An Opinionated Blog

June 25, 2008 -

John Heald

I sat there with my bowl of Muesli and fruit ready to face the challenges of the day. The Officers mess was quiet at 7:15 am and apart from Blanca the waitress I was all alone. Then, in came a chap I had never seen before and ignoring the 15 other empty tables…………he came and sat next to me.

He introduced himself as ………well………..I better not write his name here…………..but I can tell you that he was from New Hampshire and when he discovered I was from England he got very excited and told me “Really………that’s awesome because I have an old Jagwarr”………..I realized he meant Jaguar and then I realized something much worse………….he was going to tell me all about it…………… 7:15 am in the morning ……………..and with my mind spinning with blogs and new ship stuff ……………. OH joy !

I don’t want to be rude about this man but I have no choice……………but he was probably the most boring man I have ever met.

You might think you know a bore. You may once have sat next to an accountant on a long-haul flight to Auckland. You’ve probably watched one of those four-hour black and white arty French films or seen Bob Dylan live. You may even have been forced as a child to read Shakespeare. But trust me on this; you do not understand the true meaning of tedium until you’ve had breakfast with a fan of the D-type Jag.

I love cars but this guy loved them like he was married to damn thing, and even as he shoveled in forkful’s of scrambled egg and sausage he kept going and going like the Duracell bunny.

He spoke about the people who he drove with every Sunday as even told me the chassis numbers of each car. I had so much do but he never once paused long enough for me to be able to say “Well, nice talking to you” before buggering off as quick as I could ……….

After 15 minutes I began to feel a blend of hatred and absolute lethargy. I wanted to lean across the table and stab him in the eye with a fork for taking up this much time of my busy day………but I couldn’t because I felt all tired and drowsy………….. I had been hypnotized by Jagwar man.

Opinions…………..everyone has one………….everyone is entitled to one……………… my mate Mike in Kansas who posted this comment.

“Just read the press release above and looked at the deck plans and have to say that this is very disappointing to say the least. What is innovative about this ship?

I was expecting something new but all we have here is another Conquest class on steroids. The outer promenade deck has glass that will be shoulder high so how can anyone enjoy the sea air? People can look down on you from above while in the hot tubs on the promenade deck and also sunning in the lounge chairs. Also it looks as though Carnival is just trying to catch up to the competition. Disney added two bathrooms on their original ships. Royal Caribbean added family staterooms, water parks and the cantilevered hot tubs so none of this is innovative at all.”

Now, I am sure everyone reading this is expecting me to don my amour, jump on my trusty steed and charge head long into battle to defend the honour of Carnival Cruise Lines………………but I am not going to.

Mike has an opinion…………………I respect it greatly even though I obviously disagree ……………..and think Mike might actually be in the industry himself. It is also possible that Mike might actually be a lady. Now, I am not casting dispersions on Mike’s standing as a man, however, I do think it might be a cover name. I may be wrong and if I am, Mike I am truly sorry.

The fact that he refers to the Carnival Dream as a Conquest class on steroids is very interesting as I am sure the hundreds of thousands of people who have had the vacation of a lifetime on one of these class of ships will be jumping for joy in the knowledge that this massively popular class of ships has gotten bigger and better………even if it has taken some illegal steroid medication to achieve it.

So, Mike……………thanks for your opinion …………..I don’t agree with you……………but I respect the fact that you took the time to express yours.

Does anyone else have an opinion?………………….Let’s all share ours with each other.
Now, back to the present and here are some photos of the Gold Pearl Dining Room and the El Morocco Aft Lounge

Well, the air conditioning is on and the PA testing is over…………for now. A sense of urgency seems to have suddenly sprung up amongst the shipyard workers as they complete the outstanding work. The crew is working very hard in their respective areas and as each hour passes the ship gets closer to the big day.

On Friday we will have a General Boat Drill at 10 am followed by a crew meeting at which I will have a little fun with everyone as well as introducing the Captain who will say a few words as well.

Now, I mentioned yesterday that someone from AIDA had written to me saying how much they had enjoyed the “We are Cunard ” video and that they also had one that was just as good. Well, I think they may be right. Have a look at this film that was made as was Cunard’s for internal viewing only but is now available for the world to see.

Ja Gerne means “Yes, Please” which is the literal translation but what it actually means is that it is your pleasure to help, serve and assist……….Ja Gerne sums up perfectly Das Clubschiffs of AIDA.
Enjoy the movie.

