Your Dream From On High

July 17, 2009 -

John Heald

I have a busy day today……..the last day of this six-day cruise. Here is my schedule:

6:45am – alarm sounds to start blogging
9:00am – 10:30am – Captain and senior officers meeting
10:30 am – Photo with a family whose 12-year-old is here as part of the Make a Wish foundation
11:00am – 11:30am – Debarkation talk
11:30am – 12:00pm – Q and A
12:00pm – 1:00pm – Production team Meeting (this is with the dance captain, musical director and all the entertainment technicians to discuss the shows etc)
1:30pm – Capers and schedule planning for my first eight-day western Caribbean run
2:30pm – Newlywed game
3:30pm – Wedding renewal
5:00pm – Afternoon show
8:30pm and 10:30pm – Host show

This of course does not take into consideration the phone calls and other distractions and it also does not take into consideration the time I will spend on the toilet either.

Now, I wrote this not so that I get a huge “ahhhhh” from the thousands of readers but as an excuse as to why today’s blog may not be as …well……as thought out as usual and may instead be shorter……..and ………..well………….crap.

There are two problems today.

One…….my schedule says I should be in my underpants and writing to you by 6:45 am. However I just could not drag my saggy arse out of bed this morning and my extra 10 minutes turned into an extra hour and thus it’s now 8:05 am and me and my underpants have only just started blogging………..bugger.

Then I have been asked to attend a wedding renewal of vows. Normally I would say no to this because time does not allow. In this case though I had to say yes as the renewal is between two bloggers Ann and David Martin who have cruised with me many times and have been married 53 years.

Talking of weddings Heidi told me that when I am home next month we have two weddings to go to ……….oh deep joy. I should be spending my Saturday’s sitting in my underpants in my lazy boy watching the start of the soccer season. But oh know…..I will have to put a suit on and pretend to enjoy meeting the bride’s Aunty Betty.

I don’t like weddings also because of the cost. What with AIG spending all our savings on lap dances and Dom Bloody Perignon and the price of gas, bread, water and breathing, I’ve have had enough of wedding lists that contain nothing costing less than $1,000.

I’m only coming to your wedding because Heidi worked with you on the Carnival Destiny for a few months, so I don’t see why I should buy you a PlayStation3 or a Cartier Toaster.

And of course we will have to eat the bad food, the 5.30 pm lull, the 9.30pm lull or the 11.45 pm lull. My God, couldn’t the bride and groom (“Don’t they look lovely?”) leave just a tiny bit earlier? I can’t stay up this late any more. I’m not a student. I’ve been here in this sweaty shirt since 2 pm, talking to people I don’t know.

Then it’s time for the terrible speeches with stuttering jokes, appalling anecdotes, oblique references to a not-so-naughty stag weekend “I won’t say what happened in Barcelona, but Geoff won’t be welcome at Bar Rio for a long time to come” …………… yawn ……. what is this…………an NCL cruise?

But what I hate most about weddings……….is the dancing, which I have always found to be an unpleasant and unavoidable part of any wedding. I have hidden in the bathroom while everyone else is dancing to The Chicken Dance, Dancing Queen, New York, New York and Saving All My Love for You.

But at the last wedding we went to Heidi made me dance and after a while I guess I started to get into the groove………but something was wrong. So I put in a bit more effort, swinging my hips harder. Still no mojo, so I tried a few more exuberant steps and did something new with my arms. I swayed from side to side, clicked my fingers and winked at Heidi. I may have said “Yeah!” while pointing a sexy finger-gun at her, and firing. She looked frightened. Then I caught sight of my reflection, and reality dawned: I was dancing like someone’s Dad……….and now I am a Dad………and that’s why I don’t like weddings any more.

