Monday Morning Blues

July 27, 2009 -

John Heald

Well, that’s another cruise over and I have to say although the guests all had a brilliant time I am sure many of them left with a feeling that the weather cheated them out of a total Caribbean experience. It rained in San Juan, it rained in Antigua and in St Thomas. It rained on the sea day before Nassau but in Nassau itself it didn’t rain……oh no ………… it pissed down bucketfuls of angry driving rain and the rain was joined by thunder and angry flashes of lightning…….from the moment we arrived……..to the moment we left……..bugger, bugger, bugger.

This weather meant that the 1,100 people who had booked excursions at the Atlantis Hotel could not go as the dolphins, the aqua park and the beach were closed because of the weather. The poor guests………I mean we did all we could for them on board with extra activities and events but I could see in their eyes how disappointed they were… and of course the cancellation of the tours meant a huge loss of revenue for Carnival as well.

When the tours are canceled the refunds are automatically made to the guest’s Sail & Sign accounts by the way and this means at least they don’t have to stand in line.

The guests left this morning and today we start a new six-day cruise. Here is who will be sailing with us.

GUESTS – 3,576

PLATINUM CARD HOLDERS – 109

MILESTONE – 6

NON US OR CANADA – 244

Venezuela 54

Germany 26

Holland 19

AGE GROUP

TOTALS

Under 2 Years

14

2-5 Years

66

6-8 Years

124

9-11 Years

163

12-14 Years

249

15-17 Years

250

18-20 Years

197

YOUTH COUNT REPORTS:

AGE GROUP

TOTALS

Under 21

1063

Under 18

866

Under 15 (Hotel Tracking)

616

Under 12 (Camp)

367

Under 6 (Nassau Ports)

80

And continuing the miserable start to today’s blog it is time for me to have a good old moan……….here goes.

Please, for the love of God will the people with beards and sandals put down their tofu baguettes and fix these bloody computers. Last week it was the check in system in embarkation that went down and this week it worked perfectly. However, the sail and sign system computer thingy wasn’t working from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm and that meant that guests could not purchase tours or change the names on cabin keys, etc and all the bar service checks had to be written manually.

OK, I shouldn’t be so harsh on the computer types and I say the above in jest of course. But…it is so frustrating when for three straight cruises your first announcement is one containing the word “sorry.” OK, let me stop being miserable and concentrate on answering your questions……here we go.

Jacquelyn Asked:
John – Please Reply
Hi John,
My name is Jacquelyn and although I have been reading your blog for a couple months, this is the first time I have written to you. First of all let me say what an angel Kye is, I understand why you miss her so much. I have two questions for you:

1. I am booked on the Elation for Aug. 13 which is my birthday present to me. I read some where that it has laser tag. Before I tell my cousin who is going with me (she is a Carnival Newbie soon to be converted) I just wanted to make sure I had my facts straight.

2. I also just booked my Spring Break cruise on the Dream for March 27. I saw that you are going to be the CD of the Dream in March. Will you be the CD on that voyage? I will be so excited if you are.
Thanks for all your help
Jacquelyn

John Says:
Hello Jacquelyn
Congratulations on making a successful first post and thank you also for being so kind to my family with those beautiful words. Carnival Elation does indeed have Laser Tag and you and your cousin will have loads of fun in the Laser Arena onboard. March 27th will be my final voyage before Todd returns from his vacation so indeed we will be together. I hope you have a fantastic birthday cruise and if you can think of any other questions before you sail please let me know. Best wishes and have a brilliant birthday on the Carnival Elation.
John

kiciaski Asked:
Hi John,
Is the Maitre d’ on the 9/5/09 Carnival Liberty really called Elvis or is that a joke? I am going to e-mail him regarding our dining request.

I think some of this confusion about no past guest party started with one of my questions. I had asked about the free drinks at the Captain’s party and also asked about the past guest party. You answered my question about the Captain’s party but not about the past guest party. I think the person assumed that since it wasn’t addressed that maybe it was eliminated. I replied to the post on Cruise Critic that I did not think that was true at all.

Hopefully for once and for all I hope this is answered and done.

I’m sure you miss Heidi and Kye a lot and I hope they will be with you on the Carnival Dream in February.

Thanks for all you do.
George and Linda

John Says:
Hello George and Linda

Yes indeed. The maitre d is called Elvis and he once told me his parents were huge Elvis fans thus the name.

Please let me know about your dining request as there really is not a method in place for guests to e-mail crew directly. I will be happy to do this for you and if you don’t let me I will be all shook up ……thank you very much ……..said in my best Elvis impression …..which is crap.

