Sunday Is A Day Of Rest…My Arse

August 17, 2009 -

John Heald

It has been a hectic couple of days and, before I explain why and answer a bucket load of comments marked for my reply, let me tell you that last night ( Friday) I decided to switch off for an hour and watch a movie. I always try to read before I go to bed because, if I don’t, I lay there thinking of blogs, work, shows and Megan Fox’s bottom.

Unfortunately, I have finished my book and so I decided to watch a movie. I need distraction in order to perform the daily tasks required of me and not just at work but at home as well.

Ladies……us men need time to relax and unwind. Heidi does this by repeating, over and over again……………..“Please can I have a back rub?” I do this by watching films with explosions in them. I don’t mind if Heidi watches them. I don’t even mind having to watch them on the little television in the bedroom so that she can watch Desperate bloody Housewives.

That’s what makes me a man and last night that is exactly what I was. I sat in my chair…………in my underpants…………watching Die Hard 3 ………….eating chips and salsa (bollocks to the diet for one night) . I picked my nose and I farted and I was…………a man. It was a rare moment and one that most men are not allowed to enjoy very often these days. Women and society have changed us. Silvio Berlusconi excepted, man has moved on from the apes in every respect but two………… we still leave the seat up and we still check out other women. And we pay for both those things dearly in trips to the shopping mall and those damn back rubs.

Lots to do today so let’s crack on with those questions………..here we go.

Sallie Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 3:05pm
Dear Stephanie, kind of Urgent (Thanks)
John, Please Reply
Wonderful Blog today as always. I must say that the Housekeeping Staff on each and every Carnival ship we have sailed on has always been exceptional. These wonderful people are always in the foreground and background 24/7 cleaning up messes that would make a lot of us cringe but they do their job quickly and professionally and always with a smile.

Now may I ask a small favor of you. There is a rapidly growing Cruise Critic Roll Call group for the Sept. 6th sailing of the Pride. I was hoping you could let me know who to contact to set up a meet and greet for our group. We have an exceptionally large number of 1st time cruisers in our Roll Call and having a meet and greet would be so much fun.

Thanks John for all you do for each and every one of us. You truly deserve the title of the “World’s finest Cruise Director”!

Hugs and love to Heidi, Kye, the one thousand Stepahnies and to you.
Princess Sallie of Big Ed’s Evil Krewe family.

John Says:
Hello Sallie
Thanks for starting off today’s questions by mentioning the Housekeeping staff who not only clean and service everyone’s staterooms but also as you said keep these huge ships spotlessly clean. I am going to ask the ship for you to hold a lounge and place a “Cruise Critic meet and greet” in the Today at a Glance section of the Carnival Capers on the first sea day afternoon. I hope this helps everyone get together and meet new friends. Please tell them to look out for this

Many thanks for the kind words and best wishes to you and all the Evil Krewe.
John

Lisa Perkins Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 7:02pm
Dear John…..please reply
I am absolutely addicted to this blog and read it everyday! I too have seen the menus on the t.v. but I love, love, love the idea that MaryM. had about being able to view and buy your photos online even after you get home.(like Disney does) I didn’t have time to see all our photos from our last cruise on the Carnival Freedom and I know if I had the chance to buy them after I got home I would have. Carnival could probably make some good money on that one. I have a question, speaking of disney, I was wondering why they are the only cruiseline to have a pyrotechnics license??

John Says:
Hello Lisa
I admitt that nobody does photos like the Disney organization. There are many times when I can hold my head high and say Carnival is the best but when it comes to photos there is no doubt that the options and variety that the Disney Corporation provide are second to none. I know that the techy people with beards are looking at new ways for people to buy their photos and certainly the choice of being able to do so after you get home from your cruise is one of the things that may be something we can and should offer. The whole way we take and provide photos in the cruise industry is changing with so many people switching to digital. Personally, I hate digital photography. Yes, I know it enables me to see photos of Kye when I am away but real film sits in everyone’s kitchen drawer and is there whenever you want to look at it. But with digital, it sits in a computer’s hard disk thingy waiting to be lost when the damn thing crashes– which will be sooner or later. Because you have a digital camera on your phone, you take pictures of absolutely everything. You used to come back from your cruise with 36 pictures, because that’s how many were on the film. Now most people come back from a 3 day cruise with about a billion. Sorry, I just realized that I went off on one of my rants there. Anyway, we are looking at many new and exciting ways to continue to provide a fantastic photo service for our guests in line with the modern technology of today.

Now, as for your question about pyrotechnics and Disney I am not sure I understand. Carnival uses pyro in all their main shows in the theatre and we have done so for many years. Maybe you are talking about using them on the open decks which we did for the millennium cruises but since then and, for obvious safety reasons, we only use pyro in a controlled environment in the main theatre. If I didn’t understand your question properly, please let me know and I will answer it again.

Thanks for saying how much you like the blog thingy and I send you my best wishes.
John

Randy Smith Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 9:31pm
Dear John (Please reply),
There’s a rumor going around that you will be joining those of us cruising on the Holiday from November 2-7 for her final voyage as a Carnival Fun Ship. Could you please verify if this is true. Despite our Platinum Status, my wife and I have never been lucky enough to have you as our Cruise Director on any of our Fun Ship cruises as of yet. We’re hoping to see you on the Holiday. Thanks!
Randy Smith

Smitty681 Asked:
Hello Randy
Great nickname by the way. Well, it’s certainly something that is a possibility. I am hoping I will be there for a day or so to say goodbye to my first ever ship. There are a few things I have to check on first regarding my schedule but I hope to let you know soon. Congratulations on your Platinum status and I thank you so much for your loyalty to Carnival and I do hope to finally get to shake your hand soon.

Best wishes to you and the family.
John

David Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 10:26pm
Hi John Please reply
We are booked on the Carnival Dream 3/27/10 and while we were bummed to learn that you won’t be our CD I did find a great deal….I hope.

We have had a 9A cabin booked on our last 3 cruises, and loved them so we booked the same on the Carnival Dream. Then after looking at the deck plans we noticed the wrap balconies on Vista deck. These are not 9A’s but 8D’s, which makes them a lot cheaper. We have now changed our booking to cabin 9472.

