John Harshaw….and a Dream

February 27, 2008 -

John Heald

The following dream is sponsored by Nyquil.

I was on a beach………….we walked through the golden sand enjoying warm feeling beneath our naked feet…….I had taken my socks off long ago. She was wearing a white silk shirt which stopped short of her knees and occasionally the gentle breeze would lift her shirt revealing her brown supple thigh and her long brown hair as silky as the shirt she was wearing tumbled down her back.


In one hand she held mine……tightly…………never wanting to let go………in the other hand she held her award for best actress which should have been an Oscar but instead was a solid gold plastic trophy.

We stopped and watched the turquoise water lap gently onto the shore and in a fluid motion and as one we laid down together. She laid her trophy to one side using her free hand to stroke the back of my neck ………my naked chest pounded with pent-up passion……………we stared into each others eyes…………and we kissed………..gently at first until we could hold back no longer and we embraced so strongly I was sure I saw the tip of my tongue come out of her ear…………….this was raw passion and as the warm water caressed our bodies my hand reached inside her shirt unbuttoning it with the skill that only  great lovers like me and George Hamilton would possess………………it was time…………..the moment had come…………..and then………………I started shaking and something was hitting me in the back………………what the……………………..I sat up in bed……………Heidi was using her elbow as a torpedo and at the same time telling me  I was “making strange murmuring noises.”………………it was 5:08 am.

The two Nyquil that I had taken had provided me with the most realistic dream about Marion Coltillard who won the best actress Oscar………….I lay back down knowing two things for certain…………I was in the 5 am doghouse for waking Heidi up and second of all that it was only a dream……………if I was stranded on a deserted island with Marion the only way anything like that would happen would be if  she eats a poisonous berry or a nut which makes her temporarily blind, dumb, stupid, forgetful and desperate………………………………………I once had a girlfriend with long flowing brown hair down her back………………she had none on her head………………..it was just all down her back.

Anyway, Good morning from St.Thomas U.S.V.I where we were docked once again with the Carnival Triumph and the ship that looks it has two pairs of humongous lips sticking out both port and starboard sides…………..I had hoped that the Queen Mary would be in with us this week as she was here during our last visit but sadly my visit to her majesty would have to wait another day………….it was just us, The Carnival Triumph and the Botox of the Seas.

Since I had my cold…………….don’t worry, I am not going to go on about it…………..but since last Thursday I have not been off the ship and apart from a visit to Lido to check on the Oscars I have had no fresh air. Therefore after a few hours of paperwork I was informed by Heidi that we were going for a walk…………….so we did. We met James and Gary who are both on the Carnival Triumph. For those folks who have read the blog in the past you will know that both were Entertainment Staff with me in Europe and both will be joining us on the Carnival Splendor. They are the future…………..young…………funny…………..good looking ……………I hate them.

It was good to see them and we went for lunch and ate local Caribbean food……………Chinese. This restaurant is close to the ship and looks like a rough, smelly awful restaurant where the only things who would eat there would be rats, various insects and the French.

However, for me, the best advertisement for a Chinese restaurant is when you see lots of Asian crew eating there……….and there were loads…………we decided to be brave and thank goodness we were ………….the food was fantastic. Heidi had duck and vegetable spring rolls served in a Satay sauce and for her main course General Tso’s chicken………Heidi said it was fabulous. I had the hot and sour soup which was fresh and steaming hot and very spicy followed by Mongolian Beef …………it was historic.

Never judge a book by its cover.

OK, we have just sailed and I had better press on with the news.

First of all……………..the Carnival Splendor. Last week some of you were asking about transfers and hotels for the Carnival Splendor’s Baltic cursing from Dover in the U.K. Here is the latest news hot of the presses thanks to of Super Spy PA 007.

Does Carnival Cruise Lines offer Transportation to/from Port of Dover (London)?

Yes, transfer services between London Gatwick or Heathrow Airport and the Port of Dover are offered. These services are only available on the day of your cruise and immediately after your cruise. We also offer transfer services from an interim downtown London location for those guests who are arranging their own hotel accommodations. We encourage you to take advantage of our transfer service as the travel time between the Port of Dover and the London area Airports or the city are between 2 and 2.5 hours (see below).

Where can I Purchase Transfers & How Far in Advance:

Purchase of transfers can be done through Carnival Reservations up to 7 days prior to your sail date; you will need to provide your flight information at the time of purchase. Flight details are provided to the transportation company to assist in expediting your transfer to the pier. It is your responsibility to update Carnival with any changes to your flight schedule to ensure you are met by the transportation company.

