Dream Machine…A Smokin’…Dream Machine

September 19, 2009 -

John Heald

Obviously I miss Heidi more and more each time I am away from her. I miss hearing Kye gurgle and occasionally fart. However, as I lay in my bed in my cabin here on your Carnival Dream with my legs spread wider than Paris Hilton’s on anyway that ends in a “Y” …….I started to think how things change when it comes to sleeping with your partner.

I am positive that in every relationship whether its a man and a woman…………and because I have to be politically correct here on the blog thingy…………a man with a man………a woman with a woman……or for my readers from France……….a man with …….well…………..anything …………. when the immense pleasure and exuberance of sleeping intertwined amongst the limbs of your sexy lover……………. buggers off for ever.

This is usually about the same time that your gorgeous lover starts wearing barbed wire pajamas and green cucumber facemask that changes her from looking like Megan Fox to looking like Shrek.

She will also become a bastard about who gets which pillow and in Heidi’s case will no longer understand that duvets are meant to be shared.

Anyway, the reason I started thinking about this was this morning as I tried to get out of bed at 7 am to start writing the blog I watched a CNN International feature that grappled with the issue of the shared marital bed……………and concluded that it was a terrible idea.

A bearded sleep specialist from a German University pointed out that bed-sharing came about only in the dark days of the 1700’s when overcrowding forced couples to sleep together. Before that, husbands and wives routinely kept separate beds and none of them presumably argued about duvets. The Romans used the marital bed only for rumpy pumpy especially the Emperor Caligula who liked to sleep with his horse.

But how times have changed. Das Bearded German CNN chap said that his recent study showed that, on average, couples suffer 50% more sleep disturbances if they share a bed.

He said that doesn’t sleep with his wife………..he loves her………….but they don’t sleep together …………… and, frankly, I’m with him.

I have a wife who insists on sleeping in a starfish shape with a pillow between her legs which a few hours into the night somehow ends up on my side of the bed wedged under my arse.

She also…….even though in the deepest of sleeps……….can sense if I and when I move. If I retreat more to my side, she immediately shifts up. If I move again, she takes that space too. By the small hours, I can be found teetering on the edge of the mattress, and when I confront her about it she claims it’s because she wants to be close to me. That’s bollocks ………….. She just wants more space for her starfish.

Stay tuned next week for the next photo update of Daddy’s Little Girl Kye.

Time for some questions starting with a group that I must have forgotten to answer because they are quite old…………………….sorry…………..here we go.

Terri Reed Asked:
John Please Reply
I was on the Cruise Critic boards and I noticed a post that said to let you know about things you can implement to help parents of children with special needs on a cruise.

I have had really good luck with taking my son with special needs on a cruise so far. The dining room staff has been wonderful with pureeing his food and letting me pick the night before for the next night and even helping me at the buffet with food for him to eat that is pureed.

We have been lucky also that they have let us board first with the wheelchair so that we aren’t caught up in a crowd. The only problem we have run into was a very rude family in the photo gallery, I know it gets very crowded in there and we try to wait our turn and all but last time my husband got someone ankle with the wheelchair and this lady went and got her daughter and son n law and they made an awful scene screaming at us in the middle of the gallery. We really try to be careful with the wheelchair but others are not as helpful. The other things that could make it easier are to have some staff stand at the elevators at really busy times and help those with wheelchairs get on. I am not saying we need to be allowed in front of others but whenever you try to get on with a wheelchair you have a really hard time because people will just push past you and jump into the elevator ahead of you, a lot of those could be using the stairs and leaving the elevators for those that truly have to use them. I have walked up the stairs after getting my son and husband into the elevator just to make room for someone else.

Anyway I would be more than happy to help give my opinions if it will help. The post said to post my name and booking number our name is Dennis and Terri Reed our son is Zachery our room is 9270 and we are on the Conquest leaving this Sunday Sept 6th 2009.

John Says:
Hello Terri
Thank you so very much for the great posting and for the praise of our crew who have been looking after your son during your cruises. While I think we do a great job accommodating guests with special needs, we still can do better and I am determined to spearhead this project. I am already using the blog as a mouthpiece for those who need assistance and I continue to encourage anyone who needs help and or advice to use the blog accordingly. The suggestion to have more staff available at busy times to assist with elevator occupation is an excellent one which I will pass up the line.

Thank you also for offering to give your advice and comments here on the blog. It is only through your eyes and others who have similar concerns will we know what we need to do to continue to provide the best possible care and provide the most fun for your family.

