A Religious Blog

July 22, 2009 -

John Heald

I once said that my perfect description of mixed emotion was watching your mother-in- law drive off a cliff ……..in your brand new Aston Martin………..that’s mixed emotion.

You will also find mixed emotion within the world of entertainment which means you will find mixed emotion right here on the Carnival Freedom………as you are about to read with these three comments about the Big Easy show.

From: FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 9:12 PM
To: FREEDOM ROOM SERVICE; FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR; FREEDOM HOUSEKEEPING
Cc: FREEDOM F&B MANAGER; FREEDOM MAITRED
Subject: comments on show

OFFENDED BY THE SHOW
Guest mentioned that in the show we made a mockery of the church and they were offended as were catholic.
PRAISE FOR CAMP CARNIVAL AND SHOW
Mrs. _____ called asking to tell the captain and cruise director about Camp Carnival staff member Julie. The guest said her nine-year-old son is very shy and does not make friends well but at Camp Carnival and with Julie he is having a great time. Guest also said that she is from New Orleans and that the show last night was the best she had ever seen.
UPSET THAT THERE WERE NO AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE SHOW
Guest came to the GSD to state that they were disappointed that there were no African Americans in the show and that the gospel part of the show was wrong as there were no black performers

Two performances of one show………two huge standing ovations for the cast ……………. and yet two very negative comments and two sets of upset guests.

Now, there are a few subjects that are taboo in this blog thingy. Politics, my ex fiancé, Al Gore, my fascination with Megan Fox’s bottom………………..and of course ………. religion ……………..but I will say this

The Big Easy is a celebration of the music, culture and faith of New Orleans. During this celebratory performance we highlight the gospel sounds as the singers and dancers re in act a church scene through the exuberant gospel sounds of the songs “Knock On Wood” and “At Last.” It is neither meant to offend or force religion down the throats of non-believers ………it is just part of the New Orleans scene and I think it’s safe to say that faith has paid a huge part in the continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

However, I had to deal with the two comments and so I spoke first to the Catholic couple. I have to say that I didn’t quite understand their concerns. I got the impression that they thought that religion has no place within a show context….that it should be a serious, somber affair. I apologized but as always I had to also speak my mind and say that as my grandfather used to say “Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” What with gangster crap…..sorry……..rap….and other tuneless bollocks it’s great to hear songs of praise now and then.

We had a nice chat this couple and I think it was when I told them that as a child I went to Sunday school and to church every Sunday up until the age of 19 that they warmed to me a little…….or it may have been when I said that religion should be fun …because God does have a sense of humor. I know he does…..I have seen myself naked.

So we departed as friends and after they admitted that the Big Easy show’s finale was amazing and that the costumes were spectacular.

And so onto the next comment about there not being any African Americans in the show.

I am pretty sure that I have written about this sort of comment before……maybe last year ………… In this case I met with the family which turned out to be a lovely group of three generations from Tennessee. Once again I had to apologize that we did not have any African Americans….hold on…….I wanted to say black……….can I say black? Is that politically incorrect?

Sometimes I get so confused what you can and can’t say these days. You see, being on stage and trying to be funny without offending anyone is like walking through a minefield on a pogo stick.

Anyway, as I said I am not sure what is taboo and isn’t anymore. Let me explain. I think most people would claim that they don’t find disability funny yet last week I had a comedian make reference to our Beatles show “Ticket To Ride” and then went into jokes about Heather Mills and the fact she has only one leg. Yet as I stood backstage cringing, nobody heckled or booed and there was no “I demand to speak to the cruise director” comment waiting for me at the Guest Services Desk.

If you find yourself watching something you don’t like, you switch over, but of course a cruise ship audience watching a live show can’t do that. I just wish I understood better what is and isn’t offensive anymore and until someone explains this to me I shall continue to take the piss only out of myself ……and the French.

Back to the family who were upset that the gospel section of the show had no African American performers in it…….. I explained that when we auditioned for this cast in New York, Australia, the UK and Canada that we choose the dancers and singers by their talents and not their skin color they were very understanding. However, I can see their point, too.

