Boris the Dream Maker

June 17, 2009 -

John Heald

Good morning. It’s 6:23 am and here I sit in my underpants with 45 minutes in which to write to you all before I have to leave tor the UK Cruise Convention in Dover. So, before I post a very special interview let me press on by answering today’s questions…..oh actually before I do let me say a word about Kye. Now I know I am supposed to do this on Friday but as I have to say goodbye then and am flying……and no doubt crying…..I thought I would just pen a quick update now.

The ongoing competition for her affections continues. On the surface, it would appear that her mother is winning. She’s the one who gets up in the middle of the night to soothe her anxious brow, and she’s the one she turns to when life’s problems and predicaments and pooey diapers just get too much. But I’m fighting back, and I’m doing it by appealing to her basic instincts.

And her basic instincts at the moment are to hate anything that causes her any physical discomfort whatsoever, even if it’s as trivial and fleeting as getting her face wiped with a damp cloth or getting her baby grow thingy put on.

So I have a strategy, and it’s dark, dastardly and damned clever, if I say so myself. I’m simply disassociating myself with anything Kye dislikes. So when evil mummy is forcing a nasty old piece of clothing over her head (often the trigger for an unholy hullabaloo) I quietly tiptoe from the room. When she wipes the milk off her face – a guaranteed tantrum starter – I stand out of her line of vision.

And when mummy’s out of the room, I take great delight in whispering subliminal propaganda in her ear. “If daddy were in charge,” I murmur, conspiratorially, “he’d never clean your face, and he’d never make you wear Winnie the Pooh baby grows, and he’d let you pee on the floor, and that breast milk she forces down your throat – well, it’d be ice cream and chocolate melting cake every day………if daddy were in charge.”

She doesn’t understand exactly what I’m saying, of course, but I think she gets the gist. Daddy is the slack but fun one. Mummy might keep her healthy and well and make sure her bottom is clean, but daddy would let her do exactly what she wants. I intend to keep playing good cop to mummy’s bad cop until Kye is 35. “Of course, you can have a beer. You are 13, after all.”

And I work it both ways. So just as mummy finishes pulling the nasty sweater over Kye’s head, and just as the tantrum subsides, daddy appears! And he’s all smiles and funny faces! And he’s holding Kittlehund, her favourite cuddly thingy! And isn’t everything just fun…when daddy’s around.

Then it’s time to get the damp cloth out again, so daddy slowly, silently slips away, to lurk in dark corners till he can play the joker all over again.

My only fear………….is will she remember me?

Here are those questions.

Michael Tomlinson Asked:
John, (Please reply if you would like)
Our cruise on the Liberty on 5/30-6/6 was outstanding as usual. As I had mentioned in my previous post, I was traveling with my son in my cabin and my married friends and their grown daughter was in a separate cabin.
Our room Stewart’s name was Sami and he took very good care of us. We would see him at least once everyday and he always greeted us by name with a huge smile. One day my son had slept in and when Sami saw me, he asked if everything was okay and apologized for not being able to take care of the room. I told him that there was no need to apologize since my son is the one who kept him from getting in the room.
The ship was beautiful and the food was outstanding. Butch was very funny. This makes my third Carnival cruise. I do not know why but I cannot even remember who the CD was on my first Carnival cruise. We had Big Tex on the second cruise and Butch on the third. They were both equally funny and entertaining.
The shows were all very entertaining. I attended all of the shows. One difference I noticed between Big Tex and Butch was that before and after the shows I seem to remember that Big Tex would be out on the stage welcoming everyone before the show and then he would come back out at the end to thank everyone for coming. Butch would do the same but it appeared he did it on a microphone from backstage….I guess I preferred seeing the person talking, so I liked the way Big Tex handled it.
We really enjoyed the dining room experience and went to dinner every night in the Silver dining room. We were at the early seating at 6:00 PM and were at table 534. Our headwaiter was Laurence and the assistant waiter was a young lady whose name I cannot recall. On our past Carnival cruises the headwaiter would ask our names on the first night and would then address us by name the remainder of the cruise. Laurence did not ask our names so of course he never addressed us by name. Other than that, the service was excellent although it did not seem like Laurence was overly friendly. On our two past cruises we really enjoyed when the dining room staff would sing and dance. On the Liberty it seemed to me that they waited too long to do the “show” and for the first few days we thought maybe they had stopped doing the singing and dancing. We were leaving the dining room one night and that is when the “show” started. We waited on the last night so that we could enjoy the final show. We were disappointed because it appeared like most of the singing and dancing was taking place on the lower lever and we were upstairs. Some people got up to go look down at the show but I thought they should have involved both levels better.
On our final day at sea, there was something that happened which caused the ship to list quite a bit. We were out on lounge chairs on the lobby deck when it happened…..A couple of hours after it happened, Butch was making some other announcement and mentioned that the Captain had to turn suddenly and that is what caused the listing. Reading other blogs since our return I learned that a lot of water came out of the pools during the turn and a lot of items were broken in the gift shops. Based on conversations with other passengers, it seemed like a lot of people would have liked to have had a better explanation of what happened. I read on one site that some people were told by the crew that we had gone into Cuban waters and had to turn quickly….I really do not think this is true but would liked to have know what the issue was. It was kinda exciting but in telling my cruise experience to others would like to be able to say what caused it.
On a scale of 1-10 I would have to give this cruise a 20….Even with the listing incident and with the headwaiter not calling us by name, cruising with Carnival is my idea of a wonderful vacation. My friends and I are already planning our next cruise on the Dream for next summer.
One last note and I will end this long-winded review. In an earlier response you had mentioned that you would send something special to my friends who after the death of my wife, are the only reason while I am still enjoying cruising….I am not sure what happened, but nothing was sent to their cabin. Not a big deal but I wanted to let you know.
Thanks again for your time and I will continue to be a faithful reader……Your humor, your friendly outlook, and the way you write about your beautiful wife and daughter continues to impress me……I hope that one day we will get to meet you so that I can thank you in person….
Thanks,
Mike

John Says:
Hello Mike
I recently asked for reviews of bloggers cruises and I have been getting a steady response of replies which all of us at Carnival appreciate. Before I move on with the rest of your review I want to say how guilty I feel about the non-follow up of the gift I had requested be sent to your travel companion who have been so supportive of you during your difficult times. I get many such requests and while most of them are taken care of occasionally one or two are not and that makes me very upset. I would therefore appreciate it if you could send me their address or e mail address (we wont post it) so I can take care of this personally.

Now………..onto your review.

It seems that you had some wonderful times on board and all your words of praise are being sent on to the various people on board and their supervisors. It was also very interesting to read about the two different styles of CD. I must admit that at the end of the shows featuring the dancers I always conduct the bows and the goodnight message from backstage. I learned this from my mentor Gary Hunter who taught me that the last thing the audience should see when the curtain goes down is the beautiful dancers…….not some overweight graying CD telling them that the casino is open. And I have always remembered this and I guess as Butch learned from me that he may have decided to do the same……….so that’s my fault.

One of the cruise director’s most important jobs is to keep the guests informed whatever the circumstances and it seems that you felt like you needed more information following “the list” of the vessel that you mentioned.

I know that the hotel director and maitre d will be interested in your comments about your team headwaiter and we certainly will be asking him to take note of what you have said as friendliness is as important as the prompt service you received.

Well, I agree, you can never have too much information although there may be in this case no more information to give. As always in situations like this rumors abound and are started by guests and by crew……….that’s life at sea. If the captain had to make a sudden course change as Butch stated in his announcement then I believe that is what happened. For the ship to have strayed by accident into Cuban waters then not only would all the navigational equipment would have stopped working but the officers on the bridge would have to have failed to have noticed as well……….I doubt either happened. However, I have asked the ship to clarify and have mentioned to Butch to always remember that information is king and that you can never in situations like this make too many announcements.

If I receive any further information on this I will be sure to let you know.

And now the most important thing. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to be on the ship surrounded by all that “fun” having just lost your wife. I again apologize that your friends did not get what I had asked for and I hope you will help me alleviate this by writing back soon.
Best wishes
John

Mike Charters Asked:

John Please Respond
John, I’ve got a question for you that I’ve been getting a variety of different answers on! We’d like to go B2B next year on the Spirit, Seattle to Vancouver and Vancouver to Hawaii. Some people says that this violates the Jones Act, and some don’t. It’s a new run for the Spirit since it currently starts its Alaska runs in Vancouver.
Can you please ask Carnival’s legal eagles to give us a ruling on this?

