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Christmas onboard Silver Whisper

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We have sailed Silversea many many times over the years... mostly Christmas and New Year's cruises.  So you can imagine our surprise when, currently onboard Silver Whisper in the Caribbean, there is no Catholic priest onboard to properly administer Christmas and New Year's Masses.  It IS billed as a Christmas cruise after all.  There are however FOUR lecturers onboard; TWO destination lecturers who just happen to say the same things about these islands, except of course when the contradict each other.  Why would we need TWO destination lecturers on a Caribbean cruise, and no Catholic priest on the most religious day of the Catholic/Christian year?   Yesterday, while in St. Thomas, they brought a 'local' priest onboard to say a Mass mid-afternoon while many were still ashore... an afternoon Mass, as any Catholic knows, does not cover Christmas Eve/Day Mass obligations.  A cheap trick, I thought.  And what surprised us most was that Silversea promotes itself as in "Italian" tradition... no Italian Catholic would ever miss either Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day Mass... an official Holy Day of Obligation of the Church.  Is this a RCCL decision?  It must be, as I doubt Manfredi would approve... if he even knew.  So no more Christmas' with Silversea for us and our family unfortunately.  Unless of course, they change this policy and give one of the two destination lecturer cabins to a Catholic Priest for this most celebrated Christmas cruise.

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This is disappointing (especially, IMHO, for the crew members who look forward to this Mass) and a bit surprising.  

 

Is there a Protestant pastor onboard?  If so, do you imagine that RCCL has begun systematically discriminating against Catholics?

 

Silversea clearly understood the need for someone to celebrate the Mass and was able to enlist a local priest in St Thomas.  I assume that the Mass was announced in the CHRONICLES and that people could have made a choice between shopping in St Thomas and/or returning to ship a bit early and attending Mass.

 

BTW:  I think that some theologians might challenge your assertion that Christmas is "the most religious day of the Catholic/Christian year."  I had always imagined it was Easter.

 

Your post does not encompass the possibility that they had secured the services of a priest for the cruise and that he had to cancel at the last minute for medical or other reasons.  It may be more than the "cheap trick" you allege.

 

Nor does it recognize that there is an acute shortage of priests in the US, and there are not lots of priests sitting around without pastoral duties (or expectations of pastoral service at a time like Christmas) ready to take a couple of weeks off for a cruise.

 

Your censorious post certainly does not reflect much of the holiday spirit.  I hope you are otherwise having a good cruise.  

 

 

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We didn’t have a Catholic Priest on our Cloud Christmas in South Africa 2016.  The ecumenical service was done by the CD (and done quite well)

 

 

Im almost sure we didn’t have a priest for our Myanmar Christmas 2015 either but if we did it mustn’t have been overly Catholic or I would have remembered 

 

Ive never seen a rabbi on board to do Hanukkah 

 

so your RCCL theory is debunked 

 

My theory is if you go on a Christmas cruise then you have to be prepared for some of your traditions/expectations to be different eg we don’t have goose/turkey or roast for lunch.  

We do a seafood feast as do many Australians ....

 

I  guess my message is there are a lot of people with different cultures and beliefs on board a small ship and sometimes it just isn’t possible to cater to the diversity.

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4 hours ago, MrsWaldo said:

We didn’t have a Catholic Priest on our Cloud Christmas in South Africa 2016.  The ecumenical service was done by the CD (and done quite well)

 

 

Im almost sure we didn’t have a priest for our Myanmar Christmas 2015 either but if we did it mustn’t have been overly Catholic or I would have remembered 

 

Ive never seen a rabbi on board to do Hanukkah 

 

so your RCCL theory is debunked 

 

My theory is if you go on a Christmas cruise then you have to be prepared for some of your traditions/expectations to be different eg we don’t have goose/turkey or roast for lunch.  

We do a seafood feast as do many Australians ....

 

I  guess my message is there are a lot of people with different cultures and beliefs on board a small ship and sometimes it just isn’t possible to cater to the diversity.