Please let me know how your cruise went and if you saw any way in which we could have done a better job looking after Zachery.
Best wishes to you and the family
John

Miriam Bowman Asked:
Hi John,
First off, let me tell you that I love your blog thingy but tonight you really grabbed my attention about with the special needs comments. I am taking my daughter who has autism on the Destiny Jan. 16/2010 sailing. I hate the thought that I am asking for anything but when you said to write to you, I had to.

This will be her first sailing ever (and my second, first with Carnival) and we are all really looking forward to it. She is as excited about going on the ‘big boat’ as we are!

I have written directly to the special needs department already but if there is anything that you can do (oops, wasn’t going to ask for anything, was I??), I would be truly appreciative!!

Thank you so very much! You have no idea how excited I am about this cruise and Carnival in general. All my questions have been answered promptly and efficiently. I’m already searching our next cruise with you!
Miriam

PS. Any chance you might be our CD??? Please??? With whipped cream and sugar on top….. 🙂 OK, if not I would be happy enough with a 2010 schedule.

John Says:
Hello Miriam
I am so glad that you did decide to write and my apologies for the delay in answering. Please don’t apologize for asking me to help you, that is what I am here for. I would ask that in December you send me a posting detailing your names and cabin numbers and any details about your daughters needs and I will make sure the ship is ready to meet them and send her a little something as well.

I look forward to hearing from you then and send my best wishes to you and the family.
John

Essiesmom (Carolyn) Asked:
CruiseCritic
John – Please reply:
I am a member of that very large, very excited Cruise Critic group on our Carnival Dream’s transatlantic voyage from Rome. We have a spirited discussion in progress concerning canoli, involving a stop in Civitavecchia to stock up at a recommended bakery. It has occurred to me that with a very Italian captain, the chef of our Carnival Dream might have mastered the creation of the perfect canoli. Could you check with Captain Queirolo to see if this is so, and with the chef to determine if they will be offered aboard our Carnival Dream? Inquiring taste buds want to know…Carolyn

John Says:
Hello Carolyn
The canoli is part of Sicilian everyday life and a true Canoli is filled not with cream but with ricotta cheese. You won’t find them in Civvi because they are particular to Sicily and even if you did by the time you have carried them from there through the embarkation procedure and onboard they are going to be as fresh as a Frenchman’s armpit.

But I have two pieces of good news. We have the pasta bar here on your Carnival Dream and I have therefore asked the chef if he will consider featuring them one day there and he said he would indeed. Now, I thought you and the CC group may like to have a go themselves and so I asked the Ship’s Bosun who is from Messina, Sicily and is called ………Messina………..yep, he was named after the town in which he was born for a recipe for canoli. He is not only a great sailor but an incredible cook and here is his family recipe for a traditional Sicilian canoli.
Ingredients – Pastry for the Canoli
300g Flour
30g Sugar
25g Lard
1 Glass of Dry Marsala
1 pinch of Salt
1 Egg
Oil (to fry)
Ingredients – For the Filling
– 500g Fresh Ricotta
– 150g Sugar
– 50g Candied orange zest cut in fine stripes
– 50g Pistacchi di Bronte (Pistachio)
Equipment Needed
10 metal cylinders, 12 cm long and 3 cm diameter lightly greased with extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
• For the dough, mix all the ingredients (except the egg) till you obtain an elastic and homogenous dough
• Make a ball with the dough and cover it with a napkin
• Let it rest for 30 minutes
• Then knead the dough for a little, and let it rest for 30 minutes again
• Knead for the last time and then roll it to obtain a very fine leaf
• Cut the leaf in squares (10 cm each side) and brush with beaten egg
• Roll up on the cylinder (crossing the square on the cylinder joining the opposite corners)
• Press well the pastry and deep fry in generous hot oil
• When the canoli are cold, extract the cylinders
• Pass the ricotta cheese through a sifter and add the sugar and the orange zests
• Fill each canola with this filling and garnish the ends with the candied fruit or with the pistachios

I hope you enjoy them and my best to you and the CC group.
John

Shawn Asked:
John (please reply)
Just returned from the Imagination on Aug. 28th. Had a great time, and what a great deal (college student here). Let’s just say it was such a great deal we had extra money to upgrade to first on the way home!