Guests arranging their own hotel accommodations can purchase transfers through Carnival Reservations up to 7 days prior to their sail date (transfers are not sold at the station). The interim location is Victoria Coach Station departure terminal. The station is located at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Buckingham Palace Road.

Purchase the transfer at the London Gatwick or Heathrow airport with a Carnival Cruise Lines airport representative*.

*Cash payment is not accepted. The transfer costs are charged directly to the guest’s onboard Sail & Sign Account by the airport representative.

Cost of Transfers:

London Gatwick or Heathrow Airport to Port of Dover:

One Way:

$85.00

Round Trip: $170.00

Combination of Transfers

London Gatwick or Heathrow Airport to Port of Dover / Port of Civitavecchia to Rome, Fiumicino Airport

**applicable to 09/11/08 sailing

One Way:

$85.00

Round Trip: $160.00

Transfer rates are subject to change and any unused services are nonrefundable.

What are the Flight Guidelines for the Latest Airport Arrivals and Earliest Return Flights

Travel Time between the Port of Dover and:

London Gatwick Airport – 2 hours

London Heathrow Airport – 21/2 hours

Victoria Coach Station – 2 hours

Latest Flight Arrival:

Arrivals into the London Gatwick Airport:

Arrivals into the London Heathrow Airport:

12:00pm

11:30am

Earliest Flight Departures:

Earliest departures out of the London Gatwick Airport:

Earliest departures out of the London Heathrow Airport:

Earliest departures out of Rome, Fiumicino Airport**

12:00pm

1:00pm

9:30am

Prior to your cruise you will be met at the Airport:

You will be met and assisted by our meet & greet service in the arrivals hall outside of the customs area. They will direct you to your motorcoach for transfer to the port. Commencement of transfer times vary depending on flight arrivals.

From regal robes, crown jewels and sumptuous state apartments,

where else but London

Why not take a little extra time and explore London’s historical sites with a premium hotel as your home base. Visit Covent Garden for lunch and enjoy the street performers and mimes. Explore history with a tour of Hampton Court the 16th century palace of Henry VIII. London offers something for everyone, young and old.

Choose from any of the 2 properties below (transfer option available)

Royal Lancaster Hotel, Hyde Park– superior guest accommodations with superb views of Hyde Park, Marble Arch and the London cityscape. The Royal Lancaster Hotel offers superior guest room accommodations with superb views of Royal parks, Hyde Park, Marble Arch and the London cityscape. The London Underground, Lancaster Gate Station/Central Line is adjacent to the hotel. From the hotel, there is a 5 minute walk to the Marble Arch and Oxford Street; Harrods Department Store in Knightsbridge is 10 minutes by taxi. Hyde Park is one of the famous Royal Parks, acquired by Henry VIII in 1536 from the monks of Westminster and opened to the public in 1637 by Charles I. This park houses the Serpentine Lake with its network of beautiful bridges, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain and The Serpentine Gallery, a haven for art lovers. The park is open from 5:00am until midnight, all year round.

Park Plaza County Hall – brand new 4-star contemporary hotel in the heart of downtown London, minutes from the Waterloo Underground station and overlooking the River Thames. Location provides easy access to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Aquarium.

I have not stayed at either Hotel but both are in great locations for touring London. Have a look and let me know if you need any advice.

What else…………..oh yes…………….finally got our confirmation for our Emerald Princess cruise. We have to disembark in Barbados as there are no flights from Antigua and we need to get back for our European trip. I am really looking forward to writing multiple daily logs about our experiences which start on March 25.

OK, here are today’s Random Photos…………..let’s start with the one of the Carnival Triumph. Do you remember the piece I wrote yesterday where the people at the top had decided to have the words CARNIVAL SPLENDOR in capitals because they didn’t like the way the “P” was written………well…………I think we all agree………….strange……………I spent many years on the ship and never noticed.

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Here are a few other random photos.

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Heidi and the Nanni family

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Heidi Art

marcus-anthony-rehearsing-with-the-band.jpg

Marcus Anthony rehearsing with the band

my-life.jpg

My life

the-godfather-ken-the-maitre-d-and-the-nanni-family.jpg

The godfather, Ken the matrie’d, and the Nanni family

Following on is of course today’s In Their Own Words Section. Somehow I seem to be way, way behind and again have over 100 on my desk. Therefore I will be answering those that include PLEASE REPLY………………..here we go.

