……………………………April Fools

If by the time you have read this blog and someone has not played a high school style joke on you……………well, consider yourself lucky. Today is, of course, April Fool’s Day, which provides a get-out-of-jail-free card for the kind of behavior that would normally result in a minor act of violence. The fact that I am suffering from a leviathan-sized bout of jet lag meant my wits were not with me this morning when my friend Alan called me at 7:10 am to tell me that his car wouldn’t start and would I rush over to his house as he needed to go to the hospital for his check up.

So without thinking and without Heidi even thinking it was the day of fools I jumped out of bed, got dressed and through jet-lagged eyes drove the 11 miles to Alan’s house. I was there by 7:40 am…………..my friend needed me and I was there for him………….well I was there but he bloody well wasn’t………..but there was a hand written note taped to the front door that simply said “April Fool”………………..the complete and utter bastard.

And so it is that I sit here at 8:30 am, still having been unable to get Alan to answer his phone. If he has any sense (which he doesn’t) he will have entered the witness protection program by now and changed his name to Betty……………revenge will be mine.

Being April Fool’s Day I would normally be writing a spoof story today, about how scientists have proved that hammerheads are officially a sign of someone who has an above average IQ or that a witness actually saw someone using the climbing wall on the “Whataloadofbollocks of the Seas.” But not only would you not believe me but also because the news has beaten me to it. All you have to do is wade through the most visited stories section on any news site and you will see what I mean. Here are a few favorites of mine from yesterday and today.

1 A 70-year-old Australian judge is about to be jailed for lying about a $56 speeding fine, after claiming that his car was being driven by someone who had been dead for 2 years

2. A woman in Northern Ireland has the distressing problem of a squirrel infestation in her home. Which wouldn’t be a bit funny, if it weren’t for the fact that her name is Oonagh Nutt

3. President Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Idiot met in London this morning where they spoke about the need to fix the world’s economic woes and that they would find time to discuss a problem dear to both their hearts, “global warning.” They then set off for the 10-minute journey to the Excel Center to meet with the G20 leaders. The journey could have walked or they could have taken one of London’s new eco-friendly cabs. Instead the journey involved a total of 53 vehicles and two helicopters flying over head.

By the way……….was that an early April Fool’s joke POTUS played on Prime Minister Gordon Brown when he flew to Washington recently – presenting him with DVDs which wouldn’t play on a British DVD player ………..if it was……………….it was a brilliant one.

Time for the latest batch of comments that asked for my reply…………here we go …………..Oh, just before I do I want to mention this “waitlisted” subject again. For those just tuning in, it seems that we had a technical glitch regarding dinner reservations. This was for cruises booked between 3/20 and 4/6 2009 and instead of getting your dining reservation you booking showed the word “waitlisted.” This was, as I said, a technical glitch and one that in my humble opinion we should have done a better job in letting people know about.

I see I have more comments about this today plus the many I have answered already and there is quite the discussion going on about it on Cruise Critic and Cruise Mates. So ……..please let me be the one to apologize and ask that each of you check on your reservation on www.carnival.com in a couple of days and you should see your dining reservation details…….Once again my apologies.

OK, here we go

Irene Asked:
Dear John…Please reply
W just got back a few hours ago from our cruise on the Carnival Destiny…what a wonderful time we had. (We did have a couple of hiccups but I think we addressed them before we left the ship, though I will let you know what these problems were in another email just in case it helps other cruisers). I will catch up on the blogs I missed reading within the next day or so.
Anyway we are due to go on a short 3-day cruise in just 12 days time on the Carnival Paradise, but when I checked the website this morning it tells me we are “waitlisted” underneath our requested dining time of 6 PM. What exactly does this mean please?
My grandson also wishes to know if he will be allowed to attend the Club O2 for the whole 3 days of this upcoming cruise as he will still be 17 years old on the first day of the cruise, but he turns 18 on the second day. I would also like to know if there is going to be any type of club organized for the 18 to 21 years olds. I think it was mentioned in one of your blogs a while back.
Thanks…and loving cruising
Irene Garner

