The Best Job in the World

June 15, 2009 -

News From Steph

It has been very interesting reading your comments about if and how a cruise director can affect the overall cruise experience. If you have not had chance to comment yet please do as this is a very important subject and I would really appreciate your feedback. Ask most of our cruise directors and they will tell you that they “have the best job…….in the world.”….myself included. But apparently……..we do not………..nope that title goes to a man called Ben Southall from a little village in Hampshire here in the UK because he has, according to all the papers, just landed the “best job in the world.”

So if he isn’t a cruise director for Carnival what do you suppose his job is? Has Ben Southall become president of Carnival Cruise Lines replacing the brilliant Gerry Cahill who has decided to become a Chippendale? Has Ben been traded to the Miami Heat as a starting point guard thingy? Has he become an underwear model? Is he (please God) starting today as the UK’s new prime minister? Will he be the test driver for Aston Martin? No? What, then………….surely he has not been put in charge of the thong laundry at the Playboy Mansion?

No, again. The job that Ben has landed, ahead of thousands of applicants from all over the world to a very public recruitment drive from Tourism Queensland………is a job as a caretaker.

Yes, sure, it’s a caretaker job on an island off the Great Barrier Reef, so the weather will be nice and there will be lots of fish to eat. And the salary, at US $100,000, is brilliant. But it’s pretty mind-blowing to find the world’s media heralding it as the best job in the world. No disrespect to caretakers, but their work is not usually considered especially rewarding. Ben impressed the judges, apparently, with a range of hobbies that included “running, climbing, scuba diving, bungee jumping, mountain biking and eating fruit.” So, clearly, the man is a vegetarian. Or possibly a monkey. “Ooh look,” one can imagine the chimpanzee personnel manager saying, “This one is into running, jumping and climbing.”

On top of all that leaping about, Ben had to do a lot of blogging ……another activity that many people have told me requires no more skill than you’d find in a baboon.

The sort of people who will covet Mr. Southall’s job are those people one occasionally meets who dream of emigrating to Australia. “Lifestyle” basically means that you can get drunk outdoors wearing only your underpants all year round. And eat nothing but charbroiled food from the BBQ for the rest of your life. People who dream of living there don’t care what job they do, only that after it finishes each day they can go straight to the beach – where their only hope of avoiding skin cancer is to be eaten by a shark or poisoned to death by a spider the size of Judge Judy’s head.

But it’s “the best job in the world “according to the world’s press………funny……..I thought I had that……..however there is apparently another contender for this title. Yep……..it’s a chap called Reggie Love, President Obama’s closest aide, who was seen carrying the presidential basketball on his way into the American Embassy in London.

This is the man President Obama refers to as “the kid brother I never had”…..for lovers of the West Wing I guess he is like President Bartlett’s Charlie…….and then some. He holds the President’s Raspberry, supplies chewing gum when he needs it and does all of the stuff the President doesn’t have the time or patience for. Since his duties are more matey than political, I guess he should be known as…………. The First Mate.

Some people might consider this to be the best job in the world. I’m not so sure. Loads of things can go wrong. When you’re First Mate, it’s not like you can say to the President, “You bastard …… you said we could watch the game together tonight but now you have dumped me to go to a party with Prime Minister Berlusconi.” Also, being pissed off is out of the question. If you’re feeling tired and you don’t feel like playing basketball you have to play anyway. You can’t complain. Or ask, “Why do we always have what you want to do?”

I was thinking that I could be his best mate………I would love that job…….and I would be brilliant at it…oh……..actually….no I wouldn’t. I’d always say exactly the wrong thing and get him into trouble. I’d forget there’s no tone in e-mail and make a bad joke on his if you’re the voice of the President you can’t end e-mails with: “President Sarkozy…….my arse.”
Time for today’s questions………here we go.

