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Sad news about Albatros(Cunard's Sylvania, Sitmar's Fairwind, Princess' Dawn Princess


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The year was 1984 and I was 20.....old enough to drink in Canada and too young for the US(thats why I remember). My dad was a ship's pilot based out of Victoria, BC. This was going to be the biggest ship brought up the inside passage and they wanted Canadian captains on board. Sitamr payed for 4 captains and their spouses to come on board for the innagural run. My mom didn't want to go so I got to go. We spent 2 nights in the Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco then boarded our ship. We got a suite complete with butler. I was told I could order anything I wanted carte blanche!!! As we left SF, there was a fly over and ballons and whole bunch of hoopla. I ended up being bored silly as there was nobody young on board(with the exception of a 5 month old baby). The disco was empty every night. I did make friends with the bartender who taught me how to make margaritas and daquiris. The service was great. I remember taking the room service door knob thingy and creating my own breakfast menu......just wanted to see what would happen. Next morning....blueberry pancakes, hot chocolate, and fresh squeezed orange juice. I got to sit at the captain's table every night(boring boring boring) and had top notch service. The ship talk really got to me. I did talk the captain into filling up the swimming pool though. Big mistake as it was freezing! I guess for me, having a dad thats a captain doesn't really make me appreciate all the fan fare.

20 years later....

My dad is retired and I have to pay for my own cruises. We went on the Jubilee last winter....no suite....no butler......no waffles in bed......I had to pay for my margaritas. But things have really changed in 20 years. There were young people on board! The disco was packed!

I do have a cookie tin from the Fairsky from that first run. I did have some fun on board. I did really well in the Crib tournament. I was sad to read that it is now scrap. I'll have to tell my dad.

 

Jennifer

Daughter of

Captain Grant Paterson(retired)

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Jennifer - FAIRSKY is most definitely not scrap. You can tell your dad that she is alive and well in Australia as PACIFIC SKY with P&O Cruises Australia. Her running mate, ironically, is PACIFIC SUN, the former JUBILEE.

 

FAIRWIND, the ship being discussed here, is much older - she was built in 1957. FAIRSKY, of course, was built in 1984.

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Thats cool that 2 of the cruise ships I've been on are now in Australia. I'm going on the Zenith in January. Do you think its heading for Australia too? I will pass on the news to Captain Paterson. He thought she was a fine ship(even though his daughter was bored).

 

Thanks for the info!

 

Jennifer

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I'm going on the Zenith in January. Do you think its heading for Australia too?
Well, her sister ship HORIZON is headed for Europe, so I wouldn't be surprised to see ZENITH leave the Celebrity fleet in the next couple of years... So "your" ships may be expanding to a new continent ;) .

 

FAIRSKY and JUBILEE both went to Australia by way of intra-company transfers - Sitmar was bought by P&O in 1989 and became part of Princess, at which point FAIRSKY became SKY PRINCESS. P&O transferred her to P&O Cruises Australia in 2000. Last year P&O Princess Cruises plc (the company formed when P&O's cruise brands were spun off into an independent company in 2000) merged with Carnival Corporation, and when P&O Australia wanted a second ship, this time it was JUBILEE that was tapped for the role.

 

Celebrity is not part of the Carnival group, and parent Royal Caribbean has no Australian brands, so I guess at least for now ZENITH will have to break with your pattern of sailing on Australia-bound ships.

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  • 1 month later...

I have MANY fond memories of Sitmar !! My Dad, Roger James, contracted the musicians for Sitmar for many years and I practically LIVED onboard the Fairsea the summer of 1982 !! I will never forget the fabulous food and the incredible Italian staff !!! Being in my mid-teens....they were truly a blast to hang out with !!

 

Sad to hear that some of the ships have been scrapped, but nice to know there are still a couple of them around !!

 

BUT, my cruising years are still going strong !! Now I work for Crystal Cruise lines as a Passport to Music teacher and I LOVE EVERY minute of it !! Although I love Crystal, Sitmar will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart !!

 

Ciao !!

 

Roxanne James

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  • 3 weeks later...

I worked on the Fairwind as a cashier in the casino during the summer of 85. I was 21 at the time and had so much fun I can hardly call it work. The casino was a concession on the ship and luckily for me Sitmar treated the casino workers like passengers. By that I mean I ate in the restaurant and had a passenger cabin. I was even allowed to be seen in public rooms although I had to behave. 84 days straight, it was quite a cruise. Anyway just stumbled across this thread and it brought back memories.

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  • 3 weeks later...

i too have fon memories of Sitmar. I'd still sail them if they were around today.

 

Sailed on the Fairsea the first time at Christmas of '77 for a 11 day Mexican Riviera cruise. Followed by a 10 day summer of '78 Carribean cruise on the Fairwind. Being that long you took in the eastern and souther route. Summer of '79 another Carribean cruise. This time a 7 day cruise. New Years '82-'83 another 10 day Fairsea Mexican Riviera. Finally New Years '86-'87 a 10 Carribean cruise.

 

I wish the ships of today were Italian. Both in the officers and especially the dining room staff. Does Costa come close to this?

 

For three straight cruises I had Alan Kent as cruise director. Anyone know what happened to him? I'm saddened to hear that the Fairwind is being broken up for scrap and that the Rairsea is heading that way too.

 

Back then perhaps I cruise cost more, but they included everything. They didn't nickel and dime you to death to make up for the low fare as they do now.

 

I still have my glasses that they gave out at the Circolo del Commandante receptions. That has become the Captain's Circle on Princess. They couldn't even keep the Italian name. I wish that Princess had allowed Sitmar to run independently as Carival allows Princess.

 

I remember sailing with Capt Rudolpho Potenzoni and Capt Lagomarceni. Not sure of that spelling. The other captains I don't remember.

 

Tell me if you remember these captains and other memories you have of Sitmar.

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I just sailed MSC Opera - it was the closest to Sitmar I have been on....did both the Fairwind & Fairsea.....loved every moment......

 

MSC is not up to Sitmar standards but they have a fine product that competes with HAL & Cunard. The Italian flair is evident but not fully engulfed like Sitmar...try MSC...I enjoyed it.

 

"Ciao for now"

 

PS

 

did you know SITMAR means...Sex Is Too Much After Ravioli!!!!

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Ron,

 

You have asked an excellent question, I think, and I hope we get some feedback on it. My only Home Lines cruise was the 7 day run from New York to Nassau on the Oceanic in 1973. It was my third cruise, after 2 cruises on S. S. Rotterdam. So, it was different, but it was a great cruise. Loved the Italian cuisine and crew! Some of the crew were very experienced; my cabin steward was old enough to be my grandfather and had been at sea for decades. Even some, if not all, of the music groups were Italian. I still have a recording of Formica and the Favolosi that played in the Italian Hall on the Oceanic.

 

In my opinion, I think Sitmar and Home Lines were much alike in the Italian ambiance they supplied.

 

Any other reactions?

 

Bob

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is there a reason that no cruise lines except msc (beleive those are the initals) and Costa use an Itailan dining staff and Italian Officers. Never sailed on Princess, but I bleive when they first took over Sitmar they used their Italian Officer staff. Do they still do this?

 

I know Princess took the name of Circolo del Commandte' for previous sailers and translated it to English. The Captain's Circle. Can't beleive that they couldn't keep the Italian name.

 

Ron

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Many of Princess' officers are Italian; the others English(part of the P & O connection). Dining Room staff is international. On a recent Star Princess cruise, the Headwaiter was Italian, the Waiter was Mexican, the assistant Waiter was Thai. I saw some staff in the dining room who were from Eastern Europe, I think. Both of the Maitre d's, the Head Maitre d' and the Maitre d' for the Amalfi Dining Room(the one with traditional first and second seatings) were Italian. The Executive Chef and the "tasting chef"(don't really know if that was his job, but that is what they called him) were also Italian.

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what gives? i found this web site http://www.cruiseserver.net/travelp...r/ship_cams.asp. It supposedly has a bridge cam from the TSS Albatross. It's in German so I don't know what it says. I do know that it's supposedly at the ship breakers. Anybody know the truth about this web site.

