Love At First Bite

October 6, 2009 -

John Heald

To: Hotel Director, Gunasekaran Chellam – Carnival Legend
From: Sandra Lockhart, Account Manager, Large Groups & Incentive Sales
Subject: Site Inspection – Sailing

The following travel agents from ******************* are sailing on the Carnival Legend on October 11th with a group of 215 from the Goth community. Four bands are schedule to entertain the group and many other extensive activities have been planned for the cruise.

I remember my first ever Goth experience. I was walking through London with my mate Alan about 15 years ago. It was late and back then I used to have a drink or two and I seem to remember Alan and I were both somewhat tipsy. Floating gloomily towards us were a couple — he in full-length leather coat and chalk-white make-up, she resplendent in dyed black hair, purple velvet bodice, net skirt and thigh-high boots. Alan made some comment about them and I remember making the sign of a cross with fingers.

Of all the 1980s youth cults, goth has always struck me as the most interesting. I only know one goth personally. She used to be a back stage manager and worked with me on the Carnival Destiny back in 1997. She was a wonderful person and a total professional…..yet……..she seriously believed that she was ……ummmmm…….dead…………and when she would say that I used to say ” bollocks ” tickle her while saying “ you’re not really undead. Here, have a Pringle.”

It is with though with much apology to my former Back Stage Manager then, that I am obliged to report that goths have had the last laugh. In 2009, we’re all vampire-obsessed. You can buy black nail polish at Walgreens. Johnny Depp, Nicole Kidman and Madonna have helped popularize intense pale features and Uncle Google showed me photos of Lindsay Lohan of herself wearing fangs on Twitter.

Then we have the Twilight series, read by teenagers and their Mums and Dads and whenever we showed it on the big screen on the Carnival Splendor it always packed the lido deck.

On television, the hottest series for ages — and I say this as an adult who loves The West Wing and Sopranos is True Blood, an incredibly sexy vampire series steeped in Southern gothic . And so it goes on: vampires……..or vamps, as they’re known to fans ……..are having their time.

I of course grew up when Vampires were played by Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and not by some Bradd Cruise type with sweeping hair, a cape designed by Versace and teeth that even though bit into the necks of countless………. virgins were of course always Hollywood white. Today’s new breed of vampires are sexy ….. forget Dracula with his ratty teeth. What’s on offer now is toned young flesh, and plenty of it. The idea of soft flesh, sinking teeth, blood and possession, served up with a hefty dollop of glamor makes I guess, the Gothic way of life so popular.

I wonder though how this group will fit in here on the Funship Carnival Legend because vampires doomed to roam the earth in the dark, incapable of experiencing fun. I can’t see a bunch of Vampires playing trivia or taking part in anything before dark. Still, I will host the Nearly Dead Game , the Spa instead of Teeth Whitening will offer Teeth Sharpening ,the Bar Manager has canceled his usual order and instead of Budweiser has ordered Bloodweiser and for the health conscious Goth we have Blood Light.
Of course I am kidding> I am sure this group will be fantastic and I will do my best to make them laugh………………its all bollocks anyway…………..Vampires my arse !

Just in case though I have asked the Food Manager for garlic……..lots of garlic.

Time for today’s questions……… we go

Betty Jean Phillips Asked:
Hi John, (Please Reply)

Since I’m new to blog, I didn’t remember to add ‘Please Reply’ to my reply. Here is a copy of my note from the other day. Thanks.
Hey John,