Michele Maragni Asked:
Hi John (Heidi & Kye too!) PLEASE RESPOND

Thank You for the fabulous blogs, (I’m still laughing!) and the pictures of the Dream, I do miss pictures of Kye though! Seeing the pictures of the making of the Dream, are priceless, it makes my Mom and I that much more excited for our Dec, 3rd cruise with you! One question, will there be any chance that the fabulous singer Marcus Anthony, might be entertaining on the Dream? I had the opportunity to meet him, and shall I say, dance a very memorable slow dance with him
on stage, believe me when I say memorable, I was stopped by half the ship commenting on my dancing with Mr. Anthony, as if I was a celebrity, My Mom was so proud I was her daughter, ha! Ha! I will go further into detail when we speak on the Dream! Ha! Ha! this was on our last cruise in Nov, on the Glory, it would be so wonderful to hear him sing again, if not, maybe in the future I will be able to enjoy his fabulous voice on another Carnival Cruise, thank you so much!,
Love & Hugs, to you, and to Heidi & Kye! Michele & Eleanor (Mom)

John Says:
Hello Michele
I hope you enjoyed the photo of Heidi and Kye on Friday and I promise every Friday will be Kye day and I will post the latest photos of her.
Marcus Anthony is without doubt one of the finest entertainers I have ever worked with and if I have my way he will or sure be joining us on the bloggers cruise in December. His Marvin Gaye and Motown tribute is a show that as you said has everyone dancing in the isles.
I will certainly do my best to have him with us.
My best regards to you and all your family and thank you for the lovely words of kindness
Best wishes
John

Lisa P Asked:
PLEASE PLEASE REPLY! OH MY GOD IS IT TRUE? Will you be our cruise director on the Freedom June 28th? I will be so happy if I read that right!

Lisa Perkins

John Says:
Hello Lisa
Then be happy because I will see you on the Carnival Freedom where I will indeed be your cruise director.
Get ready for a great cruise………..I have no idea where we are going by the way!
See you soon and best wishes
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John
Please Respond
After seeing the pictures of the rooms and since they are already done, could some of us just go and stay on her while they are finishing her. I could write a daily blog and keep everyone posted on how she is doing.

I once watched a video of how they put the cabins together, it was so interesting. They are all pre-made and finished before they even arrive on the ship.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M
Having read your comment and sensed the excitement in your writing about your Carnival Dream. I have arranged for you to spend the next few weeks working onboard doing some welding and living in a hammock in the engine room.
Let me know if this is OK………oh and seriously……..you should be excited………..I am ……….. your Carnival Dream is going to be stunning
Best wishes
John

Bobbi Asked:
John please reply:
Glad things are working for you and that you are feeling better. Where are the pictures of Heidi and Kye? They are both so beautiful and we miss them. I know you agree with the beautiful part.

My husband, daughter and son in law are cruising on the Conquest in September; we will be celebrating my daughter’s 23rd birthday. Kyle Post is our cruise director (thanks for the update) what can you tell us about him? Also, when we previously cruised, Blood Power was one of
the onboard bands. Are they still with Carnival? Any chance they will be on the Conquest then? They were incredible. They were in fact the reason my husband and I were trying to recuperate from late nights in the bar when we returned home. We tried to act like teenagers, but it is hard to do in a 40 plus year old body.

Due to you and your blog and pictures, my husband is thinking of planning a Dream cruise. Carnival cruises are the most relaxing vacations for him, so we are thinking of trying two per year, one short and one long. That should help us get to Platinum status quicker. We live in Arkansas, so love cruising out of Galveston, so maybe the Magic will make us really happy and we could cruise on her first cruise.

John, I can’t tell you enough how much you make me smile and long to cruise more often. Keep up the good work. Please give Heidi and Kye a hug for us; you are blessed as are we to enjoy all Carnival has to offer. Many thanks for all you do. I promise, one day I will cruise with you!

Thanks for all you do!!

Bobbi and James

P.S. I am jealous, I want a John bobblehead

John Says:

Hello Bobbi and James
Most people would prefer haemorrhoids to a John Heald Bobblehead…..there was one or two on eBay selling for about 50 cents.
Thanks so very much for the kind words for Kye and Heidi………..we all appreciate them so very much. Let me start by telling you about your cruise director Kyle…….actually why don’t we let Kyle tell you instead?
Here he is
KylePost
Thanks Kyle. I know that you will have a great time with this young man as your CD and I would appreciate you telling me all about your cruise when you get back.
Blood Power……….well I know only of their reputation and it seems they gave you a great time and a few late nights. The band is currently on vacation and returning in August but I know their replacements will be equally as fun and they to will have you up to the wee small hours of the morning.
Well the home port of the Carnival Magic will be………oops……I nearly let that news out then ……..actually I was just teasing as I have no idea yet as that decision is very much still under discussion. I do promise though to tell you as soon as I know. However, before the Carnival Magic there is your Carnival Dream and I see you are considering booking a cruise on her ……. well all I can say is that I promise that it will be a decision that you will not regret…….maybe I will even see you there.
I am so glad that you appreciate Carnival’s commitment to the port of Galveston. The people there are superb and it has become a very important home port of call for us.
Thanks again for writing and if you need anything at all I will be here.
Best wishes to you all
John

