Anytime Blog

September 30, 2009 -

John Heald

You Tube is full, mostly, of young men falling off their skateboards and setting their farts on fire. But in addition to this you can log on if you wish to see a teaser of the new series of 24.

This means the producers of 24 have gone to all the trouble of making a show, and paying the actors, and getting all those phones to go “beep beep eeoooh” and then finding that no television company in the world is all that bothered about screening it, because everyone’s seen it already on the web. And all though I am no Jack Bauer……it seems that there is an ever growing menu of videos featuring me.

This morning when I looked there are 205 clips of me on YouTube, for which, obviously, I receive bugger all money. There are also videos of Carnival’s shows which themselves are copywritten and even with the no videotaping announcements we make before each show it’s obvious that people still film them with cameras secretly hidden in their bras.

Of course Carnival could raise a big fuss with You Tube but then the 921 clips would simply appear on the new sharing site based in Bombay. And what’s the point of suing someone whose only assets are a laptop and a loincloth?

The upshot is that films, television shows, magazines, newspapers, songs, anything published or recorded, can be put on the internet. And the person who published it or recorded it doesn’t get any money. So what’s the point of publishing or recording anything? Obviously, if Dan Brown were to write a new book called The Cahill Code it would be jolly funny to buy the first copy and put it all online, so he ended up with a royalty cheque for 50 cents. But it’s not so funny if you are Dan Brown I guess.

At present, everyone is obsessed with the internet. Every large media company in the world is investing millions in their websites and not one, so far as I can tell, has even the remotest idea of how it can possibly generate any profits. I often wonder if I should start advertising Fruit of the Loom underwear on my blog thingy.

I was talking to a newspaper person during the bloggers cruise earlier this year and they told me of their fears that the Internet would sound the death toll for the newspaper. Fewer and fewer twenty- and thirty-somethings are buying newspapers to keep informed about their world, and fewer still are turning to a newspaper’s classified ad listings when they have a car or photos of Megan Fox’s bottom to sell. Obviously writing a blog myself I am well aware of the power of the internet…….but personally……….I love newspapers and hope that they can survive.

And it’s not just the media that are under threat. Why go to a doctor when you can look up what’s wrong with you on the internet? Why have rumpy pumpy with the wife when there’s always some lady in Latvia who’s happy to get her knickers off……………allegedly? Why buy an encyclopedia when there’s Wikipedia. Why go to a DVD shop when you can shop online? Real estate agents. Property developers. Couriers. They’ve all had it. Even travel agents, many of whom are working from home…………booking Carnival cruises…………in their underpants.

One day the world will wake up and realize its unemployed; that we’ve all been terminated by machines. And please don’t try to argue that men will always triumph over machinery because we can always turn it off. Because that’s the thing with the internet. You can’t.

Anyway, as we are talking about You Tube I thought I would show you these two videos which judging by the low viewing figures that is mentioned at the bottom of the video thingy many of you may never have seen.

The first is a reaction to something I normally don’t get to see…….as two kids see their drawings live on TV during my morning show. The second……..well………it’s just me being me.

Time for today’s questions………….here we go.

Angela Asked:

Dear John,
(Please reply)

We are sailing on the Carnival Ecstasy on the 17th of October and that happens to be one of the biggest days in the University of Texas college football season. It is the Texas vs. Oklahoma game (also known as the Red River Rivalry). The game starts at 11 am (if I am correct, need to check that again) and was wondering if they would have somewhere we could watch it once we boarded (the big screen would be awesome!). I know from our roll call that we will have lots of OU and Texas fans on board and since we sail out of Texas there were will be lots of Longhorn fans aboard!

Is there anyone I can contact to see if and where they might be showing this game on board? If not, is it possible to check in and then go back into port to watch it.

Thanks so much and I am loving the videos from the Carnival Dream. And thanks for the blog, I read it every day and love it!

-Angela

John Says:
Hello Angela

College sports in the United States amaze me. When my university played another university at soccer there may have been 100 people watching. Yet in America the games seem as popular as in the professional leagues. Anyway, if this game is shown by CBS, ABC, NBC etc then it will be played on board. Now, there is not a big screen on the Carnival Ecstasy however if you go Promenade Deck aft you will find a lounge with two large TV’s and that’s where you should be able to see the game as well as of course in your cabin. I hope the best team wins which of course is the Oklahoma Texans…..go Gators!

Enjoy the game and have a great cruise
Best wishes

John

Kadeycat Asked:

John – PLEASE REPLY! (Or one of the Stephanies if it’s easier) My husband and I sailed with you and Wee Jimmy years ago on the Carnival Destiny. We have also turned most of our family and friends onto the cruising addiction. But what a sickness to have!!

We are to sail on the Carnival Splendor on Oct. 11th (our 28th wedding anniversary- we cruise every year to celebrate-next trip will be Platinum) We have a Cruise Critic roll call group of around 70 people and would like to arrange the meet and greet. Can I contact Goose to arrange a meeting place on the first sea day afternoon? We are all eagerly awaiting the day when we can step onboard and order the first fruity drink.

Hope you are enjoying your first trip on the Carnival Dream and will be back with your lovely wife and daughter very soon.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer. I know you have a very busy schedule these days.

Kerri

John Says:
Hello Kerri

It won’t be long before you are sipping that drink and marveling at the beauty of the Carnival Splendor. I have taken the liberty of sending your request for a Cruise Critic meet and greet to the ship and they will arrange accordingly. Please look for a mention in the today at a glance section of the Carnival Capers which Goose will place there for you.