A gospel music section without a black performer is a shame and I know that Kerry our brilliant choreographer and show designer wishes that all her casts were more diverse.

So, after apologizing to all concerned we all left with handshakes and as friends and I was pleased that I had helped them see another side.

However……I have to say ……… having dealt with situations like this with shows that contain religious based songs like gospel or Broadway tunes from shows like Jesus Christ Superstar …..I think it may be better to leave religion out of the shows all together. While it seems that laughing at a one legged woman is OK…….singing songs about God …..is not.

Time to answer today’s questions but before I do can I say a warm welcome to all the readers of the blog thingy who have just joined us after cruising here on the Carnival Freedom. I saw many of you have posted a comment these past few days and I am honored by your wonderful words and I do hope you had fun.

Remember……if you need me to answer a question or need help planning a new Carnival cruise please mark your posting at the top with the words “John, Please Reply.” I hope you continue to read the blog thingy and that it keeps you informed and brings you a few smiles. Here we go then with today’s questions.

Steve Asked:
John, Please respond.

We are having another lively discussion on Cruise critic regarding the elegant dress code and I figured the best way to get an answer would be from someone who is on a ship all the time rather than just one sailing.

Now that the dress code has been changed to Elegant Dress instead of Formal, What percentage of the passengers averaged out from YOUR view dress in?
Formal wear (Tux, ball gowns)?
Jacket and tie/Cocktail dresses?
Pants, nice shirt/Skirts, capris, etc.?

Thank you
Steve

John Says:
Hello Steve
Thanks for coming to the source. I am trying my best to let all my friends on Cruise Critic and Cruise Mates etc to come to me for the correct information rather than read speculative rumors on the boards.

We actually had a long discussion about our elegant nights during the recent Quality Control Committee meetings and whereas we all agreed that the second elegant night on a seven-day or longer voyage is one where fewer guests take the chance to dress up the first elegant night is still one that has the vast majority of the guests dressing accordingly.

We reiterated that the maitre d’s with the help of the cruise directors need to continue to enforce the dress code parameters on the first elegant night but we all agreed as well that very few people do not dress appropriately.

So, to break it down as you requested…………
Formal wear (tux,ball gowns)? – Easy to answer for the men as around 10% tend to dress in a formal tuxedo. However, I am not sure as to what a ball gown is these days but I will say a higher percentage of the ladies — maybe again 10% wear something I would consider a ball gown

Jacket and tie/Cocktail dresses? – This is the most popular combination with 80 % of the men and ladies wearing a business suit and tie and the ladies a cocktail dress.

Pants, nice shirt/Skirts,capris,ect – From what I have seen here on the Carnival Freedom I can tell you very few wear this type of clothing on the first elegant night. If they do, they don’t tend to come to the captain’s parties or eat in the dining room. They can of course as that’s still well within the dress code parameters but mostly business suits and cocktail dresses are what most wear. This is of course specific to the Carnival Freedom as it is most of our 5, 6, 7 and 8-day cruises. This may be different on our 3 and 4 day voyages though……………let me check.

Hope this helps and let me know if you need anything else
Best wishes
John

Erik & Sharon Valentine Asked:
John (please reply),

I’ve been scouring the Carnival web pages and, while I’ve found some basic information, I was hoping you could describe in a little more detail the whole “drink card” concept and what can be obtained when you purchase one?

For example, I know that it allows you to obtain Soft Drinks when you present it, but does that include iced tea or coffee or bottled water?

Our thanks for the clarification,

Erik & Sharon Valentine

John Says:
Hello Erik and Sharon

The fountain fun soda card includes unlimited soda, diet soda and caffeine free soda. We also offer free ice tea and fruit punch on Lido. You can use it at all the bars and lounges and if you are a soda drinker and do not drink alcohol (like me) this becomes very good value indeed. Please note that bottled water is not included in the price
Please let me know if you need any further help
Best wishes
John

Eddie Asked:
Dear John, PLEASE REPLY

Me and my family will be going on the carnival freedom on August 1st and I was wondering if you could tell me (seeing as you are on that particular ship) where is club 02 and who will be the cruise director for the August 1st cruise?
Thanks a lot!