I’m new to your blog. My husband has gotten me hooked on it. He found you as he was checking out what’s going on on the Dream through Cruise Critic. I love your humor and for just saying what comes to your mind! I am a home-based travel agent in South Carolina and have a group of 12 people (including my husband & I) that are sailing on the Dream Transatlantic with 3 pre-nights in Rome. We are soooo excited!!! I have booked flights and hotel through Carnival. It’s the only way to book!! It makes it so much easier. We too would love to do a day tour in NYC as our flight is not until 5:30 pm on Nov. 12, 2009. My group is also excited about the new non-smoking/smoking policy in the casino. I have been on other ships that have non-smoking nights but they do not always enforce it. So I hope the Dream Casino staff personnel will enforce the policy. As I said, I have 12 people on this cruise and 2 of my senior couples booked later than the rest. I have not been successful yet it getting them moved to early dining to be seated with the rest of my group. Any help you can give me with this would truly be appreciated and really make me looked good as their travel agent. This is their first time booking with me and their first time to Europe. Since I’m asking, why not put us at a window table!! LOL. Nothing shy about me. I hear you will board our ship in Bermuda. I hope we get to meet. Meeting the “special people” of the cruise line makes it so much easier to talk to clients about experiences and fun times onboard the ship and get them hyped to “Book The Fun”. Shortly before arriving on the Dream (10/19) I will celebrate my 59th b/day. I am looking forward to continuing my celebration on the Dream!! I have signed up to receive your blogs through my email so I’m looking forward to reading them. Hope to meet you and look foward to the pictures of you on the slide. See Ya

John Says:
Hello Betty Jean

It always warms my heart to welcome new readers and thanks for saying how much you enjoy the blog thingy. I do say whats on my mind and sometimes that gets me in trouble………..oh well. Anyway, it seems that you are very excited about your Trans Atlantic cruise on your Carnival Dream. I promise you it will be a voyage you will never forget. I have sent this to Ken the Senior Maitre-D to expect you when you board . Unfortunately you didn’t give me the couples details who need early sitting. Never mind. I will ask Ken to expect you when you board to see him or a member of his team during Dining reservation inquiries during embarkation.
By the way. Reports are that the smoking policy in the casino has proven to be very popular and is indeed being enforced by the staff.

Have a wonderful time and please send my best to everyone there and ………happy birthday.

Thanks for all your support as a Travel Agent and I hope you keep reading the blog.

Best wishes
Lon and Roxianne Asked:

John & Heidi – Kye is beautiful! Thanks for the photos.

Please Reply – My husband and I were wondering if Carnival will ever bring back Trap Shooting? We would love to see that on the ships again!

John Says:
Hello Lon and Roxi

Ahhhh Trap Shooting. $5 for 5 shots and regardless if you had drunk 23 pina coladas……the shotgun was yours.

Well, eventually the people with beards told us that the led shot was hurting Nemo and his mates and so we stopped doing it. Will we ever bring it back. Well, lets just say this. In today’s world of safety, gun control, environmental concerns and tofu, I think there is more chance of Carnival introducing a Latvian Lap Dancing club onboard or hiring Judge Judy as a Cruise Director………then us ever reintroducing Trapshooting…………….shame……………it was a fun event for sure. PULL !
Best wishes to you both
Linda Stein Asked:

John, please reply. First of all…oh my God…is Kye adorable?!?!? You could drown in those eyes and that smile…wow! How do you bear to be away from her for even a second. Thank God for computers and video links with home. She sure loves her daddy. You can see it in her eyes when she smiles at the camera. my question. You say above that you’ve never worked a Spirit class ship other than Legend. Do you think you’ll ever work Miracle? She is my favorite ship (ok, she’s the only Carnival ship I’ve ever been on but other than maybe Dream, I can’t imagine any ship could be better). It would be so cool if you could be our CD on Miracle for our November 4th sailing. I think it’s Malcolm for us and if so that’s great. I hear he’s really good.

Also, a few weeks ago I asked you if you could find out why there are so few excursions listed for St. Maarten and St. Lucia for our Nov 4th Miracle cruise. You said you’d ask up the chain. I was curious if you ever got an answer. I know you’ve been busy with water slides so I understand if you didn’t get an answer yet but we’re 42 days out and my Type A personality is having kittens because my excursions aren’t booked yet.

Thanks again and keep writing. After our Miracle cruise we may not be able to go again for awhile so your blog will be my life line to the sea.

