It's Snow Joke

February 3, 2009 -

News From Steph

I am not sure if you have heard but the UK is covered in snow and it has shut down airports, roads, schools, buses and life itself. I watched CNN from my tiny little petit chambre this evening and had to hide under the covers in embarrassment as CNN beamed back reports from London……………How much snow??? And it stopped you doing what??? Pah! Said the Wolf Blister with complete and utter scorn………the bearded bastard. Laughing at the great British weather is almost as enjoyable for foreigners as snorting at the great British unpreparedness for extreme weather.

Being British in the snow is like going on a cruise with 5,000 passengers on a cruise ship and being surprised that you had to wait three hours for room service? In London on Monday, it was minus 2C. The Siberians and some Canadians would be sunbathing.

They’d be playing beach volleyball……………in G-strings. The Brits, were trudging through the streets with wet shoes, cursing our train operators for apparently building their trains out of substances that snow really buggers up. Such as toilet paper, perhaps. Or maybe Jello.

Yep, Heidi told me the trains stopped running and so did the buses. Schools were closed and Gordon Brown said his government would do everything it could to help those in need. I have a suggestion……….stop paying some professor with a beard millions of pounds to study the effects of global warming on polar bear’s sex life and buy more snow ploughs ………….global warming my arse.

Oh, how I wish I could find the photo of the Carnival Legend in Iceland in 2002. We called at Recavick………..Ricaveck………..Rieckeveck………….the capital and just as the guests were getting back onboard it started to snow…………it was a beautiful sight. I remember it was really cold………….freezing, in fact, and looking back I think it’s probably the coldest I have ever been……….and it was only October.

Iceland is bankrupt as those who eat credit crunch for breakfast every morning will probably know and is the most bonkers town in the world. Superficially, it looks like any other Scandinavian country, which means it resembles the outskirts of Moscow in 1956, but the people: wow……the whole place is crammed with people so bewitchingly beautiful that even Angelina Jolie would feel like a zoo animal.

Then there is the shopping………its no wonder the country is in the crapper because when you go to the shops it is immediately apparent you are not Bill Gates, which means it’s immediately apparent you cannot afford to buy a single thing they have on offer. It’s all Hermès and Armani. God knows where the locals buy a box toiletpaper or hemorrhoid cream. Yet, I look back at that voyage with great fondness as I do the British Isles cruise we did as well. Scotland, Ireland, England……it was amazing and I hope before I put down the microphone that we can once again offer a Carnival voyage to the UK ……. just not in the winter.

Time to answer some questions.

Mike Smith Asked:
Hi John,
Please reply (when you get a chance).
First, the Spa really does look great, as does the whole ship. There really is something special about the smaller ships that surprised us when we cruised the Imagination, compared to the larger ships. Sometimes, it is good to cruise a variety of ships (both small and large).

Anyway, I have a few quick questions. First, you had once written about the lack of activities and entertainment options for the 18-21 year old age group. You had asked for our opinions on what Carnival can do to entertain this group since they are often “left out.” I had asked some family members in that age category, and I had come to the conclusion that a few organized and unorganized (hosted and not hosted) socials (meet ups/ice breakers/gatherings) and organized activities (pool and hot tub night, scavenger hunt, group dinner or tournament or interactive cooking demo / fun type class) would all be great additions for that left out age group.

The reason why I am bringing this up is because I am working on planning a family and friends group cruise (possibly for the Dream), and I am trying to find the best line and ship for all ages of our group (with several members in this age group). I am hoping within the next year when we plan to cruise (hopefully will book soon), that Carnival will begin some new activities and/or fleet wide program for this age group. Are there any plans in the works?

Also, if you have the video camera and are able to catch some Lido deck fun or the band out playing, we would love to see that… but definitely understand if your busy or have other good things to write about and take pictures/videos of.

Lastly, as I said above, we might be going on the Dream, and definitely think Jaime would be a great addition to Todd’s Dream crew… we would love to see her on our cruise.

Thanks for everything as always and please enjoy every second of the Blogger’s cruise.

