Boris the Dream Maker

June 17, 2009 -

John Heald

Good morning. It’s 6:23 am and here I sit in my underpants with 45 minutes in which to write to you all before I have to leave tor the UK Cruise Convention in Dover. So, before I post a very special interview let me press on by answering today’s questions…..oh actually before I do let me say a word about Kye. Now I know I am supposed to do this on Friday but as I have to say goodbye then and am flying……and no doubt crying…..I thought I would just pen a quick update now.

The ongoing competition for her affections continues. On the surface, it would appear that her mother is winning. She’s the one who gets up in the middle of the night to soothe her anxious brow, and she’s the one she turns to when life’s problems and predicaments and pooey diapers just get too much. But I’m fighting back, and I’m doing it by appealing to her basic instincts.

And her basic instincts at the moment are to hate anything that causes her any physical discomfort whatsoever, even if it’s as trivial and fleeting as getting her face wiped with a damp cloth or getting her baby grow thingy put on.

So I have a strategy, and it’s dark, dastardly and damned clever, if I say so myself. I’m simply disassociating myself with anything Kye dislikes. So when evil mummy is forcing a nasty old piece of clothing over her head (often the trigger for an unholy hullabaloo) I quietly tiptoe from the room. When she wipes the milk off her face – a guaranteed tantrum starter – I stand out of her line of vision.

And when mummy’s out of the room, I take great delight in whispering subliminal propaganda in her ear. “If daddy were in charge,” I murmur, conspiratorially, “he’d never clean your face, and he’d never make you wear Winnie the Pooh baby grows, and he’d let you pee on the floor, and that breast milk she forces down your throat – well, it’d be ice cream and chocolate melting cake every day………if daddy were in charge.”

She doesn’t understand exactly what I’m saying, of course, but I think she gets the gist. Daddy is the slack but fun one. Mummy might keep her healthy and well and make sure her bottom is clean, but daddy would let her do exactly what she wants. I intend to keep playing good cop to mummy’s bad cop until Kye is 35. “Of course, you can have a beer. You are 13, after all.”

And I work it both ways. So just as mummy finishes pulling the nasty sweater over Kye’s head, and just as the tantrum subsides, daddy appears! And he’s all smiles and funny faces! And he’s holding Kittlehund, her favourite cuddly thingy! And isn’t everything just fun…when daddy’s around.

Then it’s time to get the damp cloth out again, so daddy slowly, silently slips away, to lurk in dark corners till he can play the joker all over again.

My only fear………….is will she remember me?

Here are those questions.

Michael Tomlinson Asked:
John, (Please reply if you would like)
Our cruise on the Liberty on 5/30-6/6 was outstanding as usual. As I had mentioned in my previous post, I was traveling with my son in my cabin and my married friends and their grown daughter was in a separate cabin.
Our room Stewart’s name was Sami and he took very good care of us. We would see him at least once everyday and he always greeted us by name with a huge smile. One day my son had slept in and when Sami saw me, he asked if everything was okay and apologized for not being able to take care of the room. I told him that there was no need to apologize since my son is the one who kept him from getting in the room.
The ship was beautiful and the food was outstanding. Butch was very funny. This makes my third Carnival cruise. I do not know why but I cannot even remember who the CD was on my first Carnival cruise. We had Big Tex on the second cruise and Butch on the third. They were both equally funny and entertaining.
The shows were all very entertaining. I attended all of the shows. One difference I noticed between Big Tex and Butch was that before and after the shows I seem to remember that Big Tex would be out on the stage welcoming everyone before the show and then he would come back out at the end to thank everyone for coming. Butch would do the same but it appeared he did it on a microphone from backstage….I guess I preferred seeing the person talking, so I liked the way Big Tex handled it.
We really enjoyed the dining room experience and went to dinner every night in the Silver dining room. We were at the early seating at 6:00 PM and were at table 534. Our headwaiter was Laurence and the assistant waiter was a young lady whose name I cannot recall. On our past Carnival cruises the headwaiter would ask our names on the first night and would then address us by name the remainder of the cruise. Laurence did not ask our names so of course he never addressed us by name. Other than that, the service was excellent although it did not seem like Laurence was overly friendly. On our two past cruises we really enjoyed when the dining room staff would sing and dance. On the Liberty it seemed to me that they waited too long to do the “show” and for the first few days we thought maybe they had stopped doing the singing and dancing. We were leaving the dining room one night and that is when the “show” started. We waited on the last night so that we could enjoy the final show. We were disappointed because it appeared like most of the singing and dancing was taking place on the lower lever and we were upstairs. Some people got up to go look down at the show but I thought they should have involved both levels better.
On our final day at sea, there was something that happened which caused the ship to list quite a bit. We were out on lounge chairs on the lobby deck when it happened…..A couple of hours after it happened, Butch was making some other announcement and mentioned that the Captain had to turn suddenly and that is what caused the listing. Reading other blogs since our return I learned that a lot of water came out of the pools during the turn and a lot of items were broken in the gift shops. Based on conversations with other passengers, it seemed like a lot of people would have liked to have had a better explanation of what happened. I read on one site that some people were told by the crew that we had gone into Cuban waters and had to turn quickly….I really do not think this is true but would liked to have know what the issue was. It was kinda exciting but in telling my cruise experience to others would like to be able to say what caused it.
On a scale of 1-10 I would have to give this cruise a 20….Even with the listing incident and with the headwaiter not calling us by name, cruising with Carnival is my idea of a wonderful vacation. My friends and I are already planning our next cruise on the Dream for next summer.
One last note and I will end this long-winded review. In an earlier response you had mentioned that you would send something special to my friends who after the death of my wife, are the only reason while I am still enjoying cruising….I am not sure what happened, but nothing was sent to their cabin. Not a big deal but I wanted to let you know.
Thanks again for your time and I will continue to be a faithful reader……Your humor, your friendly outlook, and the way you write about your beautiful wife and daughter continues to impress me……I hope that one day we will get to meet you so that I can thank you in person….

