A Blog…Live From Holland

September 9, 2009 -

John Heald

And so here we are in Holland and before I start today can someone please explain to me why the Amsterdam Intercontinental Hotel needs to know Heidi’s and my date of birth, occupation and our combined household income…….do they need to know this before Ingrid the hotel maid steward changed the bed sheets and poured bleach into the toilet to remove the remains of dinner that were doing their Klingon impression?

Why does the hotel’s registration form need to know…………before the girl would give me our room key………… how many and which types of credit cards I have, the month that I renew my buildings, contents and car insurance, the ages of my children and whether I own my own home? Why does it use capital letters to emphasize that I should reveal “ALL” the leisure interests and activities that I enjoy and the gob smacking impertinence of it….. Whether I have shares, savings plans and other investments.

What does any of this have to do with the quality of the eggs I will eat for breakfast? It’s a stupid bloody question, obviously.

The point is to pass this precious, private information on to other retailers so that I’ll be blitzed with spam and junk mail which will build behind my front door and give more viruses to my computer than if my laptop were to sleep with a Latvian hooker.

Anyway, I answered most of the questions but when it got to the part about salary, savings and credit cards I scribbled away but what I was actually writing was that I was wearing white underpants …………….and that I hated the French.

I am always conscious here about what I write and although mine is an independent blog that I do represent Carnival Cruise Lines and that I have, regardless, become part of their customer service program……and therefore I have to be careful what I say………….who I ridicule and who I make fun of……..because the last thing I want to do is have a country and western star write a song about me………..let me explain.

I was watching CNN this morning here in the “We Know Everything About You Intercontinental Hotel” while Heidi got Kye ready and cleaned up the Grey Poupon that had erupted into her diaper and I saw a piece about a Ms Irlweg. Her full name remains a mystery. All I know is that she lives in the Chicago area, works for the customer relations department of United Airlines, and has become the subject of a new country and western music video, which has been posted at some point over the next week or two on YouTube.

You see, several months ago, Ms Irlweg had the misfortune of handling a passenger complaint from a man named Dave Carroll, who happens to be a Canadian musician. This chap had been flying on United when he saw baggage handlers throwing around his guitar case on the tarmac outside, and when he arrived at his destination; it turned out that the neck of his beloved $3,500 Taylor guitar had been snapped like a turkey’s leg at Christmas. But when he asked for compensation, he was told to bugger off by department after department, until finally he reached Ms Irlweg, who at least gave him a straight answer.

“No………bugger off…………….eh”……….she’s Canadian so I had to add the “eh”…….because that’s the law.

I am sure he had a few choice words to say to Ms Irlweg but he also, according to the CNN bit I saw this morning, told her he was going to write three songs about his experience with United Airlines, shoot videos for each of them, and then post them online…….what a load of bollocks, she must have been thinking. ………….oops.

Because our Canadian Garth Brooks kept his promise. The first song according to Uncle Google, United Breaks Guitars, has now been played over 3 million times on YouTube, become a smash hit on iTunes, and has resulted in Carroll’s star to rise.

Meanwhile, within four days of the song going online, the gathering thunderclouds of bad PR caused United Airlines’ stock price to suffer a mid-flight stall, and it plunged by 10 percent, costing shareholders $180 million……..which I am sure the president and men with beards at United now realize would have bought poor Dave about 20,000 replacement guitars.

Meanwhile poor old Ms Irlweg has become a symbol of what we all experience at some part of our lives……….bad customer service.

And so I pledge once again that here on my blog thingy to give you the best possible customer service and be kind and decent to each and every one of you…..except Ruth and Al G, who having read this and thinking that I am Carnival’s equivalent to Ms Irlweg are probably already at their local karaoke bar to record their new hit music video called “John Heald Is A Total Bastard And His Underpants Smell.”

Here is the link to the You Tube video all about Ms Irlweg…………..poor thing

And for no other reason except it makes me look at myself and know I need to lose weight ……… here is a video ….from YouTube of me…………dancing……………those with a weak disposition, pregnant women and anyone with diarrhea…………should look away now!