-Mike

John Says:
Hi Mike:
Thanks for the great comment and let me start with saying how right you are about trying a variety of ships in the Carnival fleet. I have been away from the Fantasy-class for sometime now and I really have seen what I have been missing since joining the Carnival Fantasy. I also wanted to confirm that yes indeed we are starting this coming spring break time with fleetwide activities for the age group you mentioned. While we encourage them to come to all the adult activities and events we also realize that they do need icebreakers and age specific events in order to make new friends. Now, I will be honest when I say that some of the ones we tried did not work such as a cooking class and the dating game where attendance was zero. However, attendance for karaoke and icebreaker events was very good and I think it’s along those paths that we shall continue and of course we will adapt and try new things along the way. I hope this helps as you continue to plan your Carnival Dream family vacation. I will make sure we shoot lots of video next week mate so please keep reading the blog thingy
My best to you and all the family
Cheers
John

Clair Asked:
Hi John,
Please reply (no rush, though!)
Last year my husband & I were suppose to take our first Carnival cruise (we usually cruise on Princess & sometimes with “the mouse”) together, however those plans were changed due to work. We are now going to be on the Carnival Splendor this coming May. This will be DH’s first Carnival cruise, and my second….although the first one was many, many years ago when the Carnival Elation was a brand new ship.

We have requested a table for two in the dining room, however when we made our reservations we were told it probably “won’t happen.” I completely understand that our request is just that, a request, however, my question is, if we are not assigned a table for two, when we get on the ship is it possible to try to change that? If so, can you please advise, on what we should do once on the ship? Thank you in advance!
Hi Jaime – Thank you for taking us with you on the South America journey. Have fun! Can you remind me two weeks before you sail please?
My best to you and DH
John

John Says:
Hello Clair.
I am sure we can help you with this and I will send your request to the ship. It’s been a long time since you sailed with Carnival and it is wonderful for me to say welcome home. Tell you what……….just to make sure can you remind me two weeks before you sail………….via the blog thingy.
My best to you and DH
John

Rosemary Williams Asked:
Dear John, I hope that you will please answer this.
My daughter Erin is going on the Carnival Glory (For the third time) for her 30th birthday. I was wondering if you could tell me something that could be done on the ship that will help her to celebrate her 30th in style. She loves the Glory and the cruise director “Butch” and it would really be fun for her to have something special done while she is onboard. I am her mom and I have been on the Glory with her two of the 23 times. Thanks for such a great Blog and I look forward to your suggestions.

John Says:
Hello Rosemary.
Wow……….23 times……..that’s just wonderful. I am sure she will have a brilliant 30th birthday. Now………..you can arrange to have her room secretly decorated and that’s done via and please let me know her name and cabin number one week before she sails and I will make sure we send her a little birthday surprise from me. I hope you get to sail for your 24th cruise very soon and my best to all your family
Cheers
John

Capt Bill Asked:
John,
I think the bar staff did the right thing indeed. And you where right to say what you said.
I loved reading Jaime’s “Dear John” letters. Keep them coming. One question though, is she the assistant cruise Director? Or did she the big seat for the trip??? I thought you said someone else was the CD, but old age is setting in (at 47) and I can’t seem to remember.
Have a great day
Capt Bill

John Says:
Hello Captain
I am so glad you are enjoying the daily “Dear John” letters from Jaime. She was the assistant cruise director on the Carnival Pride before suddenly having to cover as cruise director…………….a job she performed magnificently. She was always scheduled to be part of the entertainment staff on the Carnival Splendor’s voyage to South America. However, once over I am going to make sure she is returned to her ACD position which she oh so deserves. Her next installment is coming right up. There are three signs that you are getting old………..forgetfulness…………and …………..I can’t remember the other two.
Cheers
John

dianne mcd Asked:

Pleasereply!
Dear John… thanks you for answering my posts in the past! For you to take the time to do this for so many of us ‘bloggers’ is so amazing and we really appreciate it and YOU! When we were on our last cruise on the Valor (in Dec), I was so excited to attend the scrap booking class. However, upon arriving, it was evident that unless you bought a ’scrapbooking kit’ from Carnival, there was not much to do. Our assistant CD had brought along a few items herself (kudos to Amy!)That she had picked up off ship but admitted that Carnival had yet to realize just how many people enjoyed this class. My suggestion is for Carnival to put out some extra money so that there would be plenty of material to use. Having to share three pairs of scissors or two small tubes of glue with 25 people just won’t work! So many of the ones that showed up for the first class did not come back for the next because of the lack of supplies. Please believe me when I tell you that there are a lot of ‘crafty’ people who travel on cruises who would love an area filled with things to do. Most of us would even pay an upfront fee for the usage of supplies so we can craft the entire cruise… Thank you for listening to an ‘old scrapbooker’ of 52!

John Says:
Hello Dianne
I want to thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. We did have two of our office staff attend training courses on how to Scrapbook properly which they in turn passed on to the shipboard staff. I had no idea just how popular this was until recently and you are right………..we need to make sure that we keep the momentum up with this activity and provide all that is needed to make it successful. I will copy your comments to those concerned and I assure you will continue to make this a fun event for all
Kind Regards
John

Kathy B Asked:
John – Please reply
I’m happy for Captain Queirolo on being the first master of Dream. We sailed with him on Conquest in 2005 on a hurricane-impacted cruise, and he was great. Dream is in good hands.
We just learned this past week that our son Dan has been accepted to the US Merchant Marine Academy. Our Feb 14 cruise on Glory will likely be our last Carnival cruise with him (although he certainly has a lot of time on the sea ahead of him!) He’d love to meet an officer to talk about his future career on the sea – is there any way to arrange it? The cabin number is ###. Many thanks!

John Says:Hello Kathy B
Many congratulations to your son as he soon begins his career at sea. Of course we can arrange this for you and by copy to the ship they will arrange for your son to meet one of the officers. I hope you have a wonderful time together and please pass on my congratulations
Cheers
John

Gina Asked:
Hi John! Please reply.
I am very jealous that I don’t get to go on the Blogger’s cruise. It sounds way fun. Anyway, my question is this. As a west coast cruiser, I am concerned with the Elation’s change to a Catalina/Ensenada run which is the same as the Paradise’s itinerary but out of San Diego instead of Long Beach. We have such limited choices out of California comparatively. What are the chances of the Elation going back to an Ensenada/Cabo itinerary?
Thanks!!

John Says:Hello Gina
This is a very good question and as I sit here in New Orleans at 6:30 am I don’t have the answer. However, let me get one for you and I will make sure I send it to you as well as posting it on the blog. I know California does not offer the same proximity to destinations as Florida but I hope we can find something that will entice you to continue sailing on the Fun ships. I will be back with your answer soon.
Cheers
John

Jennifer Hammond Asked:
JohnHealdBlog
John please answer. I am going to ask a stupid question but…. What is the P&O?
Thanks

John Says:Hello Jennifer
It’s not a stupid question at all. P & O cruises which was part of the Peninsular and Orient Steam Navigation Company. It is a United Kingdom-based cruise line that operates six cruise ships based in the United Kingdom. It is one of the many cruise lines operated by Carnival Corporation & plc. To find out more why not have a look at their fantastic website http://www.pocruises.com/ and for a first hand view of life onboard a ship that is currently on an amazing world cruise go to www.bestblogsatsea.com and click on James Cusick’s blog. I hope that answers your question and I remain at your service if you have any more

Cheers
John

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
John – PLEASE REPLY
hello Jon. Please see my answers below mate.
In your role as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Carnival Cruise lines, could I please request the following assistance?
1. Could you please have someone from Carnival Corporation speak to the Vacation Interchange Privileges program and what benefits those of us who have achieved Platinum status on Carnival would receive should we choose to sail on another line?

