March 17, 2010 -
Having 1,000 kids onboard I felt it necessary to add some child friendly activities involving myself. So, after a lot of thinking I decided to borrow an idea from TV. In America I think you call it “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader.” In the UK it’s called “Are You Smarter than a Nine Year Old.”
I had to change the game and title though because they are copy thingied of course which is why we can’t play Deal Or No Deal, Who Wants to be Millionaire, etc? It’s also the reason we can’t use the word Jacuzzi. If we did use these titles we would be sued. So I decided to alter the activity somewhat and call it “Is the Cruise Director Smarter than a Camp Carnival Kid?” …………… brilliant, eh?
I hosted this in the aft lounge and had a full house of kids and Mums and Dads and overall it went really well. But the answer to the question “Is the Cruise Director Smarter than a Camp Carnival Kid?”………..is……….smarter my arse. Of course I am not as clever as the 9 and 10-year-olds I interviewed. Nine and 10 year old kids can do their times tables and know what a Lady Ga Ga is and they understand the rules of HALO and other Playstationxbox games. One 10 year old called Max told me and the audience that he could pee over his own head……………that’s right………he told all 400 of us that he could pee over his head………..and he offered to show us.
He could also recite the Founding Fathers speech thingy……….in the voice of a robot …………. and he did. I am not as clever as a Camp Carnival Kid because 9 and 10-year-olds are a different species; they have a whole other life plan and reason for living.
I wonder what Kye will be like when she is ten? She has already changed me. I carry her photo around with me wherever I go. Both a hard copy and one on my Raspberry. I show it to everyone and I am sure it gets on some people’s nerves. I do so for two reasons though ………..because I love her………and because it acts as “My Healthy Sperm” trophy.
Anyway, it was a fun activity though and one I think I will keep doing. And since it finished I have spent time in my cabin……………..practicing how to pee over my head ………………… Putu my cabin steward hates me.
And the housekeeping staff on lido isn’t too happy either.
From: DREAM HOUSEKEEPING
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 4:33 PM
Subject: Main Pool Closed – accident
Good evening All,
Please be informed that Main Pool is closed due to an adult feces accident.
Asst. Hskp Mgr.
Time for today’s questions………off we go.
JOHN PLEASE REPLY
John, we’re so pleased that you now have Heidi and Kye with you, and hope that your time with them is wonderful. This is one time that I’m grateful that you won’t read/reply to this for weeks, as otherwise it would definitely be the wrong time to ask for your attention!
Now that I’m recovering from my knee replacement, we can plan for our hoped-for three back-to-back cruises on the Carnival Spirit in September/October (Seattle-Alaska-Vancouver-Hawaii-Hawaii-Ensenada). We’ll fly from Australia to Seattle, but cannot seem to find transport information from Ensenada to San Diego. Is there any way that you can help direct me to somewhere/someone where I can get this information? I did read one route that included taxi/bus/walk for 10 minutes/bus/another bus … with luggage for 3 months and a walking problem, this seems really off-putting! All suggestions will be gratefully received!
I hope your knee replacement is making life easier for you. My Mother had that and I know it takes time to get back to normal so please take it easy. We truly appreciate you coming all the way from Australia to cruise with us again and that’s why I have been extra thorough in my answer to your question. Let’s see what we can tell you.
The following embarkation procedures are for guests sailing on the Carnival Spirit from San Diego, California to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Passenger Service Act / Jones Act
Please be advised that you will be boarding the ship in Mexico instead of San Diego. This is a result of the Jones Act; an act of Congress dating back to the 19th Century. The act, called the “Passenger Service Act”, but commonly referred to as the Jones Act was intended to protect American flag vessels from foreign competition. It states that a foreign flag vessel, such as the Carnival Spirit cannot transport passengers between two U.S ports. Therefore, in order for you to disembark in Hawaii, regardless of your nationality, you are required to embark in a foreign port, such as Mexico.
Cruise Registration for all guests will be processed at the San Diego Cruise Terminal at 1140 North Harbor Drive. You will be transferred by motor coach to Ensenada, Mexico with an approximate travel time of 2 hours including a brief inspection at the border. Please have our travel documents in your possession along with any medications that you may need before you arrive in Ensenada.