And now to continue that good customer service, here are more questions that I have been asked to reply to……………..here we go.

Mike Asked:
Hello John (please do reply),

I was wondering, whatever did happen with the couple from Holland? We were hoping to see an end to the weeklong proclamations of love at the final show, but that never happened. What did Ivona end up receiving?
-Mike

John Says:
Hello Mike
For those who have no idea what you are talking about let me just quickly say that I had a couple from Holland…………..where I am now……..who were taking part in a skit throughout the cruise. I had promised them some prizes which I was to present at the debarkation talk but unfortunately Mike as you would have seen they were not at the talk. Afterwards I discovered that both had awful colds and were in their cabin and so I went there and gave them their prizes which included a diamond and sapphire pendant, a watch and lots of goodies in a big bag…….they were very, very happy. I hope you had fun that cruise and I hope we have fun together again on another Carnival cruise.
Best wishes
John

Frank and Bridie Rist Asked:
John please respond,
We still hope and will make sure you don’t forget about having lunch while you’re on the dream here in Port Canaveral? I’m sure Linda and Mike won’t let you forget either.

Thanks, and looking forward to meeting you,
Frank and Bridie (Big fans)

John Says:
Hello Frank and Bridie
I have not forgotten and I look forward to seeing you both and Linda and maybe a few others next year.
Best wishes to you both and see you soon
John

Marty Paul Asked:
Hi John (please reply),
I bet you are happy to be home with your beautiful family, IKEA trips notwithstanding.

I am a religious reader of your blog (daily) and love it. Also, my girlfriend & I are booked on the Oct 15th sailing of the Carnival Dream in the Med.

However, I just had a quick question about the Carnival Glory’s 2010 Canadian itinerary. Did Carnival cancel the 3 “After the Glaciers” cruises to Quebec City?

My girlfriend is French Canadian (easy John, French Canadian is different than French), and there is a certain big question I plan on asking her on a gondola in Venice, so I was actually looking at sailing on the Carnival Glory to Quebec City and possibly getting married there!

Can not find these cruises anymore on the Carnival web site, so I’m afraid Carnival must’ve cancelled them? Is yes, why?

Thank you,
Marty Paul

John Says:
Marty:
Wow…….you old romantic fool you……………being proposed to on a gondola in Venice is every woman’s dream ……and some men’s dream as well. It will be a very special moment and if I may recommend that you do it at night when the inner waterways are candle lit and that you should pop the question by the Bridge of Sighs which local legend states will bring you years of happiness and loads of rumpy pumpy.

You are correct that unfortunately we did cancel the Quebec cruises and that is a real shame as Quebec…….despite the French influence……….is a beautiful city. I am sorry about this but if you have any other ideas or need my help maybe you could let me know. Maybe 2011 will bring some exciting new itineraries for you to choose from…………keep checking the blog and I will let you know.

Have a wonderful cruise on your Carnival Dream and maybe you can send me your cabin number a couple of weeks before you sail so I can send you an engagement gift.
Best wishes to you both
John

Charlotte G. (not related to Ruth G) Asked:
Dear John, – Please Reply
Thank you so much for the pictures of the Carnival Dream and the cove balcony rooms. My DH (dear husband) has booked 2 of these rooms for our family – in May. We are surprising our 19 & 22 year old children!! (DD & DS)

We have adjoining cabins. I had read where there would be permanent dividers between the balconies; therefore our family would not be able to combine balconies, however, when looking at your photos, it looks as if the dividers are indeed removable. Do you know if they are in
fact removable? (Or is it just wishful thinking on my part)

Either way, I am looking forward to a wonderful cruise. Thank you so much!
Fondly,
Charlotte

John Says:
Hello Charlotte G not related to good old Ruth G
I am so glad you have been enjoying the photos of your Carnival Dream and I am sure you were excited to see your cove balcony cabins and actually I am not sure if you can open the dividers. Having seen them I pretty sure you can’t as I think the dividers are in a permanent fixed position. Anyway, please allow me to check with the ship and I will let you all know ASAP.

