Grand Designs

August 15, 2007 -

John Heald

Good Evening.

It’s 10:15pm and its Tuesday evening. It has been another busy day including our passage past Stomboli and the usual round of talks and activities. I also had the longest Afternoon show ever with 53 letters of dedication to read out………..it lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes. Now that may not seem a long time but it is when you are doing the show in a studio with only a Romanian cameraman as an audience. His name is Radu, he is a wonderful guy and brilliant at his job but sometimes……….well….a little seriuos and its hard to gauge if what you said was funny from someone who has the perfect poker face.

Anyway, the show went well and as always you will be able to share in some of the letters in today’s In Their Own Words Section which is forthcoming.

Lets continue talking about the crew………..not that we really were but we will now. So, once a month we allow the crew to let their hair down………talking of hair…….my mate Alan Adkins did have one girlfriend once…………….she had long blonde hair all down her back………………..none on her head…………just all down her back.

Sorry, I digress…………back to the crew. Every month we throw a crew party for the ship’s company. These parties allow the crew to have fun together in a relaxed environment and usually they are a lot of fun. Sometimes, we have themed parties for them and last night the theme was……………….HARRY POTTER. Yep, my old mate Harry. The incredible author J.K. Rowling has it seemed, affected every nationality with her ability to tell her magical stories. This indeed was the case at the crew party as you will see from the photos. The Dining Room, under the management of my friend Ken went all out in decorating for this party. I was unable to go as I was hosting the talent show but Heidi went for a few moments to take these pictures which I hope you enjoy.

Harry Potter Crew Party

Harry Potter Crew Party

Harry Potter Crew Party

Harry Potter Crew Party

The crew really do enjoy these parties and it is one of the few times where they can totally relax and enjoy guest facilities of the ship.

This coming cruise we have a big turnover of crew with 150 crew leaving for vacation and the replacements joining the vessel.

A lot of the Department Heads are leaving as well……….except me. I think the ship could do with a new influx of crew because many of the existing crew members have been here since February and have worked so very hard in getting the ship ready and to the high level of service that we have today.

They need a vacation and I wish them a very happy one. I am going to bed now. I had no intention of going to bed but Heidi said: “It’s Thursday”………see you tomorrow.

Good Morning,

Last night was a false alarm.

It’s 11:47am and it has been a busy day so far here in Livorno Italy. Alan Adkins and his family are going to Florence. Alan is not to happy about this because his wife intends to drag him around the Uffizzi and Accademia museums…….they really aren’t his thing. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who was in the Hermitage, which is a spectacular museum and gallery in St. Petersburg, Russia. There was no airconditioning and I know he would have rather been experiencing the local vodkas than admiring thousands of paintings of women from the Rennaisance period who are dressed in very few clothes, their breasts on display and all of whom look like Fatima, my friend from Turkey. (my bottom cheeks have just clenched again)

So, why do we do this as dutyful husbands? We follow like little lambs through galleries, museums and in my case the nightmare and living hell that is a shopping mall while pretending to our wifes that we are having a good time?

I feel like I am writing a blog of no substance so far, so I think it is best that I post some photos which today are a little random, but please BEAR with me.

1. A selection of bears and animals from the Teddy Bear Workshop in Camp Carnival.

1. A selection of bears and animals from the Teddy Bear Workshop in Camp Carnival.

2. Two young ladies and their new friends.

2. Two young ladies and their new friends.

3. The Deck 0 embarkation lobby (as requested by a blogger)

3. The Deck 0 embarkation lobby (as requested by a blogger)

4. Another photo from the Carnival Spirit and her Alaska voyages

4. Another photo from the Carnival Spirit and her Alaska voyages

And now I am introducing a new section. I am not what to call this section, so for now it will be called “THE EMBARESING MYSELF SECTION”.

I have no idea why I am doing this, I must be nuts, however, due to the popularity of previous old photos of me I will be slapping on more shots which will no doubt induce further ridicule.

Here is one of me taking in 1987 as a Wine Steward……………………………….GOOD GRIEF!!!

Here is one of me taking in 1987 as a Wine Steward

Now, some more letters from the “In Their Own Words” section.

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

Let’s move on to a marathon Q & A session which is taken from the last part of the blog featuring Steve Cassel and the Holiday and Big Tex and the Carnival Fantasy.

