I am sure there are many of you out there who as soon as you wake up, you fart……OK…….that’s probably just me……….and then reach for the remote control to watch the news. I used to watch the BBC 24-hour news when I am home but recently I seem to have wandered over to Sky which is part of Fox news………oh and bear with me during the next few minutes because this will not be the usual start to a blog thingy.

You see recently, the news whichever channel you watch it on seems to have the news editors broadcasting detailed reports of brutal physical and sexual violence between 7:15 and 7:45 am which is my stay in bedtime I the morning, which, as it happens, is just when my Elvis/Chicken radio alarm clock goes off. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve woken in recent months, slowly facing up to the horror of another day being pummeled by news of massacres, genocide and other outrages against humanity.

Today for example it was the news of two more British soldiers dying in Afghanistan………the dreadful story of that poor young girl who was kidnapped by that bastard and kept in a tent in his back garden……..cut his bollocks off with a blunt spoon I say.

Just when I thought the news couldn’t get any worse, Sky ran a story about alleged war crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It began with an interview with a woman who was abused by six soldiers while she lay on the corpse of her recently murdered husband ……..and …….well, I can’t bring myself to write the rest of this so very disturbing story. Frankly, it put me right off my Corn Flakes. The average morning is hard enough with Kye having woken twice in the night and having to live with bugger all air conditioning without being told tales of murder and torture before I have even separated myself from your blankets and pulled the underpants out of your bottom.

But seriously, the reason I am writing this is because I have always played the news on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen from 7:30 am – my morning show starts at 9:30 am or 10 am. And as I sat and watched the news this morning I decided to change this the next time I am onboard a ship with has the Lido big screen. The news these days is reported in far more graphic detail than ever before and on a Fun Ship vacation while sitting on Lido deck eating your bacon and eggs and reserving your 38 sun beds………..there is no place I think for the news of today.

What say you?

What is on the news here in the UK is of course 2012 and the Olympic Games that are to be held in London. I don’t want to be a pessimist but judging by the terrible effort we made at the closing ceremony in China I think this could be quite embarrassing for us Brits. Remember the incredible show the Chinese put on and then on we came……..in a double decker bus with Jimmy Page doing a Milli Vanilli on his guitar and of course David Beckham kicking soccer balls into the crowd……………wow!

I wonder if any of the Carnival Corporation ships will be used as floating hotels for this spectacle ………..oh and of course London never really wanted the Olympic Games until they found out Paris wanted them………….and we couldn’t let that happen could we?

Anyway, I am sure the opening ceremony will include a laser show but ……..they will be way behind your Carnival Dream as you will now discover.

Look, Up in the Sky! Carnival Dream to Offer Amazing High-Energy Laser Shows

Can you imagine…….standing on lido deck…..a cocktail in one hand and your other hand holding onto the one you love as you both watch a magnificent laser show under the Mediterranean or Caribbean stars………….yep, another first on your Carnival Dream…………have you booked yet?

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

Neeceygirl Asked:
Hello John (Please reply & thank you in advance)
Please forgive me for repeating myself. I wrote on 8/? but did not ask for a reply so am writing again. I am thrilled to know we will be on the Legend (Nov. 8th) with you. We always enjoy the entertainment and have so much fun participating in many of the activities. There will be at least 30 of family members on this 4th cruise. My question is, can you tell me which beach(es) is your favorite (at Roatan), which beach(es) are kid friendly, and if they have umbrella’s? Thanks again for having such a fun blog and taking the time to answer all these emails. Oops. One more thing. Where do we find your responses? I guess I just check the daily blogs. God bless you and your family, Denise (and Iggy)

