Dressing for Dinner

June 9, 2007 -

John Heald

ITS SUNNY? AND WE ARE IN VENICE? IT’S A MIRACLE

Good Afternoon everyone and I say that with a big smile on my face because its sunny and the weather forecast says that will be the case for the rest of the day although there may be a thunder shower later in the evening. Let’s hope not.

Can I just start by issuing an apology? As this blog gets more and more popular, it is taking me more and more time to answer all the questions and comments that are posted. Today’s blog has 20 pages of them. I will answer them all, I promise but please bear with me.

Thank you all for your support and assistance in obtaining the stunning Miss Jolie as godmother for the Carnival Splendor. Word is spreading around the various web sites and contact is being made, so now, it’s wait and see. Angelina is on Larry King Live on Thursday and I have sent e-mail to his show asking if I (on behalf of Carnival) can have permission to ask the beautiful Angelina if she would grace her with her sublime presence next July. This is one of just many ways that we are trying so thanks to all of you for helping out.

Have you seen the movie she made called “Original Sin?” The story line is amazing. A friend of mine Tim has seen it nine times!

So, what can I report? This morning at around 3 am we had a propulsion problem, which meant we had to slow down for about an hour. This put us at the pilot station today at 11:30 am, approximately 30 minutes behind schedule however, thanks to a clear passage into Venice we are alongside and the gangways out just a few minutes after 1 pm.

I am now heading to the gangway to check on the tours, back soon.

It is HOT out there. I went onto the pier and it really feels very warm indeed. We have 2,020 guests out of 3,200 ashore already. We are docked across from the Emerald Princess and also there were many beautiful private yachts in Venice today. The Venice pilot told me Sophia Loren was onboard one of them but I
couldn’t see her. I just saw an Italian sunbathing in Speedos on the yacht. It was proof that money can’t buy everything!

The gondoliers will be happy tonight as we have 500 people booked on our evening Gondola tour. I enjoy selling that experience. It really is something you have to do and booking it through us means you get a guaranteed 40 minutes in the gondola and are not subject to the various “scams” that some of them will try on unsuspecting tourists.

This blog has been going some 90 days now and I am not sure if I have ever mentioned this before, so if I am repeating myself please forgive me. I just wanted to mention about the guys who you will find selling fake goods on the streets of Venice. You can find: GUCI BAGS, CHANNAL SUNGLASSES, and ROLAX WATCHES – and much more.

Actually, I am told that some or good copies but remember, it is illegal for you to buy them and if caught, you will be fined a hefty sum of money. Also, and this is a personal opinion only, I once saw a program on BBC television about the kids who make these fake goods and I can never forget the awful conditions that kids as young as 12 have to work in. That has always stopped me from buying anything, but that’s just my opinion.

What else? Oh, let me follow up quickly about the young man I saw crying by the coffee shop. I spent some time with him (Jason) and his family last night. Jason is doing OK and we spoke about some of the tours that they should do and Jason spoke a little about the loss of his beautiful partner. It was an emotional time for everyone. This morning, I gave Jason and his family a free tour in Dubrovnik. It is a jeep tour and lots of fun as you drive a jeep through the Croatian countryside. Hopefully, this will rejuvenate them a little.

This cruise (again) we have 80 missing pieces of luggage and I made an announcement that I wanted everyone to feel comfortable and wear whatever they have during last night’s formal functions. During the captain’s party I was met by a Mrs. Joy Webb who was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. She wanted to tell me that if she had not heard that announcement then she would have stayed inside her cabin the entire evening. She and her husband had traveled from Rhode Island to Rome via Paris and they had received none of their four bags. Hopefully, their bags will arrive in Venice today. I encourage all cruise directors who may have accidentally discovered this blog thingy to make such an announcement if your company rules and regulations allow. I think that for the many years I have not been doing this there must have been many guests who just stayed in their cabins afraid to come out if not dressed appropriately.

It’s becoming obvious that the name of our dance club, “The 70’s” is going to be a continuing cause of complaints for the ships life. Each and every cruise I have received comments that guests do not understand when they go in there that they hear the music of today and not “70’s Music.” I explain that the name refers to the décor and design and not the content of music. We do have theme nights in there including a 70’s night but the rest of the time the D.J. plays a mixture of music. Our D.J. gets this comment more than I do and I am sure will continue to do so. Most guests are understanding, although there are some who are not.