Did we uncover a great bargain, or am I missing something? Is there something inferior with these cabins? Do they come with a bed and toilet 🙂 ?

Any info you have would be appreciated.
Keep up the great work!

John Says:
Hello David
I leave your Carnival Dream on the 27th as that’s when Todd is scheduled to return but never mind, you have found a great deal and you have found it on a ship that will leave you breathless. The cabin you have booked does indeed have a toilet but it’s on the balcony which, if the weather is nice, shouldn’t be a problem…kidding.  You have found a great bargain and there is nothing inferior about these cabins and the wrap balconies are truly superb. The interior space of the 8D is a little smaller than the 9A but the balcony is bigger.  I will be taking photos of all the cabins classes soon and you will see what I mean.

Hope this helps and I hope you are excited about your Carnival Dream cruise.
Best wishes,
John

Bill (Zydecocruiser) Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 10:30pm
John, Please reply!
Hi John,
With the new Behind the Scenes Tour being rolled out, does this mean the Platinum Galley Tour has been done away with?

Thanks,
bill

John Says:
Hello Bill:
The Platinum private galley tour will continue as normal Bill. This is quite possibly the shortest answer I have ever given to a blog question.

Best to you both.
John

Retirementman Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 10:43pm
REPLY PLEASE JOHN
John I was just wondering, I haven’t heard much about ” the Godmother of the CARNIVAL DREAM”. Have they made the choice of who will it be? What is the date when the CARNIVAL DREAM begins its initial sail? Will you be on the ship to take photos of that special day?

If you noticed, I agree with you when it’s time to mention the name of the ships they should always state it as ” CARNIVAL DREAM OR CARNIVAL FREEDOM OR WHATEVER. People should give the respect of that particular ship. I’ve slipped a bit myself but I’ve been catching it now and before I say the name I always state CARNIVAL first and after the name of the ship.

Don’t you worry about whether your blog is long or not. It’s always informative, entertaining, serious at times but always enjoyable. Thank you for taking your valuable time each day to write up your blog whether you’re in your underwear or not. Ha,ha,ha. Ciao my friend.

Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul
As always great to hear from you. There are two closely guarded secrets in the world……….1) Who is the Godmother of your Carnival Dream . 2) What colour underwear am I wearing while writing this blog thingy.

OK, I can tell you one but not both and so……………………I am proud to tell you that………………….they are white……..well………mostly white……………..but I can’t tell you who the Godmother is…………yet…………but I will soon.

Thanks so much for using the ship’s full name. I see this is an industry wide faux pas and often I hear people say the “Freedom”……….”the QM2″…………”the “Ruby”………or if you are an NCL employee ……..”the what the hell is that ugly thing?”  It’s our own employees who we need to get to do this and once they do, then maybe more guests will do it as well.

I am so glad you continue to be such a great supporter of the blog thingy and I send my best wishes to you and the family.
John

Melissa Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 10:45pm
John please reply
OK I have 2 questions for you please. 1. My husband had been asking about the sports bar also on the Carnival Dream and you answered that question today, but he also is curious whether or not there is a cigar bar on the ship? 2. Since you are getting all kinds of great pictures of the Carnival Dream I am wondering if we can get some pictures of the Camp Carnival areas. My 3 yr old and 7 yr old are coming on their first cruise with us on 2-13-2010 and are really curious about what “their” space is going to look like.

Thanks so much for all your help and you do an awesome job keeping us all informed about what is going on with our new Carnival Dream and everything else Carnival related. Can’t wait for “Kye”day 🙂

John Says:
Hello Melissa
The cigar bar is going to be a beautiful annex room in front of the forward dining room. It seats about 30 people and is just what a cigar bar should be…..elegant and away from anyone who finds the aroma of a fine Cuban cigar about as attractive as the aroma of a camel’s bottom. I will be posting photos of Camp Carnival later this week and, although none of the furnishings or decorations are there yet, it will give you an idea as to the amazing amount of space that we have given to the children. They will love the slides and the splash park and their Carnival Dream voyage will be one that they will never forget. How lucky they are. I went camping when I was seven and had to poo in a bucket.

Best wishes to you and all the family.
John

Sara Fernley Asked:
( reply needed )
I have been reading on Cruise Critic that all the people who are members get free gifts when they sail on Carnival. My husband and I will be sailing on the Pride in September. How do we make sure we get our gift?
Sara

John Says:
Hello Sara
I am not sure where you read this but I am sorry to say that your statement is not totally true. I do not offer free gifts to guests because they subscribe to Cruise Critic or any other internet cruise site. I do send people a little something if they are celebrating a special occasion or need to do something special for someone. If you would like me to do this for you, please let me know when you are sailing and your cabin number.

Best wishes,
John

Paula Huber Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 12:07am
Dear John,
Please reply.
We are booked on the Carnival Dream on Jan. 23. Can’t wait to see Todd again. But we would love to see you do the Bedtime Story. Hope he agrees to let you host the “Talent Show”. And it is like a dream come true (how appropriate is that?) to have two wonderful CDs on the same voyage! We must be the luckiest people around. Also, since you are always telling us you have no mates, perhaps we could meet up with you and keep you company at some time, for tea or coffee?

As new Platinum cruisers, I have a question. Our good friend is also going on the cruise and will arrive at, and depart from the port with us (in her car). Since she is NOT a platinum cruiser.  Will she be permitted to embark and debark when we do? Could you find out for us?

Thanks for all you do. Glad to know you will soon be home with Heidi and Kye.
Paula H.

John Says:
Hello Paula
Todd is the best cruise Director Carnival has which is why he has been chosen to deliver your Carnival Dream and I will look forward to seeing you there. Unfortunately, unless your friend has Platinum Status, she won’t be able to embark the ship with you but there should be no problems with us organizing her to disembark with you. Please just let the Guest Services Desk know and they will make sure she has the correct number tag.

Thanks so much for all the kind words and if there is anything I can do for you and your friend, please let me know.

