Dream….No Problem Mon

July 2, 2009 -

John Heald

Last night we held the Remember Michael party in the Dance Club. It started at 7:30pm – 8:30 pm and was scheduled at this time as it falls between the dinner sittings. I had expected it would be reasonably popular…………….I was wrong……………………half the ship turned up………..I have never ever seen a ship dance club so busy. OK, I must admit that over the years I have spent more time in the gym then I have in the ship’s discos as being dragged on the dance floor by a group of well lubricated female guests is my idea of hell. However, I did go last night and was shocked at just how many people came to pay homage to the gloved one. I said a few words on the microphone and although I had not planned what to say in advance I found myself spouting words of love and devotion for MJ…………and as I cued the DJ to play Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough and Michael Jackson’s image appeared on the multi screens……………I saw people were crying………..not just one or two but dozens and dozens………………….and as one people of all ages started to dance…………they were crying and they were dancing.

I have been trying to think why this has affected so many people and I guess………….certainly from my point of view…………Jackson’s passing means I am now officially old. Of course he was a musical genius and an extraordinary person at all sorts of levels, and so on and so forth. But for many of us he also functioned as a sort of figurehead — the pop star I grew up with and always assumed I would grow old with……….me with increasing amounts of grey hair and hemorrhoids, he with increasing amounts of loonieness.

It isn’t simply that his death brought on a strong dose of mortality, but rather that………..and combined with the death of Farah Fawcett, one of my last old-school pin-ups……………….. It marked the passing of an entire era.

Good morning everyone and I am writing today’s blog overlooking the beach where a white bikini-clad Ursula Andress walked out of the ocean to collect shells while a seriously smitten 007 looks on hoping the sight of his hairy chest will leave her both shaken and stirred. Yep………….I am in Ocho Rios, Jamaica which as many of you may know is one of my favorite destinations. Unfortunately a combination of writing the blog and other onboard demands means that I will once again not be able to go ashore …………….and if there is one port I wish I could enjoy …………..its Ocho Rios. We have 1,900 people who booked an organized tour in Ocho Rios and the rest of the guests will be doing something on their own. Some of those people approached me after the travel talk and asked the same question I have been answering for many of my years as a Carnival cruise director. “We have heard Ocho Rios is dangerous and it’s not safe to go ashore.” This totally amazes me and I wonder why people still have this undeserved image in their minds. Tell your friends you are going on vacation to Kabul, with a stopover in Haiti and Iraq, and they wouldn’t bat an eyelid. But tell them you’re going to Jamaica and she’ll be absolutely convinced that you’ll come home with no wallet, no watch and no head.

Jamaica has a fearsome global reputation for being utterly terrifying, a lawless Wild West frontier town paralyzed by corruption and crime. But I’ve spent quite a bit of time there over the past years and I can reveal that it’s all bollocks “mon.”

If crime is so bad then how come today’s front-page lead in Ocho Rios’s newspaper concerned the theft of a computer from one of the local schools? I’m not joking. Honestly? Ocho Rios is Detroit or London………. with sunshine. You go out. You climb Dunn’s River falls or swim with the dolphins. You drink some delicious Red Stripe beer or a zesty soda called Ting and you walk back to your ship feeling “irie.” It’s the least frightening place on earth.

So why does every single person who has never been there think they have to wrap themselves in kevlar body army just to go to the beach. OK, there may be a few locals who will ask if you want to buy some whacky backy………..but if you say no……and you should say no of course………….they just say “OK, Mon” and bugger off………..they don’t ……….as some people who have never been to Jamaica suggest …………chop your head of with a machete.

Yes, the capital Kingston has some problems but we don’t go there and if there were any serious problems do you really think that the cruise industry would continue to go there ………………no…………….of course not.

So, if you see Ocho Rios or Montego Bay on a cruise itinerary get excited and book it. The shopping is excellent, the food is superb, the weather’s lovely, the water is blue, the people are placid and kind and apart from being asked if you want to buy a wooden carving in the shape of a penis……………the most dangerous thing in Ocho Rios is the walking past one of the locals who may be smoking a joint the size of a palm tree ………… and that means you will return to the ship with the serious munchies. ………………….no problem mon.

