Hello everyone

As I mentioned a few days ago the next couple of blogs are going to be a bit different as I am running around like Usain Bolt with a cattle prod shoved up his bottom. Today was a great day though as Captain Carlo Queirolo took the ship away from the side of the pier and finally, after much hard and passionate work by thousands of men and women…….your Carnival Dream set sail. Onboard are 1,300 crew along with some Fincantieri personnel, Carnival executives and a fat bloke called John.

Today I have been filming all day long for videos that will soon be playing on carnival.com. They will include tours of the ship, the food choices and of course interviews with key personnel ……….as well as some surprises. Right now I am writing this blog……..in my underpants ……. which after three days are due a wash I guess………..and I need to finish in 30 minutes as I have to film in the steakhouse and then some of the activities that we will be trying out on the crew.

You see, not since the crossing of the Carnival Glory have we been able to test all the public areas like this using the crew as passengers. So tonight we will open the dining rooms, the entertainment areas and much more as well as provide some entertainment and fun for the brilliant Carnival Dream crew who deserve such praise for getting the ship ready like this.

So, I wanted to answer some questions quickly and then post some photos and some video for you.

I will write again tomorrow but for now, here are the questions, followed by more amazing photos of your Carnival Dream and then a video from me.

Lets crack on with the questions…………………..here we go

Carolyn Bickel Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply
I hope you are enjoying your time at home with your girls and are getting some much needed relaxation. I have been reading your blog now for several months, and I believe I am addicted to it. I love your honesty and your humor (spelled correctly). You make me laugh. I feel bad for you when I read some of those nasty comments you get, but you sure handle them with class. I believe I have sailed on one or more of Carnivals ships with you as the CD, but I didn’t know who you were at the time. I hope to be able to sail with you again sometime in the future and meet you in person. You are a class act CD that goes above and beyond what is expected of you. I am so impressed by everything you are showing about the Carnival Dream. It will truly be a magnificent ship. The laser show sounds very neat. I look forward to the time when I can sail on her. I enjoyed the review on Steve Cassel. He’s been the CD on a couple of the cruises I’ve taken and he is just a hoot, one of the best. I have been on 10 cruises so far, 8 with Carnival, and I must agree a bit of humor (spelled correctly) in the life boat drill will make it more bearable. Is this something that would be implemented fleet wide or just on the ship that you are the CD? Last year I sailed on Carnival Glory with 5 girlfriends from high school, 4 of them never cruised before and are now addicted. We all turned 50 and decided to celebrate with a cruise. We had a blast. Butch was the CD and he was great. You made a comment today that the Gala Buffet is disbanded. Did this just happen recently, because they had it last year when we cruised on Carnival Glory? I’m sorry to hear this is no longer going on. I so enjoyed seeing the work of art made from food. Sorry this got so long. I must congratulate you and Heidi on your precious daughter. Kye is a beautiful baby and you both are so blessed. It must break your heart when you have to leave both your girls. Enjoy the rest of your time at home and Thank You for being a wonderful ambassador for Carnival. I hope they truly know what a superb employee they have with you. God Bless.

John Says:
Hello Carolyn
It always makes me feel very humble when people say that they are addicted to the blog and I hope that when you read my musings that it gives you some great information as well as some smiles. I thank you also for taking the time to write and praise Steve Cassel who is indeed “a hoot” and I hope that one day we will get to sail together as well. Now, I am going to try and inject a touch of humor into the drill and if it works or should I say should it be accepted by the guests and the ships command then I will indeed be suggesting to my fellow cruise directors that they do the same. Let’s see how it goes.

We did indeed cancel the Gala Buffett from our program across the fleet and replaced it with something called “late night bites” which are served on the Promenade Deck.

Thanks so very much for all the kind words and I send my best wishes to you and the family.
John

Juan & Maria Santana Asked:
John, pls. reply…
Hi John, Heidi & Kye!
On Thurs. afternoon we were in the Carnival Office in the Doral area of Miami to personally deliver the last of 4 certificates purchased onboard (that reminds us that we need to purchase more during our Nov. 21 Freedom cruise), & as we walked in the reception area, we saw your image on the big screen on the wall behind the 2 security guard ladies….It was as if we were already coming onboard and you were welcoming us!