Note: Transfers to Ensenada, Mexico will not begin until approximately 5:00pm.
We encourage guests with early flight arrivals to take advantage of their afternoon in San Diego as if it were a port of call. Complimentary shuttles will be available from the cruise terminal to Seaport Village, a local attraction located along the San Diego Harbor.
Guests residing in the San Diego area: If you are a resident of the San Diego area, we strongly recommend that you do not arrive at the San Diego Cruise Terminal prior to 3:00pm for your own comfort and convenience.
Transportation Arrangements for Fly-Aweigh and Cruise-Only Guests
Complimentary motor coach transportation will be provided on day of embarkation from the San Diego or Los Angeles International Airport during specific hours. For Cruise-Only Guest: Transfer arrangements will be scheduled based on the flight details (arrival and departure information) which the guest provides via FunPass.
Guests arriving at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): Motor coach transportation will depart from the lower level between Terminals 1 and 2. Service begins at approximately 10:00am and ends no later than 1:00pm.
Guests arriving at San Diego International Airport (SAN): Carnival Representatives will be located in the baggage claim area and will direct you to your motor coach. Service begins at approximately 11:00am and ends no later than 3:00pm.
So, as you can see there is good news and bad news there but at least you know what you have to do and that Carnival will be there to help you throughout. Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.
Best wishes and………g’dday
Scott & Sally Asked:
We have recently learned that you will be the C.D. of the new Carnival Magic in Europe. We would like to sail the May 22 voyage (12 day) for our 20th anniversary (June 1). Would you help us pick a suite? For this occasion, price is unimportant; we are more interested in the best location/view. We have sailed the Carnival Fantasy and the Fantasy Conquest recently, with good results, we think we are ready for a longer voyage…and it certainly would be nice to sail with you as C.D.
Hello Scott and Sally
It would be such an honour to welcome you aboard our new Carnival Magic and show you the wonders of Europe. You asked about seeing the Med in grand style in a suite and here then are my suggestions. Since the Carnival Magic is a Dream class vessel you can take a look at the Carnival Dream deck plan on www.carnival.com/dream and select a cabin that you’d like best. If price is not a concern then the best options would be the Penthouse Suites on the Empress deck (deck 7). You will find the regular suites on that deck and they are also lovely.
I hope you find this information useful and of course starting late this year I will make my first visit to the ship and as I did for your Carnival Dream put some video and photos etc here on the blog thingy.
Best wishes to you both and hope to see you next year.
John, Please reply.
I got one of those email from Carnival about not locking our suitcase before we left on our cruise the first of February. I went ahead and put a lock on my son footlocker which held his medical supplies. I don’t need any of the items to get contaminated. I was wondering should I put something on the locker saying what is inside. I take his feeding pump on as a carry on, do not need for it to get damage, or lost. It has always been my problem to worry about losing all his medical supplies or it being delayed, it would sure put us in a bind if this happened. I have cruised 6 times with Carnival and never had any problems, but you never know what might happen. Thanks for the laugh, it made my day.
Glad your girls are with you. Don’t forget to tell Stewart about keeping the curtains closed.
I am glad you enjoy the blog and that it brings you a smile or two. I don’t see the need to put a note with the medication. If security needs to inspect it you will receive a message once onboard. However, as many, many guests bring medication with them on their cruise this won’t be a concern I promise. If you have any doubts you could always carry it in your hand luggage. Please let me know if you have a follow up question to this.
John, Please Reply.
Is the Carnival Miracle scheduled for the jumbo TV screen or the serenity area anytime soon? We love the ship and will be on it in May.
While the Fantasy class of ships have been through complete rejuvenation the Spirit class ships which the Carnival Miracle is one of course have no plans for any additions at this time. When I was on the Carnival Legend last year though we did look at places where maybe we could add a Seaside Theatre Big Screen and I sent in my recommendations. As yet though I have not heard anything about this actually happening. The Spirit class remain a firm favourite and their build quality is certainly helping them stand the test of time.
Thanks for asking the question.
