A Touching Blog

October 1, 2009 -

John Heald

I am staying in a beautiful balcony cabin this week on deck 8 and while I enjoy being there very much I still need to write my blog. I start writing at the desk in the room early in the morning but it’s not very comfortable as the chair was not designed to sit in for long periods of time. It certainly was not designed for a big man with hemorrhoids the size of watermelons to sit in either. So this, coupled with the fact that Damir my stateroom steward has been in the infirmary heavily sedated since he walked in on me while I sat there…….in my underpants…..means I have had to find somewhere else to write.

This morning I am in the card room which is located on deck 2 just in front of the Follies theatre. The ship is in Belize and while many guests are ashore enjoying the delights of this unique port of call, I have been joined by two groups of guests. The first to arrive were a man and a woman in their forties who I will speak of in a moment but they have been joined by two older couples ………..who I have to be careful when I talk about because the subject is…………religion.

The couples came in and took a pack of cards out of a bag. At first I thought OK…….they are going to play bridge. But ……….they weren’t. That’s because in voices that were not exactly hushed they began to talk about God. Now, I am a believer but I found it unusual that they were worshiping at 10 am on a Wednesday……….in a card room………..regardless of the fact that there were others present. Anyway……….one of the chaps used the deck of cards as a sort of ………. ummm……bible. I heard him talk about a card with a 2 on it reminding him that the bible is divided into two parts, The Old and New Testaments, and the three reminds him of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit……….and so it went on. Then at the end of this testimony they started to pray and then once again regardless of the fact that others were present and without a word to any of us…….they started singing a hymn………..with much gusto. “Onward Christian Soldiers” they sang and one even started clapping to the beat. Then ………… they stood…………and with a smile and a nod in my direction……………they left.

But they weren’t the only guests who were there………oh no……………that’s because off in the other corner were a couple who had ignored the chance to see the Mayan ruins or the Jungles and rivers of Belize………in favor of……………..a jigsaw puzzle. A huge thousand piece jigsaw puzzle which was now spread over two tables like a dozen packets of discarded cornflakes.

I don’t understand why on a cruise that they had paid for why they were here in the card room doing a jigsaw puzzle. I don’t understand jigsaw puzzles either. They’re pointless. Look at that pile! That’s not fun. That’s torture and the way they are mincing about there is no way they are going to finish by the end of the cruise. I am trying to look at what the jigsaw puzzle is supposed to be but the box is on the floor. I can tell you that we have been here 35 minutes now ……………. and they have not spoken one word to each other.

Jigsaws are like Monopoly and a soap dispenser in a French bathroom………utterly pointless. Monopoly has no end. The rules explain how you can un-mortgage a property and when you should build hotels on Bond Street or Madison Avenue but they don’t say, and they should, that the winner is the last player who hasn’t died yet.

Oh hold on………….yep………….it’s penguins………….the chap just lifted the box up and it’s penguins on a cliff…….and it’s a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle………….bloody hell…………..and they still haven’t spoken to each other outside of a murmur or two of appreciation when one finds a piece that connects with another……..and that it seems has not happened very often. As I said, I don’t understand jigsaws. This couple will spend hours of silence putting all the pieces together before they break it up again and………………. put it back in the box.

OK, while they try and work out where the penguin’s eyes go…………..I had better crack on with some questions…………..here we go.

Danielle Asked:
Dear John (Please Reply)

I am going on a cruise for my honeymoon on February 20th (also my birthday…good way to start a marriage!) on the Carnival Liberty (notice I used the Carnival, not just Liberty). My question is this…my husband to be is here on an H1 visa from India…will he need a visa to go on the cruise or will his multi-entry stamp for the US be enough? I called Carnival and asked them this question, but the nice gentleman I spoke with didn’t sound too confident in his answer. From what I have seen the only stop we may need one in is in the Bahamas (which is your private island so I don’t see why it is needed). Can you help me get clarification on this?

Thanks, love the blog thingy and Kye is gorgeous!

John Says:
Hello Danielle

Congratulations on choosing to spend your Honeymoon on the Carnival Liberty. I checked with our Guest Relations Manager himself from India and he told me providing you have the H1 multiple entry visa all will be well for your future husband to sail and to disembark in all of the ports. Thanks for the very kind words and I wish you and your husband a brilliant cruise and best wishes for a long and happy future together.
Best wishes
John

Cruzin 1025 Asked:
Dear John (please reply) –

All I can say is WOW. Carnival Dream is just GORGEOUS!! The under construction photos gave us a hint, but now…wow, takes your breath away!

