The Blog That Came In from The Cold

July 20, 2009 -

John Heald

Good morning and my apologies for not posting a blog over the weekend. I had full intentions to do so on Sunday but I have had a dreadful cold. Yes……..I am a man and therefore I am a baby but I really didn’t feel well and although somehow I got through the shows as soon as they were over I took my snotty nose and my thumping head to bed……….anyway………here I am now ………my headache has dulled and my boogers have dried up and here I sit this Monday morning ……….in my underpants ……………. so let’s get going.

Let’s start the morning off with a comment from last cruise……….. about the steakhouse.

Guest: Mr.——–Ref: 840086791A
Cabin: ____Booking#: _____Added-Changed: 07/18/09 – 07/18/09

At 06:25 am Mr.______ came to the GSD to comment on his Supper Club experience. Guest said that the food and service were very good but the meal was overpriced. Guest said that he thought that a $30 per couple charge would have been correct as it is on other cruise lines. GSA said his comment would be documented.

Nothing further

I don’t know if you saw the comment from a guy called John on the last blog who said he did not like my writing because I wrote about guests negative comments. I wanted to explain to him the reason I do this is because that’s part of what this blog is. If the blog is only to be about the weather and all the things we do well…….then it’s as worthless as a bar of soap in the hands of a Parisian.

I highlight these comments for two main reasons John. Firstly because often the comments the guest make are well founded and sharing our mistakes …….and yes ………….. even though we are the World’s Most Popular Cruise Line………we still can do many things better………..enables me to talk about them with you….our loyal Carnival supporters. Secondly, I highlight the comments guest make because for years it has been OK to slam a cruise line on the various cruise boards and again, while many times these comments are justified , there are many times that they are not……..and so this blog thingy is an opportunity when needed………… put the record straight.

I see that John didn’t like my sense of humour (spelt correctly) and for that I apologize. My sense of humour is not for everyone. However John…….the comments I post from guests are very much part of my life onboard and that is the essence of this blog thingy.

So, that said, let’s go back to the comment above about the steakhouse and I see I have to help educate our staff to call it that and get away from the old name of supper club. The first thing I wanted to do was ask Mr. Google which cruise line charged $30 a couple and after 30 minutes of trawling through various web sites I could not find a single line that offered this bargain. It was interesting though seeing just how popular the specialty restaurants have become………some sound quite extraordinary and I must try the Pan Asian on the Eurodam. The problem was that after 30 minutes of looking at all the menus I was hungry……….very hungry……………….and it’s 7:50 am ……. and as I sit here in my underpants the only thing I have to eat in the cabin is some sugar free mints and some cinnamon tablets………………bugger.

Anyway, far from suggesting that the guest was not telling the truth that a cruise line offers a steak house experience for $30 per couple I do think that the price we charge for what we serve is extraordinary……….don’t you?………..411 people thought so these last 6 days.

I was trying to think of all the things you can buy for $30 these days and my mind drifted to when I was a young lad.

My Mum and Dad live in Southend On Sea which as the name suggests is…. ummmmm …….by the sea. One of things that me and my mates used to do was take a metal detector and roam the beach looking for buried treasure………..we found bugger all.

However, one day I found a £20 note by a bench on the promenade. Twenty pounds was a huge sum of money to a young lad, but rather than cycle off on my chopper (that’s a bike by the way) and spend it on 1,000 gummy bears or on a GI Joe machine gun that fires rubber bullets capable of causing my sister Suedrip real pain, I asked an old lady walking her dog if it belonged to her. It didn’t, but she told me her faith in humanity had been restored.

Then she phoned the local newspaper, which insisted on having me photographed holding the £20 …..that was big news back then for our local newspaper the Evening Echo. So there I was at school having my photo taken which meant for the rest of my time at school, on a weekly basis, I had my head flushed down the toilet by the school bully Shane “the Bastard” Ibrahim…..for being such an upstanding member of the community.

And even though the hairy old woman (who may have been Susan Boyle’s mother) claimed she had donated the £20 to charity, I noticed she was wearing a new coat the following week.