John Says:
Hello Irene
Welcome back from your cruise on the fabulous Carnival Destiny. I would be really grateful if you could send me the details of the “hiccups” so I may address them with the ship. It seems thought that you had a wonderful time and now you are off again on the Carnival Paradise. As you can see from what I have just written there was a technical problem with the dining reservations so please don’t worry and just check back on carnival.com in a couple of days and you should see that all is well. Don’t worry about your Grandson………..I am sure this will be OK and just in case I will write to the ship’s Club O2 Director to let them know.
Have a great cruise and my best to you and the family
John

Jeanette Asked:
John, too funny. I can’t believe he asked for a tip!
You mentioned that Goose is the CD of the Splendor, so who will be the CD in September? Steve Kniseley from the Liberty said he’s signed up for the Splendor at that time (and it is ok for me cuz Steve is HOT and Canadian, but from Toronto…).
Please, tell me that my Sexy Aleksandr Kazakov will be on the Splendor for September 09…please, please, please…If you can pull some strings for him to be there, please please, please…I need some eye candy remember it’ll be my birthday cruise…..*BG*

John Says:
Hello Jeanette
Wow…….eye candy. Well if that’s all you need I will send you a photo of me dressed as a Roman Gladiator………..if its eye candy you want this is it and the costume I am wearing provides even more candy as you can see my Tootsie roll.
Steve will be the CD but I think you might want to have your eyes tested as I wouldn’t describe him as HOT. I actually think he looks like he has run a 100-yard sprint in a 90-yard gym.
Have a great cruise and let me know if you want that photo.
Cheers
John

cruisingeagle Asked:
John, Please reply.
Hi John,
Hope you made it home safely. I know you will enjoy being home with Heidi and waiting on the birth of the baby.
I do have a question. My husband and I will be sailing on the Carnival Freedom 5/31 with stops in Key West, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios. We plan on snorkelling in Grand Cayman and we would like to know if you can tell us where the Shipwreck and Reef Snorkel goes? Which reef do we go to? We have been to Grand Cayman once before and we did the Turtle Farm, Hell and Stingray City. This time we just want to snorkel.
Also, will Todd still be the CD then? When does he leave to start getting the Carnival Dream ready? Who will be the CD on the 6/28 sailing of the Freedom? Our son and daughter-in-law will be on that cruise.
When will the summer 2010 schedule for the Fantasy from Mobile and Triumph for New Orleans be available? I am trying to plan our cruise for 2010 and since these are our two home ports, I would like to know their schedule. My first choice for 2010 is Alaska and if that doesn’t work then I would like to do Eastern Caribbean. But if that doesn’t work either, I know I can make a cruise work on either the Fantasy or the Triumph.
Thanks for all your help. Enjoy being home. And yes, we will keep reading the blog.
Cindy

John Says:
Hello Cindy
Thanks firstly for the kind words for Heidi and I and the Thingy, its great to be home with them. The Reef and Shipwreck Tour snorkels at two different locations. The first is just to the right of where the ships anchor and you will be snorkelling over an old ship wreck. The second location is to the east of where the ships tender. Both locations are vibrant and full of color and if you are looking to find Nemo and his mates………..take this tour. Todd will indeed be the cruise director and if all goes well the cruise director for your daughter in law and your son’s cruise………will be me.
The 2010 Carnival Triumph and Carnival Fantasy schedules are now pretty much set.
The Carnival Triumph will operate the following cruises from New Orleans (mostly four- and five-day cruises but a few seven-day cruises as well):
Four-Day Western Caribbean
New Orleans, LA
Fun Day at Sea
Cozumel, Mexico
Fun Day at Sea
New Orleans
Five-Day Western Caribbean
New Orleans, LA
Fun Day at Sea
Progreso, Mexico
Cozumel, Mexico
Fun Day at Sea
New Orleans
Seven-Day Eastern Caribbean
New Orleans, LA;
Fun Day at Sea;
Key West, FL;
Freeport, Bahamas;
Nassau, Bahamas;
Fun Day At Sea ;
Fun Day at Sea;
New Orleans, LA
AS WELL AS
Seven-Day Exotic Western Caribbean:
New Orleans, LA;
Fun Day at Sea;
Fun Day at Sea
Belize
Isla Roatan, Honduras
Cozumel, Mexico
Fun Day at Sea;
New Orleans, LA