I’ve enjoyed your blog especially since this will be the first time that we’ll cruise with Carnival when we board the Dream on Feb. 27. I’m overjoyed to hear about the hot weather in St Thomas.We have 26″ of snow on the ground with more on the way. To say we’re sick of snow is an understatement. My 20 year old daughter wants to know what fun activities are there on board for her age group ( translation- chances to ditch mom and dad.) Thanks in advance for your answers.BTW, your family is adorable.
So how was your cruise? I am so sorry that my reply to you is so late and obviously there is little point in me answering your question. Instead I will say that I hope you let me know how you and your family enjoyed your Carnival Dream experience and thank you so much for those so very kind words for Kye and Heidi.
My best wishes to you all
What kind of lobster is served in the Steakhouse? Is it different if it’s served as an entree or part of the surf and turf?
Specifically, is it cold water/warm water, Maine or otherwise, depending on the dish?
The Chef tells me we serve cold water Maine lobster for all the dishes at the Steakhouse. I have never had it because I can’t say “no” to the Porterhouse.
Barbara Meeks Asked:
John: I hope this is the right way to reach you, as the site does not make it clear to me. My husband and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year with our first cruise on the Carnival Pride in April. I have had so much fun planning the cruise; I know I’m going to love cruising! My DH last “cruised” aboard a gray ship with the U. S. Navy, and would love for us to take the behind-the-scenes tour that includes the bridge, galley, showroom, etc. The problem is that I cannot find any information about this tour on the Carnival web site. From chatters I found that it cost $95 per person. Could you give me information about how to sign up for it and when? Thank you for all you do and for this wonderful blog thingy. –Barbara
It will certainly be a different kind of sailing experience for your “DH”……that’s Darling Husband right……..not Dead Hamster? Anyway, it is great to see how excited you are and yes indeed we do have the brilliant “Behind the Fun” tour available when you sail on the Carnival Pride. Here are the details;
Behind the Fun tours can be booked through the ships’ shore excursion desk and I suggest you do this immediately as you arrive onboard as it always sells out. The cost is $95 per person and capacity is limited to 16 guests per tour. Some of the areas you will see include the bridge, the engine control room, ship’s stores, laundry, backstage and other “crew only ‘ areas. You will meet the Captain and Chief Engineer as well as other department heads. There are a few rules………here they are.
- Tours are conducted on the last sea day of each cruise.
- Guests are not permitted to have cameras, cell phones or video recording equipment on the tour.
- Guests must be 13 or older to participate; anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
The tour is approximately 3-1/2 hours for cruises 6 days and longer and approximately 2 hours for 3/4/5 day cruises.
We have received nothing but positive comments about this excursion and I am sure that you and your husband will find it to be a fantastic look behind the scenes. Your Hamster won’t enjoy it so much though.
Have fun and please let me know if you have any other questions
Kathy from Texas Asked:
Hi John, please reply,
I am ecstatic to say that we have just booked our 10th and finally platinum cruise on the Carnival Triumph for April 10.
I have a question for you. One of my favorite things to do on a cruise is to sit in the hot tub and enjoy a refreshing and relaxing adult beverage. Carnival sadly does not allow this, however, even though the “something of the seas” and your sister line Princess will happily serve you there. Can you tell me why they have this policy? It seems like it would be beneficial to Carnival to change it as well. Anything you can do to get them to re-consider?
Thanks for your help. I love your blog thingy.
Hello Kathy from Texas
Congratulations on booking your Platinum cruise. The benefits are brilliant and I hope you enjoy them all to the full. I can’t speak for the other cruise lines because I don’t know if they do or do not. We don’t simply because of two reasons. First of all a broken glass in a Jacuzzi……..bugger can’t say that…….whirlpool…….means that we have to close it, clean it and refill it which is of course a huge inconvenience to you and your fellow guests. I also asked one of our medical staff and they told me that the combination of heat and alcohol can cause some people to lose consciousness and possibly drown. Those are the reasons as best as I know them so I hope that gives you a clear picture as to why we won’t serve alcohol there.