It will be a wonderful cruise and what a wonderful surprise for your family. How lucky they are.
I will let you know the answer to your question soon.
Best wishes to all
John

Tina Asked:
John please respond
We will be sailing on the Carnival Splendor Oct. 11th 2009 for our 20th wedding annv and my in-laws 50th annv. Is there a way to request a certain cabin steward? We sailed on the Carnival Splendor in May of 2009 and we really liked our Cabin Steward her name was Maliwon she
did a great job and she was a sweet heart. She said she’d still be on in Oct. but she did not know which deck she’d be on. So is there a way we can request to have her again?
Thanks
Tina

John Says:
Hello Tina
Whereas I can help with the dining room seating requests assigning specific crew members to guests is not something I can really help with. Let me explain. Each stateroom steward has their own sections to look after and each steward is often assigned a section of a deck for their entire contract. However, I will pass this on to the ship and who knows………you may get lucky. I will also let the Housekeeping Manager and Hotel Director know that you enjoyed her wonderful work and that I know will make her very happy. I will ask the Housekeeping Manager to have her stop by and say hi.
Have a great cruise
Best wishes
John

Brian Asked:
John, **PLEASE REPLY**
Around the first of Aug I sent a question and you said to give it 7 days and someone would be in contact with an answer…still no answer.

My questions were basically….

If I booked a cruise, and later (weeks) the same type cabin drops in price, can I request a reduction in my cruise fare, or do I have to cancel the cruise, wait for the credit card refund and rebook.

I am a platinum cruiser, and in addition to the cruise fare being reduced, they are giving better/larger upgrades now than when I booked (ex: 4A – 4G).

Unfortunately now, my final pay date has passed, so cancelling is not an option. But for future reference, it would be good to know. Plus, I would hope that platinum–or even all past guests –would get best possible upgrade.

Thanks for your time!!
Brian

John Says:
Hello Brian
I am so sorry that nobody has contacted you and that is something that I have been able to improve on these past weeks. This is due to the fact that I now have a dedicated team to help me and this CARE Team is led by the wonderful Vicky Rey who I will now write to and we should indeed hear from someone very soon. Please let me know how the call goes and my sincere apologies for the delay. Thanks for your loyalty to Carnival and I hope you continue to read the blog thingy.
Best wishes
John

Susan Little Asked:
John, please reply…
My husband and I plus 10 of our friends are joining you on the Carnival Dream, Oct. 3/09. Everything has been going pretty smoothly until this past week when we hit a major snag. I sent our info for a tux rental for my hubby on Aug. 19th and didn’t hear anything for a week so I started checking and calling. I was told they were not renting anymore tuxes for the cruises in Sept. or Oct. My one friend had already booked hers and paid for it only a short time before me and since they advertise that you need to book at least 2 weeks before the cruise I assumed that 6 weeks out was a pretty good bet. I haven’t managed to get my husband in a tux since we got married and was really looking forward to having pics done in his “monkey suit” as he calls it and was very disappointed in the outcome of my quest. Why wasn’t Carnival prepared to supply enough tuxes for rental? They tell me the shop on board will have some but it is a first come first served basis and my husband is not exactly a small guy so the chances of obtaining
one seem slim. Has this happened before or have their suppliers changed? Please help me out here in understanding why I and several other couples are being disappointed with this decision. Thanks for your help.

John Says:
Hello Susan
This is all news to me. I was not aware of this until I read your posting. However, I did some checking and have been told by the department that runs our Formalities shops that we had some supplier issues with our tuxes on the Carnival Dream’s European sailings but tuxes will be available once the ship gets to the states. This I know that this doesn’t help you much but I did want to pass this along. Fret not – we really don’t see a lot of tuxes these days and your husband should be OK with the elegant night recommendations. Wish I had a better answer and thanks for taking the time to write.
Best wishes to you and your husband.
John