The Carnival Fantasy will operate the following itineraries from Mobile, Alabama:
Four-Day Western Caribbean
Mobile, AL;
Fun Day at Sea;
Cozumel, Mexico;
Fun Day at Sea;
Mobile
Five-Day Western Caribbean (Mondays)
Mobile, AL;
Fun Day at Sea;
Cozumel, Mexico;
Calica;
Fun Day at Sea;
Mobile, AL
Five-Day Western Caribbean (Saturdays)
Mobile, AL;
Fun Day at Sea;
Cozumel, Mexico;
Progreso, Mexico
Fun Day at Sea;
Mobile, AL

Please have a look at www.carnival.com for the exact dates of sailing.
It’s a tough choice and of course you also mentioned Alaska as well………….let me know if you need any help choosing which fun voyage is best for you.
Cheers
John

MELODY – AS REQUESTED YESTERDAY, PLEASE FIND ABOVE THE NEW ORLEANS CRUISES AND AGAIN, I AM AT YOUR SERVICE SHOULD YOU NEED MY HELP
BEST WISHES
JOHN

DC in SD Asked:
John, please reply…how long will Ken be aboard the Splendor? I have friends sailing on her in late August/early September and was hoping they could hear him sing and entertain in the dining room. Hope your trip home was without any more Murphy, best to Heidi and the thingy…love reading the blog, even though I don’t post often I’m checking it out every day.

John Says:
Hello DC n SD
Thanks for all the kind words; Murphy though is still here with me. Ken will remain on the Carnival Splendor until July. He will then take some time off before heading to the Carnival Dream. I am very happy that you are enjoying the blog so much and I will do my best to keep you laughing.
Cheers
John

Brenda R Asked:
John Please Reply
We had our Carnival Cruise in a Box party, OK the Carnival Sunday Fun day party, yesterday. We first heard about the party while on the last blogger’s cruise. I want to tell you it was a HUGE success!
The guests enjoyed singing with the DVD and had a wonderful time trying to make towel animals. We now can fully appreciate the time and energy it takes the cabin stewards to make their towel creations! We definitely need more practice.
We also played Bingo and gave the medals out as prizes to the winners.
We just want to thank Carnival for giving us this opportunity to host a party and for sending such great gifts included in the box. The guests really enjoyed themselves, and so did we.
Thank you
Paul and Brenda Riffle

John Says:
Hello Paul and Brenda
It is us who should be thanking you for taking the time to host one of these parties. Please send Stephanie a photo so we can add to our collection that will be posted on Friday here on the blog thingy.
Sounds like you all had fun.
Best wishes to you all
John

spencercoop Asked:
John Please Reply
John,
Is there any way you can get me a few pictures of the new Penthouse Suites with the extended balconies. Don’t worry about getting me pictures of the room, but if you could get me some pictures of the balcony that would be great. I just want to see how big it is.
Thank You,
Spencer

John Says:
Hello Spencer
Just want to make sure we are talking about the same ship…………..is this from the Carnival Liberty? If so please let me know and I will arrange this for you
Cheers
John

Bill (Zydecocruiser) from ZydecoCruiser.com Asked:
John, Please respond.
Elizabeth, not Lizzy or E Beth, says Hi in the link below…
http://www.zydecocruiser.com/Blog_2009/elizabeth_hi.htm

John Says:
Hello Bill
You just made me laugh out loud. I have really nothing to say except Heidi thought the one of me in a cage and thus behind bars was priceless. I am in the dog and the cat house now.
My best to you and Liza and thanks for the laughs.
Cheers mate
John