This week, for the first time, Carlos, our DJ is playing much more up-to-date music as we have younger guests onboard who like me love the sounds of Hop Hip and Drum and Space. My favorite artists are M & M and 25 cents, Christina Agguleria and my favorite Snoopy The Dog. I know have 22 pages of Q & A to get through. So, I have my Diet Coke, some sugar-free candy and the relaxing sounds of M.C. Hammer on the stereo and I am therefore ready to begin.

OKTEACH – I see that your fellow Cruise Critic members have chosen you to be their spokesperson. Is this because you are a teacher? You asked if I could set up a meeting time for you and your group to meet on the transatlantic crossing. I am happy to do so. Please let me know how many of you and what day of the cruise you want to meet. May I suggest you have two meetings — one at the beginning and one at the end? I will be happy to come along as well as you requested. On another note, I had a bit of a distressing conversation with a guest yesterday evening that is also sailing with a Cruise Critic group this week.
This guest said that some on Cruise Critic were upset with me because I am “trying to take readers away and convert them to my blog “. Apparently, there have been quite a few postings about this. Therefore, may I just say that I assure you and all the readers of the brilliant Cruise Critic site that I am not trying to
do anything. I am just being, well…me. I have not and never will criticize Cruise Critic and indeed I am proud to say I have many, many friends who are avid readers. Indeed, if I had time, I would be one of them. I therefore want you to know that I have nothing but admiration and respect for Cruise Critic and I am sure there is enough room in cyberspace for all of us. Anyway, send me your numbers and I will be happy to help you out. See you in October.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – Thank you first of all for the sound bites and you certainly should be proud of your use of the ship names. Can I also say congratulations on making it through the ranks to Captain? I am sure the men and women under your command had a lot of respect for you and I can see from your postings as to why. Thank you also for your support of the Carnival Splendor’s godmother appeal. I look forward to your next posting and glad you are happy with the Alaska information. I think Shawn will still be there, as she does not start her Italian tour for a few weeks yet. As for the godmothers of other ships you mentioned I can remember the following.
CARNIVAL DESTINY – LIN ARISON – THE WIFE OUR FOUNDER, MR TED ARISON
CARNIVAL TRIUMPH – MADELEINE ARISON – THE WIFE OF CARNIVAL CORPORATION’S CHAIRMAN AND CEO MICKY ARISON
IMAGINATION – JODI DICKINSON, WIFE OF CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES PRESIDENT AND CEO BOB DICKINSON
CARNIVAL LEGEND – DAME JUDI DENCH
CARNIVAL MIRACLE – JESSICA LYNCH, FORMER PRISONER OF WAR
INSPIRATION – MARY ANNE SHULA, WIFE OF LEGENDARY AMERICAN FOOTBALL COACH DON SHUA
CELEBRATION – ?????
I can’t remember some of them so I kindly ask the help of my PA who is currently busy at a ” Safety in the Office ” convention in Boring, Oregon.
MARK AND SHELLY – It sounds like you are expecting a busy time in keeping all your family and friends happy, but worry not. A cruise ship has magic aboard. This magic allows everyone to do his or her own thing during the days at sea. The younger kids will be new friends at camp carnival, the adults will be “chilling ” knowing that the rest of the family is being taken care of, having fun and most importantly doing it all in the safest of environments. Then, when dinnertime comes around, the family gets together and tells stories of what their day has been like. In the ports of call there are wonders to behold for everyone. So, relax and get ready to have a stress free vacation. See you all soon and leave me a note when you arrive at the Information Desk.
ZYDECOCRUISER – The hunt for Angelina goes on and I am feeling confident now that she will be mine. I mean….ours. Sorry, got a bit selfish then. If you do see her Bill please tell her if she agrees, not only we will be making a donation to a charity of her choice but she gets a Solid Gold Plastic Trophy and me. Write soon mate.
ESSEXMAN – Ah, only a man from Essex could come up with humor like that. I love Fawlty Towers – it is true genius. The lady whose name I will never mention again is now hopefully booking her cruise on the Westerdam with Holland America and is deciding what kind of free Rolex she wants. Maybe I should have told her to buy as much fake stuff as she wanted in Venice. How’s things in my home county?
RowdyCampertteDebbie – What? Please explain your screen name. Anyway, welcome to the blog club and thank you so much for reminding me to look down incase the lady whose name I will never mention is still there. I am managing OK without Heidi. There is underwear on the floor, the toilet seat is down but