TAMMY – I wish I could have heard you laugh. If everyone in the office, as you say, thinks you are crazy, then maybe you can show them the blog and they too can laugh with you. However, it feels very strange to know that people all over the world are laughing at the thought of me going 12 rounds with Fatima Thunder Thighs while a garden hose is petruding from my…..well, never mind. I would do my best to provide more opportunities for you to laugh at my misfortune. Thanks Tammy and all the best.
BIG ED – And here is another thing that I find strange. Two people I have never met, sitting at the breakfast table discussing my underwear. In all seriousnes, I have been thinking these last few days how so many people from so many places are taking the time to read my blog – thingy. While this is amazing and quite flattering, it has also added extra pressure on making sure that our product is as good as I profess it to be and thanks to the help and support of so many I truly believe that it is.
Thank you for thinking of me and all I can tell you is that I will keep going and one morning I am sure I will wake up and realize I need a vacation.
I do not see that happen yet and even when I am home and even when just a couple of times a week, I will make sure that this blog continues……..how can I not.
See you on the bloggers cruise and I am preparing your name tag to read. BIG ED – Assistant to the Cruise Director.
ADIAS.ANGEL – I am sorry to hear that the scrapbooks are yet to be available on line. This was supposed to be going on the Bon Voyage section on the website. ROGER, DO YOU HAVE ANY NEWS ON THIS?
I know they are very important to so many of you so please know I will do my best to get them available ASAP. Many thanks for your patience and all the best.
IVANA – I do not think my Turkish bath story is much of an advertisement for this form of relaxation. I am sure there are places that do this in a much more relaxing fashion. However, it was just my luck to chose the one that employed lady Olympic Shotputters who woke up that morning mad at the world and determined to find some good use for her garden hose which she did. (my bottom cheeks have closed ranks just thinking about it) It’s great to hear that you are still enjoying the blog.
All the best.
NICO R – Thanks mate, I will look out for your e-mail. Heidi is well, thank you for asking. I will be back to you soon.
STEVE J.GARROD – I am glad you enjoyed the interview with Mrs. Stein Kruse. You must be very proud to have him at the head of your wonderful cruise line and I am sure many the bloggers have and will enjoy the Holland America experience. Thanks Steve and all the best.
ELIZABETH TUCKER – And another one laughing at the thought of hands the size of my head slamming my body around. She was standing under a green light and at one point I thought I was having a close encounter with Shrek.
Halloween is getting more and more popular in the U.K. however, in parts of Europe such as Spain, France and in Italy it is not celebrated at all. Although, in France the people are scary 365 days a year. You asked if there will be a Halloween party on the Transatlantic crossing and yes indeed there will be and I promise you it will be a lot of fun. I am going to cover myself from top to bottom in a white sheet with 2 tiny red horns sticking out the top of my head. I will be dressed as THE SPERM OF THE DEVIL. (please refer to previous blogs) If you do want to dress up, you will need to bring it with you as you won’t be able to find a lot of supplies in the ports that we will call ate. We will see you in 75 days and my best to you and your husband.
DWA76 – It was interesting to read that the famous chef you mentioned Anthony Bourdan had the same experience as I did when he had a Turkish bath.
I am still having nightmares and every now and then little droplets of water gently cascade down the back of my leg as a reminder of Fatima and her pipe. I am so happy that so many people enjoyed the interview with Stein from Holland America. He truly is at the top of his profession and we at Carnival Corporation are lucky to have him in the chair. It’s great to hear from you again and until the next time, cheers mate.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Thank you for acknowledging the children who wanted to be the Smartest Kids in the class. It was wonderful reading those letters and seeing the effort that children put into them in making them. They all have challenges and if a simple thing like a gold trophy and a medallion brings a smile to their young lives then Heidi and I are lucky to be able to provide them.
Regarding my comments about the rudeness of some of the people in Athens, I think it’s just the way they are and I know I should not take it personal. My concern is that the standard of hospitality is set so high on board the ship, I expect it to continu ashore.
Carol, have a wonderful day, keep smiling.
SHERIFF ROSCO P. COLTRANE – Hello Sheriff, you asked what ship I will be on next year. The plan is for me to join the Carnival Freedom sometime in April and host the first European cruise and then hand the ship over to Cruise Director Todd Wittmer. After that I will be in the shipyard preparing the Carnival Splendor and will remain on board until it returns to the Caribbean. The only months that I am not certain about are February and March. I will let everyone know about those as soon as possible. I read the website link you sent me and I obviously hope that I never have to read your name there. My thoughts and prayers are with all the families whose husbands and wifes, sons and daughters gave their lives to protect and serve. Stay save and stay in touch.
Our best to Nikki.
J TODDINMAN – Another masterpiece. I am going to be asking Roberto to put all your poems together on one attachment on the side of this blog thingy.
You are a natural and we all thank you for the continues laughter you are providing. Here is a terrible effort from me:
John and his best mate Alan
Thought it would be a laugh
Whilst in the city of Istanbal
To go for a Turkish bath
It started badly and became a farce
Especially when Fatima shoved a hose up my ………bottom
NATES MOM
– Hello Nate, Hello Mum. Nate, you will love the Carnival Elation and I wish you much success on there. I will pass on Nates regards to everyone here and mom thank you for your support of the blog.
IVANA – Good question. How would everyone feel about a bloggers cruise in Alaska in May 2009.
KERSPLOTT – Thank you for the offer of a picnic in your backyard if we were to have a Alaskan Bloggers Cruise. Do you know Heidi and I have never been to your beautiful part of the world and this would be a great opportunity to do so. What do you think?
I hope you are enjoying the photos of Alaska and indeed are enjoying the blog.
JEFF STEVENSON – Just wanted to say thank you for great shows and the entire audience appreciated your wonderful sense of humor. I am sure we will work together again very soon.
KATIE – I am glad you are feeling better and that’s the best news of the day. I really would like to highlight children’s charities during the bloggers cruise and I am working on that with some people at the moment. Doing this would really put the iceing on the cake and certainly make it an even more special cruise. Thank you so much for booking the Bloggers cruise and please tell Jeff thank you and not to throw pop corn at you anymore. Nearerr the time I will indeed be highlighting my personal choices of things to do in the ports that we are calling at. I love writing these blogs even though it takes up each and every moment of free time I have but I know how important tis has become to so many people and that as well as Jelly Beans for my Jet Pack are what keeps me going. Stay well and thak you for being such a good friend.
THE PLAZ – You asked for dome photos of the Galley and indeed Heidi will be taking these tonight and I will be slapping them on a blog in the near future mate.
LISA BISTI – Thank you for your sincere and kind words. I am happy to hear that you appreciated the drawings from the children we acknelowdged. They are special children because they took the time to work hard on their letters and drawings and that is why I wanted to acknowledge each and everyone of them. I also want to acknowledge you for the wonderful work you do in educating and supporting childrene who need the extra help you provide. We should pay all teachers a million dollars a year. Thank you again and we all send you our best regards.
NANETTEALI – I agree with you mi amor. I also have never been to Alaska but it certainly would be a wonderful place to host our second bloggers cruise. I will be interested to see what other people think of this. I remember the old ships you used to sail on and I remember them specifically in San Juan docked alongside us. There was the Britanis, The Amercanis and another I can’t remember the name of now. My goodness, how things have changed. The ships are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. You know, soon, we won’t need to sail anyway because the front of the ship will be in Miami and the back of the ship will be in the Bhamas……….the ships will just become big bridges !
Anyway, ciao bella uno grande hugo para u o.
SHELLY P – It is a shame he cannot bring his double bass alhough maybe he will get just as much enjoyment playing the triangle?
It seems you are all excited and ready to cruise and I hope that you know I will do my best to make this a special time for you and your family. Please tell Andrew that he is right to love the F40 ferrari. Enzo and his boys are pure geniuses but for me it has to be an Aston Martin……………..you just can’t beat it.
If you have any other questions, please let me know and I will see you soon.
LINDA HERNACKI – That is a good point that some people do not like to fly so maybe an Alaskan cruise may not be the best for everyone…….maybe I should consider something else, we shall see.
Nope, I never did get my change from my friend Mr Rudealotopus but that’s OK. I wonder if any other blogger has found the venders in Athens difficult to deal with ?
So, I shall put my thinking cap on and try and come up with the best solution for everyone when we decide on what form the 2009 Bloggers cruise will take. All the best Linda and of course to Mike as well.
BOB – Sorry, I just saw that I spelt your name backwards, my apologies. Your thoughts on Greece are my exact thoughts as well. Athens, the Acropolis are places that amaze and should be on everyone’s must see list but yep, the people, a very small minority, can be well…..less than helpful at times. You also mentioned that the smaller greek islands and towns are the opposite and that of course is definatley true. Take Rhodes for example, you could wish to find friendlier more helpful people anywhere. It’s the same in the UK, some people who live in and around parts of London are snobs who won’t give you the time of day unless you are wearing Prada and now the Queen or a Spice girl. The more North you go the friendlier the people are, its just a shame that they don’t have indoor toilets or electricity, but they are nice. Then take France where the people are rude in paris but the rest of France ……………….ok, that was a bad example.
Anyway, cruising the Med is something very special as you said and I continue to say that everyone should come out here and try it for themselves. In 2008 we will have the Carnival Freedom and the Carnival Splendor here and in 2009………….who knows……………..MAYBE PA 007???
Thanks mate and I hope you continue to read the blog thingy.
KAREN TESSIER – I am so sorry that your last posting got lost somwhere out there in blog land. Congratulations on getting your T Shirt and we must have a photo together with you wearing it so I can slap it on the blog. You will be here soon, do you have any last minute requests or questions?