Have a great cruise and best wishes to you all

John

Juan & Maria Santana Asked:
John please reply

Dear John, I read about you feeling very tired, because of your diabetes, you have those days….that is natural in your condition, but I think , I can help you…so you will never have those days….I assume you are a type II met forming and Actos diabetic….with no knowledge of glycemic amount of carbohydrates in food…anyway…..#1, in the morning first thing you must do, is exercise, get two 10 pounds weighs and do it for 20 minutes, plus others…second, get before breakfast a liquid soft-gel of FAT BURNER GREEN TEA 400 MGS. AND YOUR BREAKFAST, REMEMBER THAT MILK AND ORANGE JUICE MAKES THE GLUCOSE UP THE ROOF……try to walk fast at least half an hour…..and make love to Heidi AT LEAST TWICE A DAY……(I bet she will love this recipe)…….Love….Juan and Maria Santana….P.S. We hope to see you in Cape Canaveral, on the Dream, let us know your schedule in 2010…..Kisses to Kye

John Says:
Hello Juan and Maria

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for this valuable information. I have felt much better recently and have indeed been trying to exercise early in the morning. I take 3 Metmorphin tablets a day and my sugar level has been excellent. When I get a cold though I do get fatigued but the doctor took me off Actos and placed me on some B12 tablets which have made a difference. I am determined to control my diabetes rather than have the diabetes control me.

As always your kindness is most welcome and thanks again for the great advice

Best wishes to you both

John

Debora Asked:

JOHN, PLEASEREPLY!

Hi, I’ve sailed with Carnival close to 15 times (if not more); however, I used a different past guest time “back in the day” prior to marriage. My maiden name being Guimaraes. Please advise how to change my past guest status, as I believe I should be receiving some platinum benefits with all of those sailings with your company. I am a loyal guest to Carnival, but it seems that other cruise lines are offering better perks with past guests with 15 or so cruises, however, last time I inquired about this on the phone, I was told that they were not able to merge my cruises since I used my maiden name prior. Not sure if it’s time to start with a different company, but if I can’t get credited for all the cruises with carnival, I don’t believe it’ll be in my advantage to keep coming back. Please help a loyal, but confused past guest. I have a cruise booked for 11/1/09 on the Valor again.

John Says:
Hello Deborah

Thanks for bringing this to my attention

I checked on this and it shows you currently have nine past sailings in you history so you’ll receive platinum status on your next cruise.  Carnival only started tracking guests’ histories in 1994 so we have no way to verify most sailings prior to then.  However, if you can provide proof of sailing (embarkation photo, old documents or anything that has the ship and sailing date on it) we will be happy to add those older sailings to your history. As it is I am told that your next cruise on the Carnival Valor will mark your tenth cruise and all the Platinum benefits that come with it. So, try and dig out all those old bits of paper work and hopefully you can find something that shows when and where you cruised.

Congratulations on reaching your Platinum status and if there is anything else I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes

John

Teri Asked:
John, please reply

Will be on the Dream in June—absolutely can’t wait! This will be our first carnival Cruise. Is it possible to get a picture of cabin 9475-it’s an aft wrap. Because of its shape, there’s some debate whether or not it will have a sofa in it. Thanks for all you do!

John Says:
Hello Teri

Thanks for writing. Just to let you know I checked with the ship and cabin 9475 does indeed have a sofa in it and is a great cabin. Hope this helps raise the excitement even more. Please let me know if you need anything before you sail in June.

Best wishes

John

Beentravelin Asked:

Dear John (please respond)

Do you or one of the Stephanies know why there have been no posts on the Carnival Connections page since the Carnival Splendor?

John Says:
Hello Beentravelin

I checked with one of the 343 Stephanies and this is what she told me.

All of the videos we’ve been producing since the launch of the Carnival Splendor have either been posted on the blog or directly on carnival.com.  But, we haven’t forgotten about the Carnival Connections video page.  We are planning something very special and will be able to give the blogger’s more info next month.

So, there you go and I have no idea what the Stephanie’s are planning but judging by the amount of Tofu they have been eating…………I bet it’s going to brilliant.

Best wishes

John

LadyJag Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply if you have time)

I’m glad to see you had a safe journey to the beautiful Carnival Dream. She looks amazing! When I envision myself stepping onto the ship and into the atrium in May, I feel a sudden urge to run around waving my arms and shouting “Wheee!!!” So I do…in my mind anyway.

I apologize for adding yet another reply request (and a lengthy one at that) to your ever increasing inbox, but I am confident that you are the best person to offer advice on this matter because, well, you’re the best! So here goes:

My sister-in-law heard me talking about Carnival cruises with a restaurant waitress a couple of months ago (the waitress had handed me a Carnival pen to sign the check with), and it got my sister-in-law excited about booking a cruise with her family. So she asked me about my cruise experiences and my Carnival experiences in particular, because she had sailed with a friend on only one cruise some years ago, and it was on ChargeMeForEverything of the Seas.

Of course I was happy to tell her about everything I had researched and experienced with Carnival and cruising in general, and within a few weeks, she booked her family on the Carnival Inspiration for April 2010. Better still, she encouraged some close friends of hers to book a cabin on the same cruise! She was very excited when she told me she had booked, and said “y’all should come too!”