John Says:
Hello Linda

I am guessing by now that you saw my comment in yesterdays blog that due to Kye’s photos appearing on one of the file sharing sites and without my permission that I have decided for the moment to stop posting her photos. Obviously it was hard decision to make but we both feel it’s the right one. What a sad world we live in. Yesterday, Heidi took Kye swimming and took her photo as she bobbed about in her floaty thingy………..she received a huge bollocking from the staff saying that photos……..even of her own child………….were strictly forbidden. Sometimes I post photos of kids that have been on stage with me. I have now also been advised not to do that anymore. It is a sad, sad state of affairs.

Anyway, thanks so much for the kind words and you have no idea how upset and disheartened I am that for the moment I cannot continue to share photos of my beautiful daughter with you all.

Now, as to your excursions for November 4th, I just called our Shore Excursion team and they told me that there is now a full list of excursions for St. Martin and St. Lucia available online. Please let me know if you have any questions about them

Best wishes to you and your family
Sarah Hathaway Asked:

We will be leaving on the Conquest on Sunday, September 27th and we’d like to be on the Newlywed Game. You told me to write you the week before we left and remind you. Our names are Andrew & Sarah Hathaway and we got married last Saturday! Thanks so much!


John Says:
Hello Sarah

As you can see I am way, way behind in my answers but hopefully your wish to take part in the game came true. I did send a note to the CD and I hope you had a fun time and a brilliant cruise.
Once again my apologies for the late reply.
Best wishes to you both

Larry Asked:

John, WILL YOU STOP IT!!!!!! If you don’t stop raving about the Dream, I will not be able to get a wink of sleep until our cruise in February. Every night when I go to sleep, I just keep thinking of all the fun things we will be doing when on the Carnival Dream and I am wound tighter than …. I don’t know what!!! Anyhow, we are booked and are soooooooooo anxious.

I had asked you this once before, but I don’t think you understood my question. I want to know what time you do the bedtime story and if you do it only one time per cruise. We don’t want to miss it and are hoping beyond hope that it is not only done at a late night show. In case the answer to that question is “yes, it is done late night,” could you please find it in your heart to perform it at an early show too? Please answer as a lot of people are interested. Thanks!!

John Says:
Hello Larry
I am wound tighter than………….let me finish that sentence for you……………I am wound tighter than a Scotsman’s wallet. I was going to say tighter than Megan Fox’s bottom…………but that would be sexist , so I won’t.

The bedtime story is always performed at the Talent Show which is a one show performance towards the end of the cruise. I promise I will have you in bed by midnight and I will do my best to make sure it lives up to all the hype that seems to surround this innocent little nightcap of a skit.
You have every right though to be dreaming about your Carnival Dream………, when you read this, go to sleep dreaming of the Ocean Plaza, the stunning theatre and shows, the gorgeous and luxurious décor and dream also of me ………….doing a belly dance on your kitchen table.

Sleep well and best wishes
David Stubblebine Asked:

John: Please reply as you get the chance.

I have been following your Dream blog for some time but this is the first time I have submitted an item. I am already booked on the Dream’s repositioning cruise departing Oct 27 and I am filled with anticipation!

My question has to do with when the Dream passes Gibraltar, if you know. My amateur navigation tells me the time and distance between Malaga and Las Palmas requires a steady steam of 20 knots with no time for sightseeing. That being the case, I also estimate the Dream will pass Gibraltar at about 8PM on Nov 1, an hour and a half past sunset. There’s a full moon that night but it should be fairly dark nonetheless. Are you aware of any adjustments or other measures Carnival may be taking to let us see this wonder of the natural world while we’re there? This will probably be the only time in my life I will get to Gibraltar, I’d like to see it.

Looking forward to seeing you on the Dream!

-Dave S

John Says:
Hello Dave S
I have been privileged to pass through the Straits of Gibraltar twice in my cruising life and it is a thrill to see “ The Rock “ as we Brits call it and on the other side of the ship the coast line of Morocco.