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

Melenie Asked:
Hi John
I am sorry to be a pest. We are leaving the day after tomorrow.
We are interested in setting up my folks for the newlywed game or marriage game as we have 3 generations celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. We are on the Triumph 7/18-7/23,
Can you help us out? You are awesome and love reading the blog and hearing about Heidi and Kye.
Take Care,
Melenie

John Says:
Hello Melenie
I have sent your information to George Solano your CD who will be in touch with you regarding having your folks take part. I hope you all have a brilliant time and let me know about your cruise when you get home
Best wishes
John

Kim Asked:
Please Reply
Dear John,
We have a cruise booked on Carnival Valor. This will be my 6th cruise and my husband’s 8th with Carnival. We have a standard balcony booked. We have booked it with AmEx Travel being we were using our points. Or I would had booked with my PVP.

The question I have since we booked with a TA how does upsells work? I have heard through Cruise Critic that if you book with a TA you most likely will not be called for an upsell; only people that book with directly with Carnival will be called. I have put a request on our reservations to be called if one is offer for a suite. Of course that depends on the price of the upsell. I called my PVP to ask, but didn’t know anything about upsells or how they work. LOL I haven’t even been graced by the upgrade fairy, let alone an upsell call…
Waiting for you answer…
Sincerely Yours,
Kim and Ken – Valor Sept. 6th, 2009

John Says:
Hello Kim and Ken
Congratulations on booking your sixth Carnival cruise and just think……you are only four more away from Platinum status. While there are lots of rumors and conspiracy theories as to who gets called for an upsell the answer is that it is pretty random. We do call our past guest cruisers as much as we can to offer them any special offers but there really is no pattern. I am going to send this to someone to have them contact you to see what they can do to help. Let me know what happens and if there is anything else I can do for you.
Best wishes and have a great cruise
Many thanks
John

Mary Asked:
Dear John (please reply)
First let me say what a cutie Kye is! You and Heidi must and should be sooooooo proud of her! You must get her on the ship with you soon so you can spend some time with her.

Now my question: Is the Mardi Gras ship a distinctive build as she was not built by Carnival? The reason I’m asking is that my husband and I cruised on the Mardi Gras in 1977 but have no proof ( who knew we needed to keep receipts from then ) other than some personal photos we took of the ship with us in front. The picture of the ship is from a distance so the name on the ship is not readable. The one picture taken by the ship’s photographer is in front of a mural inside the ship but is not dated or stamped with Mardi Gras. Would our pictures showing us in front of the ship be proof enough that we cruised on the Mardi Gras? We are proud to have sailed on Carnival’s first ship and would like to have it as part of our Carnival profile. How can we prove it? Thanking you in advance for checking.

Hope to sail with you again soon. We were on the Triumph with you in Nov. 1999 to celebrate my 50th birthday.

John Says:
Mary
That’s an interesting question. The Mardi Gras was built for Canadian Pacific as the Empress of Canada, and made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Canada on 24 April 1961. In 1968 she received the latest CP funnel design, which was adapted as our now famous Carnival symbol when sold to us in February 1972.

She was I guess pretty distinctive for those days although I am not sure if you would be able to tell from the photos you described. I guess the first thing to do is to ask someone if this will be allowed as proof and if therefore it can be added to your Carnival portfolio. I will of course ask someone and have them contact you regarding this. Meanwhile……..I am going to ask my mate Vance to dig out a photo or two of this grand lady and post them here.

mardi gras 1

mardi gras 2

I hope we can sail again together soon and please let me know if you need further help with this or with anything else.

Thanks for the lovely words about Kye and let’s see what we can do for you
Best wishes
John

Peggy Asked:
John~ (Please read and consider)
Since the whole issue of drinking has come to surface… My husband has an allergy to alcohol and it’s best for him to stay away from it. Last year our first cruise was rough, they really didn’t have enough activities to keep us busy and don’t get me started on the lack of evening food choices. I know Carnival will have a much better entertainment list and the 24 hour places to eat will help. I would love to get him the soda card (juices and ice tea get old after a few days) but it is my understanding that you have to go to the bar for it. I have been told you can ask a server but that might just work his patience if he has to look around for one and then he’ll just end up at the bar anyhow. Has Carnival ever considered putting in some type of a machine where you can insert your sign and sail card and it either charges your room or reads that you have paid for the soda service? I don’t want to stop taking cruises ~ever~ and I am just hoping that we will be so busy on Carnival that alcohol won’t be an issue
Thanks John
Peggy

