December 9, 2009 -
Every day I call Heidi. She puts the speaker phone on and I sing my “Bouncy Bouncy” song to Kye. Today I did the same as I always have done and when I had finished Kye said “agga goo gag goo gagga goo”…….and I don’t know why……….but I cried…………just like I had cried when I saw Kye’s photos on the big screen during the bloggers welcome aboard party………….that’s twice this week I have tears in my eyes…………..I am not a girl…………so what’s wrong with me?
I have always felt that there are two things us men should be afraid of admitting……… One is that we are lost………..and the second that we enjoy a good cry now and again.
The night I flew back from your Carnival Dream in New York back to Miami I took out my little portable DVD player and saw Spider-Man 3. Something about the Sandman character made me feel sorry for him. A throwback to Frankenstein’s monster or my attempts to get girls to like me, perhaps, or maybe the fact that underneath that lowlife hood was a father trying to help his sick kid. Yes, he was blessed with superpowers but still he cut a tragic figure throughout the film, and at one point I found myself choking up. Big, snotty man tears came and thank goodness the woman in the seat next to me was asleep………..how utterly embarrassing.
I told Heidi, expecting her to throw huge dollops of sympathy at me for showing my sensitive side. After all, the last time she saw me shed a few tears was when I saw Kye for the first time which was just before I saw the placenta which when I vomited in public for the first time ……… but………… do you know what she did?…… She laughed at me………..and called me a soppy sod. (www.urbandictionary.com)
I was surprised about this because sometimes when I am having a poo I spend hours flicking through Heidi’s magazines………Glamourpolitan………Vogue…………Men Are Bastards Weekly etc……………and that’s where you’ll find countless articles asking, “How sensitive is your man?” They want us to be more emotional, but they don’t know what to do when a man starts blubbing, do they. Why is it that even in these open-minded times crying men are taboo?
Whatever people say in public, in private they think that males who cry are to be avoided because they aren’t dependable. Trusty, reliable things don’t break into sobs. Dogs, for example, don’t cry. And even if they could they wouldn’t, for fear of showing their weak side. In dog world, showing weakness means being reviled by the rest of the pack. If your dog knew you were a bawler he’d start to take liberties right away – such as eating food straight from the fridge, sleeping on your side of the bed, maybe even trying to hump your wife.
And lastly, my Father never cried. I estimate more than 90% of men have never seen their Dad’s cry. And rightly so. Dads are supposed to be rock hard. My Dad accidentally cut most of his index finger off while making a cabinet for his steam train collection, but he didn’t even moan about it. He just pushed it back on, stuck a bit of gaffer tape round the join and then growled at it.
There are a couple of exceptions though when it is OK for a man to cry. Seeing the Miami Heat crash out of the NBA playoffs………tears of sadness can be cried here……….telling a joke as a young Cruise Director on the Carnivale and hearing nothing but silence….. Tears of humiliation …………………. and the spectacle of Laurel and Hardy moving that piano……..tears of laughter.
Rocky is also an exception, and only those with stone hearts could fail to be moved to tears at cinema’s saddest death, that of Apollo Creed.
Oh, and men…………..of course it’s OK to cry if you get kicked in the bollocks……. or………… you see Megan Fox’s bottom and you realize that it will never ever be yours.
Time for today’s questions and the Stephanie that sends me the questions has returned from her well deserved break and so we can get back on track. Today’s questions therefore are from the 20th of November……………here we go.
Dear John, Please reply.
My mom and I have a situation I hope you can help us with, as we have no idea how to make this happen.
My brother is getting married on the Carnival Ecstasy on Dec 12. His twin was to be the best man, but he joined the Army 6 months ago, and we found out about a month ago he wouldn’t be able to make the wedding.
Fast forward to this weekend, where I get a call from my brother telling me there’s a possibility he will be able to make the wedding after all. He would REALLY like to surprise our brother and his bride with his appearance. The problem is that he won’t be able to go on the cruise, and they’ve maxed out their non-sailing guest count. We wouldn’t even know who to contact anyway, and if they’d talk to us, as the bride has been handling all of the planning.
Is there ANY way to make this happen without letting my brother and his fiancée know? It would really mean a lot to all of us if we could find a way to make this happen.