If not, I wish you a safe flight and I will see you very soon.
KATHY KROLL – I just saw your husband’s photo, can I hire him as my bodyguard on the bloggers Cruise, just in case Fatima shows up>
I am glad you enjoy the kids letters, it really is something I love doing and love sharing with you all. My best to you and my new head of personal security. By the way, you were and still are a beautiful lady and I would have loved to see you dance……..WOW…………www.kathykroll.com…………have a look everyone, a true Vegas showgirl.
BRYAN – The newley Wed game is an industry standard and an industry favorite which is why the CD’s all mention that it is one of their favorite things to host. Actually, I do not do it myself as I have something called the marriage Show which I will be featuring shortly.
It warms my heart to see so many appreciate the fun and support Heidi and I are giving the kids with special needs and I hope they all enjoy their trophies, medallions and signed photos. Thank Bryan and all the best mate.
ALAN AND CHRIS – I remember that awful fire in Rhode Island that was caused by the Pyrotechnics and it is one of the reasons we are so strict in our policies and procedures here.
I saw that you had requested the Supper Club reservations on line and I will be making the reservations for you today and please therefore consider them confirmed as requested on both days.
I look forward to meeting you all dressed in your Red Socks gear. I am sure they are a great team but they will not beat the Miami Heat this year..no way !
Best to you both and I hope you continue to read the blog thingy.
MRS.MISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISE – What wonderful Halloween stories and as always written with flavor and in your own wonderful style. I really think that if you want to take part in the Halloween parties this tear on the TAC you will need to bring some sort of costume with you which I know is not easy with the airlines flight restrictions. There is very little celebration of Halloween in Italy so I am not sure if you will be able to buy anything from our ports of call.
I would loved to have seen your :” deranged butterfly ” costume and I am sure you will come up with something special again this year…………..wait until you see our haunted house! It will be smoky, but the smoke will be from dry ice so you will be fine. My best to you and of course Mr MTSFPBLFTTNSFCF.
THE ONE AND ONLY HEIDI – BETH – hello you two, how are you both? You are of course correct. Rude people can be found all over the world not just in Athens and your posting confirms that. It just seems that out of all the ports we call at on the Greece/Turkey cruise that Athens seems to have the biggest problems with guest relations and it bothers me. Cruising is a great advert for the destinations not only because Corporations like carnival have chosen to go there but the word of mouth advertising that these destinations get when the passengers return home is worth so much that you would think that they would do their best to be friendly in the hope that they will return one day.
I am also glad you loved the kids letters and I am proud to have shared them with you.
As for the Alaska cruise for the next Bloggers adventure it seems most people would prefer a sunnier destination and from Florida so I will bare that in mind. I am sorry I wont get to see you two and kevin on the Bloggers cruise in January but I am sure we will all meet soon. Sey hello to Kevin and the seven pixels. Cheers.
SHARON AND JEFF – I am amazed that your wife will adhere to your one suitcase only rule for your 49 day cruise on the back to back to back trips on the Carnival Splendor. Heidi takes a full suitcase for a one night away trip………you must be the boss, the big cheese, the king of your castle……..what’s your secret.
As far as who takes the trophy on being less than helpful to passengers, Greece or France…….I think it would be disrespectful of me to answer that. Instead I will just say that the award goes to the folks who eat garlic and not spice, Brie and not Feta, and have a tower not an acropolis …….but really, it was quite close:).
Thank you for the compliments and I will hope to hear from you soon.
CRUISINSUE – Thanks for the note from Jeff the cruise Director on the Elation. I trianed him and he has become a very good Cruise Director. I would appreciate your opinion of the cruise and Jeff so let me know your thoughts. I love the Carnival Elation and he and the ship will be featured iin a forthcoming blog thingy. Welcome back and it was my pleasure to make the Supper Club reservation for you.
LFTTNSFCF – I think you should just stick a large no smokig sign on your back and go as the Paradise. Regardless, you and I will have fun on Halloween and maybe instead of dressing up you can help me as one of the judges, what do you think.
BIG ED – As far as the next bloggers cruise is concerned, I think it is safe to say that we will not be able to have this the week before the South America cruise on the Carnival Splendor. That week will be so busy in preparation for the upcoming 49 day cruise I would not be able to give the bloggers enough of my time.
Therefore, we need to start thinking about another ship and time to do this. Let me know what you think. Congratulations on getting Pat to take BTB cruises on the Carnival Freedom. You asked Heidi for information on tanning in the Spa. They do not have the spray tan, however we have something called sunshine which I have been guaranteed will be available every day on the bloggers cruise. Please tell Pat how greatful I am that she said yes.
ARNOLD TUCKER – What a fantastic story. I think yours was a little more pleasant than mine. However, being boiled alive doesn’t sound like too much fun.
You and I could write a book titled “What not to do in Turkey and Japan”. Thanks for the story, we all enjoyed it more than you did.
