Good Morning from Istanbul………..and its two pieces of bad news I start off with today. I have to show you the latest photos from Costa Maya which shows you just how a hurricane can change the fortune of a whole town. Here are photos taken by our Carnival team who went to investigate and see what they can do to help. It makes for sad viewing.Costa Maya

Costa Maya

Costa Maya

Costa Maya

It is clear from these photos that it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to get this wonderful town by the sea back to its former glory.

That was Hurricane Dean, now we have Hurricane Felix which seems to be on a similar path of destruction.

Hurricane Felix

This has meant at the time of writing that Carnival Cruise Lines have changed the following vessels itinerary
Carnival Imagination September 1 departure – The ship will visit Cozumel, Mexico and Freeport, The Bahamas.
Carnival Liberty September 1 departure – The ship will visit Cozumel, Mexico; Nassau, The Bahamas and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos.

Carnival Legend September 2 departure – The ship will visit Key West; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.

Carnival Valor September 2 departure – The ship will visit Nassau, the Bahamas; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos and Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Carnival Pride September 2 departure – The ship will visit Catalina; San Diego and Ensenada.
We are closely monitoring the progress of these tropical weather systems and the following ships will sail their scheduled itineraries. However, please understand that there is a chance that we may need to modify our itineraries or change the sequence of the ports of call. We will continue to monitor the storm and provide you with additional information as required.

Carnival Conquest September 2 departure – The ship will visit Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman and Cozumel as scheduled.

Carnival Elation September 3 departure – The ship will visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada.

Once again my friends in Miami along with each ship’s Captain are hard at work to make sure that the ship and its guests are safe and able to enjoy a wonderful cruise vacation.

As always, we think of the people who may be in harms way on land.

Sorry to start you off on such a bad note……………let me tell you something that made me laugh today and hopefully will you as well…..that is coming up later.

For now, here are today’s photos.

1. Heidi waving from the top of the vessel.

1. Heidi waving from the top of the vessel.

2. Off to Ephesus with photos taken by one of our dancers Ian, starting with the Great Library

2. Off to Ephesus with photos taken by one of our dancers Ian, starting with the Great Library

3. The Ampitheatre (that’s Ian at the Top)

3. The Ampitheatre (that’s Ian at the Top)

4. The original entrance to the bath house.

4. The original entrance to the bath house.

5. The guests of the Carnival Freedom enjoy the sights.

5. The guests of the Carnival Freedom enjoy the sights.

Here’s the “In Your Own Words” section for today

In Your Own Words

In Your Own Words

In Your Own Words

In Your Own Words

Here are today’s questions, starting with the last few from the blog about the Carnival Victory and then the ones from the Captain’s Blog.