I thank you for mentioning the past guest party as you are correct, there was some confusion but with the free drinks flowing at all our past guest parties……..hopefully this subject has been put to bed.

I do miss my girls very much but will be by their side in 29 days time.

Hope to see you both soon as well and let me know about the dining reservation.
Best wishes
John

Missing the £20 note Asked:
John – PLEASE REPLY
Now I know what happened to that £20 note that I lost in Southend on Sea so many years ago.

I checked and a £20 note from that long ago is now worth £20,000, so I will just settle for a prepaid, spa suite on the cruise to nowhere as compensation.

As for Mr. $30 per couple, having eaten in the Supper Club more than once (more than steak is served, you know) AND paid for the couple that dined with us (those beautiful people who will be on the Carnival Dream with Todd), I can state unequivocally that the (now) Steakhouse is fairly, even under, priced.

What does Mr. Cheapo expect for his money, anyway? Gordon Ramsey cooking at his table? Please, give me a break.
Just Jon

P. S. – I’ll take my steak rare, with onion rings and a bottle of 47 pound Rooster Merlot, thank you.

John Says:
Hello Jon
If I had known that 20 pound note (where the hell is the pound sterling key on my computer?) I would have bought you a funnel hat and a I Miss The Smoke Free Paradise pair of underwear with it.

The steakhouse remains a firm favourite and I am promoting it as much as I can here because it is a product I truly believe in so thanks mate for the glowing recommendation. By the way, this past 8 day cruise, 505 people ate there…..number of negative comments ………0.

Hope to see you both soon
Best wishes
John

Uncle Doug Asked:
John, please reply,
Through some amazing feats and a little bit of luck my schedule has just now shifted that would allow me to take some time off in mid November 2009. So I was looking for pricing on the November 15, 2009 bloggers cruise and do not see it listed on the Carnival web site. Does this mean it is sold out? That would be a huge disappointment if so but I can understand due to your huge popularity. As there any way to get wait listed for a sold out cruise?

I guess there will be a spring 2010 Bloggers cruise. Any word on a date or date range and ship? It will be close enough to our 25th wedding aniv. (You know the rumpy pumpy day) to go ahead and book.

John Says:
Hello Uncle Doug
I am truly honoured (spelt correctly) that you would consider booking the Bloggers cruise with me. Is there anyway you can stretch the time off you have to the December 3rd bloggers cruise? There are limitations on the New York one and there are still a few open cabins for December.

I totally understand if not and in that case maybe I can help you book another Carnival cruise instead. Now, as for 2010, I know that many are waiting for news on this and we have been talking about it this past week. We are looking at possibly September 2010. If we do spring 2010 it will be only a few months after the Carnival Dream 2009 bloggers. Thus, we were thinking of September as a possibility…….not sure what ship just yet. It will be interesting to see what everyone thinks about this.

Anyway, let me know Uncle Doug and I am so sorry that the New York cruise is no longer available but hope springs eternal that I will see you in December.
Best wishes
John

Katrina Asked:
Hi John, please reply I have a question why aren’t military discounts offered on Suites? My DH and I are sailing on the Conquest for New Years and have been thinking we’d like to upgrade to the suite. I called and asked about the military rate on those rooms and they said that they aren’t available for the suites. Because we do get a discount on the balcony rooms, it is quite a bit of a difference in pricing between that and the regular suite rates. I know that “shhh another cruise line” does offer the military rate on some dates for the suites, so I was disappointed that Carnival does not… Other than the infamous upgrade call, is there any other way to get a discounted rate on suites? If you can add us to the upgrade fairy’s call list that would certainly be awesome – booking number ******. Please let me know

John Says:
Hello Katrina
I was actually talking to Terry Thornton, senior vice president of marketing planning who is sailing with us this week, about our military rates and how I would like to talk more about them here on the blog thingy and that the cruise directors who know very little about them should promote them on board. After all, we should be proud that we offer them and therefore make sure everyone knows about them. This is something that he agreed with and Terry and I will be working on this together.

I was not aware that they were not available on the suites. I would guess that the revenue we make on the suites is at a premium and therefore we don’t wish to discount these cabins too much………….that’s only a guess but I will find out and let you know very soon and I will post the answer here.

I will do all I can to make your new years cruise your best ever.
Best wishes
John

April Z. Asked:
Dear John (Please Reply),
First, I want to say that every time I write you a letter, I feel like I am leaving my husband… and I certainly hope that you get that reference…

We are traveling in September and we are taking our 20 month old son. He will obviously not be old enough to attend Camp Carnival, but we are going anyway because our options were “take him with us” or “don’t go”. And “don’t go” is just not acceptable. This will be my first cruise and I would love to know if you have any advice on taking such a youngster on board with us. We plan to utilize the babysitting services, I just hope that we can have a stress FREE vacation rather than a stress FUL vacation with him with us. And if any of your readers have advice, that too is welcome.