Many thanks in advance,
I am glad I caught this question today as I see you are sailing on Saturday. I am not sure I totally understand what it is that you want but I think you are trying to get him to sail but are saying the cruise is sold out. I have sent this comment to the CARE team and I will ask someone to contact immediately so we can see what we can work out. I know it would be a wonderful surprise for your future sister in law and so I will do all I can to try and help. Please would you let me know what happens?
Best wishes to all
Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John, Please, Please Reply.
I am wondering if you know when you will be doing your bloggers cruise for 2010. I am waiting to book my cruise for the fall of 2010 until I hear when your bloggers cruise is going to be so I can maybe book that cruise. Do you also know when the CD’s schedule for 2010 is going to be out? I would like to know who is going to be the CD for the Carnival Splendor in Jan and who will be the CD on the Carnival Paradise in May, 2010.
Can I give you some advice about your hemorrhoids and that is, when you know that you are going to have to sit for long periods of time, take a small travel (they even have ones that you can inflate) pillow with you or ask one of the stewards to put a small pillow in the conference room for you, it will take the pressure off of your toosh. Another way to help them and that is if you can sit in a bathtub of warm water for 20 minutes a day, you will be amazed at how much this will help you as well. As a retired Registered Nurse, this is the advice we used to give our patients.
Give my love to Heidi and Little Angel Kye.
From your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan,
I have not yet decided when the 2010 Bloggers Cruise will be held and on which ship. I have narrowed it down to a few choices and as I was explaining to the bloggers here on your Carnival Dream a few days ago I am seriously looking at the Carnival Conquest……in late September.
Nothing is set in stone but I will concentrate on this before the end of the year as I know many are wanting to book. The CD on the Carnival Splendor this coming January will be Stephanie Meads.
Thanks so much for the advice on my bottom and its problems and I will take a cushion with me for sure to see if this helps…..you are as always so kind. Thanks for your support and best wishes to all.
John, Pls reply.
Can’t believe you have time for Blogging with all your other duties. Quick Question. Is the Dream coming into Port Canaveral empty on Dec 3 from NYC? If so will we be able to board early and have our rooms ready earlier?? Really looking forward to 9 days on the Dream. Purchased our tickets last Jan. Have an aft Balcony room. Many Thanks Mike
Once again here is the perfect example of me answering a question far too late after it has been posted. I apologize for this but let me answer it anyway. The ship did sail from New York to Port Canaveral with only crew onboard to allow the ship to get ready for her Caribbean cruising which we are doing now of course. We couldn’t have had any guests onboard because of the Jones Act which states that guests cannot sail from one US port straight to another. I know we have spoken since you have been here and I hope that you continue to have a great time and if you are reading this after the cruise I hope you had a brilliant cruise.
Melissa Jurgensen Asked:
John please reply.
I don’t believe they were offered on the Dream in October, but will the Where Next certificates be available on the ship in January? I wanted to get one for my brother Christmas, so maybe it will now have to be a belated gift.
My condolences to Mr. Zonis’ family. He sounds like a very charismatic, fun, but serious character.
Best to you as always.
Let me start by saying thank you for the kind words for Mr. Zonis whom we all miss very much.
The future cruise experts will be joining your Carnival Dream this coming Saturday (12th of December) and they will have the certificates you mentioned available for purchase along with other great cruise deals. Have a wonderful time and please let me know if you need anything.
Best wishes to all
Eric Thayer Asked:
John, I had asked you a few months ago about the possibility of Carnival Cruise Lines purchasing a Carnival Chopper Bike from Orange County Choppers (American Choppers TV show). Many large corporations/companies do this now, mostly for marketing. I suggested that Carnival may be able to rotate the chopper on its cruise ships (I’m certain everyone would pay a fee to have their photo taken with it). You told me at the time that you would inquire about it. Any news?
I am so glad that you wrote again mate as your suggestion was one of my top ten marketing ideas I presented to the team during the recent Cruise Directors conference. It was well received and just like Costa has their Smart Cars and Holland America too we all thought that your idea of a Chopper was interesting………and most importantly so did the people with beards. So let’s see what the future brings and I promise if it is forthcoming you will get all the credit …………. well ………….. most of it.
