Your Carnival Dream

September 22, 2009 -

John Heald

I hate roller coasters, rides of any kind and would rather have Captain Hook give me a rectal examination than go down the water slides on your Carnival Dream. However, I made a promise to you …………so I did.

Obviously I was aware of the “Oooh let’s put the fat cruise director down the slide” comical scenario that I was providing ……….but………rather surprising myself………I did it.

It was just me and our President and CEO Gerry Cahill who was another reason that I had agreed to uphold my promise. He insisted, stating that if I refused I would lose my title of Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador and instead become ………….his bitch.

So I did it.

Now the idea was that we use the racing slides. This is the one where you race against each other down long slides containing two huge camel humps. I should explain that Gerry is just about the most competitive man I have ever met. He hates to lose at anything….. business …….. sports ……. anything …………and had therefore bet me $1 that he would win.

Now I won’t mention Gerry’s age because that would be disrespectful but I will say that for a 58 year old man he is in remarkable shape. He arrived in his Hawaiian swim shorts and took off his T-shirt revealing a torso that many a younger man would be proud of. He then began stretching ………… touching his toes………and doing all that stuff that people who don’t sit on their arse eating chips and salsa and watching TV do. He was ready.

And so was I.

I arrived in my JC Penny Big Man’s shorts and had decided that I would keep my T-shirt on. I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I had read on Mr. Google that it would give me extra slickness and speed and secondly I kept my T-shirt on as I didn’t feel it was right that the housekeeping department……….. Should have to clean up multiple piles of vomit.

I also had a cunning plan to beat Gerry and that plan came in the form of………socks. Yes, not only was I going to be the first person ever down the slide but I would probably be the first and only person to do so wearing long beige socks. My theory was that if keeping my T-shirt on would give me extra traction then surely keeping my socks on would do the same. And so as Gerry stretched and warmed up………I bent down to pull my socks up and gently farted as I did so…………….Gerry was not amused.

By now a large crowd of Carnival crew members had gathered all armed with cameras and video cameras. The ship’s audio visual crew were there as was Peter the Hair all ready to capture the lanky streak of President and the fat blob of Cruise Director make history and be the first of thousands to use the WaterWorks.

And then it was time to go. So up the stairs we jogged………well Gerry jogged………I wheezed. Once there Gerry got down nimbly into the squat start position. It took me a few minutes to do the same remembering as I did so the last time I was in a position like this was when I went camping and had to crap in a bucket.

I could tell by the sheer determination in his eyes that Gerry wanted to win……..and win bad. He had a look steely resolve in his eyes that said “This race is mine……I am the man…….I am one with the slide.”

Meanwhile I had a look in my eyes that said “What the f**k am I doing here squatting down like a constipated baboon in a pair of beige socks.”

But then……….suddenly……..I changed. Suddenly I wanted to beat the lanky streak of President that looked upon this race as his and had no doubt that his pocket would be $1 richer in a few seconds time. ………..No…….I had to win…….I had to do this for me……for Kye……….for England.

And I called upon all my training from every sport or contest I had ever taken part in………and therefore I knew what I had to do……………………I had to cheat.

So I did.

I was supposed to say “three ….two………….one…………………..GO”

What I said was “three………two……………one”………….and as I said “one”…………I buggered off

Well, to be honest I am not sure who won. I got to the bottom first for sure but for some reason I stopped sliding while Gerry kept on going. The crowd cheered and I declared myself the winner even though I wasn’t sure if I was……………..but it didn’t matter because Gerry had some other news for me. We……..were going to do the monsters………the Drain Pipe………..and the Twister……I looked at him with my spaniel eyes hoping for some pity…….I got none………….I was going to do it………..I had no choice. The crowd bayed like Romans at the Coliseum………the Lanky Streak of president and the Blob Ambassador were doing the big ones.

And as I climbed the stairs all the way to the very top I again wondered…….why me?

And as I got ready to the gynormous twister…………….I had to admit…………I was pretty scared.