My second question is why does Camp Carnival start at age 2? I understand not taking infants, but I wish the age limit was 1 instead. I will have you know, however, that Carnival has the lowest age limit of the cruise lines. Even Disney won’t take them until three unless you pay for babysitting services. So, kudos for that. My only other recommendation is that Carnival start offering a limited amount of babysitting hours during the day as well so that parents like us can enjoy the serenity deck while we are out at sea or eat at the STEAKHOUSE (see what I did there?) one night. As it is, we are limited by what we can do because there are just some things he can’t do with us.

Anyway, those are my 2 cents, and as always, thank you for being so awesome!
April Z.

John Says:
Hello April Z
I have that effect on ladies ………everyone wants to leave them for me.  I can totally understand that the “don’t go” option was one that was never going to be considered.

It’s strange because until recently I would not have been able to appreciate what parents of younger children go through when arranging vacations, etc. Heidi and I have recently been talking through the complexities of traveling with Kye so I now understand what parents go through when arranging travel with young ones.

Carnival has always had a two year old minimum age when it comes to Camp Carnival and the responsibilities of looking after a child that age are immense. I just spoke to Julie our Youth Director on board and she tells me that the requirements of looking after a 1 year old compared with a two year old are quite different ……I guess these are things I have to look forward to. Anyway, as you said we do have facilities for babysitting and I will certainly mention to our Miami office your desire for us to offer daytime babysitting for the younger children.

By the way…….I was at the steakhouse this week to chat with some guests for a few minutes and I noticed a young baby asleep in a stroller by the side of one of the tables …….so please do not think you can’t take your young one with you. Thanks then for your two cents which was worth much more.

Please let me know if you have any other questions and I send my best wishes to you and your family
John

Joe M. Asked:
John Please Reply
John thanks for taking time out of your busy days to answer so many questions on your blog thingy!

Having 4 cruises under our belts with other cruise lines, we’re giving Carnival a try with the Dream next May. We’re booked in an 8S cabin, on Spa deck, and we’re curious about whether there is any kind of an overhang above us, or if our balcony is completely exposed. I’ve been studying the photos you’ve posted with a magnifying glass, but all I’m seeing are red, green, blue pixels. Perhaps Boris might be able to tell if we should expect any shelter on the balcony, or if we should pack an umbrella. Thanks, and I hope you’ve recovered from your cold by the time you read this!

John Says:
Hello Joe
When I read that you had tried four other cruise lines and were now trying Carnival for the very first time, I started to do an Irish jig …….in my underpants………….on top of the smokestack……….that’s how happy I was.

Your spa deck cabin will be a beautiful place to return to after you have enjoyed all the amazing facilities, dining options and great shows that your Carnival Dream will offer. Your balcony does have a clear view of the ocean and if you were to lean over the balcony …..which you shouldn’t, of course…….you will also have a glimpse of what’s happening on the ships fabulous outside promenade. The overhang will keep you dry but you won’t need an umbrella because I have taken the liberty of ordering perfect weather for you. Oh, by the way, did you know that umbrellas are considered very, very unlucky on ships………….there is a reason for that but I can’t remember, plus it would probably be unlucky for me to write it here anyway.

Now, as this is your first ever Carnival cruise please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything you need.

If not, please keep reading the blog thingy and have a brilliant time on your Carnival Dream.
Best wishes
John

Larry M. Asked:
John please reply.
My family and I are sailing on our 7th cruise on the August 5th Northbound Spirit. We have sailed on the Celebration, Sensation, Elation, Glory, Conquest, and Fantasy. We have received pins for all except our first cruise on the Celebration. There were 4 of us on that cruise. Is there any way we can get pins from the Celebration? We have asked numerous customer service agents over the last few years, but none of them knew how we could get this.

Anytime I can get a Steakhouse dinner for only $30 per person, I’m going to jump on it. Sure you can get a cheaper steak, but as usual, you get what you pay for.

One more question. When is Heidi and Kye going on a cruise with you????

John Says:
Hello Larry
Unfortunately not. You see, the Celebration did not host past guest parties and therefore a pin made for that ship was never produced. The good news is that I have been involved in some major discussions about the pins and hopefully in the next few days I can release some more information about these cherished keepsakes.  I don’t think any of us had any idea how important these little buggers are to thousands of people. Anyway, as I said……there will be more pin news very soon.

I am glad you are a fan of the steakhouses on our ships and as to when Kye and Heidi will be sailing with me…..well……..that conversation is very much ongoing but I hope the answer is soon……very soon.