John Says:
Hello Denise
Thanks for taking the time to write again and sorry if I did not reply the last time you posted a comment. First the bad news. I am sorry but I won’t actually be on the Carnival Legend with you in November as I disembark on November 1. I then head to New York for the ceremonies for your Carnival Dream. Your Cruise Director will be Jenn Baxter and she and her team will make sure you have the very best of times. Now the good news. The beach in Roatan that I highly recommend is Tabyana Beach. You can go there on your own in a taxi……..fix the price with the driver please…….and then pay for entrance etc when you are there. Alternatively you and the family can go on the excursion organized by the ship. It costs $37 and for that you get the following:
• Have access to private sun loungers, fresh water showers with changing/restroom facilities, and a local gift shop, bar.
• Enjoy the sounds of great Caribbean music.
• Snorkel in the inviting Caribbean waters and see the stunning, unspoiled coral.
• Take part in a friendly game of volleyball followed by a cool glass of iced tea or homemade lemonade.

So it has the shade and umbrellas you need and I think it will be a great location for you and all your family to enjoy.

Thanks so much for bringing 30 people onto the Carnival Legend. I truly wish I could be there with you and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.
Best wishes to you all and thank you so very much for all the kind words
John

Tracy Asked:
Please reply I’m not sure I already sent this and u responded sorry if I did. Since there is an elegant nite is their a place on the ship I can rent a ball gown? and why do they have elegant nite now?

and hope u are feeling better.

John Says:
Hello Tracy
Each ship regardless of the length of voyage has at least one elegant night. We used to call this formal night and then ball gowns were very much the fashion but………….times change and while some do in fact wear ball gowns most will wear elegant dresses etc. I wish I could describe better what kind of dresses are mostly worn, I am sure there is a collective name for them but considering I am to the fashion world what Judge Judy is to the world of lap dancing I guess I am of no help. Maybe the other bloggers can describe what you should wear. Unfortunately we do not rent ball gowns on board however we still rent tuxedo’s which considering we no longer call it “formal” night is somewhat bizarre.
Thanks for writing Tracy and best wishes
John

Erin W. Asked:
Hi John (Please Reply)! I would like a little humor in the Life Boat drill – For many frequent cruisers we can recite the whole drill much like we can on the airline! I think it would break up the moment and make it not so dull and maybe even refocus some people who have spaced out!…I have been on many airlines that use humor in the safety talk. One of Southwest Airlines main lines is: “If Southwest Airlines should happen to become Southwest Cruise Lines – your life vests are located right under your seats.” Very funny the first time I heard it!!

I am late following up on a answer you gave me last month about why we cant pay online if we booked by phone. Sorry to be a pain but the person who you tasked to answer the question…well he really didn’t 🙁 He merely restated what I said. And in response to his statement that it is faster to read the card number to the PVP rather than type it…well that is a matter of opinion and still not really an answer. For me I (like many others I’m sure that use keyboards all day) can type my card number in quite quickly and it is much faster than calling and leaving a message for the PVP and then waiting for the return call (or calling the main 800 number and reading your reservation number, waiting for them to pull it up and confirm your password). I guess my confusion is this: The technology is already in place so why are some passengers being restricted from using it (you can actually click on make a payment and enter your CC info before it gives you the error message – which doesn’t even tell you what the error is)? I mean I can pre-book shore excursions with my credit card on the reservation online but not pay the bill?? Thanks for looking into this!

Only 30 more days (and then 128 days) until the Liberty and 85 days until the Dream!!
Erin W.

John Says:
Hello Erin
Thanks for the comments of humour in the life boat drill. I have decided to leave the drill itself intact and make sure the information on what to do in a real emergency is clear and precise. However, I think there is room for a little bit of cheekiness at the start and at the drills completion. I have written some stuff which I have sent to the people with beards at our safety department and hopefully they will approve it.

I totally understand your thoughts and in this day and age where we can type details on the computer it does seem that we should be able to give this some thought. So, let me send this on again, this time to someone at VP level and let’s see what they can tell us and maybe they can change the system. It doesn’t hurt to ask does it?

