Man's Best Friend

April 30, 2008 -

John Heald

Yesterday I sat on a plane next to a man who owns the strangest company I have ever heard off and it is with the greatest respect that I say this…………….it could only happen in America.

These days you can rent anything………..houses, cars, tools, furniture, jets, boats, books, DVD’s ………….the list goes on but after meeting the chap I spent 11 hours farting softly next to in the American Airlines business class section I have now heard everything.

More on that later but first …………..Hello…………how are you all? I am back at home once again after two extraordinary days of flying to and from California and as I wrote on one of my mini Raspberry blogs my body, as expected is totally and utterly confused. I also have a wonderful memento from my flight as the chicken I ate on the plane was obviously intended to be the gift that keeps on giving and without putting a finer point on it lets just say I had to keep my Nike’s on in bed last night so I could get to the toilet as quickly as possible.

However, the jet lag and the constant visits to Poo Bay are a small price to pay for the opportunity to help make a lady called Lauren’s day.

Lauren was chosen by the USA Network and Carnival’s Marketing types out of hundreds of applicants all of which wanted to be a Cruise Director. The program itself is called “Character Fantasy” ………….
and the reason Lauren was chosen was her personality and the fact that she spends most of her time caring for homeless individuals in New York.

I arrived at the Carnival Paradise with Erika from our marketing department early in the morning. This was not only my first-ever visit to the Port of Long Beach but strangely it was also my first ever visit to the Carnival Paradise.

The port itself is wonderful and the domed embarkation area has wonderful facilities and the people I met from the security staff to the port employees were beyond nice and all hoped I would “have a nice day.”

Behind the embarkation building is the Queen Mary and having just been on Queen Mary 2 it was a bit strange to see both Mary’s within a few days of each other. As grand as she may have been I actually found it quite sad to see her there as a hotel and to be honest she looked a little run down and ……….well………..unwashed……..as I said, it made me a little sad. However, it also made me realize how exciting the present and future is for Cunard and I know that the folks in Dubai will look after the Queen Elizabeth 2 better than the Queen Mary.

So, on to the Carnival Paradise I went and straight away I have to say the ship looks beautiful. The public lounges are quite sedate for a Carnival ship and I was especially struck by the promenade chairs and couches which are some of the most comfortable I have sat on.

Having spent so much time on Destiny and Conquest  class ships it is easy to forget just why the Fantasy Class was and still is one of the most successful classes of cruise ships………………………in the world.

It is also easy to see why so many people list the Carnival Paradise as their favorite vessels……………….I was really impressed.

At 9 am I met with the show’s producer a young lady called Alex, the camera operators, sound technicians and the shows host the delightful Jeannie Mai who sums up everything that is California…………sunny, beautiful, friendly and ………..ummmm………..hot.

We all chatted about the format the show would take and although they gave me the bullet points they wanted to make sure were in the program Alex basically allowed me to decide what we would be doing. The premise of the show is to allow someone to live their dream whether it be a Ballerina, a Circus Clown, Santa and for Lauren it was of course to be a Cruise Director……………….my fantasy involves Jessica Simpson and a bucket of soapy water but I have a feeling I may have to write to the Playboy Channel for that one.

I then met Lauren who arrived directly to the gangway in a beautiful limousine whereas I had to walk the 500 yards in 90-degree heat dragging my suitcase behind me ………. bugger.

We were then filmed meeting for the first time and this along with most of the shoot was done in one take and not scripted at all. Lauren is a naturally happy-go-lucky Mum of two kids and I wanted to make this look as real as possible. After the meeting shot we then went onto deck to film Lauren, Jeannie and I discussing what we would be doing which is when we encountered our first concern. Obviously they wanted “quiet on set ” and even though debarkation had finished and embarkation had yet to start there were lots going on. I am sure I have mentioned before that embarkation day for the crew is the busiest time especially for the maintenance crew who can achieve more when there are no guests onboard.

So it was on Monday when I was asked by the Producer to stop the four guys who were chipping away at some deck flooring. Now, the crew did not know me and it must have been a bit weird for them to have this guy come over and say “Hey, stop working please”………and indeed it was…………they all looked at me…………….looked at each other…………..and carried on working………………they were just doing their job. I realized the quickest thing to do was to call someone in authority and eventually after 10 more minutes of “chipping” someone arrived to tell them to stop……………….so they did.

