A Dream for 2009

December 31, 2008 -

John Heald

Half the country has a bad cold and you know whose fault it is…….those pesky Canadians. Apparently, the artic weather we are experiencing here in the UK is due to the Gulf Stream blowing cold air and bits of Tim Horton’s doughnuts over here and that’s why I spent yesterday sneezing, coughing and generally feeling like crap …….oh, Canada!

You know, whenever there’s a global survey to find the best places in the world to live, Canada always does well.
We’re told that no one in Canada is ever robbed, butchered, stabbed or murdered. And I don’t doubt that all of this is true. Canada is Switzerland…………. with lots of wheat.

They try to tell us that it’s a wilderness full of bears who’ll kill you if you run away or stand still – I can never remember which. But do you know how many people in the whole of the vastness of Canada have been killed by bears in the past two years? It’s one. Honestly, more people than that are killed in America and the UK by their underpants.

Anyway, Ottawa is the capital and it’s really lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely. More lovely than a pressed wild flower in a copy of Jane Eyre. If it were a person, it would be Hannah Montana……..perfect and untouched. If it were an animal it would be a fluffy rabbit. And no one would ever eat it and it would never catch myxomatosis. If Paris is Judge Judy’s bottom then Ottawa is Angelina Jolie’s bottom served on a bed of caviar.

Strangely, however, despite the complete lack of any pressure or crime, and the plentiful supply of cheap parking and a Tim Horton’s on every street corner, what the people of Ottawa do come the weekend is drive half an hour to their cabins by the lake. The lake is (David Attenborough Nature Program type of voice here) really lovely. Take your breath away, roll your eyes, God-I-have-go-to-dive-in-that-right-now-gorgeous.

Back in 2002 Heidi and I went to a friends wedding there and stayed a week extra and it was like lying in a nest of silk. I liked to swim in the morning, when the mist was rising, and in the afternoon I’d go kayaking round all the cute little islands and through the forests, cigar in mouth, soundlessly, apart from the paddles making that paddle noise thingy in the water. And the occasional satisfying crack as the beavers gnawed their way through another pine. However, that silence was broken when I rented a speedboat and so for the next few days I never heard a bird, or a beaver, or the gentle slop of the wavelets. Instead it was wall to wall grrrrrrrrrrrr from a 70-horsepower Johnson outboard.

I don’t think the locals liked it very much. Canadians reckon the speedboat sits on the scale of antisocial behavior between heroin and speaking French, and they plainly thought that I might have been a Satan’s servant. Certainly, they watched us in the same way that an Amish village would watch a performance by AC/DC.

It’s lovely, as I said, to drift aimlessly through the forests on a canoe. But it’s so much better to be hurled through them at 40 mph.

What’s more? Falling off a canoe is a bloody nuisance, chiefly because you cannot get back on again. Watching the fat man trying to get back in the canoe provided the locals with much amusement………especially when my shorts came off.

So, even though Canada is responsible for my white handkerchief turning green and my throat feeling like I have just gargled a cocktail of barbed wire mixed with fresh cactus. I look back at my time there with great fondness. I am so sorry I could not blog yesterday and I guess I should say a big thank you to Heidi for covering for me. It was strange reading her blog today. I had just asked her to write a few words explaining why I wasn’t writing…….but as you can see she took the opportunity to give me a public bollocking about my Raspberry use……..bugger.
So, what did you think of the Beach Ball commercial?….Any thoughts? I would be really interested to hear what you think. In case you missed it yesterday…….here it is again now.

So, post your comments and let’s see what you think. By the way, next week I will be posting a brilliant interview with our new Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Jim Berra. One of the questions he will be answering will be to highlight our new commercials and what we have planned for you this coming New Year. Look out for this next week.
Speaking of questions, let’s answer those that asked me to reply………..here we go.

Mike Asked:
Hi John, Heidi, and everyone,

Hopefully the other commercials will be better. As for the awards, I will get back to you with my opinion(s).

I was reading another message board, and I have one concern about the Dream, and for that matter, any ship with big screen TV’s at the pool. We stopped cruising a cruise line “of the seas” because they cut their pool band hours to two hours a day (about). It may seem so small, but it is really so big and important to us.

I saw some discussion about if the screens take away from the reggae bands and live entertainment, and some have expressed that on Princess, it does not really take away as they have the bands at another pool than the TV pool. On Carnival, there is one main pool area (not sure how it will be on the Dream). Please tell me that Carnival will never been cutting back on the reggae bands, as we love cruising Carnival for the traditional cruise experience — yes that goes as small as the reggae bands by the pool. This is one reason we have not cruised on ships with the TVs by the pool.

Please keep the great, quality reggae bands FOREVER!

Keep up the great work. Happy Holidays.
Mike Smith

John Says:
Hello Mike
It is easy to schedule nothing but movies and video concerts when you have the wonders of Carnival’s Seaside Theatre big screens………..however, nothing is more important than live entertainment and I can promise you that we will never replace the live bands and duos we have on Lido Deck with the big screen. On the ship’s that have a big screen the schedule should be as follows.
7:45 PM & 10:30 PM – MOVIES
This is the sort of schedule that will appear on the Carnival Dream. As I said, live music is the best and lying in the sun listening to this is as it is for you…….a highlight for many.
Thanks mate and best regards

The Kilmartions Asked:
John, please reply….let’s have some fun…

What a treat to hear your kind words about Robert Plant. I adore him. George and I just watched a show called Crossroads where rock stars and country stars team up for an intimate concert…often they are odd pairings but turn out to be brilliant. Robert performed with Allison Krauss, and it lived up to all expectations. We saw them this summer when they toured to support their album Raising Sand. He’s still got it.

