June 4, 2012 -
Good morning everyone and we start today with an English lesson………..for me.
John, a note about your consistent use of what you term as “spelt properly.” You should know America was colonized at a very interesting time for the written and spoken word. Spelling was hardly standardized, and even the spoken word wasn’t uniform across Britain. As a result, American English has preserved some forms and words we would no longer use, and as both languages are evolving languages, they’ve innovated in a different way to (or from, or than, I’m never sure) us. Globalization has mixed it all up again, but it’s all part of the ongoing process of language evolution.
I myself love regionalisms of all kinds, and strongly dislike locutions that strike me as crass or vulgar. Many of these are British, many American. Careful, though, John, about claims of linguistic purity. American English is closer to the ancient roots of the language than the more progressive London standard and as your populous readers are North American, then I suggest that you revert to what the majority of your customers would consider to be “spelt correctly.” Until then you will continue to come across as anti-American!
Hello Curtis Skrine
Thank you for that wonderfully written post. I have been on Carnival ships for 26 years now and even though I have been surrounded and cocooned by North Americans I still consider myself very British and continue to write as I was taught at school. I will say that it is tough, though, to keep doing this as we are surrounded by Americanisms and it’s not just me either. It’s my daughter, as well. Kye was here with me the last few days and as we left the cabin to go to dinner, my three-year-old daughter said that she wanted to press the elevator button. “I will not have language like that,” I said. “It’s called a lift, not elevator and if you say elevator again then I will put your Wonder Pets in the blender.” That’s her new favourite show by the way, Wonder Pets, which is about an animal trio singing and dancing their way to saving the day.
I am sure its TV that has my daughter and millions of others using American words and I know I probably should not do this, but I find myself correcting any British person that does Americanisms. Every time I hear “garbage,” not “rubbish,” and a “cookie,” not a “biscuit,” I get all hot and bothered. Maybe I need professional help. Oh, and one more thing that Kye says that drives me mad…..it’s chips, not fries. Chips, Kye, they come in newspaper nestled next to a piece of fish.
But I already know this is a waste of sodding time. Kye wears sneakers, not trainers; she eats cupcakes, not fairy cakes and will have Chinese takeout not takeaway. These British words of old are slipping away and, just like the French word for “deodorant,” will soon be lost forever.
I promise you Curtis that I am anything but anti-American but I have to ask. Why do guests ask me where the “bathroom” is all the time? Why don’t they ask where the toilet is? They want to do a pee or a poo and unless they intend doing this in a bathtub why do you call it a bathroom?
There is another side to this. German’s cannot say the word “squirrel.” Americans should never ever say the word “mate” and British people sound equally as ridiculous saying American words which is why I have never shaken a guest’s hand and said “Hey, Dude” or ” How are y’all.”
As for my spelling words the British way Curtis, well, for that I cannot apologise and can’t change in much the same way I can’t wear anything without many “Xs” on the label. In fact I scream and swear many times a day when this bastard Dell computer I am writing to you on now uses black magic to turn humour into “humor” and colour into “color.” Can’t it recognize…… oh FFS………recognise………that I am British and spell the words properly?
If I accept all Americanisms then Mr. Skrine I will lose all sense of my own heritage. Just one footnote to this. Some years ago I was dating an American dancer who when I told her that I would be very happy if she would wear “suspenders” decided I was a pervert…..and dumped me.
Oh by the way, I was so proud to be British yesterday as I watched the Queen on the news yesterday standing in typical British weather to greet her loyal subjects and to witness that spectacular event on the River Thames. She is 86 years old and has the stamina of someone much, much younger and if you will allow me I will use this for a rare personal opinion. This Diamond Jubilee is a wonderful opportunity for us to honour (spelt properly) our wonderful Queen and the Royal family. It also sends out a very clear message to all those miserable sods and anti-Royalist buggers that the Royal Family is here to stay.
Time for today’s Q and A……………here we go.
Having had a wonderful stay on the Carnival Magic last year, we immediately booked the Carnival Breeze for July 2012. A particular highlight of the Magic was the sail by of the island of Stromboli, are you aware of whether the Carnival Breeze will be doing the same this summer?
I will be seeing you soon here on this fantastic new ship, Carnival Breeze. The sad news is that due to restrictions imposed by the Italian coast guard we are not allowed to sail past Stromboli anymore. There is a two-mile restriction zone and this means we won’t see anything, of course. I am sure though that you will have a fantastic cruise and see you here next month. Best wishes.