I have e mailed Captain Queirolo who will let me know what time this will happen and of course I am sure Todd will make a big deal out of this and keep everyone informed.

I will let you know what information the Captain provides me with as soon as possible.

Best wishes and have a brilliant crossing
Alex G. Asked:
John Please Reply,

First of all spectacular photos of the Dre— Carnival Dream!!! I’m so excited that I’m telling everyone about this. Right now, my friend’s parents are on a cruise onboard a “Something Of The Seas” and I told my friend to let them know if they see the Dr– Carnival Dream in one of their ports to take some photos as they are in the Mediterranean region.

My question is about the Fun Hub so you’ll probably need one of the 343 Stephanies on this one. Now I understand how it works and all, but my concern is security. Sure, anyone could post whatever, but is this system moderated by the group of Stephanies? Does material posted on Fun Hub need approval before being published? Just like how comments on your blog need approval. I’m hoping that they keep a watchful eye on this for the exact reason of some people only using it for “rumpy pumpy” hookups and other trouble……

Moving on, I am being totally serious when I say this but the other night I actually had a dream that I was on the Carnival Dream sailing with my family and friends and meeting you. I sure hope this dream becomes a reality!

All the best,
Alex G.

John Says:
Hello Alex G
Good… corrected yourself and said “ Carnival Dream “………..just a thingy of mine and it seems I have more success with my blogging mates than I do with the Carnival employees………..even a Captain called the ship Legend yesterday …………..oh well…………I won’t give up my battle to Carnavalise the ships.

The Fun Hub is proving to be very popular indeed and I will indeed ask one of the 343 Stephanies for their input. I can though tell you that we have a dedicated staff member reporting to the Cruise Director who monitors everything that is written by the guests to make sure the content is appropriate. Anything inappropriate including what you mentioned above is immediately deleted. I will keep everyone appraised of how Fun Hub is being used but early reports are excellent. I hope to read reviews from guests who have sailed and used the Fun Hub here on the blog.
I hope we meet soon as well and my best to you all

Bobby Asked:

Hi John
Please Reply
Thanks for this GREAT blog..Yes!! I booked yesterday for a June 5 cruise for my parents and I.

John we live about 15 miles from the port in Melbourne. Do you ever give tours of the ship? We sure would like to see it. Please tell me that you will be cruise director for our cruise in June.
Thanks again John for all your info.

John Says:
Hello Bobby
I am very happy to hear that you booked your family cruise. I promise it will be the best cruise vacation you have ever had. Unfortunately under the current security rules, visitors are not allowed to tour the ship unless authorized by a crew member who is currently serving on the ship. This means that when I am onboard I could arrange this for you but not until then. Maybe when I am there we could work something out.
Until then I send my best wishes to all

Tamyrussell Asked:
John (please respond) –

Sailing on the Dream Oct. 15th and have a question relative to dining times. If we are in a port later that the first seating for dinner…will both (early and late) seatings be delayed; or, will they seat on schedule (6 pm and 8:15 pm)?


John Says:
Hello Tammy
In a few days you will be heading to Rome and boarding your Carnival Dream, I am so very excited for you. In late ports like Venice, the dining times are indeed adjusted to suit all plus of course you have the fantastic range of casual dining on the Lido deck including the pasta bar and Mongolian.

Have a brilliant time and please send us your review when you return
Best wishes

That’s all for today. Slowly……..very very slowly………I am catching up. Please keep the comments coming.

Lets do the news.

A few days ago someone asked if we could make a screensaver thingy of your Carnival Dream using a high amount of pixes or something. Anyway, I am happy to tell you that people with beards are currently working on this and I hope to have one ready for you soon. Meanwhile, one of the 343 Stephanies has told me that we have a selection of screensaver thingies currently available at………….so have a look at that.

There will also soon be a screen saver of me…………… the computer……………blogging………….in my underpants………………..with lots of pixes in them.