I understand there are “rehearsals” occurring with Page, JPJ, and Jason Bonham; however, Robert is not participating. That annoys me, but the other chaps have every right to make music together again even if Robert chooses not to join.

So, here’s my question…who would you pick to fill in for him? Understanding, of course, no one could truly replace him.

Did you ever have the opportunity to see Led Zeppelin live before Bonham died?

Okay, sorry to distract you from cruising, but you’ve piqued my interest in your taste in music. I think we could exchange play lists and find them very similar. 🙂

Take care,

The Kilmartins

John Says:
Hello to the Kilmartins
Wow, it’s wonderful to talk to another rock lover. What a question……..who to replace Robert Plant with. You know, I never got to see Led Zeppelin perform with Bonham and if I could build a time machine I would make their Wembley Stadium concert one of my first stops. As for who to replace him with………well I heard the same rumors and also that …….and God please don’t let this be true……..that the lead singer from a band called The Killers was going to take his place……….personally, if Plant won’t attend then I would love to see David Coverdale the lead singer with Whitesnake. His voice is just brilliant and I can see him delivering on all the LZ songs.
What do you think?
Thanks so much for taking the time to write in and I hope to hear from you soon.
My best to the entire family

LisaK Asked:
Is the 12/03/2009 sailing of the….

CARNIVAL DREAM, still going to be a bloggers cruise? We are booked on it we sure hope it is! Please let us know A.S.A.P.

Sweet puffs from Cigar City

John Says:
Hello Lisa

Yes……….your Dream will be a Bloggers Dream. See you there

Richard Asked:

I enjoyed the commercial, but being a long-time blogger I know the background of how the concept came about. I think that more should have been said about what Carnival was doing and where the candy went after the commercial was shot.

I am taking a cruise on January 1st on the Fascination out of Jacksonville. Now I know that Trevor deserves a vacation but I don’t remember you talking about the replacement Jacques DeLange. What can you tell me about him and what other ships has he been on? Also has the Fascination had the Waterworks refit?

John Says:
Hello Richard.
Thanks for your honest comments on the commercial. I will be asking Jim Berra, our chief marketing officer, to explain more about the strategy behind our new commercials so please look out for that interview next week.
As far as the Carnival Fascination and the upgrade to Evolutions of Fun………well, we added a new mini-golf course, a sushi bar, a new lobby bar and have upgraded all the cabins. She does not have the Carnival WaterWorks park yet but still has a fun waterslide and three pools. Your CD will be, as you said, a young man called Jacques. I have met him and he is very funny and full of non-stop energy………..I know you will have a wonderful time with him. I am sorry about the late reply and I also hope you get to see this before you cruise tomorrow. Have a brilliant time

CruisinGrandma Asked:

Hey John, Butch and Thingy (Please Reply)

First let me say that I LOVE the new commercials – they are something new and unexpected that plays on Carnivals being the FUN Ships…and we all know that on the Fun Ships lots of unexpected things happen all the time – I don’t know how people wouldn’t know its Carnival – they have the whale tail the horn and it actually says CARNIVAL!

I love your blog John and was quite happy to see Butch doing the Christmas blogs. I just left Butch and the Glory gang – I sailed the week before Christmas and the ship was decorated beautifully. Butch is a awesome cruise director for those of you who haven’t been on the Glory yet- this was my second time with him (I was also on the Sept. 6 run) and I will spend my 30th birthday with him in April….thanks for posting the schedule John as I was told by customer service they didn’t know who was aboard the ships ever – Butch being the CD sealed my decision to go again.

John will there ever be any fun ships whose home port is Boston? I saw that the Glory will stop here in 2010 a few times. We see a lot of ships here recently but we rarely get to see that whale tail sailing into this beautiful city.

Erin W.

John Says:

Hello Grandma
Thanks so much for your comments about the new commercials and I am so happy you like them. Words can not describe how proud I am of Butch and I will make sure he gets to read your glowing praise. I am glad that posting the CD schedule is appreciated by so many and I will post the new one very soon which should cover what’s happening the rest of 2009.
Now, as for Boston. Well, as you say, the Carnival Glory will be stopping by soon as part of her week-long fall foliage cruises from New York and I hope that she is the first of many Carnival ships calling or sailing from Boston. We all love Boston and I especially love the chowder! I will make sure I keep pushing for more stops to your fine city.
Thanks Grandma and my best to you and all the family.

mushuw72 Asked:

Hi John

As requested here is the information you needed from me to pass along to Ken on the Splendor. We are travelling on the Splendor on January 31 to Feb 17 on the South American tour.

My brother in law and sister are Beate and Richard Buhagiar and are in cabin number ####.

Harold Farrugia and Eva Bartolo are in cabin number ####.

We would really appreciate it if you can ask Ken to assign us to his dining room for the first seating. We wanted to introduce our family to Ken and show them all the wonderful things we normally enjoy when we’re cruising with Carnival.