John Says:
Hello Mike
Thanks for writing and giving me the chance to tell you that in the case of a back-to-back cruise on the Carnival Spirit the Jones Act/Passenger Services Act does not apply. It is a very complicated act and it is often best to ask if it applies or not. Anyway, you are now free to explore the wonders of Alaska for two unforgettable voyages.

Please let m know if you need any further help.
Best wishes
John

Sarah Asked:
Please Reply!
John,
Well I have a few things for you since it’s been awhile since I posted! First, I’ll start by answering your questions
1) 1. DOES WHO THE CRUISE DIRECTOR IS GOING TO BE ON A SHIP INFLUENCE YOUR BOOKING THAT CRUISE
It doesn’t entirely influence our decision. Most of it depends on destinations, time of year, and of course, price. However, we’ve met some amazing Carnival employees along the way and would go out of our way to cruise with them! Even though we’ve never had the pleasure of cruising with you (and I’ll get to that later), we’d strongly consider a cruise that you were planning to do. We’d also definitely book again specifically because of Goose, Wee Jimmy, Big Sexy, several social hosts, and 1 amazing dance captain (Claire).
2. DO YOU THINK A CRUISE DIRECTOR CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE TO YOUR OVERALL CRUISE ENJOYMENT? IF YOU ANSWER YES…………..PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY
Yes, I do. I can give you several examples. We loved sailing with Goose, because he went of his way to make our cruise even more memorable. He knew our names and he always seemed happy to see us at all the events. (And we normally participate in everything!) That cruise on the Splendor is probably my very favorite. We loved Wee Jimmy and thought he was a top-notch cruise director, but his entertainment staff was lackluster at best. They didn’t seem into the trivia and fun stuff and we didn’t have quite as much fun on that Glory trip. It also could be because Big Sexy and Stitch were so much fun on the Elation the year before. But an involved CD can definitely have an impact on your cruise.

Ok, so now to my questions! After a pretty rough week, I thought my eyes were fooling me when I saw John Heald on Carnival Legend on 9/27! My heart jumped!! We are booked on that sailing! I finally convinced my parents to switch to Carnival after their cruises on “wedon’tevengiveyoubathrobestouse of the seas.” It’s a cruise I’m really looking forward to because not only am I going with my best friend Ashley again, but my parents are coming as well as the friends we made on the Splendor last December! The cruise is special in many ways. My dad will not only be celebrating his birthday during the cruise, but he will also be celebrating his retirement from the US Army after 30 years of service. He is going to be retiring as a LT Colonel.
I had hoped to write you a few weeks before to see if you would be able to welcome them with open arms to Carnival with a special something in their room. However, this is even more exciting news!!
Would it be possible for our group to meet up with you while you are on board? I got to meet you in Philly and now my best friend and parents can meet you too!
Also, would you be able to arrange a special surprise for my parents? I plan on paying to have their room decorated on his birthday, October 1 later in the sailing, but something to greet them to the awesomeness that is Carnival would be so appreciated! I’ve even hooked my mom on reading your blog!
Another request-if you are able, could you do bedtime stories on that sailing? It’s the one can’t miss John Heald activity I’ve heard so much about! And even though you won’t be CD yet, I’m sure everyone else on the sailing would love Bedtime Stories.
And last request for now (I promise), do you know anything about being able to book the Private Island (Bannister Island) tour in Belize? It’s still not showing up and one that my entire group would like to do. If it doesn’t seem to be available, what else would you recommend in Belize?
And thanks to your recommendations, we are going to try out the Supper Club on this ship! We know it’s going to be amazing and can’t wait!
Thanks John!
Sarah
PS-we have some adorable things for you to pass onto little Kye when we see you!

John Says:
Hello Sarah
It was very interesting ready your comments about the cruise directors you have enjoyed and how they and their staff are such an important part of the cruise. I know all the CD’s are reading these comments and they will for sure be spurred on by comments like this.
Let me answer your questions.

I was very pleased to read that I will be onboard for your Carnival Legend cruise and I hope you enjoy the bedtime story which I promise to perform. The private island tour is available in Belize from what I understand and it is simply astonishing. Let me check on this and either Stephanie or I will forward the answer from our terrific shore excursion department.

Now, on to Dad. Of course it will be an honor for me to recognize his outstanding service to his country and I ask that once onboard you leave a letter for me at the guest service Desk. Write a wee tribute about him and include some facts and I will honor him publicly. I hope this is OK with you.

Thanks for taking the time to write and we will send you an answer on the tour shortly.

Best wishes to you all
John

Irene Garner Asked:
Dear John…please reply
I am sad to say that the gift for my grandson’s 18th birthday back in April has still not arrived. I’ve sent the address in twice now, and we are moving soon, so unless it’s already on the way, I just want to thank you for the effort you made to get it to him.
Thanks again…Irene (hooked on cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene
Well, I guess if you want something done………do it yourself. I am very upset and very sorry that the person I had asked to do this has not done so. I am very disappointed in her. Anyway, can I ask you send the address to me one more time……mark the comment please don’t post and once I am in the States I will mail it to you. My apologies once again and he will get it….I promise
Best wishes
John

Spencer Asked:
John Please Reply,
Is any of this true?
In May 2009, Carnival announced that the Holiday may not be bound for service as the Grand Holiday as early stated. The Holiday may remain in Carnival’s fleet and sail from Charleston, SC on 5 – 7 day cruises to the North, with stops in New York, Boston, and Halifax in the summer, and 5 – 7 day Caribbean cruises with stops in Bahamas and Key West during the fall and winter. Carnival also stated that they may ad up to four, 8-day Bermuda cruises as well. The move comes as Norwegian Cruise Lines ends its current sailing from Charleston, SC early in 2010 and also based on the twice a year sailing that Carnival currently offers from the SC port, have meet with a great deal of success. The ship may also see some service out of Norfolk, Va, and Wilmington, NC.
The Carnival spokesperson also stated that Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC are both busy tourist destinations in their on right, and both cities are within a short driving distance from Myrtle Beach, SC which is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Eastern United States, so it only makes sense to put a “Fun Ship” close by. The Port of South Carolina cruise terminal is expected to see a face lift; using the stimulus money if the deal comes through as expected.
The Holiday will undergo some much-needed improvements and repairs including, plumbing and propulsion repairs, crew area improvements and repairs, some minor cabin upgrades, and the addition of a retractable covering over the aft area of the Lido deck, similar to the bigger ships in the Carnival fleet. Once the Holiday is refurbished the company plans to rename her Carnival Holiday.
Thanks,
Spencer

John Says:
Hello Spencer
I am hoping you saw yesterday’s blog where I publicly flogged Wikipedia for printing this in correct information. I am so sorry that this misinformation may have gotten your hopes up that a ship will home port from Charleston…….although never say never.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention and my best wishes to you and your family. I’m told our high-tech folks here at Carnival are planning on updating the Wikipedia site to update this erroneous information.
John

Duckie Asked:
John Please Reply:
I am wondering if you could comment on this Wikipedia entry about the Holiday:
“In May 2009, Carnival announced that the Holiday may not be bound for service as the Grand Holiday as early stated. The Holiday may remain in Carnival’s fleet and sail from Charleston, SC on 5 – 7 day cruises to the North, with stops in New York, Boston, and Halifax in the Summer, and 5 – 7 day Caribbean cruises with stops in Bahamas and Key West during the fall and winter. Carnival also stated that they may ad up to four, 8-day Bermuda cruises as well. The move comes as Norwegian Cruise Lines ends its current sailing from Charleston, SC early in 2010 and also based on the twice a year sailing that Carnival currently offers from the SC port, have meet with a great deal of success. The ship may also see some service out of Norfolk, Va, and Wilmington, NC.
The Carnival spokesperson also stated that Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC are both busy tourist destinations in their on right, and both cities are within a short driving distance from Myrtle Beach, SC which is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Eastern United States, so it only makes sense to put a “Fun Ship” close by. The Port of South Carolina cruise terminal is expected to see a face lift; using the stimulus money if the deal comes through as expected.
The Holiday will undergo some much-needed improvements and repairs including, plumbing and propulsion repairs, crew area improvements and repairs, some minor cabin upgrades, and the addition of a retractable covering over the aft area of the Lido deck, similar to the bigger ships in the Carnival fleet. Once the Holiday is refurbished the company plans to rename her Carnival Holiday.”
I realize that most of what you read on Wikipedia is the equivalent of what is in Kye’s diapers, but I am wondering.

