Good Morning.
There are certain measures of time that feel like yesterday and one of those has a 10 year anniversary today. I remember walking on stage to conduct my travel talk for Grand Cayman and Jamaica on the Carnival Destiny and told the guests that Princess Diana had been tragically killed in a car crash. I was very upset myself being a staunch royalist but it was only after I saw hundreds of American and Canadian guests openly weeping that I realized how universal the love and respect for her truly was. That was ten years ago today……………….it really does feel like yesterday that the People’s Princess left us.So, it’s the busy one, the first sea day with talks, shows, activities, parties and hopefully chance to finish this blog thingy.

I have received some fantastic gifts from Bloggers in the past few months but none more unusual than this. Here is a photo of me holding a letter opener made from………….ummmmmmmmmm………….a Kangaroo’s ……ummmmmmm Scrotum

I have received some fantastic gifts from Bloggers in the past few months but none more unusual than this. Here is a photo of me holding a letter opener made from………….ummmmmmmmmm………….a Kangaroo’s ……ummmmmmm Scrotum

Who needs and Aston Martin when you have a letter opener with a Kangaroos private parts on the top. My sincere thanks to Brad and Debbie Rowe, Bloggers from Australia for the fantastic gift. I am not sure if I should be happy or not……….still………it could be worse…………I could have been the Kangaroo.

I have just returned from my travel talk and the audience breathed a sigh of relief when they heard that indeed we would be going as planned to the Greek ports. I am wondering though how the mood of the locals will be having seen the nightmare some of them have just lived through, Hopefully the sight of 3,000 tourists injecting cash into the system will cheer them up a bit however I am sure for many these last few days will have left a dark cloud over them for a long time to come.

The sun is shining and the guests are having fun and relaxing. As I mentioned yesterday it is remarkable how the demographics can change from one cruise to another and this week we have a much older crowd onboard and therefore I need to adjust some of the activities accordingly.

I will also need to have the DJ’s play rather more 70’s, 80’s music, etc rather than the hop and hip music they will have been featuring the last few cruises.

Oh yes, and I got my first complaint this cruise and unfortunately it is an old favorite and its that we do not have a Rabbi onboard and today is of course the Sabbath for our friends of the Jewish faith.

I met with Mrs. Persky after my travel talk as she had mentioned how upset she was at the Q and A and explained that we would be happy to provide a lounge and materials for a service but unfortunately we did not have a Rabbi onboard. I suggested that I make an announcement to see if other members of the Jewish faith would like to meet but I am sorry to say that this in no way appeased Mrs. Persky. The reason I am writing this is that she said that she had cruised five times on Princess and celebrity and that they had a live on Rabbi…………is that true? ………….Don’t get me wrong, I am not doubting her but I wonder how that is organized……..I am going to check this out and of course I know without a doubt come Sunday I will receive the same comments from guests of the Christian faith…………….maybe we have to do better with this…………any thoughts?

I met a lovely gentleman this evening at the Captain’s Cocktail Party who had some concerns about his son who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. We chatted about what tours he could and could not do. During our conversation he told me his son who is 19 years of age was studying at a place called MIT which I guess is a big university. The reason I am telling you this is because despite having M.S. he is at this university on a full scholarship from NASA………….I have never met a prouder father.

Right, here are some photos of food showing off the Pizzeria.

Pizzeria.

Pizzeria.

I also thought I would wet your appetite for the Carnival Splendor now and then so here are some photos from Heidi’s collection of the Church Of The Spilled Blood in St.Petersburg.

Church Of The Spilled Blood in St.Petersburg

Church Of The Spilled Blood in St.Petersburg

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

Time for some Q and A today featuring the blog about Commodore Warner of the Queen Mary 2.

Here we go.