Well, it took all of 3 minutes for hubby and I to fully discuss the matter (”Should we?” “What do you think?” “I dunno, what do YOU think?”) Before we were booked on the Carnival Inspiration too. And to prove to my sister-in-law that WE were influential people and had friends too, we talked a friend of ours into reserving a cabin as well.

Now we are a party of 11, and it all started with a Carnival pen mistakenly left behind by a waitress’s previous customers. But here is where I need your advice:

Out of our party of 11, my sister-in-law is a bit concerned about her hubby/my brother-in-law not having fun on a Fun Ship. Hard to imagine I know, but this is his first cruise because…well, he never had any desire whatsoever to take a cruise.

So, since you’ve met all types of people and have talked to them about what they like on a Carnival cruise, plus you know so much about the Carnival ships and their ports of call, could you please recommend a few activities onboard the Carnival Inspiration and maybe some shore activities for our two ports of Cozumel and Grand Cayman?

My brother-in-law is in his mid-50s and enjoys the outdoors and camping, but has stated many times that he “hates the beach and everything to do with it.” He is adamantly against gambling, drinking, and smoking, and I can’t see him sitting still and relaxing on the Serenity deck. He has a passion for cars and is extremely talented with auto paint and body work. (He’s completely rebuilt cars from the ground up, and some of his “projects” have been photographed for national car magazines.)

I thought I would recommend trivia contests, the Carnival Waterworks area, and perhaps the laser tag arena on the ship. While in port, though, I’m drawing a blank. I remember my hubby and I took an ATV excursion in Cozumel about 5 years ago, and we had loads of fun. So maybe my brother-in-law would be interested in an ATV or jeep tour, but I’m not sure what sort of budget he has for such activities. I’d like to offer a few more suggestions, just in case, and since I’ve never visited Grand Cayman, I’ve got absolutely nothing to suggest there.

Any insight you can provide, John, would be an enormous help. Since I’m a researcher/planner by nature and have the most Carnival cruise experience of anyone in our group, I feel like everyone is looking to me for direction.

Again, though, I know you’re swamped, and since we don’t sail until April, please don’t feel obligated to reply right away…or ever, if you just don’t have the time after reading this incredibly long comment.

Thank you for your time and for the updates on the Carnival Dream! I can’t wait to see it all in person!

John Says:
Hello Lady Jag

Please don’t apologize for asking for my help, that’s why I am here of course. I took the liberty of writing down a few suggestions for your family to look at………..have a read of these and I will meet you at the bottom.

Onboard Activities:

Does he like Golf?

Function: Carnivalgolf.com

  • certified PGA golf professional
  • golf lessons/clinic
  • golf shore excursions
  • golf simulator
  • pro shop
  • golf club rental
  • 2-way radio rentals

Sports Activities

City Sports Park

Location: Sun Deck 14 – forward

  • 9-hole miniature golf course
  • complimentary: clubs / golf balls / custom score card and pencil

Ping Pong Tables (2)

Location: Verandah Deck 11 – forward

Jogging Track

Location: Sun Deck 14 – forward

  • padded track; 10 laps = 1 mile

Name: Carnival Water Works

Location: Verandah Deck 11 – aft

Hours: 10:00am-5:00pm

Weather conditions permitting

Sample Tours:

Cozumel

Amazing Cozumel Race
Description: Play Amazing Cozumel Race – an interactive, clue-based adventure game that’s like a reality show! Equal parts live-action mystery novel, and scavenger hunt, it’s the best and most fun way to experienc Full Details

Duration: 4 Hours
Pricing From: Adult: $70 Child: $70

ATV Jungle Adventure
Description: Maneuver your way through the Cozumel jungle on this unique ATV adventure. Full Details

Duration: 3.5 Hours
Pricing From: Adult: $95 Child: $95

Fly High Adventures Zip Line Tour
Description: Experience a unique adventure as you fly high above the trees viewing the dazzling colors of the Caribbean Ocean and the Mayan jungle. Full Details

Duration: 2 Hours
Pricing From: Adult: $89 Child: $89

Grand Cayman

Well here you must go swim with the Stingrays. This is something so very special and I would highly recommend this. Going back to Cozumel the ATV adventure is a blast and it sounds right up his street. He may also want to consider the other tours I mentioned as well as the Jeep Safari and Cavern Adventure.

Back on board you have amazing shows, games, contests, karaoke, food, food and more food all wrapped up in excellent fun service.

Simply tell him this………..he will have the time of his life.

Hope this helps. Best wishes to all.

John

Gina Asked:
John Please Reply

I posted this already but failed to ask for a reply. We are a group of 6 ladies on a girl trip (no hubbies-no kids) on the Fantasy departing on Halloween day. We will be celebrating 3 birthdays (one big 4-0). We are curious what if any festivities to expect for Halloween? Costumes? Parties? This is my 5th Carnival cruise and hoping to be on the Dream in March 2010.

John Says:
Hello Gina

Thanks for marking your comment for a reply which means I know who needs my help. It sounds like the girls are going to have a brilliant time and yes; all Carnival ships will host Halloween activities that will include a Halloween Party and costume contest for guests of all ages. Children and adults are encouraged to bring a costume for this occasion. So bring yours and join in the fun. I hope to see you in March onboard your Carnival Dream.

