Good Morning again and the end of another cruise is upon us. I just completed the debarkation process and now we have the 3-hour gap between the debarkation and embarkation processes. During this time the ship’s company work so very hard. Every stateroom is cleaned from top to bottom, all bedding is replaced, public lounges are cleaned, stores are brought onboard and then, at around 11 am we start all over again…………………it’s a very busy day.

Normally, I try to go back to bed for 2 hours from 9:30am – 11:30am but this morning I have such a backlog of the dreaded paper work that I have decided to ignore the call of the mattress and spend a few minutes blogging………….go away !……….sorry, the mattress and duvet were shouting for me to come and rest my delicate frame upon them…………I am ignoring them.

Anyway, back to today and the start of a new cruise. The biggest change this cruise is the summer is over which means from 800 children we return to a count of 40 and from 3,500 guests we have 3,100. The change there is because obviously there are many less cabins that have third or fourth occupants in them, however, as always the ship is completely sold out.

We have 1,525 International guests again…………..no, I am not whining.

These guests are mostly from Russia, The Dominican Republic, Germany and a big group from Israel as well as the usual Brits and Aussies.

One of the obvious concerns are the continuing fires in Greece and although we do not expect it to effect our itinerary or our tours to the various sites etc, I did feel it prudent to have a letter handed out at embarkation which was approved by my friend Terry Thornton in our Miami office……………here it is.

August 29, 2007

Dear Carnival Guest:

Welcome to Rome. We want to thank you for choosing Carnival for your vacation.

We also want to provide you with some information about the wild fires that have occurred in areas near two of our ports of call on this cruise…Katakolon and Athens. We have been closely monitoring this situation and will continue to review it over the next several days.

At this point in time, we do not expect any disruption to our call in Athens. All of the great sites are available and our excursions are expected to operate as scheduled. In Katakolon, the fires came within a short distance of the archeological site of Olympia. The fires have now been extinguished and the area is undergoing a cleanup effort prior to re-opening this important visitor site. Local officials have advised us that they expect Olympia to be available for our call next Thursday.

Most importantly, we are looking forward to welcoming you aboard the spectacular new Carnival Freedom. My officers, staff and crew will do everything possible to provide you with a great cruise experience.

Sincerely,

Captain

The situation in Greece seems a little a better but there are still fires raging and we will, as stated in the letter, be keeping a very close eye on the situation.

Now, here are some beautiful photos of Voltare & San Gimignano taken yesterday from the Beautiful Tuscany Tour by our intrepid Entertainment Staff member and photographer Jamie.

1. A typical Tuscan house in San Gimignano

1. A typical Tuscan house in San Gimignano

2. The Village of Voltare

2. The Village of Voltare

3. The gorgeous Tuscan countryside

3. The gorgeous Tuscan countryside

4. San Gimignano

4. San Gimignano

Here are the letters from today’s “In Their Own Words” section

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

the first one is from a family who missed the ship in Naples but were lucky enough to get a ride out on the pilot boat…………….as for the last one………….well……..words are not necessary.

Let’s get on with some Q and A; I am so behind with this.

I do want to say however how wonderful it is that we have had so many heartfelt messages for Chrissy and Brad and also the positive messages of support for Southern Dreams as she begins her treatment. Everyone of you who have taken the time to write messages have shown what a close community of friends we are here on this humble blog thingy. Thank you all so very much on their behalf.

IT ALSO SEEMS THAT THE IDEA OF US PROMOTING THE CAUSE OF BREAST CANCER HAS BEEN MET WITH EXTREME ENTHUSIASM AND SUPPORT – HOW WONDERFUL THAT IS. THE T SHIRTS AND WRIST BANDS WILL BE HERE NEXT CRUISE AND WE WILL BEGIN OUR WALKS…………I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED ON THIS VERY IMPORTANT ACTIVITY BUT THANK YOU TO ALL WHO TOOK THE TIME TO WRITE IN WORDS OF SUPPORT.

No – Go away……..I will not heed your call………….sorry, the bed is trying to get me to rest my lily-white thighs upon the eiderdown.