John Says:
Hello Mike
I recently asked for reviews of bloggers cruises and I have been getting a steady response of replies which all of us at Carnival appreciate. Before I move on with the rest of your review I want to say how guilty I feel about the non-follow up of the gift I had requested be sent to your travel companion who have been so supportive of you during your difficult times. I get many such requests and while most of them are taken care of occasionally one or two are not and that makes me very upset. I would therefore appreciate it if you could send me their address or e mail address (we wont post it) so I can take care of this personally.

Now………..onto your review.

It seems that you had some wonderful times on board and all your words of praise are being sent on to the various people on board and their supervisors. It was also very interesting to read about the two different styles of CD. I must admit that at the end of the shows featuring the dancers I always conduct the bows and the goodnight message from backstage. I learned this from my mentor Gary Hunter who taught me that the last thing the audience should see when the curtain goes down is the beautiful dancers…….not some overweight graying CD telling them that the casino is open. And I have always remembered this and I guess as Butch learned from me that he may have decided to do the same……….so that’s my fault.

One of the cruise director’s most important jobs is to keep the guests informed whatever the circumstances and it seems that you felt like you needed more information following “the list” of the vessel that you mentioned.

I know that the hotel director and maitre d will be interested in your comments about your team headwaiter and we certainly will be asking him to take note of what you have said as friendliness is as important as the prompt service you received.

Well, I agree, you can never have too much information although there may be in this case no more information to give. As always in situations like this rumors abound and are started by guests and by crew……….that’s life at sea. If the captain had to make a sudden course change as Butch stated in his announcement then I believe that is what happened. For the ship to have strayed by accident into Cuban waters then not only would all the navigational equipment would have stopped working but the officers on the bridge would have to have failed to have noticed as well……….I doubt either happened. However, I have asked the ship to clarify and have mentioned to Butch to always remember that information is king and that you can never in situations like this make too many announcements.

If I receive any further information on this I will be sure to let you know.

And now the most important thing. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to be on the ship surrounded by all that “fun” having just lost your wife. I again apologize that your friends did not get what I had asked for and I hope you will help me alleviate this by writing back soon.
Best wishes

Mike Charters Asked:

John Please Respond
John, I’ve got a question for you that I’ve been getting a variety of different answers on! We’d like to go B2B next year on the Spirit, Seattle to Vancouver and Vancouver to Hawaii. Some people says that this violates the Jones Act, and some don’t. It’s a new run for the Spirit since it currently starts its Alaska runs in Vancouver.
Can you please ask Carnival’s legal eagles to give us a ruling on this?

John Says:
Hello Mike
Thanks for writing and giving me the chance to tell you that in the case of a back-to-back cruise on the Carnival Spirit the Jones Act/Passenger Services Act does not apply. It is a very complicated act and it is often best to ask if it applies or not. Anyway, you are now free to explore the wonders of Alaska for two unforgettable voyages.