JOHN’S REPLY – This is something already in the works. I think I may have mentioned a few months ago that while it is a brilliant idea and something we should be doing, it is far more complicated than it sounds. Each line has their own loyalty programs that are based on different goals and combining them all together I am told is quite difficult. However, I totally believe it is something we should do and it is under discussion at the highest level. As soon as I hear anything on this I will of course let you know.
2. Can you please get updated information on the smoking policy aboard Cunard ships? The information on their website is out of date, as it mentions the QE2 and makes no mention of the Queen Victoria. – JOHN’S REPLY – I checked with my friends at Cunard who told me the following. Smoking is allowed in the Casino, the Cigar bar and some open deck designated areas but that’s it. They thanked you for asking and will be updating their website.
As you might be able to infer from my questions, I am seriously considering a Cunard voyage – specifically a transatlantic crossing.

However, given our issues with smoking, I would hate to miss out on the many opportunities to dance our way across the Atlantic.
JOHN’S REPLY – I think you would absolutely love a Cunard voyage and let me say that I will be able to help you decide when and where you sail. I have very good friends at Cunard so please give me a few days and I will make sure you have all the details

As always, my appreciation for your assistance.

Your servant,
Missingthesmokefreeparadisebutgettingbyonmostlysmokefreecarnivalships

Tracy Asked:
Hi john do u know the cd schedule I was wondering who was cd for the liberty dec 12th if u can tell me soon ty hi Heidi. Hope the thingy is doing good. Tracy

John Says:Hello Tracy
We are not up to scheduling December just yet but I should know soon. If I have not posted the schedule by the end of February will you kindly remind me please? Thanks for the kind words, Heidi is doing well and I am missing her a lot.
Cheers
John

Mark Brass Asked:
John, a quick question then a gushing review of the Carnival Liberty and her Crew.
Is it not tradition to blow the whistle (horn) during sail away from the originating port? Carnival Liberty left the port of Miami silently and without any real hoopla. We learned later that Captain Marco Nogara had come on board feeling under the weather after his vacation home and the staff captain had been fulfilling his duties.

It has been a couple of weeks since my wife and I took our first cruise on the beautiful Carnival Liberty on January 10.

John, I have to admit, I was one of those that was a bit concerned about Carnival. I had bought into that party image that may have been of the past! Not to say that you can’t party if you want…certainly the beauty I found with Carnival is that you can do anything you want on Carnival. You can chill out or you can party, you can do crosswords, Soduko, play bingo, line dance, shop, etc. etc.

Okay to the exciting part, despite the fact that our poor Captain Marco Nogara was ill for the first part of our cruise after his return from his leave and being home in Italy, fellow Canadian and CD, Steve Knisley did a wonderful job being the talking head of Carnival during our 7 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise visiting San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. I do say though, I was a bit disappointed that the whistle (horn) did not sound during our sail away from Miami…but what the hey I had a “Fun Ship” drink in hand and my wife of 28 years and I were doing a happy dance.

CD Steve Knisley reported to us during our debarkation talk that we had just over 650 “thingies” 16 years old and under…I have to say Carnival did a great job keeping the “kids” entertained and keeping them from being underfoot. In fact everyone was surprised at the number!

Talk about “Value for Dollar”….I bought my Carnival cruise experience for $1,600 which incredibly included this: A wonderful 7 day Caribbean Cruise, Return Air from Edmonton Alberta to Miami with one night stay at the luxurious JW Marriott, a beautiful balcony stateroom, transfers to and from the pier and airport. Entertainment – Vegas style shows and great comedians – and we even had a few complimentary drinks at the Captains reception and I highly recommend a reservation at Harry’s Supper Club. I was so totally satisfied, happy and deliriously happy with the food at the Silver Olympian Dining room, you can imagine our pleasant surprise at the quality of food and service at Harry’s. It was my wife’s birthday and what a wonderful experience. The $30 per person truly is a value. To you naysayers or Scots who would scoff at the price and say that you have already paid for a meal and why would you pay an additional $30 are missing out. The food is five star as is the service and how can you improve on the food and service of the Silver and Golden Olympian dining rooms? Truly amazing!

