, leather ticket cases, inviting public rooms and amenities such as the outstanding Mandara Spa (which is now  Silversea Spa operated by Steiner).

The Silver Whisper has been completely refurbished since then with restaurants such as Le Champagne, Hot Rocks,Le Terraza and butlers for  all  accommodations.

Breakfast on our balcony brought by the butler on a recent Silver Shadow cruise

What ever Silversea ship you sail on the food is always fantastic

For additional information visit the website at: www.silverseacruises.com.

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Jacques-Michel Costeau to join three Crystal Cruise voyages

Serenity in Grand Turk photo by Richard Pietschmann

Explore  the mysteries of the deep with Jacques-Michel Cousteau, the first son of the great master of the sea  Jacques-Yves Cousteau on  one of a pair of   cruises on Crystal Serenity this spring and fall, or an expedition sailing on the boutique yacht, Crystal Esprit.  Cousteau will be on board those voyages to share his  expertise of the sea gained from decades as a leading explorer and conservationist, working in defense of the planet’s oceans. Learn more about Jean-Michel Cousteau by viewing the video we found on YouTube.

The   geographically diverse voyages take place:

  • May 24 on Crystal Serenity’s “Hawaiian Havens” sailing the warmer regions of the Pacific Ocean. 
  • October 27 on an  “Amazon Escape” that explores the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Old Bahama Channel.
  •  November 19 on Crystal Esprit’s West Indies voyage sailing round-trip from Marigot Bay through the deep Caribbean. 

As a company, we call the waterways of this planet our home, and as such, are honored to welcome Mr. Cousteau for the first time aboard our ships to offer a glimpse into his fascinating work,” says Crystal Chairman, CEO and president Edie Rodriguez. “The sea is truly his heritage and he has dedicated his life to protecting it. It is an extraordinary opportunity for our inquisitive guests to learn from Mr. Cousteau as they travel the seas together.

  In addition to lectures tailored to the region of each sailing, Cousteau will offer interactive and engaging presentations discussing his father’s legend and his own legacy, as well as insights into ocean life that most captivates him, including the delicate balance of the roles of orcas and sharks. He will explain the connection between the oceans and everything else on the planet,present his newest film, which features images captured by Cousteau for the first time in his 60+ years of diving. Cousteau, who is the founder of the Ocean Futures Society, will also enlighten travelers about his extensive environmental and conservation efforts.

 If you are interested better book soon, knowing the Crystal clienetele, these will sell out fast. Contact a travel professional, call 888-799-2437, or visit Crystal’s website, www.crystalcruises.com . Follow the Crystal Cruises’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/crystalcruises and @crystalcruises on Twitter and Instagram. Engage in the conversation with #crystalcruises.

Unfamiliar with Crystal Cruises? Let me tell you, its ships are  amazing with gorgeous appointments, butlers tending to Penthouse deck passengers, free flowing wines and spirits, paid gratuities and even fee WiFi packages. Not to mention superior cuisine, a fantastic free Computer University at Sea for brushing for learning PC and mobile device skills, and seamless service.

Free wines and spirits

Fine food 

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Amazing caper: women smuggle $30 million worth of cocaine on Princess Cruises Sea Princess

The pair and accomplice nabbed in Sydney

By Patti Pietschmann
coke
A pair of  20-somethings Canadian women (pictured above is one of them, Melina Roberge, from  her Instagram account) went on a dream vacation–a World Cruise aboard Princess Cruises Sea Princess that cost them $22,000 each.  But with $30 million worth of cocaine in their possession the fare seems a mere drop  in the bucket. By all news accounts the gals and an accomplice (again even though has one heck of a time. The fun stopped while being arrested in Sydney, however. It was the biggest coke bust ever.
According to News.com, Melina Roberge, one of the women arrested posted steady Instagram photos under the heading  “Currently travelling”. The 22-year-old Canadian spent almost two months in paradise throughout July and August drinking from coconuts and posing in front of turquoise waters in her bikini. She was travelling with Isabelle Legace, 28, and Andre Tamine, 63, aboard the $20,000-a-head MS Sea Princess, stopping in idyllic locations including French Polynesia, Chile, Ecuador and sunny Bermuda.