John Says:
Hello Eddie
I will be seeing you soon as I will be the cruise director on your voyage to Cozumel, Panama and Costa Rica. The Club O2 lounge is located on Promenade Deck 5 midship. Hope you are ready for the best cruise ever.
Best wishes
John

circlek85 Asked:
Dear John (please reply),

I am very excited to be going on my first cruise on 8/15. I am going on the Freedom to the eastern Caribbean. None of us have ever cruised before (all guys, 22, 24, and 25). I think you are going to be our cruise director, if I read the schedule right. Anyway I was hoping that you may have some advice about can’t miss activities on the ship. Also maybe some common “virgin” mistakes to avoid.

I appreciate you putting so much effort into making everyone’s vacations great! I really look forward to boarding the Freedom and meeting you. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
Kyle

John Says:

Hello Kyle
I am looking forward to meeting you three cruise virgins in August for what will be my last voyage on the Carnival Freedom before I go home. I can promise you a wonderful time and here are some of the things you must consider doing.
1. DON’T MISS ANY OF THE SHOWS
2. DON’T SLEEP THE DAY AWAY – WAKE UP – HAVE BREAKFAST AND PACK AS MUCH INTO THESE 8 DAYS AS YOU CAN
3. GO SNORKELING IN TRUNK BAY IN ST JOHN DURING OUR VISIT TO ST.THOMAS
4. VISIT ATLANTIS IN NASSAU AND TAKE A TOUR THAT ALLOWS YOU TO USE THEIR AMAZING WATER PARK AND AQUARIUM
5. EAT DINNER ONE NIGHT IN THE STEAKHOUSE
6. FALL IN LOVE
7. MAKE SURE THE STATE ROOM STEWARD LEAVES YOU EXTRA TOILET PAPER (3 GUYS IN ONE CABIN!)
8. WATCH A MOVIE UNDER THE STARS – WITH THE PERSON YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH
9. TAKE SOME ELEGANT NIGHT PORTRAIT PHOTOS – FRIENDSHIP LIKE YOURS NEEDS TO BE REMEMBERED FOREVER
10. RELAX AND HAVE A BRILLIANT TIME

If you have specific questions on the ports of call or need anything else…….please let me know
See you chaps soon
Best wishes
John

Collin Asked:
Dear John (please reply)
Sorry to bother you with a Trivial Question but after reading you blog for the last few months I figure you’re the man to ask to get some answers.
I’m going to be applying to work for Carnival as a Purser (oh sorry Guest Service Representative) and I was Wondering if it was better to apply directly to Carnival or threw a Recruiting Agency. If it is threw a Recruiting Agency is there a Canadian one you could recommend?

Your Fan,
Collin Paterson

P.S. Kye is a little Cutie keep the photo’s coming

John Says:
Hello Colin
It’s never a bother mate. Answering questions is why I am here. Can you tell me where you are from? This way I will be able to give you the right direction on where and how to apply. Send me a few basic details about yourself please.
Look forward to hearing from you
Best wishes
John

Annie Asked:
John please forgive me if you have already answered my question. I have tried to go back and read the blogs I missed while away from home but have had no luck finding the answer. You said there was a possibility that you might sail on the last voyage of the Holiday can you tell me if the plans have been decided yet. I will get to sail with you on Dec.3rd but was thinking of booking the Holiday if you were going to be there.
Kye is really beautiful and yes I think she does look a lot like her father! The only thing is they sure grow up fast not only in years but in actions so keep her with you as much as possible. Take care and God Bless

John Says:
Hello Annie
Thanks so much for the kind words about Kye. There will be more photos of her this Friday. It is still my intention to sail for at least part of her final cruise. I want to write a fitting farewell for the last of the Holiday-class ships and the ship on which I first started my Carnival career. I am planning to finalize everything very soon and will let you know as soon as possible.

Thanks again for the kind words
Best wishes
John

Lisa Asked:
John – Please Reply

Recently found your blog. I love it. The humor is fantastic!