Onwards and upwards we go starting with the reaming questions from the blog called We Are family and then onto ones from the blog Highlighting the Carnival Imagination.

JENNIFER HAMMOND – Hello Jennifer. It’s wonderful to hear from someone who has cruised with Carnival as many times as you have. I am not sure if the On Deck For The Cure walk will be still going next year on the Carnival Splendor but if we haven’t found a cure……..then we should keep going don’t you think? Please send my best to your family and of course to Flat Joey……………………………don’t ask.
KEVIN – I am sorry that the itinerary has been changed for your forthcoming Carnival Glory cruise and thank you for your understanding mate. Progresso has lots of great things to see and do. Here is a link to the great tours offered and my favorite nine before you ask) is the beach Buggy Break…….it is fantastic fun, almost like driving an Aston Martin. Here is the link thingy mate and all the best.
http://www.carnival.com/ShoreExcursionsSearchResults.aspx?region=CW&portcode=PGR&portname=Progreso%2c+Yucatan%2c+Mexico
RICK D – Thanks for the update on the Moons and I will make sure the correct information is given to the guests. I really appreciate this as I would have fallen for the hoax ………If I had told the passengers that Mars would pass behind the moon and then realized it was a hoax, it would not have been Mars I would be worried about it would have been the kick up the Uranus I would have received………………..so cheers mate I owe you one.
TERRI 910 – First of all I live with a blonde so I am used to “blonde moments” as you described yourself having. Anyway, you asked about the 2009 season in Europe and if anything has been confirmed yet as to what Carnival ships will be sailing there. The answer is NO so far and I have asked PA007 to keep his/her ears wide open and he/she will let me know as soon as anything breaks….the news that is ….not me after eating sugar free jellybeans. I would however bet my brand new Aston Martin that you will see the Carnival smoke stack in Europe in 2009………….however as I do not have a brand new Aston Martin or will I ever have one………that’s not such a bad bet to make. Seriously, I would be very, very surprised if Carnival is not here in Europe for some time to come and therefore I hope you get a chance to experience a European carnival cruise. All the best.
NANETTE – Thanks Nanni (my new name for you) for your concerns about Greece. At the time of writing it seems things are getting a little better although it has come too late for so many. Thank you for your compassion and as always a grande hugo for you from mia wifeo and meo.
LFTTNSFCAF – .Thanks mate…….you speak for us all.
INMN253 – A brilliant posting, short but Oh, straight to the point ………please slap on a post more often and my best to you and your husband.
JOHN AND SUSAN IN FRISCO – Your words are oh so true and of course with the passing of Heidi’s precious Pop at such a young age, words we both know the meaning of so well. I call my Mum and dad twice a day everyday and family…….well there is nothing, nothing more important. As for a ship designed by the artist Peter Max………very interesting idea! It certainly would be ummmmmm….different. Thanks again for the sincere words and I, like you, hope we get to meet in person one day soon.
LOIS BRAGABREWSKI – Thank you! Your words are uplifting and obviously from the heart.
THE BEARS, BARB AND CARL – Thank you for all the fantastic comments you slapped on today, especially for Chrissy and her family as well of course for our good friend Southern Dreams. Once again it shows how special you both are. Thank you for sending me some jet pack fuel, you are too kind and it is needed as one of my tanks is half-full again. As requested, here is my Mum’s recipe for home made Spotted Dick……..you need custard with this.
Ingredients
Serves 4
225g (8 oz) plain flour, plus extra for sprinkling
15g (1/2 oz) baking powder
a pinch of salt
115g (4 oz) chopped beef suet
150ml (5 fl oz) water
115g ( 4 oz ) currants
55g (2 oz) raisins
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
HOW TO MAKE IT
To make the basic suet pastry, sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together, then rub in the finely chopped suet. Add the water and mix to a dough. Roll out to a rectangle 25 x 15cm (10 x 6 in) and 1cm (1/2 in) thick. Sprinkle with currants and raisins, leaving a border of 1cm (1/2 in) round all sides. Press the fruit in and sprinkle with lemon rind. Paint the borders with water.
Turn the two short sides in and seal. Roll up from a long side carefully, to keep all the fruit in. Seal when rolled up. Take a clean tea towel and rinse in boiling water. Sprinkle with flour and shake off the excess. Lay the roll on top of the cloth, fold the cloth over, and fix at the ends with string. Steam the cloth-wrapped roll for 1 1/2 hours. Take out, unwrap, cut into slices and serve with custard or jam sauce.