Cruisin’ Librarian Asked:
Dear John (please reply),
Sorry if you’ve been asked this a thousand times already. Maybe someone on the boards can answer this and if so, you don’t need to.

My husband and I sailed with you on Freedom two years ago in the Med. We are considering booking the blogger’s cruise out of New York in November. What will the weather be like in the Bahamas then? We’ve never sailed at that time of year. Are the seas a little rougher then?
We just got back from Bermuda, and the seas were gloriously calm. Considering my only experiences before that was in the ultra calm Mediterranean and the ultra rough North Sea during a gale force 9 storm, I’m hoping for calmer seas since I tend to get a little sea-sick.

Congratulations on the birth of Kye! She’s beautiful.

John Says:
Hello Cruisin Librarian
Well actually and rather surprisingly I don’t actually get asked much about sea sickness here on the blog thingy. Not sure why……maybe many of the readers are seasoned cruisers who have become immune to any motion from the ocean. I was glad to read that you had such a great cruise in the Med and I miss European cruising very much. Well, why I can’t promise the same calm seas as we had in the Med I can say that your Carnival Dream is a big powerful lady and it will take quite a chop to have you reaching for the Dramamine. The weather at that time of the year is usually very good and I am sure the sun will be shining down on a mirror like sea. I hope you will indeed join us and until then I remain here at your service.
Thanks so very much for the beautiful words for Kye
My best wishes to you and the family
John

Stacey Asked:
John (Please reply),
Can you clarify for me, the process of obtaining “tendering tickets?” Our first cruise was Eastern Caribbean, so no need for them. Our second cruise was Western Caribbean and I fretted about being in the right place, at the right time, etc. to get them…but when I asked at the Purser’s Desk about the process, the nice woman told me just to go down to the deck which the tenders were leaving from and hop on one.

Now this cruise, also Western Caribbean, we have a larger group going, have booked mostly private excursions (which, as much as I adore Carnival, is a whole other conversation for another time, LOL), and I’m again wondering what the deal is with tender tickets.

Thanks,
Stacey

John Says:
Hello Stacey
Thanks for taking the time to write and let me try and explain the tender ticket system you will encounter onboard. Yes, we do operate a tender ticket system and this is simply the most tried and tested way to avoid unsafe crowding on the stairwells and for us to put the right amounts of guests on each tender according to the capacity of that boat. I personally have tried this with and without a tender ticket system and I promise you there is only one stress free way of doing it and that’s to issue tender tickets.
Now, I am guessing that you will be using tenders in Grand Cayman which will involve the guests booked on a Carnival tour meeting in one lounge and those guests on a non-Carnival tour in another. However, saying that I do no that certain ships operate another kind of ticket system and so to give you the right information I need to know what ship you are sailing on. Then I can check with the CD onboard and find out what system he or she is operating. I am sure you are concerned about making your private excursions on time but please don’t worry all will be well. So please write back to me and let me know when and where you are sailing and on what ship and if you want you can include that “conversation for another time.”
Best wishes
John

Lauri Asked:
John,
Please reply
More pictures of Kye please!! She is angelic!
One quick question.
I am cruising on the Legend on 9/27 and saw on the CD schedule that you are listed as being on but it is in red. Can you tell me what the red means and whether you will actually be the CD for this cruise. If so I am so excited to finally meet you and hope you will have a baby
brag book aboard. Thanks for the great blog; I look forward to your humor everyday.
Take care and love to the family!
Lauri

John Says:

Hello Lauri
Thanks for all the nice words about Kye and I promise that every Friday you will get to see the latest photos of my little poo monster. I actually join the Carnival Legend on the 27th and won’t be the CD until the next cruise. Jen Baxter will be your CD and I am going to pop over and see how she is doing before spending a few weeks there myself as Cruise Director. I have not been on the ship since 2002 and I am looking forward to seeing her again and meeting you.
My best wishes to you and the family
John