Kevin Cadeskis asked:
One of the reasons you are not popular on Cruise Critic is that you use the word brilliant so often it becomes annoying and that RCCL has no problem spending a few bucks and holding a ship sponsored meet and greet for us Cruise Critic members. It’s a great way to meet your fellow cruisers that you have been communicating with and we appreciate the way RCCL feels about Cruise Critic people. This is cheap. Hey Carnival, give us Cruise Critic members a break and make us happy.
Hello Kevin Cadeskis.
I have to admit I am a little bored with this question which I am sure I answered recently. In case I am mistaken I will say that while I can’t comment on what other cruise lines do Carnival is happy to arrange a room to meet and for that to be placed in the Fun Times but that aside, we’re not able to offer any amenities for the meet and greets. I have and will continue to assist with these arrangements. Thanks and I hope we see you soon on another brilliant cruise and it will be brilliant if you let me know if I can arrange a meet and greet for your brilliant Cruise Critic group. Have a brilliant day. Brilliant wishes.
Paige Tanenbauma asked:
As it turns out, our cruise may end up being a working vacation for both my husband and me. Internet security is the utmost importance to us. Can you explain how secure Carnival’s satellite network is or what your knowledge is regarding the ship’s internet security?
Hello Paige Tanenbaum
I spoke with the internet manager here on the ship who told me that the system has all the usual internet security systems that you would expect but was not able to tell me anymore than that. Now remember we do go off a satellite and that may mean something to your husband but that aside I am sure all will be well for him to use the internet. Please let me know if you have further questions. Best wishes.
Tonya McKinley asked:
Hi John, Nov 3-8, myself and 28 of my relatives are heading on a five-day cruise on the Carnival Paradise. My question is, where is a good place for all of us to meet up on the ship, since we are all arriving at different times, I thought if I mentioned a place we can all meet up after 4 pm would be ideal. But since I don’t know the ship, I have no idea what would be an ideal spot. Any suggestions? This is my first Carnival cruise and very much looking forward to the “Fun Ship”
Hello Tonya McKinley
Thanks for booking your family to sail on the beautiful Carnival Paradise. I would recommend that you all meet by the main pool bar on Lido deck at 4 pm and that should be the perfect time and place for you all to get together. Please let me know if I can help you or your family further and I wish you all a brilliant time. Best wishes.
Delores Tait asked:
I had paid in full to go on the Carnival Fascination ship but my husband fell off a ladder while fixing the roof and broke his leg and arm and Carnival said no refund. This is bad business I think for Carnival and I am telling all my friends if you don’t help me.
Hello Delores Tait
I am so sorry to read about your husband’s injuries and I hope he is making a full recovery. I take it that you did not have travel insurance which is a shame, of course, and something I really do suggest everyone takes. I cannot promise there is anything I can do but I will refer this to a colleague for you. I hope we see you both soon and my best wishes to you both, until then.
Bob (AKA Kokomo_man) Dennard asked:
I suspect you’ve heard this before, but I wanted to add my voice because I know the beards hear this too. The dates for the BC6 sailing are poor. But I will book it just the same… just as soon as Ron Pass is booked in the piano bar.
Actually your first to mention this and I wonder if you could explain why you feel this way as I am concerned. I did ask the bloggers on BC5 and the mostly unanimous decision was yes, so I went with that. Ron will be there and I truly hope you will be too. Best wishes.
Doug Semple asked:
John, when will we be able to see what shore excursions are available for the Carnival Spirit sailing Honolulu to Sydney on the September 30, 2012? I would like to book some but no information is available on the sites. I am sure many others would like to do the same.
Hello Doug Semple
I asked someone in shore excursions and they tell me by mid August 2012 we will have all the excursions ready to put online. I will keep you informed and I am looking forward to seeing them myself. Please let me know if there are any questions once you have read them. Best wishes.
Chris Elze asked:
Hi John, I have sailed exclusively with Carnival during my married years but now that I am no longer married I have felt the need to sail another line on a trial basis because of the studio cabins that they offer. Please don’t get me wrong as I have absolutely loved all of my Carnival cruises except the last one. I would love nothing more than to return to Carnival for a fifth cruise with you guys. Is there anything in the works with Carnival as far as solo cabins or anything else to help accommodate the solo/single cruiser? I look forward to your response.
Hello Chris Elze
I have indeed heard this before and I am so sorry that you have had to leave us and head to the studio cabins of another cruise line. We don’t have any plans I am afraid to introduce single rates or indeed to make single cabins but if that changes I will let you know. I hope we will see you again, truly I do but understand the complexities that single cruising brings. Best wishes.
Tina Pottage asked:
Fantasy 7/30 cruise
We want to be sitting together in the main dining hall. We are in cabins R55, R67 and R73 and are a total of seven. We want early sitting as one of the family is diabetic, so not late sitting!
