PA 007 – Has Some Breaking News For Y'All

September 17, 2009 -

John Heald

Yes, I was on Ryan Air yesterday…….yes……….that means I am about to turn into a grumpy old man. And that’s because I have something which goes right onto my list of worse things in the world. It’s worse than constipation, than call centers, than people who talk loudly in restaurants. It’s worse than passengers who ask the Captain “who’s driving the ship?” and nearly as bad as waking up every morning to discover that you are French……….It’s Ryan Air’s priority boarding.

The name is bad enough. “Can all the priority boarders come to the front?” inquires the Polish lady over the PA system, as if she were saying: “Can all the total idiots who actually fell for this and paid the extra money come to the front?” Now remember, there are no seat assignments on Ryan Air and therefore I had become one of the idiots for my flight from London to Italy…… and paid the extra money.

So, the Polish employee tells you all to come forward. At which point, you have to come forward all urgently and pushily, shouting: “Hey……..I have priority boarding.” Thus allowing all the non-priority boarders trying to bundle onto the plane way before their turn to look at you hatefully and mouth the word “bastard” at you as you elbow past old people, children and men and women with beards and priority boarded……….straight to a bus, waited for everyone else to un-priority board, then get on the actual plane en masse. I was, in effect, paying to be first onto the bus.

I’m not sure why I chose to pay the extra money for this. It just seemed like a box worth ticking at the time. And it was on the bus that I really began to regret it. I was watching as a fellow priority boarder loudly objected to a couple of non-priority boarders trying to walk through the bus into the priority-boarding section. Suddenly, life just seemed hugely depressing. Next time I go, I imagine they’ll have a glass partition down the middle of the bus. With armed guards.

But it’s so hard not to get involved. The sheer stress of waiting on a bus to see which doors open first, worrying constantly that your $10 was money pointlessly spent, that someone from Group B, perish the thought, might make it onto the plane before you, is surely reason enough never to be a priority boarder in the first bloody place. But I was…….. and I had become one determined bugger.

The doors nearest to us pinged open. We had a shot at actual on-plane priority boarding……but no… A young mother and her baby were blocking our way. I waited for the mother to gather her nine million accessories of babying. I should probably have helped, I am a new father after all …………….but then I would have been stuck.
Mr. and Mrs. Priority Boarders, behind me, were more ruthless. With a loud “’Scuse us, we are priority boarders,” they trampled past us, over the baby, out the doors and onto the plane, knocking a few blind people and octogenarians and a nun over in the process. Nothing would stop Mr. and Mrs. Priority Boarders.

I rushed after them, desperate to make use of my priority status, abandoning all sense of discipline and good manners. I burst onto the plane to find the only three seats with extra legroom at the front already taken. Five of the six in the middle with an inch more legroom was taken too. BUGGER.

Two of them were now occupied by the Mr. and Mrs. Priority Boarders, who had split cunningly into an aisle seat and a window seat, thus making the middle seat unattractive to newcomers. They were pretending not to know each other in order to have all three extra-legroom seats to themselves………the bastards.

The rest of the passengers were now boarding, all calmly taking their seats, now mouthing the word “loser” at me because I’d spent the past 40 minutes in a big sweat about being first onto a plane where all the seats are the bloody same.

It was then that I snapped. I walked back over to the SOBs, who were still studiously avoiding eye contact with each other or anyone else, and asked if Mrs. Priority Boarder in the aisle seat could let me through. The look on her face as this large man sweating like Joe Wilson finding himself stuck in an elevator with Oprah Winfrey.
I had called their bluff. And this is why priority boarding is worse, so much worse than any delay in boarding a ship at embarkation because at the end of the delay the fun is waiting. So wound up and unreasonable had I become, I’d made the decision to fly the two hours to Trieste stuck between two of the most annoying people on the planet. It was worth it, though. I have very pointy elbows……and had eaten eggs for breakfast……….priority boarding my arse.

Question time………………….here we go.

Kimala McConnell Asked:
Please reply,
I’ve been on a couple of cruises with my husband and am now planning a mother/daughter get-a-way. I know my mom will definitely want to see the galley and was more than a bit surprised when I learned that Carnival is now charging for the Galley Tour. I realize that cruising is a business. I also know that it takes more than a fully booked ship to break even on costs. What I would like to suggest is this: instead of having to worry about what’s included and what’s not, Carnival offer an ‘All Inclusive’ option (which does not apply to alcoholic beverages). This would take care of sodas, ice-creams, on-board tours and demonstrations, 2-4 hours of internet access and perhaps a limited number of coffee drinks. This would not impact the select restaurants, the casinos, or the dance clubs/bars. It might bring back a bit of the carefree feeling so many of us associated cruising with.