JIMNI – Here is Heidi…….”I am glad you enjoyed my last blog, thank you for being so nice to us both. I will give my mum a big hug when she gets here and in my mind I know it’s from you.” John again…..and I just wanted to say thank you for all your beautiful words for Southern Dreams and Barb the Bear. I am sure they will receive strength from what you said. Thank you again and Heidi and I (or is it Heidi and me) send our kindest regards to you and your family.
LINDA HERNACKI – Here is Heidi ………….”Thank you Linda, it was really nice of you to say that you enjoyed the blog. At this time, both John and I have no idea what will happen after the crossing, we just have to see how John and I feel, I just don’t want to jeopardize his health. He will not admit it, but he is very tired. All the best and thank you again for being such a great friend.”
MARY BUSHNELL – You are correct Mary and thank you for showing Angela where I posted her very funny song. It would be wonderful if you and your husband could join us on the bloggers cruise and maybe, if he needs some gentle persuading I can help. One thing is for sure, it will be a fantastic vacation for your both. Please come.
PATRICK RANALLI – Yes I do speak perfect Italian……..not. Thank you for telling Heidi how much you enjoyed her blog. Yes, the jelly bean story goes way back, so if you have time start reading the blogs from the end of July to find out what it is all about. My jetpack is fully fuelled and I have plenty in reserve, however, I desperately need more so I can take some home for my Dad to eat with me and have our usual Christmas contest. Thanks Patrick, it’s great to hear from you and we will see you soon.
VICKI – Thank you, I really enjoy writing blogs when John gives me time at the computer so hopefully there will be another one from me soon. Until then, I send you a big hello!
MARIJ VAN DINTER – Hallo Marij. Bedankt voor de lieve woorden. Het lijkt al weer eeuwen geleden dat jullie hier aan boord waren. Een andere tante komt waarschijnlijk mee, want m’n tante Aartje is nog niet 100% fit, dus die komt volgend jaar weer, op de Splendor. Dan kan ze gewoon in Amsterdam aan boord komen en hoeft niet te vliegen. Hoop dat met jullie alles naar wens gaat. Houdoe he!
JO MYERLY – Jo, it was wonderful to have you on stage and there will be a bloggers get together as there are so many of you on this cruise.
BRIAN PADAN 77 – Thank you for the wonderful words about my wife, you are correct, she is one of a kind. Especially with that one look that can promote me to the doghouse within seconds.
CATMAMA 044 – Thank you catmama, it was really nice that you enjoyed my blog. It did take me a bit of time to get used to my life being an open book but I am now glad that I have made so many new cyberspace friends just like you. All the best.
JOAN CHRISTIAN – Joan, I am so sorry, but we don’t keep master copies of each cruise on video past one month. Therefore, I cannot give you a copy of the July 12 shows. I wish I could turn the clock back and help you out but unfortunately I can’t. However, hearing you say how fantastic your cruise was has certainly made me very happy, so thank you so much for that. Until the next time, all the best.

We now start with comments and questions from the Captain’s Blog blog-thingy.