KEVIN – I got the information via Roberto today. Please give me a few days to work on this and I will get back to you.
THE BEARS – I am glad you are enjoying Kids Corner. It is gradually becoming one of Heidi’s and mine favorite things to do. Alaska does sound beautiful and it’s interesting that some people really want this as the destination for the next bloggers cruise. We will have to see what we can do. I always knew BEARS would feel at home in Alaska.
MELISSASNEU – You asked about the ability to download guest photos onto a disc. We do not have this ability on board however, we should do and hopefully one day we will. We do have machines that will print your photos from your memory card and we have many memory cards on board for sale. I am glad you enjoyed the Turkish bath story, it’s nice to know that my pain is someone elses joy. All the best and thanks for reading the blog thingy.
SHELEE – Thank you for your kind words on my 20 year anniversary. I hope to receive some kind of momento from the office soon, but nothing yet.
I am glad you are enjoying the photos, especially the ones from the Carnival Spirit as you will be sailing there in September. I totally understand that you can’t buy me the “depends” however, if you come across a packet of refuelling Jelly Beans I would be very greatful. Please say hello to your boss and your mother in law. All the best.
PAULETTE’S MUM – It’s interesting that your daughter who lives in Greece agrees with me about the unhelpful shop assistants. It certainly needs to be reminded that my comments refer to a tiny minority of the people in Athens. It just seemed that I met them all in one day. I am happy to hear that Paulette is going to the Carnival Valor and also wonderful to hear she will be amongst such good friends. Would you please send her my warmest regards and Heidi’s as well.
CATMAMA044 – Thank you for mentioning Kids Corner and you are correct, they really do brighten any day. We will see you very soon and if you are thinking about a New Year’s cruise, maybe I can help pursuade you. Let me know your thoughts. Thank you for saying this blog is the best, I really appreciate it.
TOM AND JANE – I am sure you will have a good time on RCCL in September. Don’t feel bad, I know you love Carnival but totally understand that your high school reunion is sailing on there. My worry is that you may have an episode of ATCOCS syndrome and during the Welcome Aboard Show, you may find yourself standing up and shouting “I love John and I have seen his thingy”. See you in January and seriously, please pass on my respect and regards to the Cruise Director.
KATHY KROLL – I also heard the story about the Carnival Pride and the small boat which entered the exclusion zone around the ship. To be on the safe side, officers from United States Coast Guard inspected to area to make sure nothing had been tampered with. I remember the days when small boats, jet ski’s and pleasure craft would follow the ship in and out of port and sail past us taking photos. Nowadays, this is forbidden and is another sign of the sad state we live in.
Thanks for the news update Kathy and my best to Lee.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Hello you again. It seems to me that the most popular destination for the next bloggers cruise is the Caribbean. Nearer the time and before the end of the year we will make a decision which this time will be based on the most popular choice voted for by bloggers.
I really like the idea about having it on board the Carnival Imagination. I have not sailed on a Fantasy class ship since 1995. Thank you for your comments and they are well noted. All the best Carol.
JO MYERLY – To answer your questions about the scrapbooks. We had a full stock on board and they sold out in one day, a further suply will arrive in Barcelona on the 26th of August. They are specific to the ship and you will enjoy them immensly. We are going to be putting these available for purchase on line and Roger Blum is working hard to make this happen as we speak. Thanks Jo and see you on August the 29th.
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – Thank you for the pictures of the galley that you took on the Liberty, Heidi will be taking some of the Carnival Freedom very soon.
We nearly got away with a posting that had nothing to do with food, but not quite. Cheers mate.
DWA76 – My friend Steve Cassel is certainly as you said, a “unique character”. He really is unpredictable and we have many happy times together.
Thank you for your nice words mentioning what Heidi and I did for the kids, it really was a pleasure as it is to talk to you.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – Can you send me your full name and cabin number mate, ASAP. Thank you Captain, hope things are better at home.
SUE GROHOL – Thank you very much for your kind words about what we did for the children. Heidi adores children and loves doing little things like that.
I am glad you enjoyed the Turkish bath experience story……I will have ever lasting memories and water continues to evacuate itself from my body at mysterious times.
I really thank you for reading the blog so much. See you in 75 days.
RUTH JAMISON – Congratulations on receiving your bloggers t-shirts. I am so happy that you have got them and that you and your husband are enjoying wearing them so much. It still humbles me to think that people are wearing shirts with our names on. My best to you both and yes, I will keep writing the blog thingy.
DEBBIE MOND – Did you know, your last name means “mouth” in Dutch. I should know, because Heidi is always saying “Hou je mond”. Which is a very impolite way of saying “shut up”. No, I have not heard if I am going to receive an Aston Martin for any period of time. I have a feeling I will be driving my Nissan Micra which I probably don’t need as my jet pack will propel me much faster. All the best Debbie. I would call you Mrs. Mouth, but that would be really rude.