Anne Asked:

John
I have a nephew who is on Dialysis, he would love to cruise and we would love to do a family Cruise, are there any Dialysis machines onboard any of the Carnival line ships?? Thanks for your help

John Says:
Hello Anne
Thank you for taking the time to write. I checked with our Senior Fleet Medical Director Dr. John Bradbury who advised me that we do not unfortunately have dialysis machines on-board our ships. However, the Doc suggested that if you plan your cruise ahead of time we can alert the various ports of call that your nephew would need to come in for treatment. Now there are obvious insurance and logistical concerns here and I don’t know of the frequency he would need treatment but if you decide to pursue this and book a cruise please let me know and I can in turn put you in touch with someone at our special service center and we can help you arrange all you need.
My best wishes to you all and I am here should you need me.
John

cruisingrandma Asked:
John “Please Reply”
I was reading the blog and saw that Carnival will be having Halloween on all the ship during all of October, which is great with my family because it is one of our favorite holidays. My daughter is getting married on October 18th and taking her new husband on his first cruise (it’s her third) on the Carnival Destiny out of Miami on October 19th (my anniversary). What I need to know is can costumes be rented on board ship or does she need to bring her own? And the second part of
that question is what night is the costume party. I saw (in very tiny writing) that Jan will be the CD for that cruise. I have sailed with her before and I know the kids will have a blast.

Please post more pictures of Kye and Heidi.

Hope to see you again soon.

Grandma
CarolAnn

John Says:
Hello Carol Ann
Yes indeed, on Carnival we celebrate Halloween not only on the 31st but in the weeks leading up to the event as well. Unfortunately we don’t rent costumes on board so if your family want to dress up they will need to bring costumes. However, you don’t need to be dressed as a witch, a clown, Dracula or a hemmerhoid to take part. While some do bring costumes many do not yet they all still enjoy the haunted house and the other surprises we have in store. I don’t have the schedule for each ship yet but a few weeks before we start the celebrations I will let you know when the scary stuff starts and when the costume party will be.
I know they will have a booooootiful time.
Best wishes
John

Linda (Mom of DJ) Asked:
John (Please reply):
I was just saving some pictures to CDs when I ran across this old one of DJ when he was on the Fantasy March 2003.

This was the ship where CD Mark Price gave DJ his first “ship on a stick.”

I know the (then called Social Hosts) were Amy and Stephanie…and of course I know Mark…but I can not remember who the other two gentlemen are????

Could you give a look at the picture and let me know? Thanks. I have it saved on Webshots…
this link should take you right to it.

http://travel.webshots.com/photo/2147500530096776823EstRxj

There is also a current picture of DJ in some kind of race car……we just visited the Corvette Museum and he had a blast.

Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

John Says:
Hello Linda
I rarely get the chance to thank you for all the comments you post each and every day and your continuing passion for everyone who writes in with any kind of concern is so very appreciated. I saw that you are currently helping a blogger who has a family member with special needs and once again your kindness shines through.
OK, well with regard to the photo you are correct in naming the girls and Mark Price. The handsome chap on the right with the white hair is Stuart Dunn who is currently the CD on the Carnival Elation. As to the other chap……well I have no clue but I have launched an investigation and will let you know tomorrow who this is. DJ looks fantastic and I would love to be able to take him on a Costa ship so he could try the amazing F1 simulator.
Thanks again Linda and I send my best wishes to you, DJ and all the family
John

Karen Sheperd Asked:
Hi John – please reply. I’m sorry I missed you on the Splendor – I was there in Europe in October on the week that you and Heidi left (Jen was CD then). My family had a great time and we also enjoyed Jaime very much – she referenced us in one of her blog updates and we
were very amused.
Next week my son and his friends are celebrating their graduation from college on the Miracle – leaving June 17th from NYC. His name is Matt Shepherd in room —. I’m writing so you can warn the staff of his arrival with his friends (not sure of the other room numbers). They are all very smart young men – all graduated with top honors – and I fear they may have used up most of that brain power (or common sense) pre-cruise for their studies. So I’m apologizing for any silly, embarrassing antics they may do ahead of time. Seriously, they are great kids – and as a mom I will worry until they all return home. (Wait til Kye goes on her first vacation with her friends!!!) If you could ask anyone you know on that ship to ‘keep an eye out for them’.
I’d greatly appreciate it.
Karen