Joesakic1999 Asked:
dear john please respond,
let me start out by letting you know I would never call you by your other name uncle toilet that is just wrong’s have just returned home from the freedom and I want to let you know you have ruined cruising for me sari know what your thinking but no I mean in it in a good way I don’t think I could ever go on another cruise without huge expectations from the cruise director after experiencing such an amazing job by you. I was on the mystery cruise and you were nothing short of brilliant. First off I emailed you ahead of time and you secured a table for 2 in the dining room for my mother (more on her later) and I and for that I thank you. we went to the marriage show and I didn’t stand up and you asked who was next to me and why wasn’t I standing and I yelled it’s my mom and you said she looked young so you didn’t know and for that she thanks you. We enjoyed you so much, mornings on the lido watching you on the big screen, the shows, Holland, dick little everything was so great that we got our voucher for a future cruise. We were hoping to say hi to you in person take a picture or something but our paths never crossed, till next time that is. ok enough of the arse kissing onto the questions.im weighing in on the kids, I
know carnival is a family cruise but there has to be some control on them ,kids were running everywhere past employees and nothing was said, I’m not saying they shouldn’t be allowed on the ship but neither have free reign to do whatever they want. and I respect that you asked the parents to try to help but let’s be honest they are happy to get the kids away from them so they don’t care as long as they are not with them. so here’s a question does it even matter what time of year I go on my next cruise or are there always tons of kids or does it ebb and flow depending on the school year? And does destination make a difference? Speaking of destinations I loved the beaches of Tortola and St. Thomas but didn’t like the third world atmosphere when we were in other parts of the island and with your many years or experience are there any destinations that for lack of a better word are more upscale then this itinerary? What is your favorite warm weather itinerary.wow this is a long post 2 more quick questions I promise. I really enjoyed your efforts on the cruise and I know you would never accept a tip but I would like to recognize your efforts so do you have a favorite charity that you would like me to donate to as a token of my appreciation? And finally I swear, where can I get an autographed john heald in a thong photo? thank you so much for your continued effort with the blog, enjoy your time with your lovely wife and baby and if you need to add somebody to your small list of friends I’m here for you, thanks for everything mike from Vegas….

oh john please also reply I forgot to ask one other question in my long diatribe earlier, can you get me a date with Jaime or Mel on the freedom? And not Jaime Fraser the singer the other one her and Mel are hottttttttttttttttt. Ok I know I have no chance but as cruise director you can make anything happen, right?????? J/k….thanks again mike in Vegas….

John Says:
Hello Joesackic1999
What a wonderful review and let me start by saying how proud I was to read your comments on how much you enjoyed the cruise and that I made such an impression on you….I am truly humbled.

Let me address your concerns as well. First of all the kids. You sailed with a under 18 count of nearly 1,000 and that of course means that nearly one third of the passengers are made up of that age group. While the majority of the kids are well behaved there are some who do run around and as for controlling them………….well as much as we can do onboard it is surely the job of the parents to tell the kids what they can and can’t do. However, on the other hand Mum and Dad do know that we at Carnival provide the safest of vacation environments and therefore they feel comfortable allowing their kids to roam free. Some have suggested a curfew for children which I must be honest I am not a fan of. We are a family cruise line, an affordable excellent value line and that is something which we know will attract families. No, a curfew is not what we need to do. What we do need to do is catch the tiny percent of the kids who act up. Did you know that the cruise you were on some little bastard carved some kind of graffiti tag into the elevator doors?

You can always expect a high count of children during June, July and August and during other holidays like Easter, Christmas etc. The rest of the year the count is lower ……..maybe an average of between 100 and 200.

As for the ports it is hard to think of a Caribbean port of call where poverty does not exist. Maybe Grand Cayman, St. Kitts and one or two others but like all countries there are always going to be those that have and those that have bugger all. My favorite warm weather cruise is still the western Caribbean including Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, which certainly has its fair share of poverty and you must see the very luxurious private island of Half Moon Cay.