Have a brilliant time on the Carnival Triumph and enjoy being a Platinum VIP
John, (please reply)
When we were on the Carnival Dream with you on the Bloggers Cruise, we noticed that the port side was the smoking side. On all of the other Carnival ships we have been on (11) the Starboard side was the smoking side. We nonsmokers sat down on the Str’bd side and noticed the ashtrays and wondered if different class of ships would have the smoking side switched? We didn’t have a problem with it as we moved to the other side to read and people watch.
I hope you had fun on the Bloggers Cruise and it is another reminder that I should be thinking about the next one. Smoking is pretty much the same on each class of ship however each class of ship is as you said very different. And so I have collated all the smoking regulations for each ship and placed them onto one file which one of the 343 Stephanies will now place here.
I hope this helps and if you or anyone else has a further question on this always sensitive subject please let me know.
Best wishes and hope to see you again soon.
Peg Forgotch Asked:
I have a question, and figured you’d be the one who might know.
As you might have heard, Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida is soon to have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am on the Carnival Pride 10/3/10 and one of our stops is Port Canaveral. I am a travel agent and I called Carnival today, to see if there are any plans for Carnival to offer shore excursions from Port Canaveral to Universal Studios. The reservation agent said none were offered and knew of no plans to do so in the future. I can honestly see this as being something in big demand. I know, as I am looking now for my 8yr old son, he wants to go there in the worst way and thought it would be a good excursion from Port Canaveral. Upon doing some research, I found NCL is offering shore excursions to Universal, but not Carnival. Can you put a good word in for this kind of excursion? I am sure it will be super popular, once Harry Potter opens!
Thanks for your help! I heard a rumour that you are the CD for the Pride in October and am hoping the rumours are true. You were the CD on the Glory for our honeymoon trip and now we are on the Pride for our 5th anniversary! Hope to see you soon!
Peg, John and Jackson Forgotch
Hello Peg, John and Jackson Forgotch
This is a good question and so I asked Jaime our blog friend and current happy Cruise Director of the Carnival Pride. Here is her reply:
I actually just took the tour from the Pride to Universal 2 weeks ago. I saw all of the construction men out there preparing the Harry Potter ride and it looks like it is going to be AWESOME! We offer the transportation and tickets to Universal as a shore excursion from the ship right now, and I just confirmed with the Shore Excursion manager and he assured me it would still be available in October. I am sure you and your son will have an incredible time there. Make sure you check out the Hulk ride, it spins around sooo many times, but it is a ton of fun.
Thanks Jaime. So there you go, we do indeed have Universal Tours and it appears our reservation agent gave you wrong information for which I apologize. You can book online at carnival.com or once onboard.
I will talk more about Harry later in the blog as you have inspired me.
Have a great cruise and please let me know if you need anything else.
Best wishes to all
Shelly Hansen Asked:
Dear John (Please reply) –
I am new to your blog thingy, but I have to say I LOVE it. I look forward to each new update.
I have two questions for you, and I apologize if you’ve answered these recently. My family will be sailing on the Carnival Miracle on March 28th. It will be the fourth cruise for my husband and I, and the second cruise for my daughter (all on Carnival – we are loyal to the end!). We, of course, are very excited.
My first question is regarding Nick and Norah’s steakhouse. We are considering having dinner there one evening and wondered if our daughter (age 9) would be welcome. Are there any age restrictions?
My second question is regarding the formal nights – can you tell me when they occur on an eight night cruise? This will help us with our steakhouse plans.
Thank you so much for your help!
Best wishes to you and your beautiful family.
Hello Shelly Hansen
Thank you for bringing the family on the Carnival Miracle, I know you will have a fun time. Your daughter will enjoy the Steakhouse for sure because she will be with Mum and Dad and in a great setting. My only concern though is that the meal does take 2 hours or so and there is not a children’s menu. Of course you have the splendid option of leaving her at Camp Carnival and letting have fun with her new friends. The elegant nights are on March 29th and April 3rd.
Have a fantastic cruise.
Best wishes to all the family
John please reply:
My nephew has worked for your cruise line for 9 years as a sound tech. He told me to write with our problem.