Since we already know that Wee Jimmy will be our CD on that cruise, we were waiting to see him featured on your blog…. several wks. Ago you when you replied to one of our messages, you mentioned that “in a moment you were going to tell us more about him”… weeks have gone by and we haven’t seen it yet. We know that Carnival has lots of CD’s and that you will be featuring them all on your blog, but could you pls. don’t leave him for last…. Nov. 21 will be here soon….

Also, we would like to know if the Carnival Executives still studying the possibility of crediting the 12+days cruises as 2 instead of one….. That certainly will be great. Thank you for once again listening to our request.

About the recipe for the warm chocolate melting cake…. how many times have our cruise bloggers requested the recipe and you readily complied? Don’t take me wrong…. we truly believe that Carnival Lido buffets have the very best selection of desserts…. it is amazing! In fact, we personally favor their selection over the formal dining room selection… I believe we are not the only ones…. I bet you heard that before!

We wish a pleasant trip on the ferry to Holland and a wonderful time with Heidi’s relatives. As always, her picture with Kye this week is great.
The Santanas of Miami Beach

John Says:
Hello Juan and Maria
I certainly have spoken to the Carnival Executives about the 12 plus and let’s see what happens. Once I have returned from your Carnival Dream I will promise to post Wee Jimmy’s bio which will be a wonderful appetizer to meeting the man himself. Thanks for all the kind words and once again it was wonderful sailing with you recently and I hope we do so again together soon.
Best wishes to you both
John

Canuck Cruiser Asked:
Good day John,
(Please Reply- when you have time….no hurry)
Great blog. Thanks for showing the aft of the CARNIVAL DREAM. I saw our cabin and can’t wait to be sailing and enjoying the views.

Question, …………….Now that you have your schedule for 2010 and you mentioned that Heidi and Kye might be travelling with you……..any chance they’ll be with you on your leg with the CARNIVAL DREAM? It’s great that we will be able to sail with you and it would be a real bonus to hit the jackpot and sail with ALL of you. I guarantee that both Heidi and Kye will be spoiled rotten!

Enjoy the ferry ride to see the in-laws.

PS……thanks for the information on the TIKI HUT.
We were looking for something to do in St. Martin and it sounds perfect!!! Snorkeling and chillin in the sun. My kind of day.
All the best from Canada.
B&D

John Says:
Hello B and D
There are certainly plans in the works for the girls to sail with me on the Carnival Dream in March. By then I think both Heidi and I will be comfortable in Kye being able to fly by then provided our friend H1N1 doesn’t rear its ugly piggy head again. I am glad you found the information on the Tiki hut useful and it would be great if we could all sail together.

Best wishes to you both and thanks for the kind words
John

Maribeth Kring Asked:
Dear John, Please Reply
Hi. I was thrilled to see that part of your schedule included the Carnival Conquest! Then crushed to learn that you get on the week after my daughter’s spring break and get off before summer break.

With the economy being what it is, it’s looking like I may not be able to go on the BC with you and my cousin Big Ed and would soooo love to cruise with you!

Please, please, please can you get them to shift the transfer from the Dream to the Conquest one week earlier? Pretty please?

Big Ed and Pat, if he can do it, come with us!!!! Haven’t seen you in over 8 years!
Maribeth

John Says:
Hello Maribeth
As I mentioned my 2010 schedule is certainly not set in stone and maybe the dates may change here and there. However, the problem is that if I stay one extra week somewhere it affects the schedule of the CD taking over that ship and the CD on the ship that I am scheduled to be on next. But let me see what we can do and I will let you know. I truly hope that you can see some light at the end of the economic tunnel and that I will see you with Big Ed and the gang on the Bloggers Cruise in December.
Best wishes
John

Lisa Asked:
John, Please Respond-
I am reminding you 2 weeks before our cruise. We will be sailing on 9/20 on the Carnival Sensation. This cruise will be our first cruise, a celebration of our 25th anniversary, but more importantly a reward for my husband who is battling colon cancer for over 2 years. I am so happy that you offered to send him an acknowledgement of his fight (both the cancer and being married 25 years! ha).

You had previously offered to arrange a table for 2 for us in celebration of our anniversary. However, I will pass on that very kind offer (I’m sure Ruth and Al are shocked!). We will be traveling with my parents and look forward to eating with them and other people. Meeting dinner companions is something we have looked forward too! However, if possible, I would like to request a table in the dining room (not a booth) as that is much easier for my husband to maneuver.