KATHY KROLL AND PAUL – Yes, what a way to go. Tommy Cooper died on stage and although I certainly don’t want to wish my time away it wouldn’t be a bad thing to go to the big theatre in the sky that way ……..not ready yet though. You mentioned the Royal Yacht Britannia which was used for many years to sail the Royal Family around during their foreign visits. It was also used for Prince Charles and Lady Diana for their honeymoon but as time went on it was decommissioned and is now available for private rental as a banqueting center etc. She is currently moored in Scotland. That’s all from the History Channel and my best to you both.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – You are correct, Commodore Warner is obviously a true gentlemen of the ocean and you can see the pride he has in the title he holds and the rich traditions that come with it.I am not sure if hearing me sing is such a good idea although maybe one day soon I will indeed place an audio file thingy on the blog thingy………you may regret your wish. I did receive your e mail about your neighbor and I will be replying soon and hope you will pass on my thoughts as to why she should try Carnival Cruise Lines. Thanks Carol and all the best to you, have a great weekend.
LAUREN – I heard that AJ was at the Venetian Film Festival but unfortunately we are on our Greece/Turkey cruise this week. Anyway, she has broken my heart and once I have superglue it together I am going to see if Catherine Zeta Jones will consider the chance to be a cruise ship Godmother. All the best Lauren…….and secretly, I still dream for AJ.
BIG ED – Hello mate. I agree, a cruise on Cunard would be a one of a kind experience and I am glad you enjoyed the interview. Preparations are moving along for the Bloggers Cruise and I hope soon to have more information about your specific roll as Assistant to the Cruise Director. Nearer the time I will need your cabin number as I want to make sure you and Alan Adkins have connecting doors. Hope you and Mrs. Big Ed are doing well and see you in a few months mate.
DWA76 – Yes David, how right you are. Commodore Warner did indeed follow his dreams and here he is now commanding one of the most famous cruise ships in the world. Now, as for cricket gaining popularity, I think you have problems with soccer without trying to enjoy the complexities of cricket. On the other hand American sports are now massively popular in the UK, especially the NBA and the NFL. I love the Cowboys……their cheerleaders are HOT !………….don’t know anything about the game but cricket would be much more fun with those beauties jumping up and down every time a run is scored ………………….maybe not. Thank mate as always for your constant support of the blog thingy and have a wonderful weekend.
KERSPLOT – Thank you for saying Bravo……..you are too kind.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – I am keeping my ear to the ground as is PA 007 as to any news on the rebuilding of Costa Maya. I will let you know of course if I hear anything at all. We continue to think about them. It will soon be time for your Fantasy cruise; do you have a cabin number yet? Hope you enjoyed the photos of the Pizza ……cheers.
GREG BALSASARRI – Thank you sir for your smashing comments about the interview with Commodore Warner and like you I found him simply fascinating. She is indeed a ship of immense power and I think once the Queen Elizabeth 2 retires, Queen Mary 2 may become the most famous ship in the world……………..although Victoria may have something to say about that. Thank you again and Heidi and I and me (covering all the bases now) send you our best regards.
MICHELLE MANN – Hello Thorpe Bay (my hometown) and welcome home after your Carnival Freedom cruise. I am glad your folks are OK and I truly wish there was something else I could have done after they lost their travel wallet and money. I did indeed get the information you sent and I will be in touch. Hope things are well at home and if you finish with the property pages of the yellow Advertiser can you send them out to me? All the best and have a cup of tea for me.
GREG AND CINDY COURINGTON – I am not sure as to why the champagne gondola tour has been canceled. Let me check and I will see what is up and if it is indeed canceled then yes, I really think an evening Gondola ride would be something that you really should consider. Leave this with me and I will get back to you. All the best until then and see you soon.
JOKO JOAN – Thank you for writing in especially as you are packing for your Carnival Legend cruise. The ship has Wi Fi so you should have no problem using your laptop and staying in touch with the world of blog. As I mentioned in yesterdays blog thingy the group that allegedly caused some concerns on the Carnival Liberty is being investigated by Carnival Cruise Lines as we speak. There is indeed a strict rules of conduct that we enforce and I know this was the case on this cruise. If and when I here anything at all I will let you all know. For now though I want to wish you and the Cruise Critic friends a wonderful cruise and please let us all know how it is going. Have Fun.
JOYCE – Thanks for the web link and yes I knew of this big celebration in Rome on September 8. Please be careful of the dreaded pickpocket if you attend. Please can you remind me on the day you board about the meet and greet and I will place an ad in the daily Capers. Have a safe flight and looking forward to meeting you soon.
BIG ED – Black mate, the Aston needs to be black and then its me and you driving down sunset strip or Southend Seafront. Thank again and maybe, just maybe one day she will be mine.Yep, I did see that I was on the front page of Carnival Corporation web thingy and all I can say is …..wow……..what an honour to be on the page of the World’s Leading Cruise Lines……..next stop GQ magazine.
LANCE AND ILDA – Thank you both for such kind words. I was so honoured to interview Commodore Warner and one day I hope to visit the magnificent Queen Mary 2. Tommy Cooper was indeed one funny man and if his shows are available on DVD I agree, it would be great to play one on the Bloggers cruise. My all time favorite though is John Cleese …….oh what I would give to interview him. Thank you both again and if the blog gets to number 1 again that will be wonderful but as long as I have people reading it then that’s the most important thing. My best regards.
BRYAN – You asked Bryan about the cricket score you saw. Well, the first score is the number of runs between the wickets, in this case 294 and then the number of wickets or people out will be anywhere from 0 – 9. There are 11 minute who are at bat and once the 10th man is out the innings is over and the other side then goes into bat. Sometimes you can get caught in the slips …..which is quite painful or get out to a bouncer, a Yorker and the dreaded full toss………..have I lost you yet? The best thing to do is that we all play cricket on the beach in Jamaica on the bloggers cruise and we can all bowl over at Big Ed and see if we can catch him out with a crafty googlie. Hope that helps mate. Cheers.