Have a great Alaskan cruise.
Best wishes
John

Mickeyspal Asked:
PLEASE REPLY TO: JULIE ANNE (second question in this post)
Hi, John,
Enjoyed this post very much (as usual), and don’t mean to be a “smart aleck,” but I think your reply to Julie Anne was about the wrong ship. She asked about the Carnival Freedom and you gave her info about the Carnival Dream. (Just trying to be helpful here  :))

Kye is growing sooo fast. You must miss her and Heidi like mad! And I’m sure both your beautiful ladies miss you equally. I hope when Kye is older she and Heidi will sail with you as often as possible so you won’t miss much of Kye’s childhood.

You are looking very “svelte” these days. Whatever you’re doing diet and exercise wise seems to be working. Do you feel “healthier”?

So, take care and send my best wishes to Heidi and Kye.
Your Pal, Myra

John Says:
Hello Myra
Yes……you were right and I gave her the correct information in Friday’s blog. Thanks mate for spotting my silly mistake. I am determined not to miss my daughter growing up. I will be working a two month on 6 weeks off type of deal next year but if Heidi and Kye can sail frequently then it may be more. I am hoping that Carnival will return to Europe in 2011 and then I can spend a longer time onboard and be closer to the family.

Eventually……..and I don’t know when……..I will have to take a land based job ……. maybe with Carnival UK……although I am about as good at office work as a flamingo is at baseball…………but I intend to keep going as a cruise director for as long as I can or as long as I am wanted.

It is very hard being away from them though………….very hard.

I feel much healthier now I have shed a few pounds but I still have dreams of a huge plate of chips (fries) covered in ketchup, mayonnaise and satay sauce…….a Dutch special and of course I miss my Mum’s roast potatoes.

Thanks again mate and my best wishes to you and the family.
John

Whitefamily15165 Asked:
PLEASR REPLY JOHN,
We just got back from our first cruise on the Carnival Freedom July12-18….It was AWESOME! It was me, my husband and 2 daughters, ages 18 and 21. We had one small problem that could’ve ruined our vacation when we arrived in our cabin #1116 that I don’t want to mention on here because eventually it was taken care of. I did address it on my comment card just so it would not happen to any future guests! We had the best time and can’t wait to cruise again but have all decided the cruise wouldn’t have been the same without you and our next cruise will definitely have to be one of your cruises! We laughed till we cried at every show that you were a part of as well as the Happy Cole show which was also amazing!

The service on the cruise exceeded our expectations and our dining room waiters, Widana and Kadek were the BEST! My daughters were very impressed with them and we looked forward to dinner each night with them! The only regret we had was that we did not get the Bedtime story video. We were VERY disappointed because we didn’t get a chance to buy the DVD of the Bedtime story!

Is there anyway we can get a copy of it now? We are hoping to cruise next year on the Carnival Dream! Thanks again for a GREAT vacation! Please let me know if we can buy the DVD as soon as possible!
Jinna VB

John Says:
Hello the White Family
Just before I continue can you please send me some details on the concern you had when you arrived in the cabin. I won’t post it but will reply privately and the information you provide will be really helpful.

I am tickled pink that you and the family had such a wonderful time and that you enjoyed my silly antics. I have taken the liberty of sending these comments to the maitre d who will show Widana and Kadek who much you enjoyed their service.  Unfortunately there is some bad news. We don’t keep any copies of the bedtime story for more than a few days after the cruise has finished. They were for sale the last two days of the cruise but are no longer available…….I am so sorry.

I hope you have some memories of that silly show and they will keep you going until we see you on your Carnival Dream.

Once again thanks so much for the words of praise, they mean so much.
Best wishes to you and the family
John

Melissa Asked:
John please reply.
Me again John with just one more cocktail party clarification.

If the experiment that is on the Valor goes fleet-wide, the party on the first elegant evening will have no complimentary drinks, correct? Just discounted ones.

Too, at the party on the first elegant evening will there still be an opportunity to meet/greet the cruise director, the captain and his officers? Seems like the cocktail party is the only time I ever see the cruise director. (At least that is how it has been on the 10 CCL cruises I have been on.)

Anyway, sorry for another question about the parties but I want to be sure I am going to explain everything correctly to my friends who are asking me!

My best to you and your beautiful ladies.
Melissa

John Says:
Hello Melissa
The trial on the Carnival Valor involving the elegant night function is on going however there have been no plans discussed so far to move this across the fleet and as soon as I hear anything I will let you know. Obviously we are checking to see what the guest reaction is …….which is obviously something we look at very carefully…as well as various other logistical issues, etc.