There has been a lot of talk about people asking you for favors and I think you do very well at answering and knowing which favors to grant. The majority of the people who want/need something are asking in order to make something special for someone else. My husband and I realize that because of his illness this will probably be our first and last cruise together. I want to make it as special as possible! So thank you very much for anything you do. People do appreciate the work you do. I think you can tell that in many ways, especially every time you open the mail and beautiful Kye’s wardrobe is expanded by one of your faithful readers!

I read your blog every night and often read parts of it to my husband. We’re both very excited for our cruise and love your sense of humor. I keep a blog dealing with his illness and try to inject humor in it, but the subject isn’t nearly as funny as yours. I think I’ll try writing in my underpants and see if that helps!

Thank you again for helping to make our cruise as special as it can be!

John Says:
Lisa
I am so glad that I saw this request today and that gives me a chance to contact the ship and ask them for a table as you mentioned rather than a booth. I am pretty certain that all the booths were taken out of the dining room during her upgrade but just to make sure I will contact the vessel for you. I always try to help as many people as I can and I know that this recently upset some people on Cruise Critic but reading postings like yours I hope makes it easier for them to understand why I do it.

I do hope that you have a wonderful time and I wish your husband many, many years of health and happiness and that this first cruise will be the first of many……….that you share together.
Best wishes to you both
John

Jim G Asked:
PLEASE REPLY
Hello John,
As always a great picture of your girls. Thank you for sharing your family with us every week.

We are leaving on our 24th Carnival Cruise in just under 2 weeks. It will be on the Carnival Inspiration. We have met up with a head waiter that we first had on the Carnival Triumph back in March of 2004 on the Carnival Inspiration several times… Guess who our CD was on that one. Our second cruise in a row with you as our CD. What a wonderful trip with many great memories! We are wondering if Kman (as he says it) is still a head waiter on the Carnival Inspiration and if so would it be possible to be seated at one of his tables. We are a group of 8 leaving on September 17th.
Thank you for all you do.
Jim & Pat

John Says:
Hello Jim and Pat
Well, I was in time for the comment above but not for yours as you joined the ship today. I will send the information to the ship anyway in the hope that the headwaiter you mentioned is onboard. Please except my apologies for the late reply and I hope you had a great time and hopefully one day we will cruise together once again.
Best wishes
John

Michelle Asked:
John (please reply)
I am really enjoying your blog. Keep up the great job! We will be boarding the Inspiration once again on 9/26/09 and can’t wait! We have convinced some friends who have never cruised to join us and can’t wait to introduce them to Carnival!

I was reading a post on cruise critic about a cruise on the inspiration. It said that the sprinklers were not turned on every day. When they asked the slide attendant they were told that the engine room decides whether to turn them on or not. Is this common for them not to be turned on every day? I am also wondering who our CD will be. Thank you for taking time to answer my questions.
Michelle Fouch

John Says:
Hello Michelle
The cruise director will be Skippy who is little pocket of Australian fun. Make sure you say G’dday to him when you see him. The sprinklers are turned on the majority of the time unless there are reasons not to such as environmental ones. I checked with the ship and they are working just fine and will provide you with lots of fun. Thank you for persuading your friends to cruise with you and I know that together you will have a brilliant cruise vacation.
Best wishes
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi to my favorite blogger!!!
Please reply,
John, this is the cutest picture yet of Kye, I just love her smile, it really makes her eyes sparkle. You can see that she loves her daddy and I bet her daddy makes her laugh and smile a lot.

I have to say something about smoking, although I have never smoked in my life, I do not feel that I should push my opinions on others that do smoke. We are all adults and we should act like them when it comes to this. If a person has made the decision to smoke, it is not my right to tell them that they cannot smoke. That passenger who was so rude to you is the type of person that thinks that they are better than anyone else. I am glad that I was not there, I would have told her off because those kinds of people just infuriate me.

I was so hoping that you could do a West Coast sailing this year, but I guess not. I just cannot understand why you have never been to the West Coast, but then to we are the kind of forgotten side of the United States. I know now I will not get my hopes us that the bloggers cruise will be on the West Coast either; it will probably be out of Galveston or as usual somewhere on the East Coast. I just don’t think it is fair to all of your fans on the West Coast that you cannot do a cruise out here. It seems like the East Coast or Europe has dibs on you first. I guess you can tell this was not good news for me, I was even going to change my booking on the Splendor so I could at least do one cruise with you, but I guess it will just meant to be.