My advice if you find twenty pounds which is about the same as $30………… Spend it on a meal in one of our steakhouses. Never give it to an old lady with a dog.

So another cruise over and this one I think was one where the majority had their best cruise ever. Last night it took me over an hour to get from the coffee shop to the main theatre ……….. no ……… not because I am an overweight out of shape weeble……..but because so many people wanted to shake my hand and in some cases hug me while telling me what a great time they had here on the Carnival Freedom. The shows were packed and the activities well attended. We had calm seas for the most part and, excluding a brief shower in Key West, the sunshine was with us the entire voyage. The near 1,000 kids were well behaved which makes a big difference.

I received 157 letters for my morning and afternoon shows and every person who took the time to write all received a signed photo of the ship and either a bottle of champagne or a solid gold plastic trophy. Yes, it takes time to sign 157 photos in six days each with a personal message but it’s worth it and I hope it makes a difference and enhances the celebration they are writing about. These letters include some very personal details about people’s lives and I often wonder why they tell me what they do ………regardless if I can make their cruise that much more special by sharing their experiences then I will gladly do so.

Let’s have a look at some more from this past cruise.

Letter 1

Letter 2

Letter 3

Letter 4

Letter 5_1

Letter 5_2

Letter 6

Letter 7

Letter 8

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

MelanieG Asked:
John please reply,
It seems that I have another question with regards to our Oct 3rd Med sailing of the Dream. Is it true that we will sail past Stromboli in the evening to see that Lava? I would be super excited if this were true….I also wanted to mention that the pics you post of the Indian Food had my mouth watering!!

John Says:
Hello Mel
Ahhhhhh………….Stromboli………this was definitely one of the highlights for me during my Med cruising seasons on the Carnival Liberty and carnival Freedom and it will be for you as well. After sailing from Messina at around 7:30 pm you will pass the volcano which would be on the port side. While a lava flow cannot be guaranteed the view of the island itself and the smoking crater is one you will never forget. If you put the word “Stromboli” in the blog’s search engine you will find a lot of photos taken during my trips there.
Best wishes

Julie Anne Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)
I’ve been reading your blog for several months, and it certainly made me want to cruise again. In fact I’m booked for the 10/24 sailing of the Carnival Freedom. I’m a bit bummed out that I’m going to miss you, not once, but twice.

You see, I live in Tampa, and last year went on the Carnival Legend (1st Carnival Cruise, third cruise overall) and enjoyed it so much I wanted to do it again. Last year I took my Mom with me, because it cost only the taxes to add her (as the single rate was double the double rate). However she is pretty much confined to her scooter, so we have to have a handicapped cabin. This year I decided to take Dad too, and so needed a handicapped cabin for 3, which doesn’t seem to exist on the Carnival Legend. So I booked us on the Carnival Freedom, which does have a few 3 person handicaps available. Unfortunately, you are leaving the Carnival Freedom before we cruise and going to the Carnival Legend.

I do have a few questions for you though, since you know the Carnival Freedom so well:

1. Cabin 1001 is sometimes shown as an inside, and sometimes shown as an obstructed ocean view. Can you tell me which it is?

2. What is the best way to get assigned a table in the dining room close to an entrance? Last year we were at the very back of the boat (with a wonderful window, wonderful waiters, and wonderful companions). Because of her very limited mobility, Mom would drive her scooter back to within 10 feet of the table, and then the waiter had to drive her scooter away to get it out of the path. It was cumbersome for all involved, though we enjoyed the dinners themselves very much.