John Says:
Hello Duckie
Am hoping you saw yesterday’s blog where I publicly flogged Wikipedia for printing this in correct information. I am so sorry that this misinformation may have gotten your hopes up that a ship will home port from Charleston…….although never say never. I love copy and paste, don’t you?

Seriously, I thank you also for writing and telling us about another Wikipedia diaper and one day I truly hope to sail again out of Charleston……..I did so on the Carnival Triumph and it was a brilliant experience
Best wishes o you and the family
John

Mark in Houston

John Says:
Hello Mark
As always thanks for the very interesting comments and questions. I will insert my answers after your questions if that’s ok with you ……….here we go.

John, please reply.
Thanks for the last batch of answers. I’m glad you enjoyed the question about differences in ships across the lines – and hope you will write more about it in upcoming blogs. It’s an interesting topic – maybe a good idea for those mornings you’re stumped heh.
1) Muster Drill – I will always attend dutifully, and extol the virtues of doing as much. But I think Carnival should across the board take into consideration the timing of this, with regard to sail away. It’s increasingly reported that muster has extended into sail-away recently. While I understand the importance of it, dutifully participating should not ‘rob’ a cruiser of this simple pleasure and experience. If muster is running late – seriously, within reason, the ship can leave a little late.
Has Carnival considered re-visiting its muster procedures regarding passenger compliance? I could think of a few ideas… A cutoff, so late arrivers don’t hold up the drill for people standing in the heat. Make the late people repeat the next day… If they don’t, cut off their s&s card if you have to. Just curious if Carnival is thinking of this one…

JOHN’S RESPONSE: Thanks for asking this question. Did you see my answer to Mr. Pete in yesterday’s blog? If not, let me just clarify a few points. The ship’s Captain certainly given the choice would not want to hold the Emergency Drill while the ship is pulling away from the side of the pier. We realize that this is part of the “experience” and whenever they can the ship’s command will not let go the lines until the drill is completed.

However, that is not always possible. There are many scenarios in which this can’t be helped. The main one is traffic. If all the guests are onboard the port authorities may tell the captain he has to leave now……………or miss his slot and wait to much later which in some cases would affect dining times and even the on schedule arrival in the first port of call. Traffic doesn’t just mean cruise vessels but commercial traffic as well. This is applicable to all ports especially Port Everglades and Miami.

Then there is the fact that by law……………United States Coast Guard law……….each and every guest must know how to save their life. If this means that just a few minutes before sailing time we still have 100 or more guests still arriving from late flights then the Captain will wait until they have boarded before starting the drill………….because that is as I said…………..the law.

So, while I promise you that we always do our best to hold the drill before sailing there are times when this is not possible and as important as enjoying the sail away experience, I am sure you will agree with me that is nowhere near as important as making sure everyone knows what to do in a real emergency. So, to sum up I promise you and all the readers that whenever possible the captain will hold the drill before sailing unless any of the above factors come into play. I think I am right for the most part that the drills are taking place after sailing…………comments from recent cruises would be most welcome.

With regard to those who arrive late it should be noted that there are very strict rules in place here industry wide which cannot be changed and must be adhered to. Any guest who arrives after the drill has taken place will be given personal instruction on what to do by a member of the crew usually supervised by the safety officer. This includes how to wear the life jacket and where the guest will be taken to the muster station. These are rules set out by U.S. Coast Guard as I said. Every cabin and public area is checked by the state room stewards and the ships crew and I think it is safe to say that attendance at the drills is as close to 100% as possible every cruise on every ship. Of course you will always have one or two who refuse to go and these guests are reported to the ship’s command and then tied to the funnel and have their bottoms stroked with a cactus ………….. ok, that’s wishful thinking. There are one or two guests who refuse to attend and they are reported to the ship’s command and these are no doubt the same guests who talk during the drill on a plane, always keep talking loudly on their cell phones after the flight attendant has told everyone to turn them off and they are doubt the ones who stand up before the seat belt sign has been turned off……………the bastards.

2) Would you consider posting an updated any time dining schedule (for implementation across the fleet)? I’ve recently learned of cruisers confirmed for any time dining on inspiration as of July 9, 2009 – WAY before the official statement of ‘summer 2010’ – what’s up with that?

JOHN’S RESPONSE: Of course. I will ask once again for the latest anytime dining schedule across the fleet and will post as soon as I receive it. I can tell you that it is proving to be very popular. Oh, I know you asked about the Holiday and Wikipedia and I am sure you read my comments yesterday and above.

4) Finally – it was earlier reported that a man ‘fell’ from carnival inspiration earlier today. I put the ‘fell’ in quotes, because we all know how it takes some work to ‘fall’ from a ship… Anyhow, any statement about that?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31373744/ns/travel-news/

JOHN’S RESPONSE: First off, I can tell you that it is virtually impossible to simply fall off a cruise ship as we have 44 inch railings surrounding the vessel and signage advising to stay out of restricted areas, not to mention a uniformed security force patrolling the ship, including the open decks, 24 hours a day. In this case it should be noted that this man told authorities that he was climbing on a railing to get a better view of the pilot boat in the channel when he slipped and fell overboard. I’m glad the man was found safe and well and there’s a reason that we have railings around the decks of the ship – and climbing on them is certainly not the reason. I once again stress that cruising is the safest form of vacation there is and a very rare occurrence considering we carry nearly 4 million guests a year.

5) In an answer to your question – I’ve never booked a cruise based on the cruise director… And can’t really imagine at this point doing so… Unless it was YOU! What exactly is your schedule, even past dec 2009 (as posted in cd schedule), if you know it? Inquiring minds want to know. Concisely.
JOHN’S RESPONSE: Finally, I was so humbled by number 5 and I hope then that you can join me on the Carnival Freedom this summer, I will be there until August 28 and if not the Carnival Legend in October or the Carnival Dream for the bloggers cruises on November 15th and December 8th. I remain at your service

John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John,
Please Respond, I just found out that for my Birthday this year, my brother and his wife are taking me on the Carnival Paradise for a 4-day cruise to Mexico, so I am really excited. I was wondering if you could tell me who the CD is going to be for the Carnival Paradise in October. The only one I know is Jeff Bronson and he was fantastic on the Carnival Pride. Also since there will be four of us on this cruise, could I ask a favor about getting the four of us our own table. The reason that I ask is this is the first time in 11 years that I have seen my brother and sister-in-law and I would like to spend some special time with them, and my niece, at dinnertime. Thank you in advance and give a hug to Kye from one of her American aunties.
Kathy

John Says:
Hello Kathy
I know how important spending valuable time with the family is so please send me a comment 10 days before you sail and I will be happy to pass on your request for a table for four. Jeff Bronson will once again be the cruise director so you will have a brilliant time.
Don’t forget to write
Best wishes to all
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John,
Please respond, I read your email from a mother whose son is on Dialysis and I just thought that maybe I should let you know about a program that the National Kidney Association has. The Kidney Association has portable dialysis machines (they fit in a briefcase) that they loan out for people who would like to travel. They will train the person who is on Dialysis or a family member how to use it. I found out about this through a friend who went on a cross-country train ride and she used one for about a month. If you have a way to get in touch with that woman, would you mind passing this information on to her. Thank you so much for this blog, I look forward to it everyday. I do have a question for you about the CD schedule. I want to plan a cruise for 2011 on a ship that you will be the CD, but it will have to be one on the West Coast, so how far in advance are the schedules made up. Btw, John have you ever been the CD for a West Coast ship.
Give my love to Kye and Heidi.
Kathy

John Says:
Hello Kathy
The kindness that this blog brings out in people never ceases to amaze me and the information you have passed on to the blogger whose nephew will need dialysis will be invaluable I am sure………….thanks so much.

|I am so glad you are enjoying the blog and to answer your question I have never in my 22 years been on a ship sailing to the West Coast ports……….I am actually considering this for the summer of 2010. As for 2011……….well no plans have been made but ……….. I may fancy a bit of Carnival Magic.

Hope to see you soon and my best to you and all the family
John

That’s all for today…………………more on Thursday.

One last thing which I am sure will be a subject for much discussion again. I will start this by saying thanks again to our friend Host Mach from Cruise Critic who posted this comment.

John, please reply, my friend!!

Sometimes, regardless of what’s written, people follow their own path.

There’s yet another discussion going on about the dress code for the dining rooms. Everyone knows what it says at Carnival.com but the real world experience is VASTLY different. Many people are reporting that the dress in the dining room is no better than what we see at the Lido Deck buffet and I don’t doubt what they’re saying.