MESSAGE FROM MUM – This is quite a difficult one, finding a steamer that will hold the pudding roll. Adaptation is the key. You could put the pud on a rack in a roasting tray full of water, then cover it with foil. Bring up to the boil then steam in the oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for about 2 hours. Top up the water occasionally. Don’t give up. If none of these work, bake the pud at the above oven temperature, but not in the cloth, brushed with egg wash, for about 1 1/4 hours.
Thanks Mum for taking the time to type all this out……..actually Dad did the typing I think. Anyway, look out for Mum’s recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding coming soon…………..all things I can’t have………………bugger!
KAREN R – Thank you Karen for you kind words of sympathy.
POET LAUREATE – A ripened pear…………brilliant. That was one of your best and one Heidi laughed her socks off at………thanks! You are getting too good at this now, please don’t stop.
MAX AND LEX FROM AUSTRALIA – Goodness me, a letter from Down Under, that’s wonderful and congratulations on booking back to back cruises on the Carnival Splendor where yes, I will be the Cruise Director. Can I also say sorry in advance that England beat you in the Rugby but we won’t talk about cricket! See you next year for what will be a fascinating and fun cruise experience.
SUSAN B – Hello and my best to you and the now famous Mr. Cheap. You asked if Carnival has ever done a “kids go free cruise” and although I am not certain I am pretty sure that we have had offers where the third and fourth people in the cabin go for free or at a reduced rate. Now, may I suggest to Mr. Cheap that he calls a travel agent or Carnival Vacation Planner to discover all the latest offers and let’s see if we can make magic and get him to open his wallet. You asked if you can do the Breast Cancer charity walk from your wheelchair. …………..tell you what, get Mr. Cheap to buy you a cruise and I will push you round the track myself……..and if I eat some sugar free jelly beans beforehand you will go faster than ever before. Have your daughter send me her questions 2 at a time then I will be sure to give them my undivided attention. Until then, my best to you and all the cheapos 🙂 Please write soon.
MEDCRUISER – As you will have seen from my comments above, the fires in Greece are still burning but so far there has been no damage to the relics at Olympia or to village of Katakolon. We are looking closely at the situation and of course we will see what happens and act accordingly. Thank you for mentioning this and for your thoughts of kindness for the Greek people.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – As always it’s great to hear from our “regulars ” and that of course means my good friend Carol. Thank you for asking about the tea, I am fine for PG Tips (monkey tea) and Heidi has now started drinking this Green tea that smells like burnt broccoli….yuk. I did check on this PBS show on Costa Cruises that you mentioned and it seems it was very popular. I have never seen it and someone is hopefully going to send me a copy of the show. There have been some great documentaries filmed on ships over the years, the most famous one of all of course was called All At Sea……………..don’t ask !
I am very interested to hear from your neighbor as to why she is reluctant to taste the delights of a Carnival cruise so please do let me know. Now, it is time to cover up your computer because as you like Puns so much here is one for you…….no spitting over the computer now.
There were two prawns, James and Christian, swimming along the bottom of the ocean. James accidentally rubs up against an old lantern and whoosh, a genie appears and grants James two wishes.
After a moment’s thought James decides that he wants to become a shark so as to gain the respect of all the creatures of the sea. Whoosh, James becomes a shark and swims off.
Two weeks later James is upset. All of his old friends are now afraid of him and his life is miserable. He decides to use his second wish, and he wishes to be a prawn once again. Whoosh…. Now a prawn once more, James swims away to look for his mate Christian.
When he arrives at Christian’s house he knocks on the door and shouts out for Christian. “Go away”, says Christian, “you’re a shark and you’ll just eat me”.
“No I won’t”, shouts James, “I’m a prawn again, Christian.”
All the best Carol.
DEB ROWE – Welcome to Venice where I see you have noticed a black Aston Martin on the pier and asked is it mine…….well the answer is yes………it is mine so could you do me a favor and just ask someone to move it from the pier and drive it to the U.K. for me………………I wish it was mine and I am still hoping that when I a am home one of the bloggers will have decided that instead of sending their kids to college that they will use the money set a side to educate their kids to buy me dream car………..even lease me one for 2 months, I really am not fussy. So Deb, thanks for the thought but if you want to see my car look at the Nissan Micra next to the Aston, that’s mine :(. Have fun in Venice and see you soon.
IVANA – The Walk for the Cure program will indeed be on the Carnival Valor Ivana and thank you for showing an interest in this special cause. Thank you also for your lovely words of compassion for Brad and Chrissy. May I also say a big thank you for saying hello to all the Cunard cruisers who are now reading this, you are very kind to welcome them and I am sure they appreciate it very much. My best regards to you and the family.