Our room steward was amazing! Her name was Rommy (or Rommie) cannot remember. She was so wonderful and a pleasure to chat with. I asked for a picture with her, in which she happily agreed. Is it some how possible I can send a copy to her? This will probably the last vacation for me for awhile and she made it one to remember!
LOVE THE BLOG!!
Shawn

John Says:
Hello Shawn
Thanks for your kind words and I am glad that you enjoy the blog thingy. I will send this to the Hotel Director on the Carnival Imagination to pass on your e-mail address to her if that’s OK. Then you can both communicate accordingly. I am so glad that you enjoyed her service and the value for money that a Carnival cruise provides.
Thanks and best wishes to all
John

Missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
John – PLEASE REPLY
Rest assured that you are not the only male who contributes to the carbon footprint of the earth by flatulating first thing in the morning. I have always been so blessed, even more so since I went on the CPAP for my sleep apnea.

My question – is there a particular musical piece or aria that you attempt to flatulate? Me, I try for the cannon movement of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture – it seems a fitting piece, doesn’t it?
Just being Jon

John Says:
Hello Jon
That’s very funny…….yes ………the cannon shots at the end of the 1812 are perfect for me and I am currently working on the theme to Bonanza. Maybe we should do a duet at the talent show.
Best to you and Mrs. MTSFP
John

Greg Asked:
Dear John-PLEASE REPLY
Glad to see you are spending money on something “fun”. I appreciate the advice you recently sent me regarding my honeymoon on the Carnival Conquest in October. I have booked the Steakhouse, ordered the flowers…and will hopefully stock-up on Oysters so I don’t have to take you up on the stand-in for “rumpy-pumpy”! I am flattered from you comments you wanted to send us something. We are on the October 11th sailing, booking number 77G4Q2, currently in cabin 7418. Again thank you so much for the advice and we will work hard to book a future trip on a ship that you are directing.
Graciously,
Greg

John Says:
Hello Greg
You are more than welcome. Have a wonderful honeymoon and if you need me I will be right over.
Best wishes
John

Michelle Mann Asked:
Hi John
Please reply if time
It’s been a while since I have blogged, but have not missed one day of your stories, keep them coming. Always enjoy reading them. Kye is so beautiful, I hope you and Heidi have managed to enjoy the time at home, the story re Ikea was excellent so true.

Can’t wait till 2011 bring on the Magic! This question is not to do with an experience on carnival but on another shipping line.

The reason for requesting a reply is I have just returned from a short break to Ireland on the …… of the Seas (more like packasmanypeopleon of the sea), although it is a beautiful ship but way to big and way to many people for us, the service was just sooo slow, the staff were unhappy most of the time, I think because there were just too many people.

Can you tell me when booking a number of cabins and they are all linked (6 cabins) how comes they are all given different times in the dining room at different tables, It took over an hour to sort out and then we were squeezed onto a table (12) up against a wall with a table pushed right up the other side, the waiter could not get to six people and on the formal night, dropped a whole tray of drinks over 3 people on our table covering every item of clothing and chairs in red wine, it looked like something out of a horror movie!!

I just don’t understand how all the paperwork is linked (re having to take marriage papers/birth cert etc to show children are related) linking cabins all over docs but when it comes to dinner no link, Sorry I am rambling, but I think you know what I mean!!

Are Reservations on carnival linked to the dining room? Would it not be a good idea to have a table plan come up when booking your cruise so you can also book your table on a first come first served basis or is that just impossible? I know this did not happen on carnival ship but just wanted to share my experience and get some advice from you when booking a large group onto a ship what is the best way to check that the dining room have the booking as linked?

That’s it’s, I am off the dentist now, could be worst could be back on the packthemhigh/packthemtight of the seas
Love to all
Michelle

John Says:
Hello Michelle
On Monday of last week I went into your cafe for a cappuccino but you were not there and I was very sad………oh sorry bloggers. ……………this is Michelle who lives around the corner from the girls and I.

I can’t comment on how the dinner reservations are made on the Weshouldhavegonewithcarnival of the Seas but it sounds like a very complicated system………imagine how they are going to manage with 5,000 passengers once the Oasis Mall arrives. Anyway, our reservation system while not flawless is excellent considering that we now have both early, late and anytime dining to organize. Tables are arranged based on families and groups sailing together and as much as possible age groups as well. International guests are also seated with people who if possible speak the same language and overall I think we do very well. I was sorry to learn about your horror show in the dining room and that the staff were grumpy but I also hope that you had a great time ……..I know how much you love to cruise. I am here to help with dining assistance as well which helps the Maitre D’s because they know in advance what some of you want and this means they can where possible arrange this which in turn stops you having to line up during that first day onboard to attempt to change your dining table etc.
I will stop by for coffee next week and my best to you and the family
John

Terry Alsop Asked:
Please reply! John, are you by any chance going to be on the Carnival Spirit in February? The 23rd to be exact or the Carnival Glory December 5, 2010? Would love to cruise with you! I’m taking groups on both of these sailings – look out!
Terry

John Says:
Hello Terry
I am so sorry but it looks like I won’t get to sail with you this time as I will be on your Carnival Dream in February. As for the Carnival Glory in December I think I will be on the Carnival Spirit then but if anything changes I will let you know.

