This morning while passing through the theatre one of our technicians gave me something that basically looked like a piece of wire… It didn’t appear to be the best gift I’d ever received until he explained what it was for. “It’s so you can connect your Eyepod to your mobile phone,” he said.

I pretended that this was the best gift I had ever received, thanked him and walked off.

Why would I want to connect my Eyepod to my mobile phone? What would they possibly have to say to one another? It would be like putting a Carnival smokestack on the Staten Island Ferry…………… fun, in a “look at that” sort of way, but totally pointless.

Which brings me on to the BlackBerry. I was told when I got one that it to would be totally pointless and that I would hate it. I agreed with the people who made that statement but now if I misplaced it would be like loosing my mouth and my ears.

For those of you who have been living in a cave, the Amazon or Mississippi who think a BlackBerry is a fruit, let me explain. It’s a mobile phone that can also receive and send e-mails. This means that no matter where you are on the planet someone can always get hold of you to ask if you’d like some Viagra.

Heidi hates them………. Every time she gets to the interesting part of a story my BlackBerry chirps and she can see that I am not listening any more. The sound of the chirp has me brainwashed and the sound has me ignoring those around me as I quickly look to see if I have been promoted to Chairman, my blog has won the Pulitzer prize or its Jessica Simpson asking to come over for a cup of tea…………….usually its an offer of a bigger penis.

Someone said that going out for dinner with me was like going out for dinner with someone with an incurable itch………..the blackberry itch…

I have tried to play down the “itch” but I am hooked……I depend on the little blue machine as I did my favorite teddy bear called Pumper when I was 5.

Last night I was e mailing my mate on my raspberry as we watched Italy lose to Spain in the European Football Championship and as we were I am sure that even though we were hundreds of miles apart we were both getting bollockings at the same time from our wives………….. for ignoring them and scratching that Blackberry itch.

It’s Monday and Italy is in mourning. Their national team lost last night to Spain and the faces of the shipyard workers and our own Italian Officers reflect the defeat. I wondered if therefore that this misery would result in less testing of the PA system and if they did need to continue then the music would be something a little more somber than usual….Opera maybe……….nope………….its back to rap and crap. Honestly this is fraying my last nerve and I feel like calling them and telling them the PA system works……..it works……….for the love of God please turn this music off ! But instead I sit here and if it goes on much longer I guess I will start to like this music and that will be …..off to the shops to buy Eminem 25 Cents Peas new album.

I am sure many of you are reading the last few days of blogs for the first time. It’s strange but Monday is always the day with our highest number of slaps. This means you may have missed the Cunard video and the information about the Carnival Dream which the national press will write about today whereas thanks to the undercover work of PA 007 we were able to break to you on Saturday and Sunday.

So, please make sure you go back over the last few days, view the Cunard video and then have a look at the Carnival Dream press release and the renderings of the cabins. I love the one of the bathroom which as you will see has one standard bathroom and an additional room with bathtub, shower a sink…………..this is brilliant for families as are the family cabins also shown in the rendering.

I read your comments and the one word that seemed to be popular was “woohoo.” Yep, woohoo indeed and I thank you all also for recognizing that PA 007 put her/his neck on the line. The Carnival Dream is going to be stunning and already I am being asked if I will be there and if we can have a Bloggers cruise in 2010. I really have no clue where I will be in 2009 or 2010 but when I know……..you will know……….and one thing is for sure………I will be onboard the Carnival Dream as she sails out of New York either as a CD, a guest or an aerobics instructor.

As soon as I have more information either official or from PA 007 I will of course let you know.
Meanwhile, back on the splendid looking Carnival Splendor here are some photos of the Cool and The Grand Piano bar.

The Cool will feature a duo called The Wave who plays music for dancing from yesterday and today.

Then we have the Piano Bar where the one and only Ron Passalacqua will entertain in his own unique style. In some of the photos you will see the orchestra rehearsing.

Then we have the wine bar which serves………ummm………wine……….and, martinis and mojitos.

Would you join me in congratulating our old friend and sometime blogging Cruise Director Chris “Bubba” Roberts who as you can see in these photos made a young lady very happy.

We wish Bubba and Julie who works as a purser onboard much happiness together.

Now, a few days ago Holland America’s new flagship Eurodam left the shipyard to start its inaugural season. Everyone at Carnival Corporation is very excited about this vessel and who better to tell us just how excited than Holland America’s President and C.E.O Mr Stein Kruse…………………here he is……………in his own words.

1. First of all, congratulations in advance on your new flag ship Eurodam. How do you feel?

Thank you and it feels just great! We now have more than 21,000 berths in the Holland America Line fleet, which allows us to deliver our award winning Signature of Excellence cruise experience to even more people. Looking back over the past 9 years since I joined Holland America Line, we had 8 ships at that time, since then we have disposed of 3 older ships and added 9 new, larger ships and in so doing, essentially added one ship per year and doubled our capacity during this period. It is truly exciting to be part of a company that has grown so significantly, and so well over this relatively short timeframe.

2. What are some of the features on board the Eurodam that you are specifically looking forward unveiling to the passengers?