THE BEARS, CARL AND BARB – No worries Carl and Barb, I was completely fooled by the e-mail about Mars as well. Reminds me of the time my friend Alan Adkins sent a Valentine’s Day card to me from a “mystery girl” that said she really liked me and to meet her outside a restaurant at 8 pm. I arrived and waited for 15 minutes but no girl, I then noticed another man standing outside the same restaurant and we got chatting as I waited. After a few minutes he told me he had received a Valentine’s card from a “mysterious man” and was there to meet him……..I said “Oh, that’s nice” and then pretended I had forgotten something in the car and ran away, very quickly……………turns out this “man “worked with Alan and he thought it would be nice if he hooked us up…………. what a complete B%$#^&*.
So, no worries and thank you for all you do for Heidi and I.
ADIAS.ANGEL – Thank you………..those were wonderful words.
BIG ED – It is interesting that Cunard’s e mail system sent the number of slaps sky high and I think Roberto and his colleagues are now looking at doing the same………..Roberto, is this correct? How are you mate. I was thinking of you yesterday as I was making sure the extra large sizes of the Walk for a Cure shirts were ordered. My best to you and Mrs. Big Ed, I hope she will be able to handle your fame, have you thought about hiring bodyguards, maybe some ex Navy Seals?
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – Please make sure you post your cabin number, if not remind me a few days before you sail mate. Glad you liked the scones; did you try the chicken curry? Food, glorious food………again.
HOLLIE M – I am truly happy to discover that you love the blog thingy so much and I was happy to make your supper club reservation for you. It sounds to me as though your recent Carnival cruise was one full of fun and adventure. Thank you mostly for mentioning the crew. It does seem that in all walks of life there are people who feel they have the divine right to treat people in the service industry with such disrespect. It is a very small minority but as you witnessed and as I see each and every week, it does happen. Thank you then for taking the time to praise a ship’s company whom I am very proud to work alongside. I hope you cruise again with us soon and until then please keep reading the blog thingy.
MEDCRUISER – I agree, having taken the tour to Lerici I know exactly why you think it is so smashing. We look forward to saying “welcome home” to you again soon.
JILLIAN – How nice of you to think of one of our crewmembers here on the Carnival Freedom. Ike is part of the Music Unlimited band here and of course I will be happy to send the jar of Zucchini relish for him. At the side of the blog thingy is my address so just send it to me and I will promise not to eat it before it gets to him. Thank you for reading the blog thingy and let me know if I can help further.
LISA AND ELAINE – And thank you for your kind words and congratulations on surviving as you did the N – Stage Breast cancer. I am sure your words of hope and joy will mean so much to Southern Dreams and everyone who knows someone who is or will be going through what you had to. Thank you for being such a special person.
TIMONEER – Thank you for supporting the On The Deck for the Cure program and we are all very excited to start this here on the Carnival Freedom. May I wish continued health and happiness to your lovely wife and I am sure she understands the importance of what this program is all about. I hope you continue to read the blog thingy and I send my best to you both.
SARGE CHARLIE – Charlie, please know that we are all thinking about your wife and we know that she will beat this and before long you will be sailing away with us again. Our continuing thoughts and prayers are with you.
GC – First of all I am sorry that my review of the Queen Victoria has resulted in your wife demanding a suite on said ship. Your Basil Fawlty comment was priceless and as you have booked so many cruises may I add one more “a satisfied customer …we should have you stuffed.” The Queen Victoria will I am sure provide you and Cybil with an unforgettable cruise and I also look forward to seeing you on the Carnival Splendor, after all, this is a cruise ship, not the Burma Railway 🙂 All the best and please keep sending me your favorite FT quotes.
DWA 76 – Once again David, it is so wonderful that you and so many people have taken their time to write messages of support to Chrissy and Brad and Southern Dreams. We did in fact hit 600,000 on Monday and I continue to be shocked as to the popularity of my daily offering of waffle. I am glad you are enjoying the photos of Heidi, you have no idea the vetting procedure that goes into what I am and am not allowed to slap onto the blog when it comes to her indoors ( Heidi )…………one false step, and that’s me in the dog house. We both send our best to you and everyone down in the land of the Ewing’s.