The rest of the day was spent filming Lauren doing CD stuff. I am not going to tell you anymore than that because I want you all to watch on Saturday 21st…………..one thing I will tell you is that we surprised Lauren at the end as she thought she would perform a “mock” 3 minute show to an empty lounge…………….however…………..I had made a Public Address appeal for the guests that were embarking to come to the lounge ………….500 plus came…………..and as you will see ……………….gave her a standing ovation.

Lauren left directly from the gangway in her limousine as did the show’s host leaving me to drag my suitcase another 500 yards to look for one of those taxi with the police style divider in them………………however I did this in the knowledge that I had helped Lauren’s dream come true and realizing that it was her dream to do for just one day something I have spent many years doing…………..I once again realized how lucky I am.

I hope you enjoy the show.

Talking of shows lets talk about the Carnival Splendor. I guess I have to start thinking more about the ship as I will be there in exactly one-month’s time. The ship is getting ready and some of the crew is already there.

The ship will feature three huge shows featuring the handpicked cast of singers, dancers, musicians and technicians. I will tell you more about the shows in a future blog but rehearsals are indeed already underway in Miami. The cast will rehearse in our studio until late May when they will all fly to Genoa. I thought therefore that now would be a nice time to introduce them to you all so without further ado……………please welcome…………the cast of the Carnival Splendor.

Bio’s for Splendor Cast

Claire Heslop – Dance Captain


Claire started dancing at the age of 3 in her home town of Darlington, England. She graduated Laine Theatre Arts with a diploma in Musical Theatre in 1996. She joined Carnival Cruise Lines aboard the Carnival Holiday in 1998.

She met her husband Paul (Shore Excursion Manager) aboard the Carnival Jubilee in 1999 and got married in Barbados in 2002.

She has been lucky enough to see many amazing ports throughout the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii whilst working for Carnival Cruise Lines. She was also part of the inaugural cast of the Carnival Valor in 2004.

Claire is excited to be a part of the inaugural cast of the Carnival Splendor and is looking forward to this amazing opportunity.

Lawrence A. Neals, Jr. – Production Singer

Born, bred, and a proud resident of New York City, Lawrence is a Drama graduate from the original “Fame” School of Performing Arts, and has been blessed to perform for over 20 years around the world. He created the title role in Julie Taymor’s (Dir. Broadway’s The Lion King) musical, Juan Darien. Stage credits include: Smokey Joe’s Café, Rent; Vocalist: NY Philharmonic Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, & Kennedy Center. He thanks God and his family’s support for the blessings of music in his life.

Heather Wagner – Production Singer

Heather comes to the Carnival Splendor stage from Allentown, PA majoring in Theatre at Wagner College in New York City and graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in the Arts in 1999. Stage credits include: The Wiz, Damn Yankees, How To Succeed and Nine “The Musical”.
Heather has been performing as a featured singer on Carnival Cruise Lines since 1999 and was part of the original cast for the Carnival Paradise’s new shows in 2004.
She would like to thank her fiancée Joe and the rest of her family for their continued support and unconditional love.

Brett J Tiernan – Dancer

Brett grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Now living in Batavia, Illinois Brett first started dancing for Carnival Cruise Lines in 2003. He first came to the company not being formally trained in dance at all, Brett had a lot of learning to do. In high school participating in show choir, and regularly involved with Community Theater, Brett always loved being in front of a crowd and performing.

Now dancing for Carnival just under five years, this is Brett’s second time being a part of an inaugural cast on a brand new ship! He also was a member of the Inaugural dance cast of The Carnival Valor in 2004.

Growing up in the corn fields of Iowa, Brett can’t believe he will be cruising around Europe doing what he loves, and living the dream!

Candice Orchard – Dancer

Born and raised in Buckinghamshire, England, Candice trained at Laine Theatre Arts. Here she graduated with a Diploma in Musical Theatre – whilst gaining a teaching associate in Modern Dance. She has experience in choreography and has worked in television and commercial contracts in the UK, prior to her Carnival career beginning in 2000. Candice has enjoyed performing in a variety of shows on many ships throughout the Carnival fleet.

Ceri Stone – Dancer

Ceri, 22, developed her love for dance at the age of 7 when she began attending her local dance school in North Wales. She enjoyed performing and dancing in competitions for many years before deciding to make dance her career. In 2006 she completed the National Diploma in Professional Dance at the Hammond School, England. Ceri’s main focus throughout her training was Classical Ballet but she trained in all disciplines including Jazz, Musical Theatre, Contemporary, Spanish and Tap.
Since graduating, Ceri worked on the Carnival Valor July 2006- April 2007 and the Carnival Conquest May 2007- February 2008.
Ceri feels very lucky that she is able to do what she loves the most and is very excited to be dancing on the Carnival Splendor!