I remember you and Mum well from the Marriage Show and I am so touched by the fact that you would like to donate some money as a thank you. That really is not necessary……but if you want to give a little something than maybe you could donate to the charity that Heidi and I support as much as we can and that is Save the Children whose work basically is to protect children from poverty all over the world. Here is their link.

https://secure.savethechildren.org/01/in_honor_of_special_person_undes?source=hp_do_gift

As a thank you for this I have arranged dinner for you and Jaime at your local Burger King.

Thanks for sailing with us and my best wishes to you and Mum.
John

Mike Charters Asked:
John please reply
We’re booked into a 4F on your Carnival Spirit next September to Alaska and then to Hawaii. I’ve been trying to find out if the patio door in the room opens or not. I’ve seen reports both ways. Could you please ask the current CD for us? Thanks!

John Says:
Hello Mike
Thanks for taking the time to write and having checked with Lui the Guest Services Manager and he confirms that although a 4F cabin does have a obstructed view due to the lifeboats the doors do indeed open.
Hope this helps
Best wishes
John

Rob Petrillo Asked:
Hi John (PLEASE REPLY)
I happened to find your blog by accident and have really enjoyed reading it.

My first ever cruise was on the Carnival Victory to Nova Scotia a few years back. We really enjoyed it except for the vast amounts of “unsupervised” kids running amok. We couldn’t enjoy the pool the entire trip. Now this is mostly the parents fault since obviously on vacations they don’t have to be parents and supervise their kids. But nobody on the crew seemed to mind or say anything to kids that run up and down the halls and decks push all the elevator buttons and do
constant belly flops in the pool.

Don’t get me wrong, we love kids but my wife is a teacher and looks forward to a vacation without having to feel the need to discipline someone else’s kids.

We have since taken 5 other cruises on another “Royal” line mainly because of their adults only solarium (pool, hot tub area) which is really peaceful. We also didn’t experience the “kid amok” factor anywhere as much as on our one Carnival Cruise.

This December we have decided to go back to Carnival for a New Years Eve Caribbean cruise. To be honest, it was mostly because the dates worked out better for us. But I also want to see if we just had a bad kid week that one summer on Carnival.

We are, by coincidence, on the Victory once again for a 7 islands in 7 days cruise. Sounds exhausting without any sea days, but yet exciting at the same time.

My questions are:

What happens on the Victory during New Years Eve? I’m sure there is something special done.

How many formal nights will there be? Not sure if New Years Eve falls on a scheduled one or if another one will be added.

Do you know of where online I can read recent Capers for this itinerary?

I do not mean to come across as anti-Carnival because on our Nova Scotia cruise everything else was wonderful. The food, entertainment, activities and crew were all great.

Thanks in advance.
Rob

John Says:
Hello Rob

I am glad you found the blog and it’s strange that your first posting should include a question about kids onboard. I think there are always going to be kids who do not listen to their parents and do run up and down the corridors regardless of what ship they are on. I remember a post a few weeks ago that I replied to that said the problems you encountered on the Carnival Victory were ones they encountered on an RCI ship. You only have to walk around your local shopping mall to see groups of kids as young as 12 running around doing what kids do these days. This is certainly not an excuse and I promise you that our staff do care and we continue to look to improve in controlling the kids and hope that parents will help us as much as possible with this …………by the way………pressing the elevator buttons is something I probably would have done as a kid.

Anyway, I am sure that your New Years cruise will be brilliant and that the kids onboard will be well behaved and I will promise you that our staff will do all they can to make sure they are.

There will be two formal nights including New Years Eve after you leave St. Lucia. I will ask the CD when he intends to have the other one. There will be a huge party planned and I know that it will be a most fantastic way to see in 2010. The party will mostly take place (weather permitting) on Lido Deck and will feature champagne, live music, the countdown and lots of surprises.

I am currently working on getting the Carnival Capers for each ship posted here on a permanent site for the blog thingy. At the moment we do not have a way to publicly see current Carnival Capers and it would be great if we could.

Please, never apologize for sharing your views, thoughts and opinions here on the blog even if they are of a negative nature. This is an open forum and I am honored that you and so many many others take the time to do so.

I hope my answers have helped you a little and if you have a follow up please let me know

Best wishes to you all
John

That’s all for today. There will be more tomorrow.