I have a small favor to ask. I’ve read on the blog here where others have asked for your help in organizing a meeting place for Cruise Critic groups. Are there a minimum number of people required for this? We’ve got 30-40 people on our roll calls for the 10/15 and 10/19 cruises on Carnival Destiny (full name) and would love it if you could help us arrange a meeting place the afternoon of our first full day onboard (Key West day on 10/15 cruise and Sea Day on 10/19 one). We’re hoping maybe one of the lounges with a bartender or waiter/waitress so we can order drinks? If we don’t have enough people for this, we certainly understand.

Thanks

John Says:
Hello Tracey

I would be happy to help you organize this function. I have copied the various folks on the Carnival Destiny and they will arrange accordingly. Please look out for a note in the today at a glance section of the sea day Carnival Capers.

Have a great cruise and best wishes to you and the group
John

Kevin & Heidi-Beth Asked:
Hey John, (Please Reply)

I have the info for the friends of mine who will be sailing on the Carnival Destiny. They will be sailing on Oct 1. The names are Steve and Margaret Crosby in cabin 2333, Gary and Cindy Cooper in cabin 2311, and Brad and Billie Bedgood in cabin 2321. I also have another friend who will be on the Carnival Sensation on October 29. I will get her information for you when it gets closer.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Till next time
Kevin

John Says:
Hello Kevin and Heidi-Beth
It’s always great to hear from the three of you as I know you have been with us since the blog thingy was born. I will advise the CD and thanks for letting me know.
Best wishes to all three of you.
John

Alan Asked:

Hello John, please respond. I can’t wait for the videos of my Carnival Dream. We will be sailing out of New York on 11/23. As for the news about making Charleston SC a new full time port all I can say is that is good news for the folks in the southeast U.S. However it does nothing for those in the northeast. My wife hates to fly so it leaves ports we can use to just 2. We can drive to New York or sail out of Boston. With the exception of the Miracle out of New York (which we have taken and LOVED) and this special cruising on the Dream we really have no real chance to cruise carnival (which we love). Also Carnival does not sail out of the northeast during the winter. (Unlike another cruise line that is getting a new but ugly new ship which will be nameless). It really seems as if Carnival abandons us here in the northeast except for the summer. I really enjoyed when the Victory sailed out of Boston. Given the vast population in the northeast area of the country I would think Carnival would want to tap this huge resource of potential cruisers in our area year round.

As to the news that most of the casino is going to be non-smoking on the Dream I will take a wait and see attitude. I truly hope that there will be ample tables in the smoking section of the Casino. I know for myself, if I can’t even smoke while waiting for a space at one of the few smoking tables it will not be worth my time. I would have rather seen there be a few days where the casino is non-smoking and days where the entire casino allows smoking. For instance alternate the smoking and non-smoking days throughout the cruise. That way both the smokers and non-smokers get to enjoy the entire casino on their particular day. To herd the smokers into a small area like we are some group of killers does not seem fair. I KNOW I will probably get a lot of flack from all the non-smokers but I have to be honest. So please ask the powers that be to at least consider the alternating days as a viable option as opposed to just having a couple of tables and just a few slots for us smokers.

Thanks for listening (or reading as the case may be),

Alan

John Says:
Hello Alan
Thanks for the post which was well written and I can understand that the people of the North East do not get to much choice when it comes to year round cruising from New York or the tri state area. Obviously the winter weather affects us here as does the choice of ports of call. However, Carnival are always, more than any other cruise line, looking at new home ports of call as you have seen with the additions of Baltimore and Charleston. I will certainly pass your comments to Terry Thornton our Senior Vice President of Marketing Planning whose team decides where our ships sail from and to and hopefully you will see more sailings from your area. You will be so impressed with your Carnival Dream. She truly is extraordinary and please don’t be concerned about the smoking issues. Yes, most of the casino is non-smoking but there are smoking areas for Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Poker and slots and providing you are playing the games you can smoke. Reports from the ship are positive so far and I will be honored if you send me your thoughts once you have sailed. I know I am repeating myself here when I say that most if not all land based casinos are smoke free yet at Carnival we still offer a choice.

I will keep you informed as to what’s going on there and thank you again for taking the time to write.
Best wishes
John

Lynn Asked:
Hi John,
Please reply.

Thanks for all the updates on the Dream and the news! Great to hear about Charleston being a new year round port but I have a question for you. Nassau and all the ports on the Fantasy’s new itin are “old stuff”. Been there, done that ports. Why does Carnival not offer a Bermuda itin.

Since it’s a new home port for the Fantasy in Charleston it would be a great addition to the itins and give all the Carnival lovers a new destination port instead of the same old, same old. I hate to give one of those other cruise lines my money just so we can cruise to Bermuda.

Thanks for the great blog and the time you give up to get it done.