Thanks for booking the groups with us and if there is anything I can do please let me know.
Best wishes
John

Debbie Browning Asked:
Hi John.
Please reply
I am booked on the Carnival Dream departing 10/27/09 I am really looking forward to it. My main problem is that I cannot seem to get any information from Carnival UK about this cruise. I was told that there would be 4 to 5 formal nights, so as you do I have gone out and got the evening dresses for that however reading through you great blog there is only 2 is that correct. Also I was told that the naming ceremony is when we arrive in New York could you please confirm. Sorry to have to ask I know you are very busy but every time I phone Carnival UK I get told to phone Miami. But I live in Southampton! I always cruise with carnival and this will be our 14th cruise.
With kind regards
Debbie.

John Says:
Hello Debbienoon
First of all I apologize that you have not been able get the information you’re looking for. I am going to send this to someone important at our UK office and I know she will ask someone to call you to have a chat and make sure all is well. There will in fact be two elegant nights and the rest of the cruise will have what we call “cruise casual” evenings. I do hope you bring the dresses you bought and maybe you can wear one to the steakhouse and enjoy a fabulous meal there. The naming ceremony is now on the 12th and will start in the late afternoon.

Please let me know if there is anything else you need
Best wishes
John

Jason Asked:
John (Please reply):
I left a comment a couple of days ago and made the first time poster’s cardinal sin of omitting “Please reply” from the salutation… So I am trying again…

Greetings from sunny Tennessee, John… First, let me say that your blog always brings a smile to my face… I fully appreciate dry wit and sarcasm and you have those qualities in spades…

Second, my wife (4th cruise) and I (3rd cruise) will be sailing out of Los Angeles on the Carnival Splendor 11/15/09 and will be celebrating two occasions. First will be a delayed 15 year anniversary celebration. Second, and the reason for the delayed anniversary, is the celebration of the adoption of our first child. Do you think it would be possible for you or the Captain to send my wife, Amy, a little note of congratulations? I am sure it would mean a lot to her…
Wishing you smooth sailing,
Jason

John Says:
Hello Jason
Thanks for posting again mate. It does make it easier for me if the comments that need answering do contain a John, please reply section. Anyway, glad you did and thanks so much for saying how much you enjoy the blog thingy.

It would be an honour (spelt correctly) for me to do as you requested so please on October 25 can you re send this marking again for a reply and remind me and I will make it so.
Best wishes and have a brilliant family vacation
John

Deborah Asked:
Hi John – Please Respond:
I was asked to post the below note on behalf of one of my Cruise Critic Friends.
NO CARNIVAL TOURS IN THE BIG APPLE
Hi John
As platinum Carnival cruisers, my wife and I know very well where to go when a situation needs fixing. The great “solver of problems Carnival”: John Heald!

We are booked on the upcoming Carnival Dream Transatlantic including Carnival air and transfer packages. When we received our flight information booked by Carnival, we noticed the early evening return flight to Philadelphia, but were confident that Carnival would be offering some day tour options in New York City. After all, no one expects to end a wonderful cruise on a “Fun” ship with a long and tedious wait in an airport.
On last March’s Splendor South America cruise, Carnival offered a half and full day tour, including luggage transfer, in Santiago for those debarking guests with late flights. The full day tour was great and very efficient. A few years back, we did a Carnival Everglades, with transfer, while also waiting for a late flight. So you can imagine our surprise when we found no time-filling tour options in NYC. The Carnival office response is ‘no tours are proposed; maybe something will develop once aboard.” Of course, we know that is not likely to happen unless the staff is already at work on the matter.

There are several on the Cruise Critic thread with the similar problem and, I’m sure, many others on this cruise who would partake of a Carnival tour in the Big Apple. So John, if you could punch the right buttons and save many of us a dreadful airport wait, you would have a bunch of even happier “Fun ship” cruisers,
Hope to see you and yours in Bermuda, Steve and Marilyn Kowalchuk.