My husband and I, and my parents, will be cruising in September on the Sensation. I’m a bit nervous as I’ve read negative reviews about the Sensation, even after the recent rehab.

I really want this trip to be special as it’s a double celebration – our 25th anniversary, and we’re celebrating my husband taking a break from chemotherapy (he has colon cancer). I like that the Sensation is “small” so he won’t have as much trouble walking around it.

I’m hoping the Sensation was a good choice for our first cruise. Any suggestions on making this trip extra special for our celebrations?

Thanks for your suggestions.

Lisa

John Says:
Hello Lisa
I am so glad you have found the blog and I hope it continues to bring you some good information and some laughter as well.

I am not sure what revues you have read about the Carnival Sensation that are negative but I am sure if you research the boards you will find many more positive ones. Since her multi-million-dollar upgrade she has been rejuvenated and will I promise provide you with a wonderful way to celebrate this landmark anniversary. If you have a dining preference please let me know and I will do my best to arrange this for you. Your husband may need to be at a table near the entrance or you may wish for a table for two…….have a think about it and let me know this and your cabin number a week or so before you sail please…….don’t forget to mark your comment “John, Please Reply.”
I will do all I can to make this cruise very, very special for you as your husband continues his fight against cancer.
Best wishes to you both
John

beentravelin Asked:
John (Please Respond),
The new pictures of the Dream are incredible. I understand that the pictures are copyright protected. I was wondering if you could allow me permission to post them on my Cruise Critic roll call thread. We sail on her May 10th 2010.

I believe I read you will only be onboard till March. If that’s correct, do you have any idea who our CD will be yet? We’ve sailed with Todd and Wee-Jimmy and they were both wonderful. Wee-Jimmy cracks me up.

P.S. Give my best to Heidi and Kye. Do you ever get to video chat with them? Just an idea for the 231 Stephs!

John Says:
Hello Beentravelin

I am glad to hear that you are enjoying the continuing photos of your Carnival Dream and hope you liked the ones today. You may of course post them on your thread thingy….the more people who see our brilliant new ship the better…..post away mate.

Todd will return at the end of March to your Carnival Dream following my seven-week spell there in February and March. In Todd and Wee Jimmy you have experienced two of the very best Carnival cruise directors.

Unfortunately Skype does not work when at sea so I have to rely on regular phone conversations…….and I miss them more every day. Please let me know if I can help you further.
Best wishes
John

Jeanette Asked:
John, I will be on the Splendor in September and I have a question or two for you. I already have been told to not worry that my Edocs or FunPass say VIP for my Cat 11 SS (spa suite)–ok, I take your word for that, therefore, I won’t (but an email I got will come with me just in case). I also want to know if/when spa services calls the guests in spa cabins to tell them what they need to know. I also want to know if I will be getting two spa passes for the free features in the spa, or will they cheap out and give me one because I am cruising solo.
Personally, I am expecting TWO passes to the spa seeing as I am paying a full 200%, which means two people. I will expect to see two and if I don’t I will not be a happy camper. I’m paying close to $3500 for the spa suite, thus, I want what is promised!
Now for the cute part, the latest pic of Kye is adorable. She is very adorable. I am sure she’ll have you wrapped around her finger in no time once you get back to Jolly Old England.

John Says:
Hello Jeanette
Not long now and you will be experiencing without doubt the best spa at sea…. Cloud Nine. I have a feeling that the spa manager will send you just one pass as that’s who is staying in the cabin……just one person. However, I guess you are asking because you want another one, if so, please let me know and I will see what I can do for you. Who is the second pass for………where are they staying?

Someone from the spa will be calling you and or leaving a full menu of what is available in your suite. You can also just take a ride in the private elevator up one floor and have a spa staff member take you on a tour of the stunning facilities.