The Eurodam is a truly elegant ship and our guests will feel that it is a very familiar, yet at the same time new and exciting ship with many new, unique spaces. I think the Silk Den will really WOW people. And, moving the popular Explorations Café powered by New York Times to the Crow’s Nest really works well. And, there is the new look of the staterooms, which is so fresh and comforting. And, well so many other great spaces. Your readers will have to come aboard to see for themselves. In the meantime, people can visit the www.eurodamnews.com, our blog about the ship. This will give them a sneak peek.

3. The naming ceremony will be a grand affair in Rotterdam. What can you tell our readers about it?

The dedication of the Eurodam will no doubt become yet another important moment in our company’s proud 135-year long history as Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will name the ship. In planning the ceremony and events, we really have tried to reach out to a number of audiences. In fact, the whole event will be webcast live at www.hollandamerica.com . The event is scheduled for July 1st from 3-5pm local time in Rotterdam. Our guests for the naming will include past guests; Holland America Line employees past and present, travel agents, press and local dignitaries and VIPs. In all, we will have about 2,500 people attending the event.

4. The name of Holland America Line will be even further enhanced with the addition of this new ship. For somebody who has never sailed on a Holland America ship before, what do you think the reasons are that so many passengers are so loyal to your cruise line?

Our product is truly premium, in fact we are the undisputed leader in premium cruising. Our ships are thoughtfully designed, mid-sized ships with roomy, elegant and comfortable finishes. Holland America Line also leads the industry in itinerary planning, so the variety, innovation and detail that go into our worldwide deployment make a big impact. But the number one reason our guests are so loyal is the superb service that is provided. Our service levels are simply unparalleled at this scale.

5. The highest quality of food has always been words associated with Holland America. Please can you highlight some of the dining options on the Eurodam?

Tamarind will be a new pan-Asian reservations-only restaurant with a capacity of 144 diners. The Silk Den, a new lounge adjacent to Tamarind, will overlook the magrodome, offering guests a view of a new, colorful poolside water feature.

Canaletto is a new family-style Italian restaurant for dinner in a section of the Lido restaurant. Although reservations will be encouraged for this casual dining venue, walk-ups will be accepted. Canaletto will have a capacity of 72.

Slice in our new pizzeria, just aft of the pool that will serve pizza during the day and evening.

There are many new menu items at the reservations-only Pinnacle Grill which features Pacific Northwest specialties including selected cuts of Sterling Silver beef and superb seafood items, as well as carefully selected wines from renowned Pacific Northwest vineyards.

Eurodam’s main dining room, the Rembrandt dining room, will offer a menu that ranges from steak and lobster to vegetarian to entrées from the region of the itinerary.

The Lido, our casual dining option, is bright and airy, and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Complimentary room service is of course available 24 hours a day, including dinner dishes from the Main Dining Room menu during dining hours.

6. Along with the food, the other great tradition is of the finest and friendliest service. The crew of the Eurodam must be very excited to be part of this adventure. Can you tell us something about who they are and where they come from?

One of our secrets to success is that when we bring out a new ship, we tap into our existing employee base to help staff her, so typically only about 10 percent of the crew on the new ship is new to our company. So it is with Eurodam, and when the first guests come aboard, they will see many familiar faces. The Eurodam is commanded by Captain Jeroen van Donselaar, who is a well-liked and popular captain. Hotel Manager Stan Kuppens is a real pro and has been working tirelessly to have the ship ready for her first guests.

7. Once the Eurodam naming ceremony is over, can you tell us where she will be heading and some of the exciting ports she will be visiting?

The Eurodam will spend the summer cruising the Baltic region; head on a transatlantic in late August, arriving in New York on Labor Day weekend. She will then spend the fall in Canada/New England, before cruising the winter in the Caribbean.


8. I also understand, one of your ships recently had a major re-fit and from what I hear she looks fantastic. Can you tell us which ship this was and what work was carried out?

The ms Zuiderdam, Holland America’s first ship in its Vista-class series, spent an extensive period in dry dock. The transformation includes 34 new guest staterooms, the addition of an Explorations Café—powered by The New York Times, a larger Pinnacle Grill restaurant, the addition of a new Pinnacle Bar, increased seating in the Lido Restaurant, and an environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art “wet cleaning machine” (for dry cleaning).

In addition to the renovations, the 1,918-guest Zuiderdam will continue several much-admired Holland America Line features: the innovative Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine; the Greenhouse Spa and Salon; and a youth facility that includes the teens-only Loft.

Amenities aboard the Zuiderdam represent the hallmarks of a Holland America Line cruise experience, keeping in line with our premium cruise company’s accent on providing a sophisticated and refined cruise-travel lifestyle. Staterooms include plush Euro-top Mariner’s Dream Beds, deluxe waffle/terry-cloth robes, Egyptian cotton towels, flat-panel TVs, DVD players, make-up mirrors with halo lighting, massage showerheads, professional-grade hair dryers, fresh flowers and complimentary fruit baskets.