John Says:
Hello Kimala
I am sure you are very excited about getting away with Mum and the Carnival Glory is the perfect place to do this. The Galley Tour is just part of the brilliant new Behind the Fun excursion which also takes in the bridge, the engine control room and other areas that are normally off limits. If Mum is someone who loves to see what goes on behind the scenes this is the perfect scenario. Yes, there is a fee but it is totally exclusive and available for just 16 guests. You will meet the Captain and I truly recommend this. Unfortunately due to public health concerns the days of hundreds of passengers traipsing through the galley are gone.

The all inclusive idea is a good one. It is something that AIDA has done to massive success in the German speaking market. It is maybe something we should consider here. I am writing from your Carnival Dream and have all the top CCL people here and I will be glad to add your idea to the list that I will present to them.

Most importantly I hope that you and Mum have a brilliant time together.
Best wishes to you both

John Asked:
John O
Just off of the wonderful Carnival Glory and I wanted to drop you a line to tell you how it went and to sing you and Carnival’s praises. Some of your readers may think this is a paid endorsement for Carnival…it isn’t. Carnival is just that good.

Where do I begin? Our party consisted of my wife Robin, my daughter Lauren, her friend Hanna, our friend Carmen and her daughter Jessica. Oh, they let me go as well.
Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship in record time. I went straight to the Guest Services desk to drop of my gifts to the various staff members. I was just happy to not have to carry them anymore! I had each gift in a separate gift bag and my wife had labeled them as to who they were supposed to go to, chocolates for the Guest Services Staff, Peanuts for Hotel Director, Wine for the Captain and Staff Captain. With that task completed it was time to partake of a Fun ship Special. I think I have a picture of me having one of those on every cruise we have been on – tradition is important you know. I even have one of the original Carnival drink glasses…you know…one made from real glass!

I stopped by our cabin before meeting up again with my family and met Humberto (Bert to his friends), our cabin steward. He was very nice and we chatted for a bit. It turns out that he has been with Carnival for 21 years. That says a lot for Carnival and how they treat their employees when you see someone in the service industry work for one company that long. I was happy to see that the decorations I had ordered for my wife’s birthday were up already. Very festive! My mother had ordered the Coronas and Carnival Cooler gift pack for my wife so I asked Bert if he would fill the cooler with ice to chill the beer. Another unexpected surprise was a bottle of champagne and a fruit basket in each cabin. The labels said they were from the Hotel Director but I have a feeling that you had a hand in that…thanks John!

I met up with Robin and Carmen and we grabbed a burger on the Lido deck and had another Funship Special. I had not mentioned to Robin that I had stopped by the room as I didn’t want her to go there until everything was set for the big surprise. I slipped away again and checked on the room to see if Bert had the beer on ice and to see if our luggage had arrived. Not only was the beer on ice, it was on ice in a big cooler that Bert brought to the room. You know, the kind of cooler that you can’t bring on board the ship. He had also iced down some Mountain Dews I brought, the champagne you gave us and the wine we brought for dinner. Bert was the MAN! For the rest of the cruise that cooler always had ice in it.

After finding my wife and daughter again I took them to the room and showed her the surprises. She was blown away and loved everything!

That night we went to the Golden Restaurant for dinner. As we sat down, the Maitre’ D came by and said “you must be the Oglesby’s, you guys are famous”. To this day I’m still not sure what he meant by that but I can definitely say we were treated like VIP’s the entire cruise. Our server was Rosanna and her assistant was Victorino. Rosanna was the first time we have ever had a lady as Head Waiter/Waitress on a cruise and she was top notch to say the least. Absolutely the best service we have ever experienced. She was adorable with a funny, vivacious personality. She became part of the family and we would have packed her in our luggage and took her home if we hadn’t bought so many souvenirs.

I want to take a moment and talk about the food and about meeting the Head Chef. The food on the Carnival Glory was OUTSTANDING! Not good. Not great. It was OUTSTANDING. The only competition the Main Dining room has is the Emerald Room Steakhouse and I swear the Main Dining Room can hold its own. Absolutely the best food we have experienced in recent memory. We never had a dish we didn’t love. Did I mention the food was OUTSTANDING? One night Chef D’Souza came to the table and introduced himself and said that John Heald asked that he be look out for us. He asked what we types of food we liked and proceeded to prepare a pasta dish that we are all still dreaming about to this day. It had shrimp, mussels and scallops in a light tomato sauce. Unbelievable! All of the tables around us were eying the plates with envy. Speaking of the Emerald Room, we had dinner there one night and it was superb. For those who have eaten there in the past I only have two words for you…Lobster Bisque. Did you smile?