3. My mother & I are past guests now, but I seem to have two past guest numbers and she doesn’t have one at all. When my TA booked us, the Carnival rep (in the Special Requirements department) apparently looked up my past guest number, and that’s on my paperwork, but they didn’t look up hers. The past guest number they put down, does not match the past guest number shown by my name when I visit the Carnival website. In fact they are two different lengths, which seems weird to me. Mom will probably never make platinum (she’ll be 78 when we cruise this year) but if I read correctly, as a past guest our sail & sign cards should look different from my father’s, and if it doesn’t she’ll wonder why. I tried contacting the past guest department, but I never got a response. Can you help?
Finally, a couple of comments. I was surprised by the person who wanted a sharps container in their cabin ‘from the booking’. My surprise was because our cabin had just that. We had to fill out the Special Requirements paperwork for her scooter and for my CPAP, and it asks about injectable medication. I guess they picked it up from that form.

I hope Carnival stays around a long time. Otherwise I will have to consider myself a jinx. Both of the other two cruise lines I’ve been on (Premier & Delta Queen) have folded after I went on them.
Julie Anne

John Says:
Hello Julie Anne
I am so glad that you enjoy the blog so much and that it made you pick up the phone or click on your mouse thingy and book your Carnival Dream voyage for October. I am so sorry I will not be there with you but I promise you will have a magnificent time. Let me see if I can answer your questions.

First of all I checked the deck plans and indeed it is rather confusing so I have asked Boris to confirm if cabin 1001 is a partial view cabin. I will let you know what he says when he writes back to me from the shipyard in Italy.

With regard to the dining room, well I am sure I can help you here. I can understand that with a scooter you want to be as close to the doors as you can so you can park. Please can you send in a reminder two weeks before you sail so I can ask Ken to assist with your booking. Don’t worry about this, all will be well.

I have sent your information to our guest service department and they will be in touch re: Mum and we will make sure she has the right card. I bet you a bottle of champagne that Mum does make Platinum.
Don’t worry……….Carnival will be here for a long time to come and we will continue to provide you and your family with brilliant cruise memories. Please remind me about your dining request and let me know if you need anything.
Best wishes

Erin W. Asked:
Dear John – Please Reply!!
Erin W here with a few questions for you! I hope that you are enjoying the time as CD on the Freedom (sorry the Carnival Freedom!!) but I know you are missing little Kye. I have 3 questions for you and I hope you have 3 answers!! But first I must tell you that it’s a coincidence we are set to meet on the Dream in NYC (oh Bugger, the Carnival Dream!) since you said that said you have not sailed out of NYC since you took out the Carnival Destiny – well that was the first ship I ever sailed on in 1997! It was a HS graduation present and at the time was the largest ship – My nephew likes to say this was his first carnival cruise as my sister was 6months pregnant with him at the time! After a climb up Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica (the stairs not the rocks!) she went into premature labor on the vessel – She almost had to be flown to Cuba as the ship was unable to handle a preemie – But the wonderful medical staff onboard got things sorted out and we were able to stay on the vessel for the remainder of the sailing! Now Dominic (who is now 11) is about all things Carnival and will be taking his first official cruise with me on my next sailing (which he still insists is his second!)– Could you send him a little surprise form the Brand Ambassador – it would make his year! – Now here we go with my questions!

1. It seems that since the early saver discount came out that Carnival has not really had any sales (there used to always be a one day sale or a sale for this or that) and are getting rid of fare discounts such as the Welcome home credit. While I think the early saver is sometimes a good savings (I have seen it be only $20 difference from the Fun Select) it come with a lot of risk (for lack of a better word) and is also not beneficial for the travelers who can’t or don’t book way out in advance – Is Carnival planning to stop having sales altogether and only offer the early saver? For those of us who a frequent sailors and like to book one soon after returning or just last minute – what is the benefit to us??

2. Why is it that if I book through my PVP that I cannot pay online? This bothers me because I hate having to call in to make payments when My PVP is at work and reading my CC number over and over to them (Especially when I have multiple cruises booked). I was told that the pay online feature is only available to those who book online – however most times I can’t get my past guest discount (if available) online – it doesn’t show up in a lot of sailings online – I guess this is question 2b – why doesn’t the past guest discount show up when available if I am signed in as a past guest and have the box checked to search for it? You can see your reservation in your profile and it has a link to pay however once you fill out your CC number it says you are not able to pay online.