I have seen a rabbi on board the Shadow one year. He and his wife sailed through Vietnam with us then continued on to Australia to cover Hanukkah. 

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As an atheist I am perfectly fine that my cruise line doesn’t waste cabin space for ministers of any religion. 

IMO if it’s really important to you to go to a religious service on a specific day, you should stay home or somewhere land based near an appropriate church for it. There are far too many different beliefs among pax on a cruise ship for any specific one of them to be accommodated, what about all the others?

 

Although I must say I agree with you that most destination lecturers are a waste of space but that’s usually because they’re talking rubbish, not because they’re displacing some vicar or priest. 

Edited by jollyjones

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4 minutes ago, jollyjones said:

As an atheist I am perfectly fine that my cruise line doesn’t waste cabin space for ministers of any religion. 

IMO if it’s important to you to go to a religious service on a specific day, you should stay home or somewhere land based near an appropriate church for it. There are far too many different beliefs among pax on a cruise ship for any one of them to be accommodated, what about all the others?

 

Although I must say I agree with you that most destination lecturers are a waste of space but that’s usually because they’re talking rubbish, not because they’re displacing some vicar or priest. 

 Jolly Jones I'm so disappointed you would say "most destination lecturers are talking rubbish".   I've learned so much from so many.   For example one talk, many years ago, on the appropriate cruise:   THE ALMIGHTY COD.   Now who wouldn't be interested in learning more about how cod fed the world without refrigeration, and contributed to economic advancement worldwide?

We agree to disagree.  

Merry Christmas.  🙂

Dusa

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If having a priest on board to conduct a Christmas mass is a deal maker/breaker, should you not have checked it before booking?  There is always the option of booking with a cruise line that will accommodate your tradition as you expect.  Wishing you a wonderful New Year & hoping that the rest of your cruise won't disappoint.  

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8 hours ago, dusababy said:

 Jolly Jones I'm so disappointed you would say "most destination lecturers are talking rubbish".   I've learned so much from so many.   For example one talk, many years ago, on the appropriate cruise:   THE ALMIGHTY COD.   Now who wouldn't be interested in learning more about how cod fed the world without refrigeration, and contributed to economic advancement worldwide?

We agree to disagree.  

Merry Christmas.  🙂

Dusa

 

But that's an enrichment lecturer, those are usually interesting and worthwhile.

 

I'm talking about the ones who are mostly interested in advising you about shoreside shopping opportunities. 

 

That's one drawback of shorter cruises, especially in the Caribbean, because there are only destination lecturers. The enrichment lecturers are usually only to be found on the longer cruises - I do transatlantics nearly every year and the enrichment lecturers are frequently the highlight of the cruise.

Edited by jollyjones

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All of these comments are well taken.  There was a priest onboard Silver Muse two years ago, and one last year on Silver Spirit.  This is the first SS "Christmas Cruise" we have ever taken that did not carry a Roman Catholic priest...  so the idea that there wouldn't be one onboard a Silversea ship was surprising and disappointing.  For those non-Catholics... a Catholic service must be conducted by an ordained priest... not a Cruise Director.   I just think if you're going to brand a cruise as a "Christmas" cruise (not a holiday cruise, or other such term), you should be willing to address the expectations of that celebration.  There is no Rabbi onboard either, by the way.  Perhaps SS is moving away from such traditions in favor of a more secular experience. 

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11 hours ago, jollyjones said:

As an atheist I am perfectly fine that my cruise line doesn’t waste cabin space for ministers of any religion. 

IMO if it’s really important to you to go to a religious service on a specific day, you should stay home or somewhere land based near an appropriate church for it. There are far too many different beliefs among pax on a cruise ship for any specific one of them to be accommodated, what about all the others?

 

Although I must say I agree with you that most destination lecturers are a waste of space but that’s usually because they’re talking rubbish, not because they’re displacing some vicar or priest. 