I miss her very much. I guess that’s why, on such beautiful day here in Venice, I am sitting in my cabin, blogging. You mentioned the Camping Singles Group, do you have a name and cabin number so I can say a hello to them from you. I am glad you have been enjoying the blog and maybe if Angelina says NO, then, as you mentioned her name, we should ask Jennifer Aniston! I appreciate yours and other bloggers words about the young man Jason and his tragic loss. I cannot write any more information because I do not feel comfortable doing so but I can tell you that your words will be passed onto the family so I thank you. No sign of the tents on lido deck yet although I did catch someone peeing off the side of the ship – was that one of your camping friends? I got the names so lets see what we can do with them. Please keep reading the blog thingy and hope to hear from you soon.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Thank you so much for your support and faith in me. I hope that we manage to get Angelina. We have all spent a lot of time in trying to make it happen and if she says no I will cry. Now, I see from your later posting that you have e mailed Access Hollywood which I am guessing is a TV show or radio show so many thanks. Can you be my agent? I send you best wishes and hope that you continue to enjoy this blog.
KATHY KROLL – BRILLIANT That’s the answer, I get Angelina to adopt me. Of all else fails then I will go with your idea. Brilliant.
CCOURINGTON – Great web site and thanks so much for asking her to contact me. If she does, you will get a finders fee, which is a photo of Big Ed, Alan Adkins and me as Chippendales. I know how excited you must be right now. See you in 129 days and if you need anything at all please let me know.
MARIJ VAN DINTER – You are so nice what kind of licorice (drop) my wife likes. She loves all kinds but prefers sweet. Me, I can’t eat it, if I do, I need to keep my Nikes on in bed so I can get to the toilet as quick as
possible. I will see you soon and don’t forget to leave me a note when you arrive. Doooooooooeeeeee.
TAZMAN – I am so sorry mate but I cannot find any posting for you with that date. Can you re send your question ASAP and I will reply immediately direct to you. Thanks, and again sorry that you are lost in space somewhere.
KELLI O’LEARY – I am happy to hear that the Irish O’Leary clan agreed that my idea of having pre-cruise parties was a good one. I wish you much success in organizing them. I wish I could be with you. I am working on an addition to the site that allows the postings of photos to be stuck on or whatever it’s called and hopefully this will be up and running soon. So, there are now 14 of you confirmed on the carnival Splendor. You have no idea who honored I am that you decided to book this cruise and it will be pleasure to make sure you all have a fantastic time. Top of the morning to ya.
IVANA – Thank you for your time in researching Angelina’s contact information. I feel like I have an army of supporters and together we could invade a very small town. I will let you and all the bloggers know any progress on reaching the elusive Angelina and until then thanks so much for everything and I will indeed be writing to CAA. Hope to see you soon.
LETI – Well, you waited 28 years to take your first cruise and now it appears that you, like millions of others have realized that it’s the best vacation in the world. I am sorry to hear that the flight home was so uncomfortable so let me know if you need any advice on cruises a bit closer to home on Carnival or any other of our family members. I will pass on your best wishes and those of the Golden Girls to the staff who make your cruise so special. They will be thrilled to hear from you. I send my best to you all and hope that you write soon.
GC – It is an honor to meet you Gary. How wonderful that you have decided to cruise exclusively with CCL and I know I will have a new friend when I meet you on the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor. Fawlty Towers was and always will be in my opinion, the funniest TV show ever. Sometimes, while I am listening to guests “comments” in my mind, I am Basil Fawlty and while I am in real life being the compassionate cruise director I should be, the little devil Inside is making me act out one of the so many hilarious scenes. This especially happens when, as I stand on the bridge during lifeboat drill, I see guests who despite
announcements have yet to attend. Basil then kicks in and I find myself saying out loud “I don’t know why we bother, we should let you all burn.” Anyway, for those who have never seen this, please, go and rent it now….and buy a box of tissues because you will be crying with laughter. Thanks again Gary and I am so happy that you have discovered this blog thingy. Please stay in touch.
ROB ROWLAND – Another great link to AJ (as she will now be called) and we have added this to our contact list, many thanks for that. I am glad to hear you enjoyed your cruise so much last June and if this blog is keeping you going until the next one then that is another reason to keep blogging. The search for AJ continues. Thanks again and hope to see you soon.
ZSOLT JURAK – The best news is that your Mum is doing well. It seems a long time ago since your Mum and you had to leave in Barcelona after she was taken ill. I am happy to hear your reports that she is doing well and as always, Heidi and I send our best to her. I am disappointed that your DVD has not arrived yet but you say your post is slow. If it does not arrive by the end of this next week I will send another copy to you as I really want Mum to have this. Thank you for your kind words and please keep reading.
CATMAMA – I love my Aston Martins. I have one big one and a miniature one as well which I took to bed with me – well, Heidi and AJ are not here so it’s the Aston Martin then. I continue to dream of owning one for real but I guess that in reality I probably have more chance of owning AJ. I can confirm that if all goes to plan I will indeed be on the Carnival Freedom on the January 12 Caribbean cruise so I will see you then.