We have been on several of your cruises in the past and loved them. We are trying to get a group together for the 7 night cruise to the western Carib. July 31, 2010. We would like to take of daughter, son in law and our 1st granddaughter (she will be 20 months old). My daughter and son in law have not been on any kind of vacation since they got married 5years ago. Our problem is that the cruise line wants to charge us close to $700 for the baby!!! We feel that this is a very large price to pay considering that she will be bringing her own food, can’t go to the shows, can’t use the kids facilities or day care! So what is that they are charging for???!!! We really all want to go on this cruise but feel it’s not a fair deal. I hope that you can help us with this problem. We don’t want to think of Carnival as a rip off since my nephew will be sailing on the ship the Pride that is leaving from the port in our home town (Baltimore) and we would love to sail on that ship also in the near future. Thank you for your help
This is a very good point and I am grateful that you have given me the chance to answer it for you. While we do usually offer discounted rates for the 3rd or 4th guests in a cabin we do not offer infant rates. The rates are the same for the sole reason that they are occupying space, in both the cabin and in the life boat. The US Coast Guard regulates ships by their passenger count, that count is the same regardless of a person’s age. I hope you all get to sail and I am sure you must be very proud of your son.
That’s all for today. I see that since we have had the great front page advert on carnival.com that our daily readership has grown a lot. May I therefore take this chance to welcome you all and if you would like to post a comment that needs my reply please mark it “John please reply.” As the regular bloggers will already know I am a long way behind so please have a dollop of patience and I promise I will eventually get to your request. Once again, welcome you all to our blog thingy.
During the last few days I have been posting random photos taken with my Fuji thingy camera. And let’s face it I have the photographic skills of Stevie Wonder. I wanted to take some photos of the Lido deck here on your Carnival Dream during our stop in St. Thomas. I did…………and they were rubbish. And so I called Hector our photo manager and asked him to take some……………and they are just a little bit better.
Now what’s interesting here is that these photos were taken at 11:35am and as you can see there are very few people onboard. What is even more interesting is that we have CNN Headline News playing which we should not be. I am not a fan of the news being played past 9 am and I doubt the kids on the lido deck were interested in the drug addiction problems in Vancouver which if you look closely is what the headline says on the screen. Anyway, I have changed that now and we won’t be playing the news past 9 am on the Seaside Theatre.
Carnival Cruise Lines and Carnival Corporation are amazing supporters of many charities and good causes but are never ones to blow their own trumpets. So I will do it for them. Have a read about these incredibly lucky kids whose future just got a whole brighter thanks to Carnival……..here is our mate Vance to tell us more.
Speaking of kids, as I mentioned at the start of the blog thingy we have 1,000 plus kids onboard. This means that as the cruise director I have to be very careful about what I say and whereas I may do the odd innuendo that may be considered a bit PG 17ish I have stayed away from them ………..mostly………..and tried to be a family cruise director.
And so far it has worked but in this job you never know when something you say or do is going to upset one of the 4,400 guests………….as you will see now.
Guest: Mr. ————–Ref: 846008158A
Cabin: ___ Booking#: ______ Added-Changed: 03/15/10 – 03/15/10
C – UPSET AT CRUISE DIRECTOR’S RACIST REMARKS
Guest came to the GSD to state that he was very angry because the Cruise Director had made a racist remark at his show. Guest asked to speak to John and the Captain. GSA called the CD who spoke to the guest
You cannot imagine how horrified I was to read this. Racist remark……..me? Well, I was shocked and dismayed and as I prepared myself to call the guests cabin to talk to him I racked my brain to try and think of anything I could have said. And so I called the guest and I was even more surprised when I discovered what it was that had made this man so angry at me. Actually, it’s something I posted yesterday on the blog…………a letter ……… from a little girl………….about her parents. In case you missed it ………..here it is.
Did you spot it?
Well, it was the use of the word “slave” which she used to describe how her parents had looked after her and I had read this letter out on my live Morning Show ………and hadn’t even given it another thought.
And obviously I can see how sensitive that subject is and I apologized over and over again. I explained that it was a written by a child and that it was done so with no malice at all. Well after 20 minutes I think he understood and had accepted my apology. I actually am very angry at myself for not reading this letter ahead of time and for not seeing that word and passing over it……..I am an idiot!
