24

June 20, 2007 -

John Heald

I apologize that there has been a few days between blogs. I meant to finish this yesterday but as you will see it has been an unusual day

This blog was started on Tuesday but finished on Wednesday AND WRITTEN IN REAL TIME – I SOUND LIKE JACK BAUER FROM 24

What a beautiful day……but boy, it was hot especially in Pompeii where guests told me it was well over 90 degrees.

So, Good Evening. It is 7:02 pm as I start this blog and hopefully I will finish it before I go to the show at 10:45 pm. We have 3,304 guests onboard this week and amongst them are lots of Dutch, German and a big group from Mexico. All in all a good mixture of guests and many of them are traveling with Carnival for the second or more time because 1,600 of them are repeat guests.

Nothing unusual happened today ashore but as I mentioned last week in Barcelona we had to take a guest ashore at 4 am for emergency medical treatment. I am happy to report that the guest was able to be flown home today for treatment in their home state of Arizona. We continue to think about them.

Have you noticed that Heidi has got blog fever? Well, she has, and I think that this is great although I just don’t want hers to become more popular than mine and it will when she starts talking about toilet seat positions, things on the bathroom floor, etc. Still, at least I am standing firm on the underwear front and I shall not be moved!

Today, I want to introduce you to Cherie Weinstein who is vice president of group sales and administration for Carnival Cruise Lines. Some of you had asked some questions about groups so I thought rather than me waffle on about something I know little about (wouldn’t be the first time I hear you cry) I would pose a few questions to this lovely lady and we could all learn something about what is such an important line of business for any cruise line.

Please welcome to the stage the one and only Cherie.

Cherie Weinstein

1. Cherie, I know you have been with Carnival for some time now. Can you tell us a little about how you started and when? Micky Arison hired me away from Costa Cruises in 1974 when Carnival had one ship, the Mardi Gras. At that time, Costa was the world’s largest cruise line with company’s various ships in Europe and cruising between Europe and South America. I had been handling group bookings for one of Costa’s ships and Micky hired me to work on groups for Carnival. By the way, since I’ve been here for 33 years this month — don’t forget to mention that I started when I was 3 years old!

2. You are now vice president of group sales and administration. How many staff work within your department? We have just over 500 employees, based in Miami HQ, in our Colorado Springs call center office and South Florida based tele-workers, who work from their homes.

3. Can you tell us some facts about how much group business Carnival handles each year? For example, what percentage of guests do we book as groups? Roughly one third of Carnival’s total business is group business. This includes everything from a group of eight staterooms/16 guests up to full ship charters of 3,000+ guests.

4. How many people need to travel to be considered a group and what the benefits of booking as one are? A group consists of 16 or more guests in a minimum of eight staterooms. Typically the group will qualify for an extra discount and some number of Fun Points which can be used to provide the group guests with on board “goodies” such as a cocktail party, a group photograph, on board credit, etc. The amount of discount and the Fun Points vary by sailing date and depend on the overall availability of the sailing, how well it is selling, what groups are already booked, and so on. Of course the “soft” benefits of booking as a group are traveling with your friends and/or family or with people who share common interests. A perfect example is your “bloggers cruise” where all of your loyal readers will be coming together to sail with you and to discuss the points of your blog and perhaps share their own secrets and techniques for blogging. For others, traveling with an escorted group gives a level of security in knowing that there will be a travel agent escort who will be leading the way and looking out for the group’s needs and wants. One thing that makes Carnival’s ships so great for groups is that there are so many options for having fun. A group that has wide range of interests can find lots of things on board and ashore to satisfy those varied interests.

5. Over the years you must have been responsible for booking very “interesting “groups. Is there one or two that are most memorable and if so why? Hmmmmmm….Probably our most interesting groups are those that buy out (charter) the entire ship for a full cruise. Because when a company takes over the entire ship, there are changes that can be made in the ship’s activities and events. One of our most memorable full ship charters was our first “Bare Necessities” cruise. Bare Necessities operates clothing optional cruises, so our first charter with them was an eye-opener!! I remember our account manager who escorted the group telling me about the Captain’s Welcome Aboard party. We had informed all the guests in advance that out of respect for the Captain, clothing WOULD be required for this event. But the clothing was minimal and in many cases see through….. As the guests approached, the Captain kept repeating…. “Oh my!”

