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 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


 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.


Confessions of An Unconventional Cruiser

The Savvy Seafarer gets a manicure in Chiapas

The unconventional cruiser, aka: Savvy Seafarer, sails in a different style than most passengers—and does things her way.

A recent cruise on the maiden voyage of Marina was no exception to my rules. One, of which is to never pay shipboard spa prices when other options are available.

Marina docked in Puerto Chiapas

So when the 65,000-ton luxury liner docked in Puerto Chiapas, Mexico, I went ashore looking for a place to get a manicure for less than the  $65 CanyonRanch Spa was charging. And ole, right there in the pyramid-designed terminal building,  I found two enterprising young women,  Idalia Arteaga and Pati Cordova,  offering  manicures and pedicures for $10 US each (the exchange rate is 12 pesos to the dollar.  

I immediately sat down and had my nails done. Throughout the day, a steady stream of passengers and crew stopped by the make appointments. The senoritas knew what they were doing.

The terminal was alive with the sounds of mariachis and dancers performing  for the passengers who strolled around  the shops  set up  in the terminal and/or  headed out to  the busses that would take them on shore excursions around this port city that was established in the  1880’s by German immigrants. The port was built in 1975 but only became a cruise ship stop in 2006.

Passengers who love to shop, and most do,  didn’t need to leave the building which offered chances to spend pesos, dollars or use plastic on souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, coffee and chocolate.

 We bought coffee–one of the area’s major products– from  Michael Ghahramani—who owns a plantation and roasts the beans (www.rainforest

It was a  hot, humid  day in the high 80s and we were grateful for the bottle of water the ship provides for us at the gangway  (free).

The  Panama Canal cruise—from Miami to LA and San Francisco—aboard the 1,250-passenger Marina moved along seamlessly.  Passenger comfort and satisfaction seem high, the crew continued to go out of their way to please, the food remained amazing and we were pretty happy shipboard campers. 

Arriving in Acapulco

However, the entertainment proved the weakest link and validated another of my rules to avoid shipboard shows at all costs. In all fairness some of the productions at sea aren’t bad, but when they are, they are very, very awful. Still it’s a matter of  our opinion, some pax find it  diverting, others  don’t.

Please check out my full reports about the entire 16-day cruise at

Learn more about Oceania Cruises at



Gone Cruising

The Marina in port

Your Savvy Seafarer is off to sea on Oceania Cruises’  new Marina. Do come back for first hand reports direct from my luxurious  Concierge Verandah suite.

 In the meantime read all it about it my new National Cruise Examiner post at

Only A Few Days Until the Savvy Seafarer Sails on Oceania’s Marina

Your Savvy Seafarer gave you a heads up on this when she first got wind of Oceania Cruises’ coming out with an ultra-swank ship.

Well it’s here. The Marina has left the  dock and is headed to Miami, where the Savvy Seafarer will be climbing on board for a first hand report. She arrives in February with all the hoopla afforded new vessels, especially in Miami–one of the largest and most popular ports in the world.

Here’s the skinny, straight from the cruise line:

Oceania Cruises’ new ship Marina sailded from Barcelona Saturday, Jan. 22 on her Maiden Voyage.  Her 13-day maiden voyage stops  at Malaga, Spain; Casablanca and the Canary Islands before crossing the Atlantic.

Thos 7  sea days will be glorious for her first passengers  as they discover lots of innovations and features.

The  festivities start Feb. 4, 2011 when the Marina arrives in Miami. 


A ship of firsts, Marina features the Bon Appétit Culinary Center, the first hands-on cooking school at sea, Master Chef Jacques Pépin’s first namesake restaurant at sea; Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner’s Suites; luxurious accommodations by designer Dakota Jackson; Wine Spectator wine program; and Lalique grand stairway. Moreover, Marina has been designed for epicureans offering an unprecedented 10 dining venues – comparable in quality to the very best shore-side restaurants.

 “Marina has been so eagerly anticipated by our past guests,” stated Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises and chairman & CEO of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings. “It is exciting to now host our first guests onboard and see their reaction to her stunning facilities and amenities.”

 When she arrives in Miami on Feb. 4, a celebratory welcome will commence and continue throughout the weekend. At a lavish ceremony on Feb. 5 ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT Icon Mary Hart will name Marina and christen her with a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne, custom-made by Armand de Brignac. The festivities culminate with a gala sailaway party and fireworks display in Biscayne Bay overlooking the Miami skyline.

 After the christening festivities in Miami, Marina sets sail Feb. 8 on the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco and San Diego, both new ports for Oceania Cruises–and the Savvy Seafarer will be there.

Marina will then offer 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season.

The 1,250 passenger ship features an elegance and style defined by rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and illustrious leathers adorn public rooms.

And I can’t wait to try the 10 dining venues including six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants. There’s also lots of bars and lounges, and one of my favorite amentieis: a  full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs.


For more information or to order a brochure, contact a travel professional, visit  or call Oceania Cruises toll-free at 800-531-5658.


About Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises® is the world’s only upper-premium cruise line and offers an unrivaled combination of the finest cuisine at sea, elegant accommodations, exceptional personalized service and extraordinary value. Award-winning itineraries visit more than 300 ports in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the Americas aboard the luxurious Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and Marina. The 1,250-guest Riviera – a sister ship to Marina – joins the fleet in April 2012.

 About Prestige Cruise Holdings

Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH) is the parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Formed in 2007 to manage select assets in Apollo Management’s cruise investment portfolio, PCH is led by Chairman and CEO Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises. PCH is the market leader in the upper-premium and luxury segments of the cruise industry with more than 5,200 berths between the Oceania and Regent brands, a number the company expects will grow to more than 6,500 berths by 2011.