Estonia-born captain commands mighty fine ship
By Patti Pietschmann Travel Diva
Captain Aivo Palm keeps a high profile on board the country club-style RSSC Mariner. He’s easy to see at an imposing 6 feet four, elegant in his dress uniform as he strolls around greeting and talking to passengers.
As I write this Regent Seven Seas Mariner is heading into Victoria BC today until the captain turns her around to head to its final destination of this 12-day Alaska cruise, Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to score some time with the genial Estonian yesterday at sea. After taking a few photos on the bridge we repaired to quarters for a friendly chat.
Born to sail
Captain Palm was born in Tellin, Estonia’s capital on the Baltic. He began his seafaring career, at 18, as cadet after secondary school at the Marine Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Afterwards he worked as an officer on cargo ships and then in 1997 took a post of Chief Officer on the Ro-Ro.
The Captain recalls Ro-Ro as a n 2,500-passenger party-like vessel with tiny cabins but lots of onboard fun and games. Captain Palm joined Regent Seven Seas in 2012 as First Officer of Seven Seas Voyager, quickly escalating to Staff Captain of the Navigator and Captain of the Mariner two years ago. He heads a crew of 450 on the Mariner–all of whom appear to quite content with his leadership and very eager to please the 700 passengers.
He compares Ro-Ro and Regent saying the former is the Michelin of cruises while the latter to more of a McDonald’s.
A people person
“To work on a cruise ship you have to like being with people,” says Captain Palm who does exude friendliness. “I like the product and environment of Regent ships, he adds. And all evidence points to his conviction. He runs a smooth ship crew-wise and sea-wise.
The father of twin, 16-year–old boys, who live with his wife in Estonia, Captain Palm says he gets to bring the family on board. “The boys love the pool deck, the Mariner’skids club, hamburgers and ice cream,” he muses.
Alaska 2020 bookings include free business class
Cruising Alaska at the end of the season can be a bit nippy but it doesn’t seem to bother the passengers who participate in the many on board activities. Stormy weather did interfere with the voyage. We had to by pass both the Hubbard Glacier and Sitka. But no complaints.