Best wishes to all

John

Elinor Asked:
Hi John, Please reply

I am so excited to sail on Carnival Dream in December 2009. I’m sailing with my baby who will be 18 months and was concerned that he will not get to enjoy the Waterworks park on the new ship. He is not potty-trained and I read somewhere that babies cannot use swim diapers and must be potty-trained to use the pools. Is there a splash area or water squirting area where non-potty-trained babies can play? My baby won’t be old enough to join in the Camp Carnival playgroups so I was really hoping we could play in the water with him. Please I would really appreciate it if you would let me know about this as I was truly excited to go on this new ship but am now very worried that there won’t be anything for my 18 month to do.

Thanks!

John Says:
Hello Elinor

You should indeed be excited because your Carnival Dream is truly an incomparable ship or at least she will be until the Carnival Magic arrives in 2011. I do have one piece of bad news though. Due to United States Public Health (USPH) Regulations, we do not allow children in diapers, in swimming diapers or those not toilet-trained in the pools/WaterWorks/spray parks.

The reasons are understandable of course as we have seen recently when I was on the Carnival Freedom………accidents do happen. Now if Mum was to sit on the edge of the pool paddling her feet in the water and gave baby a little splash as I know Kye likes that………well that should be OK. But unfortunately your baby will have to wait a few months before getting in the water. I know that your baby will also be fascinated by the lights and sounds of the shows and the beautiful colors of the ship.

I am sorry about the rules but I am positive that you will have a fantastic family cruise vacation.

Best wishes to you all

John

LorrieB Asked:
Good Morning John. PLEASE REPLY:

Now that the gorgeous Carnival Dream is finally in final preparations, and not to take anything away from her, please make that announcement we have all been waiting to hear. WHERE IS THE CARNIVAL MAGIC going to make her home? There are so many rumors going around that it makes our heads swim. And, if I may put in my two cents, please make it Galveston. Pretty Please, with sugar on top and a cherry.

And just a small side line. I am very disappointed that I will not get my past guest pin on my November 8 cruise on the Conquest. Believe it or, I was really looking forward to that. Now, all I can look forward to is endless fun, amazing food, great entertainment and wonderful ports. Darn the luck!!!!!!!

Thanks for keeping everyone smiling and for unfortunately giving me a mental picture of you in your underwear typing on your keyboard. Wow….. Didn’t want to see that!!!!!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Lorrie B

Yes, your Carnival Dream is here and it won’t be long before you are onboard experiencing this stunning ship. The pins are on the way to the ships and sometime in October they will start being handed to our Platinum guests and available for purchase from the gift shops. As for the Carnival Magic………..well………..that’s a secret that is being closely guarded and one that our Super Spy PA 007 is on the case to try and crack. As soon as he or she does……….I will break the news here of course. I am in my underpants as we speak and as you were asking for a visual they are white………..well………..mostly.

Best wishes.

John

Victoria Van Horsen Asked:

Dear John (PLEASE REPLY),

I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoy your blog daily and how excited I am that I will be cruising with you on the wonderful Carnival Legend on Oct. 4th!! I am writing to ask that you be a bit of a secret agent for me if at all possible. My husband and I will be celebrating our 7th Anniversary on Oct. 5th while we are on the cruise. I would love to make it as special as possible for us as we have been through a lot recently and are really looking forward to relaxing. If at all possible we would love a table for 2 during our confirmed dining time (late seating). And the secret agent part of all this is he loves your blog and reads it daily also. So if at all possible please change the names or something so he doesn’t actually know it’s me. And while on the cruise please feel free to embarrass him horribly at any point, lol. He is so excited to meet you and I am sure some contact from you (even just a note) would make the whole trip for him. His name is Josh, feel free to use him as a stage prop whenever necessary.

Thanks so much and I can’t wait for the cruise!! 18 days and counting.

With much gratitude,

Victoria Van Horsen

John Says:
Hello Victoria.

I am glad I saw this in time as you will be here in a few days. I have requested that the Maitre D reserve you a table and I know he will do his best to do so. Please leave me a note at the Guest Services Desk when you board and why not write a few nice words about your husband and why you love him so much. I will read this out on my Morning Show on Monday morning.

See you soon and best wishes to you both

John

Karen Asked:
John……….please respond.

In today’s blog you answered a question about elegant nights on the Dec 3 blogger’s cruise but I think there was a problem with your answer as the schedule you gave was for a 7 night eastern cruise and NOT the 9 night cruise!

Can you confirm for us the actual elegant nights on the Dec 3 cruise please?

John Says:
Hello Karen

Big Ed just wrote to me and said the same thing. I have no idea what happened and obviously my cut and paste skills are bollocks. Anyway, my apologies for that and here is the correct information.

Cruise Schedule December 3rd – 9 Day Eastern Caribbean vacation from Port Canaveral

  • Thursday, Dec 03 – Port Canaveral (Orlando) Florida
  • Friday, Dec 04 – Fun Day at Sea – ELEGANT
  • Saturday, Dec 05 – Fun Day at Sea
  • Sunday, Dec 06 – Antigua
  • Monday, Dec 07 – Tortola, BVI
  • Tuesday, Dec 08 – St. Thomas, USVI
  • Wednesday, Dec 09 – San Juan, PR
  • Thursday, Dec 10 – Grand Turk- ELEGANT
  • Friday, Dec 11 – Fun Day at Sea
  • Saturday, Dec 12 – Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida

Please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes
John

Andrue Asked:
(Please Reply)

Love the blog keep up the work. It was definitely a pleasure to meet you on-board the Carnival Freedom this past July.