I did it though…….and then I did the Drainpipe………and all I can say is that Carnival should bottle the fun we had and sell it as an elixir of youth. The president of the most popular cruise line in the world screamed like a schoolboy as the Drainpipe ride accelerated him around the curved wall of a giant tube, then down and up the other side, and so on until we he was expelled giggling and gasping into the bowl.

Then I did it and I screamed even louder as it whisked me round and round into what the designers probably like to call a giant champagne glass but was more like being flushed into Shaquille O’Neal’s toilet…………….it was breathtaking……………truly breathtaking.

The view from the top is magnificent. You drink in the bright blue sky and sheer magnificence of the ship as though they were your final sight on earth. You are told to lie down, cross your ankles and fold your hands over your chest. It makes you feel as though you were already dead and being prepared for embalming. Certain in the knowledge that no one can survive such a drop, you relinquish all pain and earthly struggle. And then……………off you go.

Actually, I have little memory of the split-second before I emerged at the bottom blind with water having been forcibly sluiced through every orifice. But alive! I felt like a million dollars. And after I had climbed up again to do the DrainPipe I did it with eyes wide open and nose held shut, I could even enjoy the ride…………….and oh boy did I.

Unfortunately as you will see from the video which will be posted later this week I had a little problem on the way down which was captured on camera. I also want to say how amazing Gerry was to do this and how the sight of the President doing this energized the crew even more.

Using the Waterworks is something many would probably think is just for the kids and people who wear their baseball caps on backwards and listen to Eye Pods. It isn’t………..you must have a go………you really must. If I can do it………….so can you because………………..it’s quite simply the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Here are some preview photos.

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Tomorrow the blog will return to normal. I will answer 20 questions and post some belated photos of Kye.

Well, I have to admit I feel a bit down today. I have been building up to your Carnival Dream for weeks and weeks and now……….my Dream is over and I won’t see her until November. Today the ship is in Naples and as you all know I love cruising in Europe and therefore I am somewhat jealous of Todd being the CD of your Carnival Dream. However, I am also very proud of him and all the crew who worked so hard to get the ship ready to welcome the 3,800 guests who joined yesterday. ………3,800…………wow…….even typing that number is extraordinary…….3,800 guests plus 1400 crew…………..extraordinary.

Oh yes……..I knew I had meant to tell you something yesterday……….about life boat drill. It’s done a little differently on your Carnival Dream. We decided that rather line so many people up directly at the Muster Stations that we would make it more comfortable for you. So, on the Dream class the guests meet in various lounges including the main theatre, the Promenade Deck lounges and the dining rooms. Once their guests will listen to Todd talk about the procedures and that in a real emergency how guests should come here……….to their dedicated lounge and from there and if necessary the crew would lead them to the embarkation stations where they would board the lifeboats and life rafts.

One other change is that the guests no longer have to bring their life jackets to the drill. They remain in the cabins and during the drill the crew will demonstrate the correct and proper way to wear them.

It’s tough for me to find the words to describe all the new features, the sparkling decor and the fun that your Carnival Dream oozes from bow to stern. So, what I thought I would do is list some of my favorite areas and additions that make this ship incomparable.

Here we go.

CAMP CARNIVAL, CIRCLE C, CLUB 02
In your quest for a genuine family vacation you may have tried cruise lines and hotels with kids’ clubs that promise paradise for parents and a good program of activities for the kids, but they never quite work out. The kids are usually adamant that they don’t want to be dumped in a dark, dingy playroom, full of molded plastic, staffed by bored students. But I am delighted to tell you that I have found a place where the elusive dream of a genuine family vacation becomes reality ………the Fun Ships of Carnival and in particular………your Carnival Dream. At Camp Carnival a huge space has been allotted to our junior cruisers. Supervision is constant, and they’re kept busy morning till night with games, fun and music — there’s hardly time to miss home or Mum and Dad. Located at the top of the ship this magnificent area along with the splash park will make sure that your Carnival Dream is the perfect place for kids to have fun……….loads of safe T-shirt making, ice cream eating, face painting, scavenger hunt taking, Fun Ship Freddy cuddling fun.