Ok, I am going to stop there, one shy of 50 and I have many more to answer tomorrow.

I bought a copy of the Lerici and Portovenere guide but I can’t remember who this was for. Please send your name and address to Roberto, so I can mail the book from Naples.

I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who has voted for me for the Sea Trade Insider Awards. I do not know the other people who have been nominated but I am sure they are all worthy winners. I am very greatful just to be nominated. Thank you all.

There now follows a very special interview. This person, more than any other has left a permanent impression on the Carnival Fleet. At this moment he is busy working on the Carnival Splendor and the next two Carnival ships. He is at the top of his profession and is without doubt an incomparable talent.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the Interior Designer of this ship and the Carnival fleet, Mr. Joe Farcus.

Mr. Joe Farcus

1. Joe, lets go back a few years. Can you tell us where your love of design and architecture comes from. John, it’s clear to me that after many years of thinking on this subject that I was just born that way. When I was small I noticed in a big way graphics, industrial design, & even architectural design. I just had that vision & appreciation. Also I always loved to draw & still do. On vacations I often sketch buildings or where I am as relaxation, even though I draw every working day. So I was lucky enough that my interests & vision matched a talent for drawing & abstract problem solving resulting in a conscious decision to be an architect when I was in the 7th grade. I went to a special high school & took architectural classes every day for 3 years. I also worked in manufacturing & architecture since I was 16, so by the time I graduated college in architecture I already had many years of experience in construction & design. It has all served me very well.