SCOTT – Hello Scott and thank you for letting me know you are home safe and sound. How wonderful that your honeymoon cruise was so enjoyable and I truly hope you will come and see us again to celebrate further anniversaries. Heidi and I (or Heidi and me) wish you many happy and healthy years together and it was great to celebrate with you the beginning of your married life together. Please keep reading the blog thingy and my best to Colleen.
SUZANNE217 – Ahhhhhh, yes the famous TA cruise last year on the Carnival Liberty. I have terrible memories of that cruise and felt so very bad for those who caught the 24-hour sickness bug. I especially feel sorry for me……I tried in vain to continue to work but it was hard to be happy and cheerful when you are praying 20 times a day to the porcelain God. I am sorry that you had to live through that but the sad thing was the cruise started of so well and the group of guests was bonding so fantastically. Hopefully, this problem won’t raise its ugly head again. I hope you win the lottery and you can cruise as much as you want….hopefully with me.
JILL C – I also remember the night Tommy Cooper died. I watched it in my parent’s living room and like millions of others I to thought his collapse was part of one of his zany show endings………..it wasn’t ………..it was a sad night. Here is another one of my favorite Tommy quotes. Thanks for sharing the memories.
Two aerials meet on a roof – fall in love – get married. The ceremony was rubbish but the reception was brilliant.
LISA AND ELAINE – I promise!
GEORGE AND LINDA – I am so glad you liked the interview with Commodore Warner, he is a true gentleman. You asked a very interesting question about President Putin and the Russian people not liking the USA. Well, I know the relationship is a bit strained at the moment but I can tell you that Russia knows which side its bread is buttered and I am sure that the huffing and puffing that is going on at the moment is just a storm in a tea cup. Russia is a safe and pleasant land to explore and cruise ships make regular calls to St.Petersburg and I for one cannot wait to go there again. I hope you enjoyed the photos above of the Church of the Spilled Blood and occasionally I will delve into Heidi’s photo album for some more. Thank you for thinking about me and the Aston Martin. I actually am thinking about renting one for a few days when I am home…www.prestigecarhire.co.uk……………..we shall see……………it certainly would be a treat. So far this cruise is going really well and the fires in Greece are out. Hope George is well and we shall see you on the Carnival Splendor for our brilliant cruise to the Baltic.
CANUCK CRUISER – Hello and I am sorry I omitted to answer your last posting that you slapped on. As I mentioned above the reports of this group who allegedly caused some concerns with loud and rude behavior are being investigated. The rules of guest behavior are very strict and the Ship’s Command will enforce them at all times. I have been sailing for 20 years and I can tell you that I have never seen anything like the behavior that was described in the Cruise Critic posting. Now, I am not saying that what the passenger wrote was wrong but I can tell you that sometimes, these situations can be exaggerated somewhat and most importantly if any of the behavior that was described in the posting actually happened; I assure you that the Ship’s Command would have acted accordingly. Anyway, I am sure you understand that as I was not onboard it is hard to comment but as and when anything further occurs on this subject I will let you know. Finally, as you seem concerned may I stress that at no time would the company or the Ships Command and crew jeopardize the safety of the guests………never. Hope this answers your question and if you need anything else please let me know.
LFTTNSFCF – It is strange that you mentioned the Northwest Passage in your blog as I just finished reading an article in the Times Newspaper about how global warming has made passage through this once tedious area much easier. I can understand your fascination with people like Hornblower and Frobisher, they would indeed make great dinner companions…………as will you on the TA cruise where hopefully we will find time to talk about our various passions, everything nautical, cigars and Angelina Jolie. Cheers mate.
KEVIN – I am not sure that I would ever be the right choice as a CD for Cunard. They already have the best Cruise Director in the world in Ray Rouse and hopefully I will get to interview Ray in a forthcoming blog. He is currently serving on the Queen Mary 2 and is right at the top of the profession. Kevin, expect a phone call from someone soon and hopefully by now you will have seen the latest Heidi blog. Cheers mate and as always thank you for the kind words.
BEYONDSHIPS – What a wonderful interview you had with Commodore Warner and thank you so much for allowing us all to share in it. You are obviously a very talented writer and I am humbled that you have taken the time to read my blog thingy and I hope that now and then you may stop by for a chat.
LINDSEY B – Just do what you just did Lindsey, slap on a posting and if you don’t want it posted mark it as PRIVATE and Roberto will act as Postman Pat and send it to me. Hope to hear from you soon.
DON AND LAURA – Welcome back from Japan, I hope you had a great time. You asked about the Supper Clubs and if it is worth missing one night in the dining room………….simple answer yes……..At least once, you have to take Laura to this most elegant dining area and enjoy the romance of a dinner for two. Enjoy a menu that would cost triple or more ashore and here it will be just 430 per person. The service is incomparable and the ambiance will enhance your cruise ten fold ………..it really is “unmissable”………..I promise. Let me know if you need more persuading and sayonara until then.
MAURO MOSCARDINO – I will keep blogging mate, I hope you will keep reading.
MICHAEL – Welcome to the blog thingy mate. Now, you mentioned James Cook and then put an (e) as so……….did I put an E on the end of his name? If I did, that’s wrong as it is James Cook………….sorry if I messed up. I hope you are enjoying catching up on all the blogs and there will be lots of fun and information on the way so I hope you will stay with us mate. All the best.
THE BEARS, CARL AND BARB – Congratulations on the arrival of your new cub Corbin. We all wish him health, happiness and I am sure with Grandparents like you he will be the happiest cub in the forest. Hopefully, he will enjoy his first cruise very soon. Congratulations again from Heidi and I and me and Heidi.
SEWINGNUT – I wanted to finish the Q and A with you as I didn’t get chance to say goodbye last week. The decorations you sewed were just wonderful and I will treasure them always. My only regret is that time never allowed us to spend quality time together for which I am truly sorry. I did post your son’s picture on the blog and I will send you the link ASAP…his drawing was precious by the way and I hope next time you can bring him with you……..I hope he enjoyed his trophy and photo. We miss you her and we both send our best to you and the family. That is all the time I have (it is 1:08am)……………the clocks go forward to night as well…………….bugger.