Then there was the Harley Davidson charter of the Carnivale when, as part of a Mystery at Sea program during the charter, a Harley motorcycle was thrown overboard! Of course this was back in the late 70’s when public understanding of environmental factors wasn’t nearly as strong as it is today. (How many of your readers remember throwing streamers and balloon releases from the pools upon sailing?)

You mentioned the Coca Cola charter in 1988 aboard the Jubilee — I can’t answer your trivia question about the movie premiere, but I do remember the terrific concert by Kenny Loggins in Nassau!

Thank You Cherie, who, I might add is not very good at blowing her own trumpet so I will do it for her by saying that Cherie is one of those people who have made Carnival what it is today and during her 33 years with Carnival has risen to the top of her profession and we all thank her for her dedication……..applause, applause.

OK, from the vice president to the president and CEO, Mr. Bob Dickinson who has asked me to drop this statement onto the blog. This is for the young man who hit a hole in one the other day and whose dad, I know, reads this blog.

Here you go, this is for Leland Stoddard III

Congratulations on your hole in one! At age 17, you have done what most golfers strive to accomplish in their lifetime, but never succeed.

Thank you Bob and thank you also for sending me these photos of the Carnival Splendor funnel being floated into the Genoa shipyard.

Splendor Funnel Splendor Funnel

Seeing this makes me think its only one year until I will be in the shipyard again.

OK, time for you know what……..yep……………put the wife out, sit down with your cat and enjoy today’s Q & A.

BILL P – Correct sir, as soon as I read that Cyndi Lauper’s bodyguard was Capt. Lou Albano I immediately remembered that name so many thanks for this. What does the P stand for in your last name? Have we met?
CAPT.CHUCK – Good evening Captain. Thank you for your vote of confidence about advising the guests that the ship may be moved due to the weather in Cannes. It certainly made sense to do so although it did open me up to the one man who was extremely vocal in his “if you knew before we should have gone to another port”comment. I should point out that “just going to another port ” is easier said then done. There are so many logistics and planning involved in this and not least with Europe as busy as it is now, is there space at a pier for us at short notice? You asked me to be specific about the Aston Martin. I have three toy ones already and they were much appreciated and I enjoy lying on the floor, pushing them around the carpet and making engine noises. I want the real thing and have started a box into which goes all our loose change and odd notes towards the purchase of an Aston Martin Vanquish or Aston Martin DB9 Volante. The box is going well but I had to dip into it today to buy some hemorrhoid cream or “Di Itchi Pilei” cream as it is known in Italy. It is a dream, it is a long way off but one day I will be listening to the real noise of the V12 engine. Thank you most of all for sending your best to Jason, he will appreciate it I know. All the best until the next time.
JTODDINMAN – Thank you for mentioning Roberto who is so important to the maintenance and up keep of this blog thingy along with Frank, Christine and many others. I have not forgotten your question about the Platinum Card upgrade purchase and I am waiting for a response from the right people and that should be very soon. I loved the analogy of me being “The Carnival Bunny” although and just mentioned it to Heidi who as we speak is trying to put a 9-volt battery where it shouldn’t go! GET OFF. So, thanks as always and if you keep reading the blog I will keep writing them.
TIM (PAMS B/F) – Writing that makes me go aahhhhhhhhhhh. Very funny, “the little swimmers.” I want a family very much but the thought of that flap that you get at the front of boxers makes me feel uncomfortable even without wearing them. This has happened by the way because Alan Adkins’s wife Alison told Heidi that she made Alan throw away all his Y Fronts (briefs) and as soon as he started wearing boxers along came Katie their daughter followed by William. Therefore, the pressure is now on. It will be Thursday soon so let us see what happens.
Now, everyone is asking about the Aston Martin so yes, if it is the DB9 it would be the Volante ( convertible )…………………hope springs eternal. Hope you and your best friend are well and speak to you soon.
ESSEXMAN – I can picture you now, standing in your garden shed, surrounded by all your tools and old bits and pieces, puffing on something that has been rolled on the thigh of a beautiful Cuban Senyourita (spelt incorrectly) reflecting on what a great Dad you are…………because you are. Please do not worry about me, I am feeling good and the blog is so important to so many people that I will strive to continue to the best of my ability. With regard to your other comment, I must tell you that I am dead against this boxer short thing, give me Marks and Spencer’s any day. Thank you for your kind words towards Jason. This family of bloggers is so special. Regards to you and the home county. Cheers mate.