KEVIN – Thank you Kevin, however, I found my jellybeans which Heidi had hidden in a place she thought I would never go. ……the laundry basket. However, I called my friend PA 007 and they suggested to look in the places where I never go and they suggested for me to look in the laundry basket. PA 007 was right again. Thank you for the wonderful story from your University days and I hope you have slapped this story on your blog which by the way, you should be very proud of. Hope things are well with you and this week I should have some good news.
HEIDI HYMAN – Hello. Heidi and I (my Heidi, not you Heidi) got your posting about the problems you had with the purchase from the Murano glass factory in Venice. I have spoken to the representative of the PPI group on board. PPI is our partner who looks after our shopping programs fleet wide.
Please contact:
Customer Service line: 1 888 774 4768 or 954 377 7777
E-mail: CCLservice@ppigroup.com
We have made them aware of your concerns and they are expecting your call. Please let us know if you have any further problems.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I am excited to know that you are trying my mum’s chicken curry recipe. Don’t make it too spicy unless your bathroom is close to your kitchen. Malcolm, like all the Cruise Directors, was promoted through the ranks and he is part of the new young generation of Cruise Directors. Didn’t get much rest over the weekend, in fact, I think I have managed a blog every day last week, which is unusual. All the best Carol, hope you have a great Labor Day weekend.
FRANK AND PAULA BONZEN – Thank you for your question and the simple answer is, smart casual. This means no jeans, no tank tops, shirts with collar. Most men do wear a jacket. Hope this helps and I know you will enjoy your evening at the Supper Club.
BIG ED – Thank you for calling my wife a saint, although, there are a few days each month when that definitely not apply. You seem to think that Mr. Micky Arison reads my blog. I am not quite sure why you think that, but it would be nice to think that he has had a glance at it now and then. You suggested that we are best friends; I certainly have the utmost respect for a man who has done more for the industry and continues to do so. If we were friends I would ask him for a seat closer to the action at a Miami Heat basketball game and I would invite him to join me for a big bowl of Spotted Dick. Maybe one day, both these wishes will come true. Not long now and you and I will be stuck in the same booth together.
CAPTAIN CHUCK – What a fantastic description of your day in Juneau. The float plane trip over the glaciers sounds outstanding and you have wetted our appetite to try this ourselves. Thank you for the recommendation of this wonderful Carnival shore excursion. Please keep the postings coming, it makes wonderful reading. Thank you also for your kind words for Brad and Chrissy and our best to your dad.
ADIAS.ANGEL – Beautiful words from a beautiful lady. Thank you Carla.
MRS. MTSFP – Heidi and I just wanted to say thank you for your postings on both our blogs and we are so excited to finally meet you and your extra medium husband.
ANTHONY LANG – Thank you mate. Kind words and so much appreciated I am sure by Southern Dreams and Barb the Bear. Thank you for being so special.
GREG BALDASARRI – I am glad you enjoyed Heidi’s blog. She has become quite a talented writer and now sits in the computer and opens her heart for all the see. I am very proud of her. Thank you also for your sympathetic words for Chrissy and Brad they have been in all our thoughts these last few days. Thanks mate.
THE KOOPMANS – Welcome back and how fantastic that you enjoyed your first cruise so very much. It was great weather and your compliments about the shows have been passed to the cast. I look forward to seeing you next time on the Carnival Splendor. Welcome home.
NANETTE – Hello Nanni. Thank you for reminding us all that laughter is indeed a wonderful medicine. I hope to try and provide some more as the blogs continue. Thank you Nanni and a big hug from Heidi and I.
LINDA THE MOUSE – Heidi just told me that there was a comment on her blog that you had send me some more jellybeans. There is now mixed emotion in the cabin. I hope you enjoy the homecoming of the DM we will be home ourselves before too long. Thank you Linda, you are a true friend.
THE VEROTTINGS FROM OHIO – Thank you again. Here is another blogger who has taken their time to post their wishes of health and happiness to Barb the Bear and Southern Dreams. We thank you so very much.
CATHERINE EBERT – One of the greatest things I’ve read recently was when Chrissy and Brad mentioned that through all their sadness the thoughts of what happened in the Bedtime Story brought a smile to their face, if just for a moment. Thank you for mentioning the people of Greece as well. I hope that they move on from what was a terrible tragedy. We will see you in three weeks and hopefully we will find something as good as the canoli.
LISA AND ELAINE – Congratulations on getting your bloggers shirts. It will be fun for you to wear them in 140 days time. I saw Jo and Dave Myerly wearing theirs today and it was the first time I have actually seen anyone wear them except Heidi and it felt quite strange but I was very proud. You also asked as there will be another Cruise Director on the bloggers cruise if I will be welcoming people on board. I am not sure but there definitely will be a welcome aboard party for all the bloggers and I am very excited as this special cruise comes together.