Lynn

John Says:
Hello Lynn
I know Bermuda is a place that many want to cruise to but historically we haven’t called there outside of the occasional voyage. It takes a long time to get there, the ships must stay there for multiple days and there are limits on how many ships can call there. I know that you have probably been to Nassau but opening Charleston as a new home port will allow many to experience cruising for the first time and be able to do so without the hassles of flying. By the way, have you cruised on the Carnival Fantasy since she had her multi-million-dollar upgrade? Thanks so much for your kind words about the blog which I hope you will continue to read.
Best wishes
John

Karen Edmonson Asked:
John- PLEASE REPLY

If the Elation is going to Mobile- will there be a Carnival ship to replace the Elation in San Diego. I am one of the West Coast So. Calif cruisers, tho I live in No. Calif at this time. The Carnival Elation is wonderful and I have sailed several times on her. But what about the 4 & 5 day cruises they just put back????? Hope you have some insight…. nothing on the web site- the itinerary just stops in Apr 2010. Say a big Hello to Heidi (I met both of you in 07 on the Carnival Freedom) and a tickle to Kye.

John Says:
Hello Karen
I know we disappointed many on the West coast when we said the Carnival Elation would be leaving California and once again I apologize for this and assure you it was a difficult choice to make. However, you still have Carnival Splendor, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Spirit for some of the year. There is still time to book the Carnival Elation before she leaves at the end of April next year. I hope you manage to do so and my I also thank you for the kind words for Heidi and Kye which we return to you and your family.
Best wishes
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hello Again John,
Please reply,

Why didn’t Carnival have the turn over ceremony on their website live like they did for the Costa ships? I wanted to watch that so bad to find out who the godmother of the ship is.

Best Wishes,
Your #1 Bloggy Thinggy Fan
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M
The handover ceremony was conducted for the most part in Italian and due to 6 Italian soldiers being killed in Afghanistan that day it was a very low key affair. However, the actual naming ceremony will be much more vibrant and you can expect full coverage on the blog.
Best wishes
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John,
Please Reply,

A while back there was a letter you received from a woman that wanted to cruise but could not find anyone to help take care of her son, well if you remember I sent you a note telling you that I would book a cruise with her and help her so she could have some relaxing time and not have to worry about anything (it kind of helps being a retired RN). You told me in your reply that you would send her my email address so if she could get in contact with me. Well, John I never heard a word from her, no thank you for the offer or anything. Just thought you would like to know. I do want to thank you for taking the time to send her my email address.

Best Wishes,
Your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

Thanks for letting me know. That is a real shame and all I can do is say thank you for kind compassion. You are a very special person.
Best wishes
John

Bob and Lynda Asked:
John (please reply)
I was just watching Live with Regis and Kelly and Megan Fox was on. All I could think of was Megan’s bottom thanks to you. And I’m a woman. But here is my question: When you are doing the blogs in your underwear, are they boxers or briefs? I can’t believe no one has asked that question before. Thanks for letting us know that you will not be on the Holiday for the final cruise. I think Tory thought I was nuts when I told her you were trying to be there. Hope to see you on a cruise sometime soon. We only did 5 Carnival this year, hope to do more next year. Already booked on the Fantasy in Jan. with kids and grandkids. They say their most favorite vacation is a Carnival cruise. Sincerely, Lynda
Debbie Hansen

John Says:
Hello Bob and Lynda
That’s very, very funny and strange as well because all I can think about is her bottom as well. Ahhh……my underwear. Well, many years ago Heidi tried to change me from briefs to boxers ………..but the whole dangling thing left me with an unpleasant feeling so I returned ………….. much to Heidi’s dismay to briefs………..which are all white…………mostly.

Unfortunately my trip to the Holiday was something I had to cancel. My schedule is too hectic and with my duties here on the Carnival Legend and my time in New York in November, I just couldn’t make it happen. Thank you though for your wonderful and loyal support for Carnival and I hope to cruise with you one day very soon.
Best wishes
John

Tisdeh Asked:
John, Please Reply

Thank you for the continuous updates, photos and videos on the magnificent Carnival Dream. We have been enjoying all of it and look forward to each new day’s installment.

We were disappointed to hear that the 11/15 Blogger’s Events have been dropped from the itinerary. We will be on that cruise and were looking forward to having tea with you. You were the cruise director on our very first Carnival cruise to Canada back in 1999 (Carnival Triumph) and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with you.

We didn’t book through the blogger’s fare code, so we didn’t get the call from Carnival. As a result, I’m a bit confused by what will/won’t be happening on the 11/15 cruise. Even though the scheduled blogger’s activities have been cancelled, will you still be on board? If so, would it be possible for all of us blogger’s to schedule a tea time with you?

Kye is beautiful. Your pride and devotion to your family shines through in each message.

John Says:
Hello Tisdeh
I was also very disappointed that I had to cancel the 11/15 bloggers cruise. However, there is some good news. I will be hosting an afternoon bloggers get together before the ship sails so we can all have some fun. I am sorry I can’t be with you but I will make sure we get together and that you all receive the bloggers gifts.