John Says:
Hello.
I was sorry to read we just missed each other in Europe but I am sure you had a brilliant time with Jen as the CD. I have alerted the ship security about Matt sailing and will make sure he behaves himself………plus gets a little gift from Mum. I am sure he will have a great time and congratulations on his graduation
Hope to sail with you soon
Best wishes
John

Vicki Asked:
John, please reply –
My husband and I are thinking about booking the Triumph out of NYC to St. John/Halifax in August. We are doing this primarily because of the cost savings incurred by sailing out of NYC (our homeport), but the problem is that this would be our 5th cruise to Halifax and our 4th to
St. John. They are lovely cities, but there’s a limit to what you can do in both. My question to you is – can you give me 1 very good or 3 adequate reasons for taking this specific cruise independent of the itinerary? (You don’t need to give me any reasons for cruising generally!) Thanks and best wishes to you, Heidi and Kye,
Vicki

John Says:
Hello Vicki
That’s a great question and I think you have mentioned one of the reasons you should take this cruise already. The current affordable prices we have at Carnival are astonishing and that coupled with the fact that you don’t have to fly is another great reason to walk up the gangway. Carnival Triumph has recently been through some wonderful dry dock upgrades including the addition of a Seaside Theatre Big Screen. However, I understand that the ports are familiar to you and I hope you have taken the time to go to Peggy’s Cove in Halifax. If you would like other tour recommendations I would be happy to help you. But for me the most important reasons to book the cruise is that the ship and her crew. You deserve to relax and deserve to take advantage of the great prices and I promise you that the crew of the Carnival Triumph will do their very best to make sure that you have a wonderful, relaxing and most of all fun cruise vacation.
Let me know what you decide to do
Best wishes to all
John

Jeri Green Asked:
Hi, Loved the pictures from Half Moon Cay! We are leaving Mon. June 15th on the Carnival Destiny and intend to do the horse back ride. A couple of years ago on our cruise for our 50th anniversary you said to email you when we were taking a cruise. Maybe you didn’t realize how
often we cruise! (Since we too use Yahoo and you are having trouble with it we will use the blog instead.) June 15th will be our 24th cruise as we take our daughter to celebrate her birthday a bit early.
Booking # Cabin —-

Miss the pictures of Kye and hope to see more very soon. Jeri and Larry Green

John Says:
Hello Jeri and Larry
I have fond memories of our meeting and how wonderful that you are celebrating 50 incomparable years together on the Carnival Destiny. Stephanie Meads will be your CD and she is doing a brilliant job and I am sure she will send you a little something from me. Have a great time and I wish I could be there personally to say Happy Anniversary
Best wishes
John

Jackie Asked:
JohnHeald’SBlog
Hi John, Heidi and of course beautiful Kye; Please reply First and foremost Robert is in the best place for his cancer treatments. If you recall I was on Feb bloggers cruise and I started chemo the very next day. I too had my treatments at Sloan. They are the best. I have finished my 6 treatments and Stu and I booked a celebration cruise with you November 15th. Each day is a gift and we love cruising with you since our Freedom cruise with Mount Holly……….Thanks for the Dream updates and Kye pics as well. Since I have not been at work for the past 6 months I read your blog daily and you have made me smile each and every day. I will be returning to work June 15th and will have to make sure I fit in computer time for my daily laughs.

Just a question about Ocean Plaza. I thought it was going to be Italian theme. Can you tell us a little more about it? We love Gelato and Espresso coffee. Not to mention Tea too. Lol Thanks look forward to seeing you soon as time goes by so quick……. Jackie and Stu

John Says:
Hello Jackie and Stu
You are so kind to mention our friend Robert Schneider who is struggling through the side effects of his treatment and I know your words of support and those of others will be most welcome. I have fond memories of our “Mount Holly” cruise together and I hope it is not too long before we get to sail together soon.
Ocean Plaza doesn’t necessarily have a theme but it is certainly going to recreate the piazza-style atmosphere you will find in St. Marks Square and other famous Italian piazzas. There will be constant entertainment, music and food and of course the gelato experience that I know is going to be a huge hit. I will be able to share this experience with you in November so until then I send my very best wishes to you both
John