To add to the cruising pleasure of her guests, the Zuiderdam now has an expanded-and-updated shopping arcade, featuring the exclusive, chic jewelry shop, Merabella. All hardwood floors have been refinished and additional artwork graces the passageways. A new high-end home theatre-style screening room has also been added for small group audio-visual presentations, to view videos and DVDs, and to accommodate private parties.

9. The Eurodam blog is brilliant and I know many of our readers check in every day to see what is happening. Are there any plans for further company blogs in the future?

Thanks for saying that John. Coming from someone who has such a successful blog, that is indeed a compliment. We are finalizing what is next for the blog right now. In the meantime, we are going 150% on www.eurodamnews.com. Each day during the inaugural, we will feature special correspondent reports, podcasts, mini movies and more. And, of course, the naming will be featured live on the site as well.

10. Can you tell us the tradition of naming your ships with the word “dam” at the end? Where does it come from and does it become more difficult to find new “dam” words?

In our company’s proud 135 year history, we have had about 160 vessels. Not all, but almost all of the company’s cargo ships ended in the word ‘dijk’ and similarly almost all of our passenger vessels have ended with the word “dam”. Some of the first “dam” ships back in the 1880’s were Rotterdam, our first ship, Amsterdam, Edam and Zaandam named from Dutch towns, and the “dam” name stuck and has become part of our proud heritage and a tribute to Holland, our flag state and original home.

Congratulations to you Stein and all the Captain and Crew of the Eurodam and I am sure we will be logging on to www.hoallndamerica.com to see the naming ceremony……….live.

I must also point my blogger friends to read and listen to award winning journalist Paul Lasley who will be experiencing the thrill of a new ship delivery. You can find his reports on www.eurodamnews.com.

Don’t forget that the naming ceremony of the Carnival Splendor will also be shown live right here ……………..I also have some more video blogs coming up very soon.

When women crest the brow of middle age and start on the high-speed, unstoppable plunge towards being old, there are many ways to pretend that it isn’t happening. Breasts, ravaged by gravity and babies, can be re-upholstered. Tummies can be vacuumed away. There are also exotic creams made from the root of a rare plant found only in Peru that soothe wrinkles and exterminate cellulite.

I saw Joan Collins walk into a restaurant once and noted how all the women stare in open-mouthed bewilderment. Here she is, aged 70, and she doesn’t look a day over 50.

Now, compare and contrast the fortunes of Ms. Collins with the plight of Barry Manilow. We hear he’s had plastic surgery and we think that there is a man in touch with his feminine side.

I read that big tough macho karate kicking superstar Steven Segal is allegedly said to have had Botox injections to stop his cheeks sagging……….like his career.

Why am I commenting on this? Well, yesterday I met with the Cloud 9 Spa Manager Mia. The Spa is INCREDIBLE and tomorrow night I will take the camera up there and post all the photos for you to see.

Anyway, as Mia and I met to discuss the program etc she kept trying to convince me to try the various treatments designed to stop the natural course of age and to exfoliate the puss and mucus which apparently my face is full of…………………..nice.

You see, I am old fashioned. I like my hair cut only when I really need to and when I do I like it cut by a man called Giuseppe or Dave and not by Chantelle or Porsche. As for all this personal grooming……………well…real men should never do the following.

1. Wear “product” in their hair, whatever the hell that is.
2. Men who use a hairdryer……and carry a comb in their top pocket and use it in public.
3. Men who wear sandals……and sandals with long black socks
4. Men who take vitamin tablets because Chuck Norris told them to on an infomercial
5. Men who go to the dentist when they don’t have a toothache
6. Men who wear tight jeans designed so you can see their thingies

I passed this information onto Mia who responded that I needed to move with the times and that there was nothing feminine about having “treatments” and that she had the perfect one for me. It’s a seaweed wrap that is both relaxing and rejuvenating …………well I said “so is watching my big screen plasma while eating a pie.” ……….she then used a word that always gets to me…she said she was “ disappointed” that I would not try these treatments.

When I was younger, my bank manager Mr. Middleton would write from time to time saying he was “saddened” to note that I hadn’t done anything about my overdraft. This was no big deal. And nor would it have mattered if he’d said he was “angry,” “furious” or he was considering throwing himself in front of a train

He could have been whatever he liked, but it still wouldn’t have altered the fact that I had three thousand of his bank’s pounds and no intention of paying bugger all of it back.

But then one day he wrote to say he was “disappointed” and that changed everything.

That meant he’d had high hopes for me and that I had let him down. Suddenly it was all my fault.

I never forgot the effect that word had on me and today I use Mr. Middleton’s word when I have to chastise my staff…………I don’t shout or yell………..I just say that I am disappointed………….they immediately changes their ways, they become the best they can be and sometimes because they are so distraught that I am disappointed in them…….. they buy me a gift .

So, as not to disappoint Mia the Spa Manager I will later this week allow myself to be covered in creams, hot and cold stones will be placed over my naked body ……….and I will hours later return to the cabin smelling of seaweed . I will also have to live with the knowledge that after having had to rub exotic wax onto my bottom the life of the Spa therapist will never be the same……………….she will need treatment of her own ……….psychiatric treatment.

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.