JOSEPH MANLICHT – I have no idea at this moment if there will be Carnival ships in Europe in 2009. My super spy PA 007 is on the case and will let us all know ASAP. It would not surprise me if the answer is yes because certainly from my point of few, our European seasons have been so very successful. Hope to hear from you again very soon.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO – I am sorry, I never got to meet your dad but I am sure he is laughing somewhere with us about my poor Italian. You are correct in your assumption that Malcolm in the Middle is indeed an excitable and enthusiastic young man who truly loves his job. Here is Heidi. “Hello Sir, thank you for your lovely words to me after writing my blog. It’s so nice to read your comments every time.” John and I send you all our best.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – OK, after immense pressure I have agreed that Thursdays will be Jelly Bean Free Days. How are you feeling today? I hope you continue to keep a smile on your face and I hope you know we are all thinking about you. Best to Prince Charlie.
LV2CRUISE – I am glad the blog makes you smile, which makes me smile.
SANDRA AND BILL GAF – The photos are very much a favorite for most people of each blog and I hope I don’t run out of ideas. Today’s are very beautiful, especially the ones of Ephesus and I hope you enjoy them.
BRYAN – I haven’t been to Barcelona Stadium myself but I understand from all who have that it is an awesome sight. You asked about Malcolm and yes, he was indeed on the Carnival Fantasy and he has recently been promoted to Cruise Director and I am sure he will continue to do a fantastic job. We are looking forward to receiving your letter and we will let you know as soon as it arrives.
LINDA – I am glad you enjoyed the blog about the Carnival Victory especially as you will be sailing on her next month. I am sure that having a 16 year old with special needs can be a challenge and if there is anything you can think of that we can do for you, please let us know and I will arrange what I can. It seems to me that your entire family are proud Carnival cruisers and we are very grateful for that. I hope one day we get the pleasure of your company and please let me know if there is anything I can do for your son.
DAVE SOREFF – Hello Mate. I always look for your name in the blogs and it’s great to hear from you today. Which ship are you on at the moment? Thank you for the information about having a Rabbi on board the Princess ships. I was surprised that this lady mentioned there was one every cruise, without fail and from the information you provided, it seems that is true. I hope one day to sit and chat and reminisce about our days on the Holiday……….it’s probably best our wives are not there. All the best mate and say Hi to Doug when you see him.
CANUCK CRUISER – You are welcome. I just wanted you to know that the situation on the Carnival Liberty, if true, will not be tolerated and I am glad I could share my thoughts with you. You will have a wonderful time on the Carnival Liberty, just a reminder to drop Todd a message at the purser’s office reminding him of your desire to be in the Newlywed Game. Can you slap on your cabin number please? Heidi sends her best and thanks you for the kind words about her blog.
MRS. MTSFP – What a brilliant, fantastic, wonderful, superb advert for the Supper Club. It seems to me that this is worth presenting to our Food & Beverage Department and that is exactly what I have done. Now, how about writing a report and tell everyone about John and Diane. Here is your husband.
LFTTNSFCF – As usual, your thoughts about the People’s Princess were exactly correct and it was interesting to read that she was being remembered in the U.S.A. as well on the 10th anniversary of her passing. I never got to see the Royal Yacht Britannia, however, your description proves that it was a shame she passed her sell-buy date. Thank you for sharing the memories and soon we will be able to share many more together.
MARYLYN VISCHIO – Congratulations on discovering how to slap on a posting on my thingy. The 26 days that you will be on the ship with us next year will be the best time of your life, I promise. Don’t worry, that it is too long to be on a ship because when you leave I know that you will wish you could have stayed longer. If you need any specific advice on ports of call or activities on board I remain at your service. All the best until then.
KEVIN – I am glad you enjoyed Heidi’s blog and like Princess Cruises, I have mentioned today if there was any clergyman on board, to please let me know. So far, nobody has stepped forward. I did the same for a Rabbi on Friday, but again with no positive result. We try during the Jewish and Christian holidays to have services, however, like Princess, it seems that we too are not able to provide this service each and every cruise. I look forward to sitting down with a cigar and talking about the most beautiful car in the world, the Aston Martin. Beauty, Passion, Soul.
SUSAN B – I have no words to describe the look on my face when one of our blogger friends handed me a letter opener on the top of which was perched ……..uhm………2 things which I am sure the kangaroo is missing right now and is probably
HOPPING MAD – Thank you for the information on MIT and it seems we have a very bright and intelligent young person on board. I am glad you are enjoying the pictures and I also appreciate you telling me that Royal Caribbean also does not have a Rabbi on board every cruise…………..why do people say these things? Thank you also for your compassion for Southern Dreams and with our combined faith, I am sure all will be well. What a fantastic idea to teach cheerleading on board….that really is brilliant and I am passing this on to our Club O2 Director to see what he can make of it. Thank you for the great idea. Thank you Jennifer and thank you Susan, you are both wonderful people.
MICHELLE MAN – Thank you for the information on Righmove.co.uk and thank you also for sending out the Yellow Advertiser, that is so kind. Heidi and I are considering moving, so this information will be very useful and it’s great to have a blogger who lives just around the corner. Thank you all, say Hi to Mum and Dad and we will see you soon.