Over at Circle C a dance floor that changes shape and color when you step on it and loads of Playstationxboxes ready to thwart a whole army of zombies await the 12 – 14 year olds now the Circle C Club is located on Deck 4. Think of the Conquest class and the cigar bar and then that long corridor that leads past the conference room into the forward dining room. Well that’s where Circle C is and while Mums and Dads will be happy and content knowing that the Circle C staff is looking after the kids…….other cruisers will relish the fact that the kids are killing the zombies and enjoying making new friends away from the adult bars and entertainment areas on Promenade Deck 5………brilliant.

And if that’s good news for the Circle C aged kids it’s even better for the 15 – 17 year olds whose Club O2 space is in fact where the cigar bar was on the Destiny/Conquest/Splendor class ships. This means that we won’t have the sight of pants being worn round ankles to reveal butt cracks and the general mincing around of today’s teens. They will be doing this on deck 4 in a Club O2 facility that can only be described as astonishing.

You know society’s greatest fear is an ever changing thingy. Sometimes it is war, terrorism or disease. Thirty years ago, quite possibly it was sharks. Now there is a strong case for saying that it is teens. Not your teens. Everybody else’s. I know they dress differently, I know that they like to listen to music that sounds like it is being sung by a cat being castrated with a toothpick but they need and deserve a place to “hang” and “chill” and in our Club O2 facilities on the ships they certainly have a place where they can do what they want with their new friends called Brandon, Chanel and Porsche. They have events and activities and disco parties and…..well none of that matters really because they just want a place to call their own away from the Mum and Dad and their annoying younger brothers and sisters. And under the watchful eye of our Club O2 Directors they have such a place. And on your Carnival Dream they can do so in the most amazing facility for this age group at sea………oh how lucky today’s teens are……apart from the music ………..that’s crap.

FUN HUB
What are you doing? Well. Right now I’m typing. I had a poo earlier. Later I may go to the Lido and watch something on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen. I ate lunch at the pasta bar. I like it there. Do you care? Apparently so. Twitter has become the hottest internet firm on the planet, simply by asking people that question…………what are you doing?

Then we have Facebook. Apparently teenagers no longer think social networking sites are cool and perhaps they will spend less time locked away in darkened bedrooms and more time carving out real friendships. Some feel that thanks to thingies like Facebook we are losing social skills. That may be the case, but it is also a reality and short of pulling the plug on the internet it is not going to change. By and large, families do not sit down and eat meals together any more. They do not play board games together. The kids spend their time on their laptops upstairs as Mum and Dad ponder what is going on in the lives of their children. However, extensive research by Carnival’s marketing beards showed that people of all ages enjoy social networking and not just people who listen to Pee Diddly and wear their pants lower than a snake’s bollocks. The beards then all got together at Carnival HQ and after 298 meetings decided that your Carnival Dream should have the first seagoing social network………it’s called Fun Hub. Terminals are located along the Promenade Deck and for those baggy-panted teens, they are located outside of the Club O2 and Circle C areas as well. Now, you can use the touchy feely screen to look at Capers, dining options, show times and so much more. It will contain free daily world news headlines and then, of course, you can sign up to the social networking site. Here you can leave messages for your friends and family telling them what you have done and what you are going to do. It’s a bit like Twitter ………..at sea……….so we should call it Funitter………..or Funbook ……… or Funface. The way I see it being most used is as a chance for people to meet other people. Want to find someone who likes to dance…….leave a message on the Fun Hub. Want to meet fellow bridge players……leave a message on Fun Hub. Have a dedication for the Cruise Director’s Morning Show…….leave a message on Fun Hub. Are you 80 years old and want to meet a Latvian 22 year old for some rumpy pumpy………bugger off to a different website, please.

I also hope that guests will leave comments and reviews on their cruise. For example, is the tour you took in Venice the best thing you ever did. Leave a message on Fun Hub for the next set of guests to read. Did you think the steakhouse gave you the best meal you have ever had ………… leave a message on Fun Hub. The possibilities are endless. You can also connect to the internet which has the normal charge but the Fun Hub social networking and information stuff …………….. well that’s free……………..and that’s brilliant.