Dulce Asked:
Hi John
We will be sailing on the Destiny on 4/16/09. This will be my daughter’s first cruise and her birthday is on Friday 4/17/09. I want this to be extra special for her. Elizabeth turns 12. I have ordered a cake for that day, but is there anything else you can suggest?
Thanks

John Says:
Hello Dulce
You could have the cabin decorated. You can arrange this through the Bon Voyage department or onboard at the Formalities shop. Also, please send me her name and cabin number so I can send her a birthday gift.
Best wishes to all
John

MPS Asked:
Hi John (please reply) –
My wife (who proudly stated that I would never get her onto a “boat” when I first met her) and I will be taking our second cruise within a year in April. Our first cruise was on the Holiday last year, and we can’t wait to see the differences between her and the Fantasy when we board next month.
We will also be taking my parents, who have recently retired, as a congratulatory vacation for their retirement. Because the Fantasy doesn’t have a Supper Club, I would love to have an intimate setting for dinner in the Main Dining Room. Is there a way, prior to sailing, to request a private table for the four of us in the dining room?
Thanks!
Marshall
(Cabins R– and R– on the 4/27 Fantasy sailing)

John Says:
Hello MPS
I am glad you persuaded your wife to sail and it seems she is now a firm believer that cruising is the only way to go. Please let me see what I can do to help you with your dining reservations.
Have a great time
Best wishes
John

Irene Garner Asked:
Dear John…PLEASE REPLY
I am writing again as I said I would to let you know about the little things that concerned me on our recent cruise on the Carnival Destiny from Miami, March 23rd to 28th. Don’t get me wrong…99.9% of everything was perfect. We live in Calgary, Alberta so Carnival put us up for one night prior to sailing, in the Hyatt Summerfields Suites in Miami. What a beautiful hotel and a perfect start to our vacation. We had fantastic weather and the ports of call were breathtaking
The small things that bothered me were that when I requested wake-up calls we did not get them…. 2 times out of 4. The last missed wake-up call was for disembarkation day, and that meant we felt rushed instead of relaxed for the start of journey home. I called Guest Services but they told me they had passed it on to Room Service, but there was no apology from either dept.
We loved our towel animals, but the steward didn’t seem as friendly as the one we had on the Carnival Freedom last summer, and we only got our chocolates 2 times out of 5. Is there a rationing of these chocolates now?
Our snorkeling adventure was canceled on our trip to Half Moon Cay because of mechanical problems, but that didn’t upset us, as our day spent on the beach and the barbeque the staff provided there was wonderful, except for one small thing. I drink very little alcohol so we had purchased Fountain Fun Cards, but when we asked the waiter on the beach for pop he told me that I had to go all the way back along the beach to the bar to get my own drinks. I thought that was very unfair. Just because I didn’t want alcohol I was treated differently to the other guests. I spoke to the bar staff and they asked to tell them which waiter had said this, but I couldn’t remember which one it was.
We did speak to the Excursions Director about our next concern and were reassured that steps had been taken to rectify this problem. My grandson took the excursion to Atlantis to swim with the dolphins, but unbeknownst to Carnival excursion team the times we had chosen were changed to 2:30 PM which meant that by the time the dolphin experience was over the last bus back to the ship set for 4 PM had already left. Thankfully a family had ‘adopted’ my grandson for the day and they all came back to the ship in a taxi. I just want to let other travellers know that if they get their times for this excursion changed to 2:30 PM then make sure the bus driver knows that they will be back late and he should wait for them. I spent a very anxious time waiting for my grandson to come back to the ship. I contacted Guest Services at 4:15 but was told he was not on the ship. Everyone was told to be back on board by 4:30, so by the time I went back to Guest Services at 4:30 I was in tears, but was informed that he was back on board, and I could breathe again, but that was a very worrying time.
I would just like to hear your comments on these concerns I had but I do have a question for you to answer please.
My next cruise is in just 11 days, a 3 day cruise on the Carnival Paradise to Baja Mexico. I love Carnival and was thrilled to be treated so special at the Past Guest reception on the Carnival Destiny. My question is about my daughter who traveled with me on the Carnival Freedom last summer. She and her fiancé are traveling on the Carnival Spirit in September to Alaska. Will she still be treated as a past guest even though all the bookings etc were done in my name on the Carnival Freedom last year? If so, will she be able to take her fiancé with her to the Past Guest Reception, if they have one on the ship. I know we had to hand in our invitations at the door, so her fiancé probably won’t get one, but as she has a slight disability (walking is difficult for her) she will need to have him with her.
Thanks for your wonderful blogs. I still have to catch up with the ones I missed while we were away, so not even sure if you are answering questions right now.
All the best to you and Heidi, and for the upcoming birth of your little Thingy
Still hooked on cruising…Irene Garner

