January 12, 2011 -
I am sure by now you will have read that the Carnival Spirit will move to Australia in 2012 and if you haven’t then believe me she is……..and here is the official word from Vance telling you so.
Now one thing that you will all want to know is what is going to happen to our Alaska season when she leaves for Australia. Well there is no definite news about what ship we have chosen to sail to the Last Frontier yet but we will be returning to Alaska in 2013……… as soon as I hear anything I will of course let you all know
I know the ship had a lot of fans and that some of the West Coast folks will be disappointed that she is leaving. But Australia is a vibrant market and it makes total sense for us to put a ship down ummmm under……..although using the word “under” when referring to a cruise ship doesn’t seem right somehow.
We Brits have a strange relationship with our Australian cousins. If we don’t hate them, why do we love to beat them? Why is it Australia, above all other nations that we like to beat at sport? Why is it that defeat at the hands of Australia is one of the most painful sensations that sport can offer? Like the New York Knicks beating the Miami Heat or America losing to Canada at hockey. Why is it that sporting encounters between England and Australia are fought with such extraordinary intensity?
Our nations are friends, most of us have individual Australian friends, the British love Australia and Australians love England. There is a history of warfare shared by both countries, but they have always fought on the same side. It’s not like the traditional soccer rivalries between England and Germany, England and Argentina, in which the countries have spent time killing each other. But when England plays Australia at any sport, especially cricket, we hate each other nearly as much as we both hate the French. Oh and by the way, I won’t go into explaining cricket to my North American blog readers because by the time I have finished some of you will have died.
Let me just say that last week the English team beat the Australian team in the equivalent of the Superbowlworldseriesnchampionship and there was much rejoicing. What else can I tell you about the Aussies? Well they have more ways of killing you in that country you than most other countries in the world. The most poisonous snakes in the world live in Australia and so do the spiders. One of these is called the red back spider which has a tendency to live in your toilet and whose bite is fatal. There you are sitting on the throne, reading the Outback Times when a red back bites you in the arse and that’s it…….you die on the toilet. Still at least you are sitting in the right place when you realise a spider has bitten you and your going to die and you lose control of last night’s dinner.
Talking of dinner Aussies like to eat crocodile. Yes, they really do. No wonder these huge sods keep eating people. They’re just getting their own back for all the times their mates have turned up on the menu at swanky Sydney restaurants. It was bad enough when crocodile handbags were all the rage. My Aussie mates tell me it tastes like chicken……so why not just eat chicken then? ……… or Australia’s other, bouncier meal, the kangaroo, which believe it or not tastes like porterhouse from our steakhouses.
The Australians go to work in shorts and that’s a good enough reason to hate them. Also, they have cookers in their kitchens but choose to cook their shrimps in the garden. And the only invention to have come out of Australia, ever, is the rotary washing line. The Australians have plenty for us to envy though, and it’s not just climate and beaches and Kylie Minogue’s bottom. Australia has only just begun. Australia is still inventing itself. Having been there myself pre-Heidi (she won’t go because of the spider thingy) you get a feeling that you could do anything ……………… be anybody.
Australia represents a kind of alternative reality like the ones in Star Trek. It offers freedoms that most countries are truly jealous of. And oh boy, how Australians love to cruise. Anytime I have had Aussies on the ships with me they have been fun, outgoing and love to meet and mingle and meet as many new mates as they can. They are also extremely good for bar revenue.
So as I say, it makes total sense for us to put a ship out there and if there is ever going to be a perfect definition of “Fun Ships”………then it’s a ship full of Aussies.
Maybe some of you can spend some time touring this incomparable country and then take a cruise with your new mates on the Carnival Spirit. Trust me……it will be a cruise you will never forget. Just check the toilet before you sit down.
Time for today’s Q and A…………..off we go.
JOHN PLEASE REPLY
Sorry if this is posted again but didn’t see it the first time.