SERENITY
Of course, we all love kids – they’re a joy, aren’t they? – but even the most forbearing of us would sometimes like to find a spot in summer, when it’s really hot, that isn’t awash with howling infants in unlikely inflatable’s and shrieking preteens in Lady Ga Ga T-shirts. Somewhere that’s peaceful, relaxed, civilized … just plain grown-up……..ooh yes…..and a bit luxurious. Well, I have that place for you……it’s on your Carnival Dream…..and it’s called Serenity …………….and it’s ;located on two decks…………that’s a double decker slice of adults only luxury. It features oversized luxurious sun beds. Huge wicker chairs perfect for stretching out and having that afternoon nap. The furniture, the location and the fact that it’s strictly adults only means that this is a slice of heaven…..a quiet slice of heaven where the only sound you will hear is that of your own thoughts…….probably telling you that someone will come round soon to collect the entrance fee……….but unlike other cruise lines……..this slice of heaven……………is free. We have Serenity areas on our other ships………….but nothing like this. ……..it does exactly what the word Serenity means………it provides the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil………..we have a place reserved …………..just for you.

OCEAN PLAZA
There has been much talk about this new area of the ship but having seen it in action the other night I can assure you all that talk was worth it………because it’s going to be one of the most popular areas onboard. The Cafe, the gelato station, the Mojito and Martini Bar and of course the indoor/outdoor areas make this brand new entertainment area very special. During the last few days we had Karaoke there as well as a brilliant Latin Band and all sorts of fun and games. The crew was acting as guests and even though we gave them multiple choices of what to see and do the Ocean Plaza was one of the most popular areas. This leads nicely onto the Lanai which of course is an area that allows you to walk all around deck 5 uninterrupted. I did this and it’s only when you have walked 360 degrees around the ship that you realize just how big she is. Obviously we have lots of outdoor seating on deck 5 as well with the port side allowing for smoking where as the starboard side is non-smoking. The ship will have to monitor this carefully. I had a cabin on deck 9 and even with lots of happy crew enjoying a night off I could not hear them at all with my balcony door closed. As I said, we will have to watch this closely. At the moment we will have the overhanging Jacuzzis on deck 5 (which are amazing by the way) close at 10 pm and we may need to make other changes as we go along. One thing I can tell you is that I sat on the balconies on decks 6 and upwards and each and every cabin allows for a gorgeous view of the sea when standing and a view of both sea and life on deck 5 when seated ……….the perfect combination.

THE DINING OPTIONS
All the favorites are there and we also welcome the Burrito Bar and the Pasta Bar which with its cooked to order menu and table service is bound to be a huge hit. The steakhouse is one of the most beautiful we have and look out for new menu items including two fantastic new appetizers and a gift at the end of the meal…….to go! Of course the dining rooms themselves are stunning and this leads me to say that in my honest and humble opinion your Carnival Dream is Joe Farcus’ greatest accomplishment and there is nowhere on the ship where opinion will be divided. It would be silly not to admit that this is so on other Carnival ships……..but not on your Carnival Dream………….she is bow to stern stunning.

LASER SHOW
I saw a preview of this and I have to apologize that I am nowhere near talented enough to describe the “wow” factor that this brings. There will be multiple laser shows on Lido Deck 10 and sitting on a darkened deck when suddenly the sky above explodes into more colors than Joseph had on his coat is something I never thought I would see on a Carnival ship…….or any ship for that matter. To the accompaniment of special made videos played on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen this is a remarkable event that will fascinate and entertain you in ways I cannot put into writing……….it’s a must see.

SHOWTIME.
I only got to see one show. It’s called Dancin’ In the Street…….it features acrobats and specialty dancers and effects that like the lasers are something that will have the hairs on your bottom standing on end. I don’t want to talk too much about the show because it is full of surprises I don’t want to spoil for future guests………but I will say it’s the most contemporary show we have ever done…….I will also say it’s the best show we have ever done and when you consider shows like Vroom, Big Easy and Ticket To Ride……that’s a mighty bold statement. ……especially as I haven’t seen Extreme Country and the Motown R & B show yet. Your Carnival Dream also features the Comedy Club where three times a night you can laugh until it hurts watching Al Ernst, Happy Cole and their colleagues in our very own comedy club. These shows will be held in the aft lounge which is one of Joe’s most beautiful ever. The entertainment on your Carnival Dream is top draw………and then some.