Agree with your response in every respect JJ.One doesn’t book a christmas cruise with a church service as a major attraction !!

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Echoing the sentiments above, if attending Mass is so important surely you would seek out a church in port. I’m sure it made little difference to 90%+ of the passengers. 

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I know for a fact that Silversea is no longer providing the services of any members of the clergy on any of their cruises.

We were told this by the CD on our crossing in October.

Yes we have seen priests and rabbis aboard on prior cruises.

But the policy has changed.

It has nothing to do with Royal.

 

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8 minutes ago, spinnaker2 said:

I know for a fact that Silversea is no longer providing the services of any members of the clergy on any of their cruises.

We were told this by the CD on our crossing in October.

Yes we have seen priests and rabbis aboard on prior cruises.

But the policy has changed.

It has nothing to do with Royal.

 

 

This new policy (assuming the CD was correct) may make sense in our very diverse culture.  

 

However, I wonder whether clergy will be permitted to volunteer their services to conduct services.  I can recall two instances on long cruises where paying guests (one a Protestant minister, the other a rabbi) led services for their fellow believers.  Will this continue?  Should it?  I can see arguments both ways.

 

A final note:  I know how many crew value the ability to attend Mass on special days in the religious year.  They presumably cannot attend weekly Mass.  I hope that priests will continue to be brought on board for them on special occasions (as was apparently the case in STT), that they will gather in the show lounge, and that guests will not complain that crew are in "guest spaces."

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I am sure that any among the pax who volunteer to conduct services will be welcome to do so just as it is currently.

 

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16 minutes ago, spinnaker2 said:

I am sure that any among the pax who volunteer to conduct services will be welcome to do so just as it is currently.

 

 

This was definitely my initial thought.  But these volunteers are not vetted by Silversea (may not be clergy), may have unconventional ideas at odds with reasonable expectations as to how to conduct a service, and may offend some of those attending.  By welcoming these volunteers as leaders of services, Silversea is in a sense endorsing them.  Would it perhaps be more prudent to say that the services are unhosted?

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4 hours ago, Island Venturer said:

All of these comments are well taken.  There was a priest onboard Silver Muse two years ago, and one last year on Silver Spirit.  This is the first SS "Christmas Cruise" we have ever taken that did not carry a Roman Catholic priest...  so the idea that there wouldn't be one onboard a Silversea ship was surprising and disappointing.  For those non-Catholics... a Catholic service must be conducted by an ordained priest... not a Cruise Director.   I just think if you're going to brand a cruise as a "Christmas" cruise (not a holiday cruise, or other such term), you should be willing to address the expectations of that celebration.  There is no Rabbi onboard either, by the way.  Perhaps SS is moving away from such traditions in favor of a more secular experience. 

It was called a"Christmas" cruise, not a "Catholic" cruise. Unfortunately (or not depending on one's beliefs) Christmas has become more of a secular holiday than a religious one.

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13 hours ago, jollyjones said:

I do transatlantics nearly every year and the enrichment lecturers are frequently the highlight of the cruise.


This is exciting to read!  Hopefully, we’ll have a great one on the Moon when we’re together next fall.

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7 hours ago, wripro said:

It was called a"Christmas" cruise, not a "Catholic" cruise. Unfortunately (or not depending on one's beliefs) Christmas has become more of a secular holiday than a religious one.


This. Almost everyone I know, when asked about their Christmas, talk about the dinner and the presents and the music, etc. They say they had a wonderful Christmas and church had no part in it. That’s just the way it is. So, if a ship talks of a Christmas cruise, I expect decorations and cookies.  Nothing more. They exist in a secular world.
 

Anyone who has serious concerns about missing mass should have a conversation with their parish priest. Attitudes have changed considerably and the concept of missing one mass, even one of obligation,  being a mortal sin is long in the past. In any case, reading up shows that many of the shipboard “priests” are dubious at best and may even have been defrocked. 
 