John Says:
Hello Deborah
I am glad you brought this to my attention and they do say that timing is everything because I just spoke to our director of tour operations, Mr. Robert Blythman, who is sailing a few days with us here on your Carnival Dream. He has now promised to look at the possibilities of offering an excursion around New York and thanks for you for the great idea. He will be working on this over the next few days and if enough people are interested we will provide this option and of course transportation to the airport. I will be back with you soon with more information as soon as I have it and thanks again for the great idea. Please pass this on to your Cruise Critic friends.
Best wishes to all
John

Karl Asked:
Dear John (please reply),
We will be sailing the Dream on it’s maiden voyage and I was wondering if we will be able to read you’re blog on the new fun hub stations for free (so without going on the internet), I really hope so!

One other thing is, you e-mailed a long time ago you would make our Dream cruise extra special! Is it possible you check (arrange?) we have a great table for 3 in the dining room where the superb singing Maitre D is assigned to?

We were with you on the Splendor maiden Baltic and we LOVED the maitre D.
I have my, signed by Heidi, picture of the ship in a frame on my desk 🙂
Met vriendelijke groeten, je Nederlandse vrienden van de Carnival Splendor!

John Says:
Hello Karl
I will be talking about the Fun Hub in a few days time but yes it is a complimentary service outside of the internet. I will be happy to send this to Ken to see if he can help accordingly and I am not surprised you fell in love with Ken….he is simply…….the best.

I am sure Heidi will be honoured to hear about your photo and we both send our best wishes
John

Debra Smith Asked:
Hey John,
We will be taking a December cruise on the Fascination out of Jacksonville, FL with 8 family members. One of them is my 93 year old grandmother, Roma. Since this is her first cruise EVER, I want to make sure it is extra special for her. We have planned on renting a cabana at Half Moon Cay for her. Do you have any other suggestions? How hard is it to sit at the Captain’s table? Any suggestions to make this special for her would be appreciated.

John Says
Hello Debra
How wonderful that your Grandmother will be taking her first ever cruise at 93 years young. Can I ask that in mid November you send me her name and cabin number and while I cannot promise the Captain’s table I can promise that we will make her feel as special as we can.
Best wishes to her and you all
John

Bill & Linda Asked:
Dear John, (Please Reply)
Our next cruise will on the Carnival Freedom on 9/26/09. We are looking forward to this cruise which will be our 14th Carnival cruise.

We are sorry you will not be with us but are thrilled that our cruise director will be Ralph “Wee Jimmy” Valente.

The last time we saw Wee Jimmy was on the Carnival Legend to Canada when you were training him. We will never forget the Titanic skit that you and he did on deck for your morning show. It was absolutely brilliant and very comical!

A favor to ask of you:
We would love a table for two. On our last cruise which was on the Carnival Valor in March 2009, we were unsuccessful in obtaining a table for two from the maitre d’ at embarkation.

If at all possible, if you could arrange a table for two on our upcoming cruise on the Carnival Freedom we truly would appreciate it.

We look forward to seeing you on the Carnival Dream on 2/13/10.
Thank you for being you!
Regards,
Bill & Linda

John Says:
Hello Bill and Linda
I am very proud of Wee Jimmy and he has come such a long way since you last saw him and is now one of our very best Cruise Directors. I will ask Manuel the Maitre D for your table request and I am sure he will do his best to help you. I have great memories of that video Wee Jimmy and I made and you can expect similar fun next week..
Best wishes and have a brilliant cruise
John

Laura (please reply) Asked:
I was told to come here for some help. I booked a cruise on the Elation for Sept 26th. This was done over the phone and was my first time using Carnival. I bought with the early saver plan. I was told the tickets were non refundable. I understood. We paid the deposit. At the time of final payment my mil, one of our cruisers, was seriously ill. We talked about our options and figured we would pay her final payment and transfer it to someone else if she couldn’t go. Fast forward a month (of hell). She got worse and has been in the ICU for 5 weeks. It’s devastating to deal with this. I call carnival for the switch and I am told because we purchased with early saver no switch allowed, furthermore we are told if she cancels we have to pay $169.50 (she was sharing a two person room with my sister in law who is still going). What? I am so upset I can’t see straight. It’s hard to loose the money but we knew that when we signed up, it was a risk not buying insurance but to pay more is so unfair (especially when we were uninformed). What do we do, I am so upset over this and that doesn’t even mention the hell that is out life with our mil so sick and ill? It feels like a nightmare.

