May 10, 2016 -
Good morning everyone and for the very first time a Carnival Cruise Line ship is docked in the historic and biblically epic country of Malta. It is Carnival’s first call here as I said and indeed my first time on this English-speaking island of amazing beauty. We are docked in Valletta where the Knights of St. John built the Maltese capital in the 16th and 17th centuries
Many of our guests are exploring its narrow streets, churches, and forts where knights lived and I am sure they will all come back saying how wonderful this port of call was.
For me it’s another busy day and in 30 minutes I will be hosting a special plaque exchange ceremony and a ships tour followed by lunch for government ministers and various important people. Joining me will be Carnival Vista’s Hotel Director and surely the proudest man on the ship today because Pierre B. Camilleri is 100% Maltese. I know how honoured he is to be on this ship and to bring her to Malta, to bring the ship home.
So yesterday was a busy day here on the ship with passport returns (more on that later today) and of course the Diamond Luncheon. After I had welcomed them all on the microphone and Captain Rocco Lubrano had said a few words, I walked the tables and took photos with the captain and spoke to all the guests.
During this event I met a guest who I had not seen for some. He is a regular cruiser with Carnival as he is also with our sister company, Princess. He has 605 cruise days by the end of this inaugural cruise and he is a great chap who we will call Max because that is his name.
I last saw Max (so he tells me as I couldn’t remember) on Carnival Magic, again on a European cruise and it was great to see him here on your Carnival Vista. Max is in his late 60’s. He owns a company that sells carpets and bedroom furnishings in upstate New York. Now Max has never married. He’s not hideously ugly, he doesn’t have hemorrhoids, halitosis, three nipples or dribbles on himself when talking to the ladies. He doesn’t live with his mother and he isn’t French. He is, though, incredibly wealthy, attractive, funny, amusing, and popular. He always had a girlfriend and each of these relationships trundled along, as relationships will, to that point where commitments had to be undertaken, questions asked that involve diamonds, placement cards and singing hymns in church. And at that point, Max and these women gently parted ways. I sat with Max at the Diamond Luncheon this week and asked him why he could never sign up to be in the Marriage Club. His says it’s because he’s so wealthy, he’s never really met the right woman as he fears that all women are only after his money. He lives by the thought that every woman is to find a male, fleece him, skin him and throw him back, a broken and shivering poor person. Yet, I see him now after a long time and now I see a man who has suddenly gotten old overnight. He no longer has a girlfriend and …….well…….he looks sort of……lonely. Now don’t worry, I have Max’s full permission to write this and indeed he reads this page often. I know he played the field for many years all I’m sure he’s had many memorable evenings if you know what I mean…but now……well, he’s older and alone…….and I kind of felt sorry for him
These are the kind of people you meet on a ship and there is always a story behind the smile. Take the chap who has been walking the ship (as in the photo below) with an…… ummmm….. stick, with a cowboy hat on. I have no idea what his story is but he never goes anywhere on the ship without Mr Sticky. They eat dinner together. They lay in the sun together. They get off in port together and ummm………..ummmm……….I think I will leave it at that. I do know that Mr. Sticky’s partner never has anything but a smile on his face and always it seems is having fun and looking on the bright side of life. And while we may never understand why their friendship is so strong, him walking the ship night and day with his best friend in hand has for sure brought many moments of joy and laughter to the other guests mixed of course with understandable mutterings of “ What the heck is that all about?”
I have done 15 inaugural cruises — 14 as CD and as it was on my first ship from the then-new Carnival Ecstasy so it is here on your Carnival Vista. Yep, there are a group of guests who always come on these first cruises and make the crew sweat every time they do so. They live to find fault and for some of the crew it’s their mission to need an urgent toilet break whenever they come anywhere near. There is one famous guest that the crew refers to as “The King” because he honestly believes he is royalty and he is famous for walking around the ship with a note pad and pen asking other guests if they have any complaints and then taking those comments to the hotel director.
Then there is another chap we call “The Professor” who is an extraordinary chap who claims he is a professor at Cornell University. On Saturday night he went to the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse and ate his meal, all of it…….and then simply say that it wasn’t cooked to his liking and demand a refund. And so we play the game. He eats it, he refuses to pay, we tell him he has to and so he demands a meeting with someone in authority (in this case it was me and Pierre, the hotel director) and eventually after wasting an hour of our lives, he agreed to pay but then wants a free meal to make up for it which, of course, he won’t be offered.
These guests are infamous and there are others like them but even though we all start to sweat when they walk up the gangway they are mostly harmless and also have two things in common: one is that they despite finding continuous problems with every aspect of their cruise they continue to sail with Carnival and many are platinum or even diamond guests. And one other thing that all the people I have mentioned here have in common……..they all travel alone and thus it seems to me they seek out attention because quite simply……..they are lonely.
Cheers, have a brilliant day