I loved our cruise and will do it again…in fact my wife and I purchased a $100 certificate that in the future will earn up to $200 shipboard credit depending upon the length of the cruise. Point of clarification for those of you that were not offered this…apparently this offer was being offered on a limited number of ships.

John, I whole-heartedly have to agree with you, anyone who wishes to express a negative opinion of Carnival without having cruised with them, as you would say is a bunch of “bullocks!”

Finally, I was impressed with the staff from the room stewards to the food service staff. I was also very happy to see our fine crew given the opportunity to disembark and take in the sites of the ports we visited. The staff and crew are what make the experience come alive for us guests. Thanks Carnival and you John for pouring out your passion for your wife, your thingy, and for Carnival. Your blog lightens my days, makes me laugh and dream a little about our next cruise.

John Says:Hello Mark
What a wonderful posting and in case I forget later let me thank you for taking the time to write it. People often think that I only post the positive stuff here on the blog thingy but that is not so. I post all the comments unless they are a personal attack on someone which I am happy to say are few and far between. I wanted to highlight two of your points. The sign that our Camp carnival, Circle C and Club O2 staff are doing a wonderful job is when the rest of the guests do not realise that there are 650 kids onboard. You have hopefully seen just why we have won many awards for our children’s programs. Then there is the supper clubs which as you mentioned provide stunning food and awesome service for a ridiculously affordable price. I am so happy you mentioned it. Now onto the most important part…………….value for money and without wanting to go all corporate and sales-y (yep that is a word) I want to shout it from the highest mountain that value for money……………Carnival cannot be beaten…………….its that simple.

Now, as far as blowing the ship’s whistle on departure, that’s a good question. In the old days we would have streamers and confetti which of course are banned now on environmental grounds. However, it was also commonplace to sound the ships funnel on departure. Nowadays we have to ask the pilots for permission to do this. They usually agree but with so many ships sailing out of port …..that’s a lot of loud blasts remembering that we have already sounded the ships horn eight times (seven short and one long) to mark the start of our life boat drills. Now the only time we usually do sound the horn is when a sister ship sails past or the captain sees a yacht filled with naked supermodels ………….kidding. Let’s say the Carnival Valor sails past the Carnival Victory…………this is what you will hear.

Carnival Valor will send out three long blasts on her ships horn
Carnival Victory will reply with three long blasts
Carnival Valor will say thank you with one short blast
Carnival Victory will accept the thanks with one short blast

This is standard procedure and you will always find ships of the same line doing this. I am sorry to report that we seem not to always do this within the corporation. I have been onboard a ship when a Costa or Princess ship sail by but there is no exchange of greeting ………………which is a shame.

I also miss the music as we sail away. It always used to be Anchors Aweigh……….does anyone remember that stirring music being played over the PA system……….I might just bring that back.

So, there you go. I am sorry you didn’t get to hear the whistle but I am very excited that you had such a wonderful time

I hope you continue to read the blog thingy
Cheers
John

Marie Wolff Asked:
John:
I know it is not your fault, but, I am thinking that Carnival does not want my money. Yesterday I got word that Carnival had canceled our cruise on the Freedom for December 5. That is the third time in less than a year that Carnival has canceled as cruise on us. First it was the Freedom TA. Carnival decided that is was more profitable to keep the Freedom in the Caribbean. Then we booked the Liberty Baltic Cruise and that was canceled as Europe was not a profitable destination. I guess we again have to book another cruise with the Niceguysoftheseas who will be happy to accommodate us. I do hope that some day Carnival will be able to sail with us on our 12 Carnival cruise.
Again, it is not your fault, but, I need to vent my disappointment.
Regards to you, Heidi and the blessed Thingie.
Marie

John Says:
Hello Marie
I totally understand how absolutely frustrated you must be. It seems like we don’t want you to sail with us which I promise is far from the truth. Let me investigate this further and get back to you. The last thing I want you to do is to feel unwanted and so I will find out what is happening and then see what we can do to make you happy. There is no need to apologize………..I want people to know that they can “vent” to me here on the blog thingy whenever they feel the need to do so.
I will write soon I promise
John

cruzn buckeye Asked:

John, please reply if you can
I love your poem, it was so funny!!!!
I am sure you are missing Heidi and Thingy terribly…but not too long now…and you will get to see them both! Can’t wait to see pics of your little Thingy! Just curious, will it be a girl thingy or a boy thingy? I am sure that either will delight you!
Thanks for the pics of our Fantasy! She was my first you know, and Ecstasy was my second! I have a question or maybe a suggestion?? Maybe it is just me, but as far as the pool ladders go, I think it would be a good idea if on the top of the bars that you hold onto to get in and out of the pool that they put some kind of grip on them. One time when I was going down the ladder, my hand slipped down..fast…and my whole body flipped around and slammed against it. It did hurt! I am always a little nervous when I get in and out of pool now. I think some kind of grip at the top would be great! What do you think?
Hey, remember you are only as old as you feel!!!
You know how some women lie about their age.
I think they do it wrong though. They usually say they are younger than they are. Me….if I did lie about it…I would say an older age…then they would say …. you look young for your age!
See you in SIX days!!!! WOOOOHOOOOOO!
SEA YA!
CRUZN

John Says:
Hello Buckeye
I have to admit that I have never paid attention to the ladder that leads into the pool. I have, however, sent your comment up the line to the appropriate folks here at Carnival to look into. Thanks again and see you in four days.
Cheers
John


Chris Roe Asked:

Did Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Line, say that the “dam” at the end of their ships’ names “just kinda stuck?” Since the late 1800s, if a Dutch ship ended in “dam,” it meant it was a passenger ship, and if it ended in “dijk,” it meant it was a cargo ship. The Ryndam, for example, is named after the Rijn (Rhine) River. There is no city in the Netherlands called “Ryndam.” Ryn is a tribute to the river that runs through the Netherlands, “dam” means it’s a passenger ship. Stein Cruse needs to read “100 Years of Holland America Line” by Albert J. Schoondebeek.

John Says:
Hello Chris My wife is Dutch and she confirms that you are indeed correct. I am sure that Stein probably meant that Holland America continued to call their new ships after the dam’s of Holland but I will make sure he sees your comment which I thank you for taking the time to write. My favorite “dam” is Volendam, a little seaside town about 45 minutes from Amsterdam…………wonderful seafood.
My best regards
John

Dave Myerly Asked:

John,
Our Newark NJ Star Ledger paper had a great Sunday section on cruise travel and mentioned many now are participating in the “Bare It All – Nude cruises”.
It mentioned this group has chartered the Carnival Legend next month with over 2000 passengers top be aboard for a Caribbean cruise.
That brings me to these questions….
Who will be the cruise director on that cruise?
Will the Carnival staff join as a nude crew for
this cruise?
If so, I assume it will be voluntary.
Dave Myerly

John Says:

Hello Dave
Yep, our friends from Bare Necessities are back and indeed will be sailing on the Carnival Legend soon. Let me answer your questions. Who will be the cruise director on that cruise?…………This will be Jen Baxter who will no doubt be a huge hit with the group. Will the Carnival staff join as a nude crew for this cruise? Absolutely not. It is forbidden for them to do so not that anyone would actually want to…………….well, most of them The group is a lot of fun and on elegant night the men wear bow ties …………just bow ties. I won’t even mention where they carry their Sail & Sign cards or if they have been swiped.

Best to you and Jo
John

That’s all for today and as always let me know if you need anything by marking your comments John please reply.

I want you to have a look at this fantastic video……………how to transit the Panama Canal in just 30 seconds……………it’s absolutley brilliant. Here is the link thingy.
http://www.hollandamericablog.com/

And now Ladies and Gents here is a Dear John letter from the incomparable Jaime.