CATMAMA044……………thanks for asking about Alan. He is doing well and I continue to be amazed at just how well he is doing. I know he appreciates so much everyone’s continuing thoughts. I have a hope that he will be joining us in 2009 for the Bloggers cruise. Thanks again and my best to you and the cats………………Heidi is a huge fan of Garfield by the way and she wants me to by her a stuffed toy Garfield……….good grief.
SUSAN V…………..Hello Susan. I can tell you that we have taken the Cruise Critic meeting very seriously and we are formulating the best permanent options that I know everyone (even the skeptics) will be happy with. Meanwhile, if you have any Cruise Critic groups sailing in the immediate future let me know via my thingy. I am working on the group for the Carnival Pride and will have the confirmation of that shortly. I promise I will make sure you have a room on your Carnival Valor trip as well in September as by then the plan will be firmly in place. Thanks again for bringing this to our attention and all the best to you and everyone at Cruise Critic.
TERRI910……………………..Talking of Cruise Critic. Please ignore any rumors you have heard about the Carnival Spirit going into dry dock  and your Hawaiian Islands cruise therefore being canceled………….its not true. Here is a quote from our Vice president Mr. Terry Thornton…………………….The Carnival Spirit is not going into dry-dock in 2008 and the 9/24/08 Hawaii cruise will operate as scheduled. There. Straight from the horses mouth…………not that Terry looks like a horse.
It amazes me where and how these rumors start………..somebody must just wake up and say “I am so bored………..Oh, I know let me start a rumor that our cruise is canceled, that Carnival is buying Victoria Secrets or that John Heald wears ladies underwear.”……………….one of those is true by the way………………….anyway………….your cruise is going so relax, have fun and please tell everyone on Cruise Critic that I am here to answer any concerns or questions they have. Thanks and have a brilliant cruise.
KUKI………………hello mate and I knew you would have something to say about the dress codes as I know this subject is something we have chatted about before. You asked if the decision had been made about dress codes and if this was going to be a fleet wide change. The answer is no decision has been made yet. This was a trial period and we will examine all the pros and cons. One thing I can tell you is that from what I have seen very, very few people opted not to dress elegantly and instead just wear slacks and a shirt. I also agree with you that sleeveless shirts and baseball caps are a definite no.

Times are changing, look at dress codes in many work places these days…………do we need to change…………maybe……….we shall see and I will make sure that the first group to know if and when this should happen will be all my blogging pals. Cheers mate and please send my very best to all my Cruise Mates friends on line.

CARAVANPARKMANAGER………………Hello mate. You asked if I like Bovril…………yep………….love it but no, you can’t get it here. I miss Bovril and Twigglets so if you see any think of me. Have fun on the Emerald Princess and give my best to the cruise director when you see him or her. Can I book a caravan for my Dad’s holiday? Write when you get back mate and stay warm. Cheers.

PETER G…………….Hold on mate……….nothing has changed………..this is an experiment on one ship which stops after this week. The guests were indeed all informed by their travel agents long before they packed and again I was surprised at how many people actually did not dress as they always have on formal nights.

As for shorts………….it’s a trial and again I have to say that maybe 1 in 100 people decided to wear smart dress shorts to dinner. I guarantee that if you entered our dining room tonight you would see very little or no difference at all………………I can understand your concern but I promise you Carnival is not following anyone except you….our guests………..and their wishes. I will keep you informed Peter. Cheers mate.

CAROL SCHOENBERGER……………..Hey Carol, did you ever hear back regarding your concerns you wrote to me about? Just want to follow up. Hope all is well and best from us both.

BOB AND NIMIA………….Hello and firstly a huge thank you for all your kind words. I am happy to hear that the blog helped you return to the world of Carnival……………I am honoured. You asked if I would be the cruise director for your Carnival Freedom cruise in June but unfortunately I will be preparing the Carnival Splendor. Your Cruise Director will be the fabulous Todd Wittmer and he will be someone I know you will enjoy. I hope one day we do get to cruise together and until then I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

RALF…………………Hello Ralf. Your English is very good and thank you for reading the blog as much as you do. The Carnival Freedom does not offer tours to Chichen Itza as it is too far away. However we do offer tours to Tulum which is the birthplace of the Mayan Indians and is also a spectacular sight to see. You can book excursions on line or onboard and please let me know if you need help doing so. Heidi and I send our best regards to you and I wish we were with you in April. Guten Nacht mein freundin.