Well today we sent more people on tour in Jamaica than for a long time so I am pleased that my travel talk information seems to have worked. One of the new locations we are sending folks to is a place that the Jamaican Tourist Board and Carnival cruise Lines have invested lots of time and money in. It’s called Mystic Mountain and today 600 people enjoyed this slice of heaven. It is located within the rain forest and to get there you use a canopy which is like a ski lift and this gives you incomparable views of the stunning countryside and the ships in port. There are shops and craft markets and scenery that is utterly jaws droppingly astonishing. And remember the movie Cool Runnings? Well in tribute to the Jamaican bobsled team you too can experience what they went through……..well ………….sort of. Here are two great photos of the Mystic Mountain tour

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By the way……………..what do you think is the greatest sporting theme movie of all time? I was just thinking about that and my vote goes to Raging Bull…………….I’m da Boss ….. I’m da boss

Time for today’s questions…………..here we go.

techmom Asked:
John (please reply),
Well, we have been busy since our cruise on the Pride. Our youngest graduated from Ohio University and moved home until he leaves for his new job in New York City. He decided to get a puppy last September who will not be going to NYC with him and I now have a dog. She is very good so we don’t mind. Now for my question. When we were on the Pride I bought Malley a cruise dog Frisbee and she loves it. She is doing real well with not ripping it apart but I am sure I will need a replacement at some point. How can you buy some of the things offered in the gift shops on the ship?? Frisbee and the drink recipe book is items I am looking for. And yes, I am booked on another cruise but it is not until May.
Thanks and give Jaime a hug for me,
Karen

John Says:

Hello Karen
You know I didn’t even know you could buy a dog Frisbee onboard. I never played with a Frisbee with our family dog but that was because he had no legs. The only exercise he got was when I would wake up in the morning and take him for a drag.

Right now there is nothing set up with our company who run our on board shops to purchase items from online etc. that I’m aware of but let me check. I have to admit that I am surprised that this has not happened as I am sure there are those who would like to do so.
I do though have two suggestions. Firstly you can e mail the company whose name is Starboard who the leading cruise ship shopping operator. I am sure that they would be able to help and here is there customer service address………………..Fax this request to 786-845-1112 or email customer.service@starboardcruise.com
The second option is to ask one of the bloggers to pick one up for you. I am sure that if you sent the money to them someone would be happy to pick up a Frisbee for the dog. I would offer to do this myself but I think once I do this for one I will be spending my entire life in the shops picking up supplies for thousands of bloggers. And considering I hate shopping nearly as much as I do anything French…………well……….you get my point.
So, I wish you good luck and if you are successful ordering this through Starboard I would appreciate you letting me know and maybe a blogger would like to volunteer.
Best wishes to you and Malley
John


Karen Asked:

Reply Please
Just finished our cruise on the Splendor on June 21. What a great experience! This was our first VIP cruise. I had asked you earlier what that meant and you told me a few items and left the rest for surprise. I thank you for that. I love good surprises. My husband is a picture nut so the two lovely silver frames made him quite happy. The canapés and other treats were quite tasty. But what I really enjoyed was short lines getting on and off the ship. What a pleasure! It was always what I hated about cruising—- long slow lines and now no more. Yippee.
Now about our cruise— what a wonderful experience we had on the Splendor. I don’t think I could come up with the one best but maybe ten best. Our Love goes to the best Maitre d in the world. – Miguel. And his wait staff– oh my — I thought I had good service on previous cruises, but no Now I know what good and excellent service was– Beata and Annar were the Most wonderful two I have ever experienced. Our housekeeping staff was also truly wonderful. Always there to meet our every need, but never in the way. The one department that I thought lacked the WOW that I have become used to was the entertainment staff. There were too many times events were scheduled but no one there to hold the event. Some of us like to play the trivia and other small games and when only a few were there, I don’t feel the staff gave it a worthy effort. The shows were wonderful. What a group of talent. I won’t comment on CD since I really never saw him unless with 2500 other people. Not what I am used to but won’t effect my cruising experience. I am still wondering why the captain didn’t come to the captain’s reception. No explanation given but again– it really didn’t stop me from enjoying the free drinks. No yummy food just drinks and then had to get them yourself from bar unless you drink wine. Is that the new way of doing things? Not sure I like it but again, won’t affect my cruise experience.
We are planning our next cruise from the East Coast for next summer. Any suggestions? Hope to cruise with you someday can’t wait to see just how funny you are in person cause I truly enjoy this blog and your sense of humor here.
I miss pictures of your new little one but respect their privacy as well.
Karen

John Says:

Hello Karen

What a wonderful review of your first VIP cruise on the Carnival Splendor. It gives a great recommendation for all cruise fans to achieve their Platinum status and I am so glad that you and your husband enjoyed all the benefits that come with it.

I was also very happy to read that both the dining room staff and your state room steward were the best you have ever had and they will see a copy of this and words of praise from the ship’s hotel director. I was surprised by the comments that members of the entertainment staff were not at scheduled activities. Do you mean that nobody showed up at all or that they did but didn’t make it fun? I would be greatful if you could follow up on this with me as obviously it is very important.

It sounds like we need to look at the captain’s party experience as well and I will forward all your comments to the vessel. We are currently looking at the whole captain’s party experience and I will keep you posted on what we propose to do.

Thank you again for writing and as I have said many times before these reviews are so very important and that’s why I encourage everyone who reads the blog to please take the time to write one upon returning home.

I look forward to hearing from you and there will be more photos of Kye tomorrow
Best wishes
John

Brian Asked:

Hi John,
(Please reply)
I was just catching up on your latest blogs, and found it so interesting that the Holiday has been mentioned so many times lately, mainly because I just got off the wonderful ship THIS morning.

Relax, she is still the wonderful ship she has always been, and we had a simply wonderful vacation! The ship is still in great shape and the crew, WOW, the crew! We simply love them! They are the reason that we have made the Holiday and Mobile-Cozumel sailing not twice, but THREE times in the last 12 months! Yes, we could have went to Florida, or even New Orleans for a bigger ship or a different itinerary, but we have grown to love the amazing crew that Carnival has placed in Mobile. Not just on the ship, but the shore side staff as well!

Everything from the food, stewards, entertainment and yes, even the casino, was simply wonderful. However, this leads me to the following questions:

1) When the Holiday leaves 🙁 where will her amazing crew go? Obviously the crew has played an amazing part in boosting Carnival’s success in Mobile and making the Holiday a very successful ship despite her “age” and “lack of all of the bells and whistles”. Shouldn’t Carnival try to maintain as many of the crew as possible and reposition them to the Carnival Fantasy when she makes her move into Mobile?

2) And this is not a complaint, just a “what would you do” or “what should I have done” type of question.
My family of four (well, Mother in Law included), planned to make dinner after the Captain’s Reception, however, unfortunately, I fell ill (rough seas, whiskey sours, and a vibrating balcony), so my family proceeded to dinner without me. Apparently, we were to be seated at a table for 6 with a slightly older couple. However, when my family was escorted to the table at dinnertime, they were simply told this would not work by the couple and that this is a “table for two” and that my family “could not sit there”. Needless to say, my wife was simply amazed and even the headwaiter was confused. After a short meeting with the Maitre D, my family was reseated at a table for four. However, judging from the lack of a headwaiter and the service (as my family ate their main course, everyone else was leaving the dining room, having already finished dessert) the dining room staff was not planning on using the particular table that my family was reseated at.

This did by no means ruin my family’s cruise, but the attitude and comments made by the couple did shock my wife and her mother. They did enjoy the dinner and the wonderful food, minus dessert as they did not want to be the ONLY guests left in the dining room and it was already show time.

But again, we did very much enjoy our cruise and the Holiday and we do look forward to our next cruise with Carnival and hopefully with many of the same crew members!

Thanks John!

Brian and Katie

John Says:

Hello Brian and Katie.
Reading your fantastic review of the Holiday makes me even more determined to pay my respects to the last of the Holiday class before we say goodbye to her. I have also sent this brilliant review to the ship and those at Carnival’s top level so they can see that despite being on her way out the staff and crew are still giving their all to make the ship the best in the fleet.

The question you asked about the crew was an excellent one. Firstly it is important to mention that all the crew who are onboard the Holiday will be retasked to another ship. It is also important here I think to mention that despite the credit crunch etc the crew and that service levels remain as they have always been. Many of the crew will indeed be serving, entertaining and maintaining the Carnival Fantasy as she starts her new itinerary from Mobile. However, with well over 20,000 crew at sea at any one time and with hundreds coming back from and going on vacation each week across the fleet it is impossible to move whole departments from one ship to another. Rest assured though that the standards you have grown to love on the Holiday will be exceeded on the Carnival Fantasy.

I was surprised to say the least that two guests should dictate where you sit and I really cannot say why this happened. What would I have done you asked………..well apart from inserting the pepper mill in them. I don’t think there was much else you could have done except talk to the maitre d How rude of the guests and although it may have caused you some concerns it appears that you got out of sitting with two miserable sods who would have been very unpleasant dining companions.

I will get an answer to you on this though as I am intrigued myself. I have copied this to the ships Hotel Director and let’s see what his investigations turn up.

Thanks again for this wonderful review and I will post the reply from the HD when I receive it

My best to you and the family
John


Linda Hernacki Asked:

JOHN, PLEASE RESPOND: OMG-you as Funship Freddie! Now, THAT I would have loved to see! Did you waddle when you walked? HA!HA! About the past guest pins, how about having them available at the customer service desk like the deck of cards are, and if a Past Guest wanted one they could ask for one. It could be notated on their room tab record so they wouldn’t ask for more than one per past guest. Those that didn’t want them, wouldn’t ask for them. Mike has all the pins! I was able to write to Carnival (I know you tried to get him some) and they sent them to him. The one we couldn’t get was the Sensation BUT I found one for sale on ebay, so now he has all of them for his funnel hat. Thanks! You are back in your element being the Best CD ever! Hope we get to see you in January (the 23rd would be nice) because Bee & Charlie and Paul & Marylou will be onboard, and I know Frank & Bridie, and hopefully my son & wife, and my daughter and husband can come too, since you said you might be able to get us onboard to meet up with you. AND, if Heidi and Kye are onboard, we would LOVE to meet them too! Pls. respond ASAP! Thanks! Linda & Mike

John Says:

Hello Linda
Of course I waddled……..in and out of the costume. It’s great to hear from you and I know that you are very passionate about the pins. I do not want to say too much more because I hope to have some news about this in the days ahead. I can say that the comments that you and many others have made about the pins have been well noted and will be acted on…….I just can’t say how just yet…………..but I will be able to do soon. I would love for you to meet Kye and currently we are in discussions about what next year will bring.
Until then I send my best to you and Mike and see you soon

John


Elaine Asked:

Please reply…

Most important… Thank you Heidi and John for posting pictures of Kye and keeping us all up-to-date on how the girls are doing. I will tell you that you guys did a great job… she truly is a beautiful baby and I actually see a little bit of both of you in her… Yes John even you!!

I also want to make sure that you saw my comment about my Liberty cruise. We had a great time, Butch is great, Elvis is wonderful, POPPY had the best SURPRISE 80th BIRTHDAY CRUISE. Your gift to him was definitely one of the highlights of the week.. He couldn’t believe that no one else got a gift from John… so thank you very much.

So, now my questions for you…

Do you really read every single post whether or not we ask for a reply? I know you mentioned that it can take up to 3 hours a day with this blog. Will you still be able to do it once you are again a full time CD?

Also, since your question a couple of weeks ago “Do you book your cruise because of the CD?” I answered no because of kids’ school/timing/vacation etc but I might change my answer!! Will you still be on the Dream March 27th sailing? And do you know which ship Butch will be on that week also? Although we only live 1/2 hour from Pt Everglades and 1 hour from Miami, I would definitely consider driving a bit further to cruise with you guys…

Since you posted that question, I began to realize that a CD does really make a difference. Obviously after so many cruises (17 and counting) I love Carnival but I now also see that depending on who the CD is, I find myself doing things that I would not normally do or have never done on a past cruise, i.e., because of Butch, I attended for the very 1st time a dance class that he was leading. I also participated in some of the red/white/blue team activities.

Although I have in the past walked the Walk for the Cure, this one was extra special. I was truly impressed because not only did Butch lead us but so did Capt Cutugno!! It’s a good thing we have cruised with him twice before because otherwise (unless you read his name tag!!) who would think that the Capt would lead the walk wearing not only a cap but a t-shirt and shorts too!!! I love it!!!

This also might be important to know.. When I cruised the Valor March 29th with $@!x (the one that changed his name) I was the only person who showed up for the Walk for the Cure. I believe the reason was because it was never ever mentioned, not verbally nor was it in the Capers. Butch had it in the Capers, announced it verbally in some of his announcements and had a separate letter sent to each cabin telling us about it. We had 150 people walking that day!!

So, YES, a CD can definitely make a difference. So can the Captain and the Maitre’d as well… It seems to me that the entire staff on the Liberty love their jobs, work together beautifully, were really very happy employees, thus making the passengers have a better time…

Ok, another question.. Who actually interviews/hires the Cruise Directors? Do you have any say in who gets the job and who gets to keep it? Overall, the majority we have sailed with have done a good job, obviously some better than others, but every time I mention your name to a CD, they ALL have something wonderful to say about you…

One more thing, I remember telling you when we got off our March 29th cruise how much we hated the new cards that were being used at that time and that not one single crew member even welcomed us back because you couldn’t really tell the newbies from the repeaters to the Platinum cruisers. Well, this sailing we once again received the old Platinum color card and it was so nice to be welcomed back over and over again…. Also, thanks so much for the picture frames, the newest Platinum Gift to be given out…

So, in closing (sorry so long) Carnival has once again given us a great vacation and we are looking forward to our next one…

So happy for you that you are back doing what you do best (except for making Kye!!) and just seeing the picture of you holding your hand up to your face and laughing made me laugh…

Here’s to a great comeback week…

John Says:

Hello Elaine

I am so glad that Poppy had a wonderful birthday cruise and my thanks to Butch and his staff for making it so. I am not surprised that after sailing with Butch that your opinion of if a cruise director can make a difference because I know people like Butch truly do. And how wonderful that the captain was at the On the Deck for the Cure Walk as well ………..that is brilliant and I have copied the ship and the Miami office on this so they can read for themselves your wonderful words of praise.

I am humbled by the fact that my colleagues say nice things about me. This maybe because they do respect the work I do or more likely is the fact that most of them have stolen my jokes and are feely guilty. Seriously though the cruise directors are for the most part promoted from within. Most have come through the system as entertainment staff to assistant cruise director to acting cruise director before getting the big chair full time.

They are monitored and appraised by Chris and Roger in the Miami office and as senior cruise director I try to give as much help, advice and new jokes to them all as I can.
I think we are very lucky at the moment and have the strongest group of cruise directors we have had for many years.

I am happy to read the Platinum status was recognized more now the old style cards have returned and this should be fleetwide very soon. I know that our Senior Vice president Roberta will be thrilled to read this.

I hope it won’t be too long before you are back onboard a fun ship and thanks so very much for this wonderful review
My best to you and all the family
John


Bobbi and James Asked:

John,

Please reply:

So glad to have you back, so refreshing and fun to read your posts after work and my Wii workout. Yes I am one of those.

My husband is type 1 diabetic and I am type 2 and take metformin. However as DocF has stated a small shot of insulin will do wonders if your levels get too high, or you just want to indulge once in awhile. Perhaps when we are on the Carnival Dream with you, he can share a few tips on this. We haven’t booked yet, but we will. We are looking at either Feb 13 or Feb 27. I simply can’t wait my please reply is in regards to whether or not any of your Carnival Dream sailings during that period will be bloggers cruises.

Much thanks to Stephanie for that wonderful picture of the Carnival Destiny. I might need to save that as a screen saver. Do you think she would might? It is gorgeous and we both love Mexico.

Thanks again for being a bright spot in my day, John. As always our best to Heidi and Kye. Looking forward to meeting all of you.

Bobbi

John Says:

Hello Bobbi
Thanks for writing and I think we could form a small sub group of bloggers who are diabetic. My sugar levels have been very good since being onboard and my diet is going OK so far………..but annoyingly the weight is coming of my legs and face and my bottom………….not my stomach………bugger.

I do hope you book your Carnival Dream. She is going to be a brilliant vessel and even though the cruises you mentioned are not bloggers cruises I will be the CD o we can indeed swap sugar level stories. I hope you do indeed use that photo as a screen save and I know that Stephanie Leavitt and her team are working on some screen savers for everyone who reads carnival.com

Thanks for the kind words for Kye and Heidi and I hope to see you in February
Best wishes
John

Irene Garner Asked:

Dear John….PLEASE REPLY

Is there likely to be any changes in the itinerary for cruises going to Honduras? I ask because I heard them saying on the news this evening that they are advising people not to travel to that country unless it’s necessary because of the political unrest right now. I know you have said before that Carnival keeps the safety of their passengers their number one concern, so even though the Isle of Roatan is not part of the main land, it is still part of Honduras. So what is likely to happen do you think?
Thanks…Irene Garner (hooked on cruising)

John Says:

Hello Irene
That’s a good question. So far there have been no changes but we are of course keeping a very close eye on what is happening in Honduras. If things change we will of course avoid Roatan but so far this has not been necessary and as we continue to monitor the situation lets hope it remains that way
Best wishes
John


kiciaski Asked:

Hello John,

I know you’re very glad to be back as CD since you’re so good at it.

The pool story was interesting – kind of a follow-up to Caddyshack.

We too would like to have the pins reinstated because we enjoy collecting them.

We just booked the Carnival Liberty today for 9/5/09. According to the schedule Butch should be back on board as CD and we are looking forward to that. Do you know who the Maitre d’ will be?

Hope Heidi and Kye will join you on the Carnival Dream for our February cruise. It would be great to see Heidi again and meet Kye. We got our thank you card in the mail and we hope Kye likes the gift.

John Says:

Hello to you both
I am really enjoying being a cruise director again and it has certainly been an interesting first cruise. I know that you are both fiercely loyal Carnival Platinum members and the pins are as Linda said above something that means so much to you. That’s why I have been fighting your corner and really pushing to get something done that will hopefully appease you all. I will hope to have news on this soon.

The maitre d for your next Carnival adventure on the Carnival Liberty will be Elvis. He is brilliant and if you need any help with the dining arrangements please let me know as he would be all shook up if you didn’t ask. Butch will be back as well so all is set for you both to have another brilliant cruise.

I also hope that Kye and Heidi will be with me. I miss them both so much.
Best wishes
John


Kathy M. Asked:

Hi John,

Please respond,

I need some information from you and I know that you are the only one that will tell me the truth. I have a friend who booked a cruise for in October for 6 family members (he is paying for all of it) well something unexpectedly came up and he might have to cancel, so my question is, since he booked under Early Saver, what are his options. I have talked to 2 different Representatives and one said he could get a cruise credit that he would have to use in a year or he would have to lose his deposit. Now I know he took out the insurance, so I was wondering if he would get his deposit back from that. The second representative was no help at all, he just said that he would lose all the money he has paid on the cruise and that they do not give out credits unless he was on the ship and something happened. That is why I am asking the one person I know that will have the answer for me.

Please send my love to Heidi and tell her to give Kye a kiss from one of her American aunties. I have to tell you John, every time I hear her name; I just love it more and more. It is just beautiful.

Kathy
PS, I am glad to hear that you are enjoying being back on board the Freedom. I do have to ask though; they don’t give you a small cabin like they do the crew members. I think you should have one as big as the Captain’s or even bigger.

John Says:

Hello Kathy
First of all ……….Kye says thank you for the kiss from her American Aunty. I can see that your friends concerns are troubling you so please ret assured that I will get you all the help you need. Now, I am sure that with the insurance all will be well but I need some more information. Please send me the booking details, name etc and I will send that to a Vice president for immediate investigation.
Please don’t worry.

Best wishes to you and the family
John


Slickabrina Asked:

Please reply…

Hi John!
This is my third attempt to post this…I might have to start taking it personally. 😮 )

The schedule for Elation only goes through April of next year. Paradise is up through 2011. Will Elation’s schedule be coming or does Carnival have other (secret?) plans for her? As a West Coast cruiser, I much prefer the port of San Diego and Cabo holds much more appeal than a sailing to Ensenada and Catalina.

I’ve done some searching but haven’t been able to find anything….hopefully I didn’t miss something.

Thanks!
Colleen

John Says:

Hello Colleen

I am not sure if a pig has sneezed over your computer but I have answered this twice now I promise. Let’s try again. The Carnival Elation will indeed be calling at Cabo from April 2010 on 4 and 5 day cruises, as well as 3- and 4-day cruises, so I am sure this will make you and many others very happy.

I hope you get this answer and if not I suggest you give your computer some tamiflu.
best wishes
John


Mike Richardson Asked:

John,
PLEASE REPLY
I sent this message last week, but it must have gotten lost somewhere….
You asked me to send you the cabin numbers for our family reunion cruise so the 10 of us could be at the same table for dinner. I only have the booking numbers, so here they are:
Fantasy 8-8-09
——
I appreciate your help with this. It means a great deal to us.

Thanks,

Mike and Michelle Richardson

John Says:

Hello Mike
Sorry I didn’t see this until now mate. I will indeed be happy to help and could you post a reminder 12 days before you sail and I will ask the maitre d to assist.
Many thanks and best wishes
John


Celia philipson Asked:

Hi John,

You comments please

I was most interested in your remarks about the Burka clad lady on board. I have lived and worked in various parts of the Middle East and have the utmost respect for the religion. However a Caribbean cruise strikes me as a bizarre choice for a devout Muslim. Will the ladies’ husband be avoiding Lido deck, the main bars, the casino and the shows in order to avoid scantily dressed women, the consumption of alcohol, gambling and “leggy showgirls”? Oh and of course the non-halal food in the restaurants.

John Says:

Hello Celia
I have to say that I totally agree with you. It does seem amazing that someone of the Muslim faith would opt for a cruise. However, I have learned that the family is US Citizens and I have to say that they have only eaten on Lido Deck and not in the dining room and while the husband and children have been quite visible the wife has not. I don’t pretend to understand the complexities of the Muslim religion but after a little investigation it does seem that while the father and two children are enjoying most of what the ship has to offer the wife has not.

Best Wishes
John


Clay Asked:

John: (Reply please) we are on the Legend in 2 weeks. With the trouble in Honduras are you hearing of any changes to the plan to stop in Roatan?

John Says:

Clay
At the time of writing we continue to call at Roatan however Carnival is working closely with the Honduran port authorities and our agent there and if there are any changes to the situation we may have to act accordingly. Please keep reading the blog where I will post any news as it happens
Until then I hope you have a wonderful cruise
Best wishes
John


Felicia L. Asked:

John please reply

I’ve wanted to be social host for as long as I can remember. Now that I’m almost done with school, my dream may finally come true! What are some essentials you think are necessary to be an entertainment staffer? And what is the interview/training process like?

Also…why did Carnival change the name from social host to entertainment staff?

Thanks!

-Felicia L.

John Says:

Hello Felicia

What a brilliant dream and hopefully it will come true. May I point you in the direction of www.carnivalentertainment.com where you will find video clips and information on the job of the entertainment staff? The position used to be called social host but we moved with the times and now it’s called E Staff even though the job itself has not changed that much. So, have a look at the website and there you will find details on how to apply. If you need help or have any questions please let me know.
I wish you much success
John

That’s all for today and there will be more answers tomorrow.

I have many friends and colleagues who are now slowly beginning to make their way to the shipyard to work on your Carnival Dream. One such mate is Niksa Pelic who works in the housekeeping department. Here is a photo of him and some of his Carnival Dream

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I just wanted to add one last thing about the balcony discussion we had yesterday and the concerns about noise from the outside Promenade Deck. I asked a colleague who was just there for his opinion and this is what he told me.
“John, I sat in a chair and a sun lounger on a balcony deck 6 cabins and the view is virtually the same as any balcony cabin and you can barley see the edge of the promenade. Of course, if you stand up at the railing and look over you can see it. ”

Thanks for that and is the fact that if you stand up and lean over to see the life on the Promenade a bad thing……….nope…………I don’t think so. Obviously Carnival management are going to have to monitor what entertainment, music etc we put out there but that aside I think the view of the ocean and one of the Promenade will be just great. Let me know if you have any comments about this.

One last thing about your Carnival Dream today. I received a call from someone I can’t mention who works for one of our sister companies. He was laughing because the Carnival Dream Sea Trial video had only 4200 hits while the inauguration of his company’s new ship had received 4400 hits………………….bugger and double bugger.

And so I am going to post it again. I make no apologies for doing so and if you haven’t yet done so please send this to a friend or ten because…………..I had a bet……….with my mate from Seabourn…………whose new ship Odyssey’s christening has more views than my Carnival Dream video………..that by Monday we will have reached 7,000 views ………… the loser has to buy the other dinner at a very expensive restaurant called Prime 112. This is by far the best and most exclusive restraunt in Miami and their Cowboy Steaks are historic……..go if you can.

However………. if I don’t win the bet I will have to pay…………and that’s means poor Kye won’t get any new clothes and will have to wear a pair of my underwear instead …………..please……………….please help…………….if not for me………….then for Kye.

It’s time to introduce you to two ladies. Lets start with part of the E Staff for your Carnival Dream by meeting Mouna. She will be the Karaoke Host and as I know many of you love Karaoke I thought you might like to see who has the proud task of being the flagship’s first .

Mouna Crane
Karaoke host
Carnival Dream

Mouna 527

Mouna 1148

My name is Mouna I was born in the West End in London I moved around the UK to different locations and have always enjoyed traveling and going to different places and performing. I attended a stage school on a part time basis where I learnt different types of dance, drama and singing, which lead me into a career of performing since the age of 14 where I started to work towards my Equity card, which is a card for professional working entertainers. I have taken numerous entertainment jobs abroad and here in the UK. And embarked my entertainment career with Carnival Cruise Lines in July 2005 in this time I have worked on 11 Carnival ships from the eldest in the Fleet to the newest and it is still a great journey and every day is a adventure.

I’m honored to be chosen to bring out the Dream and I know we are all in for an amazing experience. The Dream is so different to any of our Carnival ships and not to forget to mention is huge so that is going to be a challenge in itself, yes even for crew we can still get lost when first on board so that will be an adventure getting to know the one n only Miss Dream and seeing all her beauty, I’m really excited to see the all of the Dream but getting even more excited when I see the karaoke lounge I remember when I spoke with Heidi before getting on the Splendor and she was describing that the ship was a lot of Pink which I love anyways and then she described the Moroccan Lounge is all your favorite colors and Leopard print wow I thought Joe Farcas is the man then im trying to decide what clothes to pack now to match the lounge so when getting on board couldn’t wait to see it , and hardly had been on board 10 minutes before having to rush round in awe of the Splendor I loved it especially them statues outside the Disco .So the Dream yes I’m very intrigued .

Best part of my job is I get to really interact and get to know our guests. A lot of people come into Karaoke just to listen watch and support and cheer the other guests on but I also like to involve this guests that wouldn’t normally get on a stage whether it be just to have a dance then encourage them to sing when they do they normally love it and it builds there confidence as its something they would of never dreamed of doing I must say karaoke is addictive and I say each week to the guests the great thing about trying karaoke on a cruise liner is your never going see these other people again so you may as well just join in the fun , we do loads of group songs where we get a number of people up etc so have a think what you would like to sing and come and see me before you know it you will be buying a karaoke machine xx And its always a great pleasure to see our repeat guests that really are like family there’s too many to mention but I look forward to seeing you all .xx

My favorite activity to host is the Legends auditions on the Lido this is a relaxed evening everyone’s outside chilling out we start the auditions for a great show on board its a show called Carnival Legends where the guests are selected to perform in the main show lounge with the Dance cast and Orchestra and we have amazing costumes wigs lighting etc its a full on production show we audition for Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, James Brown etc And the guests audition and the audience decide the favorite singer for the part everyone wants to be Frank Sinatra its a fun evening with all types of talent entering to get a part we always get a great turnout an event not to be missed I like hosting it as its very high energy out there people all enjoying the outdoors and singing along to all the great songs.

I am honored to be part of Todd’s setup team for the Dream I’ve always called him Toddles I don’t know why I think this suits him sorry Todd I think by now Todd knows I come out with some strange stuff and is used to me I have been very fortunate to have worked with Todd on 3 occasions and have taken in a lot of his advice and beliefs he is a great Cruise Director and motivator over time I think he knows I love what I do as a job and enjoy interacting with the guests and am a dedicated team player. I have also worked with Mr. John Heald on the Freedom and Splendor for the setup as we all know the setups are very challenging time all round so if they can rely on you to get your work done and setup its one less thing for them to worry about, as really the work they do behind the scenes is amazing incredible sometimes I wonder when do they get to sleep and both John and Todd have the knack of making it look like a piece of cake I really thank you both of you for the opportunities of learning, progressing and working with you and of course the journeys with traveled together.
Much Love MounaMouna x

Mouna delivered the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor with me and she is a wonderful character and I know many of you will be enjoying spending time with her on board.