Regardless, you will still get to meet and greet the captain, senior officers and the cruise director at the first night elegant party. I am disappointed that this is the only time you have personally met the CD and I hope that is not the case on your next cruise.  Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding this or anything else.

Best wishes and thanks for the kind words.
John

The Bakers Asked:
Hi John, Please reply, Thank You
You continue to be as funny as ever and we are now planning our next European cruise with Carnival. When are they going back to the Med? We went on the Freedom in 2007 and were thrilled to have met you and Heidi. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to see Kye one day also. She is just a “little princess” and cute as can be. I am having something made for Kye and need to know where to send it?

I also have a question for Leona Oakes that commented on today’s blog. The Oakes must have been on our same Freedom cruise in 2007 and we are curious what Mount Holly city you were talking about on stage??? Is it Mount Holly, NJ? If so that is my hometown!! Small world indeed!!

LOL Paula and Nelson B. in North Carolina

John Says:
Hello Paula and Nelson
I am hopeful that one day we will be able to announce that we are returning back to the Med in 2011. I know nothing for sure and have no idea when and on what ship but I do know that as important as it was to bring the ships home during this current economic downturn it is just as important that when the time is right Carnival has a ship or ships taking their guests to enjoy the delights of Europe.

I am so touched that you are making something for Kye and there is an address at the side of this blog thingy as to where to send it….thank you from the three of us so very much.

I had a chap from Mount Holly who was the star of that particular cruise and the town became famous that cruise for sure. What a small world that it’s your home town.

I hope we get to sail together in Europe one day and you get to meet my girls.
Best wishes to you all
John

Sarah M. Asked:

Hey John! I love your blog, by the way! Very informative.

My fiancé and I are going to be on our honeymoon cruise on the Conquest (9/27). We would love to take part in the newlywed game. What do we need to do to be a part of it?

Thanks for your help!
Sarah (soon-to-be Hathaway)

John Says:
Hello Sarah
I am glad you like the blog and I hope you will keep reading for some time to come. Please send me your details a week or so before you sail and include your cabin number so I can arrange something special for you with regard to your request. If you need anything else please let me know.

Best wishes
John

Irene Garner Asked:
Dear John, please reply

Just a quick question. I just looked up who will be our CD on our upcoming (4th) cruise on the Carnival Valor, September 13th I see that there will be changeover of CD during the month of September, but I wondered why some of the entries are highlighted in yellow, as the CD on our cruise has his name highlighted.

Thanks…Irene Garner (still hooked on cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene
I checked with Big Tex and your CD for your cruise will be my old mate Gary Brierly. Gary is very, very funny. He was with me for the start up of the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor and I am very excited that he has finally gotten his chance to shine as a cruise director…….and shine he will. The yellow highlights are there to represent the handover period between the arriving cruise director and the one who is leaving.

I know you will have a brilliant time and please let me know if there is anything you need.

Best Wishes
John

JJ Flurett Asked:
John, (please reply)
Just a note to say Hi! from a lurker. I was quite surprised today to see that not are you not only the Carnival Brand Ambassador but you must be the Carnival Head Maitre ‘d! (Sorry about those hideous tablemates Ruth!)

You are a very patient man. How do you do it?

John Says:
Hello my lurking friend

Just wanted to say thank you for your kind words of support. I try my best always to help even when the requests are not written as pleasantly as they should be.

Plus…….knowing that I am sitting here in my underpants helps me write nice things and not tell someone to bugger off.

Thanks JJ and my best wishes to you and the family.
John

Jilly Asked:
John, Please Reply:
Hi there, we are booked on the Oct 15th sailing of the Dream. We’ve enjoyed the photos and videos you’ve been posting. We are booked in a cove Balcony cabin. We debated for quite awhile on whether or not this would be a good cabin choice as these cabins are below the galley. How much noise should we expect (especially in the early mornings)? In looking at the deck plans, I booked the Cove Balcony cabin as far aft as possible (2414). Are you able to tell me what part of the galley is directly above us?

Thank you so much. I really enjoy your blog.
Jilly

John Says:
Hello Jilly
I spoke to Boris and he has advised that you should not hear any noise from the galley space directly above you. The soundproofing is excellent on your Carnival Dream plus you are far enough aft not to be directly under the center of galley operations. I have seen the cove balconies for myself and I have experienced the stunning views they provide and I promise you that this choice of cabin is an excellent one. If you have any other questions I will be here and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.
Best wishes
John

Jack & Geri Asked:
Hi John, please reply

My question is this please:
We are in an 8S on the Spa deck balcony on the DREAM in November and is the balcony looking down on a deck or straight into the water. I can’t make it out in the pictures you sent here. Thank you in advance for your answer. See you on the B2B Blogger’s Cruise.
Geri

John Says:
Hello Geri
That’s interesting…….two questions about the same cabin area of your Carnival Dream for the same cruise on one set of questions. As I replied earlier the balcony has a direct view to the ocean if you are seated on your balcony chair, etc. If you lean over the balcony railing you will also have a great view of the outside promenade as well.