Please let m know if you need any further help.
Best wishes

Sarah Asked:
Please Reply!
Well I have a few things for you since it’s been awhile since I posted! First, I’ll start by answering your questions
It doesn’t entirely influence our decision. Most of it depends on destinations, time of year, and of course, price. However, we’ve met some amazing Carnival employees along the way and would go out of our way to cruise with them! Even though we’ve never had the pleasure of cruising with you (and I’ll get to that later), we’d strongly consider a cruise that you were planning to do. We’d also definitely book again specifically because of Goose, Wee Jimmy, Big Sexy, several social hosts, and 1 amazing dance captain (Claire).
Yes, I do. I can give you several examples. We loved sailing with Goose, because he went of his way to make our cruise even more memorable. He knew our names and he always seemed happy to see us at all the events. (And we normally participate in everything!) That cruise on the Splendor is probably my very favorite. We loved Wee Jimmy and thought he was a top-notch cruise director, but his entertainment staff was lackluster at best. They didn’t seem into the trivia and fun stuff and we didn’t have quite as much fun on that Glory trip. It also could be because Big Sexy and Stitch were so much fun on the Elation the year before. But an involved CD can definitely have an impact on your cruise.

Ok, so now to my questions! After a pretty rough week, I thought my eyes were fooling me when I saw John Heald on Carnival Legend on 9/27! My heart jumped!! We are booked on that sailing! I finally convinced my parents to switch to Carnival after their cruises on “wedon’tevengiveyoubathrobestouse of the seas.” It’s a cruise I’m really looking forward to because not only am I going with my best friend Ashley again, but my parents are coming as well as the friends we made on the Splendor last December! The cruise is special in many ways. My dad will not only be celebrating his birthday during the cruise, but he will also be celebrating his retirement from the US Army after 30 years of service. He is going to be retiring as a LT Colonel.
I had hoped to write you a few weeks before to see if you would be able to welcome them with open arms to Carnival with a special something in their room. However, this is even more exciting news!!
Would it be possible for our group to meet up with you while you are on board? I got to meet you in Philly and now my best friend and parents can meet you too!
Also, would you be able to arrange a special surprise for my parents? I plan on paying to have their room decorated on his birthday, October 1 later in the sailing, but something to greet them to the awesomeness that is Carnival would be so appreciated! I’ve even hooked my mom on reading your blog!
Another request-if you are able, could you do bedtime stories on that sailing? It’s the one can’t miss John Heald activity I’ve heard so much about! And even though you won’t be CD yet, I’m sure everyone else on the sailing would love Bedtime Stories.
And last request for now (I promise), do you know anything about being able to book the Private Island (Bannister Island) tour in Belize? It’s still not showing up and one that my entire group would like to do. If it doesn’t seem to be available, what else would you recommend in Belize?
And thanks to your recommendations, we are going to try out the Supper Club on this ship! We know it’s going to be amazing and can’t wait!
Thanks John!
PS-we have some adorable things for you to pass onto little Kye when we see you!

John Says:
Hello Sarah
It was very interesting ready your comments about the cruise directors you have enjoyed and how they and their staff are such an important part of the cruise. I know all the CD’s are reading these comments and they will for sure be spurred on by comments like this.
Let me answer your questions.

I was very pleased to read that I will be onboard for your Carnival Legend cruise and I hope you enjoy the bedtime story which I promise to perform. The private island tour is available in Belize from what I understand and it is simply astonishing. Let me check on this and either Stephanie or I will forward the answer from our terrific shore excursion department.

Now, on to Dad. Of course it will be an honor for me to recognize his outstanding service to his country and I ask that once onboard you leave a letter for me at the guest service Desk. Write a wee tribute about him and include some facts and I will honor him publicly. I hope this is OK with you.

Thanks for taking the time to write and we will send you an answer on the tour shortly.

Best wishes to you all

Irene Garner Asked:
Dear John…please reply
I am sad to say that the gift for my grandson’s 18th birthday back in April has still not arrived. I’ve sent the address in twice now, and we are moving soon, so unless it’s already on the way, I just want to thank you for the effort you made to get it to him.
Thanks again…Irene (hooked on cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene
Well, I guess if you want something done………do it yourself. I am very upset and very sorry that the person I had asked to do this has not done so. I am very disappointed in her. Anyway, can I ask you send the address to me one more time……mark the comment please don’t post and once I am in the States I will mail it to you. My apologies once again and he will get it….I promise
Best wishes

Spencer Asked:
John Please Reply,
Is any of this true?
In May 2009, Carnival announced that the Holiday may not be bound for service as the Grand Holiday as early stated. The Holiday may remain in Carnival’s fleet and sail from Charleston, SC on 5 – 7 day cruises to the North, with stops in New York, Boston, and Halifax in the summer, and 5 – 7 day Caribbean cruises with stops in Bahamas and Key West during the fall and winter. Carnival also stated that they may ad up to four, 8-day Bermuda cruises as well. The move comes as Norwegian Cruise Lines ends its current sailing from Charleston, SC early in 2010 and also based on the twice a year sailing that Carnival currently offers from the SC port, have meet with a great deal of success. The ship may also see some service out of Norfolk, Va, and Wilmington, NC.
The Carnival spokesperson also stated that Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC are both busy tourist destinations in their on right, and both cities are within a short driving distance from Myrtle Beach, SC which is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Eastern United States, so it only makes sense to put a “Fun Ship” close by. The Port of South Carolina cruise terminal is expected to see a face lift; using the stimulus money if the deal comes through as expected.
The Holiday will undergo some much-needed improvements and repairs including, plumbing and propulsion repairs, crew area improvements and repairs, some minor cabin upgrades, and the addition of a retractable covering over the aft area of the Lido deck, similar to the bigger ships in the Carnival fleet. Once the Holiday is refurbished the company plans to rename her Carnival Holiday.

John Says:
Hello Spencer
I am hoping you saw yesterday’s blog where I publicly flogged Wikipedia for printing this in correct information. I am so sorry that this misinformation may have gotten your hopes up that a ship will home port from Charleston…….although never say never.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention and my best wishes to you and your family. I’m told our high-tech folks here at Carnival are planning on updating the Wikipedia site to update this erroneous information.

Duckie Asked:
John Please Reply:
I am wondering if you could comment on this Wikipedia entry about the Holiday:
“In May 2009, Carnival announced that the Holiday may not be bound for service as the Grand Holiday as early stated. The Holiday may remain in Carnival’s fleet and sail from Charleston, SC on 5 – 7 day cruises to the North, with stops in New York, Boston, and Halifax in the Summer, and 5 – 7 day Caribbean cruises with stops in Bahamas and Key West during the fall and winter. Carnival also stated that they may ad up to four, 8-day Bermuda cruises as well. The move comes as Norwegian Cruise Lines ends its current sailing from Charleston, SC early in 2010 and also based on the twice a year sailing that Carnival currently offers from the SC port, have meet with a great deal of success. The ship may also see some service out of Norfolk, Va, and Wilmington, NC.
The Carnival spokesperson also stated that Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC are both busy tourist destinations in their on right, and both cities are within a short driving distance from Myrtle Beach, SC which is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Eastern United States, so it only makes sense to put a “Fun Ship” close by. The Port of South Carolina cruise terminal is expected to see a face lift; using the stimulus money if the deal comes through as expected.
The Holiday will undergo some much-needed improvements and repairs including, plumbing and propulsion repairs, crew area improvements and repairs, some minor cabin upgrades, and the addition of a retractable covering over the aft area of the Lido deck, similar to the bigger ships in the Carnival fleet. Once the Holiday is refurbished the company plans to rename her Carnival Holiday.”
I realize that most of what you read on Wikipedia is the equivalent of what is in Kye’s diapers, but I am wondering.

John Says:
Hello Duckie
Am hoping you saw yesterday’s blog where I publicly flogged Wikipedia for printing this in correct information. I am so sorry that this misinformation may have gotten your hopes up that a ship will home port from Charleston…….although never say never. I love copy and paste, don’t you?

Seriously, I thank you also for writing and telling us about another Wikipedia diaper and one day I truly hope to sail again out of Charleston……..I did so on the Carnival Triumph and it was a brilliant experience
Best wishes o you and the family

Mark in Houston

John Says:
Hello Mark
As always thanks for the very interesting comments and questions. I will insert my answers after your questions if that’s ok with you ……….here we go.

John, please reply.
Thanks for the last batch of answers. I’m glad you enjoyed the question about differences in ships across the lines – and hope you will write more about it in upcoming blogs. It’s an interesting topic – maybe a good idea for those mornings you’re stumped heh.
1) Muster Drill – I will always attend dutifully, and extol the virtues of doing as much. But I think Carnival should across the board take into consideration the timing of this, with regard to sail away. It’s increasingly reported that muster has extended into sail-away recently. While I understand the importance of it, dutifully participating should not ‘rob’ a cruiser of this simple pleasure and experience. If muster is running late – seriously, within reason, the ship can leave a little late.
Has Carnival considered re-visiting its muster procedures regarding passenger compliance? I could think of a few ideas… A cutoff, so late arrivers don’t hold up the drill for people standing in the heat. Make the late people repeat the next day… If they don’t, cut off their s&s card if you have to. Just curious if Carnival is thinking of this one…

JOHN’S RESPONSE: Thanks for asking this question. Did you see my answer to Mr. Pete in yesterday’s blog? If not, let me just clarify a few points. The ship’s Captain certainly given the choice would not want to hold the Emergency Drill while the ship is pulling away from the side of the pier. We realize that this is part of the “experience” and whenever they can the ship’s command will not let go the lines until the drill is completed.

However, that is not always possible. There are many scenarios in which this can’t be helped. The main one is traffic. If all the guests are onboard the port authorities may tell the captain he has to leave now……………or miss his slot and wait to much later which in some cases would affect dining times and even the on schedule arrival in the first port of call. Traffic doesn’t just mean cruise vessels but commercial traffic as well. This is applicable to all ports especially Port Everglades and Miami.

Then there is the fact that by law……………United States Coast Guard law……….each and every guest must know how to save their life. If this means that just a few minutes before sailing time we still have 100 or more guests still arriving from late flights then the Captain will wait until they have boarded before starting the drill………….because that is as I said…………..the law.

So, while I promise you that we always do our best to hold the drill before sailing there are times when this is not possible and as important as enjoying the sail away experience, I am sure you will agree with me that is nowhere near as important as making sure everyone knows what to do in a real emergency. So, to sum up I promise you and all the readers that whenever possible the captain will hold the drill before sailing unless any of the above factors come into play. I think I am right for the most part that the drills are taking place after sailing…………comments from recent cruises would be most welcome.

With regard to those who arrive late it should be noted that there are very strict rules in place here industry wide which cannot be changed and must be adhered to. Any guest who arrives after the drill has taken place will be given personal instruction on what to do by a member of the crew usually supervised by the safety officer. This includes how to wear the life jacket and where the guest will be taken to the muster station. These are rules set out by U.S. Coast Guard as I said. Every cabin and public area is checked by the state room stewards and the ships crew and I think it is safe to say that attendance at the drills is as close to 100% as possible every cruise on every ship. Of course you will always have one or two who refuse to go and these guests are reported to the ship’s command and then tied to the funnel and have their bottoms stroked with a cactus ………….. ok, that’s wishful thinking. There are one or two guests who refuse to attend and they are reported to the ship’s command and these are no doubt the same guests who talk during the drill on a plane, always keep talking loudly on their cell phones after the flight attendant has told everyone to turn them off and they are doubt the ones who stand up before the seat belt sign has been turned off……………the bastards.

2) Would you consider posting an updated any time dining schedule (for implementation across the fleet)? I’ve recently learned of cruisers confirmed for any time dining on inspiration as of July 9, 2009 – WAY before the official statement of ‘summer 2010’ – what’s up with that?

JOHN’S RESPONSE: Of course. I will ask once again for the latest anytime dining schedule across the fleet and will post as soon as I receive it. I can tell you that it is proving to be very popular. Oh, I know you asked about the Holiday and Wikipedia and I am sure you read my comments yesterday and above.

4) Finally – it was earlier reported that a man ‘fell’ from carnival inspiration earlier today. I put the ‘fell’ in quotes, because we all know how it takes some work to ‘fall’ from a ship… Anyhow, any statement about that?
JOHN’S RESPONSE: First off, I can tell you that it is virtually impossible to simply fall off a cruise ship as we have 44 inch railings surrounding the vessel and signage advising to stay out of restricted areas, not to mention a uniformed security force patrolling the ship, including the open decks, 24 hours a day. In this case it should be noted that this man told authorities that he was climbing on a railing to get a better view of the pilot boat in the channel when he slipped and fell overboard. I’m glad the man was found safe and well and there’s a reason that we have railings around the decks of the ship – and climbing on them is certainly not the reason. I once again stress that cruising is the safest form of vacation there is and a very rare occurrence considering we carry nearly 4 million guests a year.

5) In an answer to your question – I’ve never booked a cruise based on the cruise director… And can’t really imagine at this point doing so… Unless it was YOU! What exactly is your schedule, even past dec 2009 (as posted in cd schedule), if you know it? Inquiring minds want to know. Concisely.
JOHN’S RESPONSE: Finally, I was so humbled by number 5 and I hope then that you can join me on the Carnival Freedom this summer, I will be there until August 28 and if not the Carnival Legend in October or the Carnival Dream for the bloggers cruises on November 15th and December 8th. I remain at your service


Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John,
Please Respond, I just found out that for my Birthday this year, my brother and his wife are taking me on the Carnival Paradise for a 4-day cruise to Mexico, so I am really excited. I was wondering if you could tell me who the CD is going to be for the Carnival Paradise in October. The only one I know is Jeff Bronson and he was fantastic on the Carnival Pride. Also since there will be four of us on this cruise, could I ask a favor about getting the four of us our own table. The reason that I ask is this is the first time in 11 years that I have seen my brother and sister-in-law and I would like to spend some special time with them, and my niece, at dinnertime. Thank you in advance and give a hug to Kye from one of her American aunties.

John Says:
Hello Kathy
I know how important spending valuable time with the family is so please send me a comment 10 days before you sail and I will be happy to pass on your request for a table for four. Jeff Bronson will once again be the cruise director so you will have a brilliant time.
Don’t forget to write
Best wishes to all

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John,
Please respond, I read your email from a mother whose son is on Dialysis and I just thought that maybe I should let you know about a program that the National Kidney Association has. The Kidney Association has portable dialysis machines (they fit in a briefcase) that they loan out for people who would like to travel. They will train the person who is on Dialysis or a family member how to use it. I found out about this through a friend who went on a cross-country train ride and she used one for about a month. If you have a way to get in touch with that woman, would you mind passing this information on to her. Thank you so much for this blog, I look forward to it everyday. I do have a question for you about the CD schedule. I want to plan a cruise for 2011 on a ship that you will be the CD, but it will have to be one on the West Coast, so how far in advance are the schedules made up. Btw, John have you ever been the CD for a West Coast ship.
Give my love to Kye and Heidi.

John Says:
Hello Kathy
The kindness that this blog brings out in people never ceases to amaze me and the information you have passed on to the blogger whose nephew will need dialysis will be invaluable I am sure………….thanks so much.

|I am so glad you are enjoying the blog and to answer your question I have never in my 22 years been on a ship sailing to the West Coast ports……….I am actually considering this for the summer of 2010. As for 2011……….well no plans have been made but ……….. I may fancy a bit of Carnival Magic.

Hope to see you soon and my best to you and all the family

That’s all for today…………………more on Thursday.

One last thing which I am sure will be a subject for much discussion again. I will start this by saying thanks again to our friend Host Mach from Cruise Critic who posted this comment.

John, please reply, my friend!!

Sometimes, regardless of what’s written, people follow their own path.

There’s yet another discussion going on about the dress code for the dining rooms. Everyone knows what it says at but the real world experience is VASTLY different. Many people are reporting that the dress in the dining room is no better than what we see at the Lido Deck buffet and I don’t doubt what they’re saying.

I recall last year when the dress code was ‘relaxed’. There was a great deal of objection to the more lax standards and there were many forecasts of exactly what people are reporting now. Are the Maitre d’s no longer enforcing the dress code at all?? If that’s the case, it’s a sad state of affairs, indeed.

Can you offer any wisdom??

Thanks a bunch, my friend!!!


Host Mach

Well, once again the subject of dress code has arisen and before I comment here is the flyer which is placed in the guest cabins.

I have spoken to the senior director in Miami who is responsible for this and he told me that the dining room management a staff endeavor to monitor all the entrances as much as possible in order to ensure that the company dress code is followed…….maybe we could do a little better in this regard so this will be discussed across the fleet.

However……and I know I have said this before so my apologies for repeating myself ………and remember this is just my opinion……I don’t truly understand why what someone else wears affects people’s dining enjoyment. And……why is this limited to cruise ships? Have you or anyone else you have met ever said that you went to a restaurant on land and although the food was great you had to complain to the management because the man on the table opposite had jeans on?………I guess I may be in the minority here and as always I would appreciate your thoughts and we will continue to do our best to enforce our dress code policies.

So, just before I get dressed and bugger off to Dover I want you to meet Boris. He and I have been mates for a long time and as you will see he started as a bar waiter……..just like me. He knows has a very important job and is someone who is massively responsible for making sure your Carnival Dream ……….comes true.

Here’s Boris

Asst f&b-boris



1. Boris – you have an interesting and varied career with Carnival. Can you tell us where you are from and about your Carnival journey so far
I was born in 1971 in the city of Pula in Croatia while I grew up and finished schools in Zagreb. I’ve joined Carnival in 1996 on Inspiration in Helsinki as a part of the bar service college. After completing a bar college I’ve became a bar waiter and held that position for one contract (6 months). After coming back from vacation I’ve joined Carnival Destiny, that was being build in Monfalcone, and shortly after I was promoted to a bartender. After completing one contract in the same position I was offered a F&B Management Trainee position. Following a 10 months cross training, within the F&B department, I was promoted to a Assistant F&B manager I. I must mention the most important part of that contract was meeting Katalin…who is for last 10 years my wife and a mother of a 9 year old Sophia…needles to say that they are the meaning of my life today (there is Gaia as well…year old chocko Labrador)! Well going back to the journey. During the same contract I was promote to a assistant F&B manager II and was acting in the position of the Bar manager for a certain time. Just prior leaving for a vacation Katy and me find out about previously mentioned Sophia what resulted in first temporarily good bye to Carnival. Approximately a year and a half later I got a call from my future boss Ian Smith to join him in restructuring Housekeeping department in Miami head office. After spending several months on board familiarizing with the department I have assumed a position of the Housekeeping Fleet Manager and shortly after I was promoted to the position of Manager, Housekeeping and Laundry Operations. I have held that position until 2003 when we (the family) decided that we would like to come back to Europe and a opportunity opened with the Corporate shipbuilding in position of the cabin inspector…my second temporarily good bye… I have spent a memorable 4 years with Corporate shipbuilding in position of cabin and public are inspector but then again the family needs prevailed and we wanted to settle back in Croatia…third temporarily good bye… Well…this lasted for a year and my one man business attempt resulted in everything but success and a year later I have been offered a position of Hotel Superintendant. This is the position that I currently hold and basically I oversee all the Hotel related activities in the yard prior the ship delivery.

2. Before we talk about the present let’s go back to your past. What are your memories of being a bar waiter
Well one episode stuck in my mind and that was the first order that I took. Just fresh out of the college I was working in the casino bar on Inspiration and couple of guests ordered a screwdriver and a Perrier! Now I must explain that Croatia was not a country of cocktails (mentioned drink was popularly called vodka-juice) and the sparkling water I was drinking all my life were mostly domestic and Perrier was not on the list. Not to make the story too long I went three time back to the guest eventually politely asking them if they can repeat their order loudly to the bartender as I have no idea what they would like. Fortunately it all finished very well and I even deserved a healthy tip….and a several gray hairs!!

3. You have a very interesting job ………can you describe your responsibilities

Well in few words our site team is the link between the operations (technical, hotel, marine, etc.), Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding and the yard. CCS is responsible for the overall quality of building and meeting the contractual standards. Our role here is more administrative handling modifications, operation requests, extra costs or credits, etc. Also the knowledge of the operation often helps in making the right decision that will enable crew to work in friendlier environment. Beside that I am also involved with all the Architectural, staterooms and public areas, meeting, mockups and final approvals working closely with Joe Farcus. Then participating in handling hotel related owner supply (items directly purchased by CCL and are not part of the ship contract with the yard) deliveries and installations. All above is valid until few weeks before final delivery of the vessel as then….difficult to explain but fortunately so far we were fairly successful.

4. What’s on your desk right now, in over words what are you working on right now with regard to the the Carnival Dream

As you know we are preparing for the sea trial but beside that this are the days when the officers and crew a slowly arriving to the yard and assuming their responsibilities. Hotel Director has been here for couple of weeks and Captain and Chief Engineer arrived just last week. This is also the time when the final installations in the hotel areas are taking place and I spend time on board to provide answers and suggestions when needed. Also Carnival Magic is becoming alive this days as the first concept drawings and floor plans are being delivered….

5. Sea Trials are just around the corner. I know you have been onboard for many of these on our new ships……so whayt happens.