I recall last year when the dress code was ‘relaxed’. There was a great deal of objection to the more lax standards and there were many forecasts of exactly what people are reporting now. Are the Maitre d’s no longer enforcing the dress code at all?? If that’s the case, it’s a sad state of affairs, indeed.

Can you offer any wisdom??

Thanks a bunch, my friend!!!

Ciao!!

Host Mach

Well, once again the subject of dress code has arisen and before I comment here is the flyer which is placed in the guest cabins.
Dress_Co

I have spoken to the senior director in Miami who is responsible for this and he told me that the dining room management a staff endeavor to monitor all the entrances as much as possible in order to ensure that the company dress code is followed…….maybe we could do a little better in this regard so this will be discussed across the fleet.

However……and I know I have said this before so my apologies for repeating myself ………and remember this is just my opinion……I don’t truly understand why what someone else wears affects people’s dining enjoyment. And……why is this limited to cruise ships? Have you or anyone else you have met ever said that you went to a restaurant on land and although the food was great you had to complain to the management because the man on the table opposite had jeans on?………I guess I may be in the minority here and as always I would appreciate your thoughts and we will continue to do our best to enforce our dress code policies.

So, just before I get dressed and bugger off to Dover I want you to meet Boris. He and I have been mates for a long time and as you will see he started as a bar waiter……..just like me. He knows has a very important job and is someone who is massively responsible for making sure your Carnival Dream ……….comes true.

Here’s Boris

Asst f&b-boris

Bartender-boris

Dream-boris

1. Boris – you have an interesting and varied career with Carnival. Can you tell us where you are from and about your Carnival journey so far
I was born in 1971 in the city of Pula in Croatia while I grew up and finished schools in Zagreb. I’ve joined Carnival in 1996 on Inspiration in Helsinki as a part of the bar service college. After completing a bar college I’ve became a bar waiter and held that position for one contract (6 months). After coming back from vacation I’ve joined Carnival Destiny, that was being build in Monfalcone, and shortly after I was promoted to a bartender. After completing one contract in the same position I was offered a F&B Management Trainee position. Following a 10 months cross training, within the F&B department, I was promoted to a Assistant F&B manager I. I must mention the most important part of that contract was meeting Katalin…who is for last 10 years my wife and a mother of a 9 year old Sophia…needles to say that they are the meaning of my life today (there is Gaia as well…year old chocko Labrador)! Well going back to the journey. During the same contract I was promote to a assistant F&B manager II and was acting in the position of the Bar manager for a certain time. Just prior leaving for a vacation Katy and me find out about previously mentioned Sophia what resulted in first temporarily good bye to Carnival. Approximately a year and a half later I got a call from my future boss Ian Smith to join him in restructuring Housekeeping department in Miami head office. After spending several months on board familiarizing with the department I have assumed a position of the Housekeeping Fleet Manager and shortly after I was promoted to the position of Manager, Housekeeping and Laundry Operations. I have held that position until 2003 when we (the family) decided that we would like to come back to Europe and a opportunity opened with the Corporate shipbuilding in position of the cabin inspector…my second temporarily good bye… I have spent a memorable 4 years with Corporate shipbuilding in position of cabin and public are inspector but then again the family needs prevailed and we wanted to settle back in Croatia…third temporarily good bye… Well…this lasted for a year and my one man business attempt resulted in everything but success and a year later I have been offered a position of Hotel Superintendant. This is the position that I currently hold and basically I oversee all the Hotel related activities in the yard prior the ship delivery.

2. Before we talk about the present let’s go back to your past. What are your memories of being a bar waiter
Well one episode stuck in my mind and that was the first order that I took. Just fresh out of the college I was working in the casino bar on Inspiration and couple of guests ordered a screwdriver and a Perrier! Now I must explain that Croatia was not a country of cocktails (mentioned drink was popularly called vodka-juice) and the sparkling water I was drinking all my life were mostly domestic and Perrier was not on the list. Not to make the story too long I went three time back to the guest eventually politely asking them if they can repeat their order loudly to the bartender as I have no idea what they would like. Fortunately it all finished very well and I even deserved a healthy tip….and a several gray hairs!!

3. You have a very interesting job ………can you describe your responsibilities

Well in few words our site team is the link between the operations (technical, hotel, marine, etc.), Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding and the yard. CCS is responsible for the overall quality of building and meeting the contractual standards. Our role here is more administrative handling modifications, operation requests, extra costs or credits, etc. Also the knowledge of the operation often helps in making the right decision that will enable crew to work in friendlier environment. Beside that I am also involved with all the Architectural, staterooms and public areas, meeting, mockups and final approvals working closely with Joe Farcus. Then participating in handling hotel related owner supply (items directly purchased by CCL and are not part of the ship contract with the yard) deliveries and installations. All above is valid until few weeks before final delivery of the vessel as then….difficult to explain but fortunately so far we were fairly successful.

4. What’s on your desk right now, in over words what are you working on right now with regard to the the Carnival Dream

As you know we are preparing for the sea trial but beside that this are the days when the officers and crew a slowly arriving to the yard and assuming their responsibilities. Hotel Director has been here for couple of weeks and Captain and Chief Engineer arrived just last week. This is also the time when the final installations in the hotel areas are taking place and I spend time on board to provide answers and suggestions when needed. Also Carnival Magic is becoming alive this days as the first concept drawings and floor plans are being delivered….

5. Sea Trials are just around the corner. I know you have been onboard for many of these on our new ships……so whayt happens.

Sea trials are more technical activity where yard is for the first time employing all the ships system as we will after delivery. This is a final checking that can be done only on the sea. Sea trial sis divided in the first sea trail, dry dock and second sea trial. During the first sea trial yard is performing series of tests (most of them a contractual obligation) with our officers and crew involved. During the dry dock a vessels shell is inspected and if needed possible repairs are carried out. Also the vessel will get a fresh coat of paint. Second sea trials are dedicated to the remaining contractual test and usually Captain will get a possibility to maneuver the vessel for a couple of hours to get a feel of the vessel. Personally this is a opportunity to double check the quality of construction in respect to noise and vibrations. Also we get to see how do the chandeliers and decorations behave during the rough maneuvering (emergency stop) etc.

6. Over the next few weeks your days will get busier and busier. What’s the timeline for you between now and the handover of the ship

As mentioned before this days are mostly unpredictable. Teams of crew and subcontractors have different needs and I just have to cater to them. From our finest I/S department to catering equipment in the galleys to coffee machines to stateroom curtains, tables and loose furniture…etc. This days are my favorite as if handled properly the results are instant and by the end of the day one is usually satisfied with accomplished. Then again some times small things can make a life miserable as rooms not ready for use or missing elevator keys needed for loading or…I am trying to forget some of the similar episodes

7.What are the biggest challenges you personally will have to meet with regard to the Carnival Dream and how do you overcome them

The biggest challenge is to resolve problems that the crew can not do it by their own. You know that our crew is more that excellent in their job but shipyard and vessel under construction is not their usual environment and many obstacles can arise which are difficult for them to handle. This is were we come in using our connections and relationships to resolve them. This is pretty much what I have mentioned before. My biggest reward is when a crew member or his boss thanks me for helping them in achieving given tasks. Everyone who participated in the startup of the new vessel knows how exhausting and how rewarding can it be…It is a great experience with mixed emotions!

8.And what areas of the ship are you most excited about.

Definitely Lanai deck. This is the first time that we have a opened deck that wraps around the whole vessel on deck 5. Also the fact that every public room has an exit to the Lanai deck walking around the vessel gives you impression of walking through a quarter or downtown…From the overhanging Jacuzzis to the dedicated areas outside the dance club and aft lounges…I think that the opportunities are endless. Also this will be a operation challenge so I am very excited to see how will it look in operation.

9.Once the Carnival Dream is completed you have to make sure the ship has been completed as we had wanted. This involves each area being checked and signed for……..can you tell us more about this process.

Well primarily the CCS inspectors will follow the construction and carry out final inspections. Naturally we are closely involved in resolving the issues on the way and during the final deliveries. You are absolutely right that every guest or crew stateroom, public area, open deck, locker, store, office, etc is presented by the yard for final acceptance and is not accepted until all the remarks are corrected and the document is signed by the Owners representatives. This process starts approximately 5-6 months prior the final delivery (staterooms first) until the last area is accepted and the vessel is officially handed over to the Captain and his crew. Once the crew moves on board they are trained to check their working area and report any possible deficiencies that may have been missed during the construction. Finally it happens that some deficiencies are just impossible to be corrected at this time so the outstanding items are presented during the meeting of the final delivery with the top executives from CCL and the Yard and are dealt with in contractual manners. This meeting finishes with the final acceptance of the vessel which becomes newest vessel in the Carnivals fleet!