Now we move onto some comments and questions from the blog about the Carnival Imagination.

CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I looked up the word Chutzpah as you suggested and it does indeed describe the wonderful Mrs. M who shared our lunch table in Barcelona…………………I guess the word audacity does come into play. My concern Carol is that as of today, I have been hard at work for seven months with only one and a half days off the ship and one day I may just snap and someone will be wearing a Spanish Omelet as a hat!………………..hopefully, I will see that day coming long before and will take a vacation. George Solano was and still is a comedian and you probably do remember him as a fly on entertainer. I am so glad you enjoyed the story about John Horner who once home has promised to start reading the blog……..I told him there may be one or two comments about him. Thank Carol for another wonderful posting ……….have a great day and write soon please.
GREG BALDASARRI – And I was right, John, if you are reading this you touched a lot of hearts by having such a positive and fun outlook on life when you have the right to be mad at the world. Greg, thank you for your kind words and like you I was in awe of John and after the depressing afternoon I had with Mrs. at the Tapas bar. Hope we are going to see each other soon so I can thank you in person for your inspirational words. Cheers mate.
POET LAUREATE – I wish I had your skills, actually, I wish I had you with me when Mrs. M sat down, a quick burst of poetry and they would have been long gone. Its time to write a poem about Alan Adkins and his inability as a teen to have women find him attractive…………I commission another poem. You are the BEST……….keep them coming please.
DWA 76 – Good Afternoon to you as well. Thank you for saluting Mr. Horner. I hope you are correct and that the dollar will indeed become stronger, although I promise you wild horses could not drag me into Fatima’s den of despair. Let’s see what happens in Greece this week, we are taking a real careful look at the situation. Hope to hear from you soon and the best from us both.
RANDALL PONIK – First of all, I have met rude people from all over the world, not just America. In fact, I think I met Mrs. M’s British cousins this week. Mr. and Mrs. G had found much joy in telling me that I was not a “classy” Cruise Director as they had encountered on Cunard and Celebrity. Rudeness therefore is an international problem. Now, I want to say thank you for your comments that you found so much of what you enjoy about Holland America on your recent cruise on the Carnival Liberty. We are very proud at the Carnival family to have sisters as Holland America and Princess and yes, you are correct, Carnival certainly has helped upgrade some elements of their cruise experience. However, I do believe that Mrs. M is the sort of person who will be found on her next Holland America cruise complaining that the food, cabin, entertainment and everything else is better on Carnival. She will however not be saying that about the Cruise Director as I doubt I am on her Christmas Card List.
Thank you for the wonderful posting and wherever you cruise next, I wish you and Marta smooth seas and a brilliant vacation.
KATHY KROLL – Good luck with getting the business class fares which seemed to be, as you said, very high at the moment. I am sure if you were to board the Queen Victoria those many years of dancing would magically return and the magic that the Queens Room provides will have all eyes on you as you grace the dance floor once again. Great to hear from you as always and our best to Lee Paul.
KEVIN AND HEIDI AND BETH – Hello you three. Did you see the link thing I put above in this blog with all the tour descriptions about Progreso? The Mayan Ruins are excellent and I promise that you will also enjoy the Beach Buggy Tour of which I am very fond of. I have let Wee Jimmy know you are coming and except some Scottish hospitality………….which basically means, you are paying. Have fun you three.
NANATTE – Hello Nani. Sometimes yes, they do get me down, it’s OK on the ship but when you are trying to have lunch and people think that they can just interrupt you without care or consideration, well, sometimes that is hard to swallow. Next time you sail I will spoil you again. Mucho huggos for youo.