John Says:
Hello Peggy
I would be talking nonsense if I didn’t admit that there aren’t one or two bar waiters across the fleet who may have not have given the same service to someone ordering a glass of Diet Coke as to someone ordering a glass of scotch. I have heard these reports and while it is a small minority of servers who have done this we are very much aware and are making sure that regardless of what you order that you get the same friendly and prompt service. The soda card is a great bargain if soda is your thing and it was interesting reading your idea which I will now send to the office. This blog continues to be a great place to share ideas and yours is an excellent one. Meanwhile I promise you that you will get the friendly service you expect and that the food, activities and fun will far exceed your last experience.
Maybe you could let me know before you sail and send my best to your husband as us non-drinkers should not be forgotten.
Best wishes to you all
John

Shawn Asked:
Please Respond John:
Hi I just wanted to let you know that you asked me to remind you that I and My Friend will be sailing the carnival Splendor on Oct 18th 2009 are booking number is 44FS20 and Our Room number is 7202… I’m wondering if my friend can get a Happy Birthday Greeting from you his Birthday is the 19 of Oct. … I know that you will not be on board with us… Just want to let you Heidi & Kye a wonderful summer and best wishes
Shawn
Chicago Heights IL.

John Says:
Hello Shawn
I wish I could be with you in October and I also wish that my memory is good enough to remember your cruise will be in October………but I won’t so can I ask you to kindly copy and paste this post and send it again 10 days before you sail.

It will be my pleasure to wish your friend the best of birthdays
Best wishes and don’t forget to write.
John

Michael Asked:
Hello John, Please Respond.
John I just wanted to Thank You and all the others for the tireless work you put into this blog thingy. I do have a question for you. We are on the October 3, Grand Med sailing on the Carnival Dream. I know that when we land in Rome we will get our passports stamped. How would I go about getting it stamped in all the country’s we visit? (Yes even France.) Also do you know if they will stamp it in Monaco and at the Vatican since they are technically individual countries? Thank you for all you do not only for me but for everyone. You truly make everyone feel special and at complete ease when talking to you. May God Bless you and yours. P.S. Kye is gorgeous you can never post enough pics of her.

John Says:
Hello Michael
Thanks for the kind words about the blog. I am glad that most people enjoy it. I know it maybe not everyone’s cup of tea but I do my best to make sure that it has a constant mix of fun and information.
While we will not be taking your passports onboard or require you to go through customs and immigration it is still possible to get your passport stamped in many of the ports of call. The places you will visit with the exception of Dubrovnik, Croatia, are all part of the European Union and thus have open borders. However, if you take your passport to the local post offices in Naples, Venice, Cannes and Florence or Livorno they will stamp them for you. I have not heard of anyone being able to do this though in the Vatican.

You will need to take your passport ashore in Croatia as everyone needs to have their proof of citizenship with them when they proceed ashore and if you ask the inspectors they will stamp the passport for you.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions about these ports and what to do there please let me know.
Best wishes
John

clippers8200 Asked:
Where can I submit a question for John?

John Says:
Hello Clippers8200
Please just post a comment marked “John Please reply “and I will be glad to help you.
Cheers
John

Marilee Asked:
Hi John, PLEASE REPLY!
Thank you for doing this blog! My husband is a fan, and I am new to your blog but love it. We’ve cruised with Carnival three times – on the Pride, the Spirit and most recently, the Splendor.

Long story short – I had a little gold Christmas ornament that I bought when we sailed on the Pride a few years ago (it was a replica of the ship) and it disappeared after a large family Christmas party. How would I go about replacing it, since it is ship-specific?

We have little ornaments for the Spirit and Splendor, and we hope to keep adding to the collection…all we need to do is replace this one! Could you steer me in the right direction?