Thanks again and best wishes
Mark from Alberta Asked:
John please reply
John, not sure if you were able to put forward a song that should be played at sail away. I know Anchors Aweigh is your favorite and has angered others.
How about this one, it is called “Heave Away”. Originally an English Chantey originating from Liverpool and has been made popular by a number of Newfoundland bands. The Fables being one.
Take a listen….I think this would be marvelous followed by the Caribbean sound of the pan drums…Sail Away should be all about party and happy times!
John, I was quite disappointed on my first cruise last January on the Liberty. No CD nor ACD in sight. The two man calypso band just played on perfunctorily. Really Carnival is the Fun Ships – Sail Away sets the tone for the cruise.
Have you considered in addition of the lido party to follow the same format at sail away?
Just some thoughts…but do please listen to “Heave Away” many Americans and Canadians share ancestry with the English, Irish and the Sea…the song is a natural! ; )
I love this song and have not heard it in many years. It is well known in the UK and I remember my Dad always listening to a group called the King Singers. They were a ” barber shop” quartet and one of the songs on the album (the old scratchy 78) was “Heave Away” and thanks so much for bringing this vivid memory back, I fully intend to start playing music on departure again next year when I am once again a CD and this ………alternating with Anchors Aweigh……….will be the song I play. I will make sure that all the CD’s realize the importance of the sail away because it does indeed set the tone. Thanks so much and I do encourage everyone to have a listen.
My best wishes to you and the family
Debbie H. Asked:
Hi John, (Please reply)
For Christmas 2007 my Dad purchased a Carnival Cruise certificate for he & my Mom (they were on the Fantasy I believe back in 2004 and loved it), unfortunately my Dad passed away in August of 2008 and was not able to take the cruise. My Mom having this cruise certificate and no one to go with asked me to go. I had never cruised before and my job schedule was funky with travel and everything. But FINALLY earlier this year we settled on the October 10th Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean sailing.
Unfortunately in September I was laid off from my job (like so many other people) but I was looking forward to the cruise and the hope that employment would come soon after.
FINALLY we drove to Port Canaveral and boarded the Glory. I had an amazing vacation, we enjoyed everything on the Glory, from the Daisy & Lu-tuh our servers in the Platinum Dining room, the service and spectacular food in the Emerald Supper club (which I have been raving about to everyone I come in contact with) to Ryan the CD and his staff, our room steward, everyone was wonderful!!!!! (I knew we had picked the right ship after boarding and going up to the Lido deck and heading towards the front of the ship I spotted the Joe Namath NY Jets Jersey hanging on the wall, he was my Dad’s favorite (American) football player, and I looked like an idiot crying on the Lido deck while everyone else was celebrating the boats departure.)
While on Orient Beach in St. Martin I got a text message from a friend that an employment lead was calling me and couldn’t understand why I didn’t call back.
To shorten my story, the employment lead a few weeks later actually became employment. So yeah!
So, after reading my story you may be wondering why I’m asking you to respond.
Well first I would appreciate if you could relate to whoever takes compliments at Carnival that the Glory and the people I mentioned previously were AMAZING!
The second thing is could you please see if the marketing staff could have commercials run either on shows I do not watch (I’ll be happy to provide a list 🙂 ) or between 8 AM & 5 PM when I am at work. Every time I hear the abbreviated “Anchors Away” and the horn blowing I think, “It’s time to go on another Carnival Cruise.” I head to the website and look at cruises (the new route to Aruba looks so tempting). I don’t know if my new employer would appreciate me putting in a time off request after only 2 weeks (since I’m not eligible for vacation until February) to go on another cruise, and I don’t think the phrase “suggestive advertising” would influence them in changing their minds.
All joking aside, I hope later in 2010 I’ll be able to go on another cruise and have many more wonderful memories, pictures, and coconut monkey cups to share with friends.
Thank you so much for taking the time to blog, and best wishes to you and your family during the upcoming holiday season, and Safe Travels.
PS as a resident of Florida the so called “rodent” brings many visitors to our beautiful state and helps keep the state of Florida Income Tax Free. Since I live outside Tampa on our way back from Port Canaveral we stopped at Downtown “Rodent” and enjoyed some of the shops and food (begins with “G” ends with “hirardelli”) there. Of course the “rodent” is not my favorite, I’m a fan of the “fowl”.