Once again, my apologies for this and I will see you soon
Best wishes to you both.
John

Ronnie & Sharon Asked:
John Please Reply,

I have read so much about smoking and non-smoking on the BLOG. I just have to get my two cents worth. I smoked for 25 years and now I have been a non-smoker for 15 years. I can say I feel much better now than I did then. If you want to see the results of smoking and
Second hand smoke, Pull up on your computer The effects of second hand smoke and you can review Tobacco Morbidity and Mortality Trend Report on Lung and Disease Data and Data
Statistics on http://WWW.LUNGUSA.ORG This also shows how harmful it is to Infants
And Children. You can also, find how much this cost everyone on their Medical Insurance.
Non-smokers have their rights too! Thanks to everyone for reading this. I feel better now.
Be sure to say HI! To Heidi and Kye

Your Friend
Ronnie Tomlinson

John Says:
Hello Ronnie
Smoking is indeed a subject we have spoken a lot about here on the blog thingy and I am sure we will continue to do so. The world is retreating away from smoking and as of now the Fun Ships of Carnival still offer a choice. I wonder where we will be with this in five years. Thanks for expressing your opinion, that’s what this blog is all about………that………and my underpants.

Best wishes
John

Terry Asked:
Hi John (please reply)
We just returned from our 7 night Alaska cruise onboard the Carnival Spirit – with a wonderful cruise director who it seems is leaving! His Blues Brothers show was amazing!

I had a group of about 20 people on this sailing – some of them cruise virgins – and from all reports – everyone had a great time! I am so relieved! There is a bit of pressure on TA’s to make sure everyone enjoys their cruise (especially when you’re sailing with them!)

My next cruise I also have a group, of about 30 people again on the Carnival Spirit in Mexico – Feb. 23, 2010. I will have a couple of virgins again (best friends from grade school!). I know they will love it – but I’ll be nervous until then!

Thanks for a great job on this blog thingy – I’m hooked!

Terry

John Says:
Hello Terry
We will all be sorry to see Chris “Bubba” Roberts retire, he has been a great servant to Carnival and his Blues Brothers show is as you said, amazing. I will pass your thanks on to the ship and I know how much pressure there is in organizing a group of first time cruisers. Thanks for doing so and as a travel agent I want to say thank you for all your support. Please let me know if I can help you with your next cruise.
Best wishes
John

Ryan Asked:
Hey John
(PLEASE RESPOND or MENTION IN GENERAL BLOG)

I was just wondering what the new ship being built in one of today’s pictures was? It looks like a Princess something but I don’t know of any new Princess ships? I’m just curious and I know you’re up to your underwear in questions so you don’t have to give a formal answer…I’m just curious…

Ryan Asked:

Hello Ryan
I think the photo you are referring to is the new P&O ship, the Azura. She was being built across the pier from where your Carnival Dream was. You can find out more about the vessel at http://www.pocruises.com/

Please let me know if you have any other questions
Best wishes
John

Karen Asked:
John please reply

I have a favor to ask of all your bloggers. It is regard to people in wheelchairs. I had to be a wheel chair for one cruise and let me tell you— most of the people on the cruise were very very rude when it came to the elevators. It was almost impossible to get on an elevator because of all the people rushing past. So this is how I cruise now. Whenever I see someone in a wheelchair at the elevator, I hold the elevator for them and make sure they and their family get the first ride. Most of the time, people will abide by my request but then there are still a few that demand to rush in front. So here is my favor— all of us bloggers, let’s change the way we handle the situation. At least let’s be aware of the problem. Next time you are waiting for an elevator and there is someone in a wheelchair waiting, help them get on the elevator— WE can make the difference. It is what bloggers can do.

John Says:
Hello Karen
What wonderful words and I am sure that if we all adhere to what you have suggested it will set a wonderful example for others to follow. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us all.

Best wishes
John

Michael Shaw Asked:
Hey John,
Please Reply…

I’m very glad you write this blog. It helps cope with the excitement we have about going on our upcoming vacation.

My wife and I are going on our 4th cruise together for our second anniversary on the Carnival Splendor that departs from Long Beach, CA on 10/18/09. We are being joined by some very good friends.

I hate to ask you for help, but I want to make this an extra special cruise for my wife by doing something special. She deserves it after putting up with me for so long.

As for history, we got engaged three years ago now on the Carnival Paradise and spent our honeymoon on the Carnival Pride two years ago. Prior to us being together, I’ve been on numerous cruises with carnival cruises. We had a horrible experience last year on a last minute cruise on the Monarch of the Seas. We have vowed to never stray from Carnival again.