Not long now until and you will be back home with Carnival. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything on this follow up.
Best wishes
John

BJ Norton Asked:
Hi John (please reply).
I am not sure this is the right way to contact you but I need some advice. My DH and I are planning to take my 29 year old autistic son on a cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy in late October after she comes out of dry dock. My son is basically a 5 year old in a 6′5″ man’s body. I know he will enjoy the water slide and any dancing on board. Too bad he is too big and too old for the kids programs, he’d love them. Anyway, my questions revolve around dining. We have always been careful not to offend other people and although my son’s manners are acceptable, some might not want him at their table. Will it be hard for us to get a table for 4 at the early serving? How do we go about requesting this? We will be travelling with one of my son’s caregivers. Any information you can give us will be appreciated.

Thanks,
beege

John Says:
Hello Beege
Thank you for taking the time to write and I am glad that you took the time to do so. Please don’t worry about offending people. You will find Carnival guests are the salt of the earth and the crew will be ready to make sure you and all your family have a brilliant time. I will be glad to help you so please send me a comment marked John Please Reply and include the family name and cabin number please and I will ask the Maitre D to assist with your booking. I received a bit of flak recently for helping people with dining room reservations and yours is certainly one of the reasons I keep doing this. There are also people here who can help should you wish it….. readers like Linda Mum of DJ who if asked I know will be honored to pass on her experiences of cruising.

Hope to hear from you soon
Best wishes
John

Michele MARAGNI Asked:
Hi John (Please Reply)
I hope you are feeling much better now, just a few more days and you will be home relaxing, and enjoying your beautiful ladies, the heck with some of these ignorant fools! If they only had your kind & generous heart, this world would be a better place! And not to mention your fabulous sense of humor and wit! First let me be the first to congratulate you , for staying on your diet, I just cannot imagine anyone working on a ship, surrounded with such delicacies, 24/7 being so devoted as you, sticking to your diet! KUDO’S to you! I don’t think I could do it or many others in fact! I can honestly say, I am so excited to meet such an honourable gentleman as yourself, all these negative bloggers, please just take them for what they are (it wouldn’t be proper to mention, the words I have in mind) just stay your wonderful self, you are admired by many, how many people can say that! Love to you, Heidi & Kye! Your friends and admirers! Michele & Mom (Eleanor)

John Says:
Hello Michele
Yep, here I am home with the girls and although I am still working hard it is great to be with them. Thank you for all the kind words. My diet is certainly easier to control on the ship than at home as temptation is all around but…….I have been a good boy……mostly. I am actually on a new diet. It’s the grapefruit diet. I have 5 grapefruits for breakfast, five for lunch and five for dinner. I am loosing lots of weight but the problem is every time I go to the toilet to pee……I squirt myself in the eye.

There are one or two…..and that’s all one or two bloggers who write saying how much they hate the blog and possibly me as well yet they keep reading it. I want people to write and tell us when we don’t do something well or if they disagree with what I say and those comments will always be posted. But I won’t respond to the ones that say bad things about the many thousands of bloggers who read my musings daily………nope……..I’m ignoring them. Anyway, it’s always great to hear from you and my best wishes to you and Mum and once again thanks so very much for the support.
John

Terry Asked:
Hey John,
I’m brand new to your blog, but not to cruising or to CCL.
So here’s my question, and I really hope you’ll answer because I get conflicting info…

Last year I FINALLY convinced my 2 best friends of 35 years to join me on the Elation for 5 days in Mexico. We had a blast, but it was the first time I’d cruised where there was no gala buffet (which of course I chatted up for years and years).

Now we’re heading out on the Splendor in Sept to celebrate one of our big 7-0…this is a 7 night trip. Will I finally get to share the brilliance of the gala buffet with them? (You see I got them hooked now…better late than never!)

Please don’t say it’s a thing of the past (unless it is), the ice carvings and creativity of fruit is delightful and I sooooo want to share this with my bffs.

Thanks John. Now I’ll go back and read and read and read your blog. Very entertaining AND informative.