John Says:
Hello Irene
I want to thank you for taking the time to write about your cruise and the concerns you have, all of which seem very valid indeed. I am especially concerned about the soda incident at Half Moon Cay and this I have already addressed with the ship through the hotel director. There shouldn’t be any difference in the service you receive regardless if you order a soda or a glass of champagne. All though this will not help you now I want you to know that you highlighting this will make sure it never happens again. As for the stateroom steward I was surprised to hear about the chocolates or lack of them. We certainly are not rationing them in any way and again your concerns are currently being addressed by the housekeeping manager onboard and I am so sorry that you felt the service from the stateroom steward was not as before. I can not imagine how you must have felt not knowing if your grandson was onboard safe and sound. I am so happy he was and again my true apologies for what can only be described as a lack of communication on our part.
I will make sure your daughter is treated as a past guest and even though she did not make the booking she will receive an invitation. Please kindly remind me a few days before they sail and I will make sure both her and her fiancé are invited.
Thanks again for taking these problems in stride and I assure you that these are being addressed right now. I offer you my apologies and I am glad to read that for the most part you had a great time and I am so happy that you are still “hooked on cruising.”
Best wishes to you and the family
John

Melissa Jurgensen Asked:
John Reply –
John I am looking forward to your posts and daily musings while you are at home and of course, your continued updates on Heidi and the Thingy. So happy for you both.
Back in January I made you dance around in your underpants when I told you that I canceled my Transatlantic I booked on the Nosteakforyou of the Seas after the Liberty Europe cancellations, and booked a back to back Caribbean cruise on the Valor.
Mom, nor I, could bear the thought of sailing on another line so we’ve come “home” to Carnival.
Anyway, you wanted our booking numbers closer to our cruises (4/19 & 4/26) so here they are: —– and —–, Judy & Melissa Jurgensen.
You said these would be the best cruises ever and I certainly believe it! We’ll be turning Platinum with Carnival!
My best to you, Heidi and the Thingy. I am so glad I was able to meet you and Heidi on the Splendor and I can’t wait for pictures of the Thingy when he arrives!
Melissa
PS: I’d probably knock your knickers off if I told you that I cancelled another RCL sailing and booked the Dream in October!

John Says:
Hello Melissa
My underpants are on the floor. It seems you and many others are “coming home to Carnival” and we are so thankful that you are.
Have a great cruise and let me know your thoughts when you get back
Cheers
John

Karen Edmonson Asked:
John- Please Reply
I saw another comment about the dining assignment on our confirmations of a cruise. Our dining is @ 6pm (requested) but says ‘Waitlisted” Can you tell us what the waitlisted means- is it just another way of saying our table is determined by Carnival?? Thank you for being here for all of us, best wishes to Heidi and the baby and of course everyone that helps you do the blog so well.