I know many of you love to share in the building of new ships and there is also much excitement of course about the Queen Elizabeth. Therefore , I thought you might appreciate the photos that Alistair posted on his Cunard blog yesterday that show just how quickly this queen of the seas is progressing. Here is the link thingy.

By the way………I have decided to say “ bollocks “ to not playing Anchors Aweigh. After playing it for so many years and after reading ALL your comments I have decided that with a small dollop of understanding to Beauxdammit’s posting……..I agree with you …………so then ………Anchors Aweigh.

Time to meet another fantastic Carnival Cruise Director and it’s a great mate of mine despite the fact that he is from Liverpool. He has been with us for many years and is a favorite of many guests and loved by the crew. Here’s Lenny:

Len Edit 1

1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair .
After several years as a Income Tax Inspector, Shop Owner and itinerant musician in local rock & roll bands around my home town of Liverpool England, a phone call came from Genoa Italy, one cold and wet February, and I had a job in a band, with all other members from Italy. They needed an English speaking singer/guitarist, for one contract, and an old friend had put me in the frame.

2 months later I was on a ship called the Scotia Prince sailing out of Portland Maine. That was April 1982 The Cruise Director was a guy called Johnny Graham and he played the piano bar. After talking to him about getting a group together myself, he advised me to go solo, and get down to Miami where cruising was about to “take off.”

Good advice as it turned out. Out of pure chance I met a guy called Arthur Ashton, who recognized my accent as a fellow Liverpudlian, when I ordered a burger and a beer at a restaurant, which is now the Hard Rock Cafe, at Bayside (which wasn’t even there in those days). He was hiring entertainers for both Carnival and Paquet cruises. What are the chances?
Arthur used to play in a group called The Clayton Squares” during the Beatles era, and played all the same clubs. I had done much the same, although a few years later. Yes, “a few!”

That was pretty much it. I went on to work briefly on the Mardi Gras, and then for Paquet on a ship called the Rhapsody.

After just 5 months, I had a call from the Scotia Prince people, who said Johnny Graham had retired, and had recommended me as his replacement. It was difficult to both believe and accept, but after talking with a few friends, they told me to jump at it, even though I was still very inexperienced.

I recall my gym teacher all those years ago, reporting about my footballing ability. “He has far more enthusiasm than ability, but that will get him through just about anything.” The same seemed to be true 20 years later.
Then in 1990, it was time to try Miami again, and Carnival were definitely the team to play for.

Again, purely by chance I contacted CCL’s entertainment department just minutes after they had learned that an entertainer had just signed off the Festivale due to ill health, and they needed a quick replacement.

Timing is everything huh? Luckily, Gerry Keating’s health improved, but it gave me the chance to join CCL.

After 11 months, I was back on the Festivale as Cruise Director, and after 19 years, and 22 ships in the fleet, it’s still a great gig, and despite the introduction of e-mail in 1994, it’s still a load of FUN!

2. What ship are you currently serving on.
Just on a 3 week break from the Carnival Victory. I get my full break for Christmas, which will be only the 3rd Christmas/New Year at home in 20 years.

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.
I like the way we have started rotating the musical acts around the ship, so all the lounge locations are different each night. A nice cigar in the Ionian Lounge, used to be accompanied by just a jazz trio, but now it is different each night. I like that. Whoever thought of the rotation thing, darn good idea.

Outside the entertainment areas, the bridge is still a special place.
What makes the Carnival Victory special? All the ships have a great atmosphere among the officers, staff and crew, and it’s usually the people you work with and the guests you encounter, who make a ship memorable. The “Fun Patrol” on the Victory are fun to work with and if you add an enthusiastic Dance Captain (Ryan) and Musical Director (Richard – Burnley fan) to the mix, it really is a fun place to work.

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.
The itinerary is unique. 7 ports in 7 days. If you go to St John while we’re docked in St Thomas, make that 8 islands in 7 days.