Let’s have a look at one or two of our sister companies blogs which as usual contain some fantastic photos and information for all who love the world of cruising to enjoy.

Let’s start with Seabourn who as you will see from their blog are once again the proud winners of yet another luxury travel award. You will also see some great photos of the amazing suites on the Seabourn Odyssey…….congratulations Seabourn and here is their link thingy……….pop on over and have a look.


http://blog.seabourn.com/

And you must see the Holland America’s site because Nieuw Amsterdam’s funnels arrived Wednesday, Sept. 2, on a barge towed by a tug from the manufacturer Nuovo Arsenale Cartubi in Trieste, Italy, to Fincantieri. There are great photos of this right here:

http://www.hollandamericablog.com/

Now, that is in fact the perfect link to our guest today, a man who is responsible for all the refits within Carnival Corporation…………..so as I know many of you are fascinated by what happens during a refit………..here is an interview with a man who knows………Mr. Peter Fetten.

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Peter, welcome to the blog. Please tell us all about you and the extraordinary job you have at Carnival Corporation.

My name is Peter Fetten, SVP corporate ship refit, I’m married with 3 children, 2 boys one daughter, the youngest is still studying at FIU, Miami. Originally I’m from Germany, Hamburg, I’m a naval architect and worked at a shipyard, Blohm and Voss, for 14 years in several senior positions, I came to the US with my family in 1997, at the time having my own consultancy company and mainly worked on the development of Grand Bahamas Shipyard in Freeport, which was eventually built in 2000. From 2000-2008 I worked as VP Newbuilt and fleet design in RCCL, Finally I started to work for Carnival in the new position in July 2009, and I’m proud to be part of this fantastic company now.

In my 30 years in the new building and repair and conversion business I mainly worked on cruise ships, starting with classic ships like the QE2 and France/Norway and being part of developing several prototypes of cruise ships, lengthening, widening, revitalizing, adapting and modernizing ships throughout my career either as project manager or leader of a team of project manager.

And what does your job involve.

My job involves every aspect of ship refit, starting from idea/concept, feasibility/benchmarking, planning, milestones, design, vendor/yard selection, execution/project management, and start up as well as guarantee follow up.

Let me clarify, we will support the brands in one or all aspects of the above, we have a team of 4 person here in Miami (Jeanine Rodriguez, Lisa McCape, James O’Shaughnessy and myself) (plus 1 member in Genoa, Italy, Franco Portolaccia), and work as an integral part of the brand project management. Be aware two hands and one brain cannot do this, it’s a team effort.

Before we talk about the projects you are currently involved in, can I ask your opinion on why refits and redesigns are so important these days within the cruise industry

The refits are an integral part of a ships life, the design is based on certain itineraries, markets, trends, functionality, earning capabilities, age etc. If any of this parameter are changing the ship might have to be adjusted for the new requirement, further the new ships which are coming out have a lot of update features and amenities, which drives the upgrades of the older ships, to deliver the same ‘Brand promise’. Whatever the reason is, each of this upgrades are unique and challenging, since it needs to be done in the shortest possible time.

Peter, please tell us about the current Corporation projects you are working on and what work is being carried out

There are a lot of exciting refits presently in planning or execution worldwide, CCL is refitting Carnival Ecstasy this year and Carnival Fascination next year. The main focus is on adding around 100 balconies, a new water park, and pool deck upgrades, a full makeover of the main public areas, and extensive technical upgrades. Fascination has a similar upgrade in January next year. The Carnival Holiday will be ending her service for CCL in November and will be transferred to Costa/Iberocrucero, and will undergo a complete rebranding/ refit from top to bottom.

HAL’s Rotterdam later this year will add a new aft superstructure and a new aft pool experience with a new outside bar and several new balcony suites. Further extensive renovations and upgrades throughout the ship will round up this refit.

Ocean Village 2 will be rebranded in November in Singapore for Carnival Australia, which involves a lot of upgrading work in the public areas, new tender boats etc.etc. There are of course numerous other projects in the feasibility or evaluation phase, which I can report on at a later stage.