That’s all for the Q & A for today.

Let’s have a chat now with our guest. We have just two cruise Directors left to feature including one more lady. Today though is Danny Blake who is on the Carnival Fascination. Rather than answer questions, I asked Danny to tell us why being a Cruise Director is his dream job. Here he is.

Danny Blake

Danny Blake with Mom and Dad

An Interview with Cruise Director Danny Blake of the Carnival Fascination

Believe it or not I have always wanted to be a Cruise Director ever since my first cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines on the Fun Ship Tropicale when I was 10 years old. I specifically remember sitting in the audience and saying to my mom and dad that this was one of my ambitions in life and I am proud to say that here I am on the Carnival Fascination as a CCL Cruise Director many years later. I even remember on that first cruise meeting the Cruise Director, Gary Hunter, and had the chance to sit down with him and ask all sorts of questions about how it was to be in his position. I sometimes wonder what Gary thought and how amazed he would be to see me doing this fabulous career with Carnival Cruise Lines many years later.

My mom, dad and I were very avid cruisers in my younger years, even deciding at the age of 15 to go on the inaugural cruise of the Carnival Holiday. That was quite the experience and it amazes me today to walk onboard that ship and remember all those memories from so long ago. The Holiday is still dear to my heart and I do hope that I will have the honor of being the Cruise Director on that vessel.

Ever since I was a young lad I wanted to go into a career in Entertainment and even had a very vibrant career in Musical Theater performing in such shows as “Bye, Bye Birdie,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Godspell,” and many others. In 1989 I traveled with a musical production of “Peace Child” throughout what was then the Soviet Union and the country of Latvia, entertaining thousands of people in small towns and cities. Some of these people had never seen a big production show in their lives and it was just a life changing experience for me to see the amazement and wonder in their eyes.

I decided after that musical journey that I wanted to go into Musical Theater and earn a degree in that field. My parents said “No way!” So I decided to attend UNLV and earned a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. After graduating, I spent many years in the Hotel Industry and in the Airline Industry. After 9/11 happened, I decided that life is too short and decided to spend more time at home with my mom and one day got a call from an old friend who informed me that she was going back to work for her former employer, Carnival Cruise Lines. I was shocked! I never knew that she had worked for CCL before and told her of my dreams to work onboard a cruise ship. To my amazement she told me that they were looking for Social Hosts and so I decided to pursue my childhood dreams of working on a luxury liner and after applying, I was onboard a Carnival Fun Ship!

Thus began my career here at Carnival Cruise Lines! I joined Carnival in 2003 as a Social Host and eventually was promoted to Assistant Cruise Director. Because of some great guidance by my good friends Mark Hawkins and Trevor Block, I was promoted to Cruise Director in 2006. So it is true…dreams come true when you set your goals and work hard for them (thanks to my mom who always taught me this from a young age). The only unfortunate thing is that my dad never got to see me reach this goal in my life since I lost him in 2000 to cancer. But I do believe that he is watching over me and had something to do with this as well!

I have been fortunate to work on several of the Carnival Ships during my career here and have met so many incredible people in this journey. Talk about having friends all over the world! I don’t think I have to worry about hotels these days with all the friends that I have made from so many places.

Currently I am onboard the Carnival Fascination doing the 3 & 4 day run out of Miami. On our 4 day run we visit Key West and Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico. On our 3 day run we overnight in Nassau. I have always enjoyed working on the shorter cruises for you really get to meet so many guests in a seven day period (over 5,000 guests per week).

I have had the chance to attend so many great tours in our exciting ports of call. In Cozumel my favorite tour has been the ATV Jungle adventure where you get to ride semi-automatic ATV’s and get covered in mud! On one of my ATV adventures it had rained the day before and we actually had to cross a large river which took us about knee deep into the river. WOW! I am sure that my cabin steward wasn’t too pleased to see me return from these tours though, granted all the mud I brought back onboard the vessel!