RUTH JAMISON…………..Hello Ruth. Thanks for all your kind words. You asked about your waitress Agatha and if she is going to the Carnival Splendor. I asked Ken who told me the staff for the ship have not been chosen as of yet but she certainly has a good chance considering she has already worked on here. If you remind me I will check again in a few weeks as see if there is any update. Meanwhile I passed on your regards to her and Heidi and I send you ours.

SHIRLEY……………..Let me know if you would like to arrange anything for you. Cheers.

MYRA BUSHNELL…………..There will certainly be a bloggers party for the trans-Atlantic cruise, Myra………..great idea. I have no idea who is going but nearer the time we can start a list and send invitations. See you soon.

JIM FASANO………………Hello mate. Welcome to the blog and thanks so much for booking the Bloggers cruise……….It will be brilliant I promise. Heidi and I send you our kindest regards.

RBGATES………….Hello Mr. Gates. I was intrigued by your posting about the Holland America Line’s captain who also has a blog. I contacted someone from our sister company and discovered he will return in April. When he does I thought it would be super to interview him and to put up a link thingy to his blog. Thank you again for bringing this to my attention. I trust you will continue to read this blog until the Captain’s return. Cheers.

SHERRIF ROSCOE P COLTRANE……………..Sorry Sherriff………..I didn’t mean to ignore you. How are you? Hey, can you do me a favor and in force the no tank top wearing rule in the dining room………..can the Sherriff help. Send our best to Mrs. Coltrane and Flash.

DAVE AND BARB……………..Glad to hear from you both ………..we will talk about Mum in a moment. I just want to make sure that I let you and everyone know that carnival has not changed its policy. The clothing rules and regulations remain the same across the fleet except here and that stops at the end of this cruise. The trial was to see if things changed and honestly they didn’t ………if you had been here you would not have even noticed we had given people options. Please don’t worry……….this will never effect how much you enjoy your dining room experience and lets see what happens in the future.

You asked if Todd is going to be the Cruise Director of the Carnival Freedom and indeed he is for your trans-Atlantic cruise. I am so happy that you are able to bring Valentine barb’s service dog. I need a favor please…………we have a big group of sight impaired guests sailing with many of them bringing dogs. We do have an instructional video that the crew is watching but if you have any advice on the do’s and do not’s I would really appreciate you sharing them with me.

Most importantly I read with sadness that Mum is not well and please know that Heidi and I send you our thoughts and best wishes. Please write soon.

MARC G………….Sorry mate, I must have missed your question which was have we decided to replace Britney Spears in the Carnival Legends show. This was discussed and eventually indeed she will go………….we discussed many possibilities but strangely Gene Simmons was not one of them. Who would you like to see……………..really? Let me know your advice mate. Cheers.

LINDA HERNACKI…………….Thanks for asking Linda. I did indeed have a wonderful time with Nani and family. They came on the ship and I got to have a chat and some time with them. Then Heidi and I surprised them with a dinner in Ken’s dining room and although I was unable to join them I know they had a wonderful time. They are a great family and I was happy to see them especially after the tough year they had with the loss of their loved one. I hope I get to see you and Mike very soon as well……….it has been too long that this has not happened.

KEVIN AND HEIDI AND BETH……………..nudge

ERIC R THAYER…………….The good news is that when you take your 2009 Carnival Valor cruise you will indeed have a Big Screen to watch movies under the stars. As I write people are watching a movie called The Golden Compass on a beautiful night here in the Eastern Caribbean. I hope this makes you even more excited about your cruise and please let me know if you need anything else. Cheers.

LISA RINDLER……………Although you did not have a direct question I just wanted you to know that I loved your letter and your sons sound great guys. The way you described how much they enjoyed the dining room team is exactly what we strive to do each and every week on each and every ship. I have forwarded this letter to the Carnival Valor for you. I hope they are there in the fall and I hope one day I hope to meet you and the boys.

I am going to stop there. I still have a huge pile on my desk so please do not worry if I have not answered yours yet………..I will, I promise.

Oh, just before I do let’s chat about the never ending topic of Dress Code. I see that many of you feel strongly about this and especially in the area of enforcing these codes. It’s a difficult one …………of that there is no doubt. However, just to add my two pence here…………..Remember that as you look at the table opposite and see people not formally dressed that maybe…….their luggage was lost and that’s all they have …………… maybe they don’t have any formal clothes at all…………do we have the right to say you cannot eat here and if we do say that then maybe indeed we should do a better job enforcing it.

