Mission Specialist

October 27, 2009 -

John Heald

I am not a big fan of eating at the captain’s table and whenever possible I try and avoid it like a Turkish prison. It’s OK when the captain or at least one other senior officer has the personality to keep the table enthralled but most of the time they don’t………..and that’s me doing two hours of comedy while my end cut piece of Prime Rib gets cold.

So as I walked to dinner tonight I was not exactly singing “Mr. Blue Sky” by E.L.O. …….love that song……nope…..I was singing bugger all. I already didn’t feel on top of the world. I was diagnosed with something ridiculous called Restless Leg Syndrome which apparently is a sleep disorder common amongst diabetics. My legs (at night) feel like a family of ants are playing poker and smoking cigars under my skin and I have therefore been sleeping like crap. Apparently taking ibuprofen is going to help ……..we will see.

Anyway, as I said, I wasn’t in a good mood and as I sat down to eat with the VIP’s and introduced myself I felt as sociable as a turd in a swimming pool……………until I met the guest seated on my right was………….an astronaut…………and I was having dinner with him……………my two restless legs were joined by a third one.

His name was Stephen and he was something called a “mission specialist” in 2000 and he went ………..into space…………it was a fantastic dinner. He was here with his wife who is a travel agent and has a large group on this cruise. I felt sorry for the other couple who were at the table who were “something in local Florida government” but whose attempt to trump Stephen’s stories of space flight with the price of water in St. Petersburg was as pointless as a broken pencil.

As I sat and listened to his stories I wanted so much to be him and to have experienced the thrill of being blasted into outer space.

Obviously being as large as a space shuttle myself and with diabetes and restless legs I know the only chance of me experiencing the empty void of space is to look into Paris Hilton’s ears.

It’s amazing that NASA could propel Stephen and his fellow astronauts into space and back again in time for dinner yet I can’t send a blog from the ship to the Miami office. Apparently the video of George singing contained a virus and the Stephanie’s had to call upon the people with beards who also couldn’t rescue the file and then they had to call on Dustin Hoffman and the team from the movie Outbreak to see if they could rescue it.

Meanwhile, I was out at the shows and having dinner with a spaceman and so by the time I returned to the cabin it was too late to do anything about it. So, please forgive me and my Dell which apparently has interfaced with another Dell and caught Dellareah ………. anyway, sorry about that and I hope you enjoyed the blog anyway.

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

Capt Fred Asked:
John Please Reply

My wife and I are travel agents and just got off the Carnival Conquest Oct 11. We had almost 70 people in our group and many said it was the best cruise they have ever been on .The weather was perfect and the staff outstanding. Would you please pass on to two peoples supervisors what a great job they did for us. First on the ship was our Matre”D -Ante. He was such a great help in getting all my people seated together and helped with any need we had. He also made my guest feel very special. For some they have never felt like this before. On shore is Kim Guimaraes. Buss Development Director Greater Tampa Bay Area. She helps me with all my groups. She gives me the things I need to help promote my groups and is there whenever I need her. She answers all my question and gives me new ideas for future groups. Please pass on a job well done to their boss. As always I look forward to our next cruise and to sailing with you some day.

John Says:
Hello Captain

First of all let me thank you and your wife for your support of Carnival Cruise Lines and I wish your agency continued success. Secondly may I say that I am thrilled to have read your words of praise for the crew of the Carnival Conquest and in particular Maitre D Ante who is a great friend of mine? I shall also make sure that Kim gets to see this and will also send her boss a copy. The Business Development Managers are a great group of people and are the best in the industry so thanks again for taking the time to put them in the spotlight.

I hope it’s not too long before we see you both and your clients on one of the Fun ships and I hope I am onboard when you do.
Best wishes to you both
John

Eric Asked:
John (please reply) –

What a fantastic blog thingy you have here, I am highly enjoying it!! My wife and I have been on two Carnival cruises in the past, onboard the MS Holiday and the Carnival Triumph.

We’re cruising with a group of 10 family members on the Carnival Legend next March, our daughter Sophie will celebrate her 4th birthday on the high seas (and I may get in touch with you as it gets closer about doing something special for her birthday!)

Anyway, today’s question is about connecting balconies on the Legend. Our group has three extended-balcony (Cat. 8H) cabins adjacent to each other on Deck 7. We’d love to be able to open up the partitions and combine these three balconies into one super-duper-mega-balcony!!

My questions:
(1) Is it possible to combine three balconies in this way, or is this limited to only 2 balconies?

(2) Our travel agent has told us that Carnival has a limited amount of the hardware necessary to combine these balconies on each ship, and that it is important to visit Guest Services *immediately* upon embarkation to make this request. First come, first serve and all that.Is this true? Do you recommend that we make sure we’re among the first people onboard, and make Guest Services our first stop, if we want to request this?