Thanks John we’re grateful for your help in this. I do hope you had a great Christmas with Heidi, thingy and the family. I’m still working on Harold to try and make the Dec 3 bloggers cruise but with the economy being what it is right now he is not budging. Any chance there are any planned for 2010? Unless Carnival returns to Europe in 2010. Anyway keep us informed on what Carnival is doing, we really love your blogs.

Thanks again
Eva Bartolo

John Says:

Hello Eva.
Thanks for all the kind words and rest assured I will pass this information to the ship immediately. I am sure Ken will be honored to have you in his dining room. I will keep you informed about 2010 and if we return to Europe and, of course, the future bloggers cruises. I hope to see you and Harold on the Carnival Dream and have a fantastic voyage on the Carnival Splendor.

Ron & Connie Asked:

Please reply

Want to wish you & Heidi a Merry Christmas

Have been quite busy since we returned from our back-to-back cruises on the Carnival Freedom. Todd, Josh, TJ, Steve really made our cruise special for us. Todd even sang a song for us at one of the captain’s parties to celebrate our vow renewal.

We thank you for your gift, even though we did not get it until the second cruise. The purse’s desk kept messing up when Todd asked them to deliver it to our room.

Antigua and Tortola were our favorite ports.

Have you been able to get the Christmas ornaments?

Our address is
Cheri & Michael Bolchoz

John Says:

I must admit I am a little concerned. Heidi mailed a lot of cards in mid-December, including your ornaments, yet only a few of you have told me they have been received. Hopefully by now they will have been. Please let me know. I am glad you had such a wonderful time on the Carnival Freedom……..maybe I will sing to you the next time ……… or maybe not.
As always my best to you and the family

Jim Ward Asked:

I want to write on the blog, how do I do so? As well I have been a cruise director for many years with lines like HAL, Premier Cruises (Big Red Boats), Royal Majesty, etc. I have been trying to get into Carnival for some years but always hit a wall. Can you help? I know you can or do I have to go through Panoff LOL. I have lots of tales and stories as well which I would like to exchange with others. Please advise

John Says:

Hello Jim
Welcome to the blog. As far as employment is concerned please have a look at www.carnivalentertainment.com which will provide you will all the right channels regarding jobs onboard. You must have some amazing memories of your time on the ships. I will always remember docking next to The Big Red Boats in Nassau. Tell you what – why not write some of your memories to us here on the blog as I am sure many people will have sailed on some of the lines on which you served as CD. Let me know if you need help with the employment issue and I look forward to hearing from you very soon mate.

Frances Asked:

Dear John and Heidi

We’ve eaten our Aussie Christmas dinner (turkey, ham, salads, hot Christmas pudding and pavlova!), we’ve returned our ’special’ guests to the local retirement village, we’ve done the dishes AND we’ve picked up all the wrapping paper … and then we sat down to read three days of blogs – thank you for ending our Christmas day with a laugh, and also for including the great (definitely NOT laughable) photo of you and Heidi.

Now our Christmas is over, we can get down to planning our btb cruises on the Splendor, around South America – we have a month before we fly to the States for our first, second and third cruises.

John, please reply:

We have two questions:
(1) Has the library on the Splendor been upgraded since the Baltic cruises, or should we bring our own reading matter as well? (We read LOTS!)
(2) Is it possible to change US$ into Brazilian, Argentinean, Chilean currency on board… we presume that we can, but don’t want to miss out if we’re wrong!

Happy Christmas – and HUGE congratulations to Jaime as well!

John Says:

Hello Frances, and what a wonderful Aussie Christmas you just had. I am glad the blogs continue to make you laugh and I know you must be getting very excited about your forthcoming Carnival Splendor voyages. Let me therefore answer your questions.
The library has been very much part of our discussions and yes it has been upgraded with many new fiction and non-fiction book titles added since the Baltic. We also realize that we need many more books for the longer voyages and therefore lots more books have been ordered.
The money exchange is a good question. At the time of writing, I don’t have the answer but I will have it in the next few days and will reply to you and post this on the blog as I am sure many more will wish to know. I will be back to you soon with the answer.
Thanks so much for such kind comments and hope you saved me some Christmas pudding
Cheers John

Brian Asked:

Hi John, Heidi and Wot ever (English! You know)
(Please reply, Given time but forgiven if pressed)
Just a quick thank you for the blog and for the advice for our son, who wishes to follow in your footsteps (we cruised with you on the Splendor in September and spoke), his progress is going well now ACD on the Victory (and will go even further), thank you and Merry Christmas to you and all those who read the blog

John Says:
Hello Brian
I have heard many wonderful things about your son and you must be so very proud of him. Please send him my kind regards.

Gerry and Frank Asked:

Hi John,
We are sailing on Glory 2/28/09 and are a bit worried. We lastly sailed on Triumph and had terrible service in the dining room. There were 10 of us and our waitress and assistant were horrible. All food was cold, the assistant didn’t understand us at all and we swore we would never go on another Carnival cruise. We felt terrible having recommended the Triumph to those sailing with us.

Forward to now and we love sailing from Port Canaveral so we decided to sail on Glory. We are going for our 24th anniversary and were looking forward to it. I now see reviews of Glory saying the food isn’t that great, there are cutbacks in service and rumors that the supper clubs are closing in February.