Just want to tell you how well the blog is. Sailed with you on the DREAM last Feb. and you sent home a photo and a ship on a stick for my son. Thank you! Just have a few questions for you.
Because I push a Carnival Cruise so much, 10 of us are booked on the GLORY on March 27th. Four have never cruised before and two with a different line. (Told the Carnival was better!!)
- Will you be on the cruise? (I see your doing the BC4. in Feb on the GLORY)
- Would like to know what you recommend for my parents as they just had their 40th anniversary and my mother turns 60 after the cruise. I gave the cruise as a gift for Christmas. Still like to do a little something on the cruise.
- When we arrived on the DREAM, the spa had a special offer for the week. Could you find out if this is done on the GLORY as well?
Thank you again for the great cruise and look forward to cruising again with Carnival!!
Again love the blog thingy!!
Don’t apologise Andrew as it’s my fault for being so far behind and that’s why your question hasn’t been answered until now. Thanks so much for your loyalty to Carnival and for promoting the company to others, we are very grateful indeed. Unfortunately I won’t be the CD when you sail as I am only on the Carnival Glory for the Bloggers Cruise starting on the Feb. 27. Your CD will though be the very, very funny George Solano. Please can you send me another posting with your Mum’s name and stateroom number on so that I can send her a little birthday surprise?
The spa on the Carnival Glory will indeed have daily specials but I think the one you are referring to is the weekly pass to the Cloud 9 Spa facilities. This only applies to the Carnival Splendor and your Carnival Dream and will apply to your Carnival Magic. I know that you will all have a brilliant time and I hope you can send me Mum’s details. Best wishes to all and thanks so much for the kind words about the blog thingy
Leigha Holt Asked:
Dear John, (Please Respond)
My boyfriend (now fiancé thanks to the cruise) went on a cruise with our family in September on the Splendor. We were lucky enough to sit by you and your wife on the first dress up night at dinner. We had such a nice time visiting with you two and had a nice dinner. It was very kind of you to send a bottle of champagne and a plastic piece of ship to each of our rooms. We enjoyed very much the ones you sent to his room, but we never got to enjoy the ones sent to my room because, guess what?! We never got it. Oh I’m not complaining. For real. It was hilarious and we still laugh to this day and we joke about it all the time. Thanks for the memorable cruise! We had such a good time. Just didn’t have the champagne to go with it! hahaha Thanks again!
Hello Leigha Holt
I remember that night very well and the laughs we shared. I wonder what happened to your trophy then as you were supposed to be the main recipients. Very strange. Congratulations on your engagement and I hope that you will consider taking a honeymoon cruise with us so I can make sure you get dozens of trophies and lashings of champagne. Best wishes to all.
Lisa Mc Asked:
Dear John – PLEASE Reply,
John, I have been a Carnival cruiser for quite a few years and have over 17 cruises under my belt with 4 more scheduled. In January I will be on my Carnival Dream. One stop is Roatan on January 26. While I know Carnival promotes its own excursions, sometimes passengers book with reputable independent operators. I am with a group of over 50 people and several of us have booked with one such operator, Victor Bodden. I have know Victor for over 8 years and trust him and his business. In our group travelling with Victor are 2 wheelchair dependent ladies. There in lies the problem. At the new pier in Roatan, they are not always allowing independent operators to pick up passengers at the gate. To get to the independents you must walk up a 90 degree hill. Lately, it appears the “boss” at the pier is not allowing the independents to pick up disabled passengers even if some folks in the group walk up and over the hill to meet the operator. According to Victor, sometime they will and sometime they won’t allow it. As you can imagine this will be devastating for our group if our disabled passengers can’t be picked up. Since Carnival owns and controls the pier area, is there anything that can be done to ensure we are accommodated. I know Carnival in Roatan isn’t required to follow ADA requirements, but this policy just seems wrong.