10. I thought to finish we could talk a little about your home. I am a huge fan of Croatia and I know many of our readers enjoyed a stop in Dubrovnik on their European cruises. What are you most proud of about being Croatian and for those who will be visiting Dubrovnik on the Carnival Dream what should they see and do while there.

You know I do not want to sound like broken record but there is a marketing campaign promotion Croatia and the main slogan is CROATIA – THE MEDITERRANEAN AS IT ONCE WAS. I really feel this describes all. This are of Europe was under so many influences over the history that it would take a whole page to mention them all but it seems that we have somehow manage to embrace the good and now it is…charming mix. Also the nature in the rest of the country is beautiful as well. Naturally to summarize the experience you must taste the food! I don’t want to specify where and what but a vast variety of different tastes are available and culinary excursions are a must.

What a great story and proof positive once again that Carnival recognizes talent when they see it and promotes accordingly. Remember then as you walk around your Carnival Dream and on many other past Carnival ships the hard work and total commitment of people like Boris……..I would appreciate it very much if you could take the time to thank him.

As I said we are great mates……there is nothing I wouldn’t do for Boris………and there is nothing Boris wouldn’t do for me……..and that’s what happens……we do nothing for each other

I am off to Dover to judge Dancing with the Stars…………….bugger!

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

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37 Responses to Boris the Dream Maker

  1. John,

    Well, dress code matters to me to a certain point. I feel that way because I am tired of seeing lumpy thighs and man boobs when I am in the Lido restaurant eating. Not to mention the guy I saw on a ship recently in his tiny Speedo who… Well… Let’s just say he must have found the salad bar VERY exciting!! Perhaps he should have gotten a room with his plate of greens.

    It seems like the Lido restaurant has an “anything goes” attitide and I don’t find that appropriate.

    I mean, would you or anyone wear a Speedo to a land-based steak restaurant??? I don’t think so.

    I think the managers in the Lido restaurant really need to watch what comes in the door.

    I’m not a “frumpy old person” either – I’ll be 32 next week!

    Melissa

  2. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    Bravo, Boris and bravo Carnival!

    Few organizations are wise enough to be able to recognize native talent the way Carnival does. Boris started from very humble beginnings to become a TREMENDOUSLY important member of the Carnival team. Amazing story, simply amazing.

    John, thanks for addressing the questions about clothing standards in the dining rooms. I stated, in that thread, that what others wear doesn’t effect my dining experience but the published dress code is ALWAYS pointed out. I did so myself. Perhaps the answer is to, yet again, relax the dress code. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer so the answer certainly can’t come from me!! :)

    Here’s hoping all the packing is done and you’re ready to cross The Pond. Also, here’s hoping for a rare event… a pleasant flight.

    By the way, I think you’ve developed a perfectly brilliant strategy to win Kye’s heart! I think I would have done the same!!

    Ciao!!

    Host Mach

  3. Brittany says:

    John, I wanted to answer you previous Cd question as well as respond to the dress code.

    As for the CD, After being on 3 cruises I realized, its not that I cruise for the CD, but they do make the cruise even more enjoyable. It seems almost impossible not to even notice the CD on cruises because they make the announcements, some do the morning show and open the major production shows. CD’s will always be part of a cruise.

    I will say that the only CD I will probaly book a cruise just to see would be Tex because I loved him just that much on my Fantasy cruise.

    As for the dress code, I am one to say I can honestly careless what people wear to dinner. Of course no one wants to see someone in Spongebob PJs or a cut off BudLite shirt. I feel like as long as you look decent, no one should care what you wear. I am not one to get all dazzled up for dinner. I rather be in my jeans and a nice shirt, however I feel like Formal night should be the only night were your outfit should be classier than normal.

  4. stef aka hockey addict says:

    Hi John!!

    I have a bad feeling. Want to know what it is? I have a bad feeling that you are not going to want to stay onboard. That you will want to be with Heidi and Kye. I don’t blame you…. I would miss them too…. but hopefully I could sail with you before this happens!!

    Boris…. thank you for everything you do. It sounds like a awesome and rewarding job!! I would be honored to meet you one day…. I mean it….

    Safe travels, John. I’m sure you have plenty of Kye pictures on your laptop dancer and your crackberry!

    Stef

  5. Cheryl K says:

    JOHN PLEASE REPLY
    Valor 6-7-09
    This was another great cruise!!
    There were seven of us traveling together—my daughter and her husband and my 3 grandchildren and my best friend and I. We had two balcony cabins. We were directed to Lido and we fed the little ones lunch and when they finished we were able to go to our cabins. I had a message on my phone from Big Tex when I arrived wanting to make arrangements for the back stage tour that you had so kindly arranged for us! We had great cabin steward (Java) and his assistant. We were assigned an absolutely awesome table in the Washington dining room (322) that gave us a beautiful ocean view each night and our waiter and assistant were awesome! Siggie was Employee of the Month and we got to see him receive his award and he got to have a night off to have dinner with the Captain in the Lincoln dining room! His assistant Indra was so good with the children and took time with them even though we knew he was busy—he was a fantastic artist and would draw them pictures each night that they would take back to the cabin and color and bring back to him the next night! The Valor’s food was as good as it was on the Splendor so that says to me that fleet wide Carnival has consistently the best food of any line. The entire week there was only one thing that we did not like and it was not a quality issue but rather something one of the children thought she wanted try but didn’t care for but Siggie was Johnnie on the Spot and quickly replaced it with another choice. One cannot ask for better service than that. Going to dinner each night with the children was something we looked forward to, as it was not only delicious but a fun and relaxing time. We also had some fun with Wilson our Maitre ‘D and even Captain Cupisti had a sense of humor when speaking to us after introducing his crewmembers.

    The ship was clean and the crew friendly everywhere we were. The shows were good and Big Tex was so funny and we loved hearing his “Brief Tex Messages” throughout the day. Most funny is his “dance routines” which really made everyone laugh hysterically and the kids remembered and were trying to do them after the show. After seeing both production shows on the Valor, I still think Vroom wins hands down BUT G Force was awesome! They later drew a huge crowd to watch them in the Atrium and the rails all the way up were packed with people on each level to see them. The twins got to sit on the floor in front and were in awe! Least favorite show was Rand Woodbury best comedy was Al Ernst—he is so funny and he played the routine well with Big Tex too. The live music throughout the ship was good

    Grand Cayman—daughter, her husband and 3 kids chose the Pirate adventure Carnival tour and they loved it. The 5 year old jumped off the highest point they would allow off the ship causing Grandma to gasp in horror when she saw the video! My daughter said this was a great tour for families and it was very reasonably priced as well. It was the only tour that we did on this cruise. In Roatan, we arranged to go to Fins N Flippers and that was awesome and in Belize the kids just wanted to get their hair braided and get tattoos—the adults had all been there before so this was about what the kids wanted to do. Key West we shopped some and came back to the ship—the kids were in awe that they virtually had the pool to themselves and no wait on the slide so they ran up those flights of stairs 27 times before they finally gave up on the slide.
    We were off the ship and out of the terminal in record time.

    There were 3 things that I thought were worth mentioning that could use some improvement. Since I am a stockholder as well as a loyal Carnival cruiser, these are not complaints but constructive criticism.
    Embarkation: Still could use improvement in this area. VIP Check in is a very nice area in the Miami terminal but there should be information outside the building directing people that are VIP. If you ask, they tell you to bypass the outdoor lines and go directly inside but the problem with this is that everyone who has been in the outdoor cues waiting think you are “cutting in front of them” and there are angry confrontations. Due to VIP status, we were on the ship in 15 minutes after arriving at the terminal from the airport—I love VIP status!
    Photos: I know you have brought this up previously for suggestions on the blog. The ship was full and most were families. The area where the pictures are displayed was so crowded that you couldn’t even move through or see to find your own. We tried at different times and did manage to find some and bought them but there were many we knew had been taken and we couldn’t find them and one of them was the kids with Funship Freddy on the pier one of the places we were and I hated that I couldn’t find it. The lines were long at check out as well and it would make things so much easier if you were able to view them on the interactive TV in your cabin—then I wouldn’t have missed any.
    Game Room: Without the kids I wouldn’t have known this but there were many games that took the tokens and didn’t work. The air hockey tables were not working properly which is one of the few games that young children. There wasn’t an employee who was in this area and my daughter was told to get help or her money back she had to go to the casino. This really is inconvenient and I was surprised that the area seemed to be in disrepair. The only other ship we have cruised with the kids was the Splendor and it being new, all the equipment was working.
    That’s all!