Best wishes,
John

Chacooe Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 2:11am
Hi John,
John Please reply,
If the people thought this vacation was from Hell, why didn’t they get off at the first port. It never ceases to amaze me how people will complain and complain but stay in the situation. My gut feeling is they will be asking for all of their money back and probably another free cruise. When I was on the Carnival Pride (which I love that ship and the name really does suit her) you hardly saw any kids, because most of them were in the clubs that Carnival had for them. I just have to tell you this, one day I saw a couple of parents that were trying to get their kids out of Camp Carnival and these two little ones threw temper tantrums because they did not want to leave, they wanted to stay where they were having so much fun. John, I laughed so hard, these two little 4 year olds (they were twins) were having so much fun that they did not even want to be with their parents. Watching that told me a lot about what Camp Carnival has to offer the kids. Even when I was sitting in the buffet area on the Lido deck, you could hear teenagers telling their parents what a wonderful time they were having and could not wait to get back. Then when you read a note from a guy like this, it makes me wonder if they even bothered to check the camps out for their kids. I hope you do an update of this family.

I can hardly wait until tomorrow (Aug 7,) we will be getting our weekly fix of Heidi and beautiful little Kye. I only wish that you showed her picture like on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays ( I would be overjoyed if I saw her picture every day, but I know that would be asking too much).

Best Wishes,
Kathy

John Says:
Hello Kathy
It is quite extraordinary what one or two people do complain about and sometimes, as I said recently, you find someone who is on their first cruise and just doesn’t like it. As for Camp Carnival, well, this program has come on leaps and bounds these last few years and the awards that we have won have been a testament to their popularity with both the kids who have unlimited fun there and the parents who know that their kids are having fun and in the safest environment possible.

Thank you so much for these great comments and I will pass them onto the Camp Carnival supervisors in the office.

Hope you enjoyed yesterday’s photo of Kye and your kind words are so gracious….thank you.
Best wishes,
John

CruisinSue Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 2:27am
Hi John (Please Reply)
It has been a while since I have commented but wanted to say hi anyways.

It is just 23 days until I board the CARNIVAL Victory (I don’t want to be tied to the funnel and gagged with your underwear…lol). My Mom and I were booked on the CARNIVAL Liberty at the end of this month, for Northern Europe. Since it was cancelled, we rebooked the CARNIVAL Victory, Southern Caribbean. We were both extremely disappointed as you can imagine, especially Mom. She is 73 now and hoping that she will be able to go to Northern Europe on a Carnival ship soon. Anyways, I was curious if you would send her a little something on our cruise? I know lots of people ask, but it will be her 20th Carnival cruise and my 45th. I think it would make her feel much better about the Northern Europe being cancelled. Our cabin is XXX, booking #XXXX. We got a whopping $50 ($25.00 each) onboard credit for our inconvenience….lol

To respond to Richard C, concerning the soot from the stacks on the rear balconies…..We were in a corner, wrap balcony on our Med cruise on the CARNIVAL Freedom in October 2007. Honestly, there was some residue, but it was cleaned everyday by our wonderful steward. We slid our chairs close to the inner wall to minimize the soot on them. Occasionally, when we were out there, a little soot would come down on us, but not enough to make me change my mind about an aft balcony. I love the panoramic view from the aft balconies and a little bit of soot did not spoil anything for me. I hope this helps.

Give my best to Heidi and Kye. She is getting more beautiful day by day and I know you are anxious to get home to the both of them. Hugs to all!!
Gloria aka Sue

John Says:
Hello Sue
I know how disappointed you and Mum were when we canceled the European season for 2009 and 2010 because I share that disappointment with you………but we will be back………..I promise.

You will love the port intensive cruise that the Carnival Victory will provide you with and it will be an honour to send Mum something. It’s funny that you mentioned the soot or residue from the smokestack because bloggers Phil and Hazel Martin were staying in one with me this cruise. I asked them if they had noticed anything in this regard and they said there was a little as the ship sailed from Fort Lauderdale but nothing the rest of the cruise. Thanks Sue for mentioning this and I would be interested to hear from anyone else on this subject.

Have a wonderful cruise and I hope to read your review when you get home. Thanks also for those lovely words for about Kye…….she is stunningly beautiful just like me.

Best wishes to you both,
John

Gammy3gks Asked:
PLEASEREPLY
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 8:14am
Dear John,
There is a question being asked on the CC boards that I thought you should answer. (Sorry if you already have!) How much should one ‘tip’ the maître d? Some believe he is salaried and should not be tipped at all. Some believe that unless he does something or shows an interest in you or your table, a tip isn’t necessary. Then there are those who feel he should be tipped regardless of the above as he is the one who makes things run smoothly in the DR. What is your say about this? Thank you once again for your time and efforts (for all of us!)!

PS.. it might help if you put up a ’search engine’ with your blog so we as your readers can search for our own answers from questions already asked of you. Might make it easier on you too not having to repeat yourself so often. 🙂 Thanks so much for your blog!

John Says:
Hello Gammy:
Just before I answer your question, I just wanted to point out that there is indeed a search engine on the blog thingy. Now whether it is specific enough I don’t know but give it a try when you can and let me know if it works. The Maitre d’s are indeed , like all Carnival crew, paid a salary by the company, and tips for the Maitre d’ are totally at the discretion of you, the guest. This is a standard practice within the industry and I think the only guideline I can offer is that if you do not think that he or she made a difference to your dining room experience, then you should not tip. If, however, you had a Maitre d’ like Ken, Manuel, Miguel or one of our other excellent dining room managers, then I am sure that you will want to give them something. How much? Well, whenever I am asked this, I always say that $5 per couple is an average amount but at the end of the day, it’s up to you. I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
John

Judy Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 8:23am
John please reply.
I don’t know if this has been asked or not, but I am really interested in the behind the scenes tour. Will it be available on the Dream in October?

Second, will it be able to be purchased in advance? I don’t want to spend the first night on my cruise standing in line at the shore excursion desk for an hour or so in the mad rush. I prefer to do everything in advance so I can enjoy my first day on the ship.

IF I have to wait until I get on the ship, since I am a VIP, will I get priority reservations like the spa or the steak house?