Which of the projects you mentioned has been the most challenging and why.

The challenges are on all projects similar, the time is always too short and the work scope is always too big for the time available. The logistic challenge is always there, since most of the materials and vendors are from Europe and wherever we do the refit it needs to be brought to the yard in the right sequence, and environmental or other ‘high balls’, like strikes, hurricanes, shipping limitations and 1000 other possibilities of disruption are our day to day enemies. A big refit can have up to 400 containers of tools and materials which need to be available just on time for the contractor/yards to do their jobs. Not to discuss the endless ‘surprises’ which needs to be managed every minute, especially at the execution phase. One thing is guaranteed it is not getting boring.

What is the reward for all this hard work?

The reward for me is coming from the team spirit in this ‘crazy times’, where everything needs to happened extremely orchestrated, and the team manage the unbelievable last push before the first guest come on board, and are able to laugh and contribute to another story which nobody will believe anyway…..

The Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination and Carnival Ecstasy will have or have had new balcony cabins added which have proved to be very popular. I am sure this is a very complicated project but can you simplify the process and tell us just how this is done.

This balcony project requires a lot of detailed engineering work, since we are adding ‘cut outs’ for the balcony doors. The cut outs are in the side shell, and the strength of this side shell is reduced by the ‘cut outs’. We need to compensate this strength reduction by replacing the existing thinner shell plating with new thicker shell plating and stiffener. Further we need to have a new platform (balcony) added. This will be done by prefabricating new side sections, which will be inserted into the old removed (to thin) shell sections. This is very complicated and need to be very accurate, but since time is of the essence, it needs to be prefabricated by the yard before arrival of the ship. After the steel (structure) is ready welded, we need to install the balcony glass railing, divider, light, drains, deck covering door , window and not to forget the cabin need to be modified from the inside to allow the comfortable and safe access to the balcony. I heard several time the question, why are we only putting the balconies in the middle and aft section of the side and not on the whole side, the answer is on top, we need to be able to lower the lifeboats still safely into the water, and the balcony would obstruct this operation, except in the areas where the new balconies are installed.

And so we kind find out more about you……please fill in the blanks tell us your favorite:

Car: 1956 Packard Panama Clipper
Ship: Seabourn Odyssey
Drink: Franken White wine (Boxbeutel)
TV: Discovery Channel
Dessert: Vanilla ice cream with strawberries

And if you could refit any existing ship in the world……….what ship would that be and what would you do to her?

Refit a smaller cruise ship and ice strength it, to allow her to go through the North West passage and operate safely in the Arctic and Antarctica. Good Zodiac boat platforms for exploration and landing on the ice. This will be only for 120 to 150 guests. But could be very unique and a once of a life time experience for the guests.

What a great interview and remember when you walk on a ship that has had a major rejuvenation that the man who helped breathe new life and in the case of the Carnival Fantasy class, new fun, into it was Peter. If anyone has any questions for him please let me know as I know he would be happy to answer them for you ……………..thanks again Peter.

We will return with a brilliant Cruise Director interview tomorrow.

So Todd and the entertainment staff joined your Carnival Dream on the 4th of September. I emailed Todd for his first impressions of the ship…………….all he could say was

WOW!

I know how he feels………………do you?

Let’s have a look at some photos of your Carnival Dream cast rehearsing one of the shows that will also leave everyone as Carnival shows always do…….saying WOW while on their feet applauding.

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I am not sure which one of the three new shows this is from but I can’t wait to see for myself.

Tomorrow, updated photos of the stunning atrium………have you booked yet?

So Heidi and I are in Holland and the joy of her family seeing Kye and the sorrow of taking her to Heidi’s Dad’s resting place has meant a day of truly mixed emotions. It was a good trip over though on a Stena Line Ferry which left Harwich, Essex just as we did on the Carnival Legend in 2002…………..so many memories.