John Says:
Hello Laura
I am so sorry to hear about your troubles and I hope that your MIL (sorry not sure what that means) is doing better………..nothing is more important than that.

I will now do all I can to help and have passed this to our VP of our CARE team who will ask someone to contact you. Please let me know what happens and I send my best wishes to you and the person who was unwell; I truly hope he or she is feeling better.
Best wishes
John

TerryB asked:
Hi John, (please reply)
Can’t believe a year has gone by since my husband and I sailed with you and Heidi on the Splendor. Actually, it was exactly a year ago this week. I am glad you and Heidi didn’t take our advice to get a Cairn Terrier….Kye is so much more precious and BEAUTIFUL…!! Glad you finally are home to enjoy her.

Since we were one of the many disappointed cruisers that were cancelled on the Liberty’s Europe Cruise, we have tried to satisfy our cruise addiction with seeing Alaska on the Spirit this past May, and have planned a January 2010 cruise on the Freedom. To fill in gap, we just returned home today after a ‘last minute’ 4 day getaway on the Triumph, it was wonderful!

My question is, who do you contact at Carnival about exceptional service? I had mentioned our waiter, Elver on our comment cards, but before I had all completed, my husband gathered them up and deposited them in the ‘box’… I had wanted to mention Maria….a photographer who from the time she took our boarding photo until we debarked, made us feel so special… the same for Elver, he went the ‘extra mile’ to serve our table. He has an exceptionally cheerful personality. By the end of the four days, the couples at our table were clamoring to take him home …LOL

This is our sixth Carnival cruise and it was as wonderful as all the rest.

Please add us on the ‘Go to Europe List ‘!
Thank you John for all you do.
Our best to Heidi & Kye

John Says:
Hello Terry
Time really does fly and I have such fantastic memories of the Carnival Splendor and our Baltic adventures. I am so proud to read about Elver and his outstanding service. I will be honoured (spelt correctly) to send this onto his supervisors shore side and onboard and a copy of your words of praise will be placed on his file. If you wanted to send a special letter send it to the blog here and I will also forward that for you. The same applies to Maria who I am also very proud of.

I hope that we can sail together again in Europe together soon and thank you again for taking the time to praise our brilliant crew.
Best wishes,
John

Maureen Asked:
John – (Please reply)
Enjoy reading your blog — especially the progress and photos of the Dream! We will be on the third sailing of the Dream (our Cruise Critic tag for this sailing is Sogno, Sogno, Sogno). We are looking forward to this voyage (will be spending 3 days in London pre-cruise) and also the Cove Balcony experience and laser show!!

We have a roll call of over 125 members and would like to request a gathering place for our Cruise Critic meet & greet on our first sea day, Saturday, Oct. 17. We were planning on 2:00 p.m. I truly appreciate any assistance you may give us. Though you won’t be with us on this cruise, it looks like we’ll be in great hands with Todd!
Cheers,
Maureen

John Says:
Hello Maureen
I hope you have been enjoying everything that I have been posting about your Carnival Dream and I am sure you are very excited. I will indeed ask the ship to make sure you have a meeting place and time for your group to meet on the first sea day. Please look for a wording in the today at a glance section of the Carnival Capers. Todd is with me here and is the perfect choice to make sure you have a brilliant time.
Best wishes to all
John

Pam Hectorne Asked:
Dear John (please reply)
My husband and I just returned from what has to be our favorite cruise yet! We sailed on the Fantasy out of New Orleans on 8/31. This was my 3rd cruise on her and my hubby’s second.

Our PVP, Gur Rosenburg is an absolute dream and a true asset for Carnival. He was always patient and helpful when answering questions and was never bothered at all by my endless phone calls (well, he acted as if he weren’t bothered.. lol).

We got a great up sell from your Past Sales Dept and dealt with Chris. He was great to deal with too. Very professional, very helpful!

Our room stewardess Sparky, was a gem! She is a tiny little bundle of energy who was on the go each and every time we saw her. She thanked me for making this cruise so wonderful, yet it was her who made it so wonderful for us!

On Thursday evening, I asked Stan our maitre d’ about Creme Brulee since we had not seen it on the menu. Creme Brulee is my all time favorite dessert! He apologized and said that it is not made for the shorter cruises, only on cruises of 7 days or more… but he would see what he could do.