Cruise on!
Terry

John Says:
Hello Terry
I bid you a warm welcome to the blog and as I sit here in my underpants writing this I feel honored to welcome you to the blog. Thank you for introducing your friends to Carnival and I hope you all had a wonderful time. The Gala Buffett was disbanded fleetwide and I know that it was something that many enjoyed. However, don’t let this get you down. Start telling your friends about all the things that the Carnival Splendor has to offer. The huge water slide, the retractable dome on Lido Deck, the Seaside Theatre big screen where you can watch movies under the stars and a show called Vroom which I promise is something that as much as you talk up will not be enough because ……….it is truly brilliant. Have you and your friends considered going to the Steakhouse……….now that is something that will impress them so very much.

By the way, we still have an ice carving display and you will find food carvings all around the lido deck food stations that include the Burrito Bar, the Mongolian Wok and so very much more.

I hope this takes away some of the disappointment of there being no Gala buffet and I also hope you take the time to read the blog thingy now and again.
Best wishes to you and your friends
John

Jeff Benton Asked:
Hi John…. (Please respond) I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. My wife and I are celebrating our 15 wedding anniversary on the Splendor that leaves September 6th. We have a very large group of cruisers on our roll call board on Cruise Critic!!! My question is there any way that we could get a meeting place so that we may all get together and have a drink and say hello to the folks that we have talking to for soooo long???? We have over 1,300 posts and still going strong!! Are plans as of now are to meet at the aft pool bar at 4:15 the day of the sailing…..That way we could have a drink together before the muster drill……Thank you so much for everything that you do!!!!! I will be sure to promote Carnival…in a big way…..over on Cruise Critic!!! I also have a radio show 5 days a week and I’ll give ya a shout out!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Jeff
Thanks for letting me know about this large group of friends sailing on the Carnival Splendor. I will ask the ship to arrange a lounge for you to meet in on the first sea day. Look out for the Cruise Critic group meet in the today at a glance section in the Carnival Capers and I am sure we can send a bar waiter there to take drink orders which can be individual paid for on each guests sail and sign card.
I hope you all have a great time and my best wishes to you and everyone from Cruise Critic who are sailing on the Carnival Splendor.
John

Deborah Asked:
Hi John – PLEASE REPLY
By the time you read this I hope you are heading home to your 2 beautiful girls 🙂 (without any travel problems) How wonderful for them and for you! Kye is growing before our eyes and is so beautiful!! I love the Friday pictures and note from Heidi – please give Heidi my best!!

There is a very large CC group for the TA Dream on Oct 27. On behalf of the group I have 2 questions:

1. About 41 of us would like to dine at the Steak House on one of the Sea days, but we don’t want to pick a formal night – so what do I need to make the reservation for 41 guests and what nights are going to be formal nights on the TA? Also what do I need to make the reservation (cabin numbers/names/etc.)

2. On the first Sea day, Oct 28, we would like a place for the group of about 200+ to meet for our meet & greet and gift exchange. Is it possible to meet in a lounge and have a bar tender, we would purchase our drinks … or just use the lounge space, and can this be posted in the Capers?

I have not organized something this large and not sure how to handle such a request. One of our members did try to contact the Social Host via the email address, but has not received a response, so we are not sure if we are going through the proper contacts. Any help/suggestions you can give me would be appreciated.

On a personal note, are you still planning to join the TA Dream in Bermuda? And is Jamie still going to be on the Dream? I have some goodies for all and can’t wait to see you and Jamie again!!

All my best to you, Heidi and Kye,
Debs

John Says:
Hello Debs
Your Carnival Dream voyage will soon be here and of course I will do all I can to make it a very special voyage for you and your group.

With regard to the bloggers and your desire to all eat together at the steakhouse, I think that is a wonderful idea.

Let’s start with your request for when the elegant nights will be the second sea day and the second to last sea day of the Atlantic crossing. Now, if I may be so bold I would recommend the first of those sea days after your last European port. This will really make the start of your Atlantic crossing extra special. Now as for booking. Well, I recommend that as soon as you have all decided on what date to do it you all book online on the same day or you can send me everyone’s name and cabin numbers and I will organize a group booking for you. Either way, let me know if I can help.