I am really getting worried that this is going to be another “wish we hadn’t done it cruise.” Once again we are having a couple go with us who have never sailed on Carnival but are doing so because of us.

Please reassure me that we won’t be disappointed. This cruise should make us platinum with Carnival and we hope to love it so we can sail on Dream when she comes to Pt Canaveral.

I love your blog and read it daily since I have discovered it. I hope you and Heidi have a wonderful holiday season and that 2009 is a banner year for you.

Gerri & Frank

John Says:

Hello Gerri and Frank
I often wonder where these rumors start. Someone, somewhere must be sitting in a dark attic and realizing they have no friends and bored with logging onto websites containing Latvian women with no clothes on they think “Oh, I know, just before I watch the all night Jerry Springer Marathon on SAD TV, I will post an outright lie on the cruise boards saying Carnival is closing their supper clubs.”….what a load of bollocks. Sorry to vent but it really gets under my skin.
So, firstly let me apologize for the service you received on the Carnival Triumph and I am so happy that you are giving us another chance. As far as the comments on the Carnival Glory, well, for every one bad comment there are a many many positives ………. including one from Crusin Grandma above. Please remember these are people’s personal opinions and, while they must be respected, I hope that everyone will decide for themselves. The Supper Clubs are brilliant and while we may be tweaking the menus and maybe introducing some top secret additions they are certainly not be closing and I know you will absolutely love the one on the Carnival Glory……..try the Porterhouse steak.
Congratulations on making Platinum status and I will kindly ask that you let me know your thoughts on the cruise when you return
Have a wonderful time

Tom & Jane Asked:

hi john & family
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Santa left to a gift at our house,,
will bring it to the Blogger #2
guess you been a good boy.

hint :::::TAMPA FLORIDA also known as

see you soon

Tom & Jane

John Says:

Tom and Jane – strange that because Santa left something for you both as well. See you in February………..I have been quite naughty actually
Cheers to you both

Brenda Asked:

I am new here and going to take my first cruise solo on Feb 8, on the Freedom. I know the ship is only a year or so old. Can you tell me if it by chance has a pool lift? I am in a wheelchair and would like to know if I need to hunt for a swimsuit in the middle of winter here. I am so excited to finally go on my first cruise and look forward to meeting people and learning the fun things to do getting my sea legs (or wheels).


John Says:

Hello Brenda.
First of all let me say a big welcome to the world of cruising and the blog. Congratulations on choosing to sail on the Carnival Freedom and I know you will have a wonderful time. Let me check on the pool lift. I know we have one on the Carnival Splendor but I am unsure if we have one on the Carnival Freedom. Even if we do not we have pool attendant staff who will be happy to assist you in and out of the water. So, go ahead and buy that swim suit and I will get back to you ASAP with the correct answer. By the way, if you have any other concerns or questions please drop me a line and I will be ready to help in anyway I can.

David Asked:

Please Reply

Hi John

Happy Holidays to You, and the family.

There is a rumor that Carnival is closing the supper clubs early next year. Can you shed any light on this?

Thanks as always!


John Says:

Hello David
I am sure by now you have read the answer above that I wrote on this subject. I am happy to tell you that this rumour is a work of fiction and like soap in a Paris bathroom……it has no place.
We may be looking at some menu changes and or additions in the months ahead but the supper club — or steak house for those who don’t know what we are talking about — remains. And it remains the best meal that $30 will get you anywhere in the world.
Hope this helps.

Dianne Asked:

Just got back off of the Valor and was curious about something I noticed, not only on this cruise, but our last one (the Miracle) too… Why do the head CD’s have little interaction with the passengers then in the years past? It seems like during our last two; the assistant CD’s were more active and much more seen around the ship. The only time we saw the head CD’s were during the evening shows and on occasion, going from one place to another. Don’t get me wrong… I know they are extremely busy, however on our previous cruises; the CD’s were everywhere and kept in touch with the passengers all the time (maybe we were spoiled with you being our first!). So it doesn’t make sense why we hardly ever see them. Some of our fellow passengers were asking the same question too so at least we know we aren’t the only ones who have witnessed this. Anyway, Merry X-Mas to you, Heidi, and the little one!

John Says:

Hello Dianne
This is a great question and let me answer it as best I can. You are correct, of course, that the CD must be as visable as much as possible. This means hosting daytime activities, information talks, TV shows and evening shows. However, the old days are gone and these days a CD’s job is so much more. He or she is involved in safety training, managing a 70-plus strong department, answering dozens and dozens of e-mails, preparing the daily Capers…….a lot of people do not realize that the publishing, design and content of the Carnival Capers is the sole responsibility of the cruise director. There are many other side jobs that they are responsible for. This means the days of just hanging out with guests drinking coffee all day are slowly disappearing. Now…..is this a good thing?…. absolutely not. I hate it. I hate the fact that I am stuck behind a computer and truly most cruise directors will tell you they are only really happy when they are interacting with guests either on stage or on a one to one basis. Any CD that says they prefer to be behind the computer is in the wrong job.
This needs to change and I know that Roger, Chris and myself will be looking at this closely in the next few weeks.
Thanks so much for sending me your thoughts and I hope we get to cruise together again very soon.