First of all please let me congratulate you on your new job and I hope you are enjoying it. I will be honored to pass on your words of praise to those you mentioned as well as Anuj the Hotel Director who will be thrilled. It seems like our advertising is doing its job and you will see some brand new ads next year so keep an eye open for them and an ear open for the ships horn signaling people to pick up the phone or click on a mouse and book that fun for all cruise.
I hope it’s not too long before you sail again and thanks so very much for the kind words.
Best wishes to all
Dear John, please reply.
Hope all is well. Avid reader of the blog. I would like to see a rotation of
1. CALYPSO BAND OR DUO– This means the duos or bands we have now on most of our ships. They play a variety of island and popular music but using more modern music, etc
2. PAN PLAYERS – This is the true island music played only on steel drums and other ethnic instrumentation
Especially on 7 day sailings. Maybe the Calypso Band or Duo would take tropical music requests, like reggae or bob marley. Also mix in a little Salsa or Meringue if guests want to be adventurous and dance to new music since they are coming from all over the country. Maybe a dancer from the ship that knows how to dance Salsa may provide fun dance lessons on the lido deck.
Last, if it’s possible for you to ask Radu Ursu what type of camera he uses to take all these wonderful pictures. Thanks.
I think you will be very happy with the rotation of live music on our Lido Decks. we have decided to keep the Calypso Bands and or Pan Players and will rotate them with other live music such as our duos, party bands and Piano Bar entertainers……it’s an excellent mixture and of course on some of our ships you also have the video concerts on the Seaside Theatre Big Screens.
I will be doing a full on interview with Radu next week and I will make sure we include the information on what equipment he uses. He is such a talented guy and as I will be featuring more of his photos later today.
Thanks for the comment and I promise the fun is alive and well on all our Lido Decks.
Cindy Wagner Asked:
Hi John, (Please reply if you want)
Have a safe trip to Port Canaveral. After reading all your choices for the music, I would pick #1 Calypso Band or Duo.
I am looking forward to my very first Carnival Cruise aboard the Carnival Dream in February. It will be my second cruise. I look forward to see what you have in store for us. I can’t wait to board the Dream. It is going to be a great cruise.
My oldest daughter is going to celebrate her birthday on our cruise. She will be turning 15 on the last night of the cruise. I am planning on getting a birthday cake for her. Do they deliver that to our table or to our room on the night I request it? Should I plan on the cake earlier in the cruise or is the last night okay? Do you have any suggestions I could make it a special day for her?
Thank you for this blog. It is so nice to read the daily life of a cruise director.
Best to you and your family.
Here I am safe and sound on your Carnival Dream and as I was just saying to J we listened to everyone’s suggestions and will continue to use the Calypso and or Pan players on our Lido Decks along with all the live musicians having a chance to entertain the guests. If you desire the staff will indeed deliver the cake to the table and the waiters will sing the traditional “happy birthdays two shoes” song around the table. You can let the Maitre D know this or the lady who works at the shop we used to call Formalities and which is now called Celebrations and they will arrange this for you. If you need my help you can write to me here on the blog thingy and I will be happy to help. Thanks again for the kind words and best wishes to you and the family.
Joyce geraci Asked:
I had written you earlier about a Mediterranean cruise for me & my GD. After checking the itineraries of various lines, we chose Costa. It goes everywhere we want, at a price that is less than the others. Now I am having second thoughts. Many of the cruisers I’ve talked with say that Costa is difficult for English speaking people to sail. Is this true? Are they rude to Americans? Are the shows only in Italian? Do the shore excursions not have English speaking guides? I want this to be a memorable trip for her, but don’t want to be struggling with language barriers all the time. I know it will be difficult for you to honestly answer these questions for me, as Carnival is Costa’s parent company. But please find out what you can, & advise me.
Can we have some more Kye updates?
Oh I wish I could meet the people who told you that Costa staff is rude to Americans as I would like to poke them in the eye. Costa does Europe like no other cruise line and having been on their ships I can tell you that their service levels are right at the top of the tree. The Cruise Directors speak English, French, Italian and Spanish and will repeat their announcements and jokes and all they do on stage in all four languages……….they are truly talented men and women. I have problems being funny in one language.