Your little Kye is adorable! I have a 5-year old girl who also enjoys cruising and the time goes SO fast. Enjoy every minute and every picture.
With thanks,
Marilee/Arizona

John Says:
Hello Marilee
I am so glad that you have decided to become blog fans and congratulations on your three Carnival cruises. The Christmas ornaments you refer to are supplied by our concession partners who run our on-board gift shops. They have an online guest inquiry service where it may be possible to order one.

Here is the link thingy: customer.service@starboard.com

Please let me know if you are successful.

I thank you also for the kind words about Kye. I miss her more and more each and every day.
My best to you and all your family
John

Ralf Asked:
Hi John,
Please answer
First of all great picture of Kye,
Like to sail with you again, but me booking very early getting low airfare and/or cruise prices it might only happen by chance. I would like joining the cigar bar without the cigar but diet coke.

TA Dream my next cruise and many more booked. Could Todd please at least set up a bloggers meeting during our crossing?? Reading the blog there are many on board I would like to meet.

I always had to turn in my passport at check in on a TA. Bad luck it never got lost. Carnival me not getting off the ship then…

Going on a cruise and just looking for some free drinks and complaining not getting them do not cruise! There was no more food on Captains party last time (April) not spoiling dinner and past guest reception with canapés way ahead of dining seating. Very good.

Sorry bloggers: Real football John only.

I do know you are a supporter of the Reds. Is it really true John Terry leaving the Blues? He is a grown child of Stamford Bridge.

John Says:
Hello Ralf
I truly hope that one day we will get to share a Diet Coke in the cigar bar together. The TA of your Carnival Dream will be extraordinary and will allow you so many days to experience all the new and exciting opportunities that she will bring.

I know there are a lot of bloggers sailing on the TA and so I will of course do as you requested and have Todd set up a bloggers get together for you all to enjoy. There will be no reason on this TA for you to hand in your passport and as for John Terry………well Chelsea cannot afford to lose him…..come on Liverpool.

I wish I could be there with you……..and you never know …….I may be even just for a few days.
Best wishes to you and the family
John

Colette Asked:
Good Morning John,
I have been enjoying your blog, especially updates on your beautiful little girl and the Carnival Dream. I am booked on the January 30th, 2010 cruise, in one of the new Spa cabins, which I am very excited about. My best friend and I splurged (we like our own rooms) and booked rooms side by side. I do wish that the singles rate was a bit more reasonable, but it is our choice to have 2 rooms-nice to be able to come back to rest, without being disturbed and especially not to have to share a bathroom, like at home(if you know what I mean)..
I have been on 2 sailings with you previously, but you will be a first experience for my friend and I’m not giving her any advance information about you-I want her to be surprised-you are indeed a funny guy!

Can you tell me what the blank space is on Deck 11, between room 11426 and room 11428? I booked the 2 spa rooms furthest back from the front of the ship because I feel the motion if I’m at the front, but can’t tell what that space is. Thanks for your help.

Also, sailed with Todd on the Liberty last year and he is “one” of my all time favorites-what a talented guy and more visible, on the ship than most. Perhaps the person who complained didn’t realize that was him singing outside the Casino-great country-western. I stopped because the music was so good and didn’t know who it was until he took his cowboy hat off. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed him-I’m sure he gets more positive feedback, than negative, anyway.

And, you, I don’t know how you manage to get everything done, that you do, but thank-you for all you do, it’s always a wonderful laugh, to come home from work to read your blog and I look forward to sailing with you again. Colette

John Says:
Hello Colette
There is no doubt that the single rates are less affordable than other rates but you have splurges on two gorgeous cabins which I know you will love……….and anytime you don’t have to share a bathroom is a good thing………..my wife will agree with that comment for sure.

The space between the two cabins you are referring to is a storage locker for the stateroom stewards on deck 11. It contains their towels and linen, etc., and will not be anything for you to be concerned about. As I said, you have two gorgeous staterooms which will provide a wonderful home for you whilst on board.