John Says:
Hello Karen
I hope by now you have seen my answers above. Please let me know if you need any further help and again my apologies for the immense confusion this has caused
Best wishes
John

bettyb00p1bigkahuna Asked:
HELLO JOHN
GLAD TO HEAR YOU ARE FINALLY ON YOUR WAY ACROSS THE POND FOR MANY HUGS, TEARS, KISSES AND BELLY RUBS BETWEEN U AND HEIDI
YOU OR STEPHANIE PLEASE REPLY:
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE DVD/ VIDEO FROM THE BLOGGERS NOLA\CRUISE THAT WAS GOING TO BE AVAILABLE TO US WHO PARTICIPATED OR WANT TO BUY? I HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING ON IT OR MAYBE I MISSED IT?
WE WILL NEVER CEASE TO READ YOUR BLOG WHETHER IT BE BRITISH, SEAFARING, CARNIVAL, MURPHY’S LAW OR BUGGER ALL, VIDEO, PHOTOGRAPHS, SHORT OR LONG…
TAKE CARE
THE TUCKERS
ELIZABETH MISSING ARNOLD

John Says:
Hello Elizabeth and Arnold
Thanks for reminding me about the DVD. I really must see what became of that and I will let you all know tomorrow. Thanks again for your kind words which I hope you know mean so very much to Heidi and I. I will get back to you re the DVD
Cheers
John

Thanks again for all the comments and if you need my help please write to me asking for me to reply and I will do so as soon as I can.

Here then is some very exciting news about your dining options. Have a read of this.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES INTRODUCES NEW “YOUR CHOICE DINING” PROGRAM
Guests to be Offered Choice of Three Different Seating Options, Including “Your Time” Open Seating, Fleetwide

MIAMI (April 1, 2009) – Carnival Cruise Lines has launched “Your Choice Dining” which provides a selection of three different dinner seating options for guests aboard the line’s 22-ship fleet. In addition to Early or Late assigned seating, the cruise line is rolling out “Your Time” open seating to accommodate individual guest preferences. Also, under the new Your Choice Dining program, dining assignments will be confirmed at the time of booking.

“We have been experimenting with an open seating dinner option on a few ships since the latter part of 2008,” said Roberta Jacoby, Carnival’s senior vice president of hotel operations. “Exceptional guest feedback to the pilot program and an indication from the vast majority of those participating that they would choose that option again has prompted the decision to extend open seating fleetwide. At the same time, we felt it was important to also enhance the dining program overall by confirming dining assignments at the time of booking. We believe that our new Your Choice Dining Program will prove to be an extremely popular enhancement to the Carnival vacation experience,” Jacoby added.

Your Time open seating, currently available on five ships, will be implemented one vessel at a time over the next several months as modifications in dining room table configurations are completed on each ship.

“In making the decision to introduce Your Time dining, we felt it was imperative that we be able to offer guests the option to sit only with those individuals they prefer and that requires reconfiguring a section of the dining rooms on each ship to incorporate smaller table arrangements,” said Jacoby. “This is an important distinction as some lines still group people together under their open seating programs.”

An additional eight ships are scheduled to be converted by the end of year and the balance of the fleet by summer 2010. Confirmed dining assignments are now being offered fleetwide.

At the time of booking, guests will be asked to choose from among Early dining at 6pm, Late dining at 8:15 pm or Your Time dining which allows guests to dine at any time between 5:45pm and 9:30pm (if applicable depending on ship and sailing date). Dining assignments will be accommodated on a first-come, first-serve basis according to when guests made their reservation.

If the preferred dining choice is not available, guests may confirm an alternate choice and be placed on a waitlist for their first preference. Waitlists will be cleared prior to sailing and guests will be notified via email of their confirmed seating assignment.
As Your Time dining is implemented on each ship, guests already booked will be contacted via email or through their travel agent and provided the opportunity to switch to Your Time dining or retain their original choice.

Your Time guests are able to request any table size or waiter and are typically seated immediately when arriving at the dining room. However, if a modest wait time is required, guests are given a pager so they are free to relax elsewhere on the ship until their table is ready.

Additional options available under Your Choice Dining include extensive poolside eateries offering a wide variety of cuisine choices in a casual environment and, on a number of ships, elegant, reservations-only restaurants serving fine quality dry-aged U.S.D.A. prime steaks and other dishes in an intimate, upscale atmosphere.