Just to continue the kids on board theme for a moment as it was so relevant to today’s Q and A I just wanted to add a few more comments. I will start with the fact that we must empower our staff to stay vigilant and look out for those who are going beyond the line of having fun and are doing things that will disturb others vacation time. However……….it seems that in most aspects of life today the younger generation has changed so very much. The music they listen to, the TV they watch, the games they play and the ability to know about anything thanks to the internet. I was trying desperately to think of an example about this and really couldn’t think of one until Heidi reminded me about our milk man.

In the UK we still have something from the old days. A man who delivers the milk who is cleverly called………………the milkman. When I was a kid, our milkman was called Bob and used to whistle as he came down the path with our milk…………..it was always the same tune……….the theme from The Bridge Over The River Kwai.

However, fast forward 40 years and the milkman who last week delivered our milk. He was a spotty 18 year old wearing a baseball cap on backwards.

It was the day he collected the money we owed for a week’s worth of milk……….usually something Heidi took care of but now I had answered the door. He handed me an electronic thing to sign with no good morning and no whistling. As I signed his gadget and paid him the cash I heard a terrible noise from his milk van which was outside my house, in my quiet suburban street, with the windows open and this loud, aggressive rap booming from it: “I’m gonna **** you, bitch! Yeah, you’re my bitch! Yeah slap my bitch!”

I couldn’t believe it. I mean , suppose he had been delivering Kye’s gift to my Mum, or your Mum or to a house that had kids who were old enough to hear the words I’m gonna **** you, bitch! Yeah, bitch! Yeah bitch!”…………..and think it’s ok for them to say the same thing to their math teacher Miss Dickinson …………..the next day at school.

So, as a new Dad I know I have to be the best Dad I can be but…………because I don’t want Kye to be running up and down the corridors of the Carnival Magic pressing elevator buttons and stealing Southern Dreams electric scooter and listening to “slap my bitch.” on her Eye Pod…………I intend to impose the following rule of law which I now have the honor to pass onto all the parents out there.

1. Give your child pocket money as early as you like but take a bit of it away for every crime they commit. If they are really naughty, dock a whole week’s payment — so they owe you. Then take a favorite toy into custody as security on the loan ………if they don’t pay up………set fire to it.

2. Every house should have one, a “naughty spot” where children are exiled for bad behavior. Make sure they can see everyone else enjoying themselves while they sit alone. My naughty spot for Kye will be in front of the TV forcing her to watch the Teletubbies, Barney and Dora the bloody Explorer……..surely that’s punishment for anyone

3. If they won’t get dressed in the morning, take them to school in their pajamas. Once should do it. Carry their teddy bear in your arms if you haven’t already burnt it (see number 1)

Kiss them goodbye, then press your nose against the classroom window while blowing soppy kisses — and also waving the teddy bear. Threaten to do the same each time that they are late getting ready for school………..even if they are 15.

4. There is a place where you keep valuable or dangerous belongings. The children should be of the firm and unmovable belief that it also contains child-munching goblins from France who will eat them for breakfast.
Yep………..I guess as we get older what kids do these days does seem strange. Even police officers, schoolteachers, government officials and presidents of Costa Cruises all seem younger, and I’m finally staring down the barrel of my 45th year. ….bugger.

The answer to naughty kids is to me very simple……………. ……… give them a good clip around the ear……..just like we got, right?

I remember once that Mum and Dad took my sister to a hotel for a holiday in the west of England ……………a very special treat indeed.

However, as an 11 year old my overriding memory of that holiday was not the beach or the rollercoaster rides but my Dad’s shoe on my arse. That was because I decided to have fun with a toilet roll. I went into our hotel bathroom, tucked the end of the toilet paper roll into the back of my underpants and saw how far I could get through the hotel before it snapped…………quite far actually………………..right up until I was reprimanded by an employee………..and that’s when my arse had a close encounter with my Dads size 9.

Children will always be welcome on a Carnival cruise…..99.9% are wonderfully behaved but………if one of the naughty buggers does steal an electric scooter…………Mums and Dads……threaten to introduce them to your shoe……………I promise they won’t ever do it 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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