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.


Myths and truths about cruises to help you get your sea legs

Courtesy Princess CruisesDeep discounts, attractive ports, new bigger (Oases of the Seas), better, spiffier ships (Seabourn Odyssey, Silver Spirit) add to the cruise experience for  2010.

 If you’re planning a cruise in the new year you may want to learn a little about what’s in store for you on the high seas: Myths and Truths About Cruising

 If you’ve never taken a cruise you’re truly missing the boat. It’s simply the best, hassle free way to see the world. You only pack and unpack once. If you don’t live in the port of embarkation, usually only one roundtrip flight is necessary. And you get to live on floating hotel that transports you seamlessly to exotic, tropical and interesting parts of the world. So what’s stopping you? Perhaps it’s a fear of the unknown.

 To help jump start your nautical spirit here are a few myths and truths of cruising that may assuage any apprehensions:

 Myth: They feed you non-stop until you turn into the Goodyear blimp.

Truth: Although food is plentiful, nobody force-feeds you; you do the fork lifting all by yourself. And today all ships offer spa cuisine, diet-controlled portions and lots of exercise options from jogging tracks to onboard gyms and beyond.

Myth: It’s Boring. Truth: Only if you think non-stop diversions aren’t stimulating. Most ships provide head-spinning activities from cultural lectures to disco dancing, casinos to computer classes, evening shows and performances, shore excursions, aforementioned spa options and world-class gyms, basketball and volleyball courts, golf cages, video game arcades, duty free shopping in an array of onboard boutiques (although you don’t always find great bargains) in which to max out the credit card, casinos in which to lose your shirt (or win a T-shirt if you hit a slot machine jackpot), late run movies in a theater or your stateroom and more. More cerebral pursuits include well-stocked libraries, computer centers with Internet hookups, reading, writing and daydreaming.

Myth:  You’ll  get fat.

Truth: This again. No you won’t if you follow prudent eating and exercising. I’m getting fed up with this fable, so stop it right now.

 Myth: I’ll feel claustrophobic.
Truth: Most ships now sport bigger staterooms and suites many with outside verandahs in which you can leave the doors open day and night or go out for a fresh breath of air on a whim (just stay off the balcony railing). The new, bigger vessels have acres of deck space. Some are actually large or larger than a football field.

Myth: I have to be dressed up all the time.

Truth: Sporty attire is acceptable on all ships during the day. Many ships have adopted a more casual dress code for evenings or offer casual dining venues. Some cruise lines no longer require tuxedos on formal nights and others ask only that the man wear a jacket and tie and women an appropriate outfit. By casual we don’t mean warm-ups or cut offs in the restaurant. We’re talking casual chic. 

 Myth: I’ll get fat.

Truth: I thought I told you to cut that out. Sure the menu is stuffed with tempting choices but if you use some willpower you can have a bite of this and a taste of that without stuffing yourself. If you’re low on self-discipline avoid buffets and stick to restaurants where menus are offered and then order sensibly. 

 Myth: I’ll be too unconnected with the world.

Truth: Hey we said there are Internet Cafes. And even ship to shore phone service albeit very pricey, or your cell phone. Just about every port, even the most remote has Internet service these days as well as inexpensive phone cards for sale. I once paid $20 for a phone card in Australia that had so many minutes on it I gave it to a crewmember to use on the day we disembarked. So what’s your worry?

Swanky New Ships Float Your Boat

Swanky new ships sail the bounty in 2009

Seabourn’s deluxe Odyssey sets sail on June 24, 2009 from Venice, Italy and the ship’s nearly booked already. Why not, this spiffy luxury line really knows how to run a ship with tons of amenities and top cabin service. I love Seabourn ships and am looking forwrd to the newer, larger Odyssey with great expectations. She’s larger, wiser (they’ve added much-sought after balconies to this member of the Yachts of Seabourn), pleasingly pamperful and if you hurry you can take advantage of a special maiden voyage season fare. Check it out at or  Your savvy seafarer ranks Seabourn #1 tied for first place with Silversea and awards it six sparkling stars. For those not familiar with either cruise line, they are simply the best.  I love the cuisine, service, spas and service on both. Until the Odyssey joins the fleet, the Yachts of Seabourn are much smaller than Silversea and because of the size only sport French balcony windows (they open wide but you can’t step out like on Silversea). Seabourn’s current fleet may actually provide a little more personalized service than Silversea because of size the ratio of crew to passenger. Sailing on Seabourn is truly like sailing on a yacht. Both lines are manned by amiable captains and crew. I like Silversea’s The Bar for meeting for cocktails, but then I enjoy the lounges on Seabourn, similarly. But The Bar on Silversea ship is a special wateringhole where pax meet and make new friends but then can dash off unobtrusively by themselves if so inclined. Dining you see on both ships is  offered at pax pleasure, you eat when you want, where you desire and with whom. I mean does it get any better than that? Your savvy seafarer has other pieces in this blog about both cruise lines, so be sure to read them.

Silversea–another small luxury cruise line that rose the bar out of the water for style and service when it premiered, is also launching ships next year. More great expectations for your savvyseafarer, who ranks this company #1 and six shining stars. Silversea and Seabourn are basically hull and hull when it comes to the tops in service, style, attitude, suites, cuisine and just about all shipboard amenities.


richard-for-belair_tmpThat’s my main mate,  Richard onboard Silversea, he loves cruising as much as I do.