It’s time to meet our second lady and a new member of our blogging team. I have the easy bit. I sit here……..in my underpants…………and write a load of bollocks every day ……… and then press send. Then and as if by magic my musings appear on the blog thingy site.

Well until today that has been done by Stephanie Leeeeeevvviiittt. But that is not her only job as she manages carnival.com and is responsible for……..ummmm……….lots of other computer nerdy stuff. Well, now she has help and it comes in the beautiful form of a young lady whose name is……..Stephanie………bugger. I mean…………..why are so many ladies who work in the Miami office called Stephanie………..don’t ever shout “Hey Stephanie” at Carnival HQ as you will killed in the stampede.

Anyway………..here is the new Stephanie

I am a Miami native, born and raised “GO HEAT”. Newly married and a mother of a very enthusiastic soon to be 3 year old named Nicolas, my pride and joy. My favorite pastimes would be enjoying water activities, swimming, fishing, and boating. Also going to the movies, and above all shopping (accessories are my obsession – I am a woman after all).

I come from a commercial real estate marketing background which is very different from Carnival in all aspects. My position with Carnival will be marketing project based and will include event coordination and web based content management.

I am thrilled to be working with and learning from the best.

Please join me in welcoming Stephanie to the family and we wish her well. What though to call her……..we could go with Stephanie 1 and Stephanie 2………..but does Stephanie 2 deserve to be called number 2 and I will I be able to resist therefore calling her Stephanie number 2 which will only end up with me calling her Stephanie poo ……… nope ………….. can’t do that.

And so I have decided that we have to refer to the original Stephanie ……..that’s Stephanie Leaaaaavvviiittttt………as “Cocoa”……..yes………..let it be known on this day that the artist formally known as Stephanie Leavitt will now be referred to by all as “Cocoa” ………which by the way is her favorite drink………………….and the name of her dog.

Cocoa will still be very much involved in the blog but the daily responsibilities will be handled by Stephanie. Please join me in saying thanks to Cocoa and giving a big welcome to Stephanie.

It has not been a good week for swimming pools as you will see from this e mail that Big Tex sent me from the Carnival Valor

From: VALOR HOUSEKEEPING
Sent: Thursday, July 02, 2009 2:03 PM
To: VALOR HOTEL ENGINEER; VALOR ENGINE; VALOR ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER; VALOR HOUSEKEEPING MANAGER; VALOR GUEST SERVICES; VALOR ROOM SERVICE; VALOR BRIDGE
Cc: VALOR CHIEF ENGINEER; VALOR STAFF CAPTAIN; VALOR STAFF CHIEF ENGINEER; VALOR HOTEL DIRECTOR; VALOR GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; VALOR GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; VALOR CRUISE DIRECTOR; VALOR YOUTH DIRECTOR; VALOR MEDICAL CENTER
Subject: Deck 10 fwd, kids pool and water slide closed.

Good Afternoon,

Please be informed that, the deck 10 fwd pool, Kids pool and Water slide will be closed till further notice, due to vomit accident in the deck 10 fwd pool.
Please note that kids pool and water slide are connected to the deck 10 fwd pool.

Thank you
Regards

Supervisor Pools and Deck.

Poo and Puke…………where’s the pee ?

So last night I performed my first bedtime story in months and it went ok I guess. I am my own worse critic and often ignore the fact that the audience is laughing their socks off and instead I concentrate on the one miserable sod in the front row who looks nothing but constipated or the fact that I forgot a funny line or missed an opportunity to deliver one. But as I said…overall it went very well and I am slowly finding my Cruise director feet again……….smelly though they may be.

Please read this lovely letter from a guest in today’s in their Own Words Section

Letter- July 2

Letter 2 july 2

I had a lot of fun with Emma on the afternoon show after sailing from Grand Cayman. She is full of jokes and her sense of humor had us all laughing hard. Her husband was a Navy Seal who died in the Korean War and recently she met a new man whom she said she loves very much. The story of how she got married again when she was 76 and how on her honeymoon she fell asleep at the wheel was hilarious even though she crashed the car into a tree. I asked her why she was so tired after her honeymoon obviously fishing for a reply……….but little did I know that her reply would be…….”Sex honey…………lots of sex………….and I still am”

She’s 83 years old and getting more rumpy pumpy than me……….bugger

Goodnight
Your friend and Monk
John

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.

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