3. And lastly are you going to be posting more interviews with the Dream take out team? I ask because while on the Glory I met one of the best social hosts – the very energetic, the very fun, the very tall Amy B!! She told us that she was going to be on the inaugural Dream team and I hadn’t seen an interview with her – unless I missed it??
That’s all from me – sorry this turned out so long but I figured to get it all out at one time instead of multiple postings! Thanks a bunch – Erin

John Says:
Hello Erin
I do indeed miss Kye very much and she seems to be getting bigger each day which I am missing seeing for myself. I am though enjoying my time as Cruise Director here very much.

I asked our cruise and loyalty expert Jeff who is here on the Carnival Freedom to explain more about question number 1. Here is what he has written.

The early saver rate offers guests up to $200 per person in savings on most sailings. The early saver rate is available 3 months In advance on 5 day or shorter cruise and 5 months in advance on 6 day or longer cruises. If a guest books early saver they do have some restrictions however it does offer them the best rate PLUS offers the guest a price protection guarantee. If you have to cancel or reschedule the cruise you will have a $50 per person penalty.

Now for guest who do not book in advance, Carnival will still have past guest promotions, senior rates, resident rates, Cash Back offers etc.These rates may only be available after the early saver rate has closed. These rates will be available depending on the availability on each cruise, As the early saver rate is offering such great rates more and more guests are booking in advance filling up the ships quicker. So if you can only book last minute chances are you will still find some past guest promotions. Booking in advance also offers guest their best choice of ship, itinerary, cabin location, etc.

Thanks Jeff mate – it is great to have someone who can help me answer questions like this which quite honestly are as complicated to me as understanding algebra…… Klingon.

I will continue with the interviews with those who will be part of your Carnival Dream team and I know Amy the entertainment staff member you mentioned is part of that. I have not received her bio yet and will ask her again. Meanwhile, make sure you pop on over to where you will see some excellent videos featuring more of the start up team. Please remind me a week or so before you sail and it will be my honour to send your Nephew something gold. After all he has been through to get into the world he certainly deserves a Carnival memento.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you
Best wishes to all.

Kathy Asked:
Hi John,
Please respond,
I am so excited to hear that you are going to be on the Splendor next year. Do you know when your schedules will be coming out, because I have a cruise booked for Jan 10, 2010, but I am willing to change it to when you will be on board? That is how much it would mean to me to sail with the best CD in the history of cruising. I am already excited just to cruise on the Splendor itself, but to have you as the CD will make it even more special, so as soon as you find out when you will be assigned to that beautiful ship, please post is ASAP, so I can change my booking.

I tried the link to the Carnival Dream page but it kept asking for a user name and password, so I could not get in. I tried my user name and password for the Carnival website, but it would not accept that, so you may want to check into the problem. It won’t let me look at anything that has to do with the Carnival Dream.

Thank you for posting picture of Kye; she is getting cuter and cuter every day. Please also thank Heidi for sending these beautiful pictures so we get to see how she is blossoming from a Rosebud into a beautiful Rose.
From your bloggy thingy fan,

John Says:
Hello Kathy
It’s such an honour when people say that they will book to be on a ship with me as CD or in your case are willing to change their plans to make sure we sail together. I will be on the Carnival Dream in February and March 2010 and then back home for a while. We have another bloggers cruise to organize for somewhere around there as well. Chris Prideaux (from Miami office) and I spoke about the fact that I have never been a CD on the West Coast and so it might be nice to get this one ticked off my list. I don’t have any exact dates just yet Kathy but I hope to have everything squared away soon.

That’s strange………I mean about the password thing…………..let me ask one of the 14 Stephanies to help……………..”STTTTTEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPHANIEEE”

There you go, please let us know if you continue to have problems.
I am glad you are enjoying the photos of Kye……..the latest one Heidi sent is my screen saver thingy……………..I miss them both very much.