How could this happen? It’s one of the most talked  about news stories in the cruise industry  this week and quite startling. When you board a cruise ship on embarkation day or after a port call you always go through security at the top of the stairs.  How was this missed? Where did they stow the stash?  Well prominent maritime attorney James Walker posted a piece on the subject which is a must read for anyone following the case:

The widely reported drug bust of three passengers this week on the Sea Princess cruise ship in Australia uncovered serious shortcomings in Princess Cruises’ shipboard security.
We have written about dozens of drug busts of relatively small quantities of cocaine on cruise ships over the years. But 95 kilos (over 209 lbs.!) of cocaine seems to be hard to believe. Many people have expressed their opinions that this must have been an inside job (we have no proof of this), given the use of screening equipment on cruise ships. But some people have questioned whether the drugs were loaded onto the ship along with food and provisions and then transferred to the passengers to be smuggled off the ship in their luggage. If the shipboard security team wasn’t involved, they obviously need to enforce far better protocols to carefully screen baggage and items brought onboard the ship.
IHS Fairplay published an article today saying that the drug bust “highlights the ability for more sinister items to be smuggled onto vessels.” In an article titled Drugs Find Highlights Cruise Security Threat, Fairplay says that “cruise companies were taking, and continue to take, security seriously but that the incident had to act as a wake-up call to revisit current systems.” It quoted Gerry Northwood, a principal of the international maritime security company MAST, explaining that cruise passengers don’t face the Cruise Ship Drug Bustsame restrictions as air travelers.

 

Northwood also warns that “If a terrorist were to secrete an explosive device inside a consignment of food, it is possible that the explosion would likely happen below the water line with obvious implications for the vessel and the safety of the passengers and crew.”
Commander Mark Gaouette, the former security head of Cunard and Princess Cruises, said in an interview today that the cruise industry should be concerned with the possibility of a terrorist group masterminding a gigantic conflagration on a ship. He cites the 2004 attack by an Islamic terrorist group which planted just eight kilograms of TNT in a cardboard box aboard the Superferry 14 in the Philippines. The resulting fire and explosion killed over a hundred passengers and sank the ferry.
Commander Gaouette is the author of Cruising for Trouble, Cruise Ships As Soft Targets for Pirates, Terrorists and Common Criminals.

Posted in Cruise capers, cocaine bust on Sea Princess, Canadian women arrested, Sydney, Princess Cruises, felony at sea, bizarre news, strange news, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The savvy seafarer’s cruise album

By  Richard and Patti Pietschmann

We’ve taken cruises on ships of every size and style from mega liners to small luxury vessels and written about  them in newspapers,magazines and on the web (most recently  www.cruiseable.com) and here are a few good photos from our voyages:

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Spa  time

Crystal Cruises deck and butler for our  penthouse stateroom

 Morning buckwheat pancakes on Crystal Cruises 

 A birthday/anniversary celebration on Silversea

 Dining on the deck of the Seabourn Quest

 A seafood fest on board Regent Seven Seas Mariner Alaska Cruise

 Regent SS Mariner stateroom stewardess

 A veal chop  on RSSC Mariner

Seabourn

 A veal chop at  Silversea Hot Rocks

Dining a Le Champagne on Silversea

 Leaving Bora Bora

Paddle  tennis  on Crystal Serenity

 Happiness is having room service breakfast on Crystal Cruisses

 Bora Bora

 The mighty Amazon from Seabourn Quest

French Polynesia from a Princess Cruise

Ruby Princess

And it doesn’t end here, next trip Queen Mary2 from New York to Southampton, England; Seabourn Encore, Silversea Muse, RSSC Explorer and others. Stay tuned.

Posted in butlers on ships, Cruise photography, Cruiseable.com, Crystal Cruises, dining at sea, French Polynesia cruises, Paul Gauguin, Tahiti, summer fare sales, paradise for a song, Paul Gauguin summer blow out, luxury cruises, my opinion, op ed, penthouses at sea, Regent Seven Seas Mariner, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment