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A Salute to the Silver Screen

On the transatlantic crossing from Fort Lauderdale, USA to Piraeus, Greece in 1995, world famous and award winning movie stars were on board the Silver Cloud. They blended in wonderfully with the rest of the guests and were people like you and me. I would like to take you on a not-everyday journey which celebrities crossing the Atlantic ocean.

 

In the spring of 1995, the shipping company Silversea Cruises was not even a year old. At that time, I was hotel director on the first ship, the Silver Cloud. Her identical sister, the Silver Wind was still under construction then. These ships were built to become the new measurement in the ultra-luxury cruise segment.



The two sister ships were small (296 guests and 225 crew), expensive and set new standards in the luxury segment of the cruise industry. There were only outside cabins, 90 percent with a private veranda. Drinks were included in the price. For example, Mumms Cordon Rouge was our house champagne that flowed like water. Beluga caviar was offered at the buffet.

Also the tip was included, under the motto: We are professional employees and you don't tip your doctor at home either. We also had the highest ratio passengers : crew and also square footage : passenger in the cruise industry then.

 

For both ships the hull was built at Visentini shipyard in Trieste, Italy and the superstructure and the outfitting was carried out by the Mariotti shipyard in Genova, Italy.



The ownership of the company was a little bit more complicated.

Antonio Lefebvre was born in 1913 and was a maritime lawyer and professor before acquiring cargo ships and ferries in the Adriatic. He later owned Sitmar Cruises which was merged with Princess Cruises in 1988.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Lefebvre had a vision that foresaw an exciting journey through a tantalizing mix of innovation, romance and passion. The vision was a cruise line so far ahead of anything that had gone before that it would create a whole new category for itself in ultra-luxury, six-star cruising.

Mauro Terrevazzi. He was also founder and chairman of Sitmar Cruises until the line was sold to Princess in 1988, and is credited with getting Fincantieri involved in industry by ordering ships for Sitmar, which later became Princess vessels. Since 1970, Terrevazzi has been a senior executive officer with a wide range of responsibilities for the Vlasov Group (V-Ships), including the establishment of Sitmar Cruises in the U.S. and introducing its first ships in 1971.

In 1994 V-Ships based in Monaco was one of the largest ship management and marine services company in the world with 50 offices around the globe. They practically did not own ships, but they managed cargo ships for the owners. Lefebvre and Terrevazzi were major shareholder of this company.


It is not unusual for shipbuildings in Europe to be subsidized by the Country government in order to preserve jobs in the shipyards. But this also brought conditions with it. One had to sail under the Italian flag. Thus, all officers on the bridge and in the engine room had to be Italian. One had to follow the rules and regulations of the Italian maritime law. The crew cook had to be Italian and there had to be a separate storage room for the pasta flour. All employees had to be able to swim and the Italians were under the thumb of the Italian unions. Funnily enough most of our Filipino crew members, hailing fro man island state with 7640 island were unable to swim. during the inaugural season the company had to set up swim classes in indoor pools for them, to get their certificates.


A general problem is, that in Italy like in many other countries are not many deck and engine officers, who worked on fine cruise ships before. The day of fine cruise ships and transatlantic liners were long gone. They work on cargo ships, big cruise ships for the mass market or on ferries.


Since the company had Italian owners, besides the US market the European market was also actively promoted through our London office headed by Aris Zarpanely. We had our main office in Monaco and sales offices in London and Fort Lauderdale.


The average passengers' age was about 20 years younger than on Royal Viking Line when I left them in 1990.


Meanwhile, the shipping company has 12 ships and is owned by Royal Caribbean cruise line.

 

Promotion Film


 

The Silver Cloud started her maiden voyage on April 2. 1994.

The company was originally equipped in the office and on the ship with a hotel management from Cunard. After a bumpy start, these people left the company at the end of 1994. My former boss, Christian Sauleau, was given the job as VP Hotel Operations.

He called around Christmas time of 1994. He knew only too well, that I was familiar with smaller ships, having worked for Seabourn Cruise Line before. I was also familiar with the opens seating policy in the restaurant. Normally one had an assigned seating at the same table with the same companions every night. The luxury of open seating is, that you dine with whom and where you like. Just like in any good restaurant at home.


I accepted and started on the Silver Cloud as Hotel Director in January 1995.

 

The Silver Cloud was the most beautiful ship, I had ever seen.The interior design was, how can I put it, Italian. Lots of marble, wooden floor, rich fabrics and a beautiful color scheme.

Stylish not glizzy.


The first thing I have learnt, we have guests not passengers.

 

Starting with me was a new Italian Captain Guido Mazzetti from Imperia in Liguria. The next day at sea he invited me to his office. He told me that he had worked on the Michelangelo as a young cadet. That was also a fine ship, but that was a long time ago. The last years he worked as a captain on a ferry from Italy to Corsica. He asked me to teach him everything that is necessary for a captain on a luxury ship. He was an elegant Northern Italian, almost shy at the beginning with a wonderful sense of humor. This has resulted in a lifelong lasting friendship and Captain Mazzetti has never disappointed me.


Me and Captain Guido Mazzetti.


From the owner's family our contact was Francesco Lefebvre, a gentle history professor from Rome.

 

A standard Verandah suite.


All bed and table linen as well as towels and bathrobes were purchased from the exclusive company Frette of Monza and Milano.


Breakfast Room Service on the balcony was a big issue here.


The winter schedule in the Caribbean has matched one hundred percent with our luxury product. We went to islands that I have not been to before, because the larger ships can't go or aren't allowed to go there. Turks & Caicos, Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla,

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mustique, St Barth and St. Lucia to name a few.


Gustavia, St. Barth.


Our pool deck was perfect to do dinners under the stars on two levels.

 

Cruise Director Ray Avon and myself handing roses to the ladies on Valentine's Day.


 

The Panorama Lounge.


The cruises were booked well and I have never seen so many European guest onboard a cruise ship I had worked before. About 30 to 40 percent were Europeans and about 70 percent of these were British guests.


Turks & Caicos.


 

The Show Lounge.


But it was hard in the beginning. More than once, the Captain called me upon arrival on the Bridge. The Port Agent wanted to be paid in cash as no agreement has been signed yet or the previous bill has not been paid yet by V-Ships. The same Scenario we experienced with local ship chandlers.


Mustique.


 

My table in the Restaurant.


We had cut crystal glasses and all Silverware was provided by world famous Christofle of Paris.

 

Captain Mazzetti taught me how to use the ship's zodiac.


Quite frequently US ladies got irritated by some European ladies sun-bathing topless on the open decks. They of course, sent there poor husband to my office to complain about this horrible habit.


Anguilla.


A great spot for breakfast and lunch in front of the Terasse Cafe.


During the Jewish Passover holidays we had a reformed US rabbi onboard. One morning I had a delegation of not so reformed Jewish standing in my office, demanding to get rid of the rabbi. Apparently somebody had seen him eating meatball at a cocktail party. I was lying to them, that the meatball were of 100 percent beef and the situations calmed down again.


These were all things I had to experience and learn from it.

 

Mareau Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


During this season I saw the best, the Caribbean has to offer. In most ports we had to drop the anchor and the operation was quite cumbersome. We did shoreside BBQs on Mareau Island, St Vincent and the Grenadines and on Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands.


Valuable Crew members on deck during sail-away.


 

Just before the crossing on April 2 1995 we celebrated the Birthday of the Silver Cloud.


 

After wonderful Caribbean cruises during the winter months, we returned to Europe in the spring of 1995. Since crossings over any ocean always sell poorly, it was always necessary to offer a very special program. Silversea brought the movie stars on board. This program was put together by the renowned professor Richard Brown from New York City.


Our Dream Team of professional and dedicated people.


A little tip about this. So-called crossings, are always a bargain. Never is more offered on a cruise ship than on crossings. Usually the ship is very often in port. Then the guests are ashore and the services on board are limited accordingly . On Crossings, on the other hand, the guests have to be entertained 24 hours a day, be it with special culinary programs, special entertainment or special themes.

Our theme was: A SALUTE TO THE SILVER SCREEN.

 

The Bill of the Movie Stars.


Charlton Heston (born John Charles Carter; October 4, 1923 – April 5, 2008) was an American actor and political activist. As a Hollywood star, he appeared in almost 100 films over the course of 60 years. He played Moses in the epic film The Ten Commandments (1956), for which he received his first nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and the title role in Ben-Hur (1959), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He also starred in The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), Secret of the Incas (1954), Touch of Evil (1958) with Orson Welles, The Big Country (1958), El Cid (1961), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Khartoum (1966), Planet of the Apes (1968), The Omega Man (1971) and Soylent Green (1973).

In the 1950s and 1960s, he was one of a handful of Hollywood actors to speak openly against racism and was an active supporter of the civil rights movement. Heston left the Democratic Party in 1987 to become a Republican, founding a conservative political action committee and supporting Ronald Reagan. Heston was a five-term president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), from 1998 to 2003. After announcing he had Alzheimer's disease in 2002, he retired from both acting and the NRA presidency.



He was traveling with his wife Lydia, their daughter in law and their 5 year old grandson.

 

Clifford Parker Robertson III (September 9, 1923 – September 10, 2011) was an American actor whose career in film and television spanned over six decades. Robertson portrayed a young John F. Kennedy in the 1963 film PT 109, and won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the film Charly.

On television, Robertson portrayed retired astronaut Buzz Aldrin in the 1976 TV film adaptation of Aldrin's autobiographic Return to Earth, played a fictional character based on Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms in the 1977 miniseries Washington: Behind Closed Doors, and portrayed Henry Ford in Ford: The Man and the Machine (1987). His last well-known film appearances were as Uncle Ben in the 2002–2007 Spider-Man film trilogy.

Robertson was also an accomplished aviator who served as the founding chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)'s Young Eagles Program during its inception in the early 1990s. It became the most successful aviation youth advocacy program in history.



Cliff Robertson travelled together with his son and daughter-in-law.

 

Richard Stephen Dreyfuss (born Dreyfus; October 29, 1947) is an American actor. He is known for starring in popular films during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, including American Graffiti (1973), Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Goodbye Girl (1977), The Competition (1980), Stand by Me (1986), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Tin Men (1987), Stakeout (1987), Always (1989), What About Bob? (1991), Another Stakeout (1993) and Mr. Holland's Opus (1995).

Dreyfuss won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1978 for The Goodbye Girl (at the time, the youngest-ever actor, at age 30, to win) and was nominated in 1995 for Mr. Holland's Opus. He has also won a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and was nominated in 2002 for two Screen Actor's Guild Awards for his portrayal of former Secretary of StateAlexander Haig in the Showtime Networks ensemble film The Day Reagan Was Shot.



He was onboard with his 10 year old son.

 

Rita Moreno (born Rosa Dolores Alverío Marcano; December 11, 1931) is a Puerto Rican actress, dancer, and singer. Noted for her work across different areas of the entertainment industry, she has appeared in numerous film, television, and theater projects throughout her extensive career spanning over seven decades. She is one of the last remaining stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Her work includes supporting roles in the classic musical films Singin' in the Rain (1952), The King and I (1956), and the 1961 and 2021 film adaptations of West Side Story. Her other notable films include Popi (1969), Carnal Knowledge (1971), The Four Seasons (1981), I Like It Like That (1994) and the cult film Slums of Beverly Hills (1998). She is also known for her work on television including the children's television series The Electric Company (1971–1977), and as Sister Peter Marie Reimondo on the HBO series Oz (1997–2003). She voiced the titular role of in Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? from 1994 to 1999. She also gained acclaim for her roles in the Jane the Virgin (2015-2019) and the revival of Norman Lear's One Day at a Time (2017-2020). In theater, she is best known for her role as Googie Gomez in the 1975 musical The Ritz.

Among her numerous accolades, Moreno is one of a few performers to have been awarded an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony (EGOT). She is also one of 24 people who have achieved what is called the Triple Crown of Acting, with individual competitive Academy, Emmy and Tony awards for acting. In 2004, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor bestowed upon her by George W. Bush. In 2009, President Barack Obama presented her with the National Medal of Arts. In 2013, she received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In 2015, she was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor for her contribution to American culture through performing arts. She was awarded the Peabody Award in 2019. Her life was profiled in the 2021 documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It.



Rita travelled with her husband Leonard Gordon, their daughter and her husband.

 

Gregory Oliver Hines (February 14, 1946 – August 9, 2003) was an American dancer, actor, choreographer, and singer. He is one of the most celebrated tap dancers of all time. As an actor, he is best known for Wolfen (1981), The Cotton Club (1984), White Nights (1985), and Running Scared (1986), The Gregory Hines Show (1997-1998), Ben on Will & Grace(1999-2000), and for voicing Big Bill on the Nick Jr. animated children's television program Little Bill (1999-2004).

Hines starred in more than 40 films and also appeared on Broadway. He received many accolades, including a Daytime Emmy Award, a Drama Desk Award, and a Tony Award, as well as nominations for a Screen Actors Guild Award and four Primetime Emmy Awards.



He enjoyed the Silver Cloud together with his wife Pamela Koslow.

 

Jerome Bernard Orbach (October 20, 1935 – December 28, 2004) was an American actor and singer, described at the time of his death as "one of the last bona fide leading men of the Broadway musical and global celebrity on television"and a "versatile stage and film actor".

Orbach's professional career began on the New York stage, both on and off-Broadway, where he created roles such as El Gallo in the original off-Broadway run of The Fantasticks (1960) and became the first performer to sing that show's standard "Try to Remember", Billy Flynn in the original Chicago (1975–1977), and Julian Marsh in 42nd Street (1980–1985). Nominated for multiple Tony Awards, Orbach won for his performance as Chuck Baxter in Promises, Promises (1968–1972).

Later in his career, Orbach played supporting roles in films such as Prince of the City (1981), Dirty Dancing (1987), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), and Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991). He also made frequent guest appearances on television, including a recurring role on Murder, She Wrote as private detective Harry McGraw between 1985 and 1991, and was the voice of Zachary Foxx in The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers in 1986. He gained worldwide fame for his starring role as NYPD Detective Lennie Briscoe on the original Law & Order series from 1992 to 2004.



Jerry Orbach travelled with his wife Elaine.

 

Bernard Aloysius Kiernan Hughes (July 16, 1915 – July 11, 2006), known professionally as Barnard Hughes, was an American actor of television, theater and film. Hughes became famous for a variety of roles; his most-notable roles came after middle age, and he was often cast as a dithering authority figure or grandfatherly elder.

Hughes played more than 400 theatre roles, including the one for which he was perhaps most famous, in Hugh Leonard's Da. He won Broadway's 1978 Tony Award as Best Actor for his portrayal of the title role; in 1988 he recreated the role for the film Da.

On screen, he appeared in the film transcription of Hamlet (1964), and also appeared in such films as Midnight Cowboy (1969), Where's Poppa? (1970), Cold Turkey (1971) The Hospital (1971), Tron (1982), Maxie (1985), The Lost Boys (1987), Da (1988) - the screen reprise of his most successful stage-role, Doc Hollywood (1991) and the big success Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993). He also played the old man who gave a ride to Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple II (1998) and was featured in The Fantasticks (1995).

Hughes appeared on TV in such series as Naked City, The Secret Storm, Dark Shadows, Love Story, Blossom, and Homicide: Life on the Street. In 1973, he had a notable recurring role on All in the Family as a Roman Catholic priest, Father John Majeski, doing battle with Archie Bunker, and won an Emmy for his portrayal of a senile judge on Lou Grant. Hughes made three appearances in The Bob Newhart Show as the father of Dr. Robert Hartley. He was the central character in three sitcoms: Doc, in which he played a physician; Mr. Merlin, in which he played Merlin, a magician mentoring a 20th-century teenager; and The Cavanaughs, co-starring Christine Ebersole, in which he played the family patriarch (Art Carney played his brother, and Glynis Johns made guest appearances). Hughes sang "Danny Boy" in one episode of the latter series. He also made a memorable appearance as The King (with Jim Dale as The Duke) in the PBS mini-series Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Hughes also made recurring appearances on daytime dramas including Guiding Light and As the World Turns as well as a brief appearance as a private investigator in an early episode of Dark Shadows. He also did voice-overs for television commercials advertising Kix cereal.



Barnard Hughes was traveling alone.

 

Our 14 days voyage started in Fort Lauderdale, USA. After that we had 8 days at sea. Our first port of call in Europe was Malaga, Spain, where we spent the night. Then we went on to Valletta, Malta and Porto Empedocle, Sicily and the trip finally ended in Piraeus, Greece. The ship was about 75 percent full, mostly with US movie lovers, but also some European regular guests.


 

We left Fort Lauderdale at 6:00 pm.


The following morning we had cool weather conditions on the open Atlantic.

Hotel Director Klaus Riezler, daughter-in-law of Charlton Heston, Captain Guido Mazzetti at the Pool Bar.

 

On the first day at sea was a 'getting to see and photograph the Stars' session in the Panorama Lounge. We had calm seas throughout the crossing over to Spain.


 

This evening the Captain's Welcome party was on the program. One thing I have implemented: For the VIP guests dining with officers, we sent invitations to meet their officer already at the cocktail party to break the ice.

 

Captain Mazzetti greeting Charlton Heston.

Jerry Orbach an his wife. International Hostess Anita watching from the back.


 

Captain Mazzetti and Chief Engineer Germano Delponte having dinner with M/M Heston.

I am having dinner with Cliff Robertson and his family plus a British VIP couple.


 

Actor and dancer Gregory Hines with his wife. Maire d' Gilberto Lanza at the back.

 

During the crossing Professor Richard Brown lectures in the Show Lounge about Movies and the Movie Star. There were interview sessions with all the Star in a casual setting in the Show Lounge and in the Panorama Lounge during Tea time.


I sat in the Show Lounge when when Charlton Heston was reciting about one of his movies. There was still tremble in the Room.


 

Otherwise the Stars were just guests like all the others and enjoyed the crossing. They were easy going and no problem whatsoever.


Charlton Heston and his grandson.

 

Italian Dinner at the Terrace Cafe.


 

Gregory Hines, Charlton Heston, Jerry Orbach, Professor Richard Brown, Cliff Robertson in the Show Lounge.

 

Charlton Heston and his grandson having lunch in the Terrace Cafe.

 

Richard Dreyfuss and Charlton Heston in the Panorama Lounge.


I had long conversations with both gentlemen. I like the movie 'Tin Men' with Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito very much. Oh, this was the worst movie I ever did, said Dreyfuss. When I talked to Heston about Moses: His reply was, this is the worst movie he ever did. So at least they had something in common.

 

Eventually we reached the port of Malaga, Spain at 8:00 am.


The guests attended the offered shore excursions.

 

In the evening we did a dinner around the pool with a local Flamenco Show.


German regular guests, who reside in Marbella and went home just for the day.


Valued regular guests. Even tough Silversea was still young, we had quite a number of reparting guest already.


Two ladies from Munich, Germany.

 

The following day, the full day excursion was offered to Granada and the Alhambra.


At 6:00 pm we set sail for Valletta, Malta.


Captain Mazzetti and me on the Bridge.


 

The Owner's Suite was not the largest Suite onboard, but my personal favorite.




The price tag for the two bedroom suite: average 2000 USD per person, per night.

 

Jerry Orbach and his wife and the family of Rita Moreno at my table.


This was a fun evening. It started when I told Jerry Orbach, that he behaved like a real jerk as Papa in 'Dirty Dancing'. That broke the ice immediately. He then told us about his time on Broadway singing....Try to remember the days in September. Rita Moreno told us about being Anita in the movie 'Westside Story' and the resemblances when she moved from Puerto Rico to New York City.

 

After a day and a half at sea we docked in Valletta, Malta at 12:00 Noon.


Excursions were offered in the afternoon to ancient Valletta.


We were sailing for Porto Empedocle, Sicily at 6:00 pm.

 

The next day at sea it was time to say Good bye to our guests and the movie stars.

The Captain's Farewell Party followed by the formal dinner was on the program.


Charlton Heston and his grandson in the Show Lounge.


I am guiding Charlton Heston's daughter-in-law and her son into the Restaurant.


Jerry Orbach and Cliff Robertson.

 

We arrived at Porto Empedocle the following morning at 8:00 am.


Here our Silversea Experience was on. Silversea included one very specially crafted shore excursion in the ticket price.

This time it brought uns to the ancient Zeus Temple in Agrigento.


There a special Sicilian luncheon was served, followed by a local show.

 

At 6:00 pm we were on the way to Piraeus, Greece.

 

We docked at Piraeus, Greece at 8:00 am.


I was standing on the pier bidding our guests farewell. They all had thoroughly enjoyed this very special voyage. I have dealt with so many celebrities throughout my career, but in the end they are just people, like you and me.

 

This video wraps up the happening on this cruise nicely. The first few second it runs too fast, but then it's fine.


 

Silversea Cruises has brought me in 4 years to many new places on this earth. Because of the size of the Silver Cloud and Silver Wind we made it almost anywhere.

Even though we had to paralyse the traffic in London for two hours or so.


 

Or even better on the following voyage, when Captain Mazzetti tried to squeeze the Silver Cloud through the Corinth Canal in Greece.


But, what has happened there is another story.


 

The best comes alway at the end.


As I mentioned earlier, we left Fort Lauderdale at 6:00 pm.

Around 1:30 that night I was still standing with a few guests at the bar counter of The Bar. I saw Richard Dreyfuss, dressed in a bathrobe, heading down the corridor straight for us.


Richard Dreyfuss was asking me for help.

He told me that his 10-year-old son could not sleep and that he now wanted the chess computer that was on display in the souvenir store. Of course I wanted to help him. We went to the store, I unlocked the door with my master key and immediately the alarm system went off.

The store, just like the casino, the Photoshop or the spa were so-called concessionaires, i.e. private companies that had rented space with us. I had no idea that there was an alarm system in the store.

Anyway, I tried to reach the store manager by phone. During that time, Richard Dreyfuss said exactly two words. 'No batteries.' He opened the box and noticed that there were no batteries.

Meanwhile, the store manager then came and turned off the alarm. Dreyfuss didn't even bother to ask with a syllable if it could be a problem that we had woken up half the ship.


 

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All my blog stories are free of charge but of course I would like to say Hello to you at my little Bar in Austria.


Klaus Riezler.


 


 
 



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