Secondly, and totally unrelated, I want to comment on my first cruise with my husband and family that was in July 2003 on the non-smoking Carnival Paradise. We had a wait team on that cruise that has been unmatched by any since. We’ve had some very good wait teams but wouldn’t be able to tell you their names. However, in July 2003 Joel and Miguel were our team and we still use them as the benchmark for all other teams. I was wondering if they are still with Carnival and where? They were just that fabulous!!!
Hello Lisa Mc
First of all thank you so much for being a loyal Carnival customer and I hope you enjoy many more cruises with us in the future. We are all very aware of the problems the cruise ship guests on princeCarnival, Princess and Holland America ships face when docking in Mahogany Bay in Roatan. We do realise that the walk, for some is difficult and I promise that I will address this with the right people and let you know.
It was great to read about just how good Joel and Miguel were but without a last name I don’t think I can give you accurate information as to where they are now. Miguel as you can imagine is a most popular name amongst out Latin employees and Joel is one of the most common names in the Philippines and I can think of at least 4 waiters called Joel who I know personally. Do you have their last names written anywhere? If you do please let me know. So thanks for taking the time to write and I will as promised address this situation again.
Tom Bettencourt Asked:
RESPOND JOHN PLEASE
Sorry to say but I my wife won a cruise on the “Mall of the Seas” as you call it. I won’t bother giving it a review here because it is not the place but I will say there were good points and bad points but I do want to tell you what happened. We couldn’t get into the port of Falmouth in Jamaica and the cruise director came on the speaker system and blamed CARNIVAL for us having divert to Montego Bay! He said that Carnival was “hogging” all the berths in Ocho Rios so they were being forced to go to Montego Bay instead. Is it me, or was the CD’s explanation a way of “creative lying and twisting the truth?” How about saying that the real reason we ended up in Montego Bay was because Falmouth wasn’t ready and Royal Caribbean had miscalculated opening dates?? Even if Carnival was indeed “hogging” all the berths in Ocho Rios, I find the CD’s comments to be a bit unprofessional. Just thought you should know John. We are back on Carnival in September and will see you on the Magic!
Well I have to start by saying that it would be hypocritical of me not to mention that every now and then I have a little fun at RCI’s expense which I am sure some may find unprofessional as well. I have though in my defence never said anything negative about them when I have been a CD on the ships either on stage or on the PA system….well….maybe once…. or twice….. or more.
I can’t really comment if the cruise line did or did not miscalculate the opening schedule of the port of Falmouth but I will say that all pier space is booked many months in advance so I don’t think it’s fair to say that we are hogging the space. Anyway, I will say that I thank you for letting me know about this and I am sure the beards will enjoy reading what happened. I am truly looking forward to seeing you in September on your Carnival Magic.
John Please reply!!
There are people on Cruise Critic that are saying starting December 1st they will be instituting a pat-down line for passengers suspected of hiding contraband in their clothing. Passengers with unusually bulky clothes or cargo shorts will be directed to these special security lines. This is in response to a rising incident of passengers using the many-pocketed cargo shorts to sneak liquor onboard. Is this true? And if yes why have you not told us the truth.
I have to say that I have just sworn quite loudly in English and Dutch because I am getting a bit bored with all these rumours. The security procedures remain as they were onboard with guests walking through a scanner and their purchases being placed through an X-ray machine. We do not have a special line for guests that have a bulge in their pants.
John, (Please try to answer before middle of Jan)
I have a really odd question based on the recent happenings. We are taking a short cruise on Jan 23 from San Diego down to Cabo. When we go on a cruise out of country the first thing I usually do is to lock our passports in the cabin safe. I was wondering if the cabin safe runs off of ships power. I’m not saying what happened recently would ever happen again, but if for some reason the ship loses power completely, and we end up having to disembark in a foreign port, the passport is an invaluable tool to expedite return home. When we heard that the ship was coming into Ensenada rather than San Diego (as it eventually did) that was the first thought that came to mind. Can you address that? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to start a panic or anything, but I think we should all be prepared for whatever might happen and maybe putting the passports in the safe rather than carrying them is not a good idea. I’d just like to be prepared for whatever might someday happen out there. It’s not going to keep me from my much beloved Carnival Cruises either way, but there may be some things we should do to be prepared for “whatever might happen”. We all know the sea is an unforgiving mistress, but the allure is there none-the-less! I know you are running behind so if you don’t get to it before then, well, I’ll just wing it, but I would like to know regardless! Thank you in advance for your input!