WINE WANDERER – I love you screen name. Let me answer your question about the May 9 call in Livorno. You asked if we are running the full Florence tours and indeed we are. Although the back on board time says 7 pm, we will of course not leave until all the tours return. So, Beautiful and Essence of Tuscany will run as normal. May I also inform you of the brilliant Wines of Tuscany Tour which judging by your screen name, you will truly enjoy.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – You are an inspiration to us all and if you want to bring your radiation machine with you, go right ahead. Have you seen the thoughts of everyone? If positive thinking is indeed helpful you have nothing to worry about and Heidi and I will see you soon.
LAUREN – The webcam should be working, please let me know if you are having problems still.
LINDA THE MOUSE – We haven’t typed your name in for a bit and I am very very very very excited that you have found some sugar-free products which you are sending me. This is really so very kind. It was indeed so sad to see Costa Maya and you, like so many people have such happy memories. Progreso is an excellent replacement port and I am sure everyone will enjoy their time there. It’s great to hear from you again and my best to you and all the other mice.
LV2CRUISE – The crew doesn’t speak English comment as spat by Mrs. M is actually one that I have heard every now and then and as you will remember from a previous blog, one particular guest from North Carolina was unsure of the language I was speaking. I have spoken to people who work for other lines and it seems that this comment is one that is not reserved just for Carnival Cruise Lines. However, the majority are like you, people who love to talk to the crew which in turn makes their day. Heidi and I say goodnight to you …………….in perfect English, well, mine is anyway…
KATHIE – What wonderful words and if laughter is a cure for Southern Dreams then I will give her as much medicine as I can each and every day. The loss of Costa Maya is a big blow to the Western Caribbean and we all hope that they will bounce back very soon. Thank you again for everything and for reading the blog as much as you do.
SHERIFF ROSCOE P. COLTRANE – Where have you been mate? I was getting worried about you. It was very funny to read that your cells are smaller than our smallest cabin. I wish you could have arrested Mrs. M on charges of ruining a good Spanish omelet and her husband has, I am sorry to say, probably had the right to remain silent most of his married life. I hope you are staying safe and we are all thinking about you.
CRUISINSUE – Heidi and I were sorry to read about your father. Please treasure every moment you have with him. We will see you in 38 days and I am sure you and your in laws will have so much fun. If you want to book a Supper Club you can either complete the form on the side of this blog thingy or just send me the day, time and how many people it is for and I will make the booking for you. Heidi sends her best back to you as do I.
MAURO MOSCARDINO – I did get your Supper Club reservations and they are confirmed. Each cruise I encounter thousands of guests and less than one percent are like Mrs. M. However, I am like they are moths to my flame. I seem to attract them all. I am often left wondering if they spend their entire lives like that. If so, I feel truly sorry for them. We will see you in October and until then, please enjoy the blog.
DONALD BORST – You asked about the Carnival Splendor’s Baltic Season in 2009. This has not been confirmed and as soon as anything is, I will keep you all informed via the blog. Thanks mate.
LINDA HERNACKI – Linda, as always, thank you for being by my side through the good times and the bad times of this blog thingy. Luckily, later that night I met John Horner and he reminded me how much I love my job. So, Mike has yet to see Paris Hilton. Maybe he should look by the bar…… Thank you again and we wish you continued fun and happiness.
SHARON TWEE – Just a quick note to say thank you for your kind words for Southern Dreams, I know she will really appreciate it.