Todd was the perfect choice to deliver your Carnival Dream and I will do my best to make sure you and your friend have the best vacation ever.
Thanks so much for all the kind words and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know
Best wishes to you all
John

Purevida asked:
Dear John (PLEASE REPLY)
Hi I just wanted to tell you I have enjoyed reading your blog and have added it to my favorites. My wedding cruise / family get together is coming up soon (11-14-09) I wanted to know if you had any ideas that I could do to make it a little more special. We are getting married off shore on the 18th if all goes well. In Costa Maya by the mayor! We are playing it fast and loose and praying for good weather and actually making it to port. I would like to do something special for my family either that night or sometime during the week. My grandparents have never been on a cruise or a vacation really ever. And they are meeting the in-laws for the first time as well. We don’t have enough cabins to qualify as a group(1 short) but I would like to do a small cocktail party or somehow arrange to play some music in a lounge so we can do the first dance etc. I would really appreciate if you could give me some ideas as to how I could accomplish this. Or if you know what people have done in the past. Also my G’pa is diabetic (insulin) and was wondering what kind of options he will have for dining on the Glory? Or if I should bring him snacks. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this and doing such a great job with everyone. Take care. Christina

John Says:
Hello Christina
Thanks so very much for adding the blog to your favorites (spelt correctly.) Your wedding sounds amazing and having the Mayor of Costa Maya perform the ceremony is very special indeed. You don’t need to be a group to organize a cocktail party with canapés etc. You have two choices here. I can help arrange this for you ahead of time or you can book it onboard through the formalities shop located on deck 5 forward. They have a comprehensive list of food available and we can have them served in a cabin or in one of the lounges, etc.

I would suggest that you book the steakhouse (ex supper club) once during the cruise. This will be the perfect location to toast your wonderful life with your family and friends. You can book this online as well ……..the link thingy is located at the side of this blog.

As for Grandpa. Well, he will have a mini bar/fridge in the cabin to store his insulin and if you remind me a week or so before I will make sure a sharps container is also waiting in the cabin. There is always food available so no need to bring snacks. You have the 24 hour pizza and the deli is open until late as well. In between you have breakfast from 6 – 12, lunch from 12 – 3 , the Deli and other stations open from 3 – 11pm and of course 24 hours complimentary room service…………..Grandpa will be fine.

Please remind me a week or so before you sail will allow me to send you a wedding gift as well.

I remain here should you need my help.
Best wishes to you all
John

Blogger John Commented:
Wow . . . . Such a rant! So much space taken up for something so negative. The guy was a jerk, move on – why waste the blog and our time writing about a gripe you have? If that was an attempt at humor you really missed the mark. I am sure in all your years in the industry you have seen that a thousand times. Keep this space for the upbeat, fun and exciting things on a cruise. Not a personal soapbox. We had many visitors to our site who said your description of what happens after “you” complain the sweating and whole thing, was like a “warning” never to complain to Carnival. I came to check out and was surprised they were not exaggerating. Sorry can not recommend your blog, however, Carnival is fantastic cruise company

John Says:
Hello John
Sorry you don’t enjoy the blog. It is a truthful and honest look at the highs and lows of being a cruise director as well as what is happening in my life. We have had 4.5 million views but as I said earlier today ………..it’s never going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

My apologies to you that my “attempt at humor” was not to your liking. Each to their own. Thank you for saying that Carnival is a fantastic company…on that …….we agree.

Best wishes
John

And that’s all for today. There will be no blog on Saturday but I will be writing one for Sunday so I hope that you will join me.

Let’s pause to look at some photos of the Bob Sleigh tour on Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Mystic Mountain excursion 1

Mystic Mountain excursion 2

Mystic Mountain excursion 3

Mystic Mountain excursion 4

Mystic Mountain excursion 5

The Lush Green Walkway at Beautiful Chukka Cove, in Ocho Rios Jamaica

The Carnival Freedom Docked in Ocho Rios 2

The Carnival Freedom Docked in Ocho Rios 1

So next cruise is going to be a busy one. I have some new activities to tell you about, more wonderful photos from inside your Carnival Dream and hopefully news on the famous past guest pins.