This is actually a great question and the answer was one that I actually didn’t know and had to ask someone. The good news is that the safes are battery operated so you can still empty them should there be a loss of power. I should have actually realised this because as I write this answer I found myself thinking back to the Carnival Splendor incident and realised that we didn’t have any guests asking for help with this as we still had no power when we arrived in San Diego.
Good question Mike and thanks so much for asking it. Have a great cruise.
John – PLEASE REPLY
Have you noticed (as I have) that all the Carnival bashers seem to have forgotten how to use the word PLEASE?
Point in fact – from your 11/26 Frank’s House blog -
Marvin V Asked:
No please, no thank you – just a command.
Some people have no manners.
Thank you for all the effort you put into the blog and for all that Carnival does to make cruising with Carnival the best vacation value one can buy.
Thanks Jon, yes I have seen this now and then and just take it with a grain of salt and the fact that I am answering them, dressed only in my underpants is good enough for me. It’s also wonderful knowing that they are the few and friends like you here on the blog thingy are the many. Best wishes to you and Mrs MTSFP.
Doxakis Nikolaos Asked:
After reading the bellow email, I felt very upset for a comment made in regards to the Greeks Merchant Marines… “So now the crew were at their emergency stations and when I say the crew I mean every single crew member went immediately because the Carnival crew are brilliant and…..they are not Greek and thus in the lifeboats before the guests.” I am a Greek citizen, with a 20 years experience at sea, and I have always worked with so many nationalities, and this is the first time that I read such a dreadful comment with no foundation.
I want you to understand that it is a racist comment, and I ask you to write a public apology and to remove such a sensational realistic statement.
Hello Dozakis Nikolaos
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I should point out that I was referring to the time when a Greek cruise ship Oceanos sunk and Captain Yiannis Avranas and many of the crew abandoned ship before the guests. In fact there is the famous quote he gave afterwards that said “When I give the order abandon ship, it doesn’t matter what time I leave. Abandon is for everybody. If some people want to stay, they can stay.” However, I realise that this was just one isolated incident and I should have been specific when talking about this in my blog. I realise that there are many fine and outstanding Greek sailors many of whom work in the cruise industry and I therefore apologise for any offence caused and hope you will forgive me.
That’s all for today and thank you all for the continuing great comments.
Just going back to the Carnival Spirit one more time as I know some of you.
Tomorrow I will feature some exciting news on the Carnival Magic so tune in here on the blog thingy as I tell you all about some fantastic new features on this ship.
Vance from PR is very popular today because I am going to feature more of his great writing again. I continue to take lots of Chef’s Table requests here on our blog thingy and this is proof positive that this continues to be the must attend event on our ships. Vance has recently written a news brief about this which was sent to all the various travel publications and as so many of you are huge fans of The Chef’s Table I thought you might like to see it as well.
Thanks again Vance. So please remember if you want me to pre book The Chef’s Table for you all I need is a post on the blog marked “CHEF’S TABLE RESERVATION REQUEST” containing just this information:
NUMBER OF SPACES AT THE TABLE
E MAIL ADDRESS FOR CONFIRMATION
I remain at your service and hope you all experience this brilliant event.
Time for me to take a break and for you to meet another of our superb Assistant Cruise Directors and today we are off to the Carnival Imagination to meet Laura Pipes.