February 2, 2009

Dear John,

Our second of our many sea days has just concluded and as expected it was certainly full of excitement for us all. In order to keep spirits high on what will be a 49-day journey for most of our guests, our entire department is working hard to honor individual guest requests, learn names and faces and most importantly take deep breaths in an effort to keep our sanity and sanctity on board with an ever changing itinerary!

Among the guest requests that have arisen thus far, some of my favorites of the day include:

-A lady who claimed to have “fallen asleep” during bingo, thus not using her card wanted to play the next game for free. Now, the numbers were folded back on her original bingo card, but I was not going to argue with her, so we helped her out with a brand new bingo card. I did however, add to my pre-bingo announcements “please do not rip or tear your card… also, if you do fall asleep during the game, I will not be able to give you any money, and it would be a sad, sad thing.”

-Someone requested that we import snow on board for those guests not used to the cold, so that they are familiar with the climate for when we finally reach the southernmost tip of the cape – near Antarctica. As much as I would like to help grant this wish: I don’t think the snow would last very long… we do however have many freezers on board that I am sure they could stand in. Or… possibly just turn the air conditioning really low!

Like most days between ports, this beautiful day at sea consisted of intermittent clouds, some rain showers as well as moments of glistening sunshine. It was packed with activities ranging from the Carnival favorite “Bean Bag Toss” to “Mixology” with Adele… I would tell you more about this activity, but I am sure you love the mystery. Plus, if you want to know what it is, you are you just going to have to join us once we reach Long Beach! Now, I understand this is somewhat non-descript.. But really, and the weather was crazy, and a lot is going on!!!

Tonight was the first of our cruise elegant nights, and the opening of “Fiesta Latina” for our new, absolutely incredibly talented female production singer Analyn Gepte. I have worked with Analyn (who goes by Ling Ling) before on the Carnival Imagination last year and she is stunning both on and off stage! No one would have ever guessed that it was her debut performance this evening. As anticipated, the crowd jumped to their feet with thunderous applause when the finale completed. I had forgotten just how much I love the production shows on the Carnival Splendor! Our singers, dancers, technical team and musicians are simply amazing, hence how they all earned their positions on the flagship.

Fortunately, our head office organized three additional production segments as well as solo performances for our singers that will be featured throughout our 49-day journey. I look forward to seeing all of these supplementary shows that the cast has been working hard for months. If only videotaping and flash photography were not a copyright infringement and a safety hazard I would be able to share more of these with you! Never fret, I am sure you will hear all about them and have a few sneak peaks along the way.

Tomorrow is our first of many port days. We are scheduled to arrive in Dominica tomorrow at noon. Even after our late sail from Ft. Lauderdale, our captain has informed us that this will not affect our arrival in our first port of call.

Prepare yourself to join us for a wonderful experience in Dominica. It is my understanding that this port has both a museum near the Rosseau pier as well as a historic cathedral that is architecturally brilliant within five minutes of where we dock. I will do my best to compile my pictures with fellow crew members so we can share with you the beauty that this port has to offer.

For those of you on the bloggers cruise, I am sure you are going to have an amazing time. I can’t wait to hear about your stories on board the Carnival Fantasy.

img_9343
The Senior Officers that will be visiting South America on the Carnival Splendor.

img_9344

Until Tomorrow,
Your friend =)
Jaime

Another epic from Jaime whom we all thank for taking the time from her busy dating schedule to write……………have fun Jaime.

There is no surer sign of the credit crunch then what I saw today. The hotel is as I mentioned yesterday in the French Quarter and this afternoon I went across the road to a Starbucks. As I got nearer I saw a sign on the door informing me that due to “economic hard times” the shop was closing and that the nearest Starbucks was at the Westin Hotel about 200 miles away……………..bugger.

I was surprised not only by the honesty of the sign in the window but by what was obviously the end of our love affair with the oversized, overpriced frapacrapacino, the drink that turned so many grown men and women into enormous needy babies constantly suckling on pints of warm, coffee-tinged milk.

Mr. Google has told me that Starbucks is closing 200 stores in America and 100 more worldwide as profits dip. This is a pity for its employees, who have always seemed particularly good natured in the face of having to remember how to make various vanilla-whipped and cinnamon-sprinkled concoctions in a baffling range of sizes.