    John:

    Thank you so much for arranging the back stage tour. You are so good to everyone but especially your bloggers! We never got to do it but not because Tex didn’t try to work it out but we just had so much going on! When I met him and told him that I appreciated his effort and didn’t want him to worry that we weren’t going to be able to do it he said if I was ever going to sail with him again and I wanted anything, I should just let him know and he would make it happen! It continues to amaze me how each Carnival employee will go the extra mile to make guests have everything they want. I saw Tex later that day and he called me by name. Little things make a huge impact with everyone.
    I know that you will miss your girls terribly and do hope that you will be able to do the Dream just so that you will be close to them during this time when Kye will change so much and so quickly. Ok, I know that you are tired of reading all this by now but I had a couple photos of the kids with the G Force dancers I wanted to sent to you but I don’t know how to get them to you. Can you tell me? Ok, that’s all—really. Thanks John.

    Cheryl

    PS—I can’t even picture you as Simon or Len judging a dance contest. I can’t wait for the Dream either!

  6. Hi John! thanks so much for all that you share with us about your baby doll. I love the pic that you posted yesterday of her sleeping in her bassinet…
    I just wanted to let you know that while I don’t normally book my cruise around the CD, I did book the Dream, actually changed my booking, which you know about…simply because YOU were going to be the CD. I am one of those that does think the CD can make such a difference in the whole atmosphere. I remember the cruise on the Imagination that you were the CD and the guy named “Arkansas” and every time he heard anyone say it he had to run up on stage and declare his love for his wife. It was even funnier when you chose him to be another passengers
    “horsie” as he needed a horsey to ride to save his wife in distress! I laughed so hard on that cruise that it hurt! On this cruise, you had the lead singer from the Platters do some songs…and the Mexican band at dinner serenading each table…wow…what a great cruise! Thank you so much!
    Also, I wanted to comment on Host Mach’s post.
    I do know your feelings on this but I tend to agree with Mach, who is by the way a great guy. HI Mach! I remember my first cruise in 1993 ( not really that long ago) and the whole atmosphere of the dining room was just so nice. It was casual, but just not jeans and shorts. It just felt so good, it felt like you were somewhere special. No different than if you go to a good restaurant at home that requires no shorts or jeans. I do also feel that because of this, it affects our waiters. I remember when it seemed elegant in a way, the waiters even took the time to clean the table cloth by scraping away crumbs….not that it has to be that way…it was just a nice little touch. Now, I believe what Mach is getting to is that people are really pushing the casual rule….I have read of those in shorts tank tops and ballcaps at the table. Now while a lot will not agree, it just makes it feel like we are at Wendys or McDonalds. I always enjoyed the special nights dining on a cruise ship. Maybe I am wrong here, but it is just my feeling. I wish they would take it back to casual and enforce it a little. Only because of the fact that we knew relaxing the dress code would mean that people will show up in anything. And it is not enforced. I have never seen the dress code enforced in all of my cruises. But before, if they pushed the button a little, at least they didn’t show up in swimsuits. ( I have read that some did this.) sorry for the gripe, just my opinion. I do believe many cruisers share this.

    thanks again for everything you do!
    Edy

  7. Luc aka Tangocherie says:

    John, please reply,

    Thank you so much for your splendid interview of Boris. It seems to give one a greater personnal attachment to the ship I am so very much looking forward to sail on next November.

    I certainly would appreciate as much information as you can possibly give us regarding the new state room category, the “cove” balcony. Many thanks, and keep a stiff upper lip in light of your upcomming separation from your lovely family.

    Luc

  8. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    Safe travels and have fun at your event.

    The dress code:

    As I have stated previously, what someone wears can indeed disrupt a lovely meal. I know this first hand.

    I won’t mention which ship…but it was in the formal dining room on the 2nd formal night. I am sitting at the table eating my meal when a man walks by whose belly (and there is really no other way to describe it ) was “shall we say” large.

    This man was wearing dirty blue jeans that did not come UP far enough and a wife beater (sleeveless) tshirt that did not come DOWN far enough….which left me with the wonderful view of his hairy, sweaty, exposed belly right at eye level every time he walked by….which seemed to be about every 5 minutes. His belly was only overshadowed by his hairy exposed armpits and their many layers.

    Needless to say, I had no appetite that night.

    In every day life, any other clothing issue doesn’t have as much to do with “what” they wear… as it does with “why” they wear it.

    For example…if a young man is into hiphop and likes the style of the baggy pants with the exposed underwear because he wants to make a fashion statement….I don’t care.

    However, take the exact same outfit and put it on an individual who is wearing it for the expressed purpose of intimidation, to demean or disrespect…and I do care… a lot.

    And (just my person opinion) I think a lot of the comments from people on Cruise Critic, who want to see the standards enforced, is because they feel like the people, showing up looking like the Hatfields and the McCoys, are doing so … just to prove that they can.

    It is as though they are determined to cheapen the experience. So again, it is more about why they wear something than what they wear.

    On the Splendor there was an old lady in the formal dining room at night literally in her bathing suit and cover up…complete with the plastic visor. Now I don’t care how many diamonds she was sporting on her fingers….her outfit shouted…”I have no class.” Apparently she was never taught that it is called the formal dining room for a reason.

    People on Cruise Critic who want the standards enforced understand that “life happens”. Luggage is lost and delayed. And people should not have to miss an excellent evening meal because of it. To every rule there is the exception. But if there is going to be a rule….enforce it..and leave the exceptions to those that only the Maitre D’ needs to know about.

    What does surprise me is that the people who will say “I don’t care what people wear”…. are the very same ones that will tell you that they don’t want swimsuits without cover ups (or guys in swimsuits without shirts) on LIDO.

    Personally, I have no problem with clean jeans and a polo shirt for guys. While it is the lowest standard exceptable…it is exceptable in today’s world. But once you start allowing jeans…then you have jeans that have been worn on a tour all day in port …. sweat soaked and disgusting. And as long as they have no holes… Carnival says…”OK”. And so the slippery slope begins…

    I always want Carnival to be in inexpensive cruise line…not a cheap one. There is a difference and some people just seem determined to make it cheap. That is a shame.

    Linda (Mom of your friend ~ who looks handsome in a suit~ DJ)

  9. Frank & Bridie says:

    John we recived your thank you ard from You and heidi today thanks for the card it was nice to know that are gifts were appreciated along with the toilet photos we sent from the Miracle. We are also looking forward to meeting you for lunch with linda and mike.
    Thanks Again

    Big Fans as Allways,
    Frank and Bridie

  10. retirementman says:

    PLEASE REPLY JOHN

    This will be a very short question John. I found out this evening that Empress Bee and Sarge Charlie will be on my January cruise. Could you please remember to have many photos af Kye, Heidi and of course you the fantastic father. Sime Bee and Charlie will be there, I hope to sit with them and hopefully we could all have a chance to see your beautiful daughter Kye. Please would it possible to make sure that Bee & Charlie sit with Marylou & I and whomever is added to the table. I just love meeting new people. Thanks again.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  11. Kevin says:

    Exactly what kind and how many freebees does Host Mach get from Carnivore?

    The glowing terms of endorsement have long since lost their creditbility.

  12. Sarah says:

    John,
    Thanks for answering my somewhat lengthy questions! :)

    I am looking forward to hearing about the private island excursion in Belize and can’t wait to see you on the Carnival Legend!

    Sarah

  13. Dorothy says:

    John,

    Thanks for the Dream update. I can not wait until December 3 for our cruise, which I know will be special.
    I hope that when they do the staterooms for the Magic, there will be a few more modified balconies and suites. There are not enough of them.
    I have a hard time booking a stateroom on some cruise that I wanted to take and had to change dates just to get a modified stateroom.
    Thanks again for our Dream update.
    Looking forward to more pictures.