I am currently on the Imagination. Contract finishes on February 28. My next ship is the Ecstasy on May 28. I have been in the world of entertainment since the age of 3 when my mum took me to dance lessons in my city, York, England. When I left school I was given the opportunity by my parents to further my dance training at a dance college where I perfected my jazz, ballet, tap, modern, acting and singing (by the way, I can’t sing!!)
I auditioned for Spirit of the Dance which is an Irish Production show performed all over the world and landed a place performing in the US for two years. I had always loved the idea of travelling around the world working on a cruise ship so I auditioned and worked for 3 years with different companies as a dancer. During these 3 years I realized how much fun it was working on a ship and seeing all these amazing places and knew I would be ‘at sea‘ for quite a while!
Whilst working as a dancer I used to enjoy following the entertainment staff around with the activities and helping them out. I loved the guest interaction. One night the cruise director asked me to take part in the Liars Club (Your Bluff) and as soon as I got on the microphone and made the audience laugh and respond I knew this was the direction I wanted to go in.
I decided to hang up the dancing shoes and wanted to apply to be a Host. In 2008 I joined Carnival as a host and within my first contract I was covering as the Asst. Cruise Director. I have worked so far on the Fascination, Paradise, Holiday and Imagination and my next ship is the Ecstasy. My favorite thing to host is ‘The Game of Love’. I like it because you never know how the couples will respond to the questions and their answers can be hilarious! Since being an ACD, I have been able to utilize what I have learned to train and direct numerous brand new hosts, resulting in a team that has made me proud.
The best thing about being an ACD is having a fantastic team of hosts, working together with you to create an outstanding vacation for the guests and encouraging the guests to smile, relax and ‘let their hair down.’
Thanks Laura. You know we don’t have enough female CD’s but I think the future looks bright and very bright for Laura.
If today I were to be granted three wishes by a fat chap in a diaper one would definitely be “I wish I was Italian.”
You see this afternoon I have a meeting with my accountant to discuss what money Heidi, Kye and I owe the British government in national insurance and tax.
But if I were Italian I could dismiss the whole thing with a shrug and a “I owea youa shita” because all the money would be in used notes under Mama’s bed.
My experiences of the brilliant Italian shipbuilding industry are similar. The working day begins with a cappuccino, followed by some cannolis, then an argument and an espresso and then it’s lunchtime. Lunch is enormous, lasts for two hours, probably involves some grappa and is followed by a nap, by which time we can start thinking about going home. Somewhere in the middle of all this is a one-hour work break or some similarly casual job which by some miracle will be ready, on time and looking magnifico.
I write this because I am trying to fit in a trip to the shipyard next week to film your Carnival Magic for you. I will let you know what happens.
Today in New York there is a great meeting, one I wish I could be there for and one that any true cruise head (people who like cars are petrol heads so people who like cruise ships are cruise heads, naturally) would want to see for themselves……….the Queen Mary 2, The Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth all sailing into Manhattan together.
Having seen this for myself when the Queen Mary and Queen Victoria said goodbye to the QE2 in Southampton, I can testify that it is an unforgettable experience. Our man in London Peter Shanks will be there and will be reporting on the event I am sure. I also understand that Carnival’s Chairman and CEO Micky Arison will be there as well because he is an absolute cruise head and this will be something I am sure he wouldn’t want to miss.
You know, I was talking to Chris in the Miami office yesterday about me going to the shipyard to see your Carnival Magic and this along with typing in Mr. Arison’s name reminded me of one of my favourite stories. Now I am pretty sure I haven’t told you this before on the blog but forgive me if I have……….but it’s well worth sharing.
The ship involved was the Carnival Legend and she was still in the yard in Helsinki, Finland. Picture the scene. I was sitting in the cabin at the computer with Heidi preparing for the handover ceremony. This is where Carnival takes delivery of the vessel from the shipbuilders. Carnival gives the shipyard a suitcase full of money usually in $1 bills just to piss them off and the shipyard gives us the keys to the ship.