Now, I am not saying I agree with then above but certainly this is a topic of conversation that has many sides and most of them are correct …………I know one thing…………..if I have a tasty steak and fresh lobster in front of me I wouldn’t care less if the man opposite is wearing a mini skirt………….I’m going to enjoy that food regardless. Anyway, debate is a wonderful thing so please keep your comments and thoughts coming …………….that’s what this blog thingy is for after all.

Computers are just below hemorrhoids on my table of things I hate. Its strange then that every day and every night I sit here using one……………in fact…………..as I sit here and type I have both a computer and hemorrhoids…………..bugger.

Some people love them………….love them, worship them and more importantly understand them. One such person is John Harshaw. This young man is one of the most loved employees we have. He started life onboard as an Info thingy something or other and has since risen through the ranks to become in charge of ……….well…………more thingies………..see for yourself as we interview Mr. John Harshaw.

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1. John, please tell us about your career so far and what your current job title is.

My current job title is Director of Operations, Information Systems, Carnival Cruise Lines…….. I also sometimes go by boss, hey you, coach, Mr., son, dad, hubby….and many other titles, and will allow you to elaborate or contribute if you choose to. But let’s briefly start at the beginning (not birth mate) of my IS career to understand how I got to Carnival and my current position.

Without going into too much detail and boring your readers, I started in IS (IT) as a 17 year old youngster assigned to the US Navy aircraft carrier, USS Independence….. I spent 44 months assigned to that ship and was involved in deployments such as Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada, along with support for the multinational peacekeeping force in Beirut, Lebanon (circa 1983). This served as a foundation for both my love of IS and my appreciation of the sea, and all things to follow.

After I completed my enlistment, I spent 8 and a half years as a regional IS service manager for a major computer manufacturer which gave me a better appreciation of IS in the private sector, and completed my final step before approaching Carnival Cruise Lines…… After nearly 9 years removed from the Navy, I felt I needed a break from land, traffic, bills, cars, you know…. “ALL OF IT”…. and really sought a change of pace….. It was for these reasons I chose to go back to sea, but this time on a cruise ship, and as the ships IS purser.

I really enjoyed my time working on the ships especially the smaller vessels such as the Festivale, Tropicale, Jubilee, etc., due to the great camaraderie of the officers, staff and crew. This decision is one I value and appreciate almost daily, as it is how I came to know you John along with thousands of other great dedicated people, including my wife of over 10 years now………a former Carnival production show dancer and member of the inaugural cast for the Carnival Inspiration during the 1996 delivery. I have since shed my sailor cap and moved shore side but still have the fondest memories of my time as a Carnival IS manager.

2. So, what are your responsibilities?

To be there for my staff and team!………… Who, in turn, are responsible for ship and shore IS operations, with the focus of ensuring maximum uptime of all IS systems. This includes overseeing daily operations of our shore side data center, managing all aspects of IS data security, IS change management, IS customer service desk, maintenance and support of Carnival’s PCs, printer’s, laptops, and server support. In addition our team is responsible for all aspects of IS shipboard support, IS new shipbuilding programs, supporting our reservation call centers, Carnival.com and hundreds other mission critical servers…. Oh……. They also print and encode the Sail & Sign cards used on all Carnival ships, and create the necessary cruise documents prior to sailing which are emailed or mailed as requested………I believe they also take out the garbage, some cook, wash dishes, and occasionally do yard work…..of course… all this when not responding to their Blackberry’s.

3. The shipboard I/S manager is one of the un sung heroes aboard any cruise ship. What can you tell us about their daily routine and what exactly does a shipboard I/S manager do?

They are a jack of all trades and are the first responders for any and all ship board IS issues. They support IS hardware and software for all other ship board departments, and help to ensure minimal downtime of all critical systems. When they are unable to resolve an issue aboard, the IS managers work directly with Carnival’s shoreside professionals to restore service in the shortest possible time.