Daniel Lauder – Dancer

DanielLlauder was born in England and started dancing at the age of six. He went on to train professionally at Laine Theatre Arts in Surrey. Upon leaving college Daniel joined Carnival Cruise Lines, and has worked on the Carnival Valor and Carnival Conquest. He is delighted to be part of the inaugural team for the Carnival Splendor.

Paul Dawson – Dancer

Dawson is from Tasmania, Australia where he started dancing at the age of 6 where he studied various forms of dance including, jazz, tap, ballet and ballroom dancing. At the age of 18 he was accepted into the Western Australian Academy of Perfoming Arts in which he graduated in 2002. During his time at the academy he had the privilege of working with up and coming choreographers both of Australian and International status including Taiwanese choreographer, Lin Hwai-min.

Also during his time at the Academy, Dawson was involved with the “Legacy Project” which was created and conceived by Taiwanese Choreographer, Lin Hwai-min. This piece was performed along side with two other colleges, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and Purchase in New York in Düsseldorf, Germany in 2002.

Wanting to pursue a career in dance, Dawson was offered a position as a dancer with Carnival Cruise Lines aboard the Celebration in 2003. Since then he has been on numerous Carnival ships including being part of the inaugural cast of the Carnival Miracle in 2004.

Employment with carnival cruise lines has allowed Dawson to pursue his love of travel and the opportunity to follow his passion for dance and entertainment.

Carnival Cruise Lines has given Dawson the opportunity to persue his passion for dance and entertainment and his love for travel.

Dawson is honoured to be part of the inaugural team of the Carnival Splendor.

Eleanor De Beaulier – Dancer

Ellie was born & raised in Surrey, England. She started her career at the age of 7 playing the part of Lisa-Marie Presley in London’s West End. She trained at Laine Theatre Arts and at 18 she was performing in various shows in the UK and Germany. Ellie began her Carnival career in 2002 and has been dancing around the Caribbean ever since!

William (Paul) Munhollon

William (Paul) Munhollon has been dancing since the age of eleven. Attending classes and competitions around the Seattle and L.A. areas, where he received invaluable training as well as received numerous awards and even a few scholarships for dance. He danced the lead male roles for Ballet Northwest for two years in such ballets as the Nutcracker and Copeilla. He began taking class at Cornish college of the arts in 2000 and shortly thereafter began dancing with Arc dance productions making his professional debut as well as with West lake dance center. He then danced in many productions and performances around the Seattle area including “Joseph and his technicolor dream coat” and the debut of” Peter and the wolf ” as Peter with the Seattle symphony. In 2003 Paul auditioned for Carnival and found a unique niche.

Katie Matthews – Dancer

Born and raised in New Zealand, I have been dancing since the age of 4 and have trained in many different styles including ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Musical Theatre and hip hop. In 2005 I Graduated with a 3 year ‘dance performance diploma’ at the ‘International Ballet Academy’ in Christchurch where I also gained my R.A.D Advanced II Ballet Examination, passing with distinction. Since then HIghlights of my dance career include dancing in a Bollywood Movie, Taking part in the television series ‘So you think you can Dance?’, where I was placed in the top 10 for New Zealand and working with the Royal New Zealand Ballet for their 2006 Season of ‘Giselle’. In January of 2007 I began working for Carnival Cruise lines on board the ‘Inspiration’ and now 1 year later I am currently completing my second Carnival contract dancing on board the ‘Sensation’ and am very excited to be joining the Inaugural Cast for Carnivals newest ship the ‘Splendor’ in April.

Felicity Jowett – Dancer

Felicity was born in England where she took up dancing at the early age of 4 at her local dance school in Cheltenham. At 16 she decided to further her training at the Northern ballet
School, Manchester where she studied Classical Ballet, Contemporary, and Jazzand showcased in a number of Ballets including Giselle, Coppelia and The Nutcracker with the Manchester City Ballet. After successfully auditioning for Carnival in 2005 Felicity has been part of the cast on the Carnival Inspiration, Legend, Triumph and now currently she is excited to be part of the inaugural team on the Carnival Splendor.’