CABINS
I visited all the cabin configurations and while I am a huge fan of the cove balconies which on the crossing from the shipyard to Rome gave for classic and unique views of the Med……. there is no doubt that the star attraction will be the five-berth deluxe double bathroom family staterooms. Having two bathrooms is a luxury anywhere but on a cruise ship and with Mum and Dad and the kids coming of a day at WaterWorks and all needing to get ready for dinner at the same time……….it’s a Gerry Cahill-inspired godsend. I stood in the half bath and it was a very comfortable place for a shower and behind the other door the toilet and full shower stall meant that if Heidi and Kye and been with me it would have been easy for Heidi to wash and shower herself and then do the same with Kye leaving me to read the entire Carnival Dream book that’s placed in the cabin while sitting on the toilet and ridding myself of the Mongolian Wok I had for lunch…….and me and the smell of Szechuan would have been enclosed in our own private world. There has never been so many choices when it comes to cabins and there truly is one for every demographic.

SMOKING
I know we have touched on this and it brought forward many comments. I know, like the Miami Dolphins, I am never going to win………but I do think that here we have got as close to we ever have in getting it right. There is no Cigar Bar…….OK…….that of course had me a little upset but ……..I can go out on Deck 5 and have a cigar if I want to on the port side of the Ocean Plaza. The Casino…….well you already know about that……and I still think that this will provide the best of both worlds. The Piano Bar is also mostly non-smoking with smoking not allowed around the piano……which by the way brought a hoot of joy from the entertainers scheduled to work there. You can smoke at the outer sofa and chair areas again allowing hopefully keeping smokers and non-smokers as happy as can be.

Well, time has nearly run away with me and I have not had time to mention that your Carnival Dream has the most gorgeous atrium in the fleet. I haven’t had time to write about the fantastic deck spaces on deck 10 or that the aft part of Lido deck is by far the most fabulous looking we have ever had. There was no mention of the massive conference facility that makes group bookings here so easy with the room being able to divide itself up into three different rooms. I didn’t have time to tell you about the live music, the deck parties or the shopping facilities and purpose built art gallery. There was no time to tell you about the dance club and its bed-style seating complete with lacy curtains or that the disco also has an outside seating area for late night kissing and ….?

There is just time to mention one more thing that will make your Carnival Dream extra special. One more iconic feature that can actually be found on all the Carnival ships……the crew …………. the Dream team is fantastic.

There is so much more I could tell you and you will read many more reviews about this ship once my friends Anita Dunham Potter, Gene Sloan and their colleagues invade the ship in New York. Their reviews will be professionally written and full of adjectives I could never use and I urge you to read them as their columns will no doubt do the ship justice.

I will though say this…..I have worked for Carnival Cruise Lines for 22 years. We are saying goodbye to our oldest ship and my first ever ship the Holiday next month. When I look back at what that ship offered and how breathtaking it was for me and you to walk up her gangway, never……..never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine a ship like this. Yes, there are and will be bigger. Yes, there will be much heralding and praise that biggest is best.

But……..let me say this……and not just as a Carnival employee but just as someone who has been at sea for the best part of his life. The Carnival Dream is the best ship we have ever built ……… and she should be…….she must be……..a ship that you should sail on………..she truly is …….. absolutely brilliant……..and for the last time I simply say……………..have you booked yet?

Here are the last of the photos

Club O2
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Crimson Restaurant
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FunHub
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Library
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Lido Aft Deck
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Photo Gallery
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Play Room
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Serenity Deck
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Spa
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Oh, one thing that Carnival did get wrong. The cruise director cabin is on deck 5. You can walk all the way around deck 5 including past the CD cabin which means you can see into the cabin and see what the CD is doing. So, a message to anyone who is sailing in February and March when I am CD…….sorry if you see me in my underpants.

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.