– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
Recently I have tried to not say anything negative about Silversea Cruises, but it just keeps giving me reasons to warn people off. The latest fiasco is, to my mind, absolutely inexcusable.
Silversea is now making an automatic charge to each guest’s onboard account to pay money to the Maruzza Lefebvre D’Ovidio Foundation under the guise that it is a “charitable donation” that may be opted out of if you go to the Reception Desk, once onboard, and advise them you do not want to make the “donation”.
I pause and note: THIS IS NOT A CHARITABLE DONATION. It is a dishonest way to funnel money to a technically non-profit organization which is headed by the wife of Silversea Cruises chairman…and which, when you click on the Financial Information link it simply states, “Work in Progress”.
I cannot pass judgment on what the organization does or doesn’t do. I have honestly tried to figure out what it has accomplished versus what it’s plans are and it is very difficult to figure out. While it seems it does some positive work, it also seems focused on talking, workshops, round tables, book publication, etc. In other words, stuff that doesn’t really help the people with the illnesses…and, it would seem, probably with high overhead. Who knows?
And, by the way, if you are American your “donation” is not tax deductible because the Foundation has not been qualified as a charity under United States law. Whether that is simply because it is an Italian entity or it cannot qualify I do not know. And I cannot tell you if it is of any tax benefit if you are British, Dutch, or even Italian.
Which, alas, raises another point: Why would you want to donate to an Italian charity rather than a charity in a port you are actually visiting or your home country? Does the fact you are walking on an Italian owned ship mean anything to you? I mean the ships are registered in the Bahamas, so why isn’t the charity based there. (Heck, you are technically subject to Bahamian law when you are onboard!)
I also note that there is a very successful charity which many cruiselines promote or assist and you probably know it as the Walk for the Cure. It is actually Susan G. Komen for the Cure and you get information when you click on the link for, say, Carnival Cruise Lines…not a link to the cruiseline’s website (which is what happens when you click on the Silversea link on the Foundation’s site. When you board you are given information about donating and it is done in a very low pressure, low key, manner. (Nobody will know if you donate or not…unless you want to let people know.)
Compare that to Silversea which puts you in the position of (a) taking the Walk of Shame – I mean who wants anyone to perceive them as uncharitable or cheap; and (b) having to take time out of your cruise to visit Reception to not do something you never wanted to do in the first place.
Now, with all that said, I have to ask what marketing genius came up with this ploy? All that Silversea needed to do was say, “Silversea is proud to announce that it will donate US$1.00 for every day a passenger sails on one of its ships. We hope you feel pride in knowing a small portion of your cruise fare is going to be used for a wonderful purpose.”
The reason, to my mind, is simple: Silversea is in financial distress and it needs every one of those dollars. I don’t know if this new stunt is a way for Silversea to reach into your pocket to save a floundering foundation owned by a relative or what? But why should any of us have to worry about such things. I, most cetainly, don’t need to further reseach a foundation to see if my client’s should be concerned about where their cruise dollars are going.
In the end, it is just another way that Silversea is cheapening its product and making me concerned that what you saw yesterday is not what you will receive today…and most unfortunately probably is not near what you will receive in a year from now.
But, heck, feel good because you are paying extra for dinner in one of the specialty restaurants and now for the chairman’s wife’s foundation. Yuck.
Goldring Travel LLC
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