Anyway there we were working away…..well Heidi was….when I heard a knock on the door. I shouted for the knocker to come in without even turning around to see who it was. There, as large as life, was Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation’s chairman and CEO, and Carnival Corporation’s Vice Chairman Howard Frank. Now, the chances of these two chaps to come walking into my cabin were about as slim as me getting a warm welcome from the Greek officers on Celebrity.
Anyway I was asked by Mr. Arison to help him at the handover ceremony. Just a few months earlier the same ceremony had been completed on the then brand new vessel Carnival Pride and Mr. Arison said he was “a bit bored” with having to give the same old speech thanking the ship builders for their hard blah blah blah blah……..obviously Mr. Arison didn’t say blah, blah, blah, blah…….that was me adding that bit…….. but you get my drift.
He had devised a plan where during his speech thanking the shipyard for the wonderful vessel they had built I would start to heckle him from the back of the theatre and eventually walk on stage and say that his speech was boring and that it was the same speech he had done just a few months ago.
Now when the chairman of the board asks you to do this you say “Yes, sir” and he left comfortable in the knowledge that this would happen while I went straight to the bathroom and gave the toilet some shock and awe.
So, what was I going to do? There would be 1,000 people in the room, all from Finland and 99% of them spoke as much English as a three-year-old from Mongolia.
The idea had been that I would do the heckling in English and then five minutes of jokes, etc., in English knowing that the boss and a few others would be the only ones to understand. And of course while the chairman and vice chairman of Carnival would be laughing their expensive hand-made Italian socks off, the fat English bloke in the JC Penney suit would look a total wanker (www.urbandictionary.com).
Bollocks to that I said to Heidi and I decided (and quite bravely I might add) to turn the tables around and do the whole thing in Finnish. The problem was I only new one sentence in Finnish and as I doubted nobody in the room would want to go and mate with a reindeer….… I went for help. This came from one of our Finnish pursers, the wonderful Maarit, who translated all my jokes into Finnish and wrote them out phonetically. I practiced for two hours even trying them out on another Finnish crew member until they understood me and laughed.
Now, I want to cut to the time when I actually get on stage and come back to the best bit. Once on stage I stood next to Mr. Arison, Mr. Frank and the captain and they waited for me to do my speech in English but I then started to do it in Finnish and the audience laughed they looked very bemused. It had worked and the ceremony was successful and a whole lot of fun! I remember one particular line I used that had the 1,000 Finnish builders laughing hard……..and I looked across at the chairman and he smiled and nodded not knowing that I had actually said that if they managed to deliver the next new ship the Carnival Miracle on time that Mr. Arison had agreed to ride up and down in the atrium glass elevators…….naked…….they did………he didn’t!
Now, the best bit. Let me set the scene. There are 1,000 shipyard workers, all the Carnival executives and shipboard department heads. The thing was, I had not told anyone apart from Heidi that I was going to do this. Mr. Arison started his speech and I immediately started whispering quietly from the back that I was so bored with this and I couldn’t take it anymore.
Then, without warning I sprang from my chair as though someone had just goosed me with a cactus and shouted from the back of the room “Get off the stage, you said the same thing last time, boooooooooooooooo.”
One thousand heads turned to look at me in horror, but none more so than the Hotel Director Shahnaz. The look of horror in her eyes is something that I can still see so clearly today.
I continued to shout “Boring!” and “This sucks!” to the most influential man in the cruise industry and as I shouted I started to walk toward the stage.
I was halfway towards the stage when Shahnaz suddenly turned into a NFL linebackerthingy and threw herself at my legs trying to tackle me to the floor….. and I walked the last few meters toward the stage with Shahnaz hanging on my leg.
I tried to shake her off by moving my leg backwards and forwards (which to those seated at the back of the theatre must have looked like she was humping my leg) but I couldn’t shake her off and all the time I am whispering “It’s a joke, it’s a joke, get off me you mad old bat.”
See you all tomorrow with some brilliant Carnival Magic news.