Can I book it at the purser’s desk as soon as I get on the ship before the shore excursion desk opens?

Thanks for answering my questions. I am excited about this but with the limited amount of space for the tour, I am wondering if I will ever have the chance to do it.

Best to you, Heidi and Kye!
Jud

John Says:
Hello Jud
The Behind the Fun Tour will indeed be available in October when you cruise the Carnival Dream. The tour will not be advertised online so the only place you will be able to purchase it is once on board. However, I do not think you will have to stand in line too long, if at all, as this exciting look behind the scenes is not being advertised too much so I am sure as long as you go straight to the Shore Excursion Desk as soon as you arrive then you will be able to take part.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to give this as a priority benefit to Platinum guests but remember you still get your exclusive galley tour. The Shore Excursion Desk will open at noon so that’s where you should go and your chance to see behind the “crew only” door will await.

Many thanks for the kind words and I hope you and the family have a wonderful cruise on your Carnival Dream.

Best wishes,
John

DocF (Jim & Jo) Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 9:24am
Hi John (Please Reply)
It is August 7 and I am writing again to remind you that we cruise on the Carnival Pride on August 21.

I need you to get up with our Cruise Director (I believe it is Dan) and make the arrangements for our Roll Call get together on Saturday at 1 PM. It looks like we will have about 30 people for this, but getting people to RSVP is like pulling teeth nowadays.

The second scheduling thing is the Devotional Service. We have this prepared and are ready to print out the order of service and the songs. Since the Pride has a chapel, I think that would be the place to do this service. I am thinking 10:30 AM on Sunday, but we could go at 10 or 11 AM if necessary for scheduling.

It would, of course, be very good to put these events in the Capers. Thanks to you and Dan for your help.

We are in stateroom 5227 for this cruise. We are looking forward to enjoying ourselves once more with Carnival.

Finally, Jo and I think Kye is an absolute doll. Even though we are very prejudiced in favor of our granddaughter, we think Kye is one of the most beautiful babies we have ever seen. You and Heidi are so very lucky.

Thanks for your help,
Doc

John Says:
Hello Doc:
I have sent all of this to Dan, the CD of the Carnival Pride, and I know he will be in touch when you come on board. He will place an advert in the Carnival Capers asking for “Cruise Critic” to meet on Saturday in one of the lounges. Please tell your group to have a look there for exactly where to meet. I will also ask Dan to contact you for the devotional service.

I hope you have a great time and please tell me all about it when you get home.

Best wishes to all,
John

Audrey Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 10:04am
John, (PLEASE REPLY)

Similar to Joe and Natalie who you replied to above, I am having difficulty getting confirmed for early seating on our upcoming cruise on the Carnival Splendor. We sail on August 30 and our booking number is ******.

When you previously blogged about the upcoming change to Anytime Dining, you stressed that passengers would still be able to eat in the main dining room. I commented at the time that I hoped that was the case because we are huge fans of the main dining room. We come to the dining room on time, get dressed up, enjoy getting to know our waiters, and tip extra for great service.

When I have called Carnival to check up on my request, I have been told that Anytime Dining has limited the number of tables available for regular seating so we’ll just have to wait until we get on the ship and talk to the maitre d. While I know that is a possibility, I don’t enjoy starting a vacation having to line up and make requests.

I would appreciate any help that you can provide. Also, I would encourage Carnival to consider the impact of Anytime Dining on availability in the main dining room. On my Cruise Critic roll call, several other families are in the same situation.

We had a great cruise on Carnival Freedom last summer and we know we will enjoy the Carnival Splendor as well. Thanks for doing the blog!
Audrey

John Says:
Hello Audrey:
Thanks for taking the time to write but I assure you that the anytime dining is not the reason that some have received unconfirmed dining room seatings. There was a computer glitch that sent some requests back as unconfirmed which is of course something that I apologize sincerely for. The anytime dining has proven to be very popular but, as I said, it has not meant that a single guest has been “bumped from the main dining room”….. this I promise you. When you arrive onboard, you will find that your cabin key/sail and sign card has your table number on it and it will be in one of the two main dining rooms. It seems you were given the wrong information by the person you spoke to at Carnival and again I apologize and will make sure they are told the correct information so that they can pass that onto you all. I will also e mail my friend Miguel the Maitre d’ and ask him to do his best to make sure you have early seating.

Thanks for the kind words and have a brilliant time.
Best wishes,
John

Maria Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 11:11am
Dear John,
Please Reply
I would like to thank you so much for all you do for Carnival guests. We were on the Freedom in Europe last year and the information we got from your blog made our cruise even that much better. We are celebrating our 40th anniversary this year by sailing on the Liberty on Sept. 5th with our son, daughter in law and our four year old grandson. We are so excited to introduce our little guy to cruising. My question for you is about our table assignment. We have always enjoyed dinner as a family affair and it has usually not been a problem as we have either been a table of four or a large table when more family has been with us. Our grandson will join us for sure on the first evening, but I suspect he may want to join his Camp Carnival buddies most of the week. Is it possible to get a table for five? Our cabin number is ****.

Thanks again for all you do, you are Carnival’s best ambassador! Love the pics of Kye, what a little doll she is. You and Heidi will be sharing life’s most precious adventure. You have our best wishes for this wonderful journey.

Thanks so much,
Maria

John Says:
Hello Maria
Thank you for the kind words and I hope you and the family have a brilliant cruise together on the Carnival Liberty next month. I will e mail the Maitre D on the Carnival Liberty and request he help you with your assignment. I hope you also try the Steak House on there …….it’s one of my favorites.

Thanks for the nice words about Kye. I can’t wait to see her and Heidi
Best wishes
John

Andrea Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 11:22am
Hi John!
The Dream is looking spectacular! Thank you so much for replying to me. I found my post from May and I’ll copy and paste it here so you can see what happened. I really appreciate you passing this on to someone so that we can get the issue resolved and have some closure.