The next evening, our last night on the ship and after we had finished eating, I noticed we had not received our dessert menus yet. I saw our waiter Beda give me a thumbs up (I assumed it was me). This was my birthday cruise and my hubby had arranged for a small piece of cake to be delivered that evening and everyone sang happy birthday. What a wonderful surprise. But an even better surprise – our table got Creme Brulee for dessert!! The chef went out of his way and made it for me!! How special I felt!!!

I know you get a lot of crap on this blog thingy of yours (I am an avid reader, first time poster), so I wanted to share some positive things with you. We love Carnival and will continue to sail for years to come. In fact, we are planning another cruise on the Fantasy after she moves to Mobile! We are also planning a Med or TA cruise on the Magic when she makes her debut in 2011!!
Thanks again for everything you do!!
Pam

John Says:
Hello Pam
This is the perfect way to finish today’s Q and A session and I am thrilled that the crew of the Carnival Fantasy made this your best cruise ever. Thanks again and be assured that your words of praise will reach the ship and the crew you mentioned. Thanks for making their day and mine to.
Hope to see you in Europe on a Carnival ship one day soon
Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and as you can see I answered a double load there. I will do my best to keep answering your questions as quickly as I can and once again thanks so very much for all the comments and opinions. Please keep them coming.

Well, having read the 80 plus comments about your Carnival Dream it seems that you all agree that she is an extraordinary vessel and the obvious excitement is plain to see. It also appears that along with politics, religion and reasons to hate the French………that smoking is a subject that stirs the soul and divides opinions and I am on a no win situation here if I continue to discuss this on the blog………….but that’s not going to stop me.

A decade ago smoking in offices was still common. You could light up on a bus or a plane and enjoy a cigarette in our dining rooms onboard — in fact you could smoke pretty much anywhere you wanted.

These smokers’ pleasures have all but disappeared and, after winning a ban on tobacco advertising, the anti-smoking lobby is pushing for an end to puffing anywhere in public.

The momentum and influence of those opposed to smoking is so great that the tobacco industry, one of the most powerful in the world, could almost be seen as the underdog.

Now, regular readers of the blog will know that I despair at the way governments tell us what to do all the time. The bearded ones want to ban smoking completely and force everyone to wear a high-visibility jacket 24 hours a day………just to be safe. Now, I smoke cigars and yet I understand that people ……many people…….hate the smell of them and cigarettes and they hate even more having to walk through a room full of people puffing away just as you or I would hate to walk through a room of people who haven’t taken a shower for over a month………..which is why I never go to Paris.

But seriously, you can’t smoke anywhere these days. There is a blanket ban and in the years ahead who knows how far the bearded ones will push even harder to ban smoking anywhere at anytime. The fact of the matter though is simple. While hotels, resorts, restaraunts and bars have banned smoking completely, the cruise industry is the last bastion where both smokers and non-smokers have rights. Yes, the casino is mostly non smoking, yet, rather than tell smokers to bugger off completely as in Las Vegas, we have a smokers section which covers all the major gaming and slots. However, the remainder of the casino is smoke free allowing once again for choice.

You see, I think some of you may be missing the point and here I want to quote our Super Spy PA 007 who as you know is an avid blog reader and he or she put it like this. “It’s the non-gambling smokers that are using the casino as their personal smoking room and chasing out the non-smoking gamblers. This is hopefully a good compromise for the casino’s customers. Gaming smokers will have their tables and slots and hopefully non smokers will have a bearable environment. Non-gambling smokers will have to use one of the other smoking areas instead.”……………….well put PA 007!

Oh yes……..last night I had a cigar. Not in a bar inside the ship but outside under the Lanai, sitting on a wonderfully comfortable chair……..I was served a Diet Coke ……….. and enjoyed the night air and the sea views. Neither my smoke nor my farts disturbed anyone and it was a truly great way to enjoy my Monte Cristo.

So my point is this. Do we have a perfect solution for smoking on board? …….. No ……… we don’t. But do we have more options for non smokers and non smokers than any of vacation choice? ………………Yes we do.

Thanks for all your opinions on this subject. It has made for some fascinating reading.

Well, things here are really coming together and by the 21st the ship will be ready to welcome her first set of guests onboard. The crew is brilliant and ready to serve and entertain and the looks on their faces as we sailed away yesterday was extraordinary.

Here are some more photos of the handover ceremony. My interviews and a few familiar faces.