John Says:
Hello Michael
I am sure we can send something to your wife to make her feel special. Have you booked the steakhouse yet? You really should and maybe I can provide some pre dinner bubbly. We are very glad that you have decided to cruise with us again and I wish you a wonderful cruise. Let us know how it goes.
Best wishes
John

David Davison Asked:
John Please Reply

How many formal nights will there be on the Dec 3, 2009 Dream cruise out of Port Canaveral? We are trying figure out how many clean pairs of underpants to pack. Wouldn’t want to wear stinky shorts on a formal night. lol. Granted, we are hoping to get out of our cabin since it’s our honeymoon 😉

David

John Says:
Hello David
Stinky shorts are OK, that’s what I will be wearing. There will be two elegant nights on the first sea day and then the second one after departure from Grand Turk. I hope you stay out of bed and get some rest and come to the shows etc we have arranged for you. I hope you have a wonderful Honeymoon and I will see you both soon.
Best wishes
John

Marty Paul Asked:
Hi John! (Please reply, if time)

My girlfriend and I are booked on the Oct 15th sailing, aka “Sogno, Sogno, Sogno”. I read with interest your last blog entry regarding enjoying a cigar on the Lanai. I too, enjoy a fine cigar periodically (especially in cooler weather). Since we are booked in a Spa Balcony Cabin, I will be looking for a good outdoor spot on the ship to enjoy a cigar. Could you provide a little more info on what part of the Lanai, smoking will be allowed and also, any other great spots on the ship for smoking cigars. Also, I assume Rendezvous will be a cigar lounge?

Greatly looking forward to the “action” video & pics of you and Gerry Cahill going down the water slides. As a conservation measure, if the trail of pee is of enough volume and flow, the ship won’t have to turn the water on for the slides…

Arrivederci,

John Says:
Hello Marty Paul
I can tell you that the Lanai on your Carnival Dream is the perfect place for smoking a cigar. It is the outside area of the Ocean Plaza and has very comfortable seating and tables and is undercover as well as in the open air. I promise you it will definitely enhance your cigar. I wish I was there to share one with you. Oh by the way……..the trail on the slide is not green ……. wrong color………..think brown……………….I was scared.

Best wishes
John

Ray Czenszak Asked:
(Please respond)

Oh Boy! John
I would Love to work for Carnival like you do.
Dream looks FANTASTIC! Will you be on her when she comes to our home of New York?

I know how rewarding it is to make people smile after a job well done, after 25 years of satisfying people for Xerox corp. and the not so rich and famous of the Hamptons in the heating and air conditioning biz, The Dream is a Job well done and surely will put smiles on people’s faces when they sail on her.

Jeanne and I are Loyal Carnival fans, we look forward to sailing on Dream soon and thank you for the seek peak.
Regards
Ray and Jeanne

John Says:
Hello Ray and Jeanne
I am so excited about welcoming your Carnival Dream to New York. I will be hosting two bloggers events and will be releasing details shortly. I thank you for all your kind words and I hope that I get to shake your hands and say thanks for all your loyalty to Carnival.
Best wishes to you both
John

jetskier Asked:
Hi John (Please respond)

When can we expect the Carnival Elation to finish getting the Evolutions of Fun upgrade? She is missing the Waterworks, connecting cabins, Resort style pool and “hopefully” 98 balconies. I know the ship got some upgrades this past March, Serenity, Circle C, WiFi, Wok.

It seemed both the West Coast ships got skipped over for the Waterworks as the Carnival Paradise also did not get it though it went through refurb in Dec 2008. This was after the Carnival Fantasy, Imagination and the Inspiration received the full makeover.

My kids loved the Waterworks on the Carnival Fantasy as I am sure there are others out there. At least the shipyard is right across from the ship when it comes time to do the installation.
Dave

John Says:
Hello Dave
Yes, you’re correct in that the Carnival Elation does feature many of the upgrades but not all of the features such as Water Works, but this is scheduled to be added over the next few years. I will check got see if with her new deployment any further additions are to be expected and let you know and will keep you informed here on the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you and the family and hope your arm is OK
John

David & Lucy Asked:
John: Please Reply
My wife and I will be on the Carnival Dream for her Oct 3rd sailing from Rome (Room 7455). This will be cruise number 20 with carnival…Double Platinum! Could you do us a favor and see if you can secure a table for two on the lower level of the dining room, somewhere in the middle if possible? Normally we go through the process of seeing the Maître d’, but if you can do this for us ahead of time it will so appreciated. Now my question; I noticed on my last cruise that Carnival allowed free use of the internet on my own laptop to view Carnival’s web site, do you know if they can or will do the same to have access to your blog? I don’t know if I can go 12 days without reading it! Oh, one last thing, I posted a question concerning the newly designed Sign and Sail cards, I know you are a little busy right now but I was still wondering whether the new designed cards will be in use on the Dream?
The No Smoking news about the casino is FANTASTIC!
Thanks

John Says:
Hello David and Lucy
Congratulations on your double platinum and I know the cruise on your Carnival Dream will be the best yet. I just e mailed Ken with your table request so hopefully he will be able to help you.