Below is a timetable for the introduction of Your Time open seating throughout the Carnival fleet:

• Already implemented: Carnival Legend, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Miracle
• End of April: Carnival Conquest, Carnival Elation, Carnival Pride
• Mid-June: Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Spirit
• Late September: Carnival Dream
• Mid-October: Carnival Ecstasy
• Mid-December: Carnival Glory
• February 2010: Carnival Fascination
• By summer 2010: Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Victory

Carnival is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Europe and Bermuda. The line currently has two new ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2011. The first of those, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, is set to debut Sept. 21, 2009.

For additional information or reservations, contact a travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Wonderful news. In a world where choice is so important this will allow everyone to choose a dinning option that’s best for all the family……..brilliant.

I would like you to meet Claire. She is the dance captain on the Carnival Splendor. While Jaime is taking a well deserved rest from her Dear John letters I have asked Claire to tell us now and then about her life onboard. So, with that in mind here is Claire to tell you a little about herself and what being a dance captain is all about.

My First Attempt

This is my first attempt at writing a blog so please bear with me. My name is Claire Heslop and I am currently the dance captain on the Carnival Splendor. I have worked for Carnival Cruise Lines for approximately 10 years now and am still having a blast!! As you have heard from John, Heidi and Jaime, this ship has been an unbelievable experience for all of us lucky enough to have been on board for the last 10 months. We just finished our long voyage around South America which the cast and I thoroughly enjoyed, we met lots of fantastic people who cruised on the three different cruises and of course those crazy people who chose to cruise for the entire 49 days. There were a lot of familiar faces from the European and Caribbean cruises too, thanks for coming back if you are reading this!!

I’m sure you’ve heard lots about the ports of call so I won’t bore you with my stories of the ports. Instead I am going to let you know about us the cast of the Splendor …… So most of you have probably cruised on the Splendor but if you haven’t our current cast consists of nine female dancers: Lydia, Candice, Nicola, Ellie, Fiona (Figs), Shelley-Anne, Ceri, Katie and myself. Five male dancers: Dawson, Brett, Jeremy, Paul and Dan, and two production singers: Ling Ling and Lawrence, we also have four main lounge technicians: Heather (senior tech/backstage manager), Logan (automation), Josh (sound), and Brett (lights) and one back lounge technician (which means everything but the main lounge!!): Pierre (JES!!). I must also mention that we had one more girl in the cast called Christina she was on board for four months swinging, she just signed off on March 21. So now when I talk about any of them you know who they are and what they do.

The dancers and Lawrence have been on board since the very beginning, when John discovered that the hand driers were placed directly above the trash cans! (Remember that??), because of South America we asked if we could extend our contract which was granted. Heather (production singer), Jo and Louise (dancers) who brought the ship out with us opted not to extend so we had to say “see you soon” to them on January 31. It was very upsetting to us as this particular cast has become very close throughout the time here. Heather was replaced by Ling Ling who fit right in (she’s great!), it was decided that Jo and Louise (who we call Weezy) were not replaced in the cast and the shows ended up being re-blocked for nine girls.

OK you are thinking what does re-block mean? The shows are blocked specifically so that the dancers do not bump into one another and one gets hurt and each section looks good from an audience point of view. On the front of the stage we have numbers, the centre of the stage is 0 and the numbers go out to 24 on either side of the stage. Each performer has a number that they should be on for each move, so if I am missing a person from a section then I have to either teach another dancer that person’s spot or I have to block the section again so that I don’t have a big gaping space. Does that make sense? This sometimes happens in the middle of a show and we have a term called “fill a gap” where we just look for the space and try and close it. This is easier the longer you have been doing a show…………… Are you bored or asleep yet??

I think you are up to date with who is who and what job they do, and you all know what re-block means now, so………Stay tuned and I promise not to bore you too much!!