Here’s the post about our wedding:

Hi John, (please reply)

I’m going to try and not say much about this because I’m sure you’ve heard a lot already. I was on the Splendor sailing that was redirected to San Fran. I got married on board and we had 21 of our closest family and friends sailing with us. I had sailed with carnival once before but most of our party were sailing for their first time ever. On my last cruise we had a wonderful time, that’s what made us have our wedding on board. I mean no disrespect to those that did or would have stayed on board. Most of my party got off in Long Beach. There are a lot of reasons that we made that decision. The biggest one being that we are very upset with how the Carnival Corporation handled the outbreak. The crew on the Splendor were very good for the most part and Brad took the time to come out and talk to my group (again sorry to Brad for the random people that decided to join my family and friends and point fingers and yell. They were definitely not with us and did not represent our thoughts and feelings). The World Health Organization (WHO) released an alert to not travel to Mexico on the 26th, the day we set sail. When asked, Carnival stated that everything is fine and that there were no cases of H1N1 Swine Influenza (suspected or confirmed) in any of our ports and that we were still going as scheduled. On the 27th the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released their alert stating unessential travel into Mexico should be avoided. Yet when asked again, Carnival still stated that there were no cases and everything was fine and we were still going. On the 28th in the late afternoon it was announced that we had to make a “quick stop in Cabo San Lucas for a Navigational Technical Error” and then we’d be on our way again after “the Techs fixed the problem.” We stopped, and in about a half hour there was an announcement stating that they had been talking with Carnival’s head office and the CDC, and that “there are still no reported cases in any of our ports or on board any ship,” but that “[they] were going to turn around and would not be going to any Mexican ports of call.”

I am all for safety and keeping people healthy. The way that Carnival handled the whole situation still leaves me feeling extremely upset, dissatisfied and crushed. This was supposed to be my wedding/honeymoon wishes come true. Instead we were told that we would be given a whole $40 in port fees back and would instead sail to San Francisco. No one in my group had packed appropriate clothing for going somewhere cold and rainy. I know that people here and on other sites are saying that we should just be happy to be on board and that may work for those people and that’s great. We chose to sail as a nice, leisurely and entertaining way to get to Mexico. Not just to be on board.

I talked up this trip for just shy of two years to my family and friends and now everything went to hell in a hand basket. We are upset that Carnival told us all for days after the announcements that everything was fine and we were still going. If they had said on day one ‘listen, here’s what’s going on, the WHO released this alert so we’re going to wait here (in Long Beach) for the first night and see what’s up’ and then heard the alert from the CDC the next morning and announced to us while still in port ‘because of what’s going on we’re not going to go to Mexico, here are your options:

1.) Stay on board and we’ll be going to X & Y as ports instead, with a refund of $X.

2.) Get off here and get a full refund or credit for a future cruise equal to what you had booked here.’

We may have been upset and sad that we couldn’t go but at least we would have been treated fairly and given an option.

Anyways, enough from me. Sorry to bring all this to you John, I know that you’ve got a lot on your plate with the Thingy on the way shortly (Congrats again!) but no one that we’ve talked to at Carnival has seemed to care and I don’t know where else to go right now. I appreciate any help you can give me and my family.

Sincerely,
Andrea
Thank you again John.

John Says:
Hello Andrea

There is no need to apologize and I thank you for sending me this information. I won’t comment further except to say that I will forward this now to a Vice President for their attention. Please let me know what happens and I will make sure someone contacts you for sure and I apologize that this has not happened up until now.

Best wishes
John

MrPete Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 12:08pm
John…..
RSVP
Why are there not MORE Carnival Bermuda itineraries? Why is there only one, and that is WAY too early in the season? Why was the Pride allowed to go all summer long back in 2003, and then bust.

Regards….
Pete

John Says:
Hello Pete
Occasionally along will come a question that I cannot answer and so I look to my friends at Carnival to help. In this case I went to our Senior Vice president of ..ummmm….lots of stuff…….our good friend Mr. Terry Thornton and here is his honest reply to your question.

Our ships can only dock at Kings Wharf due to their size. The Bermuda Government has long term contracts with two other cruise lines that provide them with preferential berthing rights. We can only get a berth when those other companies are not using it. From April through October, there are not many options for us to get a berth.

The Carnival Pride visited Bermuda, but it required the cruises to operate from New York on a Wednesday. We were able to get a Bermuda berth on the weekends. The Wednesday departures were not preferred by our guests and the cruises did not perform as well as some of our other itinerary choices.

While we would like to offer more Bermuda cruises, our 4,5,7 and 8 day itineraries from New York and Baltimore are very popular with our guests. Plus, we think these cruises generate more favorable results for us.

Bermuda is a good destination. However, with the restrictions on the guest experience for several days (shops and casino closed; entertainment limited) and the very high guest port tax, there are some drawbacks to be considered.

Terry

Thanks Terry. We appreciate you taking the time to reply and it seems that those are some excellent reasons as to why we don’t see the Carnival smoke stack off the shores of Bermuda that often.

Pete – if you have a follow up please let me know
Best wishes
John

Mike Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/07 at 4:37pm
Hi John,
please reply
My wife Marie and I really enjoyed our cruise with you on the Freedom July 26th. You are the best cd that has ever sailed. I met you at the captains cocktail party, I’m a pvp. I will be taking my daughter and my 84 year young Mom on the Sensation 08/27/09. Can you send her something special? We will be in cabin# E## . Thanks and keep up the good work. You make my job so much easier.
Cheers Mike

John Says:
Hello Mike
Thanks for the kind words mate and thanks to you and all the PVP’s for the help you give our guests. I hope you and Mum have a great time and expect a gift from me to her.

Best wishes to you both
John

That’s all for today.  I see I am way behind and once again I will catch up as best I can. Thanks for your patience

Before we talk about this week, let’s have a look at some videos. First of all, a brilliant look at how to build the world’s most luxurious cruise vessel …………in just 6 minutes. Here is the link thingy.

Amazing…………….I am thinking of putting one of those cameras in my bathroom.

And now have a look at the video on our www.carnival.com/dream page of the slide……………….wow.

www.carnival.com/dream

Now, I think regardless of how young or old we are we should all have a go at that…………if you will……………I will……………………..naked.

