June 30, 2008 -

John Heald

And so to the sounds of “Time To Say Goodbye” Captain Pagano let go the lines and off we went. The Captain gave a stirring thank you over the PA system to the Fincantieri workers for providing Carnival with this magnificent cruise liner and I then thanked the crew for their invaluable work.

Here we are then in Genoa. The ship starts its shakedown cruise today with ??? invited guests joining us…………….nope………the ??? was not a typo thingy because we have no bloody clue how many people are going to be sailing with us. We sent invitations to 3044 people, 1780 replied saying “yes”. they would love to sail for two days on the newest cruise liner in the world for free with free drinks and great shows and me “………….290 said “no”………sorry we can’t sail on the newest cruise liner in the world with free drinks and great shows and you “………and close to 1000 people didn’t reply at all………….and that’s just rude…………….and if they don’t reply and don’t show up………well that’s even ruder.

It’s a problem that seems primarily to affect people in the public eye, people who are probably invited to so many red carpet events that the easiest thing for them is to say yes to everything and then make a decision on the night. ………..for me the no-show message is simple…………………………………….. My life is more important than yours.

However, the ones who are here have boarded a ship full of anticipation and excitement. Tonight Marcus Anthony will perform and then knowing Italians as I do the bars and lounges will be jumping until very very late. I am very much looking forward to meeting some of the retired Captain’s later today and I will of course have the camera with me to capture the event.

It seems strange though that in 2 days time I will be on stage hosting the Welcome Aboard show. I have not done this since February and as always I am concerned that I will walk out on stage and be as funny as gum disease…………..I truly hope it all comes back to me.

Well, the last few days have been very special for us here on the Carnival Splendor as it has been also for Holland America’s Eurodam as described here by our roving reporter the incomparable Mr.Peter Shanks.

Hello John – me again. All of us in the UK are looking forward to seeing you and Carnival Splendor in the UK (home of the fastest growing cruise market) on the 10th July. But boy do you have a lot to live up to. We have seen some spectacular ships introduced to the UK market over the last few months – Queen Victoria from Cunard Line, Ventura from P+O Cruises and last night I was lucky enough to be invited to see the beautiful new Eurodam from Holland America in Southampton. So – bring it on with Carnival Splendor – we can’t wait!

I know you have been on Eurodam – it’s a great ship and I thought I would share some of the ‘wow factors’ I took away from my overnight stay on Eurodam:

Tamarind – A beautiful Asian restaurant right at the top of the ship and it’s going to be a big success. The decor is superb, lovely looking staff and with a drink before dinner in the Silk Den this part of the ship will be a real wow.

Spa Cabins – I think this is a first for Holland America. They have taken some of the cabins located near the Spa and added some soothing touches. Guests in these cabins will also be able to get priority bookings and service from the Spa – so I think this will be a winner.

Piano Bar – This was excellent last night – you just can’t beat a talented pianist and singer who really gets the crowd going. It’s an intimate bar and to see everybody gathered around the piano singing along was fun.

Production Show – I only popped in to see how it was – but stayed for the full show. Did not catch the name of it, but it was full of very recognizable songs and it flowed really well. I am always amazed at the quality of shows on all of our ships – and to see them delivering such perfection before the ship is even in full service is quite remarkable.

Crow’s Nest and Explorations – I think this space is really clever. It’s up on the Observation Deck, the clever bit is that the Explorations cyber centre and internet access area is combined into the rest of the lounge. So I would expect that during the day – and early evening – this will become a really interesting place to be with lots of things going on. I also noticed that Holland America have a partnership with The New York Times providing news and other things on the websites.

Microsoft Digital Workshop – Like the New York Times tie-up, it’s a really cool idea to partner with Microsoft. Now that Bill Gates has finally retired – maybe he wil find his way onto one of our ships and he would be impressed with what our friends at Holland America have done.

Cabins – just beautiful – and I am sure that guests will be very comfortable no matter what grade they choose.

Lido Restaurant – I was really impressed with the decor, colours and furniture in the Lido. It uses soft colours, quite often Lido areas on ships can be too bright and canteen-like – this was really very nice and creates a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere.

Aft Deck – as the aft of this ship has been extended with additional cabins, there is a lot more open deck space which creates a really good and spacious deck environment.

So – the UK travel trade was very impressed with Eurodam. There were many travel agents there – delighted once again at more capacity being introduced for them to sell.

As I disembarked, Southampton looked more like Miami. Next to us was the Sea Princess and further up the dock was another big ship. It was not one form the Carnival Family, I could only just see the name, I think it was something like ‘Independence Of The Probably Too Big For Most People To Really Enjoy Themselves Of The Seas’.

So John – after all the waiting, and all your boasting – we can’t wait to see you and to see the new Carnival Splendor. You have a lot to live up to – but I know nobody will be disappointed. Look forward to seeing you on Splendor – Good Luck to you and all your special crew members!

Best Regards

Peter Shanks
Chief Commercial Officer
Carnival UK

Thank you Peter………I think we should give him the official title of BBR – Blogs British Reporter and thank him for another superbly written report. ……….loved the name of the other ship.

Peter……….doesn’t the word independent mean doing something when you want to how you want to and without worrying about others………….that’s pretty hard to do when you have 8 billion people onboard…………….anyway……….enough about that and more on Eurodam. She will be named tomorrow by H.M Queen Beatrix of Holland in a ceremony that you can see live on……………..don’t miss it.