Hello Tina Pottage
Thanks for the note and I have sent a kind request to the maitre d to please ask him to kindly seat you all together and I am sure he will be pleased to do so. Have a wonderful cruise and please let me know if I can help further. Best wishes.
Alex Cook asked:
John I love reading the blog and all your FB updates and I am an American from New Hampshire but my grandparents are English like you. I have a question about you. What is your favorite movie and what makes you laugh. Cheers, John.
Hello Alex Cook
Please pass my best wishes to you grandparents and what a good question. Well my favourite movies are The Hunt for Red October, The Godfather 1 and 2 and anything with explosions and Megan Fox in it. What makes me laugh? Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, The Inspector Clousseau movies and Calvyn, my hilarious assistant. What about you, who makes you laugh and what movie do you like? Let me know and I hope we meet one day soon. Best wishes.
And that is all for today.
So a very good morning from Dubrovnik, Croatia, where at noon local time this glorious new ship arrived at this very special port of call. Before I tell you more about our first cruise, I can’t help thinking what a transformation has occurred here in Croatia. Carnival Breeze guests are disembarking today, ready to explore this fairy tale town that less than 25 years ago was being pounded by artillery and tanks from the hills above. Thousands lost their lives and thousands more lost their homes.
UNESCO found that of the 824 buildings in the Old Town, 563 had been hit by projectiles in 1991 and 1992. In 1993, the Institute for the Rehabilitation of Dubrovnik, in conjunction with UNESCO, estimated the total cost for restoring public and private buildings; religious buildings, streets, squares, and fountains, and ramparts, gates, and bridges at $9,657,578 USD. By the end of 1999, over $14 million USD had been spent on restoration.
It is, however, the people that makes this place so brilliant. They are, for obvious reasons, so happy to see the big ships arrive into their port and also they are proud to show all of us their stunning coastline and old town and the Croatian Tourist Board’s slogan, “The Mediterranean As It Used To Be” becomes reality. And what a glorious day it is as the sun shines down on our new flagship and of course Mr. Radu is ashore taking photos of the ship and this fantastic town.
We have 1,978 guests on tour with the Best of Dubrovnik, the most popular excursion. Some of the guests are using the somewhat slow shuttle service which is provided by the local authorities and costs eight Euros return or round trip as we say in the UK. Europe is so different from Caribbean cruising in the sense that towns, attractions and archeological sites are not as accessible as on small Caribbean islands and more transportation is needed and the distances to be traveled are much further. Traveling in Europe does require some patience with regard to independent transportation which is why we do always recommend that you take an organised shipboard tour. Anyway, let’s see who is sailing with us on this the inaugural cruise of the Carnival Breeze.
GUEST COUNT 4,002
Children (under 18) – 445
And here is where we are going and who is entertaining the guests
Sun, Jun, 03 Venice – 7am-6pm
Mon, Jun, 04 Dubrovnik, Croatia 12noon-7pm
Tue, Jun, 05 At Sea and Elegant Night
Wed, Jun, 06 Athens 7am-7pm
Thu, Jun, 07 Izmir 7am – 5pm
Fri, Jun, 08 At sea
Sat, Jun, 09 Messina 7am-4pm
Sun, Jun, 10 Olbia, Sardinia 10am-7pm
Mon, Jun, 11 Rome 7am-9pm
Tue, Jun, 12 Livorno 7am-8pm
Wed, Jun, 13 Monaco 7am-8pm
Thu, Jun, 14 Marseilles 7am-4pm
Wish you were here.
Yesterday was embarkation day and not without its challenges. Embarking through deck 0 was challenging and when the embarkation computer system crashed quicker than Stevie Wonder driving a Ferrari…..at night……we knew the challenge just got a whole lot bigger. But the team here all did a marvelous job as crew from every department stood at the gangway and welcomed the guests on board their new home. I wanted to describe how the first night went but instead, let me show you the words of one of the most senior Carnival beards who are sailing here with us with his lovely family. This is an email he sent to the shipboard senior staff and Gerry Cahill and the beards back in Miami.
“Wow – Breeze was hopping tonight….
I don’t think I’ve seen a Carnival ship so lively into the late night in my five years here. Despite the late hour and the guests’ jet lag, John’s Welcome Aboard Show and the Motor City show were packed in the Ovation Theatre. Most of those guests then danced and partied in the atrium – with the party spilling from the theatre to the atrium… the live band playing the same song in the atrium, “Dancing in the Street” … brilliant! The casino was also full of people and energy. Then the nightclub started humming. Again, I have not seen a Carnival dance club so packed. The DJ was fantastic. Now I get why we have the dance floor in one level with the rest of the club – people were dancing everywhere. My wife and I left the nightclub a short while ago and it was humming. The crowd was actually growing at 2 am, not shrinking. Our friends are still there….