We can also arrange a room for you and post something in the Capers. My only concern is that someone called Michelle also asked me for a room on the same day for a CC group…..is this the same one? Anyway, can you send me a reminder about the lounge in early October and I will ask Todd and the staff to arrange this for you. Please let me know what else I can do for you all

I hope to see you in Bermuda
Best wishes
John

Angela Asked:
Hi John (please reply),
I’m brand-new to Carnival. After 3 Disney cruises and 4 Royal Caribbean cruises, I’m taking my first Carnival cruise next April on back-to-back Carnival Dream cruises in a spa suite, and I couldn’t be more excited!!! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I really enjoy it, and I enjoy your humor. You are an EXCELLENT brand ambassador, and you’ve got me looking very much forward to trying out Carnival.

Concerning your question about Southwest Airlines and humor, you may want to check out this video on You Tube. It shows a flight attendant doing a humorous rap instead of the usual, boring pre-flight announcement. I think this is a fun way to get everyone’s attention. Safety and humor CAN mix!

Also, concerning your question about curfews for kids on ships, Royal Caribbean does enforce a curfew. Crew members visit all the decks and gather up any kids and send them back to their cabins. I believe the curfew is at 1 a.m.

Anyway, thanks for all the laughs you bring. Shhhh….don’t tell my boss, but I start off every workday reading your blog!
Angela

John Says:
Hello Angela
Wow……a spa suite……on your Carnival Dream…..back to back…..what a brilliant vacation you have planned and the only thing that could make it any better would be a photo of me dressed as a Roman Gladiator which I will leave in your suite for you. We are always honoured (spelt correctly) to welcome first time cruisers to Carnival and I am glad that the blog thingy has helped you prepare for the cruise and given you some smiles along the way. I hope you have enjoyed the photos of your Carnival Dream and there will be many more in the future.

Thanks for the video which I just watched and truly enjoyed and as I mentioned earlier in today’s blog I will be adding some fun to the start and the finish of the drills onboard. Please let me know if you have any other needs before your wonderful back to back cruises.
Best wishes
John

Sharona Asked:
Hi John! Answer please!
I am a bit nervous about our upcoming stop in Cozumel. Not because of Cozumel…we love it! But because my husband has his heart set on the Power Snorkel excursion… however, there is a weight limit of 240 lbs. on there. I’m working really hard losing weight, but I’m afraid I may not be quite there by November. Is this a “rigid” rule or can it be stretched a bit? I am an experienced snorkeler and an excellent swimmer. I’m looking forward to it, too, but don’t know if it’s something I’ll be able to do. Thanks!

John Says:
Hello Sharona
Please don’t be nervous. I have done this tour ds so I am sure you will be OK. Please stop by the shore excursion desk during embarkation and have a quiet chat with the manager. Also, if you want to send me an update (marked private) if you wish on your weight I will confirm before you sail if you can enjoy the tour……..and I am sure you will be able to.

I know that wasn’t an easy comment to post so please know I will help you all I can and be proud at how hard you are trying to lose weight…….not easy is it?

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and of course I will be posting more answers tomorrow. The comments… and yes I do read each and every one of them …have been wonderful recently and that was also told to me by two senior vice presidents who are avid blog readers. This leads me once again to tell you how important your comments, praise and criticisms are……..so please……keep posting.

Just a quick follow up for ….ummm….Dave I think it was but anyway for the blogger who was asking about Bermuda. I had posted the reasons Carnival is not a regular visitor there but there was a follow up about King’s Wharf and here is the answer from our Senior Vice President Terry Thornton.

Here’s some input on the follow-up question.

The second berth in King’s Wharf will be heavily utilized by the other cruise lines with long term contracts. The availability would be very limited. In addition, as we explained previously, we have more attractive itineraries available to us.
Thanks, Terry

And as always Terry a big thank you to you.

Talking of people high up lets pop over to Cunard and have a look at their President and our man in the UK Mr Peter Shanks starring in this brilliant video……scroll down the page and watch a man so at ease and so proud to be as he says “President and Managing Director of one of the most famous names in the travel industry.”