Jo Leharty – Dancer

Jo started dancing at the grand old age of 2 when she attended her mums local dancing school and loved it! At age 18, Jo was awarded a scholarship to attend Performers College, London under the direction of Brian Rogers. Here she underwent a 3 year intensive course achieving a National Diploma in Professional Dance. Whilst at college, Jo performed in numerous cabarets at top London hotels, tv appearances, achieved her teaching qualifications and gained an award for her tap choreography. Upon graduating, Jo began her professional career on the seven seas on the Carnival Valor and then shortly afterwards the Carnival Inspiration. Jo is delighted to be part of the inaugural cast on the Splendor and would like to say a huge thank you to her parents and sister for always being there for her.’

Jeremy Barnes – Dancer

Jeremy is from sunny “down-under” Sydney, Australia. He began his dancing training at 3 years old and studied in RAD Ballet, ISTD Modern, Tap & Jazz. As well as this he has achieved a number of titles in Australia’s National Irish Dancing Championships in both Teams and Solos.

In his dancing career, Jeremy has performed all over the world with an international touring company, “Sydney’s New Generation Dancers” in places such as the UK, Japan and the USA . He has been a featured performer at the Commonwealth Head’s of Government Meeting in Australia and was a performer at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, whilst also having peformed regularly at the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Town Hall.

Jeremy has been with Carnival Cruise Lines for almost 5 years and has enjoyed some of the best experiences of his life. His ship credits include Carnival Conquest, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Destiny, Carnival Freedom and now Carnival Splendor. He feels thankful, honoured and privileged that his love of dance has coincided with his opportunity for traveling and bringing enjoyment to thousands of people!

Louise Powell – Dancer

Born in England, Louise started dancing at the age of 5 purely for medical reasons. During her time at her local dance school, Louise was awarded a scholarship with the British Ballet Organization. This enabled her to spend weekends and summer holidays in London training with some of the countries top teachers and choreographers. At 16, it was apparent that her love of dance wasn’t just a phase; this was to be her career. The next 2 years were spent at Thamesdown Dance Studios in Swindon and then onto professional dance college in London. Whilst at London Studio Centre, Louise earned a Diploma in Dance and experienced life as a professional performer. Her credits include appearing in an ACDC music video and a National UK tour with the Jazz Dance Theatre Company. Since then she has worked for Carnival Cruise Lines and everyday thanks her lucky stars for getting to do what she loves to do.

Lydia Mills – Dancer

Since the age of four Lydia has had extensive training in Ballet, Tap, Modern and Jazz dance, this hobby enabled her to perform and participate in many shows and workshops in her home town of Hull, England.

By the age of sixteen Lydia decided to take dance more seriously, when she was accepted on a three year course at The Doreen Bird Collage of Performing Arts. In this time she had the opportunity to tour cities in England with the collage theater company, performing in such shows as “The Boyfriend” and “Into the Woods”. Lydia graduated from the collage with a diploma in performing arts and numerous teaching qualifications.

In 1999 Lydia started her career with Carnival Cruise Lines.

Over the last nine years she has been a part of many amazing productions shows, met many wonderful people and seen many beautiful ports of call.

Lydia would like to say thank you to CCL for giving her the opportunity to be a part of the inaugural cast on the newest Fun Ship the Carnival Splendor.

Nicola Owen – Dancer

Nicola Owen was born in Bolton in the United Kingdom. She began dance lessons at the age of five. At sixteen she moved to London to attend the Urdang Academy of Ballet & Performing Arts in Covent Garden. In 1995, after three years of training, she graduated from the Urdang Academy with a diploma in a variety of dance styles, A-Levels, and a teaching certificate from the Royal Academy of Dancing.

Nicola then began performing professionally in shows all over the world including: Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Africa, and on cruise ships in the Mediterranean. She joined Carnival in 2001 and has completed several contracts on different Carnival ships. Nicola met her husband whilst working aboard the Carnival Spirit and they were married in England earlier this year. She is thrilled to be a part of the inaugural cast of the Carnival Splendor.

Shelley-Anne Richardson – Dancer

Born in Toronto Canada, Shelley-Anne has been dancing for Carnival Cruise Lines for 2 years. She began dancing at a very young age in a cultural group connecting her back to her Trinidadian roots. Since her professional start, She has been casted in Broadways “Lion King” and Danced for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors. Gracing both the camera and stages behind some of the music industry leaders, Shelley-Anne worked with many famous choreographers including Fatima Robinson, Luther Brown, And Garth Fagan. She has also been found dancing behind Robbie Williams and Rihanna, and has toured with Nelly Furtado!

This charismatic, high energy Business Graduate goes way beyond dance. Her passion for music is the strength of her talents!

“I’m just thankful I’ve made it this far, but i feel like my journey hasn’t even begun!!!”