I hope we get to sail together and I will promise to post my schedule as soon as possible.
Best wishes to you all

Mary Asked:
Hey John, my family and I enjoyed the cruise it was the best vacation ever. We just got off the boat today 7-12-09. I waited to ask if there was any way I could get the pic of my grandson I left in my room 6234 in the mirror part, I hope it was still there. If they could mail it back to me that would be great. Just email me and let me know if it was still there. I love the ship some much and me and my daughter cried after we left. It was so very hard leaving and coming back to the real world again. You made the cruise very special, as did Eli, Jamie, Liz, and Ann, they were all great. Our housekeeping was amazing and Joseph and Suse in the Dining Area were the best ever.
Thanks to all

John Says:
Hello Mary
I am so glad you enjoyed the cruise and I am so sorry it has taken me so long to reply. I seem to be really behind with the questions that need an answer as there are so many. I checked with our lost and found and nothing was handed in I am sorry to say. What kind of photo was it? Was it one from the ship? Can I help you replace it?
Thanks so much for those kind words and I am sorry to hear that you shed a few tears. Keep reading the blog and I hope that keeps you going until the next time you walk up a “Fun Ship” gangway. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.
Best wishes to you and the family

Kathy Asked:
Hi John,
Please reply,
I had sent you an email asking about the schedule of the Carnival Elation for the year 2010 and you responded that it is posted. Well, it is not on the Carnival website as of the evening of July 12, 2009. Could you find out why it is not posted on the INTERNET yet, I would like to book a cruise on the Elation for my family next year around Mother’s day. Thank you for all of your help, I appreciate it and I know many others appreciate your help as well.
Your bloggy thingy fan,

John Says:
Hello Kathy
My apologies if I confused you. I was actually posting “breaking news” that the Carnival Elation was going to be starting this exciting itinerary from April 2010. Now and then I get these tips and try and share them with you. I just checked with Terry Thornton, our senior vice president of marketing planning, who is actually sailing this cruise with his family and he told me that bookings will be available from this week. I will let you all know as soon as they go live so you can book. Thanks for your understanding Kathy. I can see how excited you are and I apologize again if I led you astray.
Best wishes to you and the family and I will write soon.

Melissa J. Asked:
John please reply.
I am very disturbed that Carnival will no longer have exclusive cocktail parties for their past guests. I am loyal to Carnival but now I feel that Carnival is not being loyal to me and the fact that I am a past guest does not matter anymore. I always loved my special recognition as a past guest at the party and will greatly miss it.

No more complimentary past guest pins…. The Past Guest Rate is much higher than the Early Saver rate… No more past guest parties…I am just very concerned that this is a sign that past guest perks are gradually being eroded and our loyalty isn’t truly appreciated anymore. Will my shareholder on board credit be the next victim? Are charges coming for steaks in the main dining room?

Is this a politically correct move so as to now “hurt anyone’s feelings” because they are excluded from a past guest function because are not a past guest?

In this economy, special recognition for being a past guest and especially a VIP is necessary. Other cruise lines have special parties for their VIPs only; will Carnival not consider doing this instead of a special party for all past guests?

Please don’t think that I am writing because I am concerned about not getting free drinks anymore; it is not that at all. It’s more about being made to feel special because I choose to spend my hard earned money with Carnival instead of another cruise line.

Disappointing and taking perks away from past guests is not a way to ensure brand loyalty and to keep people coming back.

John Says:
Where oh where are you getting your information from. Whoever is giving it to you is talking absolute bollocks……..or in North American speak…………absolute garbage.

We have not and do not intend to stop the past guest party. I just did one here on the Carnival Freedom on Thursday and we served 1,500 very happy past guests with drinks and hors d’ ouerves. There are no intentions to change this.

The pins ………..well there may be good news on this soon.