San Juan – Take a trip to the El Morro Fortress, even if it’s just to see where a cannonball was fired and went right through Francis Drake’s Cabin. (Got that off Wikipedia so it must be true). Did I mention the Bacardi Factory?

St. Thomas – Everything that begins with “S” is great in the Virgin
islands: Shopping, snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing, submarining………….

Dominica – Any tour that takes you into the rain forest will be hugely memorable and rewarding. Hike the island, or just a gentle walk to Jaco Falls, or a trip to Emerald Pool and Trafalgar Falls will be breathtaking.

Barbados – This was my wife’s first choice for our wedding location except in those days you had to be on the island for 3 full days to apply for the license. 11 days later we were married in St. Thomas, at Paradise Point, before the Skyride arrived. Take any snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing or submarining tour and it won’t disappoint you.The island itself is beautiful and as the only island on the itinerary which has not been produced by volcanic action, it’s well worth it to take any island tour, as it’s going to be totally different from anywhere else that week. Very interesting history and culture.

St. Lucia – Take the land and sea tour to Soufriere. Drive through the rainforest, and get a great view of the Twin Pitons, drive into a volcano, visit the sulphur springs and then come back by catamaran with a stop for lunch and the beach.

Antigua – The island of 365 beaches. Also the Caribbean home of Eric Clapton and his “Crossroads” foundation. Great snorkel/sightseeing tour called “See Antigua by Sea”. “Devil’s Bridge and Beach tour” and after the natural bridge in Aruba collapsed some years ago, one of the few natural bridges in the Caribbean. On the far side of the island is a place called English harbour, and “Nelson’s Dockyard”, going back 250 years when Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson had his Caribbean fleet. Restored unbelievably and part of it a 14 room hotel.

St. Kitts – It’s got to be 1 of 2 sightseeing trips. “Sugar Train” – The only one of its kind in the whole of the Caribbean. 90 year old track restored 7-8 years ago, with new rolling stock, it takes you around 2/3rds of the island for some fantastic views. The lady conductors will even sing to you…..”Pardon me sir, is that the Chattanooga choo choo…….”

5. If someone were to ask you ” what does a Carnival Cruise Director do ” how would you reply .
Ensure that every guest has a fun and memorable cruise. Seriously.
Hey, if they let me drive the thing, I’d be happy to do that too……….. (Who’s driving the boat? Capt Castanigno told me the answer to that one a long time ago. If has boats on it, it’s a ship.
If it doesn’t have boats on it, it’s a boat)

6. What is your most favorite part of the job.
Seeing guests going off the ship, and telling you how much they have enjoyed their cruise, and which ship they are sailing on next. I always feel that it’s a job well done by everyone, when the guests can’t wait to come a cruise with us again. I still enjoy doing a few tunes too.

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 .
Newlywed game is a killer every time. More wrong answers, much more humor. Isn’t it funny that spicy answers from a couple married for 60 years will bring the house down. I like leading the guys in the karaoke part of the Fun Hop.

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD .
Dealing with so many personalities around the ship, although that is also rewarding. Last minute changes to shows, itineraries etc. Thank goodness for the Weather channel, CNN and Stormpulse.

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 .
Any ship sailing the Nile. That is near the top of my bucket list.

10. Finally – please fill in the blanks

Christopher Walken, just cause he is just slightly off the wall in everything he does. Johnny Depp cause he never goes for the safe option. Sean Penn and Woody Harrelson for the same reason. I’ll probably remember some obvious ones as soon as I hit “send”. Like Anthony Hopkins and James Cagney.