Here is the link thingy……………..please watch this.

Meet Cunard’s New President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks

A super video and one that just whets that appetite of anyone who loves ships to add a Cunard voyage to their bucket list of things to do. My favorite moment was when Peter explained the history and the pride behind the “We Are Cunard ” White Star service …….and that again makes me and I am sure you want to board now……..maybe we should all meet on the Queen Elizabeth.

Peter also mentioned the hairs on his back standing on end when the Queen Mary 2 was launched and I know how he felt because the hairs on my bottom stood on end when I first boarded the Queen Mary 2 last year.

So, the good news is that as you will have heard Peter is a keen blogger as we know from his support of our blog thingy and I know that we can expect many more updates from him about all that is Cunard and of course the arrival of Queen Elizabeth.

Congratulations Peter and oh yes…….one more thing……..please stop hiring dapper good looking Entertainment Directors like Alistair Greening. His good looks, sophistication, charm and expensive Italian suits are an embarrassment to the profession. Cruise Directors are supposed to be butt ugly and fat with all the sophistication and charm of a slug………..it’s not fair.

Yesterday we featured another one of our Cruise Directors Mr Steve Knisley. So I decided to stick with the Steve’s and introduce to the one and only Steve Cassel.

Steve.3.III

Steve.ctry.4

1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair.
A long time ago, in a city far, far away. (is that a song?) Rewind to 1986. The West Coast of Long Beach, California. I started on the Tropicale in 1986 as a juggler. I’d worked Las Vegas, had 3 national TV commercials running, and decided to try cruising. I liked it so much, I’m still here. I was promoted to cruise director in 1987.

2. What ship are you currently serving on?
I’m on the Fun Ship Carnival Ecstasy sailing out of Galveston, Texas!

3. Before we talk about you let’s talk about the ship. What are you favorite areas of the vessel and what is it that makes your ship the best in the Carnival fleet.
The Ecstasy is not the newest or largest ship. It’s Fantasy class, with a guest capacity of 2,052. We’re in dry dock from September 19 – October 17, and in those 28 days the ship will be treated to an extensive upgrade, a multi-million dollar package that includes an adults-only Serenity deck, an extremely enhanced waterslide, theme areas and more. We are all looking forward to this. But the Carnival Ecstasy is the #1 ship in the fleet before the upgrade, and I really think we owe much of it to the wonderful guests that sail from Texas. We also owe much of it to the wonderful crew onboard. There are so many talented and fantastic people (and characters) that make up our team. But sailing from Texas, we’ve met some of the friendliest and most genuine people on the planet, who have really taken to cruising out of Galveston!

4. Can you tell us about your itinerary and please pick your favorite shore excursion from each port and tell us why you like it so much?
Our itinerary is a two week cycle, with two 5-day cruises calling on Progreso and Cozumel, and one 4 day cruise to Cozumel. Progreso’s main allure are the Mayan Ruins. They are quite simply phenomenal. The main attractions are Chichen Itza and Uxmal, featuring giant pyramids and lots of very interesting places to explore. Merida, the capitol of the Yucatan is about 45 minutes away. With a population of over 1 million, it’s a sprawling city with lots of excursions where you can take full advantage of its proximity. For Cozumel, it’s quite difficult to narrow it down to just one tour. I would be happy to pick my 14 favorite tours, but what matters is what YOU like to do. Cozumel is about your own interests, and there are water tours, power boats, submarine and semi-subs, jeep tours, ATV adventures, beach, snorkeling, scuba tours, shopping, golf and more. The beaches are out of this world, and Playa Mia beach is one of the absolute best. Then there are the dolphin tours. The list goes on and on.

5. If someone were to ask you “what does a Carnival cruise director do” how would you reply.
what do we do? Actually, I’ve been trying to figure that out for about 2 decades and still can’t come up with an intelligent answer. It’s a combination of aspects, all adding up to my creating and leading the fun. We’re in charge of information talks, shows, activities, and providing a wide variety of entertainment value in the various venues around the ship. We also mingle with guests and are available day and night. From my point of view, my job is to organize, promote, portray, incite, infuse and invigorate the fun onboard.