Have a read of some of the comments received at the Carnival UK office about the visit of the Holland America Flagship.

Good morning
Just want to say thank you for a great evening on Friday – the ship was wonderful – my first time on a Holland America ship and I was very impressed. The staff on the ship were fantastic too – the service was impeccable.

Thanks again – much appreciated.

Good morning – I hope you are both well and enjoyed your time on board the Eurodam.
On behalf of Naomi, Michael and myself I just wanted to say thank you very much for your hospitality, we all thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful lunch and our time exploring the Eurodam – what a fantastic ship!

Well Lynne, what can I say! First of all thank you for inviting my staff and I to experience Holland America. Eurodam has surpassed all expectations for me. I have been very lucky to have either visited or travelled on many ships over my last ten years dealing with Cruise but I have to say that I would not have missed this one for the world. I thought that standards were more than excellent and I have to say that I have met some wonderful staff over the years but yet again the staff on board excelled all!. Truly a visit that my staff or I will never forget. I can’t wait to tell everyone all about her. After our experience I know that the staff can’t wait to get behind it and see those bookings come rolling in.

Once again Lynne, Thank you for an experience that we all will never forget!

Michelle Gannon.

What more can I say, we had a ball on your fab new ship on Friday.

Please convey our thanks to everybody involved for their kindness and hospitality, you have an absolute winner on your hands.

The overnighter has just strengthened my resolve to sell more and more for you guys, an easy sell for such a fantastic product, I’m off to amend my text page now.

Can’t wait for Zuiderdam in 2 weeks time


Back here on the Carnival Splendor I wanted to share some photos of the ship’s lido deck midship pool area.

Here they are.

Back soon……… to mingle.

Well, here I am…………….and they don’t call it a shakedown cruise for nothing………….here’s why.

1. We had problems with the gangway from deck 3 to the pier as the connection did not fit immediately………..15 minutes delay.

2. The terminal’s air conditioning has broken and people are hot….very hot……….and very grumpy and some are getting a little upset as they wait to check in. This is actually a good thing……….we need more Italians to get upset because when they do they move their arms around feverishly causing a rapid movement of air………..seriously……….we are all a bit upset that the Genoa terminal has gotten us off to a hot and sticky start…………and that’s before the 200 French arrive.

However…………once onboard they will be enveloped in an air conditioned happy and fun atmosphere where they will discover 1000 crew ready to serve. And while the drinks are being served and the food is being devoured a barge has come alongside and is filling us with heavy maritime fuel………..which as we all know is more expensive than diamonds, gold and a Chanel handbag combined.

At 5:00pm we will be underway and I will let you know how many guests we sail with.

Well, last night Heidi told me that I looked tired and needed to relax. She turned the computer and my phone off and would have done the same to my raspberry but I managed to shove it down the back of my underpants where we both knew it would be safe. However, she insisted we did something ” fun”………….now I was indeed tired and for me Fun would have been going to the arcade and saving the world from flesh eating zombies…………….I have to admit…………..I have started enjoying Playstation Xnintendo wee wee game thingies.

For the last few days the arcade has been on ” freeplay ” and because I am cheap and there was no bugger in there I started to play……..and I started to enjoy it.

For years I have dismissed Sony’s little black box of witchery as a fad to be used by spotty boys wearing hoodies and baseball hats on backwards………however…………I think I have been wrong.

I have been told that Yoga is therapeutic and that putting one leg behind your ear and sticking your bottom in the air relives stress……….well…..I have never done Yoga or tried to get in the crapping dog position and doubt I ever could…………and even if I did manage to get one of my legs behind my ear and thrust my bottom out I doubt that the person behind me would appreciate the obvious effects that the strain of achieving this would have on my bottom. Nope…………forget Yoga………..stress release has a new name ” Zombie Flesh Eaters Death Zone Halo Theft Assain thingy “……………..who needs yoga when you can chop a zombies head off with an axe?

Anyway, with my phone turned off and my computer dormant I was already to kick some Zomibe ass…………..but Heidi had another idea………and produced Dante’s Inferno…………or as it is called today ……….Monoply.

Monopoly is like the Middle East crisis. There is no end to it. I truly believe that nobody in the whole of human history has ever actually won a game of Monopoly. Because winning means overcoming levels of boredom that can drive a man mad as you drive a small metal hat around the streets of London or New York.

What’s more, nobody knows the rules to it. Does the money from the Income Tax box go in the middle or into the bank? And if it does go in the middle, is it yours when you land on Free Parking? Then, when all your properties are mortgaged and you have no means of paying the rent for a brief stop on Madison Avenue, does the player with the hotel take over your assets, and are they automatically unmortgaged or does he have to pay? If so, whom does he pay?

Such things are probably explained in the instruction book, but that was lost in 1971. No, forget Chance cards and money that looks like the old Italian lire……… give me a plasma gun and an axe and a few hundred Zombies to destroy and I am a rejuvenated man.

Well, tomorrow is the big day……………July 1st…………..the day Dreams come true. Where is your Dream going to take you…………The Med, a Trans Atlantic experience, Bermuda, New York or the Caribbean?
Wherever you decide to sail to I home your dream comes true and I hope to share it with you.

Operators are standing buy………….and so am I.

Your friends
John, Heidi and my bottom which I thought was suffering from terrible gas but it turns out my raspberry is still down there and it’s on vibrate.

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.