The night of the Captain’s Gala dinner I stood in line and introduced myself to Captain Nogara. He was very appreciative of the wine and we talked at length. He is a very patient man as we kept getting interrupted by people demanding that they get his picture now, no matter what he was doing. It certainly seems as if wine was the international language! He said his wife was from California (I thought you were kidding about that) and that she was trying to turn him on to California wines. He was thrilled to see a Barberra wine as that is a traditional Italian wine. He told me a funny story about you. He mentioned something about the passengers congratulating him on being promoted from Gondolier to ship’s captain. Too funny! Later in the cruise Captain Nogara sent us a wonderful Italian Chianti to try. The Staff Captain sent a fabulous Pinot Grigio and the Hotel Director sent a bottle of our choice. Please express my appreciation to all for their hospitality. I wrote each officer a note before I left the ship, but they can’t hear it enough from me….they are top notch.

Speaking of the Hotel Director, I met Anuj at the Captain’s Party. He is a very nice gentleman and seemed to really appreciate the peanuts. Seems my fears were for naught as both the Hotel Director and his girlfriend who helped him eat them survived. Thanks for your help there John.

Finally I would like to that James Charlton, or as my daughter has decided to rename him – Lord Charlton. One of the best Cruise Directors out there (present company excluded). We met him for the first time at the Captain’s Gala and he never forgot our names. Since he is the Energizer Bunny, we saw him 24/7 and everywhere but our bathroom. He is a very personable young man who will be handed the big chair soon. Oh, big props to his amazing Glory Ninja’s, you know who you are!

Did I mention the food was fantastic?

It was a fabulous vacation and I really felt the warmth from the entire crew. When you travel on a Carnival ship it really does feel like traveling with family, only better since we are not sharing a bathroom.

I can’t thank you enough John. Whatever you said to the staff must have been a doozy since I can’t imagine being treated any better. THANKS!

John Says:
Hello John O
There really is nothing more I can add to that exuberant letter of praise except to say thank you to you for writing it, thank you for the kindness you showed to the captain and crew and that I will be sending this onto the people onboard.

I truly hope it’s not too long before you are back onboard one of our Fun Ships.
Best wishes to you and the family

Texaskit Asked:
Dear John (please reply)
In regard to the recipe for the warm melting cake:
I’m confused. Please clarify whether it is the right half or the left half of the 19 eggs.
Or 19 and 1/2 eggs. Same thing. The right half or the left half?
Hugs to you, Heidi and Kye
texaskit (head smarta$$)

Hello Texaskit
After discussion with the Chef it should always be the left part of the egg.

The chef also told me to bugger off.
Thanks for the kind words
Best wishes

Alan Asked:
I’m traveling with a group of families that have an autistic family member. We cruised last year on Royal Caribbean and they helped our group by providing special accommodations like private seating at dinner, ship tours and private time at the kid camp.

Is Carnival willing to do anything to help us? We are in the process of booking on the Conquest for April 4th, 2010. As of today, we have six rooms booked and have 2 more that should book any day now. There are 5 autistic kids booked currently. They age from 10-17 years of age and are all severely Autistic.

John Says:
Hello Alan
I am going to send this onto Wendy who is charge of our Camp Carnival department. I will make sure that she contacts you directly but the bottom line is that we will do everything and anything we can to make sure that you all have a wonderful carefree time onboard. Let’s start with looking after the kids and then please contact me later this year so we can see what dining options are best for you.
Someone will be in touch shortly. Please keep me advised
Best wishes

Mary M. Asked:
Hi John, (Please respond)
As always…loved the blog…but the blog today about the Captain’s party made me a bit sad.

We sailed with you on the Freedom on the July 4th cruise. The night of the Captain’s party we ended up in the elevator with ACD Jaime and had a chat about the blog, etc. I mentioned to her that I was anxious to meet you and she assured me that you would be there. Well…when we got off the aft elevators we were actually in the front of the line for the party and were ushered into the lounge…but it was before you arrived. So…unfortunately (for me) we didn’t get to shake hands and say “hi”. Our paths did cross one other windy day on deck 3. I assumed you were headed to your office and didn’t want to detain you to so just said “hi” and kept going. (You are such a busy man!) Perhaps someday we will sail together again and I will make sure to meet you!

But…my question for today does not have anything to do with the Captain’s party. Is there some sort of list that shows which musical productions are being performed on each ship? We are considering the Carnival Legend for our next cruise and it seems that “The Big Easy” is one of their big production shows which we just saw on the Freedom. This is not a big deal to me…but I just was wondering how many shows are performed on multiple ships…and how long is a typical show performed before being replaced? Also…does a ship get all new shows at the same time…or do they stagger them so that only one is changed at a time?