Thanks again for the kind words and I can’t wait to hold Kye in my arms. Let me know about the spa pass and you will …I promise……….be a “happy camper”

Best wishes
John

Melissa Tuohy Asked:

Please Reply

Hi John! I am requesting “please reply” because I would love to know how the heck you have the time to reply! I have recently began to read your blogs and am so impressed at the time that is put into each day on top of all your other responsibilities? Is this something that you do on your own or as part of your job description through Carnival? How long does it take you to do this every day? I sincerely appreciate your time and all the nice things you do for people who ask your assistance! It is definitely above and beyond! You should be very proud of yourself for having such an impact in so many people’s lives….

Sincerely,
Melissa

PS- Sorry if you have been asked this a thousand times already- in which case, don’t reply! 🙂

John Says:
Hello Melissa
What kind words Melissa…….thank you. Well……….my job description for the blog is really what I decide it to be. Carnival has been great in giving me a mostly free rein on what I write and how often. I have an agreement that I will write five times a week but I often try to write six at least. As far as the content, well, that’s really up to me. I do have Vance from our public relations department look things over before one of the 344 Stephanies posts the blog. There is a disclaimer on the blog thingy saying that Carnival has no idea who I am and anything I say about them or the French has nothing to do with them, but two pairs of eyes are better than one so I always ask Vance to have a look.

As far as the questions go….well….I just want there to be a place where people can express their views and if they need help a place where they can find it. I also hope that if people have a concern or a comment that I can provide a “non-corporate” answer meaning a more personal way of saying thank you or if needed……..sorry.

And that’s that…….so thank you for asking that question and thank you also for those wonderful words of support

Best wishes to you and your family
John

Faye Gilbert Asked:
Good morning and I hope that cold is gone…I have trained myself how to walk down the stairs (or up for that matter) without touching the rails. No, not a germ-a-phobic, but everyone says the cruise ship stair rails are the biggest germ spreaders LOL!!

Anyway, here is my saga, cut & pasted from my cruise critic posting. I am just letting you know my group is a little disenchanted with Carnival and all we see now is “greed” and no customer service or loyalty to us (my 10th Carnival cruise, not even counting Princess cruises) and so I am venting – that’s all – frustrated and worn out before the cruise even sails (August 19-Carnival Spirit-NB Alaska)

Thanks John – just knowing you know what happened helps.

John Says:
Hello Faye
I would be happy to see if I can help with you but there was no link to the Cruise Critic posting which you say has you frustrated. Can you send to me and I will then see what we can do.
Best wishes
John

That’s all for today however here is a follow up about a specific cabin on your Carnival Dream and my thanks to the Hotel Director Donato for taking care of this for us.

Ok lets see if this help you better understand….below are the difference between the Dream cabin # vs Freedom and attached are to picture taken from outside cabins 10201 and 10202 showing you the bulkhead which some will call obstructed view.

Carnival Dream Deck Plan
Dream Map

Carnival Freedom Deck Plan
Freedom Map

Please join me in congratulating our friend and our man in London Peter Shanks.

Cunard Line Names Peter Shanks President and Managing Director

SOUTHAMPTON, England, July 20 /PRNewswire/ — Peter Shanks has been named president and managing director of Cunard Line as part of a new management structure for Carnival UK, it was announced today. This is in response to the continued growth of both Cunard and sister-brand P&O Cruises. Previously serving as chief commercial officer of Carnival UK, Shanks is now responsible for the global leadership and brand development of Cunard which operates flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. He will oversee the construction of the line’s new ship, Queen Elizabeth to be launched October 2010 and will direct Cunard offices in Los Angeles, Hamburg and Sydney while supported by the commercial and product groups within Carnival UK. He will report to David Dingle, chief executive officer, Carnival UK.

Called upon to lend her brand management expertise to Cunard’s UK sister brand, Carol Marlow becomes managing director of P&O Cruises. She will be responsible for leadership and development of the cruise line onboard and ashore.

“I take great pride in leading the continued development of Cunard Line and building on the tremendous success that Carol Marlow has achieved,” said Peter Shanks. “Our brand is famous around the world and we intend to further develop our international strength when Queen Elizabeth joins the fleet in 2010. The North American market in particular is very important to us as we look to have a broad appeal sailing the youngest fleet in the industry and ships deployed year- round suited to North American and international markets,” added Shanks.