The food on Costa is extraordinary and enjoying Italian service and hospitality while sailing the Mediterranean is a truly incomparable experience. So simply put ………….no…………….you have not made a mistake…….and I promise that you will meet wonderful people from all over the world and enjoy living La Dolce Vita Costa Cruises style.
Tell you what – remind me a few weeks before you sail would you that you are going.
Until then, best wishes to all.
That’s all for now, there will be more tomorrow.
Talking of Europe I know many of you are anxiously waiting for news to see if in 2011 Carnival will return there. Well, I have PA 007 on the case and I promise that as soon as he or she hears anything………..we will be the first to know.
Let’s do the news.
We start with welcoming a new chap to the Carnival family and one that many of you will be excited to read about……………….lets meet him.
Carnival Cruise Lines filled a newly created position, vp customer marketing, to oversee direct and email marketing efforts aimed at growing ticket and on-board revenues across all distribution channels.
Rob Borden is an accomplished marketing executive with a track record in customer and loyalty marketing. He reports to Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer and svp.
Borden’s duties also entail customer loyalty programs, including the company’s co-branded credit card.
Prior to joining Carnival, he held executive roles at Microsoft Corp., as well as Delta Air Lines, where he served as the head of Delta’s SkyMiles loyalty program.
Most recently, Borden was the chief marketing officer for Points International, a loyalty systems and services provider and operator of the consumer-facing site, Points.com.
“Rob brings a unique combination of direct and digital marketing skill, combined with deep experience in operating loyalty programs,” Berra said. “His expertise will be a tremendous asset as we continue to build our customer marketing capabilities and expand our co-branded credit card program”.
I think the important words there for many of the blog readers will be “customer loyalty programs.” I will give him a few weeks to settle in and then I think a blog interview will be good don’t you? Anyway, welcome aboard Rob and enjoy your time here………oh and one more thing ……………please don’t grow a beard.
I will be summing up your Carnival Dream later this week but not only is the ship making a huge impression in North America but also around the world…………..have a look at this from the Thomas Cook magazine.
Thomas Cook are one of the largest vacation (or holiday as it’s a Brit company) providers in the UK and I hope that the words spreads around my home country just what a brilliant ship your Carnival Dream is.
Our Chairman and CEO Micky Arison chooses which publications he gives interview to very carefully. In fact there is more chance of him giving an interview to Latvian Lap Dancer Weekly than to this humble blog.
But here’s a synopsis of his interview with Travel Weekly as reported by Gene Sloan of USA Today’s widely popular Cruise Log:
It’s been a tough year in the cruise business as the economy has stumbled, no doubt. But Carnival Corp. Chairman and CEO Micky Arison isn’t wallowing over the downturn. In fact, he’s upbeat.
“We think the business model is as strong as it’s ever been,” Arison tells Travel Weekly today in one of his first interviews since the company’s surprise order last week of a $738 million ship for its Carnival brand.
The order, for a 130,000-ton sister to the Carnival Dream to be delivered in 2012, is the first for the brand since 2005 and breaks an industry-wide dry spell for new orders that stretches back to 2007.
As Travel Weekly notes, Carnival drove a hard bargain with the struggling Fincantieri shipyard, agreeing to pay just $200,000 per berth for the new vessel. That’s more than 10% less than the $224,000 per berth the company paid for the just-unveiled Dream.
“They, and all the yards today, are anxious to make a deal happen,” Arison tells the news outlet. “The reality is there is a global worldwide shipbuilding and shipping crisis going on.”
Arison tells Travel Weekly the decision to order was simple, noting the Dream — the line’s largest ship to date — already is proving a big success with prices “at a nice premium” to other Carnival vessels.
The move surprised industry watchers who had expected Carnival’s next order to be for its Princess brand, which currently has no ships on order (Carnival is the parent company of more than half a dozen brands including Carnival, Princess, Holland America and Cunard). Arison tells Travel Weekly that a Princess order still is in the works and could happen in the coming weeks.
So, the future is bright and that’s great news for you and me. It’s great news for you because you have another new ship to dream about and the magic of a Carnival cruise will be available in 2012 on the soon to be named Carnival Thingy.
