The Dream You Have Been Waiting For

December 19, 2008 -

John Heald

There have been many engineering breakthroughs in the past few years that I suspect may have slipped under your radar. A couple of Dutch boffins, for instance, have developed a new kind of fabric that could be used as a television screen. So pretty soon you’ll be able to watch Grey’s Anatomy on my underpants. Then we have the American satellite that can spot rainfall and vegetation growth on a farm in Texas. As a result, farmers there will be able to bring some shock and awe to the locust breeding grounds before the insect rumpy pumpy even takes place.

Best of all, we have the thingy on your cell phone. Dial a number, hold the phone against a speaker and within 30 seconds, for just nine cents, you’ll be sent a text saying what the song is and who the song is by. So now you can wave goodbye to the misery of trying to find out what it was you heard on the radio by attempting to sing it to your friends. “You must have heard it. It’s brilliant. It goes ner ner ner de dum dum on the beach.”

All of these have gone unnoticed because of the doom and gloom provided by Fannie Crunch and Credit Mae……Yet, in the face of all the gloom and doom there is something on the horizon…….something that will turn the frowns of credit that crunches upside down……….and her name is……Jessica Simpson …….. bugger ….. sorry ……I meant to say her name is …………the Carnival Dream.

When I arrived at the Fincantieri shipyard last week, I did so in the pouring rain. The same rain that has been falling across Northern Italy for many weeks and the same rain that has people fishing in now-flooded St. Marks Square in Venice. As my chauffer-driven Fiat 500 brought me closer to Carnival’s new vessel, I experienced the same feeling that I promise you will all feel when you see her for the first time……..and that feeling, that awesome feeling that makes the hairs on your bottom stand to attention is because you immediately know that the Carnival Dream is going to be biblically, stratospherically, crushingly brilliant.

Now, before I take you onboard I know that there will be people with beards and climbing fetishes that will write to me and say “It’s not the biggest”…….”It’s just a bigger Destiny-class”……..and “You’re a fat Brit with no more right to live on God’s earth than a weasel”…..etc. etc……OK, I know she is not the biggest but then………..would you rather have rumpy pumpy with Drew Barrymore or Rosanne Barr?

Now, that’s out of the way, let’s get up the gangway and take you onboard. Well, actually there is no gangway yet and as you will see from the videos the ship is still a metal box ……albeit a high and mighty metal box because, regardless of what some will write from their dark cellars, the Carnival Dream is a very big ship. Yet, like Drew Barrymore, the Carnival Dream is well proportioned for a big girl and stunningly beautiful ….. hey, how about Drew Barrymore for Godmother of the Carnival Dream?

The Carnival Dream will include many of the features you will find on our Fantasy-, Spirit-, Destiny- and Conquest-class ships. Why would we change anything there? ……… Remember when Coca Cola changed their recipe and it tasted like you were drinking Mongolian mud……well………….we know what millions of you love so rather than break your hearts we have included many of the Carnival favorites on the new Carnival Dream.

However……having such large real estate in which to do this not only do we have our old favorites ……..we have lots of new and exciting Carnival Fun For All features, as well.

Let’s start at the top with the new Carnival WaterWorks aqua park.

The Carnival Dream is the place for all thrill-seeking hydrophiles. Even though the ship was in the early stages of readiness, it was already easy for me to see that first impressions were spectacular. Carnival has gone above and beyond building a mere collection of water slides and pools, and created a bona fide water theme park The slides and funnel tubes are yet to be put in place but the giant 39-foot-high tower leading to the top was. And that alone allowed my imagination to run wild and in it I saw young and old being whisked round and round, plummeting to the bottom amidst screams of exuberance until they are expelled giggling and gasping.

There are spray features and features that are for the moment……….top secret.

Carnival should bottle the fun this water park will provide and sell it as something that will provide eternal youth. It is surely the most fun you can have with your clothes off ………well……..nearly.

Now, after you have had fun at the water park, it will be time to soak up some sun and enjoy a movie or a concert on the Seaside Theatre big screen or watch men in their Speedos head for the 24-hour pizzeria.

Fancy some total relaxation….maybe away from the fun that the water park will bring. Then you need to escape to our Serenity adults-only deck area. We have this across the fleet already and it will feature on the Carnival Dream, as well. However, this one, will be something extra special. I will tell you more about the Serenity deck in the weeks ahead.

Lets go inside ……….and out………….and to accomplish this we need to go to deck 5 and the Carnival Dream’s piazza………….it’s called the Ocean Plaza…….which will be without a doubt……….one of the most popular areas on this or any ship.

The indoor/outdoor style of living is very European. For those of you who have been to Italy, I am sure you know how they do Piazzas better than anyone. You can walk in streets so narrow that you feel lovers could lean out and kiss across them. Stroll over to a cafe and have a cappuccino or a gelato …….or both. Maybe stop and enjoy some tunes from a musician or singer.