GERRY CAHILL AND JOHN
Gerry Cahill and John

CAPTAIN GIOVANNI GALLO TALKING TO MICKY ARISON ( NOT HIS BEST SIDE )
CAPTAIN GIOVANNI GALLO TALKING TO MICKY ARISON ( NOT HIS BEST SIDE )

JOHN HEALD AND SVP OF HOTEL OPERATIONS ROBERTA JACOBY
JOHN HEALD AND SVP OF HOTEL OPERATIONS ROBERTA JACOBY

CAPTAIN CARLO QUEIROLO AND FINCANTIERI YARD DIRECTOR CAPOBIANCO SING THE ITALIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM AT THE HAND OVER CEREMONY
CAPTAIN CARLO QUEIROLO AND FINCANTIERI YARD DIRECTOR CAPOBIANCO

GERRY CAHILL EXCEPTS DELIVERY OF YOUR CARNIVAL DREAM
GERRY CAHILL EXCEPTS DELIVERY OF YOUR CARNIVAL DREAM

JOHN INTERVIEWS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RUBEN RODRIGUEZ AND VICE PRESIDENT CHRISTINE ARNHOLDT
6. JOHN INTERVIEWS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RUBEN RODRIGUEZ AND VICE PRESIDENT CHRISTINE ARNHOLDT

FINCANTIERI C.E..O MR BONO MAKES A SPEECH
7. FINCANTIERI C.E..O MR BONO MAKES A SPEECH

CAPTAIN CARLO QUEIROLO AND HIS OFFICERS DURING THE SAILAWAY FROM THE SHIP YARD 
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Another hot subject has been the news on the Carnival Elation and Carnival Fantasy moving to Charleston and Mobile. It seems that when 10,300 of you all clicked on the blog at 1 pm that some of you were expecting news about a ship going to Europe. Well, all I can say is that hope springs eternal and that everyone knows that I want a ship in the Med again and that I want to be her CD……..I hope that PA007 will be able to give me some news about in the future.

I have been very busy making videos for carnival.com and many of these will be ready next week. They include the food outlets and steakhouse, the Serenity area, the different staterooms and much more. I will let you know when they are ready to post. I hope you enjoy them. One of the food areas that have really impressed me is the pasta bar. This is on deck 11 (remember Lido Deck is deck 10 here on your Carnival Dream) and is where Fish and Chips is on the Carnival Freedom and the Rotisserie is on the Carnival Splendor.

The pasta bar is unique. You order by taking a menu card, ticking off what you want from a choice of 4 different pastas, 5 different sauces and a whole dollop of toppings such as chicken, clams, seafood, vegetables and the ladies’ favorite………Italian sausage.

You then hand the card to the staff. They give you a card with a table number on it. You sit at any table. Insert the card on a stand thingy. And a few minutes later they bring you a made-to-order steaming hot bowl of pasta………just like Mama used to make. Oh, and there are daily specials like lasagna and they will make fresh Caesar salad there as well for you………it’s truly magnifico.

Oh………just a foot note as we are talking about Italy. There are about 200 Italians on board from ship yard workers to our own officers and executives as well as some other Carnival captains. And so I thought I would take an opportunity to gauge their opinion on their president, the one and only Silvio Berlusconi. I wanted to see what they thought of his lifestyle — villas, rumpy pumpy with ladies in their twenties, yachts, beautiful women and more rumpy pumpy and you know what…….. everyone Italian I spoke to ……..both men and women without exception………….said ……….. “beato lui” ………. which means……………… lucky him. ……………..this could only happen…………… in Italy.

So last night as I said I enjoyed a cigar late into the night with Roger Blum, Chris Prideaux and Todd Wittmer. Before that I had enjoyed dinner with Gerry Cahill and other Carnival executives and then walked this huge vessel front to back …..Three times as we listened to the bands, set volume levels in the dance clubs, watched the crew enjoy the Thriller dance class and generally shook hands and hugged all the crew members I have gotten to know over the 23 years I have been at sea.

However, the majority of the crew here are young…..very young……and as I roar through middle age I find it hard to keep up with their energy and zest for having fun. My body was telling me to go to bed but like those spam e-mails that urge me to get my penis enlarged……………I ignored them.

Yes, the signs are there. I know that if I were to sneeze unexpectedly or jump on a trampoline ……….a trickle of pee would run down my leg. Yet, I am going to choose not continue to ignore those signs and tomorrow………accompanied by our President and CEO Gerry Cahill………I am going to go down the water slide……….in my underpants ……….so look out for photos and maybe a video of this in a blog to come …………. so if you are cruising on the inaugural on the 21st and find that the waterslide is closed ………….. you will know that the reason is an environmental one………….caused by skid marks………….and a trail of pee and poo from you know who.

Goodnight
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.