I HAVE TO PAUSE HERE. I HAVE BEEN TOLD BY THE BRIDGE THAT WE HAVE TO DIVERT TO SALERNO, WHICH IS 20 MILES SOUTH OF CAPRI TO DISEMBARK A GUEST FOR IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY MEDICAL ATTENTION ASHORE. I AM OFF TO THE BRIDGE.

OK, I am back. I will fill you in later as to what happened. Let me continue with Q & A for now please.

CAROL SCHOENBERGER – First of all you are correct that the wrestler guy was Lou Albano and yes he did wear the elastic band round his beard, not his mustache (idiot that I am). I don’t know about your sister or nephew but your sales pitch for Carnival makes me want to take a cruise so thank you very much, Sarah, take a lesson from Carol.
Let me know what your Nephew decides to do and if he needs any advice send him a link thing of this blog thing and I will answer any questions he may have. Glad you liked the photos and I will of course keep them coming. All the best carol and again, many thanks
JENN & MEYER – I AM SMILING AS YOU SAID I SHOULD Jenn but the thought of Boxers turns the frown upside down. The battle continues. Brief Wars. Have a great day and please keep reading the blog thingy.
VIKI AND MATT – Thanks for nothing Viki. Your story has Heidi jumping around the cabin going “see, see, so that’s done it.” My brief days are over. Your sister got pregnant and it’s because of boxer shorts………………………good grief. Brief Wars……..The Return Of The Fruit of the Loom. Matt………….help please.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – Big Ed, did you read Bonnie and Prince Charlie’s comments? They are also offering to do your laundry if you do indeed book the Bloggers Cruise. Plus, my mate Alan Adkins has offered to wash your back for you as well. Put those things together and the free supper club dinner and I don’t think you can refuse. Tell Prince Charles to put you on his private plane and get you here to Europe for a cruise. We will wait for you Bonnie.
LINDA THE MOUSE – There are some things in life you regret forever. One such thing for me is EVER MENTIONING THIS BOXERS THING. I have not had one vote for the Y Fronts that I have enjoyed for so many years. Even my friend Linda the Mouse has come out in favor of Heidi. Me and my big………………………………..mouth. The MOUSE SHIP was in with us today in Naples Linda and I thought of you. The mouse was on the gangway taking photos with the 1 billion children as they lined up at the gangway. They had made MM all Italian as he was wearing Speedos, had 33 gold chains around his neck and drinking a glass of Chianti.
Thanks as always for your comments even though the result is not going in my favor.
MILLIE S – Hello Millie. I do not remember typing your name in before but if I have I am sorry. It is great to hear from you and I am sure your sister and you are very excited about your upcoming cruise especially as it is a single girl’s vacation! If you have any questions before hand please let me know and who knows, you may not be single by the end of the 14 days!
Hope you are enjoying the blog.
R-D-C-ETTE DEBBIE – Having read your comments I am in firm belief that you need to go camping or better yet take a cruise. Any combination of Mahjong or Majohn sends me into cold sweats as I remember her that cannot be named. The only other thought I had was that as you mentioned Aston Martin that Aston may be a great name for a boy or a girl…………what do you think? Heidi has already told e she wants Lucy for a girl and if we had a boy it would be Kifihecklinger which is Dutch for Bob. You sent your friend a very expensive bottle of champagne and a portrait photo of the ship which I know she enjoyed. Keep the comments coming and thanks for your kind support of the blog………………..please, no more Majohn……I have goose bumps again. Thank you for your kind words to Jason whom I know will appreciate them so very much. Thanks for reading the blog every day and hope you sail with us soon.
BIG ED – Heidi says thank you. Just FYI, Briefs or Boxers…………………..Alan and I want to know.
JIMINI – And Ladies and gents, here is the first correct answer to yesterday’s trivia question. TERRACES IN THE GROVE WAS INDEED ON THE JUBILEE. Congratulations. I was just talking about the 2008 transatlantic with Chris Prideaux in the office in Miami. We have already started to plan the events etc. Chris was thinking about this in the shower………I was thinking about Angelina. I guess he is more dedicated than I am. Anyway, we have some great things planned. You asked about touring in Rome, Naples and ending in Venice. I suggest the train rather than you hiring a car. The Italian railway system is better than most in Europe and it is certainly the cheapest way to see everything. Have any bloggers done a rail trip to these destinations? If so, please let JIMINI know your thoughts for his after cruise vacation. Remember, Carnival can take care of your accommodation while in Rome and in Venice and if you are on a budget, consider staying outside the main island, it is much cheaper. Well done again on the trivia answer and please write in again soon and thanks for the support!