I have so far failed, miserably, to get our blog on the onboard internet as a free service. I have asked the provider we use who runs our internet cafes but….well………I have been as successful as Judge Judy in a beauty contest. I will keep trying but meanwhile I will make sure that James the Assistant CD on the ship leaves daily copies in the library. Maybe if you all started a petition we might get this done. Maybe we should all take our clothes off and sit in the lobby in our underpants chanting “we want John’s thingy”…….or……maybe not. Have a great cruise and wish I was there with you

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today. I see I am answering questions from the 19th which means I am 11 days behind…………….bugger. I answered a double load there and will get to more tomorrow.

Let’s pause and meet another of Carnival’s fine cruise directors. This time it’s my mate Ryan Fitzgerald who has been blessed with brains and a fun personality. Shame then that he is as ugly as a buffalo’s scrotum…………..here he is then.

RyanMarquee

12p005

1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair.
I’ve been a musician my entire life. My Dad, a retired Army Colonel and avid guitar player, got me started on the saxophone at the age of 10. I played all through school and into college. I started working at amusement parks over the summer months after my freshmen year at Ball State University (alma mater of David Letterman!). First stop was King’s Island in Cincinnati, Ohio as a member of the often laughed at, and not in a good way, “Way Too Much TV Band.” We played silly theme songs on black asphalt in 100-degree weather while people waited in line to get on really cool roller coasters that we just looked at…worst job ever. After that it was Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, which is where I got the job for Carnival.

I started with Carnival as a member of the Orchestra on the Jubilee in September of 2002. Matt Ross was the Cruise Director and I can remember vividly the first Welcome Aboard Show I ever saw. He did the classic ‘hat game’ to get the show started and I knew from that very moment that the job of Cruise Director was one I would have. After almost 2 years in the band I switched over to the E-Staff and worked my way up from there.

2. What ship are you currently serving on.
I am currently on the Carnival Glory.

3. Before we talk about you lets talk about the ship. What are you favorite areas of the vessel and what is it that makes your ship the best in the Carnival fleet.
Personally, I like to be where all the action is. I like to see people walking by and maybe hanging for a drink or two so the Casino Bar is one of my favorite spots to be. I know it’s a little dorky of me too but I love the ceiling at that bar. I still have no idea how the heck it works! My other favorite is the Ivory Bar, Deck 4 Aft. The main reason for this one is the music. You can’t go wrong with Classic Rock…that’s why they call it CLASSIC Rock! It never takes too long to get a drink and the entertainment is great.

I feel the Carnival Glory is the best ship in the fleet because of the incredible selection of ‘stuff.’ The team on board is so motivated to not only keep the guests busy and entertained but also keeping themselves entertained with new stuff for the guests. I’ve never seen a ship with such a variety as well as busy schedule of events of all activity levels day in and day out. I confidently say during each Welcome Aboard Show: Even if you’ve cruised 30 times, I’ll bet you’ll see something by the end of the week that you’ve never seen on another ship anywhere in the world.

4. Can you tell us about your itinerary and please pick your favorite shore excursion from each port and tell us why you like it so much.
At the moment, we’re doing a relatively standard 7-Day Eastern and Western Caribbean Itinerary. Here’s the itinerary followed by my favorite excursions:

EAST
Port Canaveral-Embarkation/Debarkation: VIP Kennedy Space Center Tour (One of the most underrated tours offered due to the fact it’s on debarkation day)

Nassau: Deep Water Dolphin Swim at the Atlantis Resort (I’ve never seen anything like this on an itinerary before)

St. Thomas: Skyride to Paradise Point combined with St John Trunk Bay Beach and Snorkel

St. Maarten: America’s Cup Regatta

WEST
Port Canaveral: Same as above

Cozumel: Mayan Ruins of Tulum (I’m kind of a history nerd) or Playa Mia Beach Break Deluxe

Belize: Lost World Canopy Tour (Even my Mom did this one and loved it!)

Costa Maya: Assuming you’ve already done Tulum, I’d go with Beach Power Snorkel. If you haven’t done any Mayan Ruins yet, try any of the three here.

Nassau: This stay is a bit longer than the East so you’ve got time to add access to the Water Park at Atlantis to the Deep Water Dolphin Swim.

5. If someone were to ask you “what does a Carnival Cruise Director do” how would you reply?
I’ll start with the fact that a Cruise Director is in charge of all the entertainers on board. We’re a big part of the decision process as to the schedule of both major and minor events throughout the voyage. We’re also a Senior Officer with major safety responsibilities and a department head with major management responsibilities. We wake up early, we go to bed late, drink lots of coffee and always smile! We’re Jack Bauer when things go wrong (that’s the guy from 24 that saves the world in a day) and the President when things go right (he’s the guy who always acts like it was not big deal that Jack Bauer had to save the world in a day!). And, on top of all that, we are entertainers that make people laugh, keep the energy high, and make sure guests enjoy themselves every single day.