SUSAN AND RALPH – First of all, welcome back home and I am glad you managed to mail the alimony money to the ex from all those exotic locations. I think you may have won that battle. Thank you for saying that you won’t sail unless I am the cruise director. That is very flattering and I am humbled by that. There are though many other brilliant cruise directors at Carnival and many onboard our sister lines as well. They do say that variety is the spice of life. However, if it is me you want then you shall have me. As for your comments let me say this. This web site is not all about praise and adulation. If you think you have some comments that will benefit future cruisers then you may of course post them here. Although I don’t have the resources of our Guest Relations Department I am always ready to help. If you do not want to post them on this site then may I suggest you contact our Guest Relations Department directly. They are based in Miami and reachable also through the Carnival Main Web Page thing. Regardless, I am happy to hear you had such a great time and it was wonderful to meet you both and I hope to do so again very soon.
TERI910 – I love anything Cleese does and while my mate Tim keeps watching ” Original Sin ” every day and my mate Alan Adkins favorite movie is “Brokeback Mountain.” For me, it has to be anything with Cleese. This includes as you mentioned A Fish Called Wanda and my favorite Python movie, The Holy Grail. Now, as for your question about taking a Baltic Cruise in 2009, let me say this. Although nothing has been announced yet, I can tell you that the pattern suggests that the Carnival Splendor or maybe the Carnival Freedom will indeed be sailing the Baltic. The Carnival Splendor’s itinerary has proven to be so popular that I am sure it must be something that Carnival is considering. Obviously, as soon as I know I will pass the information on to you and the rest of the bloggers. Please enjoy your shorter cruises from Long Beach until then and send my best to Larry. See you soon.
ROCHELLE – So far this cruise I have not met anyone who can match up to the pocket battleship that was here last voyage. I think the Eastern Caribbean cruise you are looking at on the Carnival Freedom is going to be an excellent choice. The ports of San Juan, St. Martin and St. Thomas are the best that the eastern side has to offer and the prices look excellent. If you need help deciding then let me know and I will try and point you in the right direction. So, slap a comment on to this blog thingy of mine and let’s see if we can you booked for November. Hope to hear from you soon.
MELISSA LAMOREAUX – I think it is brilliant that your six-year-old is deciding when and where you take your next cruise. When I was six I got to decide what fish and chip shop we went to. Anyway, please do not be concerned about your forthcoming cruise. You have cruised Celebrity, Disney, and of course Carnival THE WORLD’S MOST POPULAR CRUISE LINE -sorry, I had to write that after typing Disney and Celebrity, dam, I have to do it again now CARNIVAL – THE WORLD’S MOST POPULAR CRUISE LINE. There, that’s better. Regarding your cruise on the Crown Princess on the 17th I know very little about Princess and even less about their children’s program. However, I do know that Princess has an amazing pedigree and they continue to be many cruisers first choice. I also know that they, like Carnival realize how important the children’s program is, I have said this many times on the blog that a happy kid means a happy Mum and Dad. You have proven this by having taken so many cruises already with your six-year-old. You asked that if you have a comment or complaint while you are onboard who to go to. I would speak to whoever is in charge of the specific program. If, you are not happy with this then I suggest you ask at the Front Desk for the Guest Relations Officer and they will assist you. However, the best judge if everything is OK will be your six year old. See if she is happy, kids are smart and as she has taken so many cruises already and knows what’s fun, then she will tell you I am sure if something is not.
Have fun and please report back and let us all know how things went. I have a feeling your 6 year old will say ” I want to go again.” Have a great cruise.
SPYROS – Congratulations on booking the Carnival Freedom. What a wonderful experience you will have and after your four-day Celebration cruise you now will have double the time onboard. The Carnival Freedom is going to feel huge compared to the Celebration. I do remember with fondness my time as an assistant bar manager on the Cele – as she is known amongst the crew. You are right to be excited about seeing the Panama Canal. I suggest you take the Sailing The Canal tour, which is the only one that actually takes you through
the locks, it is awesome. I will pass your regards to Big Tex whom I e-mail often. Thanks for continuing to read the blog and soon you will be here.
LINDA HERNACKI I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY – In the age of cable television and hundreds of channels to choose from, you and Mike the Wrench sat and watched the Mary Kate and Ashley movie with me in it, not once, but twice! I hope you had plenty of sponsorship from Budweiser. Yep, I was skinny, yep, I had brown hair, yep, I was a stud. By now you should have seen my reply about adjoining cabins, which was posted on yesterdays blog. Thursday has come and gone and it is now Saturday and the ship is in Venice. I got through Thursday OK but to be honest I miss Heidi very much and can’t wait to see her again. My best to you and the bulb man and hope you write soon. Sorry, just seen your comment that you DID get the cabin information? Good, let me know if I can help further.