HERE IS TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION.

Which famous Singer/Songwriter/Composer performed at a gala dinner onboard the Carnival Destiny along side Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin during an inaugural charity function?

CYNSCRUISIN – I just goggled Angelina Jolie For Godmother and you are correct……………wow, there are articles on the top of the page from the blog. I can only hope that she is reading it as we speak. Thank you for all your hard work as a cruise sales agent and I wonder if you have seen the blog hosted by my wonderfully talented friend Vicki Freed who is our senior vice president of sales and marketing. Her blog is specifically for those people who are agents and directly involved in the business. Here is her link which I know you will enjoy www. vickilovestravelagents.com. Thank you for your kind words about the blog and I appreciate all you do for us here at Carnival.
PAUL.F.PIETRANGELO – Hello Paul, great to hear from you. Let us talk tendering first of all as you requested. Tendering is used when a port has either no dock or has limited space for only one or two vessels. In most cases, ships will use either their own tenders or lifeboats or the port of call will provide boats and sometimes a ship will use a mixture of both. The boats will then come alongside the ship and passengers are transferred ashore. The same system is used on the return. The journey time is often less than 15 minutes and sometimes as short as just a few minutes; this depends on the port you are tendering into. The most important thing for guests to remember is to be a little bit patient with tendering as often there may be some waiting time at both ends. Apart from that, it is a simple and easy way to get ashore. Now, more importantly, what can I say about the words you have written for Jason. They are obviously from the heart and I am sure that when you read this Jason you will see how people who you have never met before are thinking about you now and will continue to do so. Paul, thank you…….so much.
CATMAMA44 – My PA is on vacation at the moment having left yesterday to go camping in Yellowstone Park. PA loves to rough it under the stars and hike up mountains, etc. etc. As soon as PA 007 returns to their cubicle I will see if they can get an update on the South America thing for you and the other bloggers. Your note for Jason will be so welcome to him and his family. Thank you so much and I hope to hear more from you soon.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I saw the letter you wrote about AJ being GM of the CS to CCL. (How about that for a short sentence). Thank you so very much for doing that, it was very thoughtful. I know I have the support of the big bosses (importance, not size) of the office and of course people like you. It was a surprise for me as well when I heard from PA 007 that the QE2 was being sold. I have no idea how they got that information before the rest of us but you are correct, it was a shock. I will be writing more about the QE2 in a moment. Loved your comments as per usual except the one that mentioned………………………boxers 🙁 All the best Carol AND Heidi sends her best as well.
LEASA – Hello Leasa. I hope this blog today finds you well. I must admit to feeling a little overcome when I read that due to being sight impaired you have a voice reader that reads out everything I type. John Heald is so good looking and sexy, he is a stud muffin and Brad Pitt has fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down…………….sorry, just playing with the voice recorder……it’s the kid in me. OK, let me answer your questions. Your husband is having another beer…..that’s his seventh and he left the toilet seat up……………sorry, I won’t do that again. OK, here are your questions answered.
1. You mentioned that you can see light and if the kayak tour featuring the bioluminescent creatures would be good for you. That is a hard one to answer. Let me say that the light these creatures provide illuminates the whole area and is quite amazing. Therefore, if you can manage to get into the kayak, which I am sure your husband will help you to as will the tour operators then yes, I think you should give it a try………….it may be a special night for you. I hope so.
What is that smell, I think Geoff has eaten beans again
Sorry…………..no more, promise.
2. Heidi has been on many dolphin tours and says that the best she had was in Antigua so either there or Tortola will be a wonderful experience for you, this time I am positive. There is something magical about dolphins; they can sense people in a way that I am not gifted enough to describe. This is one tour I really think you must take.
Geoff is watching the Playboy Channel again……………….right, that is enough John
3. Ocho Rios – I think you must try with Geoff’s help to experience the Dunn’s River Falls. Just to wade into the water at the bottom and feel and hear the power of this awesome experience. They also have a great place called Dolphin Cove so if you do not get the chance to swim and encounter these majestic creatures in the other ports, then you can do it here and still visit the waterfalls.
Thank you for your questions and if you need any more information please let me know.
Geoff loves you very much.
LINDA HERNACKI – I thought you were my friend. It is now looking like I have no choice but to move to the dark side and wear boxers. Thanks Linda and maybe Mike the Bulb can be on my side.