  14. flipflopcruisequeen says:

    John,
    Your plan just may work very well with Kye. Why don’t you do a tape of yourself talking to her so that Heidi can play it for her several times every day? That way she will remember your voice when you see her again. She may have forgotten your face, but if she hears your voice every day, then when you see her and she hears your voice, she will associate it with you.
    Good luck with the judging!
    Sheryl

  15. Marsha Breen says:

    John – maybe the problem with the dress code issue in the dining rooms is that you can’t necessarily compare the dining room on a ship with just going to a restaurant on land. On land, everyone doesn’t show up at the same time to eat; they don’t for the most part get served a 5 course meal by waiters in formal uniforms; and, they don’t get entertained by the wait staff. The dining on a cruise ship is an “experience”. When Carnival posts their “dress code” in their literature and again in the ship’s cabins and Carnival Capers, there are many passengers who feel all passengers should be held to that standard. Before they leave home, they pack accordingly which can sometimes be a pain in the neck now for those paying extra to the airlines to check that extra suitcase. Once on the ship they dress according to your pubished dress code, then end up sitting across from the guy wearing jean shorts, a tshirt and flipflops to the dining room. (Yes, I saw this on my cruise 2 weeks ago and nothing was said to this man even though the maitre d saw him). Does something like this ruin my meal? No, but I find it very discourteous to the other passengers. I tend to follow rules if they are given to me. If I don’t like the rules, I either don’t participate or go somewhere else. Your ships offer alternative dining choices of either the Lido Deck buffet or room service for those who don’t want to dress according to your guidelines. I can’t tell you how many people I saw every day in the buffet at breakfast and lunch that were wearing their bathing suits and no shoes while eating. I seriously doubt that these same people would go into a restaurant on land dressed this same way. If they did, they would more than likely be asked by management to go put a shirt and shoes on. I guess my thought is that if Carnival is going to have these rules or guidelines in place, then you need to enforce them. I don’t think it makes sense to have certain rules and then “pick and choose” which ones you are going to enforce. If not, why bother having them?

  16. Carol Schoenberger says:

    Hi John,

    Well done Boris!

    About the dress code – personally, I feel that if I don’t want to get “dressed up” I go to the Lido Deck. Elegant nites I do put on the glitz & glamour (spelled correctly) because it’s the only chance I get to do this – I Love Glitz. But I think if you just follow the guidelines – no bathing suits, cut-offs, wear shoes, etc. that’s fine in the dining room. Just my 2 cents worth.

    Have a great day,
    Carol

  17. Carol R says:

    The dress code issue does matter to a lot of folks. I was dismayed when the dress code was formally relaxed. In the past when resort casual was requested there were folks in jeans, shorts, flip flops etc coming into the dining room and nothing was said…I have NEVER seen anyone turned away at dinner no matter what they are wearing. Now that the dress is relaxed even further I have seen some pretty horrific outfits. Things people probably wouldn’t consider appropriate at a “nice” restaurant on shore is tollerated onboard. If the dining room is NOT supposed to be a special experince then by all means let everyone wear what ever they want. But to come to a restaurant for a fine meal and to be seated next to someone in shorts with their underwear hanging out, flip flops and an undershirt on..yes it does affect my dining experience in much the same way seeing someone in a tux eating at a fast food restaurant does. It just doesn’t fit. The lido buffet is there as an option for folks who don’t want to dress appropriately…as it should be. Now that the dress code is relaxed there is no fine dining experice anymore, my choice for that experience has been taken away. Bring back the dress code or at least enforce what you say is the dress code.

    I do love Carnival….I’ve been on 17. But the dining experience has been going down hill for the last 20 years. Remember when there were decorations in the dining room on formal night? It was special. It’s understandable that that’s gone by the wayside, but can’t we still create a special dining experience. It part of the aura of cruising.

  18. Leroy & Pat says:

    Dear John,
    Please reply……
    I finished the gift for Kye & popped it in the mail yesterday. Can you please let me know when it arrives and if it reached you safely. Lots of hours on that. This is what I had hopped to bring on the ship when we were on the Valor a few months ago, when you got taken to a different ship. I was going to include the Rhubarb wine, but was concerned it might not make it with the way packages are handled. Anyway I just wanted to let you know it is on it’s way and we love seeing & hearing all about Kye. We will be on the Dream Oct. 3rd and in regard to the CD, yes it does make a difference when we book as to who the CD is. I guess we were just expecting you would be the CD on the Dream, so we were a little dissappointed that you were suppose to be on the Valor with us and now we will miss you on the Dream as well. I’m sure we will have a fantastic time anyway, just it would have been fun to sail with you again, but I’m sure we will in the near future. Say Hi to Heidi for us and hug Kye.

  19. Leroy & Pat says:

    Dear John,
    Please Respond……
    I wanted to reply to the question regarding if who the CD on the ship makes an influences if you take that ship or not: I want to say it plays a part in our decision. Well we think it does in part. We had decided to be on the Valor March 30th and were so excited you would be our CD. Then you ended up going to California and we were disappointed. We have sailed the Liberty and Freedom with you and were looking forward to being on the Dream Oct 3rd with you. I’m sure we will have a good time anyway, but it would have been the best if you were there. Maybe we will finally get to see you on the Miracle in the future. We love the bedtime story, please don’t stop doing them. I put our little welcome gift in the mail to Kye yesterday. Please let us know if it arrives safely. I was going to include a bottle of Rhubarb wine, but didn’t trust the mail service to get it there safely. Anyway I spent a lot of hours on the baby gift & hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. Say Hi to Heidi & give Kye a hug from us.
    Leroy & Pat

  20. VegasVick says:

    Dear John (Please reply);
    I have been reading your blog for quite some time and every day it makes me smile, thanks!

    My question: My family is sailing on the Dream during the holidays. I want to make supper club reservations, but the ship is not listed in the online RSVP yet. When might she be listed online for supper club ressies?

    Your family is beautiful! Before you know it, Kye will be driving and dating boys…just thought you should know.

    Thanks,
    Vicky

  21. John,

    I feel like I have to add to my previous comment after thinking more about things.

    I have sailed with Carnival 10 times since November 2006 and it seems like every time I cruise the dress code in the main dining room is getting more and more relaxed and the dress code is not enforced.

    On my recent back to back cruises there were people in the dining room, even on formal night, in dirty shorts, worn-out flip flops and t-shirts.

    The main dining room should have a “special” atmosphere and the dress code should be enforced when it comes to people’s slobby dressing, but it is not.

    I don’t think the answer to this is relaxing the dress code more either.

    Melissa

  22. mickeyspal says:

    Hi, John!

    What a wonderful interview with Boris. He sounds like the ultimate employee…one who has loved every aspect of his adventure with Carnival, and takes tremendous pride in the product for which he is responsible. Would that all of us strove for such dedication! My thanks to Boris for all he does.

    I like the idea flipflopcruisequeen gave you, i.e., video yourself smiling and talking directly to Kye, and let Heidi play it for Kye every day that you’re away.

    And now, the dress code. I don’t cruise nearly as often as many of your blogger friends (though I’d like to), and for me the dining room is always a special experience…especially “elegant night.” Even in Florida, vacation capital of the world (well, not really, but we do get a lot of visitors) most restaurants do have dress codes which at least prohibit those without shoes (real ones, not flipflops) or shirts, or coverups for ladies. Really nice restaurants (which is what I’ve always considered shipboard dining rooms) would never even expect anyone to show up in shorts! If you go to Red Lobster, Applebee’s, Outback, etc., you’ll see shorts, etc., but not swimsuits and barefeet. McDonalds or Burger King…sure, but it’s fast food so what do you expect. But if you go to Albert and Victoria at Disney, or Emeril’s at Universal Studios, or one of the “fine dining” restaurants in Orlando, people dress to meet the environment. That’s part of the “fine dining” experience…get “dolled up” and feel special! Also, I agree it’s completely disrespectful of fellow diners to ignore the dress code.

    Wish I could be there to see who you vote for in the big dance contest!

    Wow, just now on the news they’re telling about an airline pilot who died while flying across the Atlantic from Brussels (I think they said) to Newark (?), apparently from a heart problem. Fortunately, there was another pilot to take over…but still. Is there someone on a ship who could take over for the Captain in such an event?

    Hugs to Heidi and Kye!

    Your pal, Myra

    Your Pal, Myra

  23. Garth Liseth says:

    Karl Marx dreamed of a classless society. Thanks to relaxed and non enforced dining dress codes and diners who refuse to conform, we are that much closer to a society with NO class!

  24. dwa76 says:

    Hi John!
    What a fantastic interview with Boris. He has made a heck of a climb up the corporate ladder and it seems like he has a great head on his shoulders. Thanks for posting this for us as it was extremely enjoyable.
    I look forward to hearing more after your trip to Dover over the next few days. Good luck on your flight tomorrow and keep in touch.
    Hi to Heidi/Kye!
    Take care!
    David

  25. John, Please reply…

    How about a status report on the construction of Carnivals new terminal at Mahogany Bay in Roatan? Is it still going to open this summer??

    Has there been any progress on the on again, off again one in Belize?

    Thanks,
    bill

  26. CLT-Bryce says:

    I am quite happy with the current dress code as it is written…but agree that the enforcement of it has been lacking on the ships I have sailed.