Our past guests have never been so important to us and we will continue to make sure that valued clients like you continue to feel special. I would be interested to know where you got that false information from Melissa as it clearly has upset you which makes me sad. So, keep smiling and know that everyone at Carnival, myself included, will continue to provide you with the best vacation in the world.
Best wishes

DelawareEllen Asked:
Please Reply
Hi John,
I am so excited to tell you that Dave and I just booked a cruise on the FREEDOM with you on August 9th. We were going to skip this summer…finances are tight, but the bug bite and we couldn’t resist. (We have cruised Carnival in August for the last 5 summers) The final decision was made when Dave found out you would be the cruise director. He got to meet you when we came to Philadelphia to see you and the world’s biggest Piñata. (I’ll bring you pictures). I am writing to ask if you could help us get a “table for two” at the late dinner seating. We love meeting people and having breakfast and lunch with others, but Dave and I REALLY enjoys our quiet time at dinner. We are both teachers and live really busy lives and enjoy a few days together to reconnect on our cruises. Our booking # is 60K8P0. We would truly appreciate anything you could do for us. Thanks so much and we are counting the days to see you and take our annual summer cruise. Can’t wait to see more pictures of Kye while on the cruise also. I love your blog and Fridays have become my favorite day, because of the Kye updates!
Thanks so much in advance,
P.S. Will there be a “walk for the cure” on the August 9th Cruise?

John Says:
Hello Ellen
I just mentioned in answering a comment above how proud and honoured I am when I read that people have booked a cruise because I am going to be there. I am therefore writing to thanks you for booking a Carnival Freedom cruise vacation in August especially as you said that “finances are tight.”

I will make sure that you have the table you requested and as teachers you deserve total peace and quiet……even though we may have 1,000 kids onboard……let me say it for you ….. “bugger.” Don’t worry though, you will have a great time and it will be great to meet Dave again. I hope you enjoyed the photo of Kye on Friday and there will be more soon. I am a very proud Dad.
See you soon and best wishes until then.

Tammy Asked:
Hello, can you please clarify the info regarding the two parties on the ship. First the Captains then the Farewell….

Do they still offer complimentary drinks for 1 hr then they added 2 hrs of discounted drinks?

And this is basically done twice on the ship? Is there a difference between the two parties?

Is this something in effect right now? (Sept we sail on the Splendor)
Our board is a little confused; I’m hoping you can clear this up for us.
Oakley, CA

John Says:
Hello Tammy
Let me help you get unconfused.
1. Every Carnival ship except the Carnival Valor continues to hold the regular cocktail parties with complimentary drinks served at 6:15pm and 7:15pm. The Carnival Valor meanwhile does something a little different.
Happy Hours
5 – 6 pm
7 – 8 pm
Served on the first elegant night along the entire Promenade Deck.
On the last sea day:
Fun Farewell (Free Drinks)
5 – 6 pm
Again severed on Promenade deck
This is being done as an experiment and although it is proving to be very popular we have yet to decide if it will be something we will place on other ships so my guess is that the original parties will be held during your cruise but if that changes I will let you know.

I wonder if I can ask Host Mach and Kuki to post this and my reply to my friend Melissa above on the boards so the correct information is available to all that read them.

Thanks Tammy and if you have a follow up question please let me know.
Best wishes

Dorothy Asked:
Please reply when able.
I sit here with tears in my eyes. I had to cancel my Carnival Dream cruise for December 3rd. I was told by hubby that he could not finish paying for it and that he probably could not take the time off.
I wanted to go so bad, just to hear you, since I’ve been reading the blog and reading what other people had wrote, it seems like you are a wonderful person to be around.

I finally dried my tears up and decided that I would find a 4 or 5 day cruise in February to take with my 4 sisters and my disable son. I’m paying for 2 of my sister’s cruise so that they can go, so there goes my deposit from the cancel Carnival Dream.

I have a question to ask, if you had a choice between Key West and Half Moon Cay, which would you pick and why.

I will keep an eye out for when you have another blogger cruise and hopefully I can go on it. I will miss the cruise in December, but at least I can DREAM about it.

Thanks for your wonderful help, I can find answer here when I can’t on other sites. Have a wonderful evening.