I AM GOING TO STOP THERE

It is nearly time for my Welcome Aboard Talk. I will continue with a comment from Karen R tomorrow.

We have nearly covered the whole fleet with Cruise Director interviews and we just have three or four to go. Today, we feature the good ship Carnival Elation and my mate from Down Under….. Stuart Dunn.

Stuart Dunn

Stuart Dunn

Stuart Dunn

1. Please can you tell us about your career with Carnival so far? How did you start and when? In 2001 my career started in the spa as a fitness trainer onboard the Carnival Elation. I loved it as I had taught fitness and aerobics for many years and the guests would overcrowd my kickboxing classes and the fitness room turned into a sauna itself. Many of the guests were not regulars at the gym or at fitness classes, so I hope they caught the bug to exercise when they got home. I watched the Social Hosts interacting with guests on a much larger scale and from there I wanted to become a member of the entertainment team as Social Host. One thing leads to another and since 2004 I have been Cruise Director.

2. What ship are you currently on and what is its itinerary? Funnily enough 6 years later I am back onboard the Elation at the moment as Cruise Director. The itinerary is very exciting as it is brand new for a Carnival ship and sails out of San Diego, doing four & five-day cruises. From San Diego we visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada Mexico on a five-day voyage and Cabo San Lucas on a four-day.

3. Please can you pick two excursions from each port and tell us why you recommend them so much? My favorites in Cabo have to be the ATV’s on the beach. I love adventure sports and this is an opportunity to do something that you normally don’t have the chance to do. It’s fast, exciting and very safe. Many guests thank me for the suggestion as they have a great time. My other favorite is the Todos Santos Nature History & Arts tour. A town established on a desert oasis that has attracted many artists which have their works on display in one of the several galleries there. It is the most beautiful town that is authentic and has not been hit by the tourism boom. I certainly recommend that our guests discover the beauty of Todos Santos.

While in Ensenada the must see is the La Bufadora. A natural ocean blowhole that is absolutely spectacular. Ensenada is also one of the best wine producing regions of Mexico so the Wine Country tour is a must. I like wine.

4.What are your favorite activities or events that you host and why? One of the highlights onboard my ship’s is without a doubt the Deck Party on the open deck under the stars. It not only is a great chance for our guests to dance, it almost becomes an aerobic workout. It is crazy, high energy, very competitive and the closest thing that takes me back to my days as a fitness trainer. When we finish there are literally hundreds of people glowing with huge smiles. It certainly is one of the biggest events and highlights of the cruise.
My next favorite activity is horseracing. It attracts hundreds of people, is very loud and lots of fun for the whole family. The guests name the horses each cruise and almost always give me interesting names and phrases which I end up screaming down the microphone. Lately a returned favorite is “Hoof Hearted.” Thank you to the lady who always suggests that name each cruise.

5. Fill in the blank please……………..People should sail on the Elation because……………………………..??????????? People should sail on the Elation because of many reasons. Our team is driven to give our guests lots of high-energy fun. We have a wonderful itinerary, the friendliest team onboard, incredible live music and unexpected crazy antics always catching our guests off guard. They may even get the chance to meet the “1976 King of Rollerdisco, Roland Rollerderby”

6. What do you enjoy most about being a Cruise Director? The responsibility of giving our guests a great cruise vacation through our own creativity. I get to meet many of our guests early in the cruise and I see them again as they walk off the gangway when it’s all over, utterly exhausted, to me is very satisfying as I have kept them up and involved because they were afraid of missing something exciting. Also the fact that I have the chance to inspire someone to step out of their comfort zone and do something they normally wouldn’t do is really rewarding.