I know this may seem trivial but, is there any way I could get a high-resolution image file of the Carnival Dream lit up at night? I like the one that is thirteenth in the list of pictures (ship_dream_italy_8×10_31.jpg) but it is too small for my screen. I would like to make this my desktop wallpaper on my computer. I tried to look on the Carnival Dream web page but that picture is not there.

Thank You

John Says:
Hello Andrue

I think this is a great idea and I am sure there are many who would love to have your Carnival Dream as their desktop picture thingy. For this to happen we need the help of people with beards and that’s why I am going to ask one of the 343 Stephanies to try and help with this. Stephanies ……………can we create some Carnival Dream screensavers?

I will keep you informed and thanks again for the great idea.

Best wishes
John

Valerie Asked:

Hi John. (please reply)

My husband and I will be sailing on the Carnival Dream Transatlantic for our 47th Wedding Anniversary, which we will have in the Canary Islands. I have booked a ships excursion and the Steakhouse. I have a couple of requests one you cannot fulfill as you will not be the CD the other would be to be seated in the dining room for the other 15th nights where Ken is the Maitre ‘d.

If possible we would like a table for two for the 15 nights.

I asked about this earlier on the blog and you told me to remind you later. I know you are busy and about to embark on the Carnival Dream but if you could please have a word with Ken it would complete a DREAM come true.

Thanks you for all the pictures and the great blog which I have closely followed since the Inaugural cruise on the Carnival Freedom.

Look forward to Fridays and the blogs and pictures of Heidi and Kye.

Our best to all three of you.

Val. Ontario, Canada.

John Says:
Hello Valerie

Ken is the best. Pure and simple and it’s no wonder you and so many others want to be in his dining room. I have asked Ken to make it so and I truly wish I could be with you. Thanks so much for the kind words.

Best wishes and have a great cruise

John

Zannett Asked:
PLEASE REPLY

John,

You provided an answer today to a question I sent regarding elegant nights and a recommendation for a night to reserve the steakhouse. We are sailing on the Bloggers Cruise on 12/3, but the reply gave the information for an Eastern Car. sailing???? Please tell me it isn’t so.

John Says:
Hello Zannett

I just finished apologizing to another blogger for my cut and paste skills so with a huge apology here is the 9 day Carnival Dream cruise with the elegant nights marked.

Cruise Schedule December 3rd – 9 Day Eastern Caribbean vacation from Port Canaveral

  • Thursday, Dec 03 – Port Canaveral (Orlando) Florida
  • Friday, Dec 04 – Fun Day at Sea – ELEGANT
  • Saturday, Dec 05 – Fun Day at Sea
  • Sunday, Dec 06 – Antigua
  • Monday, Dec 07 – Tortola, BVI
  • Tuesday, Dec 08 – St. Thomas, USVI
  • Wednesday, Dec 09 – San Juan, PR
  • Thursday, Dec 10 – Grand Turk- ELEGANT
  • Friday, Dec 11 – Fun Day at Sea
  • Saturday, Dec 12 – Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida

Please let me know if you need anything.

Best wishes
John

Tim Kriebel, MCPO US Navy (Ret) Asked;

John: Please Reply

Oh Goody, here we go screwing the smokers (Dream) again! I wonder if anyone (those with or without beards) has ever done a table by table, machine by machine survey in all of the Carnival Casinos to determine the percentage of folks who are actually placing wagers in the casino are smokers? Hell no they didn’t. Just like the other stupid decision of moving Cigar Smoking from the beautifully designed Cigar Bars on Conquest Class ships to the Sports bars (lousy atmosphere for cigar smokers) because the design was poor and people had to pass through those beautiful bars to get to the Internet, this move is equally stupid. If the reason that there will generally be no smoking in the casino is because people pass through it on the promenade….then this is another major design flaw. What the hell were they thinking? Oh, and the Piano Bar as well, non-smoking. If Carnival thinks that making these venues non-smoking will be popular….let’s just see how many of the non-smokers fill those two Venus and support the cash flow requirements. I think you know the answer to that.

You’d think Carnival would have learned something from the “Smoke Free Paradise” failure of the past. Oh, and I am a Carnival Loyalist (#23 booked – Dream), but I just can’t ignore stupid!

John Says:
Hello Tim

I know from a previous post of yours that you were very angry at me for helping people with their dinner reservations and I hope that you have a little more understanding now as to why I continue to do that. May I also respectfully state that you do have some of your facts wrong regarding the smoking so please kindly allow me to tell you what is happening?

Carnival has indeed done intensive research about smoking even enlisting the help of an outside consultant. Now, your Carnival Dream is a trial ship and one thing we have not done is as you say “screw the smokers” as there is an entire section to the aft port side of the casino where smoking is allowed at the tables and slots. What is not allowed is for people to use the casino as a smoking area. This means people wandering around the casino smoking…….and not playing. So, quite simply the casino area which all guests have to pass through and the remaining tables are smoke free. Now, I just spoke to the Casino Manager on your Carnival Dream and apart from getting repeat guests to understand that the casino is not like others in the fleet ……..there have been no complaints from smokers and many, many words of thanks from casino users who are not smokers. Now considering that most land based casinos are 100% non-smoking I think the last thing we are doing is “screwing the smokers”…….in fact I think we have maybe found the best of both worlds and we shall see if this is implemented across the fleet.