Please keep the comments coming and I will reply as always to those marked for me to do so.

Now, as promised, lets chat with the incomparable Mr. Joe Farcus who hear explains how he turned your Carnival Dream into reality.

Hello John

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer your questions concerning the Carnival Dream. It always gives me a great deal of pleasure to talk about our ships and even more so to give our guests some inside information about her. Creating a ship like this, especially in the difficult economic environment we are all facing, has been a real challenge. The overall idea being to create a better vessel in a manner that makes her more attractive to our guests so that their holidays aboard will have the potential to be the best ever. This not only applies to the architecture and hardware, but also as they affect the creation of better and more attractive software that equally enhances one’s experience aboard. We wanted to create the best ship yet, while remaining affordable and being the great value Carnival has always been for her guests. Now on to your questions.

1. How long ago did you start preparing your designs for the Carnival Dream?

We have been working on her for about two years now. The first step was to design the changes we wanted to incorporate into what will be Carnival’s largest ship ever. The idea, of course, was not just to make the ship larger, but to add features which our other ships did not have so that she would could continue the evolutionary progression that Carnival has adopted over the years. For example, we know that our guests like to lay out on deck during the day. Making the ship larger does not proportionately increase the area of open deck traditionally located at the top of the ship. This was addressed cleverly by The Lanai, which is the addition of two lower sun decks at the sides of deck 5, off of the main public room deck of the ship, configured as overhanging extensions to the ship’s beam or width. I see these decks as being very popular, being used more by adults I think, who would like the much closer communion with the sea. We have added four half overhanging spa pools on this deck so that guests can lounge in them with spectacular and thrilling views of the sea. You’ll be able to hear the ship moving through the water at this location, which to those who appreciate it will be a very pleasant experience indeed. More about added features on a later question below.

2. I was on the ship recently and was amazed at the wide open spaces. Before we discuss specific areas, can you tell us what your overall theme and vision is for the vessel?

Normally, I have begun the design process by envisioning what I have called a Central Idea from which the ship designs evolve. These ideas have mainly been a concrete specific characteristic, such as ‘The Impressionist Artists’ or ‘Colors.’ I’ve tried to do this a little differently for this ship, making the ‘Central Idea’ much more abstract. I knew the name of the vessel was going to be Carnival Dream and with that in mind I began my thought process. The word ‘Dream’ began to take on an importance, which led me to think about a ‘Dream Cruise.’ That was it for me and my inspiration. My idea was to put this ideal into my creative thought process so that it would be the inspiration for each design. So when I began to create each public room I thought of how each function could be realized as an integral part of the ‘Dream Cruise.’ It was a frame of mind really using all of my experience in creating successful ships and applying it to take the next step in the design process by consciously using this abstract concept of a ship where all of the designs stem from this ideal dream. Certainly the new spaces and areas of this vessel added to this concept, but even more so was my desire to create something extra special for her guests.

3. One of the new areas is called the Ocean Plaza. Can you tell us about what you forsee happening here and what designs you have planned here?

Ocean Plaza is a new space on the main guest deck 5, which was added as a result of this ship’s increased length over our most recent ship, Carnival Splendor. When the Carnival Dream was lengthened in the planning stages creating a new space to be defined and The Lanai open decks added there as well, it was clear to me that this new space was needed to connect these decks and to create a new nerve center for the ship. I believed that The Lanai decks were going to be very popular by day and also by night to a lesser extent. This area is for those who love the sea and want that added communion with it by virtue of its proximity. With all of this in mind and, working with Carnival’s management, the concept was created and originally generically named The Piazza after the traditional Italian town center square where the people congregate to meet, talk, eat, and enjoy. Such is what we can offer in Ocean Plaza and the adjacent Lanai. There are bars, a cafe, and entertainment to keep this town center active day and night. There is also a large Internet facility here too. “Meet me in the Ocean Plaza,” will be a logical and pleasant expression on Carnival Dream and a new concept for Carnival guests. The décor is clean and modern featuring special blue and gray tinted wood walls punctuated with a dark blue mirror fashioned as a horizontal wavy sea horizon. Beautiful orange handmade glass mosaics, mirror-like stainless steel pillar coves, and Venetian Murrina circular lamps finish the décor. The Lanai has also been widened at the Ocean Plaza on either side to create large under cover seating areas for those who want to be in the shade to watch the sea go by on a beautiful day while they… enjoy a dream cruise!

4. As always, I am interested in the main theatre. What can you tell us about it?

Well, John, we couldn’t make a cruise ship for a dream cruise without making our great theaters even greater. Such is the case for the Encore! In the first place, it is larger and obviously has a larger seating capacity. We worked closely with Carnival’s entertainment department to add the features, which would also increase the production capabilities. That would be better access to and from the stage, as well as more backstage facilities for more elaborate sets, costumes, and general operating space for the entertainers and technicians. So the groundwork for even better shows is an integral part of the Carnival Dream. From the audience point of view, the auditorium portion of the room is improved. The lower deck or main floor if you will now goes beam to beam, which is considerably wider than the previous theaters. This has allowed me to add additional side tiers to the seating arrangement ensuring better sight lines to the stage for the audience. The addition of these areas has allowed the for the reduction in the side depth or projection of the balcony over the main floor. This result is a bigger ‘hole’ as it were in the balcony giving everyone in the audience a much larger sense of space in this theater. What had been a grand theater on the previous ships will be even grander aboard Dream. The décor is contemporary and features walls of a handmade finish consisting of a textured spatula-applied reddish iridescent paint broken up into stone-like panels with joints of gold leaf. Flanking the stage are massive marble columns and the walls and ceiling are accented with Macassar Ebony wood columns and beams. The overall color scheme of the upholstery and carpets features mainly gold with dark red accents. The ceiling over the main part of the auditorium is a starlit sky creating an even more soaring effect to this theatre of the Dream.