6. What is your most favorite part of the job?
I have several favorites, but my ‘most favorite’ part of the job is performing and entertaining in the shows.

7. If we were to sail on a ship where you are the CD what would be the must not miss activity or show that you host?
I would say that the ‘must not miss’ show would be Antonio Vivaldi. To close the showcase of stars, I play an acoustic violin. The piece I’ve chosen is the first movement of winter, allegro non Molto from Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons.’ Most people have never seen anything like that performed live, and it’s such a beautiful piece.

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD?
The hardest part of my job is getting enough sleep! With all the fun to be had onboard, it may sound trivial but keeping my health close to 100% is certainly one of my biggest challenges. It’s so easy to burn the candle at both ends. As my dad used to say, you can’t soar with the eagles in the morning if you hoot with the owls at night. But it’s so much fun to try! So the toughest part of my job really boils down the delicate balance between soaring and hooting.

9. If you could sail on any other cruise ship (not Carnival) what ship would you like to sail on as a guest and why?
Any ship sailing to Alaska. Alaska is stunning.

10. Finally – please fill in the blanks

YOUR FAVOURITE ACTOR
Mandy Patinkin

YOUR FAVOURITE ACTRESS
Meryl Streep (Jessica Biel!) No, Steve. Meryl Streep. (aw, nuts)

WHATS ON YOUR EYE POD
Vivaldi and Styx

YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE
Back to the Future

WHO MAKES YOU LAUGH
Charlie Callas. (I’ve never laughed so hard in my life)

YOUR FAVOURITE CARNIVAL CRUISE DIRECTOR EXCLUDING YOURSELF AND ME (JOHN) AND WHY
Trevor Block. He’s my friend and is one of the most honest people I know.

IF YOU WERE INVISABLE FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD YOU DO
For one, I would try and find out why your spell-checker doesn’t work. I’d like to see if I could shave without actually seeing my face. I’d also want to find out if dogs or cats noticed me. But being invisible wouldn’t be any fun until you’re visible again, and then it would be too late. So live your life to its fullest!

There is no doubt that Steve Cassel is the most incomparable Cruise Director I have ever met and I have utter and total respect for him. Not just because he is our longest serving CD but because he is truly and individual. And while other CD’s in the industry could possibly be called “cookie cutter ” versions of each other……….Steve has been and always will be an individual. He is a great salesman………a brilliantly talented juggler and a virtuoso violin player which is a feature of the country show featured on a ship he has now made his own ……..the Carnival Ecstasy. I hope you all get to experience his totally unique style of entertainment soon….Steve…….I salute you.

Well, right now over on your Carnival Dream things are getting hectic as the crew start to arrive. I will be bringing your more photos and news soon but I have to admit…….I am jealous that I am not part of the start up team. I have delivered the last 3 new ships and in total I have been privileged to deliver 9 new ships as Cruise Director and I truly wish I was there now. Don’t get me wrong………giving Todd Wittmer the chance was totally the right thing to do and I know he will do a great job despite the haircut. He is our best CD and you want the best on a ship like your Carnival Dream…….but I still have those jealous pangs…….bugger.

I shall also miss the change to sail all be it briefly around Europe again and with that in mind I found myself looking at some photos taken by Radu Ursu our chief photographer. He is the most talented cameraman I have ever met and I thought I would share some of my favourites that he has taken over the last few years we were together on the Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor. Today I will feature his brilliant portraits of Venice but also some of Athens, Greece and Istanbul, Turkey. Yes, I realise that your Carnival Dream is not going to call at those last two ports but his photos are so amazing I thought you should see them………and besides……who knows what the future holds………..you may see a Carnival ship sailing in Europe one day…….hope springs eternal. Anyway, enjoy the brilliant work of Radu.

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There will be more of Radu’s photos soon.