I just looked at this year’s CD schedule and Goose has been on the Splendor over 6 months straight, why can’t they let you have at least 6 weeks so he can take a vacation, that way you can be on the Splendor and he will get a break. Just a thought.

Do you know when you will be posting the full 2010 CD schedule.

Please give my love to Heidi and your beautiful Rosebud (she is blooming into a beautiful perfect Rose) Kye.
Best Wishes from your Bloggy Thinggy #1 Fan
Kathy M.

BTW, John this is the only blog that I read, I really had no clue until I read yours for the first time what a blog was.

John Says:
Hello Kathy
Thanks so much for all those kind words about Kye and her stunning smile which like my Range Rover could melt an iceberg. I am sure that you just read the news that the Carnival Elation and that you are a disappointed. I do feel guilty that I have never been a CD on the West Coast and I promise that there is no conspiracy theory about this……it’s just that I have never been scheduled there. However, I am going to look at the schedule for the end of 2010 again and see what I can do about this and try at least to come out for a few weeks. The 2010 cruise director schedule should be completed soon and as soon as it is I will post it here on the blog thingy. Let’s see what happens and hopefully I will be able to welcome you onboard a west coast ship one day next year.
Thanks for all those lovely kind words.
Best wishes to you and the family
John

Jspirit Asked:
Stefanie- John please reply:
Your ladies are beautiful, John! Love to see how Kye is blossoming!

Question about the Carnival Dream cruise with you on Feb. 27: In St. Thomas, we have never yet gone to Trunk Bay. It is supposed to be so beautiful! If we book the excursion through Carnival, do we board the ferry right at our ship and go directly there? Hoping to avoid a taxi and traffic on the roads.

Also- just a sugar-free question… any chance they can make the chocolate melting cake with Splenda instead of sugar? Have you discovered any new treats with Splenda?
Hope you are well!
Thanks!

John Says:
Hello Jspirit
Thanks again for the kind words about Heidi and I will post more photos of Kye very soon. Trunk Bay is a national park and a must see if you are a lover of stunning beaches and sensational snorkeling. All the excursions that call there include transportation where private boats will collect you from the pier and return you back to the ship. The Trunk Bay Beach and Snorkel Tour is our most popular and one I would highly recommend.
It’s so funny that you should mention making the Chocolate Melting Cake with Splenda as I was talking about this with our head chef yesterday. He is going to try this for me tonight and I will let you know if it is successful and how it tastes in a blog later this week. If it tastes great I will then ask the company if we can do this fleetwide. The new mango sugar free cake is delicious and that is now a fleetwide option for lunch and is on one of the dinner menus as well.

Let me know if you have any further questions about the tours to Trunk Bay.
Best wishes
John

Linda Hartwick Asked:
Dear John, Please reply, I just got off the holiday I cruised three times all in a row. I had to plead and beg just to try and get an upgrade on the ship. Yet I do not understand why do people get an upgrade that has only cruised a few times or have cruised less than me. It will be 25 cruises by the end of the year that I will have cruised with Carnival this year. Who decides who gets an upgrade before the ship sails and there a few cabins available? But I must tell you I had a blast on the Holiday, all the staff were great!!….thanks Linda

John Says:
Hello Linda
I am so happy to read that you had such a fantastic time on your Holiday cruises. The “who gets the upgrade call” is a question that is often asked. The simple answer is that if we have upgrades available week of sailing after the Carnival team works the sailings to sell them to existing bookings, we start looking at the platinum (people who have cruised 10 times or more) and offer them upgrades. Now these calls are rare because we do sail for the most part at 100% occupancy which means we sail mostly having sold every cabin fleetwide. However, there are still those rare times when someone will call offering you the chance to upgrade. I am however sending this post to someone at vice president level as you have taken 25 cruises in one year and if anyone deserves an upgrade it’s you.

Please would you let me know if someone gives you a call.
Thanks for your loyalty and of course thanks for mentioning the great crew of the Carnival Holiday.
Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and I will answer more tomorrow. Now, we once again look at your Carnival Dream through the lens of Radu.

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Amazing……………and now here I am.

I know I am supposed to post a photo of Kye today but I will have to do that over the weekend. I know I don’t usually write on a Saturday but stop by tomorrow for another video, more questions, more photos and lots of fun. Wish you were here……..so you could see my underpants

Your Friend
John

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