2. What was the first thing that you designed and after it was built how did you feel. It’s always a thrill to see something you have drawn come to fruition. Even small things, which is exactly how it happened for me. In my first years as a practicing architect I designed a lot of buildings, mostly condos, which were rather commercial & I have to confess not that exciting. So I’ll skip over those & go right to the first building I designed & was built that I was proud of. That building was called Citizens Federal Savings & Loan at that time (1970 or so) on Brickell Avenue in Miami, which was & is the financial center of Miami. The building was 12 stories high & it had been my first opportunity to design a significant building. In my opinion the design was a success & the owner of the bank also shared that view. I am still very proud to see that building every time I drive down Brickell Avenue. Design-wise it has stood the test of time & still is one of the best buildings in that area.

3. How did your amazing relationship with Carnival Cruise Lines start. During the period I mentioned above I was working for the architect Morris Lapidus. Ted Arison, the founder of Carnival came to Lapidus to refit Carnival’s second ship, Carnivale. I was the head designer at Lapidus & I was given the job of being the project manager on that project. I visited the ship in Greece where she was laid up & did a survey of her to begin the transformation, which was going to be done over a 6 week period alongside in Miami. I got to know Ted well during this time & began to form my ideas about cruise ships. I conceived the show lounge along the lines of a theater & worked on other planning considerations & getting the interior decorating designs of Lapidus implemented. He saw my abilities & enthusiasm I think, which paved the way for the continuation of my work for him. When I had heard of CCL’s plan to acquire a third ship, I volunteered my services to Arison who agreed to give me a chance. I attended a planning meeting with CCL about what to do with this existing passenger freighter vessel. When the meeting broke up in the afternoon I volunteered to make some designs for possibilities & present them the next morning. I stayed up all night & designed & rendered the main restaurant & the theatre. The next morning I presented the drawings, which were very well received. A week or two later Ted called me & told me that he was giving me the job & come to Monte Carlo with all designs in a couple of weeks to talk with shipyards. The rest is, as they say history. It’s now 30 years later & still writing the book on cruising. It’s been an amazing ride.

4. So, you are commissioned to design the interior of a ship. Obviously there are many questions I could ask here but I just want to know, where do you start. Once you know you have to design a ship, what is the first thing you do. John, there is a book in the answer. The first step is to design the GAP or general arrangement plans. In buildings you would call this the floor plans. You have to consider everything in this step, such as spatial excitement, guest flow, service flow, required functions & their sequencing within the GAP, plus the structural & engineering requirements of the ship itself. It’s quite complicated & frustrating because of all of the compromises necessary to make it all work as a ship. The decoration process begins. This is a challenge. I start with the premise that I am designing an experience for the guests, not just ‘architecture’ of materials. The guests as a lot defy demographics, as their backgrounds are so varied. This leads me to creating an eclectic mix of designs. I see the ship as an ideal city & try to create the vibrancy & excitement of great holiday cities. I think the guests can relate to this as I think it creates an environment for the people to create their own experience onboard within our framework & program & that freedom allows for a perfect vacation as I see it.

5. Some people do it in the bath, the shower, during long walks……….where do you do your best thinking and do you still draw designs with pencil on paper or do you use mostly computer graphics? I had no idea where you were going with that question until after the periods! I do my thinking everywhere. I literally mean it. I even come up with things while dreaming. The creativity is just part of who I am & literally I’m always on if you will. The concepts I am trying to create are so complicated, it requires that kind of time to mull it all over to find the direction to move forward. When you factor in the technical & workability functions as well, it requires this kind of effort to make it happen. AS to the design media, for me it’s mainly freehand drawing with pencil & pen. I make these kinds of technical drawings this way to give the builders, not only the technical details & materials, but to also give them drawings which really reflect how the design is going to look. Theses drawings are somewhere between blueprints & renderings.

6. Can we talk about the Carnival Splendor? Is there a theme to the ship and what are some of the design highlights you are most proud of. Well the Splendor is still not finished, which creates a little problem in answering. When asked the question, which ship is your favorite? I always answer truthfully that the last ship is my favorite as it represents my best thinking up till then. This is certainly the case with Splendor. Her Central Idea is to honor ‘Splendid Things’ of all sorts. The restaurants are design for the splendid jewel, pearls. The casino is designed after the splendid poker hand, the Royal Flush. I interpret these ideas in various ways in all of my designs. It’s part of the eclectic mix I mentioned earlier. I try to use new materials or traditional materials in non-traditional ways. I always want create that special environment that one normally doesn’t experience. I want the guests not only to go to a different world once the step from land to sea, but also to experience that changed state by way of the architecture & interior design. So for me it’s the success of the whole which makes me most proud. I see the ship, even at its most eclectic, as one artistic creation. When it all integrates well & gives the guests the greatest vacation experience, then I am happy & proud. I take what I do very seriously & have a real sense of responsibility when it comes to the guests money they spend for this holiday, but even more so for their precious time they devote to a cruise.