Let’s see who is sailing with us this cruise.

TOTAL GUEST COUNT – 3589

Under 2 Years

17

2-5 Years

58

6-8 Years

107

9-11 Years

137

12-14 Years

191

15-17 Years

218

18-20 Years

152

Now, I will show you the International count shortly but first I need to say this……………………..MURPHY…………YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER BASTARD!

There, I feel better……………actually…………..no I don’t…………..hold on……………OK, now I feel better because wee Jimmy the new carnival Freedom Cruise director is here in the cabin and I just twisted his nipple really hard………………..now I feel better.

It is of course Murphy’s sodding law that this, being my last cruise before going home to see the girls, has been ruined by a someone called Ana. …………a tropical storm named Ana actually. Why do they give these storms such lovely names? I had teacher called Ana Martin once………..she was ………..oh hold on……….no she wasn’t…………she was a bitch…………ok………..Ana is the perfect name. Anyway, this is how the story goes.

It’s 10:30am and we have just finished debarking the 3600 guests who had a brilliant 6 day cruise full of fun and perfect weather. The phone rang and it was Captain Giusa. Now, I knew he was calling me for one of two reasons. 1) He was going to tell me that Ana was going to spoil my last cruise. 2) He wanted to borrow my DVD set of the complete series of Peyton Place. It was Ana.

There is a lot to do in situations like this and roughly this is the sequence of events repeated on any vessel whose itinerary is impacted by bad weather.

1. The Captain looks at the latest forecasts and realizes that the ship would be heading into the current path of the storm.

2. He swears a lot in Italian “porca masaria, minkya,marone, orgatz’ all said while waving both arms in the air like a demented windmill.

3. The captain will then call our Port Operations department who will, upon learning of the Captain’s concerns discuss options on what to do and where to go.

Now this bit is not as easy as some may think. It isn’t just a case of saying “Oh, ok, let’s go to ?” ……….because of course it’s not just one ship that has to change a run but many and berth and pier availability have to be checked as well. For example, this cruise there are four Carnival ships that Ana has affected, The Carnival Victory, the Carnival Glory, the Carnival Liberty and the Carnival Freedom………….and that’s just one company.

4. So, once a course of action is decided by Port Operations and marketing who put their observations on the table, as well the Captain, is called and he will call me and the Hotel Director.

5. We arrive to his cabin and are immediately offered a Cappuccino and, as we sit sipping our hot frothy beverage, we listen to the news.

In this case it was decided that we would leave Fort Lauderdale and head straight for Nassau, Bahamas. Now, this was one of the scheduled ports anyway and we were due to arrive there on Saturday. As for the rest of the cruise……………well we would not be deciding that until Sunday lunchtime when at 1:00pm EST the captain would receive the latest track that Ana, the bitch, would be taking.

This makes sense. Why guess now and commit to going to ports of call now when we can wait until the last minute and see what can be done.

6. So, with a bit of cappuccino froth on the end of my nose the next thing is to start informing all the department heads………that’s the Hotel Director’s job while I went back to the cabin for a poo.

7. Twenty minutes and one whole toilet roll later I was ready to continue. The first thing we had to do was to prepare a letter to hand to the guests at embarkation. This is important because it gives guests immediate information about what is happening. Of course, in the days before the Internet nobody really knew in advance – but with Mr. Google there to help, many are already aware……………..and of course the over 60’s have been watching the Weather Channel which is their………MTV.

So with the help of Terry Thornton, our Senior Vice President of ….ummmm……….Stuff………….here is the letter we sent to every guest cabin and handed out at embarkation……………the original signed of course by the Captain.

August 15, 2009

Dear Carnival Guest:

Welcome to Fort Lauderdale.  We want to thank you for choosing Carnival for your vacation.

We also want to provide you with some information about our itinerary for this cruise.  We are closely monitoring the progress of Tropical Storm Ana which has formed in the Caribbean.  The storm may reach the Eastern Caribbean by early next week.

We have decided to change the sequence of ports and visit Nassau tomorrow (arrive 7:00 AM; depart 6:00 PM).  We will then review the situation and decide on the itinerary for the balance of the cruise.  The Cruise Director John Heald will advise you of our plans after sailing from Nassau.

Rest assured, we will operate the ship in the safest and most comfortable conditions.  My number one priority is the safety of our guests and crew.

In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming you aboard the beautiful Carnival Freedom.  My officers, staff and crew are dedicated to providing you with a fun and memorable vacation.

Sincerely,

Captain

Now, as you can see we have a piece in the above letter that says “The Cruise Director John Heald will advise you of our plans after sailing from Nassau.” This is because I don’t want hundreds of guests going to the Guest Services Desk or calling them only to be told “we don’t know anything”……….that’s frustrating for the passengers . So, I need them to know that all the updated information will come from the Captain…………to me………….and from me to the guests. In this case I want the Information Desk to be an Oxymoron…………..a bit like a sign that says “Arkansas Shakespeare Festival.”

8.  The next step was for me to check at 3:00pm as to how many guests were onboard and the answer was 3119………..just 300 or so still to check in………..time then to make the first announcement. Normally I would do this from my cabin…………in my underpants…………..but this time I needed to use the PA system located on the bridge. This is the only place on the ship that has a button that when pressed will make sure the announcement goes through every single speaker on the ship………it’s the one we would use if there was an emergency………….touch wood………..bugger……………can’t find any……………OK, I smacked wee Jimmy round the head so that’s sorted. The reason I wanted to use the general emergency system was not just so every guest was informed but because I needed to inform 1200 crew as well. The more information we give the crew the better. Guests just don’t ask me or the Guest Services folks, they talk to their waiter and their stateroom steward etc and it’s also important that the crew know what’s going on themselves.

So, off I went to the bridge, my mind 100% focused on what I was going to say. So much so that it was only when I reached the door to the bridge that I realized I was dressed only in my underpants and that was me back to the cabin to change.