5. The public entertainment areas look wonderful. Can you take us on a journey through the vessel?

This is tough question that the answer could take pages and pages of description. However here’s my best shot. An experienced guest will find something new as soon as they enter the ship. The Dream is the name of the atrium and is the gateway to what I hope will be the dream cruise. The feeling here is a sophisticated modern Deco look. The main features are reddish Italian marble frames surrounding polished copper and white glass lamps or luminous mirror panels. The lamps can change colors creating a virtual light show and the mirror is normal silver mirror interspersed with yellow translucent flecks all over which are illuminated by concealed back lighting for a new and striking effect. The bar and other counter tops are made of the same mirror material for an even more striking effect giving life to bar glasses sitting on them. The dome at the top of the atrium also utilizes this type of luminous mirror, however, here the lighting is by color changing LEDs continuing the light show effect.

However apart from the décor the arrangement and indeed the function of the atrium itself has evolved. Carnival entertainment has increasing utilized the atriums for entertainment and on Dream this will be taken again to the next level. I have modified the layout of the space to make the entire atrium a three-deck-high show facility (and arguably more since the upper decks in the atrium can see the stage). First you will see that a stage has been created ‘flying’ over the bar placing it above the atrium floor and spatially in the middle of the three-deck-high atrium. This, combined with additional seating, makes a stage view very easy from each deck of the atrium allowing for great audience connection and maybe participation in the atrium shows. It should be fun and just another venue for our guests to enjoy the varied and great entertainment options aboard.

One moves forward from the Dream Bar and atrium lobby to the Encore! Theater. Moving aft one comes to the one of two main dining rooms. The prevalent color used throughout the room is crimson which is primary hue used in colored glass lamps and chandeliers, mosaic tiles, ceiling coves, and the glass balustrades and privacy screens used throughout. All of these features are framed by beautiful light wood paneling evoking a warm and sophisticated, yet comfortable look. The layout of the room itself has been changed as well as being made larger. Our two level previous design has been kept, but reconfigured to give a more open and formal entrance. Additionally the upper level has changed by virtue of a new circulation space added to the Dream, which is a lower promenade on the starboard side called Lower Dream Street. Just forward of the main dining room are two adjacent dining venues, which are breakout rooms used as additional main restaurant seating, private party rooms, and card or game rooms. In these rooms the décor is overall lilac colored created by beautiful glass mosaics with elaborate multi-colored medallions, iridescent painted contoured wall panels and fiddle back Movingue wood wainscoting

Going back to the Dream atrium and up one deck from the lobby itself we come to the additional atrium show seating mentioned above, plus the expanded photo shop and facilities, which have become more interactive with facilities for guests to ‘work’ with their photos in addition to selecting them. Of course forward of the atrium is the theater and moving aft one comes into Lower Dream Street. This street does not exist on any other Carnival ship and allows for fore to aft circulation without going through the restaurant itself. The first room encountered here is the Page Turner Library with beautiful fabric wall covering with wood bookcases and trim. Opposite the library on the port side is a lounge called Rendezvous created with a Western theme of saddle leather walls and furniture, Frederick Remington bronze sculptures and Western paintings. Enjoy a brandy here on the Dream. Lower Dream Street then continues on past the main dining room to our greatly expanded conference center, The Chambers. This space can be configured as our largest conference room ever or 3 separate breakout rooms, all with direct food and drink service. In Lower Dream Street outside the Chambers is one of our several new Internet areas. Moving more aft we come along the street to our younger cruisers area containing Circle C Club, Club O2, and The Warehouse, our surreal brick and blue mirror-like stainless steel décor garage-like video game room. This collection of spaces will be a dream for our younger cruisers, as Carnival has never devoted so much space to this important segment of our market. Lower Dream Street then ends at the aft dining room on Deck 4 .

Moving up the Dream atrium again we come to deck 5, where the Ocean Plaza and Lanai open decks are located. There are several entrances to the Lanai’s all along deck 5 for easy access and convenient use. Our shopping center is located here as in the past, with more shops and a completely new layout and décor. Rich woods of various colors are used throughout giving a completely new and contemporary feeling for shopping. Coming out of the Dream Atrium on the starboard side we come into Upper Dream Street, which in this area is combined with the Jackpot Casino. The casino is larger and follows the model successfully arranged aboard the Carnival Spirit-class ships, where one walks through it moving forward and aft on the ship. The décor here is dream-like, wild with copper frames holding huge lenses, which gives one a different view of the world (you have to be on board to fully understand) combined with black and white striped woodwork, and multi-colored handmade art glass wall panels. Running throughout are beams of light points creating an ever-changing color symphony replicating the action of this gaming spot. Located at the aft corner is the bar, lounge area, and bandstand. The bar features large video monitors for sports and other event showings culminating this action center. Continuing on Upper Dream Street we come to Ocean Plaza at the midship position and described above, with the exception that a stage is located here, as well, fulfilling the entertainment function mentioned above.

