Over the past century there have been a handful of ships that stand out as especially innovative, brilliant and important. If they were paintings, they’d be in the Rijks Museum. If they were animals, Texans would have their heads on a wall. These are the Shakespeare ships. The Mona Lisas and the Mercedes 300 SL – Gull Wing………..these are Mozart ships.

And sitting at the very top of the list is of course The Queen Elizabeth 2. People in cream turtleneck jumpers and blue blazers festooned with shiny gold buttons and wearing sensible shoes speak in reverential whispers about how the engines were cast with metal from a hundred Rolls Royces and how its sleek design was way ahead of her time. They talk of tea and scones in the Queens Room and dancing the tango before dining on Peacock and chips, many are so overcome with emotion; they have to go to the toilet.

This gives me a problem because if I were to draw up a list of the five most important cruise ships ever built I get the Queen Elizabeth 2 and her sister The Queen Mary 2 and then……..ummmm………ummmmm…………bugger.

To me, these two ships have to be on the list just as the Beatles and Elvis would be on the same top five most important musicians, Michael Jordan and Larry the Bird would be on the basketball list of names while Simon Bowel and Ryan Seacrap would be on my list of the most annoying people on TV.

Now, let me explain why I am having this conundrum. This morning I went to visit the Carnival Splendor and while I was there looking at where best to hold certain activities and events I met one of the chaps from Fincantieri who have built many a vessel for Carnival and our sister companies. As we chatted he showed great pride in his work which he should do and then said that “The Carnival Splendor” is the most important ship in the world.

Now, maybe something was lost in translation between his poor English and my even poorer Italian but after I left him I started thinking…………was this the most important ship in the world?

This gives me a problem because if I were to draw up a list of the five most important ships ever made, I’m not exactly sure the Carnival Splendor wouldn’t be on it, which as her Cruise Director is bit like an art collector saying he doesn’t see why people get in such a fuss about the Sistine Chapel.

Now, don’t get me wrong………..the Carnival Splendor is the most important cruise vessel in the world right now and I am beyond honored to be part of her history………….but will she be on your top five list or mine?………….. She will provide the finest of vacations for thousands and thousands of people but will history remember her?

That’s why I am having problems putting my top five list together. Take away the fun you had and the great staff who served you and look at the ships that are sailing today.

Queen Mary 2 revitalized a brand and became a ship so mighty and so powerful that she deserves to be on my list.

However, take a Something Of the Seas ship………..will it be remembered in years to come?……….Nope………….it won’t……….and to put  a ship like that on the list is as wrong as putting a man of my size ……………..in a thong.

So, what are the five most important passenger carrying ships of all time?………….My knowledge of days past are limited so it will be interesting to read your list and the reasons why you have included them. Please though…………lets not include the ship that began wit the letter “T”………..it may have been a great ship but if that terrible incident had not occurred would we have remembered it.

Think carefully and I will look forward to reading your lists ………………. remember ……………don’t put a ship on your list just because you met the man or woman of your dreams onboard……………that would be like putting the Harlem Globe Trotters Curly and Meadowlark on the most important basketball players list.

Back to the current most important cruise ship in the world the Carnival Splendor. Here are some photos from our trip today. Hope you enjoy them.


Food from Holland for the ship’s crew


Gold Pearl Restaurant


Gold Pearl Restaurant


Protection for the piano


Robusto Cigar Bar


Robusto Cigar Bar


The Cool


View of the ship yard from the back of the ship on Deck 9


Looks like Cunard Funnels


Work being done on The Grill


Pinnacle Supper Club


Brand new carpet and someone walks in with paint on his/her shoes


The Seaside Theatre big screen


Ocean view Jacuzzi on Deck 10


The broadcast center


Washing the balconies


Washing the balconies


The new Costa Pacifica


The bow of the Costa Pacifica

Oh, by the way……………fancy a slice of Pizza

I forgot to tell you the name of the ship I saw from the bedroom balcony in Sorrento ………and was reminded by PA 007 today. The answer was………Pacific Princess.

Were you right?

Costa set World Record longest pizza in Sydney, Australia.

The event took place in the Italian district. The 221 meters long pizza (the Costa Classica lenght) will be donated to help poor people together with other monetary and cruise prize charitable donations.

I thank you all for your kind words about Myleene our new Godmother. I wanted to show you some more photos but actually should direct you to her website www.myleeneklass.co.uk.

She has a blog and a post book thingy so why not drop by and let her know how excited you are that she has been chosen as the Godmother of the super Carnival Splendor ……….oh, and let her know I said hello and can I have an autograph for PA 007?

On the subject of the Carnival Freedom, I see that there are some disappointed guests and some wondering why we decided to leave Europe. I even saw one slightly sarcastic comment on one of the board thingies that said “Carnival has finally realized it does not belong in Europe.”……………well……………what can I say to that chap except……..sorry mate, you are talking bollocks. We have had three very successful seasons in Europe and Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor will make it four special years sailing the Grand Med, Greece and Turkey and now the Baltic.

There were many factors that Carnival Freedom will remain in the Caribbean and they were made clearly by our brilliant management team. Certainly fuel is something we all have to watch carefully and that also may have had a bearing on the matter ……… however, the Carnival Liberty will remain in Europe in 2009 and visit a variety of  exciting ports of call

However, saying all of that I realise that when we change ships itineraries or change the dates of an inaugural cruise we often (like so many companies) don’t have the opportunity to say “sorry”…………………..I know that when we do things like this we affect people’s vacation plans and so, on this occasion and for times past, please allow me to say “sorry” for any inconvenience caused. If anyone has concerns please feel free to e-mail me by posting a comment on the blog marked URGENT PLEASE REPLY……and I will.