John Says:
Hello Dorothy
I am so sorry that things did not work out and you had to cancel your Carnival Dream voyage. I am sure that there will be other times when we can cruise together. Be happy though as I see that you and the family will be sailing with your family. Your question was a hard one to answer because I am a huge fan of both Key West and Half Moon Cay. I guess the answer though is simple. If you are beach people or a family that wants to totally relax and see nothing but the most golden of sand and tanzanite blue water ……..then Half Moon Cay is the place for you. Sitting in a cabana, entering the sand castle building contest and enjoying the huge barbecue is something you will not forget. However, if the beach is not really you…………..and shopping and sightseeing is …………. then Key West is the perfect choice. Does that help?

Please let me know what you decide and remind me a week or so before you sail so I can send you a little something …….don’t cry……… happy………..and book that Carnival cruise for you and the family…….I will see you one day soon……… promise.
Best wishes to you all

Divetrash Asked:
John Please Reply
Hiya John,
Okay first off you know I’m going to come out on the side of the piano man. Kids in the piano bar have been debated on cruise critic before. Frankly I think the parents should use some common sense. A closed space that serves alcohol and is open late night? Would they take a 9 and 12 year old into a place like that at home? And another thing, I generally hear worse language from the other passengers than any entertainer. In fact, the first night of my Victory cruise last summer, I was in the piano bar and not too long after opening, there was a very inebriated woman loudly using language that would make a sailor blush. She eventually became so disruptive to everyone with her other obnoxious behavior that security had to remove her.

Most of the entertainers I know do hold the more adult songs until after midnight and usually make an announcement that the adult portion of the show is about to begin. Unfortunately not everyone heeds that warning.

By the way, I would also like to say that the piano entertainer currently on your ship has gotten nothing but really good reviews on cruise critic.

Anyway, on to my question… I know your schedule has changed around a bit, but are you still going to be onboard the Dream for the 2 Day Cruise to Nowhere on November 13th out of NYC? I’m considering making this my “back in the saddle” cruise!

Finally, I can personally attest that the pen and ink form of communication is alive and well. I have a stack of cards and notes several inches thick from many, many kind people including the wonderful Evil Crew. They keep my heart lifted and my spirits up during my recovery. Newsflash: I started physical therapy today to start walking again! Hooray!

Best to Heidi and Kye and your Carnival blog team!
Laura (aka divetrash, aka Princess Laura, the sweet and mending of Big Ed’s Evil Crew)

John Says:
Hello Laura
It is truly wonderful to hear from you after your accident and the subsequent recovery period you have been through. We are all happy you are back with us. And as I sat in my underpants writing about the piano bar I hoped this would bring you out of hiding and that you would comment ….. and you did.

I agree with everything you said and it was surprising to me that kids of that age were not in bed at their age let alone be seated in a bar. Anyway, to protect myself and the performer I have now added that from midnight the piano bar is for adults only. This is not so the performer has licence (spelt properly) to say and do anything he wants but more to allow him or her the freedom of expression through entertainment………if you know what I mean.

I will be onboard for that two-day cruise from New York and I am looking forward to seeing you, Kevin and others there. I am hoping that we can all have a meal at Kevin’s restaurant as well.

So, welcome back and keep writing those cards and I for one I am so glad that you are on the road to a full recovery and before long you will take your rightful place on that piano bar stool.
Best wishes

That’s all for today…………….more of course tomorrow.

Please allow me to say a quick hello to all those new readers of this little thingy of ours. I see that we have people reading from Australia, Dubai and the UK as well as new readers from North America. I also read one comment that says she reads the blog for “work purposes” as she is in the shipping business…….I am truly flattered and I can only imagine what a great job she must have…….a special welcome and thank you to you.

There was also a comment in the past few days from someone who has never been on a cruise but enjoys reading the blog…….maybe I can change your mind. Anyway …. to all the new readers I bid you a warm and fun welcome and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Now during the next five days I will be posting live photos of your Carnival Dream. When I say live I mean I mean they are as current as can be because Boris will e-mail me four photos each morning of live work that’s going on that day. This will be a great way for all of us to see what’s happening on board this most anticipated of ships.