Love
Claire X

claire-1

Here are a few of the bunch on the beach in Barbados:
From left to right: Dan, Ceri, Me, Lydia, Jeremy, Shelley-Anne, Candice, Ellie, Dawson, Fiona, Brett!!

claire2

This is me with the penguins in Argentina……………The penguins were so unbelievably cute!!

Great start Claire and soon she will be writing again and telling us all about the shows and life behind the theatre curtain…………please join me in thanking her………..by the way………….Claire is from “op North” which is rather like your south!!!

Yesterday I wrote about Twittering and how it seems to be on everyone’s lips. Well, even the rich and tanned are Twits and that includes John Mayer who is a huge Twit and has been writing about his Carnival Splendor cruise………here is the link thingy………….http://twitter.com/johncmayer.

Our marketing department deserves to win every travel award going. Not only did Jim and his team launch the new Fun Director commercials and the brilliant Funday Sunday parties but also they introduced these wonderful interactive aquariums. I went to see one while in Los Angeles. Here is a short video of what we found.

It was pretty sunny and very hot yet through the wonders of our new video producer’s (Mr. Hair) camera it looked brilliant. He joined us a few weeks ago and working under Stephanie’s direction he has already become an instant hit ………. So what do you think about the video?

Mr. Hair is working on two big projects including the red carpet news reel from the John Mayer event. If he isn’t too busy putting “product” in his hair, the big girl’s blouse should have this ready by Friday.

Well, London is in lock down today not just because POTUS (can you tell I loved the West Wing?) the world’s leaders and Gordon Brown are in town but because the city is expected to be overrun with hippies in sandals protesting about global warming and the right to not to ever have a shower. Protesting it seems is making a comeback and it seems that here in the UK and in North America you can protest about anything you want.

For example, a few weeks ago protesters in a town called Luton which is just north of London had welcomed 200 British soldiers home from Iraq with banners saying “baby butchers.” But as we live in a free country, there’s not a damn thing we can do to stop this sort of thing happening again.

Super gluing their mouths closed, though tempting, is a no-no. Talking to them is as pointless as talking to a pencil.

And if you try to ban them, using the law, you’re going to find your lawyer just smiles the smile of a man or woman who can do bugger all about it.

I read a few days ago about a protest on a cruise ship. The vessel in question was cruising around New Zealand and the South Pacific and unfortunately and as happens on planes, trains and automobiles, the ship encountered some engine problems and had to cancel one or two ports of call. While many passengers understood and gladly accepted the cruise line’s compensation package a few formed a “Protest Committee” and camped out in the lobby, screaming and shouting and chanting…………and there was very little the ship’s officers could do about it.

People are allowed to protest………………….. The end.

Which is why, once again, I find myself daydreaming about the idea of creating a new government position…..”Secretary of Common Sense.” Someone who could step in and act on our behalf when the law can’t help………..and the cruise ship equivalent “The Cruise Common Sense Director.”

Think about it. He’d look at those soldiers coming home from the heat and dust of Iraq. And the Secretary of Common Sense would realize that after all the hardship and danger they’d endured, calling them baby butchers is at the very least bad manners.
So the protesters would be arrested, charged with being impolite and sentenced to spend the rest of time in, oh I don’t know…………..Paris.

Then if a group of passengers gather in the lobby chanting and acting like school bullies because they missed a port because of bad weather say, the Cruise Common Sense Director should take over and tell them ” follow me” and lead the protestors down to deck 0 and onto a small boat, give them some oars and say……… “Bon voyage.”

Should a journalist be allowed to go through the Chairman of AIG’s hard drive to see what they did with my money? Yes.

Should people who asked Bernard Madoff be encouraged to take a crap in his front yard? Yes.

Should cruise ship passengers who abuse crew members ever be allowed to cruise on any line ever again? No.

Should school children be allowed to ride their bikes without having so much protection gear on that they look like they are going to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban? Yes.

You don’t need committees and meetings and spend billions dollars every time there’s a dispute. You just need someone with a bit of common sense.

I think I might apply for the job myself.

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.