Continuing through Ocean Plaza we come to a large seating area in Upper Dream Street, where the walkup Wasabi sushi bar is located in Japanese décor. Then we come to the entrance to the Collection art gallery, which is our largest yet designed as a museum with many contemporary designed alcoves to effectively display the art for sale onboard. Just aft of this entrance is the Caliente dance club. Here we have gone with the South Beach model of upscale and very now in way of décor. Sofa seating encircled by diaphanous gold curtains form the main seating groups, along with many high tables encouraging meeting and having fun in this state of the art equipped dance club. The large dance floor is made ip of graphic LED displays with other LED graphic panels over it in a kind of cone-like shape. We even have an outdoor section on the port side of The Lanai, where groups can gather in the outdoors on beautiful nights with the feeling of being in a top spot club. The remaining walls and ceiling coves are painted with bi-color changing wall finishes and the pleated chrome ceiling is painted on one side black to give a “now it’s here, now it’s not” feeling. At the end of Upper Dream Street we come into the open piano bar, Sam’s. The homage to pianos is carried out through simulated ivory moldings and our traditional oversized piano keyboard bar where guest can imagine (or dream) they are talented piano players while enjoying the music. Rich woodwork is used for the walls and furniture accented with string-like red strip lights weaving through the room. Our traditional piano on a turntable will still be here and located in a much larger bar than previous ships with a large convex mirror above it giving those seated there an extraordinary view of the performer.

When you move through Sam’s you come to the aft atrium, which serves as not only the entrance to the aft lounge, but also to The Song jazz/ karaoke bar. The Song’s architectural style is lyrical as the music played there. The columns are tapered wave-like flutes finished in a heavy textured copper color with royal purple velour curtains festooned in the windows. The ceiling undulates with the music so to speak and the floors and bar area is finished with a mosaic made up of broken pieces of five different fancy marbles. The translucent dome over the dance floor has a similar finish replicated on glass and backlit giving a Tiffany glass effect. The lounge follows the new layout first used aboard Carnival Splendor, where the stage is located completely aft with a very large dance floor in front of it and tiered seating all around. This new layout is very conducive to performances, but also for conference seating making the aft show lounge a great venue for meetings, cocktail parties, and the like. Here is also the most themed room on the Dream, taking its inspiration from Carnivale in Venice. This is sort of my dream of remembrance as the Carnivale was the first ship I worked on for Carnival Cruise Lines. The walls are a Venetian design fabric wall covering above a quilted maple wood wainscot with gold leafed quatrefoil appliqués. In front of the wall covering are Venetian Carnivale masks back lit with color changing lights creating a multi-color glow on the walls. Large versions of the masks are used behind the bar and in gold leafed domes in the ceiling. The main domes also have handmade Venetian glass chandeliers adding to the Venetian theme.

Moving to the top of the ship we have the Gathering lido restaurant complete with the international food bars consisting of the Mongolian Wok, The Deli, the Tandoori, the Pizzeria, the Grille, and the daily specials, not to mention the elaborate dessert and coffee bars. Here the walls have been covered with glass mosaic tile with real platinum tiles interspersed throughout the mosaic. These walls will be broken up by large angular forms on the walls and ceiling whose pyramid-like elements are polished stainless steel on one face and wood veneer on the opposite side They form really interesting geometric shapes half of which reflect angled views of the rooms creating an eye catching perspective from anywhere in the room. The ceilings are dark metallic lacquer panels alternated with bright red feature strips. Throughout are white wall and ceiling lamps with amber colored glass ‘buttons’ fused on creating a clean sparkling effect. The floor and walls in the serving lines are triangular tiles of pink and dark red granite. The banquets are trimmed in mirror stainless steel with the wall mosaic tile and orange tinted glass privacy panels. It’s a warm and pleasant environment with some visual reflective excitement for our informal dining experience.

Moving up two decks, we come to our best restaurant onboard, The Chef’s Art. Our reservations-only supper club. Here the décor is rich and beautiful. The main feature of the room is an almost full ceiling chandelier made up of hand-blown violet glass sphere elements fixed on a black chrome background with small clear bulbs placed in between the spheres. The effect should be a dreamy evening sky when the lights are dimmed. The walls are mainly lavender tinted frosted and textured glass back lit panels framed with light wood frames accented with dark wood corners and pink and gray marble circular inserts. The remaining ceiling is copper-colored cassettes with a brushed in design framed with wood and marble strips as the walls. I think when a couple is dancing under the evening inspired chandelier a sense of relaxed style and satisfaction will be the effect.

Our public room tour will end in the Cloud 9 Spa. The décor will be Asian-inspired as our new upgraded spa facilities on the Carnival Splendor, however everything will be larger. More treatment rooms, Asian themed cabins just below and associated with the spa, bigger gym, and special glass elevator strictly for the spa which goes from the spa cabins up two decks to the Serenity retreat above for adult guests. It is surely our most comprehensive spa in our fleet. The facilities, services, and equipment are second to none and for those who book a spa cabin, a spa experience equal to the finest ashore.