6. What is your most favorite part of the job.
I love so many parts of the job so I’ll get specific with events that I get most excited for: The Live Morning Show, The Love & Marriage Show, and playing with the Orchestra whenever possible.

7. If we were to sail on a ship where you are the CD what would be the must not miss activity or show that you host.
That one’s easy, all the ones I mentioned above!

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD.
I think a lot of us would probably answer similarly here. The hardest part is challenge created by being both manager and an entertainer. We have energy, keep smiling and offer ourselves to guests almost all hours of the day for just about any reason. If you read John’s blog you can see, there are some pretty wild concerns that guests have but we it’s only fair that we give these concerns just as much of our attention than any other concern. Any concern is a legitimate one and we have to listen. We also have to manage a department, that means disciplining a person that you expect to then go out and perform with smiles and passing this on to the guests. It can be tough but for a professional entertainer, it’s something we have to deal no matter part of the puzzle we fit into.

9. If you could sail on any other cruise ship ( not Carnival ) what ship would you like to sail on as a guest and why.
I’m on the big ships enough. I think I’d have to pick a small, luxury line. Maybe Seabourn.

10. Finally – please fill in the blanks
YOUR FAVOURITE ACTOR
Leonardo DiCaprio

YOUR FAVOURITE ACTRESS
Julia Roberts (I’m a sucker for chick flicks!)

WHATS ON YOUR EYE POD
John, you’re officially and old man. It’s an iPod. Boy Bands, The Fray, U2, Coldplay, Gavin Degraw, Jason Mraz, Death Cab for Cutie, Michael Buble

YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE
High Fidelity

WHO MAKES YOU LAUGH
Will Ferrell

YOUR FAVOURITE CARNIVAL CRUISE DIRECTOR EXCLUDING YOURSELF AND ME (JOHN) AND WHY
Wow, that’s tough. There are a few I know I would like having met them outside of work but only a few that I’ve seen do a show. I’ll go with Butch Begovich and Jorge Solano. That’s really based on the Welcome Aboard Show. It’s such a big part of the stage identity of a CD and they both have really solid shows. Butch really lets you in from the very beginning. He gets everyone involved and I’d be surprised if you didn’t leave that show in a better mood than when you arrived. Jorge just makes me laugh, what a funny dude.

IF YOU WERE INVISIBLE FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD YOU DO
I would sit in the dugout for the New York Yankee’s for a playoff game … that they won…against the Red Sox…with a walk-off home run by Derek Jeter. Can I pick that many of the details?

Thanks mate and I know that despite looking like you have fallen out of the ugly tree and hitting every branch on the way down you have many, many fans……well done and keep up the great work.

Well at this point of the blog I usually start talking about the news followed by some comments about the French sprinkled with a bit of poo……………..but not today.

I am sure many of you have already read about the incident yesterday as the Carnival Legend left Cozumel …………. and I am sure that one or two of the reports may be a little …………. ummmm ………fictional……..so as I was there from beginning to end…………..I thought you might like to know exactly what happened. So, grab a cup of tea, take a seat and let us begin.

And we start with the only humorous part of this event and it really is true because I got a call from the Cruise Director Jen around 6:10pm and when she called…………….guess what ………… yep……………I was in my cabin…………in my underpants.

Anyway, Jen told me that I should come to the bridge as we were experiencing problems. Luckily my cabin is on deck 8 so I had a short walk and as soon as I arrived I could see what the problem was. The first thing that struck me was how angry the sky was. I had been on my balcony an hour or so ago and the sky was blue and the sun was as hot as Megan Fox’s bottom.

But now…….oh my goodness how things had suddenly and dramatically changed. It was noisy, dark and horrific. I could hear the thumping of rain crashing down against the ship and the wind was howling as though hundreds of wolves were outside baying for our blood. The sky was as dark as an Ed Wood movie and the sea, even within the protection of the harbor looked like it had been given the good news with a huge egg whisk……….. And was full of foreboding swells.

And the result of all this weather was that we were getting closer and closer to the Enchantment of the Seas which was docked in Cozumel on the opposite pier.
The captain was fighting the 50 knot winds with all his might using the thrusters and engines at full power. He was calm……….but at the same time you clearly see the look of concern and anguish in his eyes as he battled the elements. But I think he knew that this was one battle he wasn’t going to win and so he told Jen to make an announcement top have all the guests standing on the port side open decks and balconies to leave the area immediately and head back inside or to the middle or starboard side of the vessel………Jen made this announcement calmly and clearly and it’s a good thing she did………….because moments later we touched……not Jen and I…………I mean the Carnival Legend touched the Enchantment of the Seas.