AHOYS – Well, I am not sure if you already on the Carnival Spirit or, you are going next Wednesday. So, just to be safe, have a great cruise — and welcome home. I hope you had a great cruise. Regardless, I know you will have or will have the most amazing time sailing the last frontier that is Alaska. I hope you get to speak to Shawn the cruise director and I look forward to hearing all about the cruise. Thank you also for your kind words about the blog and I do hope you keep reading it. I hope to take a vacation but I do not think that it will be possible this year, as I do not want to let anyone down. I will keep going as long as I can and most importantly as long as I am able to be the cruise director I love being. That is one who is out with the guests and most importantly making them laugh on stage. Bon voyage.
MEREDITH – It really is a wonderful and amazing thing this blog. Not because I write it but because of comments like yours and because without it I would not have known what happened to you and your family. I really was concerned about you all which is why I asked the Chief Purser Leslie to go and see if she could help and by your comments she did more than that. I can only imagine how scary it must have been for you and please pass my best wishes to your sister and I have already sent your comments onto Leslie and her boss in the office in Miami.
I am happy to hear that this special cruise to celebrate Lindsay’s graduation was enjoyed up until the debarkation morning and sorry about bout that rough sea day. As I said to you all then, it was the roughest day in the Med I had seen in three seasons. Thanks you again then for your comments. Please keep reading this blog even though your cruise is over and 300,000 visitors are joining me in wishing your sister continued good health. Write soon.
THE JOHNSTON 4 – Morning all 4 of you – I guess there are 4 of you – right? You asked about debarkation in Civitavecchia. I can tell you that we start at 6 am and by 9:30 am the whole ship is ashore. Therefore you can plan your train schedule accordingly and I would suggest if you book a train from Civi at 10 am you will make it with time to spare. Please let me know if I can help further and I look forward to meeting all 4 of you, if there is indeed 4. Then, if not why would you call yourself the Johnston 4? Of course there are 4 of them you idiot – sorry, talking to my self now, and typing it as well. Do you think it’s time for a break?
INEZ AND DEAN – So far this voyage we have had sun and calm seas — touch wood. Seasickness is a horrible feeling and I am sorry you got sick on your first cruise. However, I see that has not stopped you because you are now on your 7th. I miss Heidi very much and it is now 8:12 pm. Most everyone is ashore and I have been blogging now for nearly two hours straight. If she was here she would be telling me to take a break and go for a romantic walk. Maybe I will go outside for some air but for now I will keep on blogging. Thank you again for
your kind and sincere words.
KAREN R – It is always a pleasure to welcome new people to this blog thingy. We all welcome you and I ma here to answer any questions you may have. Welcome aboard.
ROB FROM HULK HOGAN – Hello mate and I am happy to hear you enjoyed your European vacation. I did not see the NY Times article about cruising in Europe. Can you give me an idea of what it said? Please send my best to your girlfriend I hope we see you on your Honeymoon cruise very soon!
AUSSIE CHIC – I certainly, like you, learned a lot about other cultures and the lady who cannot be named was definitely part of that learning experience. We have over 100 people from Aussie land this week and a lot from New Zealand as well. I hope one day I get to take Heidi to your beautiful land. If only you could get rid of the spiders first. Hope to see you soon and thanks as always for reading the blog.
JTODDINMAN – Always good to hear from you and let’s get straight to your comments and questions.
1. We have recently adapted a channel on our in cabin television systems that displays the course, speed and wind speed (from the sea not my cabin). There is also a forward view camera and I agree it would be fantastic if this information could be shared with people at home. Roberto (CCL) – can this be done?
2. You asked if people can buy into getting the Platinum benefits as some airlines allow with miles etc. I don’t know – let me ask someone. I would get you an answer today but it is Saturday so please allow me a few days to get back to you. I am interested as to what other bloggers think about this idea. Please let us know.
3.Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the comment cards and your question as to why it is promoted so hard for you to complete them. I know this is true across the industry and I can only tell you about Carnival’s thought process about this. Where as 10 people out of 100 will tell us onboard what they like and what they do not, 90 people will be more reserved and will not. The comment card therefore is the main tool we have in getting guest feedback. Each card is read by the department heads on board and any suggestions or comments you made are dealt with. Comment cards are also a great way for us to see which crewmember or department has done well and those who may need extra guidance. This, I think also is specific to cruise lines. Hotels do place comment cards in the rooms but how many of us have completed them on a regular basis. Please do not forget that the comment or review card should also be used to praise people. Most promotions happen internally here at Carnival and one of the ways we can track who deserves that promotion is by reading the cards, therefore I encourage all of you when completing them to write down the name of someone who has really shone and tell us why.