7. Looking back at all the ships, can you tell us your three personal favorite lounges or public spaces and why they are at the top of your list. Just can’t say. I really like them all! Even though I like the last ship the best, it does not diminish the past designs at all. I use any success with the past as a real challenge to do my best for the present & future. I don’t think I could do this work if I didn’t always feel this way. I always want to do better & explore new ways of doing things. I love the challenge.

8. Has there ever been a case where something looks amazing on the plans and when you see it built you stand back and go……….OOPS? Not as such. The concepts are quite often difficult to realize & costly. I have had occasions where the final result does not match the design intent, but usually that’s related to details rather than a whole space. It’s always frustrating for me, but thankfully it’s rare that such a thing has any significant meaning within the context of an entire ship.

9. Can you give us a glimpse into the future? What can we expect from your brilliant designs on future ships? This of course is probably the number one question I am asked by the media. Of course I can’t answer this directly for obvious reasons. What I can say is that everyone at Carnival, as well as myself are constantly looking into ways to improve the cruise experience. Even though Carnival is a commercial venture, there has always been the deep seeded desire to serve & serve well & the in best possible way. The evidence of this is the progression of ships & the services offered aboard. When we learn something works really well as a new feature on a new ship, we immediately look to implement that feature on past ships. This is a constant, which makes the cruise experience today far & above that experience of the past.

10. If given the chance and you could choose to design one of the following which would you choose and why.

1. A CONCERT HALL IN MILAN I would love to do this as I have had some wonderful ideas for this type of building in the past. This is for sure the best choice for me. I love Italy & feel that the design sense present in Italy would be a very welcoming environment to put design within this great city. As you know I also design the ships for Carnival’s sister company in Italy, Costa Crociere, which have also been very well received by the Italian & European market.

2. A NEW HOUSE FOR PARIS HILTON I like Milan & not Paris in this case.

3. A FOOTBALL STADIUM Love football, but have no specific thoughts on this type of building.

4. A NEW BATHROOM FOR ME. Well… on land or sea?

11. Finally, thank you for all your incredible work and for taking thetime to answer these questions. To finish, please summarize your designs in ten words or less Fun, Interesting, Intelligent, Beautiful, Fascinating, Uplifting, Deep, Compelling, & word which I really enjoyed recently seeing in print which sums it all up: Farcusian.

Joe, we are so honoured to have had this amazing insight into your world and we all look forward to seeing what you have dreamt up for the new ships. We salute you.

Wow, that was great………..sometimes I have to pinch myself that I have interviewed so many important people. I hope to try and persuade the presidents of Princess, Costa and Aaida to honour me with an interview. I know Aaida is specific to the German speaking market but I have heard great things about their ships and it would be so interesting to find out what happens onboard. Let me see what can be done.

It’s nearly showtime and I have one more thing to share.

First of all, I have to tell you that during the Marriage Show this week I had a young honeymooner who was very nervous. Now we all do things when we are nervous, I for example get terrible Gas, something I inherited from my Dad. Heidi always gets a dry cough when she is nervous. This young lady did something else, she……….ummmmmmmmmmm………………kept pushing her ………….well her ……….breasts up…………she would cup them and push them up while she was telling me the story of how she met her husband and how he proposed to her. She had no idea what she was doing and was oblivious to the howls of laughter coming from the 800 guests who attended the show. Of course, I had to have a bit of fun with this and rather than me describe what happened, have a look at these photos.

Honeymoon Show

Honeymoon Show

Honeymoon Show

Honeymoon Show

Honeymoon Show

I did not give her a trophy and a bottle of champagne as I did the other couples, I gave her ……………….yep…………………..a bra……………..I really did. I was going to give her one of Heidi’s but……………well she needed more support than heidi could give.

That’s me in the dog house

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.