OK< then lets push on with today’s guest interview. I had the pleasure of interviewing Commodore Warner and now it is the turn of our Captain here on the Carnival Freedom who has been involved with Carnival Freedom during her construction. Here then is Captain Orazio D’Aita

Captain Orazio D’Aita

1. Captain, please can you tell us about your life at sea from your schooldays to your current position and how you rose through the ranks at Carnival.

Since I was a kid I always dreamed to be a sailor. As matter of fact I was always drawing boats and ships. I was born and I live (when not on board) in a fisherman and sailor town named Riposto in Sicily where there is the 2nd oldest Nautical Academy in Italy named I.T.N. Luigi Rizzo; as soon as I completed the middle school I subscribed to be admitted to the Nautical Academy where I graduated in 1982.After I joined the Italian Navy, attending firstly 6 months training course in Naval Academy in Livorno where I aquatinted the rank of Lieutenant navigator the I served my country as a Navy Officer until 1984. After I retired from Navy I joined Merchant Marine vessels (tankers) with the Rank of 3rd Officer until Nov, 5 1985 when I Joined CCL with the rank of Deck Cadet the T.S.S. Carnivale, since then I have been escalating all my ranks on Carnival Ships and I was appointed to the position of Captain on January 2000. Since that date I have been commanding all Carnival’s class of vessels.

