Dream….A Big Dream With Me

September 28, 2008 -

John Heald

You won’t really get a sense of scale from the pictures or the videos— and nor will you get the full impression of just how beautiful she is.

It’s a Carnival ship, there’s no doubt about that, but, unlike any other Carnival ship from the past 36 years, this one looks like it might sail right over you……..just for the fun of it.

She is extraordinary. Usually, when one of our chaps wants something new and groovy on a ship, the engineers complain to the accountants and the idea is quietly shot in the face. But on this ship, it seems the stylists were allowed free rein — and to hell with the cost.

The result is quite astonishing……………the result is the Carnival Dream.

I arrived at the Fincantieri shipyard and was met by a team of Carnival and shipyard employees all of whom treated me as if I was someone important…..it was very flattering — especially so since they had given up their Sunday morning to show me around.

Our first stop was the boardroom……the inner sanctum…………the place where Mr. Micky Arison sits around the table talking to men with beards about design, cost and where to have dinner that night. I felt scruffy, dressed as I was, I felt overawed and, most of all, I felt beyond privileged at sitting where I was.

I was shown renderings of the ship’s lounges, public areas and open decks. These themselves are simply stunning and, whether created by man or machine, they should be sold as pieces of art. As my art teacher Mr. Whitmore-Smith would have told you, whatever I was asked to design or draw ………….it would always end up looking like a dog…….with three legs. I wonder what they do with these after the ships have been built.

They really should sell them………..I mean, people buy original cells of Daffy Dog and Donald Pig from Hanna Barthingy and Walt Disney………..so I think we should sell these ……I can think of many a Carnival fan that would want to buy them……..like me …………. and you.

You can see many of these renderings on www.carnival.com/dream and we will be chatting about them again in a minute.

Before we went to the ship we went to a building that everyone who has that built in passion and love for all things that sail on the sea should see……..the Fincantieri Museum.

This has been built to celebrate 100 years of shipbuilding. It has been built to celebrate the good times of the past and the sad times as the yard experienced in both world wars.

It is there to celebrate the building of not just ships but planes, sea planes, oil platforms, trucks and so much more……………..I had no idea of the rich and diverse past of this great company which by the way also built Italy’s aircraft carriers and submarines.

Mostly, though, it is a place that celebrates the building of the ships that you and your parents discovered their love of cruise vacations.

From the early years of Home Lines to the mighty ships of today and tomorrow, the most famous badges in the industry…….Cunard, Holland America, Princess, P&O, Costa, and of course, Carnival Cruise Lines all have had and continue to have a togetherness with Fincantieri which is shown here at this quite superb museum.

I hope that the crew of the Carnival Dream are allowed to visit and if you are ever in Monfalcone, Italy……….knock on the main gates……………..mention my name and ……….. well………..you will be told to bugger off by a man in a blue suit wearing brown shoes ………..so, mention Gerry Cahill’s name and go see this unmissable shrine to the industry we all love.

And so on to the ship itself. The last time I was in this yard was for the delivery of the Carnival Liberty and I remember a Princess ship being built at the same time…………I think it was the Caribbean Princess……………I may be wrong but I can tell you that as we drove to the ship there all shiny and new and ready for her big coming out party was the Ruby Princess. My cruise director friend James Lay is already onboard and, from what I saw, he has a wonderful new ship to enjoy. I hope to visit for a day in Florida before the end of the year.

And then, suddenly, there she was……………….I need music at this point…………what shall we use to describe how I felt?…………..something awesome, something that makes the hairs on the back of your bottom stand up straighter than a dress marine guarding the White House……..I know…………that 2001 Space Odyssey theme……Alzo Sprach thingy …….if you don’t have this piece to play …………humm it……..while you read the following.

I stood before her, all huge and brilliant, I’m afraid I started to dribble.

The Carnival Dream looks as fresh and as futuristic as tomorrow morning’s papers. She’s big. Sumo-wrestler big………….and she still has the forward block to be added yet……..oh, forward block, by the way, means the two level Spa and Serenity deck. The first thing you notice are the 1950’s screen siren curves both forward and aft…..even the bridge.

These curves are very sexy and very different to anything we have had before……..in fact…….I kept looking up to the smoke stack just to make sure it was indeed………..a Carnival ship. ………..oh, as you will see shortly the smoke stack is missing her wings ……. they will be flown in at the end of the month.

Being a Sunday, the ship was deserted and, apart from maybe two or three workers, we had the ship to ourselves. This was perfect as it gave me a chance to picture the amazing renderings I had just seen actually come to life. Let me describe just a few of the areas that will make your Dreams come true.

The cabins are very, very special. Before walking onboard I had been privileged to be taken to see the mock-ups of the some of the cabins. The new family cabins have been well heralded and with just cause. The space provided is quite extraordinary and that’s with a family of five sleeping and living there. There are two bunk beds for kids one and two, a huge sofa bed for kid three, and two single beds which at night convert to a double bed so Mum and Dad can have a bit of rumpy pumpy……which, of course, in reality will be impossible with kids one, two and three there………and some may say that with three kids already Mum and Dad may want to stay out of bed and get some rest.

One thing that will please all the ladies is the fact that these cabins and others have two bathrooms.

That’s one with a larger than normal shower and a toilet……and a separate room with a bath and shower for the kids…….brilliant. This is family cruising at its very, very best.

On every other ship, there is this status symbol thingy that the higher up the ship your cabin is the more money you have and the better the cabin.

Well, that may have been true back when the safety officer stood in crows nest with a torch, but not on modern ships.

Penthouses and suites are for example on Deck 7 on the Carnival Splendor and we have balcony cabins as you know on Decks 6 and upwards on all our Spirit-, Destiny-, Conquest-and Splendor-class ships.