OK, ITS SHOWTIME AND THEN STRAIGHT TO BED. I WILL FINISH THIS IN THE MORNING……………….GOODNIGHT

GOOD MORNING……………….IT IS 8 AM – LET’S CONTINUE WITH Q&A

NATE’S MOM – Thank You on behalf of Jason and the family.
ANN – Now I feel like I am being ganged up on with this boxer thing. What an idiot I am for bringing it up. OK, I just told Heidi I will give them a try but at the first feeling of ……….lack of support……it is back to the briefs. I cannot believe we are talking about this on a cruise blog thingy. The warm weather has been ordered for your Carnival Splendor cruise next year and you have every right to be excited as the Baltic is an amazing place to discover. Not long now and until then, please keep reading the blog thingy.
NUMBER 12 – You asked about Cannes and if as stated in Cruise Critic people do get off first in Cannes. The brochure states that we arrive at 9 am however it is possible sometimes that we get in early at 8 am. If this is the case, the first hour is given to the 2,000 guests that do purchase tours but those guests who do not start disembarking no later than 30 minutes after our arrival time at 9:30 am. If therefore you are going to book a private tour or want to explore on your own, then I suggest that 9:30 am should be the time you should think about starting your journey. I hop this is OK and let me know your thoughts. Thanks and I hope to see you soon.
SUSAN AND RALPH – The white flag of surrender is being raised…I give up…….boxers it is………….and people think I am the boss…………….yea right.
I thought Ralph would have jumped to support me………………Ralph, where are you?
CAPTAIN CHUCK – You and Heidi and my Mum have something in common, yep, check lists. They both (as you do) right everything down where as I tend to just HOPE. People really do leave things onboard and actually forgetting to empty the room safe is the most common. Therefore, I do tell guests to right themselves a reminder to empty the safe the morning of debarkation. Have you ever forgotten your wife Captain? I have, and that is a story for another day.
VIKKI AND MATT – The Lethal Weapon movies were great, but so far nobody has the correct answer as to what connection to Carnival there is.
Any ideas?
KATHY KROLL – Kathy, good morning. Yep, the QE2 was indeed 40 years old and I will have a final chat with her in a moment. I did indeed send the Freedom Book to you via Barcelona Mail. If you do not get it by the end of this week, please let me know and I will have someone from Miami send it to you. I think your book and champagne was enjoyed by someone as it was probably sent to the wrong cabin……………..blame Heidi. Thanks as always for your comments that you slap on the blog and only 390 days to the Carnival Splendor.
LINDA HERNACKI – Morning Linda. I am sorry but the only “making of video” we have is in Italian which is a shame. However, I promise that there will be one made in English for the Carnival Splendor and we will make it available to everyone. My best to Mike and his bulbs and of course to you.
TAZMAN – So, you saw your new home did you? Well, you will have a much better view on the 25th………from inside! You asked about the pier number which I can tell you is 2. This is our home for the rest of the season while docked in Civvi. Embarkation starts at 11 am so depending on where you are coming from I would recommend that is the time you get here. When you have checked in, guests are invited to Lido Deck for early lunch as cabins are not ready until 1 pm. Our housekeeping staff does an amazing job in preparing the entire ship including 1,000 plus cabins in just three hours. I will be ship shape and ready to give you and your family a wonderful vacation and see you very soon.
KATHYB – The thing I am starting to see from this blog thingy is that people are starting to share their “silly cruise ship ” stories as well. This makes me feel good because for a moment I thought they were all just happening on this ship. That was a very funny one about your Uncle Kathy…..not that you have an uncle called Kathy, I just meant……your Uncle…………Kathy. The guests were indeed charged for the bathrobes however, I think that was the least of their concerns at the time. Thank you Uncle Kathy for writing in again and for enjoying the blog.