It’s good news for me because a new ship means I have more to write about and one more chance to get Megan Fox and her bottom to be a Godmother. And it sounds like there may be a possibility of some good news for Princess Cruises fans………….of which I am certainly one.
And here is some great news for P&O Cruises………have a read of this press release thingy.
P&O Cruises is bucking the industry trend towards ever larger vessels by introducing a ship to its fleet that will accommodate just 710 passengers and will be able to visit the “off the beaten track” destinations that are inaccessible to some of the bigger ships of today.
The new ship will be named Adonia and will join the fleet in June 2011, to become the smallest of P&O Cruises seven ships. Along with Arcadia she will be an adult only ship.
Built in 2001, over three-quarters of her 355 well-appointed cabins have balconies, whilst Adonia’s public rooms will have a traditional feel and feature wood panelling, leather armchairs and fine artwork. She will have an extensive library with over 4,000 titles and a grand lounge with an intricately inlaid wooden dance floor and stage to host a range of entertainment, from after dinner speakers to shows by P&O Cruises Headliners Theatre Company.
Adonia will also have the signature P&O Cruises features of a forward Crow’s Nest observation lounge with a nautical feel, and Anderson’s, a centrally located traditional club style lounge bar.
P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow said:
“I am delighted to announce this great news in response to our passengers’ comments to me that some prefer smaller ships. The addition of Adonia will deliver an elegant and welcoming ship with real small ship charm. She will offer a truly intimate and traditional cruise experience, yet with all the comforts you would expect from a modern vessel. With this size of ship our passengers will be able to get to know their fellow cruisers and crew easily as they travel to some of the most intriguing destinations on the map.
“Whilst larger ships have their own appeal, with the spectrum of bars, dining and entertainment choices they can offer, others really enjoy a smaller ship, with its more intimate ambience. No other cruise line offers this breadth of choice specifically for the British cruiser.”
The new Adonia is in fact the sister ship to a ship that I had the chance to visit last year……….. the Pacific Princess…… while she was hugging the coastline of Portofino, Italy. In case you missed that blog I thought I would post it again only this time I have changed the name to Adonia………..so in fact…………….I have written the first ever review of the ship ……………. wow ………….I wonder if Ms Marlow will let me visit now.
There must be some people who read my blog occasionally and probably get fed up with the blizzard of mega ships, water slides and stories of 3,000 plus people having fun all explained in a babble of preposterous superlatives.
Of course it’s not hard to see why this might be so. Cruising used to be about a ship, a captain and crew, ports of call, a comfy chair to sit in and meet Mr. and Mrs. Smith from California. Then it was off to dinner followed by dancing, a walk on deck under the stars and a bollocking from the wife for staring at Mrs. Smith’s bottom.
For those who miss those days and thought that they had gone forever ….. well ……..I am happy to tell you…..they haven’t…..and these values can be found alive and well onboard the Adonia.
This is not a ship that is all loud and shouty with “look at me” features………no………..it doesn’t need to………..this ship is quiet and dignified yet like when a Rolls Royce pulls up outside a hotel lobby you immediately know that the car and the people inside are both very special.
The ship was built in 1999 for Renaissance Cruises in a French shipyard and while I am not going to submit my normal attack on the French I do have to say something about the name they choose………..the M/S R3. Now, either they had absolutely no imagination or they ran out of paint…….R3…………that’s a cabin on the Holiday and Fantasy Class.
Unfortunately Renaissance built too many ships too quickly and before you could say R2D2 ……………the company was broke and the R ships were scattered to the four corners of the cruise ship world. Princess took 3 R’s which became the Tahitian, The Royal and the Pacific.
Today, I traveled to the surely one of the most beautiful spots in the world …….. Portofino. When God made Paris he stood back and said “bugger, I messed that one up” and realized he had better make something incomparable ………….he did ………………..Portofino.
I had been collected by that huge Mercedes limo again and this time Maurizio drove me right down to the Picola Harbour. As the huge V12 engine purred down the quayside I once again felt guilty that the tourists armed with Canons and Nikons ready to snap the star of stage and screen stepping out of the car to head to their yacht would be disappointed to discover it was just a fat bloke who needed a pee.
If Portofino is Catherine Zeta Jones then the Adonia sitting in the harbour was the Cartier Diamond Necklace draped round her perfect neck and as the tender which took me nearer to the ship I once again felt like one very lucky chap.