Congratulations to Peter and to Carol Marlow to as she takes on her new role in charge of P&O Cruise. I hope Peter won’t forget us over here on the blog thingy and I also hope that when he is ready to retire he lets me know so I can take his job…President of Cunard ……..now that’s a title that comes with a huge dollop of history and tradition with it. I wish them both the very best of luck.

Well, I am sorry to say that the weather has not been so kind these past two days and this afternoon in St. Thomas the skies opened and dumped gallons of liquid sunshine on the guests of the Carnival Liberty, Carnival Glory and Carnival Freedom. As you saw yesterday I had to authorize the washing of one couples wet clothes as it was my fault that it had rained and I am just waiting to see if anyone blames me for the fact that the ship is once again moving a lot as we continue to encounter the tropical wave of weather that is hovering over the Eastern Caribbean. It is something that I have always hated …..not because I get sea sick…..but because there is bugger all I can do about it.
I hope that tomorrow when I wake up in Antigua and look out of my window that the sun is shining down on the good people of the Carnival freedom.
And on that note and because it’s 1:40 am……….I am off to bed. See you in the morning …… oh by the way……….just before I go to sleep I just want to go back to the subject of Heather Mills McCartney. It’s a very sad world we live in when Sir Paul McCartney and his wife have divorced and all comedians want to do is make jokes about her false leg. Personally, I think it’s prosthetic.

Good Morning and what a nice start to the day it was with this e mail.

From: FREEDOM HOUSEKEEPING
Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 8:18 AM
To: FREEDOM HOUSEKEEPING MANAGER; FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES; FREEDOM HOTEL DIRECTOR; FREEDOM STAFF CAPTAIN; FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR; FREEDOM MEDICAL CENTER; FREEDOM SAFETY OFFICER; FREEDOM SECURITY
Cc: FREEDOM HOUSEKEEPING
Subject: Main pool closed

Good evening to all.

Please be advised, Main pool is closed at 8 am due to fecal accident.
This pool will remain closed till further notice.

Thank you all on your kind attention.

Best Regards,

Nemanja
Asst.Hskp.Mgr.

Not again…….this happened last week……….all I can say is “crap”
Time for your live Carnival Dream photos sent to me by Boris today.

Carnival Dream- Picture 018

Carnival Dream- Picture 019

Carnival Dream- Picture 020

Carnival Dream- Picture 026

Carnival Dream- Picture 029

Carnival Dream- Picture 031

I hope you are all enjoying this look at your Carnival Dream and there will be more up to date photos tomorrow.

And onto everyone’s favorite subject……food and here is Vance to show us the press release about the amazing dining opportunities available on your Carnival Dream.

New 130,000-Ton Carnival Dream to Offer Widest Variety of All-Inclusive Dining Options in the ‘Fun Ship’ Fleet
From a two-level casual eatery featuring a new Italian pasta station, Indian tandoori and burrito bar, to an elegant steakhouse, and Ocean Plaza — a stunning indoor/outdoor café and live music venue — the new Carnival Dream will offer a tantalizing array of culinary choices.

All of the Carnival Dream’s dining options, except for the reservations-recommended steakhouse, specialty coffees and select patisserie items, are available free of charge.

The 130,000-ton Carnival Dream – the line’s largest ship – is set to debut Sept. 21 and the vessel’s size has provided the line additional opportunities to offer guests a host of palate-pleasing dining choices from around the world.

“‘Fun Ship’ cruising is already the best value at sea and we’ve conducted extensive research that shows that in today’s economy consumers are seeking a vacation that offers a multitude of delicious dining choices without a lot of added costs,” said Roberta Jacoby, Carnival’s senior vice president of hotel operations. “The dining options aboard the Carnival Dream represent the culmination of our wide-ranging consumer research efforts, while showcasing the incredible talents of our master chefs.”

Expanded Casual Offerings, Including New Italian Pasta Bar

Carnival is known for offering the widest variety of casual dining options at sea, and Carnival Dream continues that tradition with the two-level casual eatery called The Gathering, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner alternatives. From Italian and Tex-Mex to tandoori and Asian specialties – and just about everything in between – The Gathering offers a diversity of culinary choices to suit any mood or taste.

New on Carnival Dream is a pasta bar where guests have their choice of pasta, sauce and ingredients to create a custom-made dish and enjoy traditional Italian favorites such as Portobello ravioli and pasta carbonara. The Gathering will also house Carnival’s popular 24-hour pizzeria with seven kinds of pies and calzone, Caesar salad and garlic bread.

Carnival Dream’s burrito bar is also sure to be a popular spot where guests can create an overstuffed wrap featuring their choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, salsa and other accompaniments.

Also available within The Gathering will be a Mongolian wok offering custom-made stir-fries with guests’ choice of meat and vegetables and finished with one of Carnival’s signature sauces; Taste of the Nations, featuring a different international cuisine each day; a New York–style deli; a tandoori oven offering Indian-style chicken, fish and meatballs, along with traditional bread, chutneys and relishes; and a grille serving hot dogs, hamburgers and grilled chicken sandwiches.

The Gathering will also offer an extensive 35-item salad bar, 24-hour frozen yogurt, low-calorie dressings and sugar-free desserts for guests seeking healthier alternatives.

An expanded 24-hour room service menu that includes new choices such as Medium Rare Roast Beef and Brie on French Baguette and Grilled Fresh Mozzarella and Portobello Mushroom on Focaccia, will also be offered. Room service orders are delivered to guests’ staterooms any time of the day or night at no charge.

Located along Promenade Deck will be Wasabi, a sushi bar serving complimentary sushi, as well as sake.

Specialty Coffees and Sweets at Ocean Plaza

Exclusive to Carnival Dream is the new Ocean Plaza, a spectacular indoor/outdoor café and entertainment venue designed as the ideal spot for guests to relax and people watch.

In addition to a dance floor and a stage featuring live entertainment, Ocean Plaza will offer full Wi-Fi access, along with 12 stand-alone kiosks where guests can access an exciting new concept in shipboard technology – the FunHub, Carnival Dream’s comprehensive portal and exclusive on-board social network.

The centerpiece of Ocean Plaza will be Plaza Café, a patisserie serving lattes, cappuccinos, espresso and other specialty coffees, along with sweets such as baked-on-board cakes, pies, cookies – even freshly made milkshakes. Full bar service, specializing in martinis, mojitos and other popular cocktails, will be offered, as well.

The Ultimate Dining Experience at The Chef’s Art Steakhouse

For those seeking a more intimate dining experience, The Chef’s Art, Carnival Dream’s steakhouse-style restaurant, will offer delectable cuisine in memorable surroundings.

Located on Spa Deck 12, this 139-seat venue offers a sumptuous menu of prime dry-aged U.S.D.A. beef – selections include a nine-ounce filet, 14-ounce strip loin, 18-ounce grilled prime rib chop and 24-ounce porterhouse – along with lobster tail, lamb chops, Chilean sea bass, Maine Lobster ravioli and more. Creamed spinach, Wasabi mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and traditional sauces complete the steakhouse experience.

The delicious choices, combined with attentive service and an extensive wine list, make a meal at The Chef’s Art truly unforgettable. Reservations are recommended and there is a charge of $30 per person.

Wide Range of Formal Choices

Guests dining in Carnival Dream’s two-level Scarlet and Crimson main dining rooms will have their choice of six different appetizers and soups, two salads and six entrees each night.

Also, Carnival Classics selections, including char-broiled steak made with the line’s signature rub, grilled chicken and pasta dishes, along with a decadent dessert menu offering six different selections, including the cruise industry’s most popular dessert — the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake — will be offered nightly.

For those seeking more health-conscious cuisine, dining room menus feature Spa Carnival Fare selections, delicious, guilt-free items that are lower in calories, cholesterol, sodium and fat content. Vegetarian choices and children’s menus are available, as well.