It just shows you how in this job one word can change someone’s opinion of you so quickly.
On a much happier note the guests this week are superb and the family atmosphere that comes from having so many families onboard is terrific. It’s St. Maarten today and the sunshine has followed us from St. Thomas to here. Once again we are docked next to the Monster of the Seas on one side and the beautiful Emerald Princess on the other. Somewhere immersed in the Monster’s shadow is the little AIDA ship……..no sun for them on their open decks today and the naked German’s won’t be happy.
I am always cautious about sharing sad stories with you here on the blog thingy but they are part of the ship’s life and the life I lead. I met two wonderful people this week ………. Troy …………and his daughter Tessa.
Here is their story.
After reading that letter out on my Morning Show I felt compelled to meet Troy and Tessa and what beautiful people they are. Their story is even more dreadfully sad because Troy lost his wife Grace at the age of just 31 to cancer. Losing his 18 year old daughter in an automobile accident so soon after his wife’s death would have destroyed many a man but not Troy who told me that every minute of his life is spent giving Tessa the best life possible. He spoke of how Tegan would have loved this cruise just like she did on the Carnival Conquest…………and as he spoke tears fell from his eyes.
I felt so helpless and all I could do was listen. I sent his daughter Tessa a big Teddy Bear from the gift shop which hopefully will make her smile. As for her Dad…………well all I can send him is my hopes that he and Tessa will be blessed with health and long lives and the hope that this cruise has rejuvenated them ready to face the days ahead.
OK, back to my old mate Harry Potter who I spoke about during the Q and A session. Early blog readers will remember the big fuss back when the blog started about us not having the new Harry Potter book in the library on the Carnival Freedom when she was first delivered. I can’t remember which of the books it was…………maybe Harry Potter and The Curse of the Smelly French Person …….or something like that.
I remember saying that I didn’t see what the angry letters were all about, it’s just a book isn’t it? And the response to that was as though I had made light of the Bible or the Koran. I saw the first three movies because we had them as part of the Seaside Theatre inventory and besides……..Heidi made me. They are all the same.
The kid with the glasses will be nervous all the time, and the kid with the red hair will keep falling over. There’ll be some reason why they’re worried about being expelled, but they won’t be. Then there’ll be some sort of witch or wizard who is controlled by a British actor with a beard which they triumph over, but in a bittersweet way, and still neither of them will have the bollocks to stick their tongue down the back of Hermione’s throat like most lads of that age.
I am sure though that Potter World will be a huge massive money making success. However, it’s another missed opportunity for the UK who should have built something like this years ago…………..but well done ‘Can Do’ America.
Finally I got off the ship yesterday in St. Thomas and went for lunch at a restaurant close by the ship……..I can’t tell you the name of it because last time I reviewed a restaurant that my mate Big Ed and the lovely Pat went to in New Orleans……the owner threatened to cut my thingy off and serve it in a Po Boy sandwich.
I didn’t want to get off the ship but they were doing some work in my cabin. They are running new cables on deck 5 and so they had to take down the ceiling panels in our cabins and so off I went with Stewart the Hotel Director. I can tell you that if you see a restaurant close in the Havenside pier area with the word “Tavern” on the sign avoid it like you would avoid seeing me naked.
I ordered the spare rib the combo platter with boiled sweet corn that tasted like they had been dipped in my toilet and coleslaw that had the texture of that stuff you put between tiles to make them stick and as the ribs themselves…….they tasted like they had been marinated in a sauce that they’re now turning into tractor fuel and as for the meat….. well I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few three legged dogs hobbling around St. Thomas tonight.
The waiter came over and asked “Everything all right?” I smiled and being English I said “yes” knowing already that there was a huge chance of me hurling a few hours later. What I really wanted to say was how bad the food was and as I sit here writing to you now I still can’t believe how bad it was.
I knew it when it arrived on my plate but I still ate it and I can’t believe I did. It’s like seeing photographs of your old girlfriend from when you were 18, and you have a look and you think just like I did with those ribs….. “Oh, my God…… how could I have ever put that in my mouth?”