I love the entertainment on Carnival ships…great music, talented singers, wonderful costumes, etc. Heck…just knowing how many times those kids change clothes in one show is pretty amazing! I can’t even imagine how much space it takes to store those costumes on the ship.
Thanks again for the time you spend on this blog.

P.S. I don’t think you should settle for just a 52 inch TV. As important as you are to Carnival…they should give you one of those big screen TV’s like in your Carnival Dream photos on today’s blog. (I can’t quite figure out the statue on the ladder in the last photo…it looks as if she is doing some work on the TV or something!)

John Says:
Hello Mary
The next time I walk past you and say hello grab me, hug me and don’t let me go. I look forward to that hug in the future and I am so sorry we didn’t get to meet properly this last time.

With regards to the shows some are indeed repeated. The Big Easy show is currently on the Carnival Legend and Carnival Freedom and the shows Ticket to Ride and Vroom are also on two ships as well. However, most of the shows are specific to one ship. The reason we repeat them is it is logistically good for us to create the same scenery and choreography but more importantly if a show is popular we want as many guests to see as we can. The shows on the Carnival Legend are fantastic and as I will be there in a week or so I will send full reports back via the blog. Thank you for the high praise about our entertainment which we are truly proud of.

I am hoping that Carnival will buy me a TV the same as the Seaside Theatre Big Screen here on your Carnival Dream although Heidi may not be too happy as she is the one who has to dust it.
Thanks for the great post and best wishes to you and the family

Angela Asked:
Hello John,
Please reply (thank you!)
LOVED the last picture of Kye. She really is a beautiful child… Heidi does good work!

I ordered some gift certificates through to give to a friend for their cruise. I wanted to surprise them on the day they were leaving for the cruise but when I got the gift certificates in the mail, they say on the back that they must be mailed in 15 days before the cruise. Is this correct?

I am cruising on the 17th of October on the Ecstasy (the maiden voyage of the Evolutions of Fun dry dock!), so I have time to mail them in and use them myself but I really wanted to surprise my friends with them as a thank you for all they have done for us this year.

I appreciate your help and your blog, as always.
PS. Thanks for the correct recipe for the melting cake.

John Says:
Hello Angela
Hey, I was there as well making Kye…………..even though for just three minutes.

Let me check on this Angela because I am not familiar with the certificates and I will have someone contact you ASAP.
Have a brilliant time on the rejuvenated Carnival Ecstasy and please send us your review.
Thanks for the kind words.
Best wishes

Mohammed Ali Asked:
Thank you once again for making me laugh aimlessly at the computer screen as I read your entertaining-yet surprisingly insightful blog! I hope you have a fantastic trip to Holland! It may not be a cruise but these cruise ferry’s are catching up… and fast! If you ever had a look at the Silja line Baltic ferries… that’s where letscopyeverything of the seas actually got the idea for the Royal Promenade …! It is very much a shame though that beautiful Kye’s first voyage to the sea will not be on a Carnival ship 🙁 .

My question today is a bit out of the ordinary… Basically I’m a 15 year old and I live in the absolutely fantastic island of Bahrain… a teeny tiny spec in the Persian Gulf.. Year 11 begins in a week or so, and at the end of it I should have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing as a career…. I come from a family with very high expectations where all the members sport beard’s of different sizes. From an early age I got interested in the Titanic and that led to me getting very interested on the wonderful QM2 and I followed her construction five years ago! It only seems like yesterday. After that I forced my lovely parents to take me on a cruise and we did a 14 nighter out of Southampton on the Legend of the Seas. They were hooked. After then I was old enough to do all the arrangements but unfortunately we are yet to travel on CCL. Maybe in 2011, with you as our CD, if CCL come back to Europe :-). I love cruising, love ships and love the sea. So although I know this will not go down well with my family, my ambition is to work on a cruise ship, hopefully as a deck officer and then work my way up to Captain. But after a bit of research it seems that CCL and other main cruise lines only hire people to the Deck Dept. from one nation… as a Bahraini there seems to be no hope. Of course, everything is far from decided but as less than a year lays from me and my choice… I’m sure to change my mind a thousand times, but basically aviation and working on the bridge always stood out since I can remember. My question is basically, is there a realistic chance if one takes the right career path, and has all the attributes and experience to make it in the cruise industry, to expect to one day be captain or staff captain? Or would a simple thing such as cruise lines hiring only Italian or Greek or Norwegian, etc. officers make such a dream impossible or impractical?

PS- I just would like to say a big THANK YOU to Mr. Arison and all of those at Carnival Corporation for deploying the AIDAdiva, Costa Luminosa and Costa Delisoza (didn’t spell that right) in the Persian Gulf for the winter season! With over 9000 weekly tourists to Bahrain it is providing an incredible boost to a population which just loves to show off its treasures! Thank you for creating a market here and one day maybe we can see a CCL ship deployed here!