I was met at the tender station by a group of men whose uniforms had obviously just returned from the laundry and the only things that were brighter were their smiles of greeting. I met the Passenger Services Director Peter who has been at sea for 41 years. He was guide and not just around the ship but through a veritable history of the industry which he has seen change so much in his many years of service. He talked about ships I had read about in history books and ones that I have never heard of. He must have many stories to tell and I will therefore in the days.
And so, the tour of the Adonia began.
You may have seen a photo of the ship but you don’t really get a sense of scale from the pictures — and nor do you get an impression of just how beautiful she is. The ship has an extraordinary blend of presence and tradition.
The ship had 600 plus guests onboard……600…………let’s say that one more time ……. 600………when was the last time I said that about a ship?
These days ships are often referred to as floating hotels…….something by the way that makes me mad. Well, just for the sake of argument let’s continue with that analogy. Hotels these days are mostly the same……revolving doors………..a bit of tired red carpet to stand on while you wait for the 12-year-old behind the desk to tell you that your room won’t be ready until Friday and when you do finally get there the furniture was bought from Hotels R Us ………….you sit in your room trying to decide if you can afford to pay the $89 they want for a bottle of water from the mini bar before going to the hotel’s restaurant where the 12 year old receptionists sister is ready to serve you something with fries.
The Adonia could not be more different. This is a English Country hotel where Jeeves and Wooster are ready to serve. Deep brown woods, deep luxurious carpets and huge sofas invite you to stop and stay a while you enjoy a cocktail and listen to the music in one of the bars and lounges. The cabaret lounge, the library in fact all the public lounges made me feel like I should kick of my shoes……..put on a big pair of comfy slippers…….light my pipe and watch the world go by.
The dining room was massively impressive. The seating is assigned and although most of the evenings are smart casual the restaurant gives off an unparalleled sense of tradition. We enjoyed a beautiful lunch prepared by the ship’s Executive Chef.
We also toured the open decks with loads of space in which to worship the sun, the fully equipped spa and beauty salon and a visit to life below stairs to visit the crew only areas. The crew is International and all had that special camaraderie that comes with working on a smaller vessel. Everyone knows everyone and that in turn bears fruit to a unique bonding between all the crew which I am positive is noticed by the crew…… Peter the PSD and the Captain called most if not all by their first names as we walked the ship…..that’s not something you see every day.
And this must be the same for the passengers as well. I experienced this togetherness years ago as Cruise Director of the Carnival…………you saw the same people throughout the voyage and each night on the Pacific Princess I am sure stories of the day are shared and plans for the days to come explored.
I have nothing much else to report. There are no gizmos or gadgets no icons……… why …….. it doesn’t need one…………..the ship IS the icon……….it’s simply a luxurious way to see places other ships cannot………….it’s what cruising has and should always be about …….. the perfect way to meet new friends, see the world and stand on the deck under the stars holding the hand of the one you love and remember how much you love them.
Walking aboard the Adonia is like climbing into your Tuxedo or Ball Gown ……….there is a sense that you’re about to do something very, very special.
I hate to blow my own trumpet but that was …………certainly by my usually awful standards …….. a decent bit of writing. And if it indeed was it due to how inspiring I felt having visited the ship. So congratulations to P & O and while they may be Britain’s favorite cruise line………….for those who miss the halcyon days of small ships…………the Adonia could mean that P & O becomes your favorite as well.
Yesterday we were in St. Thomas today and the Mall of The Seas was over in Crown Bay getting lots of pomp and circumstance while our guests get off the ship quickly and without fuss knowing that their Carnival Dream will be waiting for them when they return. The comments from bloggers continue to be excellent and I honestly wish I could tell you that there have been some negative ones…………but aside from the fact that Lido deck has been very busy at times and the wait to get served at the various stations has been longer than we would like …………..there has been nothing.
Last night, at midnight we hosted something called The Quest. This is an adult scavenger hunt and during this bloggers only event something happened that is quite indescribable………I always try to paint a picture here on the blog thingy but this …………this ………well it’s impossible to put into words. Luckily we caught it on camera and next week I will be posting it here …….. I can’t wait to show it to you.