Meanwhile for those of you who have the taste for seeing Europe onboard a Carnival ship in 2009……………well come aboard the Carnival Liberty……………I may see you there.

I see Bill Zydecocruiser also mentioned that he thinks the Carnival Dream may be calling at a few European ports next year……………….is he right?…………………well PA 007 will let me know ASAP and I will let you all know as well.

Finally, in the news section we come to the subject of Heidi. Many of you wrote expressing your concern about me not having her with me. ………………well             yes …………… I will be Laurel without Hardy………….A dog without a bone…………..bacon without eggs………a penguin without its tap dancing shoes………………George Hamilton without his tan……..you get the picture. The fact of the matter is that she has worked ………….really hard for 11 years and now she needs to rest a bit and enjoy our new house………..hopefully one day with a John Jr running around.

So, come October she will go home…………I will continue on the Carnival Splendor until the November/December sometime.

As for next year……………..well I don’t know where I will be outside of our Bloggers Cruise in February. I do know that I will be employed (unless they discover that really I am rubbish at everything) by Carnival and regardless if I am on land or sea I will be blogging everyday until the 50,000 people who read each week tell me to bugger off.

I have returned from my morning onboard and here I am in the lobby of the three-star Presidente Hotel. It did have four stars but considering I had to wait 20 minutes to be served two cups of coffee and a Diet Coke today I crept down in the night and took down one of the stars from the sign outside.
There should be a law where stars are given only to hotels whose staff gives a damn just as there should be laws against flying with very young babies on long haul flights.

“Oh No” I hear you cry……….here he goes again with one of his grumpy flying stories …………. ummmm…………….well…………..yep………..here I go.

The main reason I am writing this is as I do so a few meters away is a mum with a very young baby who judging by how loud he is crying will soon be the new Pavarotti. The thing is Mama is doing bugger all to stop Pavarotti Jr crying, unless her enjoying a cocktail with her friend counts. This has been going on now for five minutes and for all Mama knows Pavarotti Junior may have been stung by a wasp or swallowed a piano ………….she doesn’t seem to care.

So, as he screams and those in the lobby cover their ears and the staff do what they do best which is bugger all…………….I am reminded of a flight I took pre blog.

It was from London to Miami and on We Don’t Go All The Way Airlines ……..or Virgin as they are known.

They have very strict rules. You can’t carry explosives in the soles of your Nikes, you can’t get onboard if you have drunk a vat of vodka, you cant have a cigarette or rumpy pumpy in the plane’s toilets and because of the world we live in if you dare make a joke with the stewardess about anything on any subject you are tackled by her and the rest of the girls, strapped to the seat, the plane is forced to land at the nearest airport where you are arrested for being to cheerful and forced to spend 90 days in jail trying to avoid a man called Big Bubba.

No I want to make it absolutely clear I love kids and hope that soon Heidi and I are blessed with child. However, I would never take any of my children on a long-haul flight until they were old enough to grasp the concept of what we were doing.

I remember this flight because it was the very first time I had, through air miles and stealing money from Heidi’s purse been able to afford a Business Class flight. It is simply not fair to impose your screaming child on other people, people who have paid thousands of pounds for a flat bed and therefore the promise of some sleep………..harsh I know but I remember thinking this as the crying began.

The crying began as the cabin crew served pre flight drinks and gave us those little bags with a toothbrush and smelly stuff in it and built to an Ozzy Osborne wail as we reached the cruising altitude. It went on, at heavy metal volume, without stopping, until we began the descent nine hours later. At which point, thanks to a change in pressure on the baby’s tiny ear holes, the noise reached such volume that I thought the planes windows would shatter and we would all become part of Wolf Blister’s CNN breaking news.

And what do you suppose the mother did to calm her infant? Feed it some warm milk from her bosom or a bottle? Read it a story, show it pictures of a tap dancing Penguin? Nope. She pressed the button that turns the seat into a bed and pretended to go to sleep. I remember thinking that she was not only a useless mother but also that she must have lost her ears in a tragic accident where both her ears were severed by a food blender ……………how could she sleep through this?

While she was sleeping Dad tried to look after it. This only increased the volume from its tiny lungs as a man whom because of his hectic work life the baby hardly knew, and who was bouncing him on his knee. …………..it did no good and even through the noise canceling headphones blaring out music and movies ………..I spent the entire nine hours listening to the baby with the giant lungs howl and prayed that he would not be on my flight home.

It was only as we landed and taxied to our gate that I realised why Mum had let the kid cry and did bugger all about it. She looked at the husband who looked back at her with eyes that can only look like they did after smoking a palm tree or flying with a very young baby for 9 hours.

His was a look of despair…………her eyes though seemed to say. “If you’re going to play golf while we’re on holiday, you can be child minder on the plane. I spend all day with those bloody kids. while you are at work  so during this flight……………….I’m doing bugger all.” ………..and you know what……………..having heard the Olympic World Universal Gold medal Winning crying baby champion for nine hours………………..I couldn’t blame her.

If only the overhead lockers were sound proof.

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.