I say this all as someone who was in church on the 24th twice and also on Christmas morning.  Times have changed. If you’re so orthodox, stay home as nothing else will suffice. 

Edited by milepig

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Years ago, Christmas eve  on Silversea, we (Episcopalian) requested a group table. We were joined by a Catholic priest and his mother, and by a Rabbi with his wife. There was laughter all around and good fun for all.

 

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I just looked at my Chronicles for Friday December 13, 2019.

At 6 pm there was a listing of "Sabbath Service with your fellow guests (unhosted)" it was designated to happen in the card room. 

The Chronicles for Sunday December 15 has a listing for 6 pm "Interdenominational Sunday Prayers, Join Cruise Director Adam" it was designated to happen in the Panorama Lounge.

 

I hope that helps some pax to understand what Silversea is offering.

Or at least what was offered on the Shadow.

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On 12/25/2019 at 2:51 PM, MrsWaldo said:

We didn’t have a Catholic Priest on our Cloud Christmas in South Africa 2016.  The ecumenical service was done by the CD (and done quite well)

 

 

Im almost sure we didn’t have a priest for our Myanmar Christmas 2015 either but if we did it mustn’t have been overly Catholic or I would have remembered 

 

Ive never seen a rabbi on board to do Hanukkah 

 

so your RCCL theory is debunked 

 

My theory is if you go on a Christmas cruise then you have to be prepared for some of your traditions/expectations to be different eg we don’t have goose/turkey or roast for lunch.  

We do a seafood feast as do many Australians ....

 

I  guess my message is there are a lot of people with different cultures and beliefs on board a small ship and sometimes it just isn’t possible to cater to the diversity.

Amen!

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I'd just like to say a couple of things... as I see my original post has irked many of you.  First off, most Catholic priests who sail onboard ships during Easter and Christmas cruises are retired.  AND, they pay (discounted, but pay nonetheless).  Frankly, I was surprised to see such vitriol from my original post.  I was just stating a fact about a change with Silversea (a change, I'm told, is now fleet wide).  I thought this forum was just for such a post... to inform others of updates, changes, opinions, etc.   Ships are rarely, if ever, in port on Christmas Day... I wonder why that is?  It is because it is a special day to celebrate and reflect.  Even if one is not Catholic or "Christian"...  that's what it is about. I simply do not understand why having a 45 minute Catholic service Christmas morning is so offensive.   And I'm sorry if so many of you were so angered/annoyed by my post.  Such nasty responses... such as "if a priest is so important to you on Christmas, stay home" and "shipboard priests are dubious at best, and may even have been defrocked"... are just outrageous, non-factual, and simply show the lack of respect of many.  Very sad indeed.  Oh, and by the way... Merry Christmas.

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1 hour ago, Island Venturer said:

I'd just like to say a couple of things... as I see my original post has irked many of you.  First off, most Catholic priests who sail onboard ships during Easter and Christmas cruises are retired.  AND, they pay (discounted, but pay nonetheless).  Frankly, I was surprised to see such vitriol from my original post.  I was just stating a fact about a change with Silversea (a change, I'm told, is now fleet wide).  I thought this forum was just for such a post... to inform others of updates, changes, opinions, etc.   Ships are rarely, if ever, in port on Christmas Day... I wonder why that is?  It is because it is a special day to celebrate and reflect.  Even if one is not Catholic or "Christian"...  that's what it is about. I simply do not understand why having a 45 minute Catholic service Christmas morning is so offensive.   And I'm sorry if so many of you were so angered/annoyed by my post.  Such nasty responses... such as "if a priest is so important to you on Christmas, stay home" and "shipboard priests are dubious at best, and may even have been defrocked"... are just outrageous, non-factual, and simply show the lack of respect of many.  Very sad indeed.  Oh, and by the way... Merry Christmas.

At least now you know that you will not find a priest onboard for Christmas and you can decide whether to sail or not based on that knowledge.

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