CATHY. NYC – What a dreadful story. Companies like the one you booked to get to the ship are unfortunately common place here in Italy and yours is another example and a pretty bad one at that. I can only imagine how you must have felt and you only made the ship with 30 minutes to spare. Thank you for sharing your story and it is another example where on vacation you should really have the chance to relax before you get to the vessel and as Cathy says, using the cruise lines transportation maybe the way to go. There are good private firms but from what I have seen myself and from reading peoples comments, for every good company there are many more bad ones. Thank Cathy, I am sure people reading this will appreciate the time you took to share your story as of course do I. Hope to see you again soon………….April 19 was a long time ago……come again please.
DOUGNEWMANATSEA – Oh, how I would love to sail on the QE2 before she goes and you and Mrs. Slocum are correct, it is a must do. I am going to look carefully at the dates and then I will see when I can visit or maybe even sail. You were correct with the Terraces in the Grove being on the Jubilee and yes it was “very green.” I am going to check again with PA007 about the name of the Jubilee now so we can clear this mystery up. Please let us know how the lunch on June 30 goes on the Carnival Victory. I have not been onboard her since 2000 but I have very fond memories of her. Congratulations on yet another great review and I truly hope that one day we will get you on a ship with me so you can write a review about our cruise together. Cheers mate.
LISA AND ELAINE – Yep, before you know it we will all be blogging together in January. You asked about Ocho Rios and what to do. I am planning a custom tour for that cruise specifically where I can come with you that will include Dunns River Falls, the stunning rain forest and some typical Jamaican food. Give me some time to put this together and I will make sure it is a special day for you both. Please keep reading the blog thingy and I will get back to you all soon. Start packing!
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF A TWAIN – Your “dream” cruise was brilliantly written and maybe one day that dream will come true. I especially like the idea of beautiful women carrying you off the gangway in a sedan chair. Mrs. Eiffel Tower has now gone into the memory banks and without her knowing it she made me and many others laugh so I thank her very much…………but hope she never reads this blog.
Interesting that you have considered doing a back-to-back cruise on the Fantasy. I did some checking and this is not very common so I guess that is why each cruise calls at Cozumel. As you really want to cruise the Mississippi twice, may I suggest you do and then let me tell you about some great things that Cozumel offers. You really need two days to do everything and I can tell you about some very special places that not too many people go to. This blog is a powerful tool as you say however we have not got to the point of being able to change a ship’s itinerary……………..not yet anyway.
Heidi had told me about AJ being the daughter of Jon Voight and quite frankly I am prepared to invite her entire family (which according to the press is growing everyday).
I will wait for another posting from you and let’s see if we can get you on that back-to-back Carnival Fantasy cruise. Cheers.
BOB – I want boxers that say……Welcome to Burger King……Home of the Whopper.
GIRLDOC – Sorry that your eyes hurt after reading the blog but happy to hear they made you smile and laugh. You need to see a doctor for those eyes………are you one? Thank you also for the kind comments about me and I am glad that we have sailed together a few times. Have a great time on the Carnival Destiny and, of course, please keep reading the blog thingy………………….and see a doctor……look in the mirror 🙂
BIG ED – Alan and Elton have a lot in common and it’s not that they are both amazing singers and performers whose music will span generations to come. Sounds like you are tired from reading all the Blogs mate. Did I understand that you are banned from the computer at weekends by Mrs. Big Ed? I thought you were the boss. Thank you for all you are doing with the photos, the site looks amazing.