7. Share your favorite story with us that involve our guests and your job? During the Welcome Aboard Show a couple of years ago, I met a young gentleman named Barry. He told me, and the audience that he was a marine and just returned from Iraq. The crowd exploded with applause so I handed him the mic, dropped all the lights bar a spotlight on him and then the band played a song. He ran onto the stage and sang the song as best he could for the whole crowd without hesitation to the screams of the crowd of almost 1,400. Barry approached me the next day to thank me as he was actually traveling alone, for the next 7 days Barry was a star to all our guests and was always in a circle of new friends whenever I saw him around. At the end of the week he came to me, gave me a hug and said that he never expected such a moment would ever come to him. It was really cool.

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited? Cabo San Lucas for its beauty. Acapulco for its hustle and bustle which I sometimes enjoy and Belize for its reefs and jungle.

9. Name 3 ports you would really like to see that you have never been to? Three ports that I would like to go would be any port I have never been to before. Europe, Hawaii and Alaskan ports are certainly on top of my list.

10. Finally, if you could introduce on stage any star, alive or not who would it be and why? Actually there would be two people. Australia’s Paul Hogan from the Crocodile Dundee movies. He had his own show back in the 80’s and it was hysterical. It was very Australian, very original and very politically incorrect.

The other would be a star I mentioned earlier, Roland Rollerderby. He ruled the roller disco scene back in 1976. He produced and starred in his own range of fitness betamax cassettes, and was the author of the best seller “How to maintain the 46 inch waist.” He still rollerskates, still wears the tight gold spandex suit and still has the ladies envious of his oversized shapely buttocks. He sometimes makes an appearance when I take the “night off” however, like Superman and Clark Kent, we never seem to be seen together in the same place at the same time…….

Thank you Stuart and congratulations on finding your niche in life. Both Stuart and I have lots in common including both being fitness fanatics.

Off to my welcome aboard talk………………………..back soon

OK, I am back.

Well you can tell the difference in the crowd already. The families have gone and we have a slightly older crowd now and very few children…………….it is amazing the difference in just one cruise. As expected everyone seemed concerned about the fires in Greece but the letter we printed really helped and I also reemphasized to the 1,500 people in the lounge that we would never put our guests in harms way……………..everyone applauded.

I have one regret from last cruise and that can be said for virtually every cruise and that is I just do not have the time to spend quality minutes with the bloggers who are cruising. This last week the wonderful Rosenberg family, Shelly P, Essexman and Sewing Nut all asked me to dinner and for tea ……………..I did not have the time and I hope they will forgive me. In a way, that is why I am so looking forward to the Bloggers Cruise where another CD will handle the day-to-day running of the ship leaving me unlimited time to meet, great and enjoy new friendships with bloggers

Oh yes, I nearly managed a whole cruise without being in the doghouse until last night. I had decided to take a bath (please do not visualize that one otherwise you will need immediate medical help) and had picked up one of Heidi’s gossip magazines. So there I am, sitting ………..well……………wedged in the bath when I came across a photo of Catherine Zeta Jones and boy…..did she look stunning. As I lay there my body emerged in the water …………. Well ……….some of it anyway……….I started thinking that CZJ really would make a wonderful Godmother especially as Angelina is out of the picture. I tried to sit up in the bath and as I did so I dropped the magazine in the bath………..it was soaking wet and ruined………….oh well I thought it is only a magazine.

WRONG………………I shouted to Heidi to come and get it and when she saw what I had done……..well………you would have thought I had been found sneaking out of CZJ’s bedroom at 3 am wearing only a smile……………Heidi was upset, something about wanting to read an article about someone famous woman and a new bag or a Spice Girl had a new show or something……….I tried to say that me dropping Hello! Weekly in the water was no big thing but that just mad things worse. …………………all is well now and I have replaced the magazine with something called OK! Magazine and Heidi can once again relax and read about who is doing what to whom and why and what they are wearing why they are doing it

Talking of baths

So, another cruise begins and it is strange to think we only have five left before our trans-Atlantic crossing. I do not think I will disembark the ship this week in Istanbul. I have a nasty feeling that Fatima will have read my blog and will be waiting for me with an extra long piece of tubing and a cold bucket of water ready to evacuate my Grand Bazaar………….I am staying onboard, locking the door.

I hope you enjoyed both of today’s blogs.

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.