    John, looking forward to seeing you on the Freedom next week (6/20 sailing)!

  27. Karen says:

    John………and Heidi:
    Just wondering if you both have webcams and have Skype on your computers so you can call and SEE each other everyday…………it’s been a lifesaver for us grandparents living away from grandkids!!

  28. Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    Per you request here is my opinion about the dress code aboard the ship. Lido Deck Pool area should only require the same as any land based restraurant, which is shirt and shoes required. This is the pool area and having to go back to the room and get dressed before returning to the pool area is just not a reasonable request. I like to go there and get some fruit and something cool to drink and go back out on deck and enjoy the sun shine and cool breezes. The Dining Room is different. The dress code and especially on formal night should be enforced. Not because it will ruin my meal if someone is wearing improper clothing but it does ruin the atmosphere. You would not wear beach clothing to go to a fancy restraurant on land so why would this be OK onboard ship. A nice dinner is made a little more special by the atmosphere and don’t you want your guest to experience something special? I think so. After all there are plenty of places to get great food onboard without compromising the standards in special areas. The Supper Clubs are another place that I think this should apply. It just makes for a classier experience. The whole idea of crusing is very classy all by itself. So “WHY NOT” keep it classy. LOL! Sorry about the bad reference. One day I hope to sail on a CUNARD ship and really experience the classiest of all sailing ships. So in my humble opinion, Please!!! Don’t compromise.
    James & Nancy
    The Cruzin2some

  29. Kathy says:

    I have to agree with some of the posters about the dress code in the main dining room. When I was on the Pride last October, I was surprised that a woman who had just gotten out of the pool was allowed to come into the dining room with a very, very skimpy two piece bikini on and just a towel wrapped around her waist. There was a lady sitting at my table (bless her heart) told the woman that she should go get dressed because that was not allowed in the dining room and the lady in the bikini told her that if she wanted to come into the dining room stark naked she could and no one could stop her since she was a paying customer. Not one waiter said anything to her because I think they liked what they were looking at. Most of them would smile when they saw her and that was not appropriate either. Another incident happened on formal night when a guy came in with his wife, now the wife was all dressed up and looked really nice, but the husband came in with jeans on that were basically falling off of him (you could see his crack in the back) and had a tee shirt on that was old and ripped. The problem with me was where he was sitting and where I was sitting, every time I looked up, guess what I got to look at, yep, his crack, now that ruined my dinner and I decided after these two incidents that if I had to look at that people dressed like that, I might as well eat in the buffet area.

  30. Joko Joan says:

    John:
    Re: dining room dress code. Way back in the 70′s when we first started cruising, we started by sailing with Home Lines. If people don’t like the dress code nowadays, back then it was formal every night – and – there were no other choices. And the maitre’ de was at the door checking out how people were dressed. The friend that I was travelling with had on a strapless gown and she was given a shawl for her shoulders. I think they thought that because my lady friend was so thin that the gown might not stay up!

    He also had a supply of ties for the gents who may have forgotten to put one on.

    I’m for today’s dress code but with more of a nudge from the maitre’ de. If the staff is afraid of hurting these people’s feelings, they ought to stop and think about the majority of us.

    There have been many times lately that we are tired from a day of sightseeing and maybe had too much of the sun that we don’t want to bother dressing up. Thank goodness now that we have other options. As for hairy chests and underarms and rolls of fat, I wonder if these people ever stand in front of a mirror.

  31. Bob says:

    I can understand not wanting to look at someones gut during dinner.
    On non cruise eligant nights i wore tennis shoes w/ socks, Nice clean pressed khaki shorts and a new / clean tee shirt w/ a fishing or sports logo. As i wear a cap from time i get up to time i go to bed .one night i wore a cap to dinner (oops). As soon as i realized it i took it off and placed it in my lap.
    on cruise eligant nights i wore nice pressed khakis and a button up shirt w/ a collar.
    i don’t own a suit or a coat or tie.
    wasn’t married in one , won’t be planted in one either.
    One woman in a 2 sizes to small gown and a whole paint palete on her face sitting at the next table made a comment about my dress one cruise eligant night and i politely told her that if she didn’t like my clothes to turn around and mind her own business.
    Her Dh/Dbf Started to say something till he got a look at me then he shut up. She got all over his arse about not defending her .
    Like i said i was polite and never raised my voice at anyone .
    My table mates were laughing at all the commotion she was making about me wearing khakis and a hawaian shirt .
    Her table mates seemed embarresed by her as 2 or 3 of them made apologies for her behavior after she left.
    Don’t know if she had been drinking or was just a wanna be socialite but She decided to pick on the wrong Good ole boy.

  32. Joshua York says:

    Hello John,

    I have met you a few times on past cruises. I am 24 years old and I will be going on my 26th Carnival cruise on Dec 12th on the new Carnival Dream. I am soo excited we have an 11th floor balcony stateroom. One question I have for you is that I have never experienced the Supper club on a cruise and I want to know if you recommend?. Second thing that I want to know is that is there any special things besides being a milestone Platinum member for guests that have been on over 20 cruises? I really love being a platinum guests, but there should be other benefits for guests who have traveled on over 20 cruises. I LOVE Carnival and I am soo looking forward to this cruise. I have been to all of the ports that we are going to except Isla Roatan, and I want to know with your suggestions on what is good to do there? John when I return from my Dream cruise, I will write on your blog to tell you how it went. Peace!!

  33. Joshua York says:

    John Please Reply,

    I sent an earlier message but I forgot to put John please reply. My name is Josh York and I am getting ready to set sail on my 26th Carnival Cruise on the Carnival Dream on Dec. 12,2009. I am only 24 years old, but my family normally take a cruise for a week generally in August and December. I am soo looking forward to my cruise and I am ready to go. We are booked in a 11th floor balcony stateroom, there is a group of about 11 cabins of us. I have met you on a few past cruises that I have been on. One suggestion that I have is I want to know if there is any benefits for people that have been on over 20 carnival cruises in addition to Platinum status. I have already used my milestone rewards on my 25th cruise last year. I LOVE carnival and all the benefits that we get being Platinum, but Carnival should have extra benefits for those that have traveled on more than 20 cruises, just a suggestion. I hope that you will be on the Dream during the week that I am, because I think that you are great. And another question I am sorry that I have is I have never had dinner at the Supper club and I want to know if you recommend it? Well John please reply I would love to hear from you and I hope you have a pleasant day!!
    Joshua York

  34. Jarod Lojeck says:

    Dear Mr. Heald,

    I am sailing on the Carnival Glory on 8/8/11. My fiance (will be my wife on 8/8) and I would like to go to the Chef’s Table dinner. I was told to email you here to give the info for the request, but can not find any way to message you privately. I do not want to leave booking numbers on a public blog. Please let me know how tyo contact you to get the dinner arranged.

    Thank you,

    Jarod Lojeck

  35. Jennifer says:

    Hello,
    We will be going on the Western Caribbean cruise in January. We really would like to see the Mayan ruins. We are torn between Talum and the Mayan ruins and beach excursion. The Talum excursion worries me as it is so long we were wondering if the boat will wait for you in case of a late return. We are traveling with passport cards not actual passports which do not allow air travel and we are concerned about being trapped in Talum.

  36. Jim Eakins says:

    John Please Respond

    Greetings Good Sir,

    We are booked on the Miracle to Hawaii on 18 Jan 2014 and, yes, we are already anxious .

    We are very interested in the Chef’s Table experience and wonder if it is possible to determine what day during the voyage this will take place.

    The Carnival web site suggests one book early but it gives no indication of how one goes about booking the Chef’s Table experience. On Princess the process was to make sure you are one of the first on board, grab a courtesy phone, and hope you are quick enough to make the list. Is there a similar process on the Miracle and, if so, pray tell what number does one call to make the booking?

  37. Adam McGarry says:

    We have booked a cruise on the Carnival Liberty on June 29. This will be our second Carnival Cruise, and we are very excited. Do you know what bands will be on board, and perhaps where we could hear an online sample of thier work? Last cruise we found a great raggae band, but not until the third day!If we knew who was playing ahead of time we could seek them out sooner.
    My son would like to go to Camp Carnival for the 11-13 year olds. Is there a way for him to contact us if he decides to leave the camp earlier in the day? We are traveling with another family what is the most convienient way to contact them while on the ship? Will we be charged international rates for using our cell phones at sea? We both have iphones and can send messages for free, is there free wifi on the ship that we can send messages across?

    thanks
    Adam

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