HEIDI – BETH – Your kids will love wee Jimmy because he is still a kid at heart himself, all be it a big one! I will make sure that they get a trophy so please can you post their names and I will make sure a surprise is waiting for them. Thanks Heidi – Beth and the other Heidi sends her best to you as do I.
ESSEX MAN – I only know rude Essex girl jokes as obviously do you so I guess we will have to meet in person and join Alan for a drink at The Cliff Pub and swap jokes. Had a craving for a crumpet today. Hope all is well back home.
BOB POLAND – Thank you for the Pirates Of Penzance reference and I do appreciate so much your kind words about the blog. I never sit down with a plan when I write these and I end up just typing what has happened and any thoughts that may be swimming around my head. I am glad that I make you laugh and sorry that sometimes you find the stories sad but that is true life on the seven seas. Again, your support and gracious words are uplifting, many thanks mate.
BIG ED – The time-lapse idea has been done before and you are correct, it is brilliant to see. I am going to make sure that one is done for the Carnival Splendor and a video made available for all bloggers to view. As for booking spa and supper club on line, that is definitely in the works and until then I will be your on-line booking machine, so bloggers, let me know what you need and it will be booked via this blog thingy. More great photos on their way later this week. I see you are not answering the “are you coming on the bloggers cruise?” question. You now have every one as your personal servants to wash and clean for you so I await a positive response from you and Mrs. Big Ed.
ZSOLT JURAK – I am so disappointed that the DVD is not with you. As you mentioned that the post is terrible I will send another via DHL. You asked about if I will be in the Caribbean but I will not until the bloggers cruise in January. I appreciate so much the time you take to read the blog and we continue to wish Mum all the best. I will DHL another DVD to you ASAP. See you soon I hope.
GREG – You asked about booking transportation to the ship from Rome and if you want to do this I suggest you go to http://www.carnival.com/freedom and click on shore excursions or simply just call carnival and we will arrange everything for you mate. I am sorry you are so concerned and amongst the horror stories that the bloggers have written are some positive ones as well but there is certainly a good feeling when allowing the largest cruise company in the world to arrange everything for you. Please let me know if I can help further.
DAVID FROM BARBADOS – I am glad you liked the photos of the ship in the yard, I have more that will follow on a later blog. Sorry about the typos it has been a very busy few days. This blog however will be free of mistakes. I wish I was on the beach in Barbados then you could spell check it for me MON. Take it easy and hope to hear from you very soon mon.
SHAR – How great to hear from somebody who sailed on the Mardi Gras back in the 1980’s. I am also very happy that you are enjoying the blog so much. You asked about currency exchange on the ship. We do have an exchange desk and we change dollars to euros and back again with a minimum of $50. Now, remember we are not a bank and, to be honest, the better rates of exchange are ashore. If you have an ATM card then use that from one of the hundreds of machines around the ports of call excluding those in Turkey. In Turkey shops and markets will accept the US dollar but not in Greece and Italy. I am sure your group will have a wonderful time and I am here should you need anything at all. Please keep reading the blog thingy and I will look out for your group if you tell me the group name.
KATHY HADOULIS – Congratulations on choosing a back-to-back cruise on Carnival Glory. You asked about changing cabins but if your agent has done this correctly you should not have to do this. I also see you are asking about the cost of this and again I suggest you call your travel agent who will assist you. I am sorry I cannot help you with pricing as that is a little out of my field of expertise……..it is a very small field. I will however remain at your service should anything else be needed before you cruise. All the best.