In yesterday’s blog I answered a question about lobster both in the dining room and in the steakhouse. I will give you my own personal lobster story in a moment but I wondered………how many of you order the lobster when you go to the dining room? Or do you prefer the Prime Rib? Just curious. I am sure if I asked for the stats from our food chappies they could tell me but it’s much more interesting finding out from you. The fact that we serve lobster in the dining room is I think, wonderful and of course up in the Steakhouse, if the best cut of beef is not your thing than the Main lobster tail is a great option……or have the surf and the turf.

There are I am sure many arguments about where the best lobster comes from and with no disrespect to Maine lobster, steakhouse lobster or that from any other part of the world……….the best I ever had was in Canada…………..and to be precise……….Halifax, Nova Scotia…………..at a place called ……….bugger if I can remember.

Lobster is not cheap here in the UK and at a place called Wheelers in London it costs£49.50. ($90) Scott’s is very posh, the service is excellent and you have a choice: grilled or thermidor
Therefore it’s not something I have very often. But way back when I was on the Carnival Triumph we used to call in Halifax and that’s when I discovered Lobster heaven.

I think it was called the Five or the Three or the something Fisherman and it serves the sweetest, juiciest, freshest lobster on either side of the Atlantic. And because it’s where the locals go and not the tourists you pay much lower prices. It is, as they say on your side of the pond……. a steal ………although I doubt the lobsters see it that way.

I found this place a by accident. I heard the ships agent and tour operator whispering, I followed them and suddenly I had discovered the treasure.

Anyway…………I went for lunch during one call on the Carnival Triumph with my friend and Carnival’s 344th best comedian Al Ernst. Here is a photo of my mate.

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Now Al like me likes to eat and if you want to see something very funny it’s the look on Fu King the chef’s face when we both walk into a Chinese restaurant that offers an all you can eat buffet. ………..anyway………..I digress…………so back to the story.

Al and I found a table down the back, were warmly welcomed by the waitress and started to cast our eyes over the menu, relishing the thought of another crustacean feast. It’s the sort of menu that makes you want to order everything on it. We both went for the twin platter, because one lobster is never enough. With a side of potato chips, rolls, pickles and coleslaw, because you can’t just have two lobsters on their own.

Halfway through, plastic bibs shielding against the crack-hammer work, two lady guests or passengers as they were known back then sat down at the table adjacent to ours. I tutted, because although I loved the guests and my job I was looking forward to a lunch free of being ………..well………..me and instead spending the time abusing Al.

Al wanted to know why I’d tutted, so I jerked a subtle thumb in the direction of the new diners.
A few bites of delicious lobster later I was recognized and the two passengers became overwhelmed with excitement and butted in on our conversation.

“Gee, it’s John?”

““Wow, we love you……..How are you enjoying the lobster?”

“Sensational.”

“Oh, can we have a photo and then I have a comment about the tour we took this morning?”

Twenty minutes later they left us in peace to attack great triangles of homemade fruit pie.

They left before we did, offering extensive well-wishes. They were so nice, yet even though they saw my lobster getting cold they had continue to tell me that their tour was this and that and that it wasn’t this or that etc. etc. and I remembered thinking how I would like to take a lobster claw and clamp her mouth shut with it. I said that to Al and he told me I was a horrible human being and as he did so he spat little bits of lobster over me………he is from Georgia after all.

Ten minutes later, we asked for the bill.

“It’s been taken care of,” replied the waitress.

“What do you mean?”

“Those two ladies took care of it.”

“What do you mean those two ladies took care of it?.”

We kept this up until she handed me one of the restaurant’s dining cards. On the back, there was a message from the ladies saying thanks for making us laugh and for being a great cruise director ……….. there were no names………..just a message of thanks.

I got back on board and searched for the ladies even making a page over the PA system ………… but I never found them………..and I’ve been feeling bad ever since. Yes the lobster was out of this world but every time a see lobster on a menu I am reminded of what a bastard I was and never ever to judge a book by its cover again.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

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

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