Here are today’s four

Dream 1

Dream 2

Dream 3

Dream 4

And so after a wonderful cruise we begin again, this time on an eight day voyage to San Juan, St Thomas, Antigua, Tortola and Nassau. Let’s see who is joining me.

Guest Count – 3,606


And the report on the kids sailing with us:

Under 2 Years – 14
2-5 Years – 74
6-8 Years – 76
9-11 Years – 161
12-14 Years – 208
15-17 Years – 271
18-20 Years – 183

Today was a difficult day. Debarkation was as smooth as a piece fine Egyptian silk placed over Megan Fox’s bottom.

However…..embarkation was as rough as a Turkish prison blanket………. Placed over Judge Judy’s buttocks.

This is because just as we started embarking guests the computer system we use to check guests in with stopped working. I called the I/S Manager for an explanation but after three minutes of what may as well have been spoken in Mongolian I summarized that ………the bloody thing was broken. And it never got better which meant that the staff at embarkation had to check in each guest manually which takes time which causes one or two guests to get a bit grumpy which means the first announcement I have to make is an apology one……and that’s never a good thing.

However, as I told the guests …..You are here now, take a breath and relax and allow our friendly staff the chance to serve and entertain you………let’s hope they do. The first day is hectic enough without the computers breaking down……anyway, it’s my job to turn things around and I will do my best to make it so starting at the show last night.

I choose eight people from the audience to bring on stage and as usual there were some great characters.

Meet Norman Bearcroft

Show - large man

Norman is on vacation and needs to be. That’s because he is a high school principal for an inner city Detroit school. He loves his job; he loves kids but told me and the audience that he was looking forward to being away from them. I told him that might not be as easy as we have just under 1,000 of the little buggers on board………he laughed ……… shaking his head. In the show I called him “The Principal”………….and today I saw him at the travel talk and he told me that many, many kids had come up to him and said “Hello Mr. Principal”……….brilliant. He is a star and his wife thanked me for the fruit basket I sent them with a note wishing Mr. and Mrs. Principal a wonderful cruise.

Now…………let’s meet young Bob

Show - little boy

Bob is five was a great volunteer on stage. I asked him his name and he said “Caurtyummmer” …………….I asked him again and he shyly mumbled “Cartuiopoer” …………and so I called him Bob…….and the audience all shouted in unison “Hello Bob.” The best moment was when I asked him “Where do you live?” to which Bob, aged 5 replied “In a house”……….priceless.

Finally meet Morris Goldberg

Show - old man with hat

I choose him because of his hat and I thought he would be a character……..he was …………a very funny one……….because he was so ………. ummmm ……….miserable. I asked him who he was traveling with and his answer was “her” pointing to his wife. “You don’t sound very happy,” I said ……….”I’m not,” moaned Morris……..”I wanted to go to the casino but she made me come here and now look at me.”

I then asked him if he would like to tell his with Ruth how much he loved her and I placed the microphone in front of him…….and instead of the I love you that myself and the audience thought he would say………..instead……….Morris said “I should have married your sister.” ……………the audience howled………and so did I.

Just before I go……….I wonder if I can encourage all of you who read the message boards and thread thingies. If you read anything that may need my input for no other reason but to give the correct information please let me know. I will always give you the honest answer ………..that’s what I am here for………….to help.

I hate conspiracy theories like the ones that say the past guest parties have been canceled or that Carnival is putting a climbing wall in every cabin. I often wonder who starts these rumours and why………it just upsets people.

Maybe it’s the same people who have tried to break the hearts of everyone who watched the first moon landing by saying it wasn’t true and that Neil Armstrong was on a Hollywood stage. Or the people with beards that proclaim Princess Diana was killed by their Royal Highnesses Elizabeth and Philip Soprano and that Elvis did not die in 1977 but faked his own death and is currently working as a maitre d on the Carnival Pride.

Reading things like this fills me with an uncontrollable need to find out who starts these dreadful conspiracy theories……… and put scorpions down their underpants.
Your friend

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.