May 13, 2016 -
Good morning. I hope this finds you well and in the very near future there is Carnival cruise waiting for you and that the fun can begin. Here on your Carnival Vista things are going very well, indeed, and there are not many guests around at the moment and not because I am sitting in the Ocean Plaza in my underpants either. Nope, it’s because right now people from Cleveland, Toronto, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, Florida and Montana are exploring Tuscany and Florence and standing in awe at a tower in Pisa wondering how the bloody thing hasn’t fallen over yet.
By the end of this cruise the shore excursion and entertainment staff will have moved 20,000 people through the stickering system and overall it has gone very, very well indeed. We have one more port tomorrow in Marseilles, France, a port I will not be disembarking in because due to one of two comments I made here recently there is for sure a guillotine with my name on it.
So the guests have had a wonderful time, despite what Hog Rider Je Sourfeet and Game of Thorncroft will hope is not the case. I will have a full recap tomorrow plus I will be answering questions for many hours tomorrow and will leave a marker tonight so please look out for that. But I also need to look forward to next week as we have all been working hard on a new itinerary for our cruises that were due to go to Izmir, Turkey. Anyway, let me show you what we sent the guests last night:
|May 11, 2016
We hope you are as excited as we are about your upcoming cruise on Carnival Vista.
We are happy to let you know that we have been able to secure an alternative port in Turkey to replace the previously canceled call to Izmir. Kusadasi is much closer to Ephesus and we knew that many of you were looking forward to visiting this ancient wonder of the world. As you know, we canceled our call to Izmir based on the State Department Travel Advisory which we continue to monitor but Kusadasi is not the subject of this advisory. Several Carnival Corporation’s sister lines have called in recent weeks with very positive feedback.
Kusadasi is a beautiful town on the western Aegean coast that not only provides a lovely seaside setting for exploring local sites and cuisine, but also provides convenient access to the ancient city of Ephesus. Shore excursions to Kusadasi will be available for purchase once you are on board the ship.
Below is the revised itinerary:
|Please note that our times in Rhodes, Greece have slightly changed, as well. Pre-purchased Carnival shore excursions will be automatically adjusted to the new times. In the event your tour is affected, you will be notified on an individual basis.
Also, as you check-in, there is a possibility we will need to collect your passports in order to expedite immigration processing in Athens, Greece as the Carnival Vista will be returning from Turkey which is a non-European Union country.
The immigration authorities will not require your presence in person but we will collect your passport at embarkation to present to immigration on your behalf. We will keep your passports safe and secure during the cruise. Passports will be returned after our arrival in Athens.
Once again, we are truly excited for you to visit extraordinary and incomparable Ephesus or, you can of course, enjoy a full entertainment and activity program on board the beautiful Carnival Vista.
Captain Rocco Lubrano
Master, Carnival Vista
So, this is a very exciting piece of news and I am sure for the guests who were disappointed but understanding as to why Izmir was canceled. I have been to Kusadasi before. It is a very modern tourist-friendly town that is popular amongst British, Dutch and German tourists. Now some may rightful ask if we canceled Izmir for safety reasons how come we are going to a Turkish town close by? The answer is simple really. Carnival has been closely monitoring U.S. State Department advisories and other security intelligence. Unlike Izmir, Kusadasi is not the subject of a U.S. State Department travel warning. We will continue to monitor security intelligence going forward and, if any adjustments to any of our planned itineraries become necessary, we will act immediately as guest safety is always our foremost priority.
The other great news is that going to a non EU port of call means guests do not have to pay the 20 percent VAT on all items from the shops on board and 10 percent on food and drink items bought in the bars and specialty restaurants. Yep, this is a good thing for sure. Now we are working with the Greek authorities to see if we can negotiate not to have to collect everyone’s passports but there is a possibility and I will let you all know what happens as soon as I can. I know that a few do not like to do this but it is the laws of the European Union and I can assure all guests that if we do collect the passports that they will be safe and secure until returned to you.
The reason we wanted to go was also the fact that, just a few miles away from Kusadasi, is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world……….a pair of Roman underpants. OK, not a pair of Roman underpants but the extraordinary Ephesus. To go to Kusadasi and not see the Roman ruins and walk in the footprints of the Romans would be like going to Egypt and not seeing the Pyramids……it is a jaw dropping astonishing place and we have some brilliant shore excursions that will take our guests there. And the good news is that we will have more calls to Kusadasi and I will tell you about them soon.
As we do this week so next cruise we have lots of British guests sailing on their Carnival Vista. I have met many Brits this inaugural cruise and they absolutely love it. Before I talk about why, let’ s play spot the British tourist.
Firstly find a red-faced man who looks like he has stuck his head in a microwave …………… he’s a sunburn Brit.
Then, find someone looking up the word “tipping “in a dictionary…………..he’s British.
Look for someone who has just been served a steak covered in freshly picked yak turd with a side of grilled dung beetle but refuses to complain to the waiter …………….. yep …….. British.
So many British people are now sailing with Carnival. They love the food, the spectacular entertainment and a chance to talk to Americans about Donald Trump.
People love British tourists. We are polite, sunburnt, non-tipping, non-complaining tourists and nobody loves us more than the Americans. Now I know the following does not apply to any of you reading this but there are some people who still think of us in a fairy stereotypical way.
We all wear Bowler hats to work……that’s if we can get to work with all that fog………it rains every day (that maybe true) and that at 3 pm every day the entire nation stops to have a cup of tea and eat cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Yep, you can be having some serious rumpy pumpy but if the clock strikes three o clock, by law you must dismount and have a scone and cup of PG Tips.
Also, it seems that some still think of my beloved country as being rather small. It is not uncommon then for a cruise ship guest from North America who hears someone is from the UK and who has a relative from there to say……..” I hear y’all from Britain…..do you know Dave?”
Cheers, have a brilliant day and wywh