Exciting Inaugural Schedule

Carnival Dream is slated to debut Sept. 21, 2009, with the first of three 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises operating round-trip from Rome, followed by a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Rome (Civitavecchia) to New York Oct. 27 – Nov. 12, 2009.

From New York, Carnival Dream will operate two eight-day Bahamas/Florida cruises departing Nov. 15 and 23, then reposition to Port Canaveral, Fla., for a special nine-day Caribbean cruise Dec. 3. Carnival Dream will then launch year-round seven-day service from Port Canaveral, Dec. 12, offering weeklong voyages to the eastern and western Caribbean.

Carnival Dream’s exciting diversity of formal and casual dining choices are showcased in a revamped Web portal at carnival.com/dream which also contains information, videos, blogs, and images highlighting the ship’s many other innovations and features.

Additional information and reservations are also available by contacting any travel agent, calling 1-800-CARNIVAL or visiting carnival.com.

What jumps off the page at me there is not just the huge variety of eating options but how many of them are free, gratis, complimentary, included in the ticket price, non payo de moneyo, nichts das payen. Surely fans of other lines must be reading this press release and thinking “Why the heck do we have to pay for all these extras when I can go on my Carnival Dream and pay bugger all extra.”…..and if they are not thinking this ….. well ………… they are totally nuts.

Here is Stephanie Leavitt — or Coco as she is now known — to tell us where we can find some great video shots of Roberta Jacoby our senior vice president of hotel operations talking about her passion for your Carnival Dream.

Hi Everyone!

Please be sure to stop by the www.carnival.com/dream site to watch videos about the cool features onboard the Carnival Dream.

See you soon!
Stephanie

Thanks Stephanie. In a few days there I will provide link thingies to the videos I have made about the steak house and Lido deck options……….they were fun to make and I hope they will be fun to watch as well.

Now here’s Stephanie …Coco again to tell you about about an exciting news letter that is available just for you.

Hi Everyone,
Long time no talk 😉 Just wanted to introduce you the “Funville Times”. If you’ve signed up for email updates on carnival.com you should’ve received the newsletter today. And if you haven’t signed up, you can view this months newletter online by clicking here. And to receive next month’s issue straight to your inbox visit www.carnival.com and click on the “Don’t Miss a Thing” section.

Stephanie

One of the subjects I spoke about with my friends from Miami who were on the ship yesterday for the QCC (Quality Control Committee) was the past guest pins.

Now I have good news and bad news…………..which do you want to hear first?
OK……..the good news. The good news is that there is some very, very good news ……. the bad news is that I can’t tell you for another few days what that good news is. I can tell you that I won half the battle and some of you will be very happy indeed. Anyway, this message will self destruct in 10 seconds. . . . . . . . . BANG

Well, it’s stayed dry so far here in Antigua but the sky is as grey as the hairs on my arse. I feel so sorry for these guests this cruise as the weather has been less than nice. I know I can’t do anything about it despite what one or two guests may think but I hope that the remaining four days are full of sunshine……..hope springs eternal.

Men……you know that chap George Clooney…….the one your wife or girlfriend is thinking about when she’s having rumpy pumpy with you? Well, he doesn’t look as good as he does without work. He has facials and beauty treatments and everything.

Clearly, the only difference between normal people like me (and, I’m afraid, you) and gorgeous people like him is skincare. Okay, and money. And looks. And a six-pack. ……. but it’s mainly skincare that keeps his face looking like it does……….the bastard.

Tired of your loved one shouting, “Ohhhh, George, you are the man” all the time? Then I suggest you have one of the Botox for men things that are now available on the Princess ships or an acupuncture facial which I am assured by the acupuncturist here on the Carnival Freedom works the same as Botox and can have me looking like Mr. Clooney in just one treatment.
So, I am going to have one of these facial acupuncture thingies so when I fly back home and I burst through the front door like an all-action jaw chiseled hero Heidi will be yelling my name rather than thinking about George.

Then again……..it will have been four months or more since I have been blessed with any rumpy pumpy…….so she can call me George, Pierre, Micky or Fat Bastard ……. I really won’t care.

Goodnight
Your friend
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.