In San Juan I will be joined by the QCC team. This stands for Quality Control Committee which is made up of senior management from our HQ in Miami. They will sail overnight with us to St. Thomas to discuss with the senior management onboard ways of improving guest service and onboard revenue. I will of course be reporting on what they have to say.

It is also my first eight-day cruise to the eastern Caribbean ports of San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola and Nassau so I have lots of scheduling to do to make this successful.

And as it is Friday………………here is Heidi.

Another week gone and I am sure the days go quicker for Kye and I than for John.

I can’t say that Kye keeps me busy 24-7 as that would be a lie. She is such a happy baby and sleeps a lot.

Today, we went to our baby massage course again and this time the teacher (the one that would have a beard if she was a man) asked us to compare our baby with a cookie…….I opted for my favorite Dutch ” stroopwafel “. 2 superthin wafers with syrup in between. Of course all the girls wanted to know what the fuss is all about so I will bring some next Thursday. Actually, here in the U. K. they started to sell them at Starbucks, so have a look at your local coffee heaven and see if they have them. I say heaven as I am still not drinking any coffee with caffeine in it……it’s been almost a year now without proper coffee and sometimes I wonder why it would be bad for you if your body cries for it…….Oh well, I’ve come so far without alcohol and caffeine, I can do it for a few more months.

There was a moment this week when I could have done with a stiff drink…….this was last Monday, around 9:30am…..a bit early, you might think…..

It was time for Kye’s first 2 injections. Do I need to say more? Let’s just say, I am not looking forward to the next time, which will be in 4 weeks.

Kye and I both had tears in our eyes and I was convinced she would hate me afterwards but when I cuddled her she even tried to smile at me through her tears, that’s our girl!

She was weighed as well and she is now 10lb 8oz.

Until next week.
Heidi & Kye

Isn’t she beautiful?

Kye

I have been away from her a month and she really looks like she is growing all the time and I can’t wait to give her a big hug.

Heidi and I continue to talk about her flying with Kye to come and be with me for either the Bloggers Cruise or if not…next year for sure. I keep telling her that Kye will be fine and as I tried to convince her of this I found myself thinking of the times that I had traveled on a plane……………with babies on it.

Remember that movie starring Mr. Samuel L Jackson? I think it was called Snakes on a Plane……you know….the one where lots of snakes attack people… on a …. ummmmmm …….. plane? Well, when I watched that, I thought: “That’s nothing. They should have made Babies on a Plane.” Because babies at high altitude are much more scary than snakes.

They’re noisier, their diapers are far more venomous and you’re not allowed to chop off their heads. I know that it will probably take years for Heidi and I to recover from our first flight with Kye.

I’ve seen how airplanes can turn into a sort of us vs. them “Lost” style of nightmare, as Heidi and Kye and I battle a hail of tuts, mutterings and “Oh for f***s’ sake”s.

I am dreading the fact that Kye may fill her diaper at takeoff, then start screaming ……. because like her Dad.…she doesn’t like to have poo in her underwear. I am sure Kye will though refuse to accept that we can’t change her until the seat-belt sign is off.

And where do you change a diaper on a plane? And knowing my daughter the smell from her bottom will be so bad it will only be a matter of time before the oxygen masks drop down.

OK……..are you sitting down………….you should………..because here come some remarkable photos of your Carnival Dream.

Dream Photos:
Dream Sea Trials 9

Dream Sea Trials 8

Dream Sea Trials 7

Dream Sea Trials 6

Dream Sea Trials 5

Dream Sea Trials 4

Dream Sea Trials 3

Dream Sea Trials 2

Dream Sea Trials 1

How to you describe those photos…….how about………cruise ship Viagra!
See you on Sunday
Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.