Congratulations to each and every one of them and I look forward to working with them all…………..looking at them I feel so old……………………..and ugly.

Now let us give a huge pat on the back and a massive congratulatory hug to Carnival Cruise Lines who were the big winners in the FODOR’S GUIDE to European cruising.

FODOR’S COMPLETE GUIDE TO EUROPEAN CRUISING DESIGNATES CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES AS ‘BEST OF CRUISING’ IN NINE CATEGORIES

MIAMI (April 29, 2008) – Carnival Cruise Lines – a relative newcomer in European cruising, entering the market just three years ago – is well represented in the recently published Fodor’s Complete Guide to European Cruises, garnering nine “Best of Cruising” designations, more than double the number of any other cruise line.

Fodor’s Complete Guide to European Cruises is an annual publication providing comprehensive overviews of all major cruise lines operating within the region, along with travel tips, detailed port-of-call information and other helpful content aimed at experienced and first-time cruisers alike.

Carnival’s nine “Best of Cruising” awards include:
* Best Regular Dining Room Cuisine
* Best Specialty Restaurants
* Best Cruise Line For Families
* Best Regular Cabins
* Best Beds
* Best Entertainment At Sea
* Best Sports and Fitness Centers
* Best Shops on Board
* Best Fun & Funky Activities

According to Carnival’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Guest Experience Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival’s nine awards reflect many of the signature elements of a “Fun Ship” cruise – outstanding dining, spacious and comfortable accommodations, modern spa and children’s facilities, and fun-filled activities for guests of all ages, all of which add up to memorable vacations..

“Considering that Carnival has been sailing in Europe for just three years, it is indeed an honor to be named ‘Best of Cruising’ by Fodor’s in so many different categories,” Rodriguez said. “We pride ourselves on providing our guests with fun, high quality vacations – regardless of where our ‘Fun Ships’ are sailing – and this recognition is a wonderful validation of our efforts,” he added.

“By providing the ‘Best of Cruising’ to readers, Fodor’s identifies the cruise lines and ships that offer the highest quality in features sought by today’s passengers. I’m pleased that Carnival Cruise Lines has consistently met and exceeded our expectations in nine ‘Best of Cruising’ categories,” said Linda Coffman, who, along with veteran travel journalists Ralph Grizzle and Lindsay Bennett, serve as editors of Fodor’s “Best of Cruising” section.
Carnival’s entry into Europe began in 2005 with a series of cruises aboard Carnival Liberty and, over the past three years, the line has tripled its number of voyages within the region.
This year, Carnival will deploy two ships in Europe for the first time, including its newest and largest ship, the 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor, which will launch the line’s first-ever 12-day Northern Europe program. Joining the Carnival Splendor will be the Carnival Freedom, which will operate Carnival’s popular Mediterranean, Greece and Turkey cruises. Carnival will deploy two ships to Europe in 2009, as well.

In addition to European cruises, Carnival operates three- to 18-day voyages to destinations such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, New England, the Panama Canal, Bermuda and South America aboard its 22-vessel fleet.

For additional information and reservations on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.
###

Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is a proud member of the exclusive World’s Leading Cruise Lines. Our exclusive alliance also includes Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Costa Cruises, and The Yachts of Seabourn. Sharing a passion to please each guest, and a commitment to quality and value, our member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Together, we offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world’s most desirable destinations.

Considering Carnival is relatively new in the European market I think this is astonishing and in fact can you help me with something please.

Three years ago I read in the cruise press that some felt that Carnival Cruise Lines had no place in Europe and our product would not transfer well there…………….well……lets send those people a message………………follow me please.

STEP 1………..Place the tip of your right hand on your nose
STEP 2……….After three move the fingers of the same hand up and down rapidly while at the same time sticking your tongue out of your mouth making a gaseous explosion sound.

So, to all the few people who wrote that Carnival had no place in Europe and to the non-Carnival brands who didn’t win any awards…………… here is a message from all of us.
after three……………..1…………………….2………………………..3.

I will pause to allow you all to clean your computer monitors and thanks for your participation.

Heidi comes home tomorrow and she is stunned at the 114 comments wishing her a happy birthday as I am as well. You are all so kind and I hope you all know how much you mean to us both. My Mum and Dad read the blog everyday and they wanted me to say a big hello to you all………….that’s Hilda and Nev by the way.