Geri & Jack Asked:
Hi John PLEASE REPLY
Does the Dream have a retractable roof over the aft Lido Pool?
Thank you,
Jack

John Says:
Hello Geri and jack
Thanks for taking the time to write. Your Carnival Dream does not have a retractable roof over the aft Lido. In fact the stern of the ship is different to any other we have and in my opinion with the way she is built and with the walk around Lanai on deck 5. I personally feel her aft is the most beautiful in the industry………except mine of course.
Let me know if you have a follow up question
Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and there will be more of course  later this week including a special interview with someone at the forefront of everything that is happening right now on your Carnival Dream.

In past months there was something in the air in the homes of the rich and tanned across the land, and it went something like this: “A vacation? A VACATION?? We’re all bankrupt, for heaven’s sake. We are going to stay home instead, eating the family cat and making clothes out of palm leaves.”
To which Seabourn replied “Bollocks”………….well, I am sure Pamela Conover Seabourn’s president didn’t actually say “bollocks” …………for one she’s not British and second she has more class than a fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms.

Instead the thinking at Seabourn was that if 2009 and perhaps 2010 is as sticky as some expect, the rich and tanned are going to need a vacation more than ever. ………….and so begat the Seabourn Odyssey.

A Seabourn cruise ………ummmm…….that doesn’t sound right……..ummmm………a Seabourn experience is designed for those who want total luxury that oozes in abundance from bow to stern. Seabourn is for people who are looking for exclusivity – they want something that their next-door neighbor doesn’t get …………..they want the best…………..it’s that simple. And in the Seabourn Odyssey that is certainly what they are going to get. She is Concord, The Plaza in Manhattan and the Al Bahj in Dubai……….in the shape of a mega luxury yacht owned by Prince Musthaf Debest or Russian multi billionaire oil magnate………. Roman Ivegotajockitch.

Now I haven’t checked the prices of a Seabourn Odyssey experience but I imagine that in today’s market they are more affordable than ever. I would like to tell you what a Seabourn experience is all about but I have yet to be invited on one………..but hope springs eternal. Anyway, I know everyone who reads this blog is like me a funnel head ……that’s someone who loves ships so I know that you will all enjoy these photos of the Seabourn Odyssey conducting her sea trials off the coast of Southern Italy.

IMG_5037-Seabourn

IMG_5082-Seabourn

I should point out that these were not official photos but were in fact taken by a friend of mine and ex Carnival shipboard employee. So thanks to Michele Villaverdi who was a bridge officer for Carnival and now is the captain of a ferry that goes between Capri and Naples. He sent me those photos yesterday and I have a feeling they may be the first published anywhere of the Seabourn Odyssey on sea trials……….so grazie Michele and maybe writing this article will get me one step nearer a taste of Seabourn luxury as I sit in my suite drinking Diet Coke served by my Latvian supermodel butler before walking to my balcony where dinner of fresh peacock will be served.

The Seabourn Odyssey has a blog and for the latest information on the worlds most luxurious …………. ummmm…………anything……………..pop on over to http://blog.seabourn.com/ Oh, by the way Seabourn President & CEO Pamela Conover will begin tweeting from Italy before, during and after the delivery of Seabourn Odyssey from the T. Mariotti shipyard in Genoa. Her twit thing is http://twitter.com/SeabournCruise and I am sure she would love to hear from all of you.

There are still those who have never cruised who are unsure if or not the thrill of a cruise and more specifically the fun of a Carnival cruise is for them…but sometimes all it takes is to get that person up one of our gangways and once that happens….there is no looking back as you will see if you click on this CNN link thingy
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/getaways/06/11/cruising.commitment.phobe/index.html

And sometimes…………words from me are not necessary……as you will see from this article sent to me by Host Mach from Cruise Critic.

Just off Valor from the Land of “Why Not”

A veteran Diamond member at Royal Caribbean, I must say I had some real trepidation about cruising with Carnival. The itinerary looked good and it sailed just one hour from my home so I figured, why not? As it turned out it was wonderful. The food was much better than any of my 11 sailings with Royal Caribbean, the service better than almost all but one cruise, and a great time was had by my whole family of four, all at a lower price. So impressed am I that I am going to be changing some of my scheduled sailings with Royal over to Carnival. I never thought I would do such a thing. Carnival is worth another look. At least the Valor. Simply a great experience.
Read the entire post by clicking here

Brilliant………high five everyone!