 

Also do you think you got more for your money back when Sitmar was around than you do today? They seem to nickel and dime you now even though the cruise ticket might be less than what you paid on Sitmar. I remember paying in 1977 $1500 that's with a single supplement of 150% an outside cabin on Europa deck. That came with an upper and a lower. This price included my air fare to Los Angeles to catch the Fairsea. Soda was included with the meals and photos were only $4. I know inflation has jacked up prices but I still feel you got a better deal back then.

 

Any opinions, comments.

 

 

Ron

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is there a reason that no cruise lines except msc (beleive those are the initals) and Costa use an Itailan dining staff and Italian Officers.

You will no longer find Italian service staff on Costa, just officers. The service staff have been from countries with less expensive labor for probably a decade or so now.

 

On the other hand Italian officers can be found on many lines, among them Costa, MSC, Carnival, Silversea, Princess and others. However Italian service staff are difficult to come by (though I understand that many - but not all - on MSC are) simply because like most industrialized countries, Italian labor is too expensive for today's cruise market, and furthermore with more prosperity and career options in Italy, a job as a dining room steward has become rather less attractive to the typical young Italian person.

 

This is the same storry in the US and all over Western Europe. It is the same reason that you will no longer find Dutch stewards on HAL, for instance.

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As far as the difference between Home Lines & Sitmar - both had Italian experience onboard.

 

When the Oceanic sailed it was THE SHIP to sail on(here on the East Coast...modern & luxurious. The food in the dining room was excellent day in, day out. The service was excellent.

 

Sitmar had older ships - the service & food was on par with Home Lines. I loved sailing on the Oceanic(2x),Homeric(1988-1x) Fairwind & Fairsea(1x each) equally.

 

The big difference from today is that the cruise was a luxury - the lines delivered what they promised. Very different than today where thousands are hoarded aboard, coralled to revenue producing events(no matter how tacky) on ships built to remind people of that mall back home.

 

On Home Lines & Sitmar - you had a Four Seasons experience. Certainly on par with Seabourn & Silversea.

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There a few things that Sitmar did with a touch of class that you odn't see now. I liked the passenger book. It showed your trip and where you went along with the name and town of origin for every passenger on board. I also recall that whenever they presented your plate at a meal the Sitmar twisted rope logo was always placed at the 12 0' clock position. I also liked how they served the vegetables. Your dinner came with the entree on it but they served French style the vegetables. Not like today where everything is already on the plate. A rather small thing, but it gave a touch of elegance and class to the meal.

 

I've never sailed on the Home line that is why I can't compare.

 

 

Ron

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How come Princess didn't allow Sitmar to run as an independent cruise line like Carnival is doing with Princess?

Carnival and P&O Princess merged to expand their brand portfolio and exploit synergies between the companies. The P&O takeover of Sitmar was a very different situation - it was done to acquire new ships (which Princess direly needed) and to eliminate competition.

 

Princess and Sitmar were as perfectly direct competitors as they come - to keep both brands would have been redundant. It also would have negated the effect of new ships. When P&O bought Sitmar, Sitmar had four new ships on order or under construction (in the end only three of them were built). Princess had none - the only major US cruise line not to. They were in dire need of new ships, and for the most part, aside from the side effect of eliminating competition, P&O bought Sitmar so that their error in not ordering more new ships for Princess (after ROYAL PRINCESS, the shipyard offered to build further sister ships, but overly conservative P&O declined) could be corrected.

 

In the end it was very, very lucky that Sitmar came up for sale just at the time that Princess desperately needed those new ships. I don't know what would have happened if that weren't the case as by the early 1990s Princess would have been far behind their competitors, without a single new ship since 1984 while all of their competitors (chiefly HAL and Sitmar) introduced groundbreaking new ships. It would have been very difficult for Princess to remain competitive in that situation.

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why can't the lines of today, even the mass market lines give serivce on the level of Home and Sitmar? It's just as easy to cook good food as it does bad food. Same for the rest of the service.

 

Must be a reason, but I don't know what it is.

 

Ron

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