John Says:
Hello Mohammed
What a wonderful posting and I am honored that you take the time to read it. We had a great time in Holland and Kye enjoyed her time on the ferry which I hope has prepared her for the many cruises ahead.

It is very humbling to know that you take the time to read my blog each and every day and one day I hope to visit your beautiful country. You mentioned that Carnival Corporation has sent some of their fleet to the Gulf and I am sure that there will be many more to follow and it would be sensational to see the Carnival smokestack there as well.

I congratulate you on your passion for the sea and to work upon her. My simple advice is to follow your dreams and learn the art of the mariner. If you have had that calling then you must I think follow your dream. As for working on a Carnival ship, well we do at this time hire mostly Italians to work as ship’s officers however we now have some Croatians as well and by the time you graduate naval college ……….who knows? And certainly the corporation will have grown even bigger by then and they will also be looking for people as well. I will be here to help and assist you whenever you need me.
I wish you much happiness and my best wishes to you and the family

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John,
Please reply,
When you talk of the steakhouses, it made me wonder about this, since I do solo cruises, could a single person get a table by themselves in the steakhouse or are they seated with other people.

In the steakhouses, guests dine with their own party so if a solo cruiser made a reservation and choose not to bring anyone along; they will have the table all to themselves.
I have also been looking at pictures of all of the different ships that Carnival has and the one thing I have noticed is that all the balcony rooms, ocean view rooms and the inside rooms all look alike on every ship (except the Carnival Dream). So that made me wonder, are the cabins on the Carnival Magic going to be the same as the Carnival Dream or are they going to be designed differently than the rest of the ships. I think by having different style cabins on each ship would also add class to the ships.

Give my love to Heidi and Kye, and I was also wondering that since you are home, could we possibly get a couple of extra pictures during the week of Kye. I know her fan club would really enjoy it.

Take care and keep enjoying your vacation.
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy
Thanks for asking this questions I think it’s important that solo cruisers know that they will indeed be offered a table for one when they make a reservation at one of our steakhouses. Everyone should try the amazing food there and solo cruisers like yourself have every right to do so as well. Please let me know if you need my help making a booking. The cabins and other details for Carnival Magic will be something I will be concentrating on once we have your Carnival Dream up and sailing so look out for that in the weeks ahead. There are many surprises that the Magic will be offering with features never before seen on a Carnival ship…….the present and future are both very exciting.

Thanks for all the kind words and please keep reading the blog.
Best wishes

Reallymissingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
I am sure that many people have a lobster tail (spelt incorrectly) to tell, but my lobster tail comes from our very first cruise on the Smoke free Paradise back in July 1999.

As always, we got matched with tremendous table mates – a couple from Baltimore and another couple from Phoenix. We arrived the first night at our table and, because the other couples had arrived first, our choice was to sit across from each other, something my honey wasn’t happy about saying “I wanted to sit next to my honey”.

Anyway, the great wait staff that we had on that cruise helped rearrange things, bringing a chair for the man from Phoenix, who was a poster child for eating well and we ended up sitting side by side.

Our waiter was great – every night, he would alert us if something was getting low so we could be sure to get what we wanted. Mr. Phoenix and I took to ordering (and enjoying) multiple entries to the great delight of the wait staff.

On the second formal night, the menu was Surf and Turf, so he made sure to alert us that, if we wanted seconds we should speak up. Mr. Phoenix stuck his right hand under his left arm and held up three fingers, a move that I repeated.

Three steaks and lobsters later, we were not full enough, so we ordered one of every dessert on the menu that night and oinked out.

Needless to say, I gained eight pounds on that cruise.
The funniest bit that happened, though, was on the last night. The Mrs. is a notoriously slow eater, so most everyone had gone (including our table companions) and the wait staff was kindly waiting to clear our table. I got up and took several dishes over to the wait station, which got the attention of another waiter who said “Did you see what he did?” to my waiter – he did not believe that I had done such an act, so I did it again.

I explained to him, as I gave him his tip, that his attention during the week had made the cruise for me. Knowing that he was looking out for our taste buds, I knew every night I would be undertaking a gastronomic event – and I did.

Needless to say, this experience is but one of the things that got me hooked on cruising – I have never repeated a three lobster tail dinner, but who knows what evil lurks in the stomach of Jon?

John Says:
Hello Jon
What a great tail….or is it tale? Regardless it was a great story and shows the wonderful stories that are created by both our guests and our crew onboard the Fun Ships. I am sure that with the vibrant personalities that you and Mrs. MTSFP have that there are many more Just Jon stories waiting to be told and I hope therefore that you will take the time to share them with us.
Best wishes to you both

Joko Joan Asked:
Finally – in 7 more days our group of 50 will be boarding Carnival’s Glory. This has been a tough year having had to cancel our 50-day South American trip on Carnival’s Splendor back in January. There are a few things I need to ask you:

(1) As the Group Leader, where does the Maitre’ de usually hold court to verify seating arrangements? I don’t know as if I can deal with my fellow cruisers as well as you do and hope things go smoothly.