Now, the cigar bars. Well, all the Conquest and Splendor class ships now have the cigar bars back where they belong on deck 4 aft and as a cigar smoker myself I love this areas. However, I also realize as does Carnival that we put the Internet Café’s in the wrong place as for non- smokers walking through this lounge is not pleasant. However……we still have them and they are very popular.

On your Carnival Dream the cigar bar is outside and again as a cigar smoker for many years I can tell you that sitting outside under the stars enjoying a fine cigar without worrying who you may be offending by doing so is heaven. Please…..wait until you have tried it before you judge.

Finally, the Piano Bar on your Carnival Dream. Maybe you missed my posting a few days ago where I stated it is not 100% non smoking. The area sitting around the piano is while the seating at the back of the room allows for smoking. Once again……..the best of both worlds and nobody appreciates this more than the piano bar entertainer himself.

I hope this helps Tim and I know smoking continues to be a sensitive subject….but respectfully I must disagree with what you said………stupid is far from what we at Carnival are. I hope you and I get to smoke a cigar together one day and discuss this and other subjects.

Best wishes

John

That’s all for today. There will be more tomorrow so please keep the comments coming. Last week even though I had two days off from blogging we still had 50,000 plus readers with 21,000 reading the Dream blog. This leads me to say another huge thank you to every one of you who takes the time to read my musings…….I continue to be amazed, especially as the blog has now had as of this morning 5,000,650 views…..my thanks to each and every one of you once again and of course to the 343 Stephanies, Vance from PR, Roger, Chris and PA 007…….here’s to 6 million.

Let’s do the news. A few weeks ago Cruise Critic and Princess launched a unique contest to find the most romantic cruise ship story. I thought therefore you would like to read about the winner …………..here they are.

Princess and Cruise Critic’s Real-Life Love Story Winner!

Great stuff and a story worthy of the Love Boat.

A few days ago I included a wonderful guest blog from Cunard’s President Mr. Peter Shanks. In it he spoke about the excitement he and everyone who loves ships is feeling about the pending arrival of the Queen Elizabeth. Well, we broke the news here on the blog thingy that he was going to write a series of blogs about the ship and the build up to her arrival. In fact, the many people who posted comments here on the blog thingy helped I think to persuade him to do so. Anyway, Cunard have now posted that same interview on their website but have included some renderings of the inside of the ship…………have a look at the theatre………wow……….here is the link thingy.

A Queen Elizabeth Update With Peter Shanks

Now, there are some of the brightest and sharpest minds in the world of cruising who read this blog…………yes you……..I am talking about you. Therefore, I bet you have a brilliant chance of winning this amazing contest………..naming the third of Seabourn uber luxury yacht…………so go on…………..represent the blog and go out there and win it…………and wait until you see the prize ……here is the link thingy.

Guess the Name of Seabourn’s New Yacht and Win a Free Cruise!

So back here on the Carnival Leg End things are going well. They found an assistant for me .His name is Craig and will be joining the ship on Thursday in Belize. He is an Assistant Cruise Director who will be responsible for producing the Carnival Capers, answering the emails, attending meetings and ironing my underpants. This will allow me to write my blog and be on stage as much as I can……………something that I am so ready to do.

We are in Cozumel today and the weather so far has been nice. Yesterday in Grand Cayman we had a few showers but that did not stop the ship’s photographer snapping these great shots of the Carnival Valor and Carnival Destiny who were anchored with us.

Destiny and Legend

Destiny and Legend 2

Destiny and Valor

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Three Ships

Three Ships 2

Well, I mentioned that I would be talking about Your Time Dining today as this has been my first chance to see this in operation. On the Spirit class ships there is of course only one dining room and it’s the upper level on the port side that has been reserved for those who have taken this option. I thought I would start by passing on some facts about Your Time Dining some of which pertain specifically to this cruise……….so……….here we go with the Your Time Dining Facts for voyage LE7092609

TOTAL GUESTS ON ANYTIME DINING – 305

TIME GUESTS CAN COME TO THE DINING RROM – 5:45PM – 9:30PM

MOST POPULAR TIME TO EAT – 7:30PM WITH 121 TAKING THAT OPTION

LONGEST TIME GUESTS HAD TO WAIT FOR A TABLE THIS CRUISE SO FAR – 20 MINUTES

MOST POPULAR REQUEST – TABLE FOR TWO

So, there you go. Some facts and figures about the experience. Now, as you will see there is sometimes a small waiting period and this is usually because guests want a table for two. If guests are prepared to join other passengers then there is for the most part absolutely no waiting time at all. I asked the maitre d how many people prefer not to sit with others and he told me it was much less than those who are prepared to meet new friends over dinner. However, he also said he would like more table configurations of two and that something we are of course looking at. If a guest is asked to wait they are invited to take one of these.

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This is of course a beeper thingy similar to what they have in places like the Pisstake Factory . The guests are invited to sit in one of the lounges and when their table is ready their beeper will go ummmm…….beep and vibrate and this will inform the guest that dinner is served.

Once the table is ready the guests are escorted to the table by one of the hostess ladies who take care of the Your Time Dining Section. Now, one thing that is happening is that some guests are, after the first nights dinner, asking for the same waiter. This is of course not always possible as his or her section may already be full, but the hostess will do their best to accommodate such requests.