Therefore you have the best of both worlds……you can ocean watch…….and people watch.

See you soon and my best wishes to you and the family.
John

JAS1178 Asked:
John – PLEASE REPLY
First, I am amazed at all you do with the blog and helping people on top of being a full time cruise director and more.

I posted a comment yesterday, but I neglected to give you any information for possible follow-up contact. We sailed on the Carnival Glory on 7/11/09. The booking # is 49J2M8

As I mentioned, I just returned and had a horrible week. I wrote a letter to Miami, but wondered if there was anyone I could speak to regarding what happened. I really don’t think the comments section of the blog is the appropriate place to air what I feel to be a Carnival failure. I truly believe that Carnival can and will make this right if they have the opportunity.

If you are interested in the details of what happened, I can certainly share them with you, or whomever.

John – Thank you for being so accessible, and so much fun to read every day. I would be so grateful for any help you can provide.

John Says:
Hello Jas1178
I really would like to know what happened so please post your remarks on the blog as usual and mark it JOHN – PLEASE DO NOT POST BUT REPLY – and Stephanie will send me your thoughts. I will do all I can to make sure whatever concerns you have are immediately addressed.

I thank you for those wonderful words of support. Please write soon.
Best wishes
John

Irene G. Asked:
Dear John, Please reply
How do we get our copy of the Currents magazine? I thought we were supposed to get a free subscription after taking our first cruise with Carnival, but my first cruise with Carnival was in August 2008, and I have taken 3 cruises in total, but I have never received even one copy of the magazine. I am moving soon, so I will contact Carnival with my new address, but what will it take to start receiving the magazine?

Thanks….Irene G. (hooked on cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene

I think we have a few issues with who and when people get their copies. I am actually talking about this with the appropriate folks here at Carnival this week. However, in the meantime I will make sure that you get your copies and please let me know when you move so that I can help update your e mail.

I am asking Stephanie to speak to someone as well so we can find a way for all those people who want to get a copy do so and maybe provide a link thingy for that here on the blog. I will let you know.
Best wishes
John

Ruth and Al G. Asked:
John – for an immediate reply
While I am not concerned or have any regard to what others who read this page say, I am concerned at you and your company’s lack of customer service in confirming that my husband and I will have a table for two.

Maybe you should spend more time concentrating on the needs of your customers and less time on toilet based infantile humor.

Have you or have you not confirmed our reservation?

John Says:
Hello Ruth and Al
I am sorry that you are not a fan of my humour (spelt correctly.) It is certainly not for everyone yet it has become part of the blog. I also apologize that you feel that I am not offering the correct customer service levels and I will try to raise my game on this point.

I have spoken to the maitre d and he will indeed make sure you have a table for two even though your voyage is some weeks away. I have set my raspberry…..sorry…….I mean my Blackberry calendar….to remind me 10 days before you sail to contact the maitre d and I will then write to you and let you know which dining room you will be dining in.

Once again my apologies and I hope this has shown you that Carnival and I are committed to customer service
Best wishes
John

Isabel Petrie Asked:
Hi John
As this will be our first cruise, as we are booked on the “Dream on Oct 2 7, 2009 sailing out of Rome , I must say “getting exciting and scared at the same time….Here’s the million dollar question …I was wondering if the Captain of the Dream would marry us? We would make sure that we have all the documents , and would like to be married at the exact middle of the Atlantic Ocean…boy wouldn’t that be a story we could share with the grandchildren…Please ask the Captain, as it would be a Dream Of a life time for us..

Isabel and Robert

John Says:
Hello Isabel
What an amazing first cruise you will have….on your Carnival Dream….in the Mediterranean . …….wow. Well, unfortunately the old seagoing tradition of a captain being able to marry couples is one that has long since past. Our captains do in fact offer a marriage renewal ceremony however as far as a legally binding service that has to be done officially through our bon voyage department.

Now, if you wish me to put you in touch with someone who can arrange a European wedding I can do so and if you would like to book an unofficial renewal or dedication service I can help you with this as well. Please let me know and I will be honoured to try and help you.