4. What ports will you be visiting on your cruise in January? Please let me know and I will be happy to pass on any suggestions I think will enhance your cruise. Thanks as always for your comments. Hope to hear from you soon.
JAMIESON FAMILY – Your wish is my command. Birthday greetings and champagne will be sent.
JO MYERLY – Please do not apologize for asking questions, it is part of my job here on the blog thingy. The Highlights and Florence Shopping tour will indeed have the free shopping time at the Ponte Vecchio bridge area so you can shop to your hearts content. Hope this helps Jo. If not, slap a question on the blog and I will answer as soon as I can
LEE MOORE – Wow, the Jamesons are popular. Are they stars in South Africa? Anyway, I have passed on your message this evening so I am sure they will feel like Super Stars. Let me know if there is anything else I can do.
KEVIN AND BARBARA EHRINGER – Bugger, sorry messed up there and had you married for 4 years and not 40th – well that’s even more special so I will work even harder to make sure it is a special one for you. See you soon. Sorry.
DWA76 – Thanks mate for forwarding the news wire about the blog. It is truly amazing to me that it is as popular as it is. I do not understand why. I know that may sound like I am fishing for people to send me reasons why etc but I am really not. It is unbelievable and I am proud of course and will keep
blogging as long as I can. I am happy to see that you enjoy the blog and the fact that you are a stockbroker means you have a very stressful work day so if I can help relieve the stress through these mutterings here on the blog then I am glad to help do so. I also hop that you get to bring your loved one on a Med cruise very soon and I will be here to help with any questions you may have.
JOHN & SUSAN IN FRISCO – Sorry, I have confused you and many others I am sure. I meant to say that we do have transportation to FCO to and from the vessel but we do not have any to Rome’s smaller airport Ciampino. This airport offers mostly internal flights to Europe on the low cost airlines. My apologies for the confusion. You asked also if I will be the CD for the May 22, 2008 Carnival Freedom cruise and the answer is – I don’t know yet. I hope so but I have to see what will happen because of the new ship est. certainly will be bringing the Carnival Freedom back to Europe; it is just a question how long I stay. Thanks for writing in and I am glad to hear you love the blog. And yes, I did turn and shake my head!
ESSEXMAN – Alan is where he always is on the weekends, The Cliff Pub, pop in and see him, tell him to buy you a beer! Here is a recent photo of him.
Recent Photo of Alan Adkins
Hope things are well back home. Write soon
TOMMY AND AUXILIA TSANG – Thank you for that wonderful statement. If you really do want to sail with me again may I suggest the Carnival Freedom Bloggers Cruise on January 19? We will be sailing to Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It will be my honor and pleasure to host you on this special cruise where you will meet all the other bloggers onboard and there will be gifts galore and so much more. The weather will be perfect and it will be a wonderful winter getaway. So, if you are interested let me know and I will point in the right direction. Great to hear from you again and I hope to do so many times.
MJS – The book is coming together. I think it’s a great idea and I have a lot of great additions for it as well. Good to know that the information on the Spirit class of ships was so useful and I agree, a photo of all the ships in the Carnival family would be brilliant. What a great screensaver. My PA is working on this as we speak. Hope all is well with you and hope to see you soon Meg.
BRONCO – CH – And greetings to you in Germany as well. I am glad you found your way around Venice OK and thank you for sharing the Vaporetto information with everyone. I especially love Brass Band music and if we can get one in Warnemunde that would be great. I am glad you had such a wonderful time and please pass on my best to your family. Until the next time, PROST UND AUFWIEDERSEHEN.
CHEZER – Glad you like the new name, its very Essex, right Essex man? Thank you for your kind words, I will be sure to pass them onto Jason. I will keep blooging as you requested as long as you and my other blog friends keep reading. Hope to hear from you soon.
JANFRWA – Janet – are you onboard now? If so, wow, that’s wonderful. reading the blog while enjoying the cruise. Fantastic. To answer your question, and I am serious, you are not the first person to think the butter holder is a bell but you will be the first person who has it mentioned on my next morning show. It is advisable to put the seat down before flushing in case….well…the suction is reversed, it has happened. I need to know your last mane so if you read this please leave me a quick note at the information desk. It’s a beautiful night and I hope you are ashore in Venice enjoying the night air and this romantic city. If you need anything at all please make sure you contact me via the Information desk. Have Fun!