On a daily basis the IS managers will monitor the health of all systems, verify reports, computer logs, and backups, respond to service requests……and even assist IS managers on other vessels, as they have created a rather large knowledge network across all Carnival ships;……… this includes an intranet site shore side where all IS managers are encouraged to contribute and solicit information. As I previously mentioned, they are the primary IS contact for service and support for most major ship systems. This includes support of the following areas to name just a few; the shipboard Ethernet network, guest and crew I-Café’s, hotel, embarkation, dining, tour, casino and point of sale systems, gangway access control, electronic cabin locks, maintenance of the ships pc’s, printer’s, data center servers and email system.

There are many, many other systems that ships IS, AV and electronics engineering staff support including all broadcast and IATV equipment, satellite transmit/receive equipment, telephony, plasma screens, safety systems, navigation, engineering and control, and, countless back of house applications to support our guests, officers, staff and crew. It is a team effort and all technical teams ship board work closely to maximize uptime.

Critical issues are logged into our shoreside incident management system, which then can escalate to the appropriate support team as needed, while providing a detailed description of the reported incident and all resolution efforts. Some of our IS managers were even guests sailing on our ships and were simply intrigued about ship board IS while on vacation and decided to join our Carnival team………………….When not taking care of problems our IS managers can be found updating critical windows and virus patches, studying and learning about new and existing technologies, relaxing in one of the crew facilities, and last but not least and time permitting,……………. time off in one of the many ports. …………………They usually work 6 month contracts with 6 weeks vacation before returning for another tour.

4. On a ship like the Carnival Freedom how many office computers are onboard?

Well as you can see there are many systems required to support a vessel of this size. In real basic terms a ship like the Carnival Freedom has over 150 Windows PC’s, 140+ point of sale systems, 50+ laptops, 100+ network printers, 200+ Wi-Fi access points, 300+ VoIP mobile telephones, 75+ Ethernet switches, 30+ servers and many, many miles of fiber and copper cabling, which occasionally needs a connector replaced. There are dozens and dozens more embedded systems throughout the vessel that are regularly maintained by manufacturers to ensure a safe, comfortable, and memorable vacation for our guests.

5. The world of I/S is changing all the time. What do you see down the road, what big changes will come to pass?

Smaller, faster, cheaper, more reliable! …… and oh ….. Can we have it tomorrow?……………. It’s a great time to be in IS as we have barely scratched the surface on potential solutions, technology and applications. In the shipboard arena we expect more consolidation or convergence of the network, and an expansion of IP since most systems can now connect to the data network. This means less proprietary cabling and independent networks, and a more common architecture which will allow for growth in mobile solutions, data exchange, and quicker implementation of new solutions. In the future everything will have a data cable on the end….. so next time you flush your cabin toilet I bet you look to see if its plugged into a data socket for further monitoring…………….OK maybe we will stick to kiosks and leave the porcelain alone…..”e”-Everything! ……. Less physical documents and more electronic data exchange……… and the future is now. Consumers more and more are requesting e-docs for their bank statements, reoccurring bills, and all other personal accounts, and Carnival is no exception. With better than 90% of our guests now registering into Funpass  prior to beginning their Carnival vacation, and more users selecting e-docs for their cruise documents, we expect a continued reduction of consumables and paper, and continued growth, expansion and improvement of the very popular carnival.com. Even more information will be shared electronically.

Satellite! It is everything to us and our lifeline between ship-shore data exchange. We continue to seek ways to maximize usage of the ships satellite network and expect a greater demand for bandwidth in the future…….. more systems to support shipboard, the immediate need for accurate bi-directional information will further expand offerings related to satellite connectivity.

Innovation. We are always looking to improve upon IS solutions, and we are currently working on further modifications and enhancements to our current portfolio. We have always been an industry leader in IS, with innovative solutions such as “Bow to Stern” Wi-Fi, mobile phone connectivity on all Carnival vessels, laptop mobile embarkation, interactive TV and even ATM’s, and the future will be no different. There are many initiatives currently underway to improve upon the products we currently present to our guests.

6. Your move to the office has been one huge success story……….however, do you miss the shipboard way of life and what do you remember of the old days onboard.

I’m not the first to come shore side from the ships and won’t be the last. Even our Chairman Mr. Arison spent some time onboard during the early days and I think it is a great experience to work both sides of the anchor ………. Yes I do miss ship board life and for many reasons… What I miss the most are the people…….Sounds cliché but the people aboard a cruise ship are brilliant and share a common bond…. The cultural diversity is second to none with 50+ nations on a single vessel, there is something to learn each and every day… I have said a thousand times over that if the UN or NATO could successfully emulate the trust and friendships that occur on a cruise ship, the world would be a much safer, trusting, happier and less judgmental place. Cruise ship life is in some ways a Bohemian life style, where only cruise ship people know what it is like……… you know……….. to live in a box at sea for months on end, no car or king size bed to escape to, no kitchen or backyard……… but is what makes all ship personnel share a common bond and mutual respect toward one another.