Even Bonsai Sushi was well attended into the late night. Over 40 covers tonight and people are raving about the food. I’ve talked to several guests (not just our friends traveling with us). Guests are having a great time, and they love the ship. Most people talk about how there are so many things to do, so many fun options… The crew is so proud and always smiling. They show absolutely no fatigue despite the very hard work of the last few weeks.
Congratulations. Absolutely fabulous start.
And that brilliant email…………says it all!
Yesterday each guest received a special Carnival Breeze inaugural cruise pin and each stateroom received a special inaugural mug and the inaugural book which the captain and I will hold a signing session for later in the cruise. We are finding little things we need to work on that only come to the surface when the ship has 4,000 guests onboard but as the senior beard concurred, we are off to a brilliant start.
My first Welcome Aboard show went well. Not because of me because not having done a show for five months meant I had the comedic timing of a dead hamster. No, it went well because of the guests I had on stage including a man who was on the cruise with his cousin who admitted he didn’t really like. That in itself was funny but after he admitted his girlfriend was at home in Philadelphia and that he would be looking for female company this cruise…..well, that in itself was comedy gold. So I asked the audience if there were any single ladies who would be interested in this chap who was in his early thirties. At first there was silence in the Ovation Theatre until suddenly this older lady jumped out of her seat shouting “I’m a cougar, I’m a cougar” running toward the stage as she screamed this. Now for those who don’t know what a cougar is, I should explain. I guess though it is much more acceptable today than in past years, I mean…look at this cougar thing. When I was 20 and a 40-year-old lady had rumpy pumpy with me I would have had to either leave $50 on the night stand or ….she would have been blind or drunk or probably both. Regardless, she would have been a laughing stock and labeled as desperate or worse. But today….in these modern times, that desperate woman has become a cougar and having rumpy pumpy with someone many years younger than you is as fashionable as a Chanel bag. Anyway, she ran on stage and gave a growl over the microphone. I asked the man whose long dreadlocks made him look like one of those monsters from the Predator movies if he was interested and he said “Mmmmm, maybe,” and smiled. I reminded him that he had a girlfriend at home and if he had rumpy pumpy with a cougar that would make him a cheetah. Anyway, despite that rather poor joke the show went well and the icing on the cake was the Motor City show which was a huge hit.
OK, time to go and head over to Facebook. I should get off the ship today and enjoy Dubrovnik but me getting off the ship is a rare as a French tank moving forward. It’s not just that I have loads of things to do but also because……well……..what will I do if I do go ashore. Table for one? Nope, very depressing. “Go for a walk,” I hear some cry. Well I don’t get the whole walking thing, I really don’t. Walking is just plain silly. It is boring, difficult, tiring and fraught with many dangers. You could have a heart attack, you could be struck by lightning, you could be knocked down by a car or if you are taking a stroll in Italy where the drivers use road signs as mere suggestions and where the pedestrian is just bait. Why walk around the deck of the Carnival Breeze….doing it for a charitable cause is OK but just for “fun”……….that’s insane.
I understand, of course, that we need the ability to walk, so that we can get to the refrigerator to get a Diet Coke and a huge lump of cheese. I know that Heidi has an image of me and my three-year-old daughter going for “long walks in the countryside or in these European ports to get some fresh air.” But the idea of “going for a walk” seems completely ridiculous. Because one you just end up back at the ship again afterwards and what’s the point of going out in the first place if that’s your goal? I am sure that some of the tofu-loving readers of this blog will be saying, “Walking is good for you, you get to see nature and things and enjoy the fresh air” ……. or you could stay in ……….. order some Chinese food and while eating your General Tso’s chicken and spare ribs enjoy watching a pride of lions eat a Bambi on your 60-inch plasma …… that’s seeing nature …….. same thing then.
The most ridiculous aspect of walking though will be seen in a few weeks’ time at the London Olympics. Surely the Olympic Walking event is the single most ridiculous event there is and that’s up against some great competition like syncronised swimming and a bunch of snotty kids driving their BMX bikes off ramps. Nope, competitive walking is the winner. Why do they walk like that by the way? Do they know how ridiculous they look? I admit that I once walked like that but that was only because I had eaten a chicken vindaloo and was touching cloth. And on that note, I will say goodnight and wish you were here on this brilliant ship.