Now, just before I finish Q & A, my mate Roger Blum has caught up with the blogs and has answered some of the questions I could not.

Here he is.

Hi John,

Sorry, I fell behind on answering some of your blog questions, but I just returned from a five-day cruise on the Fantasy (great cruise!). I realize your PA 007 answers quicker, but your PA must have a lot more free time than most of us.

Regarding adding the ship’s location to the web cam, we’re in touch with the software designer to see if it is possible. It’s certainly a good suggestion, so we’re trying.

Regarding sailing the Chilean fjords, this is one part of the globe that I have not sailed, but have always wanted to. I hope your PA is correct, and that one day Carnival will sail around South America. I would love to go!

Regarding changing shows, we continuously maintain and update shows throughout the fleet. Currently there is a show change taking place on the Fantasy. Recently we have made show changes on the Sensation, Fascination, Holiday, Ecstasy, Imagination, and Paradise. Later this year we will change the Inspiration, and next year we plan to make changes on the Triumph and Victory.

Regarding wildlife footage, we haven’t secured anything from the BBC, but we found another source of fantastic background video for the Seaside Theatres. It’s just going out to the ships this week.

Regarding the Scarecrow and Mrs. King, I have been onboard for quite a few movie and TV filmings, but I wasn’t aware of that one. In any case, here’s another trivia question for your readers – what TV mini-series was filmed on a Carnival ship that stared Telly Savalas, Shelly Winters, Stella Stevens, James Coco, Chad Everette, Louis Jourdan, and others?

Best regards,

Roger

As you know, Roger used to work onboard the ships as hotel director and it is a real shame that I don’t have any photos of him from way back then………oh………….hold on…………………………..I do !

Here they are – Roger is second from the right with the sexy moustache.

Roger is second from the right with the sexy moustache.

Here is a young Roger from the Mardi Gras taken in 1927

Here is a young Roger from the Mardi Gras taken in 1927

And on that note we end today’s Q & A.

So, a gentleman was taken very ill and thanks to the diligence of our medical staff he was well enough to be taken off the ship in a small Coast Guard cutter which came out to meet us. We had docked in Salerno and as usual a crowd of curious on lookers had lined the open decks to get a view. I can only imagine how that man must have felt being taken off on a stretcher looking up at hundreds of strangers taking photos and video shots of his misfortune. I realize that this is the age we live in but personally, I find it all a little upsetting. The good news is today, Wednesday that the guest has come through the emergency surgery they needed and is now in a special unit at a hospital somewhere in Italy. His wife is with him and as always on these occasions we are all thinking about him.

The entire operation took an hour with a deviation in our course. This means that at full speed we will arrive approximately 45 minutes late into Rhodes tomorrow. I told the guests this at the talk and everyone was fine about this except one couple who shouted “will we get compensation?” I knew better than to challenge them with 1,500 people in the room for my talk and I said I would speak to them afterwards. They did come to see me and said they felt it was unfair that their time in port should be shortened through no fault of their own. I said that surely 45 minutes was not too a higher price to pay to save someone’s life but this couple from Switzerland disagreed. Realizing I was never going to win this one, I thanked them for their comments and moved on.

So, time to say goodbye to the QE2. As I mentioned yesterday, PA 007 broke the news to me before anyone else had heard it and just as I was finishing the last blog. Therefore, I really did not have time to chat about it much. I have never sailed or even stepped foot on her and now I probably never will. She completed 800 transatlantic crossings and sailed round the world so many times. My memory of her though will always be of this beautiful and regal ocean liner carrying troops to battle during the Falklands Conflict. I remember military personnel lining the decks that are usually lined with the rich and famous there army boots replacing the high heels of the jet set and as they waved goodbye I thought that if you have to go to war, that’s the way to go. The QE2 served her country proud during those weeks of battle and brought most (but not all) of the same young men home to Southampton, her decks ablaze with Union Jack flags and proud but battle hardened men stretching to get a glimpse of her loved one. A few weeks, later she was back in service doing what she did best, taking people on a journey across the Atlantic in comfort and luxury that will forever remain in the memory of those who got to walk her decks.

I watched an interview on the news yesterday given by Cunard’s President and Managing Director Carol Marlow. She gave a great interview and spoke about how this was a great thing for the ship and indeed she is right. I am sure the people of Dubai will cherish the ship in a very special way. However, as she was talking I got the sense that she was a little sad to see the grand dame of the oceans leave. I am sure Carol will never see this blog but I hope she knows that the sadness that she did her best not to show is shared by many, who like all us bloggers will miss the QE2 very much.

Thank you all and another blog will be with you tomorrow

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.