However this morning things did not go well. We arrived to San Juan and headed to our assigned pier which was designated as Pier 3 West. However, even though plans and simulations had been made, Captain Queirolo realized that the steel cable that was part of the canopy on the pier would cause damage to and possibly puncture the lifeboats and life rafts. We then tried the other piers but due to our length and draft we were unable to dock.
I helped the Captain and Todd with the announcement which we made at 8:10am………..this is what the Captain told the guests over the PA system.
Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is your Captain speaking form the Navigational bridge.
We regret to inform you that we have been forced to cancel our scheduled call today in San Juan. Our Assigned Pier 3West has overhanging wires and metal canopy structures alongside the pier that will have caused damage to the ship by piercing the ships lifeboats and safety rafts. This is because of the size of the Carnival Dream and the location of the terminal structure and technology.
We have also tried two alternative piers with no success as they in some form would have put in jeopardy the safety of the ship and that of our guests and crew.
We do apologize for the inconvenience this has caused in your cruising experience!
We are currently putting together an alternative schedule for a Fun Day At Sea.
All excursions for today will automatically be refunded to your sail and sign accounts and there is no need to stop by the guests services in regards to shore excursion refunds.
Ladies and gentlemen the most important thing is always the safety of our guests, Crew Members and ship. As today proved to be an unsafe environment for all three, we have made a decision to cancel our call in San Juan.
We are proceeding to our next port of Grand Turk where instead of an arrival time of 11 am tomorrow we will be alongside at 7 am tomorrow morning.
Once again we apologize for any inconvenience caused and we will do our best to make sure the staff and crew onboard do their best to provide you with a fantastic fun day at sea.
Thank you for your understanding and your support.
So there you go…………..the best laid plans, etc.
I feel particularly sad for one of our bloggers Nani. She and her family were due to visit the ship today and meet with Big Ed’s group for a breakfast that would have included a special surprise for her. I won’t spoil what that surprise was because we are still going to find a way to do it but sorry Nani……….I truly am.
I feel sorry for all the guests. A missed port is never a good thing of course but it’s even worse under these circumstances. And it’s our fault. Regardless of all the checks we made to see if the ship did fit against the pier those checks were not sufficient …………and for that I sincerely apologize to all the 3,800 people onboard.
So far though the guests seem to be OK with the news and are enjoying the sun and the sea day activities that Todd and his staff have arranged. I hosted the Morning Show with him and we had a lot of fun and hopefully gave the guests some morning cheer. I will see if there is room on the schedule to perform a show, maybe the Marriage Show or bedtime story…………I don’t want to tread on Todd’s toes though.
I know how much you have been enjoying the recent photos I have been posting on the blog thingy and here then are some more featuring your Carnival Dream and the amazing tranquility and paradise of the Caribbean……….we start with Radu’s photos of Tortola and more specifically the Virgin Gorda excursion …………………..have a look at these.
And now we go to Jordan and some shots we simply call……………Dream by Night.
Well tonight I will be hosting a bloggers only karaoke event and I am sure that I will be forced into singing something myself………………I can already hear the dogs howling here in St Thomas. I will send a report and photos and …………..God help us all…………….video tomorrow.
I know this has been a busy blog but I must get one thing of my chest. I was watching an interview with Kate Moss on CNN’s Larry King last night and she said something like this ……… “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Now, I happened to be getting ready for dinner at the time and I remember sitting at the end of the bed………in my underpants…………about to try and bend down to put my socks on…………and hearing Miss Moss say this made me as mad as hell.
Because the super model is talking………in my fat and humble opinion……..total bollocks. Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and a chocolate melting cake all taste much better than skinny feels. Heidi’s chicken satay – that also tastes better than skinny feels. A big fat, juicy Porter House steak from one of our Steak Houses tastes better than skinny feels……….I am already salivating just writing these words. My local Chinese takeaway and a Diet Coke and a hot dog while watching the Miami Heat win………………. all of these taste much better than skinny feels.
Listen you skinny thing………..your job it is to wear dresses that nobody else can afford and which cant ever be practically worn in the real world. You are not paid for your intellect. ………so shut up and go eat a piece of lettuce and some air………oh and one more thing……. Megan Fox’s bottom tastes better than skinny feels………….probably.