However, I have always found certain elements of the Starbucks brand rather irritating: not least the way in which it ceased proclaiming openly that it offered small coffees (known in the special Starbucks language as “short”) and compelled those not in the know to begin their order at the sizeable “tall.” The largest beverage, the “vente,” would have tested the bladder of Shrek and the Scottish Budweiser horse combined. And then there was the relentless pushing of Starbucks’ easy-listening CDs, promoting a coffee vision of cool across the globe.

Strange then that after checking with our director of beverage in Miami, our onboard coffee shops are doing very well. I also mentioned that we should have the coffee mugs to sit and drink from rather than just the take away plastic cup thingies. He told me he would make it so…………….hoorah.

Also, a big hoorah for the power of the blog thingy because as you requested all our internet cafes will from next week have free usage of the www.carnival.com site and from there not only can you check future cruises and specials but also click onto the blog thingy should you need a fix………as I have mentioned recently, this blog is your chance to express your ideas and visions for the future…….your cruising future so please continue to do so.

Anyway, unable to find a Starbucks, I went back to the hotel and went to their cafe and ordered a cup of coffee. I also wanted to order one of those benyay things but they are not exactly diabetic friendly. I sat alone with my coffee and probably cut a sad sight as I hovered over my raspberry catching up on e-mails and stuff. Suddenly I heard a voice say……..”John Heald?”

I looked up and there before me was a man mountain of a man. He must have been 6 foot five and 300-plus pounds. “Yes,” I said. And as I did he opened his arms and hugged me as though I was his long lost brother. After the bear released me, he started telling me how great it was to see me and to “Stay there and don’t move” because he had to call his room and tell his wife to come down………….well, actually what he said was “Stay there, don’t move, let me go and call Leona from the room.”

He seemed so excited and as he literally ran through the lobby I sat there ………not having a clue who the hell this guy was.

He looked very well off. He had one of those huge diamond watches with a Swiss midget in the back winding all the cogs, and a device that summons an Delta Force extraction team if you get kidnapped. He had a huge diamond ring on and one of those “Shaft” long black leather coats ………who was he? Now, obviously he was a guest from a past cruise, I knew that he wasn’t hugging me because he thought I was Johnny Depp ………….but when did he sail and why the hug?

A few moments later “Shaft” returned with a beautiful lady by his side and thank goodness she wasn’t just beautiful but she was intelligent as well………because she immediately said “You probably don’t remember us but we sailed with you in 2006 on the Carnival Liberty and my husband Sam was in your bedtime story.”

Ahhhh yes………..the bedtime story and as I invited them to sit down and join me they spoke of how they show all their friends and family the DVD I gave them of the show. Then Sam told me something I never knew. He was a professional football player and had played for the New Orleans team for 14 years. He was obviously quite famous because the waitress who hadn’t even given me the time of day was a little different with this guy and it was “Hello, Mr Adams…….anything else I can get you Mr Adams?”

So, Sam Adams was a football player and they told me that they had cruised on another cruise line, I won’t say which one (notasfunascarnivaloftheseas) and what ship would I be on next, etc. etc. This was all very fulfilling but then Sam told me something that made me feel…………….well……………proud.

He told me that he had shown the DVD of him skipping around the stage, etc. to the entire New Orleans team during a team building event………..and how for the next few matches the defense would all huddle together and shout “one, two three……….with venom”…………… Before going on to the field. I should explain to those who have never seen the bedtime story that the word “venom” is used by the villain……….I can’t really explain………..hopefully you all will get a chance to see it one day.

Anyway, I sat there thinking that this was amazing on so many levels especially with me writing about American football on the last two blogs……………it’s a funny old world.

I told the Adams about the blog thingy and I told them that I would be writing about them today. They are going to try and come and sail with me in the summer and if you are reading this, guys……….let me say thank you for making my day and I hope we can sail together very soon…………..and have more fun……………..with venom.

Goodnight
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.