It’s going to be an amazing experience regardless. Best wishes to you both.
John

Virginia Asked:
John,
The cruise Kathy and I took the week of 7/12 – 7/18/09 was our 9th and 7th straight on Carnival.   (Yes it took us 3 tries to find the BEST cruise line.)   This cruise was by far the BEST yet.   I thought we would never top Wee Jimmy as Cruise Director, boy was I wrong.   I heard that you trained him so that explain why he is so good but not in you league as you are definitely in a league of your own, heads & shoulders the BEST.

We were all set for a relaxing cruise, no shows, maybe just a couple of dinner night, and no shore excursions.   That all changed when the Sail Away party was winding down and we were approached by Jamie D?  &  Jamey Fraizer.   (No one still knows this).   Kathy was reluctant to do it but I thought what the heck….go for it.    Little did I know of the recognition that would go along with my crazy antics?   I can honestly say that everyone, young, old and all nationalities were very supportive and kept saying how much they enjoyed it.   I only maybe once got on an elevator that someone said “hey you are Virginia”.   It was an unbelievable experience.  I felt like a celebrity for the cruise.   Even during disembarkment I was still being recognized.  I was around NASCAR celebrities for 23 years and witnessed their status so I know on a small scale of what it is like You are truly the BEST at your profession.   Thanks for making it easy to do, not to mention the FUN I had doing it.  Laughter is surely a great medicine for the body and mind.

John Says:
Hello Virginia
I know you didn’t ask for a reply but I wanted to thank you for providing the 3,600 people of the Carnival Freedom with some amazing moments of fun and entertainment. When each cruise starts I have but one goal and that is to make some of the people sailing famous and have normal people like you doing extraordinary things. So, on behalf of a grateful 3600 people who will never forget you………thank you so very much. You were both brilliant.

Hope to see you soon.
Best wishes
John

That’s all for today. I will try to answer as many questions as I can this coming five days so please mark your comments John Please Reply if you need anything at all.

Thanks to Bill Zydecocruiser for the wonderful words in memoriam for our much missed Chief Engineer Raimondo Nicita. I feel guilty not writing this myself as he was one of the first chief engineers I ever worked with. I had been waiting for someone at Carnival to write something about him but it looks like my mate Bill got there first ….I am very grateful Bill and we will all miss Raimondo very much and our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.

I want to welcome back our friend James Cusick whose blog from the P and O ship Arcadia is now up and running again and can be found at

http://www.jamescusick.co.uk/

The ship is in Iceland………..I love Iceland and after my visit there on the Carnival Legend it is a place to which I have always wanted to return.

Iceland is beautiful and, yet, not of this earth. You are apparently in the normal world with your cell phone and your pretty daughters but you spend all winter being frozen to death. The countryside is beautiful yet weird, the people are mad, the weather defies belief and some of their laws and customs leave you scratching your head.

You pay $80 for a Diet Coke to accompany your plate of moose, reindeer or elk, which will be served to you by a lady who has completely see-through skin. However, you will not be bothered by any of this because you will be too baffled that unlike the rest of the world…………..night does not follow day.

In the summer months people from Iceland rarely sleep and on Friday and Saturday nights…………..they do bugger all. They finish work, go home, have a few drinks, get showered, have a few drinks, change, have a few drinks, and then around 10 pm they all go out…………….I mean …………..they ALL go out.

This can be quite a shock if you are not from Iceland but from Earth. When I as there on the FAM trip for the Carnival Legend I remember going out to dinner on a Friday night rather late……it was 9 pm. I remember thinking “Bugger, I bet we are too late to get a table.”

But the streets and the restaurants were deserted and as I sat with my plate of freshly murdered reindeer and potatoes I noticed that as the night wore on the restaurant became busier and busier. By 11:30 pm there were lines outside the restaurant I was in and outside every other one as well. So, I asked for the bill, which without the tip, came to the same price as a seven day cruise…………..and buggered off.

When I did, I entered a world like nothing else. It was a huge street party ………. they were celebrating something special…….Friday night. I had seen nothing like it. If the Pope, The Queen Mary II and a naked Cameron Diaz and George Hamilton all arrived at the same time, it would be nothing like Friday night in Iceland.

To put it mildly…………..everyone was totally and utterly smashed, soused, hammered, blotto, out of their faces drunk. There motto seemed to be that it was no use drinking the odd glass of beer now and then, it was too expensive and a waste of time…………..So why not wait until the weekend and drink 30 beers and two bottles of vodka? …………and that is exactly what they do.

Iceland has suffered a lot during the current credit crunch but even though the two major banks collapsed quicker than one of the locals on a Friday night drinking session it remains the country with the least crime. The crime thing is easy to understand as it’s either too light to steal anything and in the winter its too cold……even now you can find men frozen to the spot with a stolen TV in their arms.

