I have never been to Las Vegas. It’s not that I never wanted to go, it’s just that I never seemed to have a reason to go there. The reason however that I mention this is that tonight I heard a guest say to his friends………………”This is better than Vegas.”

Now, you would have expected him to say this as a cascade of quarters poured out of the slot machine he was playing or after watching one of our award-winning shows …………… in fact he was saying this about the ship and the overall experience ……………. more about that in a moment.

Heidi had a special treat today……………..something called a Hot Stones Massage in the new Spa Carnival. She told me that they use small stones from a volcano in Bali ………….. although they probably pick them up from the beach in Nassau. Anyway, she returned floating on air proclaiming she felt like a new woman…………I said I felt like a new woman as well which was met with a close encounter with a pillow. Heidi did say that the Spa is stunning and I will write more about that and slap on some photos later this week.

Tonight, I had an interview with my friend Paul Motter, the editor of Cruismates.com. We spoke about the success of the bloggers cruise and how much he and his readers were looking forward to the 2009 Bloggers Cruise on the Carnival Fantasy. Let me therefore say a big hello to all the Cruisemates readers especially Kuki and those who sailed with me last week.

Following dinner I walked to the dining room to meet Heidi, George (or Hor-Hey as he calls himself after 5 pm) Solano, the hilarious Cruise Director and his assistant Noonan. George and I have been friends for many years and we have shared many great times together and he still shares my jokes each and every week with the Carnival Imagination’s guests. Noonan was on the Carnival Liberty with me and is a firm Carnival favorite. He will I am sure be a brilliant CD one day soon marking a very proud day for his parents whom I had the pleasure of meeting.

To get to the dining room I walked along one of the guest corridors and for a moment I truly thought I was in one of those hip hotels that seem to have sprung up in all the major cities around the world. Now remember the last time I was onboard this ship was 1995 and my memories of the guest corridors are somewhat cloudy and seeing them now ………….well I was gobsmacked. What a fantastic job they have done here and even though I will slap on a few photos they will not do these passage ways justice…..this is more than a Nip Tuck…………..this is Boat Ox !

Of course millions of dollars has been thrown at the guest cabins as well and the new fixtures and lighting again have the feeling of a boutique hotel on South Beach and as I approached the dining room I was met by George who was talking to three guys in their forties. I listened in to their conversation as they explained that they all were partners in a carpet cleaning company in Chicago. They told George and I they had one vacation a year with their wives and one with “the boys” which was always in Las Vegas. This year however they had decided to take a cruise and here they were on the Carnival Imagination.

They rattled on about the casino and how friendly the dealers were and that the food was excellent and they went on and on………………Hor-Hay was puffing his chest out proud as a peacock and I made a note to share this brief encounter with you.

As I said, I have never been to Las Vegas and it would be nice to maybe one day see what it’s all about but judging by what the three rug cleansers were saying we have it beat. Dinner was wonderful. I had prime Rib (end cut extra burnt) and Heidi had the lobster and said it was cooked perfectly. After dinner we went to the show which is called “Living in America” which as always received a great ovation from the audience.

It was interesting however on this formal night to compare the guests with those I have been used to on my three years of European cruising. There, Formal night means just that ……….Formal night and the only people not dressed up are those poor sods whose luggage is in Botswana. Here though on the Carnival Imagination there were probably 30 percent of the guests in the dining room who were dressed more in a smart casual way and by the end of the show as the lights came up I noticed many were dressed in a very casual manner.

Is there still a need for formal night?…………….This is a topic we have addressed here on my thingy before. My opinion is yes………..it should be something we should have once a cruise. For most of us the chances of dressing up in our finest gowns and Bond like Tuxedos are few and far between. However, like tonight, the fact that as I looked to my left and saw someone wearing a polo shirt and a pair of chinos did nothing to stop my enjoyment of the half a cow which sat on my plate……………..it will as always be interesting to hear your thoughts.

Once the show had finished I went backstage to congratulate the cast and after a walk on deck under the stars here I am back in the cabin getting ready to say goodnight. Oh, I am going to type this here because I need to remind myself to send a note to the office that our welcome aboard letter in the cabin directory is still the one written by Bob Dickinson ……………..oops………………..I guess this may be a fleetwide thing………………time to get that changed.

Tomorrow we will be in Grand Turk and I will of course be reporting on my first ever visit. My love of the new Carnival Imagination grows stronger every day. Someone told me before boarding that she had gone through a Nip Tuck………………..well from what I have seen this is more than that…………..this is more than Boat Ox ………….this is complete and utter rejuvenation. ………………….Vegas just lost three carpet cleaners and they are I am sure the first of many.  

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Good Night

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.