2 Today’s Cruise Ship Captains are very different not just because of the modern equipment but the huge amount of rules and safety regulations that are all your responsibility. Can you describe a typical day in the life of the Carnival’ Freedom’s Captain

When you say “responsibility” you basically describe Captain’s Job in its entirety. However day to day activity is always demanding and challenging since from the morning to the evening (including nights) the Captain is involved directly or indirectly to the ship’s management. The typical day could start at 2:30 a.m. (Civitavecchia’s arrival) and it continues up to the moment when I go to rest, during an uneventful day I follow up Safety, Health, Environmental, Navigation, Technical, and Budgeting, Organizational, Crew and Guests issues. I also have like all Management on board a daily direct communication with Main Office through the e-mail system.

3. You have been associated with this ship during the construction. What role does a Captain play during this time?
During the construction of a new ship the Captain follows up all standards of New Building according to the signed and agreed “Specifications” between the Owner and the Builder. In addition the Captain is responsible to ensure that all the assigned Crew is well familiarized with the new vessel, all Owners’ supplies once received must be stored and taken in custody in warehouses and then taken on board prior ship’s delivery. The Captain is also the link between the Owner and the yard Management and a lot of meeting are attended prior any decision or any modification is made. The Captain and its Officers provide to the Yard suggestions for improvements or modification to meet the established quality/standards (named outstanding reports).

4. What happens during the ship’s first Sea Trials? Can you explain some of the testes the ship is put through
During the first Seatrials all ship’s equipments and machineries are tested and must meet what is stated in the “Technical Specifications.” It is a vital stage of the ship since from this trials is determined if Owner/Operators expectations are met. Some of the tests are: Speed trial (verification of the maximum speed that the vessel will be able to reach), Engines endurance (running at certain rpm and engine load for an extended time) or crash stop test (verifying in what distance and time the ship would stop reversing the engines while at full speed), etc.

5. Does sailing in Europe have any challenges for you as Captain that may not be the case in the Caribbean
Some European ports have indeed more traffic and are more challenging than Caribbean (Athens as an example). However a Captain must be capable to face any condition or challenge that this profession imposes. I love this job because it is never boring.

6. It must be a very proud moment every time we sail into Messina and the island of Sicily. How proud are you to dock this huge ship on the island where you were born.

As said previously this has been always my dream, to become a Captain and sail my ship into my homeland ports and I am thank Carnival Cruise Lines for making my dream come true!

7. What is your favorite port apart from Messina of course on the Grand Med itinerary and the Greece/Turkey cruise as well and why are they so.

One of the ports that I like the most in this itinerary are: Istanbul, Rhodes and Barcelona. The first because it is considered the cradle of the culture and because it represents the last passage to the Orient. The second one because historically has a lot to offer, with many attractions to be visited. And the third one because it represents the proud of Spanish country and it is also a city of culture so similar but at the mean time so different to all other Spanish cities with its own native language (The Catalan) totally different from the mother language (Castillano).

8. What has been your favorite moment so far in your career?
When I was promoted Captain and of course when I was appointed to be the Captain of this magnificent ship.

NOTE: Here is Captain with (left to right) Carnival’s retiring president and CEO Bob Dickinson, the ship’s Godmother Kathy Ireland and Carnival Corporation Chairman Mr. Micky Arison

Here is Captain with (left to right) Carnival’s retiring president and CEO Bob Dickinson, the ship’s Godmother Kathy Ireland and Carnival Corporation Chairman Mr. Micky Arison
9. When you are on vacation, what do you do to relax
In summer time I go often fishing, in winter time I love to go to ski and I also like to take care of my home gardens.

10. Finally, if there was one port in the world you could sail this ship into that carnival has never been to………where would you take us and why

I would sail this ship to Buenos Aires (Argentina) because it is a marvelous city in a very beautiful and natural country (lot to see and to do) where many different cultures (European and South American) merges and creates a very friendly and happy peoples such as the Argentineans.

Thank you Captain for the wonderful interview. I have known Captain D’Aita for many years and watched him grow through the ranks and I am very proud to work alongside him here on the Carnival Freedom.

I was mentioning to a blogger just now about safety onboard and that this has and always will be the priority of this corporation. It does not matter if it is the Queen Mary or the Carnival Freedom, there is nothing more important.

Sometimes, it is easy to forget that you are on a ship and not in a hotel and although service, fine food, great entertainment and indeed fun are so important to the guests experience the most important person onboard is the Captain for it is they who will ultimately be responsible for all of us and all of you.

In Captain D’Aita and Commodore Warner we have met two shining examples of the people who as we are having fun and enjoying everything that a cruise offers, are on the bridge making sure we are all safe and sound and for that I am sure you will all join me in saying …………..thank you.

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.