I don’t feel that checking on seating arrangements is the job of a Sr. Cruise Director and I would never dream of asking you to do the Maitre’ de’s (sp.) job, and since this is my first time as GL, I would like to see that everything goes well for them and for me, if they are happy then my hubby & I will be happy and then can enjoy our vacation also.

We will be celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss on this cruise and my dear husband, who had been a NY Firefighter for 22 years, had always treated me so outstandingly throughout the years. He has given me 5 wonderful children and has helped me care for 35 foster babies, that I want this year’s cruise to be as stress-free as possible. He even has us booked also on Thanksgiving AND Christmas cruises, bringing us up, incidentally to having sailed on 50 cruises by the end of December. (What a guy!) He’s always made sure that I had a wonderful cruise and he has given me more than I can ever repay, and I want very much to show him how much he is loved and appreciated. (If you have any suggestions of how I might accomplish this – it would be greatly appreciated.

(2) Also, I think I’m supposed to get in touch with the Group Tour Representative so as to make sure that we can arrange to get the same colored debarking tags so that we can all leave the ship around the same time to catch our bus back home. Could you direct me as to how to get in touch with him/her?

We have a balcony cabin right under the Lido deck. I have visions of gaining 20 extra lbs. just by sitting on the balcony and smelling all the delicious smells wafting from upstairs. I’m always fearful that someday we will board as passengers and leave as cargo!!!

Thank you for all you help and I send you, Heidi and precious Kye all our thanks for what you do for all of us. You have made us into a wonderful Carnival family.

John Says:
Hello Joko
I am so glad you wrote to me and in advance I want to wish you a very happy 50th anniversary. What a wonderful milestone and a glorious way to celebrate. My concern is that because I am so behind answering questions that I am too late to help you. I have asked Stephanie to send this reply personally so if you have yet to sail please e-mail me your dining requests and I will do my best to help.

Best wishes

DianeCruzin2 Asked:
John…reply if you want
We just got off another fantastic cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. This was our 2nd time on this ship and we loved the changes. We were also surprised to see that “George the Greek” was still the Maitre D’. What a fantastic gentleman he is. We were seated at a table for 10 and two of the couples were first time cruisers and they loved Carnival and were having a blast the other two couples were RCCL fans. However they said that that they were pleasantly surprised by Carnival and intended to sail with Carnival again! I also wanted to make a quick comment on the entertainment, “awesome” the Shout performance was fantastic especially the dance team of Natalia &Andrei. The way they danced to the song Aquarius just moved me. I also have to mention Barry in the piano bar. We really enjoyed the way he interacts with everyone. One last thing, I know this is a bit premature but Skip Lyons our CD told us that Carnival has two new ships on order to follow the Carnival Dream & the Carnival Magic. He didn’t have any info on them because they have yet to be named. Care to make any comments? Once again Carnival exceeded our expectations and can’t wait for our 14th Carnival cruise on our Carnival Dream in February.

All the best to you and Heidi and the lovely Kye.
Personal comments for John/also asks about two new ships that are commissioned for delivery after the Dream and Magic. We haven’t heard anything about this on our side.

John Says:
Hello Diane
Great comments and ones that I will share with everyone onboard. George the Greek is a Carnival icon and he is someone who our guests never forget…….I have not seen him in many years and I was glad to hear that he is still as fantastic as ever.

I am not sure if Skippy was a little confused or maybe you misunderstood him but as of now there are no new ship orders following Carnival Magic in 2011. However…….who knows what’s round the corner?

Thanks again for the great review and the kind words for my family which I return to you and yours.
Best wishes

Bonnie Boatner Asked:
Dear John Please Reply:
I am new to this blog thingy and truly enjoy it. I love your sense of humor. I am looking forward to having you as my cruise director on the Dream 12/03/09 and get more excited each day as new features are revealed. Laser shows to Pink Floyd! I can’t wait.

Now here is my question, how is your last name properly pronounced? Is it Held or Heeled? I just want to know ahead of time so I do not commit the social snafu of saying it wrong. And, I hear you love a good cigar and a brandy. So does my husband, so he would love to have a smoke and sip with you if your time permits’ know you will be very busy, we would love to treat you ,if not we will salute you as we partake on that lovely aft pool deck(providing smoking is allowed of course).
(2 days and one sleep and we will be there.Woohoo and thanks. Bonnie

John Says:
Hello Bonnie
Welcome to the blog thingy and I am so glad that you took the time to post a comment. My last name is pronounced “Heeled.” It is an old Anglo Saxon name which means “hung like a horse.”