Once at the table ……..well………..it’s the same process as the main and late sitting options. The one new aspect is that guests who are on Your Time Dining are kindly asked to fill out a separate comment review card at the end of the cruise. This is a new option for you and we want to make sure we are getting it right………..and judging from these comments which I have taken off those review cards it seems this is a very popular option.

  • Dining staff was exceptional! Loved the open seating and flexibility to dine at different times. Loved the experience! Thanks!
  • Exceptional job by greeters and seaters on Level 3 Your time dining and by Franciska (she was filling in) Gatot, Ronald – and Amnuey, Sandor, Heru and Liberato, Valencio and Emelito.
  • Like being able to choose dining time and eating with different people.
  • For formal dining is much more casual that other cruise lines we have been on.
  • We enjoyed and were impressed by the table magician. Very nice touch for evening.
  • Service was great! Food was yummy!
  • It was awesome. This is definitely preferable.
  • The service of Aphinya, Gatot and Robert in the Truffles restaurant was above and beyond. The friendliness and humor made us feel like old friend. Our time and conversations with Aphinya will always be remembered. Thank you for such a wonderful time.
  • Love any time dining – would love to see it on all Carnival ships as an option. Very well handled by the staff on the Legend.
  • Thanks to Raymundo and Yasumin, our dining experience was exceptional, both in service and quality! Thank you both!!!
  • Our waiter Raymundo and assistant Yasumin were the absolute best!!! Thanks for making our dining so very special and elegant!
  • So glad we can dine at any time – we really enjoyed the flexibility of it.
  • Raymundo was an excellent head waiter and Meda at the podium was very accommodating.
  • The food was excellent so was the service. Thank you.
  • Your time dining is the greatest.
  • All the hostess were friendly and accommodating, Caroline you are special thank you Nicoleta, Agus and Fatih.
  • All the different wait staff we had during our time dining was just great.
  • Absolutely the best thing ever!
  • Once we discovered Raymundo the dining experience was exceptional! Prior seating placements resulted in less service from wait staff and bar staff. Raymundo and his team were phenomenal.
  • It was excellent.
  • Easy, easy, easy and the only way to go.
  • First cruise to celebrate my 60th birthday. Best vacation ever! Hope to remain healthy to take many cruises more. It was FANTASTIC from beginning to end.
  • I think the flexibility of dining is so much better than assigned times.
  • Caroline you always greeted us with a smile. Nicoleta, Agus you were always efficient and friendly.
  • All of the staff was very friendly, prompt and fun.
  • EXCELLENT.
  • All staff was great. Special thanks to Valencio who made extra time to say hello and see our needs even when not at his table. The table magician was a pleasant addition and kept us entertained.
  • Missed the herbed variety of dinner rolls that we had in the past cruises. The choices of “fancy desserts” are gone. Food was excellent and cooked to perfection.
  • Your Time dining EXCELLENT!
  • Enjoyable vacation, everyone pleasant, always cheerful.
  • The service given from all staff was prompt, attentive, friendly and excellent. All deserve compensation.
  • We appreciated being seated quickly even when we wanted to eat alone – just the two of us…
  • 1st cruise. Enjoyed anytime dining very, very much.
  • Your time dining is wonderful. We have been on cruises in the past with set dinner times and it has always interfered with things we wanted to do. Not this time.
  • Loved it! Will always choose a ship that offers it.
  • Excellent service with a smile.
  • I enjoyed the opportunity to meet many different people by dining differently each night.
  • Loved the flexibility and convenience.
  • The service was excellent.
  • Liked flexibility. 1st night wait a bit.
  • The service was excellent, the staff was very welcoming and accommodating and the food was wonderful.
  • I loved your time dining! The staff at this location was friendly and professional and made us look forward to dinner each night! Some people were exceptional: Meda – hostess, Alesia – Hostess, Raymundo and Yasumine. Thanks!
  • Our experience at the Truffles Dining Room was excellent in every way. We had open dining and tried to get the same waiter because he was so nice (Raymundo).
  • Wait staff every friendly and helpful.
  • The dining staff is outstanding. Meda and Alesia are wonderful hostess. Raymundo, Yasumine and Joaquim were the best waiters we ever had anywhere! They made our dining experience very enjoyable.
  • Hardly any wait time. Great job.
  • We love Liberato, Valencio, Emelito. They are terrific. The cabin was clean.
  • The service in the dining room was great. Liberato and Valencio were great. Room was kept clean and neat. It would be nice to have more choices of drinks with your meal at no additional costs.
  • Meda from Romania was so sweet, friendly and professional. We had open dining and she excelled at the podium. This is my second time on the Legend and I will sail again October 18 with my daughter for her birthday.
  • Nicoleta – you made our dining experience fun and enjoyable – great personality! Good luck. Agus and Fatih – thank you for all that you do! You made every thing run smooth. Good luck and God bless you all!!
  • It was better than freestyle dining on NCL.
  • Hats off to the dining staff. There were wonderful – Meda from Romania was amazing. She made us feel welcome like old friends. She is truly an asset to the dining staff.
  • Food was great. Update songs.
  • Liberato was our server in Truffles. He was absolutely WONDERFUL!!!
  • Loved the open time dining, food was great!
  • We loved “Your choice dinning” was a wonderful additional service since the last time we cruised.
  • Terrific experience – much smoother than anticipated.
  • Very well done. We like the flexibility. Thank you.
  • We appreciated that when we wanted to eat with just the two of us we only had to wait a few minutes.
  • The lady Maitre D’ on deck 3 – Truffles dining room – were very accommodating and all the staff was excellent.
  • Open dining should include at least one night to be seated at the back of the ship by the window or be able to request a table on the open deck.
  • Very good staff, very friendly.
  • All the dining staff we encountered was superior.
  • Loved the flexibility – met lots of people and enjoyed the food, too!
  • Great group, very enjoyable!
  • Really enjoyed eating when we wanted to, each night.
  • Everything was perfect.
  • We had dinner in the Supper Club 4 times, but we did like the idea of eating when we choose.