Key West is a gorgeous spot and I really enjoy our time spent there for it is a very lovely little island and the locals are all so very nice to interact there. I do plan on spending some more “vacation” time there one of these days! There is only one thing I can say about Nassau and that is Atlantis Resort! What a hotel! It really reminds me of my days in Las Vegas and what an incredible place it is.

The Carnival Fascination has been my home since August 2006 and in September of 2006 the vessel went through a major renovation and let me tell you she is more beautiful than ever! They have renovated all the guest cabins which bring them up to par with land resort rooms. We have 2 incredible production shows: “Fiesta Latina” with a Latin beat and “Far From Over: An 80’s Tribute” with all the great music from the 80’s! Even the costumes will take you back and you will sit there and be like, “I remember wearing that back then!” There are also 2 break dancers that do some incredible dancing (always the highlight of the show)!

Soon I will be moving back to the West Coast and to the Carnival Paradise, which will bring me closer to home and my mom. I am very thankful to so many people at Carnival Cruise Lines for the chance to achieve one of my life long dreams and I am thankful everyday for this dream career (Did you know that Oprah named being a Cruise Director as one of the top 10 dream careers?). I look forward to many years with this fantastic company and I do hope that I will have the opportunity to have you onboard a Carnival FunShip with me.

Thanks mate and I think it is clear for all to see that you really swam out to your ship rather than wait for it to come to you. I had no idea that Oprah had said being a Cruise Director was a “top ten dream jobs.” I wonder what the others were? Anyway, congratulations on opening your book of life to us all and enjoy every minute.

I just returned from the Past Guests Parties, one for each sitting dinner. At the end of the party I draw an invitation out of the bucket and the winner is presented with a prize on stage. So, I drew a name ………….Mr.Pethan……….nothing funny about that you cry……………you are correct…………but wait……………up comes Mr. Pethan and………….ummm………he is wearing…………..and I have 800 witnesses to this………….he is wearing at our Past Guest Party…………….

a ROYAL CARIBBEAN shirt.

I could not believe it as there he was, standing on stage, next to me and the Captain…………..wearing…………that thing and you know what the audience realized it as well as laughter and some OOOOS could be heard. This is then how the conversation went.

JOHN………………congratulations, you won a prize

Mr.Pethan……… thank you

John…………what ships have you sailed on before

Mr.Pethan…….we were on the Miracle and the Conquest

John…………any other ship

Mr.Pethan (oblivious to what I was hinting at)…………………..No

John…………have you been on another cruise line

Mr.Pethan………..Yes

John………..Which One

Mr. Pethan……….Royal Caribbean

John…………Oh

Mr.Pethan…….realizing now from the way I am looking at his shirt and the audiences laughter………….yes, sorry about the shirt I didn’t think.

John…………It’s Ok, its no big deal but I can’t give you the prize wearing that thing.

Mr.Pethan………….OK, and without a word he takes it off and throws it on the floor and starts stamping on it…………so, there is a 50 year old something man, naked from the waist up doing some sort of strange tap dance on a

Royal Caribbean

sweatshirt. I was very embarrassed………..it was unprofessional for this to happen even though every one of the 800 people in the room were laughing hysterically…………….I didn’t know what to do, I felt bad that this had gone this way so I had no choice but to…………..join in and there we were me and my mate Mr. Ethan tap dancing on a

Royal Caribbean

sweatshirt……….and then the band joined in and started playing the Carnival’s Got The Fun theme tune and I knew it was time to stop when some random person ran on stage and started dancing with us…………………At this point I must point out that I wasn’t intending this to happen and I would have done the same thing if he was wearing a

N.C.L

shirt or a

Celebrity

shirt or……………….well, that’s about it really. I felt really bad afterwards but the audience thought it was funny and so far, nobody has complained………two thoughts plague my mind this evening.

I guess by writing this I will never work for

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity or N.C.L.

…………………….and I wonder why Carnival made me have a disclaimer on this blog?

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.