I am going to be speaking about smoking in a moment but it will be an honor to share some cigar moments with your husband during the Bloggers Cruise in December.
I will be posting more photos of this stunning vessel in a moment.
Best wishes to you both

Penny and Chris Asked:
John, do you know who will be the CD on the liberty, inspiration, valor, and the triumph in August 2010? We had a fabulous 1st cruise with you on your final Freedom cruise; we are trying to decide where #2 will be.
Also, John can I say thank you for the class and finesse that you displayed dealing with the negative, naysayers, on board the Freedom. It is unreal that some wanted to criticize you and the captain for your decisions.
We will gladly sail with Carnival again. If anything, it proved we were safe.

John Says:
Hello Penny and Chris
Thanks for writing and I can assure you which ever Carnival ship you sail on and whenever you cruise that your safety will be the priority just as it was when we were together on the Carnival Freedom last month.

The CD schedule for 2010 is still being finalized and as soon as it is ready I will be posting it here on the blog. I think we should have this ready by mid October and hopefully you will be able to see who is on what ship which will help you decide what cruise to take. It makes me proud to think that the CD’s can make a difference.
Thanks for the kind words of support and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.
Best wishes to you both

Donna Asked:
John (please respond)
This may be a question that you probably answered but being relatively new to this I may have missed it…so if you can be so kind to educate me I would greatly appreciate it.

I know that Todd will be the CD on the Dream and you will be onboard as well…as the Carnival Ambassador…so tell me what is it that you will be doing on the ship…will you be out and about greeting everyone, will you be at the Captains’ party…or will you have to just listen to the complainers or will they have you hidden away chained to your laptop typing your blog thingy…waiting to take over as the CD while Todd is on vacation…just wanted to know…

By the way I just got a great picture from our tablemates that we met on the Freedom while you were there…it brought a smile to my face and brought back the great time we had with you as the CD…thanks again John.

John Says:
Hello Donna
Well, here I am on your Carnival Dream and I will be talking about her in a few moments. Right now my role as Brand Ambassador has me filming, in meetings and generally doing lots of handshaking. When I take over from Todd in January I will be watching carefully what he does and then will have six weeks of being the ship’s cruise director.
Thanks for the kind words, I am glad you had so much fun on the Carnival Freedom and I hope we get to sail together again very soon.
Best wishes

Deborah Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply
Thank you for responding to my blog about our group on the TA Dream. You advised that the formal nights will be the 2nd sea day and the second to last sea day. Well the first formal night will be Oct 31…Halloween. Will the TA Dream celebrate Halloween and do we come dressed in costume to the Captains dinner? Or do you think there may be an adjustment in the schedule? I know when I was on the Destiny during Halloween it was a fun time. The ship was decorated in the lobby and the entertainment staff went all out with their costumes. There was even a costume party – it was fun!! We just want to know if we should pack a costume.

I will send you the names/cabin numbers for the Steak House reservations on Oct 1. – There will be about 40 of us dinning.

I will also remind you of the need for a lounge on Oct 28 – the 1st Sea Day. Our group name is Transatlantic Dreamers…

Thank you again for all you do and for all your kindness… I really hope to see you in Bermuda…
All my best to you, Heidi and adorable Kye…
Deborah (Debs)

John Says:
Hello Debs
Carnival will offer a Halloween Party aboard every Carnival ship. Kids enrolled in Camp Carnival can join in costume contests and trick-or-treat throughout the ship. Adults too should bring a costume for their own contests and activities and your Carnival Dream is no exception so please do, if packing allows, bring a costume. There will be a great Halloween celebration for all to enjoy.

I have not forgotten the request for a private group meeting and I would like you to send me the final numbers and that for supper club bookings on October 15 please with a posting marked – Stephanie – Please Make Sure John Sees This.

I will then make all the arrangements for you.
Best wishes and see you in Bermuda

That’s all for today and I will answer more as soon as I can. My apologies once again for being so far behind.
Here is some fun news about food…..and Carnival…..have a read of this

Celebrity Chef Creates Carnival Ship Replica on “Ace of Cakes”

Be sure to watch Food Network tonight at 10 pm ET/PT for what I’m sure will be a great episode.


As promised I am about to give the thousands of bloggers some news a few hours before anyone else. This news comes from our Super Spy PA 007. His or her identity is a secret and because he or she was nearly caught handing over sensitive information to me and the Russians last year he or she has had to stay hidden in their cubicle these past months. However, he or she is back and dressed in their tightly fitting lime green spandex super spy costume. He or she is so into helping me they have had PA 007 tattooed on his or her arse……although they didn’t need one of the “0s.”
So, here then is the news.