Now, of course you know me and that I cannot and will not pretend everything is always perfect, because it’s not. However, I did struggle to find some negative ones……but here they are anyway.

We enjoyed your time dining. We never had to wait and it was delicious. We did not get great service on Saturday which might have been due to our timing of our meal….around 9.30 pm. It seemed the staff was rushing us.

The first night it took 20 minutes to get our first course.

We avoid other cruise lines that do not have open seating. Your “add water” ice tea is “black,” no flavor. Publix in supermarket in Lakeland it has a good water product. The casino machines were way too tight. I like the old type casino machines when you could hear the coins fall. Winning on a card does not express excitement out loud to other people. We had a wonderful time and look forward to doing business with you next year. Thank you. Your people are great.

  • It would be nice if you allowed at least one night when we could sit in other areas (by a window, etc). I liked the wine packages that were offered.
  • One night we sat with people who ate with their mouths open like animals. It ruined our dining experience.

So, as you can see it is proving to be a very popular way of enjoying the whole dining experience onboard. Now, I know there are those who prefer assigned seating but I guess the question is would I take this option. Well………I think the simple answer is Yes, I would. Certainly on a ship like this that has more days in port than at sea. I think it’s a brilliant option to give yourself that extra time coming back from a day’s touring to relax, maybe have a pre dinner drink or a dance and then, when your stomach says time for dinner…………you go and eat …………. simple ……….. especially in an age where choice is so very important. So yes………I think Your Time Dining is a superb addition to our program and unless you get put with the family that eat with their mouths open…………..one that I would highly recommend.

Please……………send me your thoughts. Have you recently cruised and enjoyed this option? If so, please post a comment. Or, if you would never ever consider this…………well……….tell us why. It will be fascinating reading.

Now, I ate their tonight. I went after the second of the past guest parties at 8:20 pm to experience this for myself. There was no wait……….I was given the chance of sitting with others or on my own. I probably should have taken the “others” option but as I wanted to make notes and because I wanted to remain incognito a bit and because I had terrible gas…………I decided to eat alone.

I find it uncomfortable though eating alone. Why? “Because it’s easy to feel lonely and pathetic. It seems like you’ve got nowhere to go and no one to see.

I admit, eating a meal alone during daylight hours is one thing. It says you’re rushing around, grabbing a bite, or maybe a man on a mission who for the most part lives by the doctrine that lunch…..is for wimps. But eating a meal on one’s own at night is tricky. It says…….. couldn’t get a dining companion because I am ugly, eat with my mouth open and have gas.

On the ships we are used to people eating alone as some of our single passengers prefer to eat alone…………so it’s no big drama. Going out to restaurant is another matter as happened to me in the Sheraton on Saturday night. I went down to the restaurant and there was no getting past the host who seemed shocked when I said “Table for one?” I am surprised he didn’t shout “loser” as he took me to my table…

I love when people say that they have just eaten a meal alone – as though it’s a major accomplishment. My friend, Heather, recently revealed that she spent the entire week eating meals on her own. “Dinner too” She stated. What I couldn’t figure out is why this was something she was so proud of. Then I remembered, she’s married. Her husband was away on business.

Last night as I sat at my anytime dining table for one…….I stared into my raspberry….. alone with my thoughts starring at photos of Kye……wishing I was home sing my “bouncy bouncy” song to her……….what a great big soft lump I truly am.

And so after dinner I watched the show and planned to start today’s blog but finally I gave in to the jet lag that I have been fighting these past few days………….so it was time for an early night and by 11:30 pm I was in bed. Before turning the lights out I picked up my book which unlike my cigars was not stolen from my suitcase…………..bastards.

I have told you before I think that I have to read before going to sleep otherwise I go to bed thinking about the blog, the job, schedules and Latvian women in suspenders. So, I read, even if it’s just a few pages. The book I am reading at the moment is about one of my all time heroes …… and it’s called The Wit and Wisdom of Winston Churchill. The book contains extracts from his speeches and his time in Parliament and………..it’s a brilliant insight to a brilliant mind.

It got me thinking though. In today’s world of high visibility jackets, beards, tofu and clean living ………..imagine if the States, Canada or the UK etc had someone like Winston Churchill in power today. A smoker. A drinker. A man given to Herculean bouts of depression………he wouldn’t last a week……………..and that’s sad.

Here is my favorite Churchill quote

Lady Astor to Churchill……”Winston, if you were my husband I would flavor your coffee with poison”

Churchill: “Madam, if I were your husband, I should drink it”

If he were alive today I have a feeling he would look at how over populated the UK is now what with our open immigration policies that we need more land…….. And………..after lighting a huge cigar and drinking a large brandy……..he would order the British armed forces to invade France ………assured in the knowledge that the French………………. would not put up much of a fight.

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.

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