I sort of thanked you earlier in the blog for all those comments on whether or not you think that the cruise director can make a difference to the overall enjoyment of your cruise. Well, although many of you said that you would not book a cruise based on who the CD is, many of you did write that you do believe that he or she does make a difference to your cruise vacation experience. It seems you want your cruise directors to be fun and visible and to motivate their staff to being the same. These are the basic principles to which we ask our cruise directors to adhere to and that are why it was so interesting reading your thoughts.

It is also another reason for me to ask you to please send in your reviews and to tell myself, Chris and Roger which of our cruise directors were the ones that truly did make a difference…….. and if they didn’t. This will help us continue to have the best CD’s in the cruise industry …. so we look forward to reading your reviews.

Well very soon I will be back on board sharing my adventures with you. I have a big cruise convention to host in Dover UK on Wednesday as cruise industry heavy weights like Peter Shanks of Cunard speak to a gaggle of hundreds of travel agents ……….why they chose me is anyone’s guess…………oh yes……….I know why…………..I’m cheap.

Anyway…..it will be a privilege to be there and hopefully I can underscore to the British agents just why cruising is the best value vacation there is………..I shall be sending raspberry blogs that day and take some video and loads of photos.

Then on Friday I fly (bugger) to Miami and once through the delights of US Immigration head to my Motel 6 before joining the Carnival Freedom the next day. I then have an eight-day handover with Todd before taking over the ship as CD from the 28th. Normally I wouldn’t do a handover but even though I know the Carnival Freedom inside and out I have not been a CD for three months so I will need to see what’s going on……..and yes……..although many won’t believe it………….I will be nervous.

I know one of the things that everyone looks forward to when I am onboard are the comments and complaints that guests share with us and I then share with you. While complaints are few and mostly deserved there are ones that deify belief and those are the ones I will share with you ……… and there is never a shortage of those.

Being British I never complain……we just don’t. When we get British guests on board they rarely say what they mean. You could serve a British guest yak scrotum and fries and if asked how it was by the waiter they would say “ooohh, its smashing, thank you, thank you so very much.”

I myself rarely complain about anything in person………..oh I may rant and rave here on the blog but deep down…………I am big softie that usually does bugger all. I mean………the other day I was at my mate Alan’s house and while we were eating lunch his cat jumped up on the table and wandered around like it owned the bloody place. Cats give me asthma and I find their bottoms offensive and instead of using its arse as a napkin holder before bashing it over the head with a cricket bat……….I just smiled…………..and said nothing.

However, on board there are times when we do something silly and the guests should and must let us know so we can look after them and learn from our mistakes………….and that’s how I felt this morning.

It was a breakfast-based event which I have waited to tell you about from just before Kye was born. Tucking into her bowl of cereal, Heidi found a long, black hair entwined in and passing through a raisin. It was too black to belong to me as I am grey………..everywhere. While she gagged I read one of those “tell us about our product” bits on the side of the box ………. OK ………….I will……….so I went to the computer and fired off a threatening e-mail to the cereal company. As I waited for a reply, I imagined the untold riches I could net for myself. If not cash, then it would be a lifetime’s supply of hopefully hair-free cereal and an Aston Martin at the very least.

I didn’t have to wait long……….which was impressive because two hours later I got mail. The man from customer services was full of concern. “Our aim,” he said from the heart, “is to produce breakfast cereals and bars of the finest quality and it is therefore a matter of genuine concern that on this occasion you may feel we have let you down.”

He then asked me to forward the hair to him in order that he might investigate fully. Woo Hoo ……..and wondering to go with the Aston Martin DBS in black or a Bentley GTC in powder blue I skipped off to retrieve an envelope and the hair-encased raisin.

For weeks I heard nothing, then today a cheque for £2.95 arrived with a letter about high standards and blah blah blah. £2.95…..the exact price of their box of cereal………£2.95 for finding someone’s short and curly in one of the raisins……..what a load of bollocks.

Tomorrow I’m going to find a nipple pad in my cornflakes……….that’s got to be worth a £1,000 at least.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

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.