CHARLESTON FANTASY cons _2010__Page_1
CHARLESTON FANTASY cons _2010__Page_2

This is fantastic news and gives our guests even more options for embarking on a “Fun Ship” cruise. Charleston is one of my favorite cities and I think our guests are going to absolutely love sailing from there year-round.

I know right now there may be some mixed emotion. To our friends from California we sincerely apologize. We know that you will be disappointed but for various strategic and economic reasons it is the right thing to do. You now have until April to take advantage of cruising on the Carnival Elation and that’s exactly what I hope you will do. The rates offer brilliant value for money and of course the rush to book her will now be on so I am very thankful to PA 007 for giving me the chance to get this news to you as soon as possible. So, if you are disappointed book a cruise now and hopefully that will make you feel good.

While there may be some disappointment over in California I am sure there are many from the south and particularly from Charleston jumping and screaming in pure ecstasy at the thought of their beautiful city being chosen as new and exciting home port for a Carnival Fun Ship ………….. and we at Carnival share that joy and we are thrilled to be cruising from there and I know many will be using this as a drive to port………so to you I say congratulations and we will see y’all there with the Carnival Fantasy very soon.

If you have comments or questions about this please share them with me here on the blog thingy and congratulations once again to Charleston……… are now a Carnival town.

And so last night I ate dinner with very important people and it was brilliant ……….although I think some of my stories that contained the words “fart” and “hemorrhoids” may have been a bit much for the lady sitting on my left who I won’t name. I was explaining the benefits of the ship’s suction toilet system and how if you were constipated you could just lower your buttocks into the toilet and press the button and how it would suck the obstinate log out of you……..while many laughed she did not. She was also a fussy eater because after my toilet story her steak arrived ……. and for some strange reason she didn’t eat it.

Seriously though it was a wonderful chance for me to sit with Gerry Cahill and some of the most important people at Carnival Corporation and it was amazing to discover that they all have one thing in common………none had beards………oh and they all read the blog and they all realize what a great tool it is for people to respectfully tell us what we do well, what we can do better and they all realize that the majority of you are true Carnival loyalists and reading what you write makes them all…… it does me……………very proud.

I have so much to tell you but so little time. So, very quickly let’s talk about smoking. There is much good news here for those who do not. First of the Carnival Dream’s casino is non- smoking ………. “hooray,” I hear you cry. Well, it is indeed non-smoking and as the casino itself is in the middle of Promenade Deck and will have guests walking through it we thought it best to make it non-smoking. Now, it’s not all bad news for smokers who wish to gamble though. We will have a few designated tables and a bank of slot machines located away from the main walk through. Tucked off in a corner of the casino where…….if you are playing…………you can smoke. Now, this means that you actually have to be seated at the table or sitting at the machine to smoke. You can’t stand and smoke while watching others play. This will be strictly enforced so that it does not become a smoking area where non-casino players just turn up and smoke.
This smoking area represents a very small portion of the casino and again, the casino itself is non-smoking and therefore people will not be affected by smoke as they walk through. I think what we are doing here is moving with current times and having spoken to Rodney, our VP of casino operations yesterday, if this is successful he will think about making this a fleetwide standard. I will keep you informed. Oh by the way…… thing to get used to here is that Lido Deck is now deck 10 while deck 9 which is all cabins is called Vista Deck.

The outside areas of the Lanai on Deck 5 look superb and offer smokers a lot of places to enjoy smoking. The ship is currently working on designated smoking areas and I will pass what they decide onto you all soon.

The lobby, the Ocean Plaza, the Lanai and so many other places on this ship lend themselves to allow Todd the CD to try so many new and exciting activities and events. The comedy club will be in the aft lounge which is one of my favorites and as we will be holding the art auctions elsewhere it will allow us to use the lounge all day for activities. What a lucky bloke Todd is and having seen the facilities he has at his disposal I am immensely jealous and am currently contemplating knocking him over the head with a crow bar, shoving a pair of my underwear in his mouth, duct-taping his hands and feet together and having my friends Vinny and Carmine take him out on their boat and dropping him overboard………..honestly, he is truly the luckiest cruise director in the world and although he richly deserves it I hope he gets the shits and has to go home…………. so I can take over.

Here are some more great photos as taken by my mate Radu.










Over the next few days I will be bringing you video blogs and sporadic written ones as well. Again, they may not have the same substance as usual but I will try and get as much into my days here as possible. Later today we have the handover ceremony and I will be filming all that happens to share with you.

Having been here a day now I can honestly say that there is something very, very special about this ship. She is a heart-starter, she is a piece of art and….she is a vessel which will stir your soul.

Your friend

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.