And it was a touch, a brush, a tickle. The words collision or hit or crash don’t describe what happened at all. There was no bang or jolt, just a ………what’s a good word for it?………I know………a shudder or a shiver. The first thing I noticed was the look of anguish in the captain’s eyes and one repeated on the faces of all the officers on the bridge. But the captain continued the battle against the wind and managed to push us away again from the RCI ship. At this point it was hard to distinguish between the flashes of lightning that shot angrily out of the sky and the flashes of hundreds of cameras as guests on both ships recorded this incident for prosperity, for Facebook, twitter and YouTube.

At this point I wanted to grab the mic and talk to the guests on the PA system but it was not my ship so I gently suggested to Jen that she make another announcement repeating the request for guests to move away from the port side in case we touched again………not Jen and I……….the two ships……….and to just talk to the guests, keep them calm and informed. In moments like this there is no such thing as too many announcements and the one voice they want to hear from is the cruise director, it’s a voice the guests recognize and hopefully trust.

Well, after 20 more minutes of high winds the captain managed to reverse us away from the pier to a distance of maybe 1,000 meters from both the RCI ship and our sister ship Carnival Imagination which was also docked in Cozumel.

There was much relief all around……….and now the inspections began to discover what damage had been done. First of all I suggested to Jen that she make an announcement telling guests that all was well and that we were going to stop here so the ship’s command could assess the situation. She did…….and once again she did so calmly and professionally. I also suggested that she get as many of her Entertainment Staff out and about as possible in case guests had concerns or questions.
During the next 20 minutes the reports began to filter back to us on the bridge. Mr. Guna, the hotel director, had mobilized all of his management superbly and the first news was the best news because after checking a few times with the ship’s medical center there were no serious injuries ………the medical center was quiet.

Well, the damage could have been a lot worse. There is lots of broken glass on deck 3 port side where the ships “met” and we also have a bent railing and one damaged life raft. There is also broken glass in the guest relations back office but amazingly no damage at all to guest cabins or entertainment areas. The life raft has already been replaced as we of course always sail with extras and the ship’s crew is already starting to replace the broken glass.
As for the RCI ship……well…she sailed away from Cozumel on time…….the two captains spoke as did the bearded Safety Managers from both companies and I am sure apologies and fruit baskets were sent by Carnival to RCI.
For about two hours we inspected the damage and a pilot boat from the Cozumel sailed around us looking to see if there was any structural damage to the Carnival Legend. Then, after the inspections were completed and permission given by the Mexican authorities the ship sailed to Belize from where I am writing this blog to you now. Today, we will be joined by a safety team from Carnival Cruise Lines and a Lloyd’s inspector who together will give a thorough inspection of the vessel.

Before I finish today, I want to show you some photos which show how suddenly the weather changed. First of all, have a look at these photos of the Carnival Legend and Carnival Imagination which were taken at 4:30 pm. Note the blue sky and gorgeous conditions.

Imagination1

ImaginationLegend1

ImaginationLegend2

ImaginationLegend3

Legend1

Legend2

Now have a look at these dramatic shots taken by our ship’s agent from ashore of the incident itself just 1 hour and 30 minutes later.

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- Allsion Cozumel 09-30 007 (15)

- Allsion Cozumel 09-30 007 (17)

The guests have been amazing and so far we have received only one negative comment from a guest who feels they deserve compensation for this………..they have no injuries, no damage to their cabin or possessions……….but they feel that some money is due them. It isn’t……..and they are getting bugger all.
Everyone else has moved on. Jen did a great job and I suggested that she try something at the show last night. As guests were walking into the lounge I had her say from backstage that there was nothing to worry about ……. everything was OK……….take a seat for the show …….. relax……..all was well. And then …………..drum roll……….and out came Cruise Director Jen……….in a life jacket………..the audience laughed their bottoms off.

The crew were superb, everyone just got on with the job. It was business as usual although we must of course spare a thought for the captain. There will be investigations and paper work and more paper work and even though he could do little about what happened………it is ultimately his responsibility. Remember the time you dented or scratched your car trying to park …………. ladies…………..I am talking to you………seriously though………remember how bad you felt when you put a scratch on the paint work? Well imagine how you would feel if your car was worth hundreds of millions of dollars and you had the responsibility of 2,200 people who were inside ……….. and ………….you hit another car nearly as valuable. Well, that’s how our captain feels today…………and I feel for him.

The worst thing though about this whole event is that I will, for at least a week or so, have to be nice to our friends from RCI. Although………you can bet your arse the cruise director on the Enchantment of the Seas is making fun of Carnival …………….if the roles were reversed …………I know I would.

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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