Jodie Foster would be difficult to beat. Many prettier, but she’s had some great and challenging parts. (Am I taking this category too seriously?) OK,

Nothing. I am trying not to be sucked too quickly into techno oblivion. I still like to listen to “25 or 6 to 4” on vinyl. (It took me ages to find a turntable a couple of years ago, after I threw my old one away when CDs came along)

Yikes. Too many for different reasons. Sober or with a brandy & Cigar? Just your wife of a gaggle of musos? From the tasteless Kingpin and Dumb & Dumber, through the low-budget but clever Snatch and Spinal Tap – “What’s wrong with being sexy? No, Sexist!”, to most of Tarrantino’s stuff (I think Federer and Tarrantino are the same person) and the old classic B&W thrillers – “Top of the World ma!” There’s a load of others from Silence of the Lambs to Some Like It Hot – “Nobody talks like that!”

Billy Connelly, Robin Williams and the late George Carlin to name just 3. Oh, and Jim Brick. I love dangerous comedy.

I can’t stay current here and alienate the whole team. Gary Hunter who seemed to define the role, before John redefined it. Gary was the best vent act I’ve ever seen. Maybe not technically, although he was terrific, but his hold on an audience. That’s a gift. He was also excellent at the whole hospitality thing before we called it that. On the hospitality front, Dave Armour’s name reminds me of the best in the field. I recall on a hand-over cruise, Dave was approached by 2 ladies on Lido Deck at about 9am. They were clearly upset about something and were about to give someone an ear-bashing. Dave immediately asked if they had eaten breakfast? They looked puzzled and said that they hadn’t. Dave asked them if they would like to join us for breakfast and they could tell him all about it. As we picked up the plates and served ourselves, Dave asked how they had enjoyed the show the night before? “Wonderful”, they said. “Where are you from?” asked Dave. Wherever it was, Dave had a story to tell about their home town. The ladies laughed. The conversation went on for maybe 20 minutes. Very jovial and witty. Eventually he asked how the cruise was going for them. Expecting the big BUT… they both left the table saying it was the best vacation they had ever had. Whatever had upset them had been overwhelmed by Dave’s natural charm….. and it was natural.

You have to be kidding me?

Cheers mate and thank you for the many years of wonderful service………….here’s to many more.

I love this ship and I know that smaller ships like this are not in vogue so much but goodness me they really do offer a completely different feel at night. Having the two level promenade on decks 2 and 3 means the flow of guests is completely different to what I have been used to these past few years on the bigger ships. It is strange to have so few guests onboard as well and I can see now why so many of you are in love with the Spirit class.

Well last night I experienced the new style of Captain’s party on elegant night. As you know we now call it the Captain’s Celebration. Instead of serving the complimentary cocktails on this night we serve drinks at $1 off with the complimentary drinks being served instead at a farewell party on the last day. I will be making sure that this party is done properly and made to be lots of fun for all.

However, back to the Captain”s Celebration on elegant night. I know this has caused much comment on the blog and the cruise boards but not having seen it myself I wasn’t really able to comment…………until now.

Well, the positives are many. Both sittings were busy with many of the guests dressed elegantly, dancing, and enjoying the atmosphere. The Captain, myself and the Senior Officers walked around meeting lots of people and taking photos, the atmosphere was excellent and we utilized the lobby, the forward lounge called satchmos and I added a Motown dance hour in the disco.

There were some guests who despite the advertising I had done about this at my travel talk and over the PA system seemed confused . These were the past guests who were looking for the free cocktails and that one central place where the party used to be held. So, I need therefore to do a better job in communicating what is happening.

I am also going to add something in the Carnival Capers and that’s where the Captain will be. Rather than have him walking about I think its better that I advertise that he will be in the lobby so that guests who want to meet him …………can. There was too many guests “ looking “ for him yesterday and that’s something we need to change.

So, overall, I think it worked really well and I am sure the guests will enjoy the addition of the complimentary drinks served at the farewell function on the last day.

One think that I………….and remember this is my opinion only…………….don’t agree with and that’s the fact that we took away the Captain and Senior Officers white formal uniform. I understand why we did this when we changed from formal to elegant but having them in blue uniform makes it harder for the guests to tell who is the Captain.