9. Once clothed I made the announcement. Now, I always encourage the younger Cruise Directors to write down what they are going to say at times like this before they say it……………me though………….well……………I prefer to say what comes to mind…………it just flows better that way for me………….anyway………in this case I did make a few notes and this is roughly what I said.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to your home for the next eight days – the brilliant Carnival Freedom. All of us here are excited that you have decided to spend your valuable vacation time with us and all of the twelve-hundred officers, staff and crew will do their utmost to make sure that this is simply the most fun and relaxing 8 days of your life.

I am sure many of you will have read the letter that we placed in your state rooms and that was handed to you during the embarkation process. Tropical Storm Ana is something we are keeping a very close eye upon and as she is at the current time expected to cross Puerto Rico on Monday which is when we were supposed to be there so we have decided not to take you and the ship through the eye of a storm and instead we thought we would take you to Nassau where the sun will be shining and the sea will be as calm as a tranquilized Sloth.

Seriously everyone…….your safety is our number one priority and although some of you may be disappointed that we are not going to San Juan I am sure there is not one person who does not understand why this decision has been made.

Now as to where we are going next…………..well…………….who knows? This is as the Beatles once sang – a Magical Mystery Tour . What’s going to happen is that the Captain and I will meet tomorrow and he will look at the most recent storm track and then along with assistance from our Miami head office decide where we go As soon as that has been decided I will let you know after we sail from Nassau over the PA system and in a letter which will be delivered to all your staterooms. All the information will come from me via the Captain so there is no need to go to the Guest Services Desk to enquire.

After we sail I will be joining you to provide you with 30 minutes of information about Nassau and what to do including the exclusive excursions to use the stunning facilities at the Atlantis hotel.

So for now, please enjoy the wonderful service of our friendly crew and don’t worry about a thing. This is your vacation…………enjoy every minute of it safe in the knowledge that we will keep you safe while giving you the most fun 8 days you have ever had.

10. Next……………it was time for something to eat because like an idiot I had forgotten to eat lunch and my sugar level was lower than a snake’s bollocks……….bugger.

11. After having a turkey sandwich and some orange juice I felt better…………I hate the feeling when my sugar drops like that. Anyway, it was now 4:00pm and time for boat drill and after that I had called the Guest Services Manager to see what the reaction was to the change of itinerary. There were two concerns………starting with this one.

UPSET WITH CHANGE OF PORTS

Mrs. _____ stated that the only reason she had booked this cruise was to go to San Juan as she had friends there. Guest said that carnival should have called at home before she flew to Florida and told her that the ship would not be going because of the storm. Guest was very angry and feels that she should receive compensation. GSM will meet guest and discuss.

And this one.

WANTS TO GO TO ST.THOMAS

Mr. _____ cut the line at the GSD and started demanding to speak to the Captain. Guest was asked to calm down . Mr______ said that he had to go St.Thomas because he had an important business meeting planned while there and that it was Carnival’s responsibility to get him there as stated in the brochure and ticket. It was explained that Carnival could not be held responsible for the weather but guest remained very upset.

And that’s that. 3500 plus guests……..only 2 comments…………both of which are not worth responding to. You don’t need me to type that if the only reason she took the cruise was to go to San Juan………….ummm………why not fly there ………….and of course you don’t need me to type that Carnival can’t control the weather and that as it clearly states on the ticket information that the Captain reserves the right to change the ports of call etc to keep the ship safe. Don’t get me wrong. I sympathize with them both. I want the lady to see her family…………….I want the chap to make his business meeting………..but shouting and screaming at a GSA is not going to help. I am sure there are many, many more guests who are disappointed that the original ports of call are not probably canceled and it’s my job to keep everyone happy ……………regardless where we go.

There are two people though who didn’t shout…………didn’t scream and didn’t complain………….although if anyone has the right to be upset its Claire Smith and Darren Middleton. This young couple were due to get married……….in St.Thomas…………..and they are here with all their family. I spoke to them yesterday and assured them that we would arrange a very special day for them in………..well…………….where ever we go. They were just the perfect couple………..smiling……….understanding……………and a joy to talk to. I will keep you informed as to what happens with them.

Well, that about has you up to date. I hope this reporting of the day’s activities have not bored you too much. I just thought it might be nice to let you see what I have to do in times like this.

It’s now time though for the welcome aboard show………..and no talk of storms and missed ports. I intend to just give the guests a great time and make them laugh.

I will be back tomorrow

Good morning from a beautiful sunny day in Nassau. That bitch Ana Storm is surely a long way from people’s minds right now as they enjoy a stunning day here. In a few minutes I will be meeting with the Captain to see where we are going and then prepare accordingly. Last night’s welcome aboard show was very funny once again due to the characters I met and I will tell you about them in a forthcoming blog.

But for now its time to reveal where we are going. I just got back from a meeting with the Captain and it’s not only Ana, the bitch, we have to worry about but now its Bill, the bastard, as well because there is a second storm right behind Ana’s arse. And so because we won’t put the guests or the ship anywhere those terrible two, this is what’s happening.

I then gave them the jist of this letter which was sent to all the cabins.

Dear Carnival Guest:

We hope you enjoyed our call in Nassau today.  We also have a full schedule of exciting activities and entertainment available for you onboard the Carnival Freedom.

We want to provide you with an update on our itinerary.  We are closely monitoring the progress of Tropical Storm Ana and Tropical Storm Bill.  Tropical Storm Bill is following a similar path as Ana and is a couple of days behind.

Based on the projected path of these storms, we will not be able to proceed to our scheduled ports in the Eastern Caribbean.  We will replace these ports with a visit to the Western Caribbean as follows:

DAY               PORT                          ARRIVE         DEPART

Mon.                At Sea                            —                    —

Tue.                 Ocho Rios                   7:00 AM          5:00 PM

Wed.               Grand Cayman            7:00 AM          4:00 PM

Thur.                At Sea                            —                    —

Fri.                   Cozumel                      7:00 AM          6:00 PM

Sat.                  At Sea                            —                    —

Sun.                 Ft. Lauderdale                        8:00 AM

We sincerely apologize for these changes to our itinerary.  We know how important the ports of call are in your vacation plans. We have made this important decision to ensure your safety and comfort.