SOUTHERNDREAMS – Just spoke to Heidi. They are indeed having fun together and I am happy to hear that. Thanks for asking and I hope all is well with you and your family.
JOHN – Yep, if AJ says no then JA it will be. Who would you prefer mate?
CARL AND BARB THE BEAR – Thanks for checking out ebay for Carnival merchandise. I wonder how much I could get for a photo of me and AJ. Anyway, here is another joke for your granddaughter as she did not get the last one.KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE. BOO. BOO WHO? DON’T CRY
Heidi is having a great time but she would not be happy if she saw the bathroom floor right now! Thanks again for your kind words and comments and if your friends need help deciding if to cruise on the Carnival Splendor, please let me know.
NEW ORLEANS – Please knock, knock, knock on heavens door and ask her AJ if she would be so kind as to come and be our godmother. Does she live in New Orleans then?
TOM RACHFORD – I am so happy you had such a great cruise last week and indeed Mount Holly (John) was a star. He is a regular reader of this blog and I hope he and his wife will post comments very soon. I am feeling all warm and fuzzy after your comments about me, thanks mate. I send my best to you and your family and hope to see you all again very soon.
DAN – I see that you are getting ready for your cruise of the 18th so let me try and answer your questions.
1. You are going to be fine in your Midwestern clothing every night except the two formal nights when a business suit will be fine for you and whatever your lovely wife prefers. The rest of the time its casual except we do not allow shorts in the dining room at dinner.
2. I am glad you have taken the travel iron out of your suitcase following my shipboard safety tip blog thingy. I realize ladies have to have other appliances to do their hair and stuff as well though.
3. I think that as it is near to your sailing time that you should wait until you come onboard before choosing what tours to take. Come along to my travel talks and I will be also hosting a Q & A live afterwards so I can help you there as well. Just relax now and we will make sure you get the tours you want.
4.There are tours operated by Carnival at the Visconti palace although I
suggest you take a trip out on your own that first day. Taking the structured tour directly after a transatlantic flight may not be the best thing and therefore doing it at your own pace may be the way to go. Just a thought.
There, that was easy wasn’t it? Have a safe flight and please leave me a note when you get onboard at the Information desk. See you soon.
MATT AND VIKI TILL – You had me worried there with your joke but I guess you are correct, my mind did move the answer in another direction. It is funny getting so many Dear John letters. As a teen I never got any because thanks to my ugly mate Alan I never had any girlfriends. So, the New Year cruise will be manned by a young, handsome and brilliant cruise director called Todd Wittmer. He throws a great New Year’s Eve party and you are in for a fantastic time. Great story about your crossing on the QE2. I cannot wait to go on the QM2 next year, hopefully we will have a smoother crossing than you did. How many cruises have you both done and is there anything you miss from the old days of cruising? Hope to hear from you soon
MRS MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE-WHOISMARRIEDTOMRMISSINGTHESMOKE-FREEPARADISE-BUTLOOKINGFORWARDTOTHENEARLY-SMOKEFREECARNIVALFREEDOM – You have now taken over the longest screen blog name thingy title. To answer your question, the folks who missed the ship were on a flight that never took off because of a mechanical problem, it happens of course. Now, more importantly, what a beautifully written, heartfelt comment you have posted. I have no words except – thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts and I am proud that you chose to do so on this blog. Thank you!
KAREN TESSIER – Thank you for booking the Greek/Turkey cruise and I am sure you must be excited. I think because, you are traveling alone, that you should wait until you are here before booking tours. You will meet new friends (I will help) and then you can see what they are doing so you can enjoy these amazing places together. Please write me a note with your name and cabin number and leave it at the Information Desk when you arrive and I will hook you up with other singles. We will also make sure you eat with other singles so you are bound to have fun at the dining table. Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you before your arrive. All the best until then and I look forward to meeting you.
ALEXANDRA – If you are really interested in becoming a cruise director, you need to start off as an entertainment staff member first. If you go to www.carnivalentertainment.com you can find out all about the job and how to apply. There, you can also find the address to contact Ralph on the Carnival Glory. I wish you much success in following your dream of being a cruise director; it’s a wonderful job.
JO MYERLY – As mentioned the 64 people were all on the same flight that was canceled because of mechanical difficulties. They all arrived together at the ship in Naples and amazingly everyone had their luggage. They were met at the airport by our staff and then once onboard we do our very best to make sure we welcome them home. It must be an awful feeling knowing the ship has sailed without you. I am sure they have put this to the back of their minds now as they enjoy the cruise. Let’s hope this does not happen again, however, I don’t think we are that lucky. Cheers Jo.