You see, from the back, it looks like a blue business suit which was fine when the Captain was static and the entrance to the lounge , shaking hands, but when he is wandering, people I think do not realize he is the Captain. And, I think the Captain should be dressed differently to other management . The white uniforms looked great in photos and truly show that yes………….he is the Master of the vessel.

I know the Captains miss these uniforms and I have expressed my opinion to senior management. What are your thoughts on the new style Captain’s celebrations. I would like to hear from those who have attended them.

Now, lets talk Halloween and thanks to Tim Cabral the fleet will once again have the scariest and most fun Halloween events at sea. Here is the logo you can expect to see everywhere around the ship and in the carnival Capers and the dates the parties will be held.

frightfully fun 09 m&m

Holiday – 10/19, 10/24 & 10/29
Carnival Fantasy – 10/17, 10/22, 10/26 & 10/31
Carnival Ecstasy – 10/22, 10/26 & 10/31
Carnival Sensation – 10/18, 10/22, 10/25 & 10/29
Carnival Fascination – 10/17, 10/22, 10/26 & 10/31
Carnival Imagination – 10/19, 10/23, 10/26, 10/30
Carnival Inspiration – 10/19, 10/24 & 10/29
Carnival Destiny – 10/19, 10/24 & 10/29
Carnival Elation – 10/19, 10/22, 10/26 & 10/29
Carnival Paradise – 10/19, 10/23, 10/26 & 10/30
Carnival Triumph – 10/18, 10/24 & 10/26
Carnival Victory – 10/18 & 10/25
Carnival Spirit – 10/18 & 10/26
Carnival Pride – 10/18 & 10/25
Carnival Legend – 10/18 & 10/25
Carnival Conquest – 10/18 & 10/25
Carnival Glory – 10/17, 10/24 & 10/31
Carnival Miracle – 10/19 & 10/27
Carnival Valor – 10/18 & 10/25
Carnival Liberty – 10/17, 10/24 & 10/31
Carnival Freedom – 10/18 & 10/24
Carnival Splendor – 10/18 & 10/25
Carnival Dream –10/27

There will be trick and treating and costume parties and haunted houses and vampires……………yep………..loads of bloody vampires.

We are in Grand Cayman today and along with the Carnival Valor we have a Disney ship here as well………….all tendering thousands of guests and crew ashore. Have I mentioned that there is no pier here before?


Anyway, I am sure Disney do a good cruise and I am sure there are thousands of Disney fans who read this blog thingy. However, seeing the Disney ship on our port side brings nothing but sweaty palms and flared hemorrhoids as I remind myself about how much I hate those bloody theme parks.

You spend your entire life in a Braveheart-style fight for your freedom trying to go from ride to ride as quick as you can so you don’t have to spend more than three hours standing in line.

Actually, of all the things I hated about the Florida parks…… was the music. You just can’t get away from it. Some of it is the boisterous, tuneless soundtrack from cartoons and some of it is the stuff you hear in those “when the first snows of winter come” and “Lassie come home” sugary films about a family of beavers in northern Canada.

People with beards may it’s scientifically impossible for music to induce nausea…………….bollocks it can’t.

Then there’s the food. I remember Heidi and I had pizzas that I swear to God were made from exactly the same material as the packaging they came in and what the hell is this walking around eating a turkey leg thing all about ?

Of course Heidi has already told me that when Kye is bigger that we will be going to Disney in Florida. Oh joy……….I can’t wait to line up for an hour to spend 80 seconds on a pink, plastic Dumbo.

Its been a few years since we went so I am sure that the safety people with beards have declared that the rides are out of bounds to everyone under 17ft tall.

I guess it is inevitable that we will end up there. We could go to Disneyland Paris………it has the same sickly music and same life zapping lines for the rides. The only differences are the smell, Cinderella has hair under her arms and the turkey legs that people eat in the Florida parks have been replaced with Kermit…………on a stick.

It’s a small world…………my arse.

Your friend

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.