As you know my Dad’s office is a shrine to Carnival Corporation and the model of the Aida ship is the latest addition. Dad has also printed every single blog which are filed in special binders which one day when I am old and grey…………..OK………….older and more grey…………I will be able to look back on. So, a big hello to you all from Mum and Dad. Many people say I get my sense of humor from my Mum and I certainly have not been handed down my Dad’s organization skills and there is more chance of Hilary Clinton coming under attack from sniper fire in Bosnia than me ever being as organized as my Dad………………..they are however wonderful parents who I have so much to thank them for.

As I said, Heidi will be home tomorrow and then bright and early on Friday morning I will drive the 150 miles to Southampton in my Range Rover which according to Al Gore means I will have killed three polar bears and melted an iceberg along the way.

We will be visiting the Ventura and from what I have read in the British Press this is a ship that has taken the market by storm. I am particularly excited to see the Circus School………so if you never here from me again it means I have runaway to join the circus.

By the way, instead of buying Heidi a gift I booked a little four-day holiday for her next week…………she does not know about this……………I will tell you more tomorrow….ssshhhh

Did you see the comment on the blog from our friends who sailed on the QE2 to Southampton and then boarded the Queen Mary 2 when all three Queens were together? Well, as you will have read they all sailed with me on the Carnival Sensation. I thank them therefore for proving the point that people who sail with Cunard are ………. sometimes ……….the same people who sail with us at Carnival and shows massive potential for cross selling the brands as Big Ed mentioned…………..its something I want to work on for summer 2009…………….I have a cunning plan…………….anyone interested?

So, back to my new friend I met on the plane.

I am not exactly Mr Chatty during a flight. As you know I would rather marry a girl called Ding from Thailand and on my wedding night discover she is really a he called Dong and then be forced to publicly get divorced live on the Judge Judy Show which was being filmed in Paris………………than have to fly.

Bearing this in mind you can obviously understand that I may come across as a rude sod by the other passengers.

Anyway, I had no choice on the flight yesterday as soon as I sat down I was met by a handshake and big “hiya” from the chap in the seat next to me. It was an amazing feat that he could actually raise his hand as his wrist contained the largest gold watch I had ever seen which was covered in diamonds. He obviously caught me looking because before we exchanged names he took great pleasure in telling me it was a “Jacob something” and it was a gift to himself after his divorce…………I wanted to say that it was the most disgusting thing I had seen since I caught sight of myself sitting with my legs open wearing my Dolly Parton dress …………but instead found myself saying it was stunning and that was me……with a new best friend for the rest of the 11 hours.

Now, at this point I want to say that during the flight he asked me what business I was in and being as tired as I was I told him………….the truth. It turned out that Cliff ………that was his name…………had never been on a cruise……………….this surprised me as I guess I always think that everyone in America has been on one. This of course is stupid of me but the one positive thing that came out of having to spend time talking to Cliff was that by the time we landed he was going to take a cruise on the Carnival Paradise as he lived nearby and then if he liked it a trans-Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 as he liked the sound of the two level suites.

Cliff has a web site and a company that rents things………………and those things ……….. are………………………..dogs…………….yep……………………dogs. His company is called FLEXPETZ  and as his business card tells me he is the President. Cliff explained that as many Americans are too busy to have a full time dog…………….you can rent one.

As he told me this I started laughing to myself thinking that could only happen in America ……….however that laugh was short lived when he told me that he had just started the same service in the UK which was doing well and in fact he was on the plane to meet with his board of directors whose names are Fido, Max and Scooby.

Seriously though…………..can you believe it……………..rent a dog? Cliff told me you can rent one for a few hours………..a few days………a week………or a month. I listened to Cliff preach the word on how this was making him a fortune and was paying for his new villa in Mexico and as he rambled on I sat there trying to think who the heck would rent a dog.

Would you find yourself sitting at home one Monday night and your wife says “Honey, shall we go to Blockbuster and rent a DVD?”…………….and you reply………………”No darling…….but how about we rent a Poodle for a few hours?”

I mentioned this to Heidi who if you ask her has just one regret about living on a ship …………she can’t have a dog. Hearing about this site she immediately looked at the web pictures and I could hear her in Holland oooing and ahhhing here in the UK.

Have a look at the FLEXPETZ website which clearly states it can find a dog to meet the customers’ requirements. Therefore, I want the biggest dog I can find ……….a Bull Mastiff or a huge Rottweiler…………….I will rent the dog for a day………………feed it 20 pieces of the Chicken I ate on American Airlines ………………and then take it for a walk along the streets of Paris…………………….maybe ret a dog isn’t such a bad idea after all.

I will write as always tomorrow

Goodnight
Your Rent A 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.