6. What about the open decks, what do you have in store for us there?

Well, John, as you may have guessed, they are bigger and better, as well. I have already gone into some detail about the deck 5 Lanai decks which forms a continuous connection around the sides and aft section of the ship. Additionally we have the Waves lido with the Seaside Theatre, which is the two-deck-high main Lido area featuring our mega-sized video wall for all sorts of performances, day or night. In fact this space with the video and bandstand make this the largest ‘public room’ on the ship. So we have our normal swimming pool here, plus bars and food venues. A great place to have fun in the sun or party down in the night.

The aft deck is a cruiser’s dream Lido called Sunset. We also have two whirlpools here and the Sunset Bar. A magnificent view aft is the main feature here forming a perfect spot for lounging to watch the mesmerizing wake of the ship float on. Above this deck we have a basketball court and games deck. Carnival’s mini-golf is located in this area providing an interesting course at sea.

Above and forward of the Wave lido is Carnival WaterWorks, which is a great aqua park for all ages. Slides of different types and water jets and sprays are there for splashing fun in a self-contained area. Above and forward of the WaterWorks is Serenity, our adults only resort-type retreat. Upscale loungers, special whirlpools, cabanas, and sunshades complete this exclusive area located just above the Cloud 9 Spa.

The Wave and Sunset lidos are decorated in a yacht club style complete with sailboat masts complete with rigging, special lights, and signal flags. Large dishes of bougainvillea will adorn each mast as well. Garland light lines will also connect the masts giving a festive feeling at night. The walls around the bars will be a beautiful white ceramic tile with colorful confetti flecks on them. Beautiful bronze sculptures will be placed in both lidos with the one at the Sunset as part of waterfall feature that one can walk through. Surrounding the pools will be a wading pools fitted with amorphic shaped benches to lounge on in the shallow water.

7. When I saw the ship, none of the public areas had really been started. Can you tell us what happens between now and September?

We finish! We were recently onboard just after you were. There is, of course, a lot to do, but all seems on schedule. Almost all of the finished material is prefabricated in the workshops of the various subcontractors, so the finishing occurs more or less in a rapid fashion. From our end, we have approved all of the mockups, drawings, samples, etc. As I said, things seem to be on track. Carnival’s representatives who are in the yard on a daily basis also reassure me this is correct. So for us it is monitoring the situation and dealing with unforeseen issues that always come up.

8. How often will you have to go back to the vessel to make sure your work is carried out properly. And can you tell us where some of your design features are constructed?

We were onboard just before Christmas and will return in February. Probably will be there just about every other month until she is finished. It is an ongoing, hands-on process. It is never just design it and hand it over and hope it will be built correctly. There are usually issues right up to the delivery, which I’m sure is normal for such a complex project. Basically all of the architecture is manufactured in Italy. We have sub-contractors in or around Milan, Monfalcone, Trieste, and Venice.

9. You have been working with Carnival for many years. With regard to what you do, what has been the single biggest change in the world of ship’s architecture?

My first work for Carnival was on the Carnivale, Carnival’s second ship, in 1975 while I was working for the architect Morris Lapidus. The next project, which was under my name this time, was the conversion of the T.S.S. Festivale in 1977. This was a seminal ship in my view as it formed the beginning of the concept of “entertainment architecture” and was the first ship where the concept of the ship being the destination occurred. In other words, she was the ship where this concept began and the precursor of what all major cruise ships have become over the years. Basically, this is the biggest change, as it has become an ongoing change that has not stopped. Of course, the ships are bigger and the facilities onboard greater still, which all plays to the overall sophistication which has occurred in the market over these 30-plus years. As cruising’s popularity has grown and, even more importantly, the experience of the guests has broadened substantially, the ships’ designs have had to evolve as well. I feel very proud that I have had a big role in this development. It all goes back to my statement about this ship in the beginning of my answers: the people who are booking a cruise on this ship are buying a dream. I will do my best to deliver that to them, especially since the ship’s name is Carnival Dream.

10. We would like to congratulate you on a very special award, can you tell us about it?

Thanks very much John. I was actually stunned when I was approached for this Distinguished Alumnus Award. The University of Florida, where I studied and earned my architectural degree, honors graduates from time to time who have either done something exemplary for the university or who excelled in the field for which they received their degree. In my case, it’s the latter. There were two other honorees, one of which was a US Senator. My family and I had dinner at the university president’s house followed the next day by a commencement ceremony where the award was officially presented. It was quite emotional, I can tell you. I even was able to find two professors I had while a student and had wonderful conversations with both. I graduated in 1967. Talk about closure.

Well, I have a feeling that Mr Farcus may have outdone himself this time. Thanks, Joe, for taking the time to write and we all now look forward to seeing your Dream come true.

What a year. Heidi is with Thingy, we delivered the Carnival Splendor, we passed 3.5 million hits on the blog thingy which is not even two years old yet. We shared the credit crunch together and became even closer here in cyber space.

All I can hope for is that you and your families have a brilliant 2009 full of peace, prosperity, health and most of all……………….a huge dollop of Fun!

Happy New Year Everyone
Your Friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy.

Tomorrow I will be taking the day off from blogging to spend with Heidi, the thingy and the rest of my family, I hope you all don’t mind. Happy New Year to all my blogging friends and family. See you soon!

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.