By the way, I have not forgotten about the Samantha Brown interview I promised you last week. I am waiting for her to return with the answers and I should be able to post them very soon. If you missed the show featuring Samantha on the Carnival Inspiration, it will be repeated on Thursday. Details are here.

This morning I had my safety briefing from the Staff Captain, Safety Officer and Environmental Officer. We discussed the boat drills and various evacuation scenarios. Then I sat through a 40-minute briefing about chemicals, the environment and the new and improved fire fighting procedures here on the Carnival Splendor……….as I sat there my mind drifted back to when I was in school.

At school I used to adore physics lessons. The laboratory was full of things that could be accelerated at great speed either into the teacher, when his back was turned, or more usually through the window.

In fact the only thing I loved more than physics was chemistry, because we could put acid in one another’s lunch boxes and make bombs.

No, really. Put a tiny piece of sodium in a bit of water and you had a fizz that could blow up another boy’s homework. Put a lump of the stuff into a sink full of water and you could take down the entire classroom. I hated my teacher Mr. Reynolds because he hated me because I was crap at chemistry. When he would be sitting at his desk I would walk behind him and sprinkle it in his hair………………………. and hope for rain.

Unfortunately this sort of thing is no longer allowed in school laboratories. All the dangerous liquids are kept under lock and key and no child is ever allowed to sprinkle polonium onto another boy’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

This afternoon I will be meeting with loads of very important people to finalize the arrangements for the naming ceremony. There will be VP’s – SVP’s – VIP’s and me, needing a P. There’s a trend with party invitations to be a bit vague about when guests should arrive. I had one the other day that said the “do” would start after church and before lunch.

I hope it’s a meeting where someone says ” I need this, that, and this and that and I need it done by 9:14 pm tomorrow.”…….If not…………you are all fired. These are my kind of meetings and not those wishy-washy “Well, what’s your opinion Chuck because we haven’t heard from you and you have a beard and I don’t want you to think we are ignoring you because of your facial hair …………let’s listen to Chuck.” …………… well…….Chuck can bugger off and go shave. ……….while someone tells me what they want to happen.

One of the things we will be discussing will be the invitations that the invited guests will receive and I am dreading this as nobody so far has been able to decide exactly what they want on it……………and we have been discussing it since 2005.

There’s a trend with party invitations to be a bit vague about when guests should arrive and for Brits this is potential disaster. I had one the other day that said the “do” would start after lunch and before dinner. What does that mean, for heaven’s sake? Worse than this, however, are loose instructions about the dress code? Because, being British, we simply cannot cope if we turn up in jeans and find everyone else is in a suit…………you feel hot and sweaty and your teeth start to itch as all eyes stare at the underdressed commoner in the jeans and Smurf T-Shirt.

You can put a British soldier in a box in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp over looking the River Kwai and you won’t snap his steely resolve. You can leave him in an upturned boat in the middle of the south Atlantic and he’ll come through. But embarrass him — put him at a Black Tie event in a pair of sneakers — and you’ll snap his spirit in a jiffy.

I’ve watched this happen. Hundreds of people had been invited to a 40th, in a marquee with a band and all the trimmings. The invitation had said “dress to thrill” and so, at 8.30 pm on a lovely summer’s evening, the paddock was filling with BMWs and Range Rovers, and elegant couples dressed in black tie and evening gowns.

The man who pulled up in the big BMW, however, was not wearing a dinner jacket. He’d obviously got it into his head that “dress to thrill” had something to do with fancy dress and he looked quite pleased with himself as he stepped out of his car dressed as Evel Knievel……….his white jump suit sparkling in the moonlight.

Normally, this chap is strong and confident. In meetings, he deals with problems systematically and efficiently. But in that white groin-reviling outfit, in a paddock full of people in black tie, the pleased expression left his face in two seconds flat, taking with it all the blood and all of his dignity…

My mate Danny is a great laugh even though he is someone who has suffered from and beat dyslexia.
However he once had everyone laughing when he arrived at a TOGA party…………….. Dressed as a GOAT.

We had better get our naming ceremony invitations…………….. Absolutely perfect.

It’s time for lunch……..Eggs Benedict……..mmmm………no bread though

I look forward to reading everyone’s opinion on the fantastic Carnival Dream ………remember everyone is allowed an opinion ………I hope to hear yours.

Your friends
John, Heidi and Mike / Michelle from Kansas

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.