However, it would be unusual to say that some of the best cabins on a ship were on Deck 2…….well…………not anymore. Honestly, I was flabbergasted at just how super a concept this is. If you want a view that will be incomparable………..if you like your sea and ocean……..up close and personal………….then call now and book a Deck 2 balcony cabin.

The mock up showed just how awesome it will be to sit on your balcony and watch the Mediterranean, the Atlantic or the Caribbean as never seen before. If the Atlantic gets all moody and nasty then the crew will come over and close a specially constructed weather door which will cover the glass and protect the balcony area and cabin………….I doubt these will see much action though and you will be able to sit on your balcony and feel like you can just about dip your toes in the water……………how long do you think it will be before a stateroom Steward finds a guest fishing from their balcony? It’s no surprise that these cabins are the hot property at the moment………they are truly brilliant.

Of course there are many other cabins, some with adjoining rooms and the usual mix of balcony, suite and spa suite cabins……………really, there is something for everyone.

Then we have an area which will be the place to be seen and something that I personally wanted to see on all of our new vessels………….The Piazza. Obviously, when I was there, it was just a huge empty space. The renderings I had just seen, however, had my mind swimming with ideas about what we could do there.

There will be coffee shops and a bar and huge glass doors which will open up providing the inside/outside entertainment areas that regulars on this blog will know I love. And there extending out over the sea will be two giant whirlpools …………..wow.

The renderings had shown lots of people sitting at the tables drinking coffee and sipping on strawberry daiquiris while many enjoy the whirlpools on both port and starboard sides. Well, I bet if you hold that rendering up on the inaugural cruise it will be exactly what you will be seeing in real life…………..and I could also see myself sitting there using the Wi-Fi service and blogging …….saying……..I told you so.

The Piazza is, without doubt, going to be a major talking point and something the travel writers are going to say grand and illustrious things about.

The view from Deck 5 aft today was beautiful and it always will be. That is because on the Carnival Dream you can walk around the entire ship without stopping …………. although you will …………..to enjoy those breathtaking views and to hold the hand of the one you love and realize what lucky people you are to have each other and to be able to enjoy this leviathan of ships.

The show lounge is even bigger than the one here on the Splendor, the casino has a new configuration with a great new bar area for celebrating your winnings at. The old favorites are there of course …the piano bar and other entertainment areas — and the luckiest kids in the world will be able to enjoy the coolest clubs in the world…..Camp Carnival, Circle C and Club O2…………….Carnival has……….and I mean this most sincerely…….invested lots of money and time in making sure your kids have the safest and most fun environment possible ……..extraordinary.

Talking of fun the water park is going to be fun with a huge capital F. There are three twister slides which throw you down tubes and other…ummm….thingies into the pool many feet below. Similar to the Fantasy-class’ Evolutions of Fun, this is going to be another great place for young and old to be reminded ………just in case they had forgotten ……….that Carnival really does have the fun.

I have seen the renderings for many other areas of the ship but I can’t talk about them just yet…..we are keeping a few things up our sleeve. But, I can tell you without fear and trepidation that the decor oozes nothing but relaxation, fun and class….the perfect mixture.

The Carnival Dream is one year or so away from delivery and, as you will see from the photos and the videos, the huge propellers and rudders sill have to be connected to the shaft. This is one of the most important moments of any newbuilding, as even if they are a millimeter out of line there will be problems of a massive nature. Slightly simpler is the way the cabins are slotted into space. This practice continues to amaze me and on the pier today were all the Deck 6 cabins waiting for Tuesday morning when they will be slotted home………..incredible.

Ahhh, there is so much more I could write but I want to save some surprises for my next visit. I hope to return in April so I can see the ship a few months before delivery and then, of course, I have already invited myself for the inaugural cruise.

How does Carnival advertise this ship?…..That’s a tough one. Do we concentrate on her size?….her new concepts mixed with the favorites that keep Carnival at the top?…..the ports of call?….a mixture of everything?…….mmmm…..that is indeed going to be difficult

My favorite commercial TV showed a pair of headlights picking their way through a blizzard and arriving at a big wooden hut. The doors opened and out came a snow plough. “Have you ever wondered,” asked the voiceover, “how the man who drives the snow plough drives to the snow plough?”

And we were left with a picture of a Range Rover……..simple…………….maybe we should just have a voiceover (a British one …..hint ) that says …….Have you ever wondered what fun looks like?………..and then just show a shot of the ship ………. nothing else …………just the ship………from what I have seen today and even in her unfinished state……..that will be more than enough.

Whatever Carnival does with its advertisements for the ship will be brilliant I am sure ………but one thing I felt to day was that the Carnival Dream has been built …………………. to show you and the world that you have arrived onboard the grandest ship in Carnival’s history………so far.

You know one of the many aspects I appreciate about the American way of life is that you do seem to have this dreadful business of bitterness under control. When Americans see a man drive by in a Bentley Continental GTC, they say: “One day, I’ll have one of those.” When someone from the UK sees someone drive by, we say: “I hope he loses all his money and ends up with only a bicycle.”

The only proper drawback to the Carnival Dream is the loathing from other companies who will wish that the Dream was theirs. But you know what. That’s their problem, because style, beauty and fun are not deadly sins. Envy, on the other hand . ………..


The Casino


The Showroom


The Midship pool


The Propeller


The Rudders

Goodnight
Your friends
John and Heidi
PS – STOP BY TOMORROW LUNCHTIME FOR SOME ROUGH AND RAW VIDEO FOOTAGE SHOT WITH MY FLIP THINGY OF THE CARNIVAL DREAM…………HOPE YOU LIKE IT.

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.