And this is what we wanted to recreate in our piazza…………….in our Ocean Plaza. There will be no information desk or excursion desk here. Just a café, a coffee shop, an ice cream stand serving scooped treats into cones and bowls. It will be the place to sit and watch your fellow guests. The place to meet new friends and enjoy specially designed entertainment and music. The Ocean Plaza will feature street performers, table magicians and I suggest that we hire caricature artists …………yep, I like that idea. Maybe you can have your caricature drawn by an artist who will give you a nose as big as Gerard Depardieu’s?

That’s the indoor side of the Ocean Plaza. However, the outside part of this incomparable place is just a few steps away through doors which most of the time will be open wide welcoming you with Mediterranean or Caribbean views……………brilliant.

The cafe service will continue to the tables set outside on both port and starboard sides. It will be the perfect place to have a morning cappuccino…….an afternoon cocktail or an after-dinner drink………all with the one you love ………….or if they are in bed…….. the blonde you met in the elevator the night before. Seriously, though. This as I said will be a wonderful place and I have not even mentioned the pissed de la resistance yet……..did I spell that correctly?

I refer to, of course, the huge oversized Jacuzzis on both sides of the Ocean Plaza. These overhang the ocean below giving you stunning views…….surely these are going to be the best whirlpools at sea.

I wonder what we will do with these outside areas at night? I wonder if we could make one side smoking………..maybe if the weather permits we can have a jazz and cigar night outside. You know what?………This area gives us a chance to serve and entertain you in ways we never have before and I hope one day to meet you for a cappuccino and a chat in the best piazza at sea………….the Ocean Plaza.

Behind the Ocean Plaza is the casino which is designed in an open floor plan-style and in front of the casino is the sports bar. This is a brilliant “door less” design, meaning these two extremely popular areas sit beside each other, which makes perfect sense. Then we have the nightclub — or “disco” as it was called when I was wearing tight white leather pants and trying to have rumpy pumpy with anything that didn’t have an Adams apple.

For the nightclub on the Carnival Dream, we put together a committee of young and hip employees (I wasn’t one of them) who came up with a chic design for the nightclub which will again be a major talking point. I will be able to tell you more soon but let me just say that this club would be totally at home on Miami’s South Beach………dig it, my dog?

One of Carnival’s tried and tested, award-winning areas are, of course, the piano bars. These areas ooze fun and thanks to our marvellous piano bar entertainers they continue to be an iconic feature on all of our vessels. Well, on the Carnival Dream our piano bar is very much a distinctive feature. This means that it is not behind closed doors but part of the open space of deck 5. This will mean that many more people will be able to sit around the piano or at one of the tables and lift their voices in tribute to the piano man.

Entertainment will always be a major feature onboard the Carnival Dream and Roger Blum and his team have three brand new shows ready to dazzle us. These will feature a huge cast of dancers and singers accompanied by a live orchestra and, of course, the special effects and scenery that will continue to keep Carnival’s shows number one.
One of the biggest surprises that first time Carnival cruises come across is just how spacious and well appointed our cabins are. I wish I had a dollar for everyone who has told me how Carnival’s cabins are the best then maybe I would have an Aston Martin on my drive.

Well, your choice of staterooms as we now call them is even greater on the Carnival Dream. Many have ocean views and, of course, as you are used to now on Carnival ships, many have balconies. However, on the Carnival Dream those balconies no longer start at deck 6 as on the Destiny and Conquest class……..nope……….we now have balcony cabins on ………deck 2……this used to be called Riviera Deck……on the Carnival Dream deck 2 should be called the “fishing deck.”

The view from these cabins will be astonishing. You will see a video of these so-called “cove balcony” cabins shortly. During this, I mention that you feel like you can just sit on your balcony and cast a line out. Seriously, though, these cabins are already selling like Gucci handbags in an Everything’s A Dollar store and it is easy to see why. They offer the closest experience to being near to the sea and at unbelievable prices.

Now ……..occasionally the sea gets as angry as a sleeping lion who has been woken by someone inserting a cactus in his bottom. If this rare occurrence should indeed happen, a member of staff will come and close the “weather proof” door across the cabin protecting you from the angry waves. I tell you this only because it highlights just how close you are to the sea and just how fantastic these cabins are.

Now, also a first on the Carnival Dream will be the family staterooms. These have five berths……..yep……..5 berths. I saw one of these cabins and even with the Pullman beds that magically lower from the ceiling they are amazingly spacious. These cabins also feature two bathrooms……..let me say that again in case you blinked or it did not register……these cabins also feature two bathrooms………how cool and not smelly is that?

I say this because one bathroom has a bath tub with shower and the sink……..while a completely separate bathroom contains a shower stall and……the toilet. This is perfect for the ladies who can relax in a hot bath of bubbles without having to worry if their husband has just …….well…… know. On a serious note, these cabins will be perfect for a big family…….two bathrooms………..everyone should be ready for dinner on time.

You can also book deluxe cabins for two persons with the two bathrooms and, once again, these ideas have been put into place to make the short time you actually spend in your stateroom to be as comfortable and as enjoyable as ever. ……….oh, by the way ……….men……I have good news…………….you can sit on your stateroom toilet with the door wide open …………..and still see the flat screen TV………….how cool is that?