We will have a wide variety of exciting excursions available in these new ports and our staff will provide you with all the information.  Excursions purchased for San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua or Tortola will be automatically refunded to your Sail & Sign account.  In addition, because we will be providing one less port than our scheduled itinerary, $20 per person will be credited to your Sail & Sign account to reflect a refund of the government fees and taxes.

We know that you will have a great time aboard the Carnival Freedom.  My officers, staff and crew will continue to do everything possible to provide you with a fun and memorable vacation.

Sincerely,

Captain

And then I sat back and waited. And sure enough 99% of the guests were OK………….disappointed and understanding………….but happy nonetheless. Of course there were some who were not and they included a few who were sailing on back-to-back cruises and therefore had been to these ports before. I feel very sorry for them and tomorrow I will take the time to call each and every one of them and apologize as well as sending them some champagne and strawberries etc. This was an interesting comment though:

From: FREEDOM DANCE CAPTAIN
Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2009 6:22 PM
To: FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR
Subject: Guest Feedback

Hey John

I was in the library as you made your announcement this afternoon.

Soon after your announcement a couple came into the library to look at the Atlas.

They believe that:-

We could have gone to Turks & Caicos as well as the other ports

We will be sailing near the storm to go to Ocho Rios & the only reason we’re not going on our regular itinerary because it’s cheaper for us to go to Cozumel/Ocho Rios etc. than the scheduled ports – they don’t believe it’s because of a safety issue.

Carnival knew where we were going to go before the start of the cruise and didn’t tell the guests before because they didn’t want them to cancel the cruise.

Mark Symons
Dance Captain
Carnival Freedom

And they are on my call list as well so I can explain that this of course is not true…………………..is it time for me to go home yet?

And so, hopefully things will settle down now and once again I will be able to go out on stage tonight and try and win the audience back. There is still so much to do though. I have to re-arrange flights for the fly on entertainers who are going and those who were supposed to join the ship in San Juan plus I now have to make 6 new carnival Capers…………….and it is with absolutely no disrespect to Jamie when I say…………….it’s at times like this……………..I miss Heidi.

Hold on………….we are not done yet……………and back to the bridge I go and I don’t give two shiny shites that I am dressed only in my underpants. I have to make another announcement just three hours after the original because………………well………….here’s why.

Based on favorable changes in the forecast of Tropical Storms Ana and Bill, Carnival Freedom will now be able to visit the Eastern Caribbean Ports of San Juan, St. Thomas and Tortola (Call in Antigua will be cancelled.)

Revised Itinerary as follows:

8/15/09 Sat Freedom Ft. Lauderdale, FL 8:00 AM 4:00 PM
8/16/09 Sun Freedom NASSAU 7:00 AM 6:00 PM WAS AT SEA
8/17/09 Mon Freedom AT SEA WAS SAN JUAN
8/18/09 Tue Freedom SAN JUAN 12:00 PM 12:00 AM+1 WAS OCHO RIOS
8/19/09 Wed Freedom ST. THOMAS 7:00 AM 6:00 PM WAS G. CAYMAN
8/20/09 Thu Freedom TORTOLA 7:00 AM 5:00 PM WAS AT SEA
8/21/09 Fri Freedom AT SEA WAS COZUMEL
8/22/09 Sat Freedom AT SEA WAS NASSAU
8/23/09 Sun Freedom Ft. Lauderdale, FL 8:00 AM 4:00 PM

And so to much applause and much dancing in the streets I announced that, because I had done a naked rain dance on the bow, Ana had disapisatated………yes that is the right word and spelling everyone………..Ana had disapisatated and Bob had turned right and was buggering off towards nowhere.

And that should be that. ……………all’s well that ends well. I know we had to cancel Antigua but at least we are giving extra time in both San Juan and Tortola……and hopefully that’s the end of all of this…..at least I bloody hope it is because my Hemorrhoids are flaring up something rotten .

I know this has not been the usual kind of blog full of cheer, photos, fun and underpants and I am sorry if you found it a bit on the boring side but I thought some of you might like to see the timeline of events when things like this happen.

It’s sods and Murphy’s law that this occurred on my last cruise and if that wasn’t enough have a look at this international guest list count and notice that for the first time ……………we have …………..well……………..have a look.

Antigua and Barbuda

5

Argentina

2

Aruba

Australia

10

Austria

Bahamas

190

Barbados

Belarus

Belgium

2

Belize

1

Bermuda

13

Bolivia

Botswana

Brazil

1

Bulgaria

Canada

259

Cayman

17

Chile

1

China

5

Colombia

8

Costa Rica

Croazia

Cuba

4

Czech Republic

Denmark

Dominica

Dominican Republic

2

Ecuador

3

Egypt

El Salvador

Estonia

Finland

France

58

French Guyana

Georgia

Germany

24

Ghana

1

Greece

Grenada

Guyana

2

Guatemala

Haiti

1

Honduras

Hungary

3

Iceland

India

1

Indonesia

Iran

Iraq

Ireland

2

Israel

9

Italy

33

Jamaica

6

Japan

5

Jordan

Kenya

Korea

Laos

Latvia

Lebanon

Lithuania

Macedonia

Madagascar

Malaysia

Malta

Mexico

6

Moldova

Mongolia

Montenegro

Morocco

Myanmar

Nepal

Netherlands

9

Netherlands Ant

6

New Zealand

Nicaragua

Nigeria

Norway

Pakistan

Panama

Peru

1

Philippines

7

Poland

8

Portugal

1

Puerto Rico

Romania

Russia

8

Samoa

Saint Kitts

Saint Lucia

1

Saint Vincent

1

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

2

Salvador

Spain

6

Suriname

Sweden

Switzerland

Syrian Arab Rep

1

Taiwan

Thailand

Trinidad & Tobago

6

Turkey

4

Ukraine

2

United Kingdom

44

Uruguay

1

Venezuela

24

Vietnam

Virgin Islands

3

TOTAL PASSENGERS

807

Yep……………..we have 58 French on board………….Murphy strikes again…………….Le Grande buggair.

Goodnight
Your quiet tired 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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