Sea trials are more technical activity where yard is for the first time employing all the ships system as we will after delivery. This is a final checking that can be done only on the sea. Sea trial sis divided in the first sea trail, dry dock and second sea trial. During the first sea trial yard is performing series of tests (most of them a contractual obligation) with our officers and crew involved. During the dry dock a vessels shell is inspected and if needed possible repairs are carried out. Also the vessel will get a fresh coat of paint. Second sea trials are dedicated to the remaining contractual test and usually Captain will get a possibility to maneuver the vessel for a couple of hours to get a feel of the vessel. Personally this is a opportunity to double check the quality of construction in respect to noise and vibrations. Also we get to see how do the chandeliers and decorations behave during the rough maneuvering (emergency stop) etc.

6. Over the next few weeks your days will get busier and busier. What’s the timeline for you between now and the handover of the ship

As mentioned before this days are mostly unpredictable. Teams of crew and subcontractors have different needs and I just have to cater to them. From our finest I/S department to catering equipment in the galleys to coffee machines to stateroom curtains, tables and loose furniture…etc. This days are my favorite as if handled properly the results are instant and by the end of the day one is usually satisfied with accomplished. Then again some times small things can make a life miserable as rooms not ready for use or missing elevator keys needed for loading or…I am trying to forget some of the similar episodes

7.What are the biggest challenges you personally will have to meet with regard to the Carnival Dream and how do you overcome them

The biggest challenge is to resolve problems that the crew can not do it by their own. You know that our crew is more that excellent in their job but shipyard and vessel under construction is not their usual environment and many obstacles can arise which are difficult for them to handle. This is were we come in using our connections and relationships to resolve them. This is pretty much what I have mentioned before. My biggest reward is when a crew member or his boss thanks me for helping them in achieving given tasks. Everyone who participated in the startup of the new vessel knows how exhausting and how rewarding can it be…It is a great experience with mixed emotions!

8.And what areas of the ship are you most excited about.

Definitely Lanai deck. This is the first time that we have a opened deck that wraps around the whole vessel on deck 5. Also the fact that every public room has an exit to the Lanai deck walking around the vessel gives you impression of walking through a quarter or downtown…From the overhanging Jacuzzis to the dedicated areas outside the dance club and aft lounges…I think that the opportunities are endless. Also this will be a operation challenge so I am very excited to see how will it look in operation.

9.Once the Carnival Dream is completed you have to make sure the ship has been completed as we had wanted. This involves each area being checked and signed for……..can you tell us more about this process.

Well primarily the CCS inspectors will follow the construction and carry out final inspections. Naturally we are closely involved in resolving the issues on the way and during the final deliveries. You are absolutely right that every guest or crew stateroom, public area, open deck, locker, store, office, etc is presented by the yard for final acceptance and is not accepted until all the remarks are corrected and the document is signed by the Owners representatives. This process starts approximately 5-6 months prior the final delivery (staterooms first) until the last area is accepted and the vessel is officially handed over to the Captain and his crew. Once the crew moves on board they are trained to check their working area and report any possible deficiencies that may have been missed during the construction. Finally it happens that some deficiencies are just impossible to be corrected at this time so the outstanding items are presented during the meeting of the final delivery with the top executives from CCL and the Yard and are dealt with in contractual manners. This meeting finishes with the final acceptance of the vessel which becomes newest vessel in the Carnivals fleet!

10. I thought to finish we could talk a little about your home. I am a huge fan of Croatia and I know many of our readers enjoyed a stop in Dubrovnik on their European cruises. What are you most proud of about being Croatian and for those who will be visiting Dubrovnik on the Carnival Dream what should they see and do while there.

You know I do not want to sound like broken record but there is a marketing campaign promotion Croatia and the main slogan is CROATIA – THE MEDITERRANEAN AS IT ONCE WAS. I really feel this describes all. This are of Europe was under so many influences over the history that it would take a whole page to mention them all but it seems that we have somehow manage to embrace the good and now it is…charming mix. Also the nature in the rest of the country is beautiful as well. Naturally to summarize the experience you must taste the food! I don’t want to specify where and what but a vast variety of different tastes are available and culinary excursions are a must.

What a great story and proof positive once again that Carnival recognizes talent when they see it and promotes accordingly. Remember then as you walk around your Carnival Dream and on many other past Carnival ships the hard work and total commitment of people like Boris……..I would appreciate it very much if you could take the time to thank him.

As I said we are great mates……there is nothing I wouldn’t do for Boris………and there is nothing Boris wouldn’t do for me……..and that’s what happens……we do nothing for each other

I am off to Dover to judge Dancing with the Stars…………….bugger!

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.