It’s beautiful, barren, cold and hot with days of no daylight and nights with no night. At the weekends the people will fall over mid-sentence because they are so drunk and they welcome visitors from around the world with open and loving arms. The place is absolutely crazy and in my opinion………is one of God’s finest hours. So pop on over to James’s blog and see more of this incomparable country. Welcome back James and I look forward to reading your blogs.

The Carnival cruise directors are all unique characters and yet they all have one thing in common………..every single one of them has stolen my jokes………..kidding……..they haven’t……..well George Solano has …………but that’s another story. No, the one thing they do have in common is that they love their job because it gives them a chance to meet the most wonderful people……………….that’s you by the way…………the guests.

I mean…………..have a look at this guy.

Tall Man from Show

That’s a chap called Malcolm Snell………..all seven feet of him………..making the audience roar with laughter during his appearance as a “Dastardly” in the bedtime story………………Oh how I wish you could have seen it.

So, what do you reckon Malcolm Snell does for a living…….basketball player? Bodyguard? Police Officer? ……..ummmmmm……….nope…….he is a hairdresser …………..yep…………..he owns a beauty salon in San Diego California. Where else in the world would you meet a seven foot hairdresser that looks like a James Bond villain shouting “Who’s your Daddy?” while the lady who plays Mary does this to me watched by a Mr. Myagee character doing a crane kick………..only on a Carnival ship………..that’s where.

Black Woman In show

Man Kicking in Show

I think I received a record number of letters for my morning show this last cruise and here are a couple highlights.

Letter 1

Letter 2

Letter 3

Well this morning the Today show people were filming on the pier in Key West and our press chap Andy Newman sent me this great photo of Al Roker 

RokerFreedom

I just finished my welcome aboard talk for Key West and the guests were in a great mood despite the computer problems. They laughed at my jokes and for the second time since I have been back on the Carnival Freedom I had a man arrive at the talk wearing no T-shirt …..and so he  became instantly famous when I called him Mr. Nipple……….and he will be so known for the next six days.

You can imagine how vast the operation is on embarkation day to move the luggage from the pier, to the ship and from the ships holding area which we call the marshaling area ………to your state room. This cruise we have 3,600 guests on board which means the housekeeping department will move between 7,000 and 8,000 pieces of luggage ………..and that’s for a six-day cruise. It never ceases to amaze me how much stuff people pack for a six-day cruise and I am going to say once again ladies…………you do not need four bikinis. Do what my friend Mrs. Bentley does when she packs……….. Set out everything you need………… then halve it.

Most Carnival guests going on a Carnival cruise pack too many pants, shirts, hairdryers, warm sweaters and George Foreman grills. It means greater risk of a hernia from all the lugging, greater wastes of precious Fun Ship special drinking time unpacking it all, and greater dilemmas trying to work out what to wear in the morning.

Take a couple of outfits and skimp on everything else…….and that includes you men. Two pairs of underpants are all you need for a six-day cruise…….wear pair one on day one. Turn them back to front on day two and inside out on day three…….change into the other pair on day four and repeat the process.

But of course the ladies will ignore this advice and will I am sure continue to pack more than they ever need.

So today I have a busy schedule. We have a film crew here to shoot something on board for food-related program on TV and they looked at my belly and thought……right…he likes food……….lets get him to host it. And so rather than paying for a professional I will be hosting this contest like program that we are recording tomorrow. I will give you details and the date you can see it later this week.

Also later this week look out for more Carnival Dream photos and a special interview.

I am off to the Welcome aboard Show and will be back soon.

Here I am and that was a great show because once again the guests on Carnival ships proved yet again that they are the most spirited and fun cruise ship passengers in the world. I will tell you all about them in tomorrow’s blog but I do want to say this before I go. I want to tell you that I have been feeling a little down today. I think it was a combination of missing home and family, the weather and a bit of diabetic depression which is common place with type 2.

However, if there is one cure for the blues its Carnival and in particular it’s my job because before I stepped out to do the show I was a miserable grouchy sod. I still have a cold and was annoyed about the weather last week, the computers going down again and the fact that I had been too bloody tired and lethargic to write a blog yesterday.

However, the moment I stepped out on stage I forgot about the cold, the weather and my home sickness and remembered what a lucky man I am to do what I do.

There is no better cure for the blues than hearing 1,800 people laugh hysterically……..nothing beats that …. well……..coming back to the cabin to find Megan Fox sitting in my office chair wearing bugger all except a smile would have worked as well……but I guess there is much chance of that happening as finding a comment from Ruth and Al G with the words “ Please” and “Thank You” in it…………infantile toilet humour my arse.

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.

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