It is now, 11:06pm – finished the Q& A, time for a bathroom break, back in
25 minutes!

Ok, I am back.

I want to answer a question now from H.R. HAYES who asks: John, why are the cruise lines so lax in enforcing their own dress codes when it comes to the dining room? Thanks for any info. This is a question that has been analyzed by many greater and more experienced minds than mine. What I can give you is my opinion and I want to point out that I am speaking here as an individual and others at Carnival and our sister companies may not agree.

Carnival does have rules for dining at night, which include no shorts or tank top shirts allowed. I think this rule is properly enforced as much as possible although I agree with Mr. Hayes that sometimes it is not. It must be very difficult as a maitre d’ to tell someone “Sorry, but you are not dressed well enough, please leave the dining room.”

I also think that times are changing. Personally, I think one formal night on a seven-day cruise is enough and the second should be replaced by an elegant/casual night. Many companies now adopt a dress down policy where suits are not needed on an every day basis and therefore I think two formal nights is one too much. Cruise lines like Carnival, Princess etc carry such a diverse demographic that most people are happy to wear something special on one night of their cruise but on the rest, they prefer to be casual. My strongest feeling is this. If I am dressed in a suit, and the person at the table opposite is dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, I am not going to enjoy my food and service any less. Providing they are in the realms of the requirements (no shorts etc) I think we have to offer a right to choose. I know many people will disagree with me on this and I encourage an open dialogue on this subject so please send in your comments. Mr. Hayes, what are your observations, please, all of you be candid.

On a lighter note, here is a photo of me and a guest called Mr. Stout who was so nervous he insisted on holding my hand the entire time he was next to me on stage.

On a lighter note, here is a photo of me and a guest called Mr. Stout who was so nervous he insisted on holding my hand the entire time he was next to me on stage.

It is now 11:25 pm and time to rap this blog up with a little story from the past. I have been chatting with Nanetteali who is a regular blog reader and is cruising this week. She brought me a DVD from the Ecstasy from 1992….good
grief. Anyway, she is from San Juan and it reminded me of the fun times I had in that excellent port of call. Back on the Ecstasy I was a young cruise director and my friend and now Vice President Roger Blum was the Hotel Director at the time. We had arrived in San Juan and decided to take a trip to the Rain Forest (I forget the name) and with our girlfriends of the time, (I can’t remember my girlfriends name but Roger’s was called Cindy, a nurse) He is now reading this and using rather bad language I imagine? Anyway we were being driven there by a driver arranged by the tour company whose name was Ramon. Ramon was a wonderful man, however, he was 80 something years old, as blind as a bat and the world’s slowest driver. The trip was supposed to take one hour but with Speedy Gonzalez at the wheel it was well over two hours before we arrived.

The Rain Forest is high up in the mountains, and I will always remember people complaining when they returned from the tour that ” it had rained” – ! So, Roger myself, Cindy the blonde, gorgeous nurse who Roger was seeing at the time and
some girl whose name I can’t remember (honestly, Heidi) had a nice time and by the time we left it was dark. There we are driving in the pitch black with Stevie Wonder behind the wheel. It was a recipe for disaster and, it indeed before long it nearly was. All of a sudden Ramón took a right turn off the main road and we started veering off the side of the forest heading down a dirt track. Roger grabbed the wheel and yanked us to the left and at the same time shouting to Ramón to break? BRAKE-O, BRAKE-O – Roger shouted in his best Spanish. Luckily, Ramón did BRAKE-O and we were saved from a ride with what would have been a very unpleasant ending. There was silence, for a moment and then Ramón said in a very matter-of-fact voice and his beautiful broken English.–.”Sorry mister, I fall asleep.” So, its dark, he was virtually blind and he was asleep.

How I am here writing this blog I will never know.

On that note, its time for me to sleep as well

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.