What is a spa? In Latin, spa stands for salus per aquam or “health from water.” It is also the name of a village in Belgium where the Romans discovered hot mineral springs. The first spas were like those at Bath, where Romans with names like Fartus Maximus would meet and discuss which country to invade next and how many times they would stab their emperor in the back.

Of course, spas today are a little different and incorporate the finest in pampering. On the Carnival Splendor we introduced two levels of unrivalled luxury with our majestic Cloud 9 Spa……honestly, the place was constantly full and I never needed to put my promotions hat on and try to persuade guests to go there. They all enjoyed the day pass which led them through corridors that lead to steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, “experience showers” and heated marble slabs for truly memorable manipulation by expert masseurs from all over the world.

There is also a special pool which starts with the letter T and sounds like a dinosaur …….. I have no idea what it’s called or what it does as I get a nosebleed anytime I go near a gym or a spa. But the people who have been in this tell me it is rejuvenating and totally relaxing.

Well, the Cloud 9 Spa will also be a very important part of the Carnival Dream with these pampering features I just mentioned and much more. Of course, you can upgrade your life and book a spa suite which includes the use of all the spa areas plus a stateroom full of browns and earthy colors that will continue the feeling of tranquillity once you return to your stateroom…………and oh, yes……….the fluffiest bath robe………….in the world.

Now, let’s talk about one of my favorite areas. The Carnival Dream has been designed to be the absolute last word in cruising pleasure and as I have mentioned above it is full of iconic features and grandioso public areas. However………….there is a place that has ……. ummm…………well……..nothing…….except the sky, the sun, the sea………….and at night ……….it has oodles of romance. This is the Lanai.

It covers the entire length of deck 4 which means you can walk around the entire ship. Now you can do this in your spandex shorts clutching a bottle of alligatorade, or you can do what I hope as many Carnival Dream guests as possible will do…….before you go to bed …..walk around the Lanai …………look out over the endless horizon and feel grateful to be alive. The views from the stern are unbeatable and by the way…….in my humble opinion the Carnival Dream has the sexiest stern this side of Jennifer Lopez………..I think the stern of the this ship is the most gorgeous at sea……… will, too, I promise.

The Lanai is the ideal spot to profess your love of the person you are walking with ……… and that is what will make this area of the ship……… very special.

Of course, I haven’t spoken about food yet. And that’s because I will need to write a whole other blog about the ridiculous amount of dining choices the Carnival Dream will offer. So………look out for a blog called “Food Glorious Food”….it will be with you soon.

What is the Carnival Dream………well……… she will become a cherished member of the Carnival family. She is art, she is glamorous, she is a cool leviathan, she is fun, she is an escape from reality………..she is also a feast for your eyes, an electrode for your heart and a song for your soul………she is your Dream………………..come true.
Let’s have a look at some photos from my rainy day December visit to the shipyard in Monfalcone……….the Carnival Dream’s birthplace.

The Carnival Dream/port side forward

The Carnival Dream/port side midship

The smoke stack, can you see anything different?


The Carnival Dream at night

The Carnival Dream at night

The Carnival Dream by night

The Carnival Dream by night

The most beautiful stern in the world

And some video

Carnival Dream update

Waterslide construction

Waterslide construction part 2

Cloud 9 Spa progress

John meets the foreman

Cloud 9 Spa Blueprints

Main Theater deck 5

The Lanai

John discusses onboard belief

The casino

The Ocean Plaza

The Deluxe Ocean View stateroom

Cove balcony stateroom

Here are some computer generated renderings of some of the public areas ….. have a look at these amazing drawings.

Carnival WaterWorks: Our largest water park ever, bringing you more ways to get soaked! Amazing waterslides, kid’s splash park – laughter included.

Fabulous New Staterooms: More stateroom options than ever before…our new Cove Balcony staterooms offer the closest balconies to the waterline

Fabulous New Staterooms: The Deluxe Ocean View staterooms feature a full bathroom plus washroom.

Ocean Plaza: A comfortable oasis during the day, lively entertainment at night.

Ocean Plaza: This incredible indoor/outdoor area is seperated by a clear glass wall.

The Lanai: Wraparound outdoor area featuring vista-friendly whirlpools

Cloud 9 Spa: Let yourself be pampered at our largest spa ever.

Seaside Theater: Huge open-air screen entertains day & night.

So, I hope you enjoyed a look at the Carnival Dream. There will be much more to write about her in my next visit in April………don’t forget we have two bloggers cruises aboard this beautiful giant in November and December.

You know, I was going to try and come up with some subtle and delicate way to try to tell you that the Carnival Dream should be the place you spend your 2009/2010 vacation using marketing terminology designed to indirectly get you to come aboard ……….. but as regular readers of this blog thingy will tell you………….subtle and delicate is as not me as is eating tofu and hugging French people…….so let me just say …….book this ship ………. and book it now.

I cannot tell you how much fun the Carnival Dream is going to be. I just don’t have the vocabulary. I just end up stammering and dribbling and talking Klingon.

She is a triumph for you and a triumph for Carnival Cruise Lines over absolutely every other cruise line in the world.

Your friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy.

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.