They are the hardest working individuals I have ever met and live solely to serve the needs of our guests…….. I miss the exotic ports of call and never under appreciated them, as my time in the Navy many years prior taught me to appreciate each and every day…… and I continue to live my life that way……. I used to love scuba diving as a crew member and will never forget comet Hale-Bopp passing in 1997, as we were in St. Croix with very little light pollution, a perfect full moon and two night dives in store…….. upon my return to the surface of the water I gazed to the stars and will never forget the bright flash of dust, ice and space particles as it crossed the sky (very slowly over months mind you). It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Lastly every month when our internal Carnival newsletter “Seaview” is published, I always look for the faces of colleagues I worked with during my ship board years……. Not all memories are fond of course…….. but let’s leave on a positive note as no one likes a complainer!

7. I imagine you to have all the latest gadgets and your house to be full of the latest technology………..is this the case.

Well yes I must admit it…..I am a bit of a techno geek, and in addition to my work toys, I also have an mini music studio in my office……. Along with my music toys, we have 3 Apple Mac’s, a few Windows PC’s, photo printers, 3 HDTV’s, satellite DirecTV, multiple generations of iPods, a TIVO, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, multiple digital cameras, 3-4 boxes of every conceivable cable to connect anything from a 1970’s reel-to-reel to the latest HDMI cable…….. We even have a toilet with a network jack!……… OK that was a stretch but wanted to see if you were still awake.

8. I do know that your job can be very stressful, how do you relax.

Stress is obviously not unique to my career but exists in most jobs, as I’m sure you know better than most. The key for me is to achieve a balance between work and play, i.e.. “relaxation” that hopefully compliment each other. My first choice is spending time with my wife and two sons, ages seven and five and a half. I coach my boys in soccer…………I mean football, sorry mate…. along with baseball, as well as assist with both roller hockey and even ice hockey.

Nothing takes me away farther from IT support then teaching thirteen 7 year olds how not to be hit in the head by a baseball. When we are not playing youth sports we attend all major local sporting events, and are homers following all Miami professional teams, regardless of how they are doing in the standings. The beauty of looking at the world through a child’s eyes is that standings do not matter, and they just want to see the silly mascot, watch some fireworks, maybe catch a free shirt in a giveaway, laugh, and just spend time together.

It really brings the family together, and I am a firm believer of the notion “the family that plays together stays together.” When I need a break from coaching and working I look toward my hobby of driving my sports car at least once a month, along with a large group of fellow middle aged car aficionados. We spend a few days detailing our cars (currently a 2005 Corvette), then a brief 30-50 minute cruse, culminating with showing them off in a small auto show, and usually at a parking lot of a restaurant.

I am also a musician (loosely defined) and have a mini recording studio and love to experiment with creating all types of music. Other hobbies include photography, fishing and of course a daily quest for learning via; people, TV, books, subscriptions and researching everything on the internet.

Of course I never have enough time for the above as I happen to love what I do and usually bury myself with work. My wife and children are really teaching me the meaning of balance……… so that’s what I’m working on these days.

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Thanks John and congratulations on your continuing success. …………..oh by the way………….can you make the cup holder on my computer smaller…………..oh………….and can I have a computer in the bathroom on the Carnival Splendor………..I do spend a lot of time in there. Thanks mate.

We are in St. Martin tomorrow and after we sail I have another meeting with the lady who was so upset that we didn’t have an Afro American dancer or staff member onboard. I invited her to see Marcus Anthony last night and she did go and reports are she was really smiling and having a great time………….I hope she will be more understanding tomorrow ………….lets hope so.

Can I just say sorry to the fans of the Sacramento Kings who were soundly beaten by my Miami Heat…………this marks the beginning of a run all the way to the NBA finals………………woohoo.

OK, it’s Showtime now and then straight to bed. My cold is better, much better so thank you for all your kind words. I am going to take more Nyquil and hopefully dream of that beach and me and Marion Coltillard rolling naked in the sand together………knowing my luck though it will be the same beach, same sand……………I will be naked but Marion will have been replaced by George Hamilton……………….bugger

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.