(3) On some website (perhaps Cruise Critic?) I read that combining the balconies in this way causes a “slight view obstruction.” Can you explain this? Do the partitions between the balconies swing against the railing, thus obscuring the view somewhat? If so, how bad is it? I’d hate to trade three nice balconies for one less-than-great balcony!
Thanks so much.
Eric

John Says:
Hello Eric

I am glad you have found the blog and I hope you continue to enjoy it as often as time allows. Let’s answer your questions. If your group has all three balcony cabins you may indeed remove the partitions. The stateroom steward will most likely be in charge of servicing them all so please let him know when you arrive and he will assist in providing you with one very grand balcony. No need to go to guest services and also if you want to send me the cabin numbers ahead of time I can pre organize this for you as well as seeing if we can send Sophie a birthday gift.

Do you know, I don’t know the answer to the question of if the partitions are swung back causes a view obstruction? I don’t think I have ever been on a balcony without them. Tell you what, let me check this out and get back to you so I can give you the correct answer …..hope this is ok.

So, write to me in February and I will do my best to look after you.
Best wishes to all
John

Mike Asked:
John,

As a fairly new, but devoted fan of your blog I am so very impressed with your tireless dedication to making sure that everyone who cruises on CCL has the best experience possible. I really love that you accept all opinions (unless coming from someone on the “werarebetterthanyoubecausewepaidmorefor lessOfTheSeas) and that you always keep the guest and their concerns as your top priority.

Recently, two very dear friends of mine took a cruise on Carnival Holiday for their first wedding anniversary. A big factor of their decision was that I’ve been telling them for years what a great time my family and I have had on our various CCL cruises, particularly on the Holiday.

Apparently my friends had a less than spectacular experience, and after hearing their side of the story, I felt that I needed to bring this to your attention.

I’ll be happy to provide all the details if you want, but perhaps that should be done privately.

The core of the problem was a lack of air conditioning in the cabin. Apparently the temperature was over 75f and the crew was unable to resolve the problem. After being told that the ship was full and no other cabins were available, they were finally moved to a different cabin (R64) for the final night of the cruise.
I understand that maintenance issues cannot always be resolved but I think that what bothers me most about their story is that it seems to indicate a certain lack of ownership on the part of the customer service staff, and that, according to my friends, one of the managers actually yelled at them.

I feel badly, because I encouraged them to take this cruise. They are young people and can’t afford many vacations.

Sorry for the length of this John. I have all the details, names, dates and so on and will gladly provide them if you wish.

Keep up the great work!!
Carnival Dream in 178 days!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Mike

Those are very gracious words that you have written about the blog and I truly thank you for doing so. One of the additions that is more recent here on the blog thingy is that I have a direct and immediate line to a special CARE team who look after those guests who feel that we could have done something better during their cruise. Such is the case with your friends. So, please can you let them know to send in a report by posting it here on the blog? Mark it for my attention (JOHN PLEASE REPLY BUT DO NOT POST) and I will send it to those concerned. Meanwhile would you please apologize to your friends for the discomfort they experienced and I will make sure that their comments are read by the right people.
Thanks again and best wishes to all.
John

Amy Fowler Asked:
John– Please reply:

Truly one of your best entries— I laughed out loud (I think one of my relatives could have written the Devil Worshiper letter)… and I cried (soldiers dearly touch my heart). How wonderful it must be to meet all these people from all different walks of life. So it got me thinking: What’s the wildest/most unusual thing you’ve ever seen on a cruise? (Not just rumpy pumpy on an open deck… since we’ve all made that discovery on a midnight stroll). What made you go, “well, I’ve never seen THAT before?”

Thanks again for all you do for Carnival guests. I can’t wait to meet you on the Carnival Legend in 11 days! EEK!

John Says:
Hello Amy

You know, this is an almost impossible question to answer. There are so many, many choices ranging from a 200 pound wild cougar running amuck in the showroom while 800 passengers applaud thinking it was part of the show to introducing Captain’s to Klingons and Cardassians during a Star Trek convention cruise and a naturist (nude cruise) where you spend the week realizing that all men are not created equal and that gravity is not a friend.

As I hope this blog shows Amy, there is countless stories to share with you all and new ones to be told as well. I hope you will stick around and allow me to share them with you.
Best wishes
John

Brenda Asked:
John, please reply if you like.

I would like to thank you for allowing us to place comments out on your blog thingy regarding smoking.

I am a smoker, I do not smoke in my cabin as there will be other people staying in this cabin long after I am gone and I am respectful of that but I will smoke in the designated areas of the ship and I should not have to listen to the people who complain about it.

I was recently on the Carnival Dream and was fine with the concept and layout of the Casino. Now, I play slots all over and only smoked in the area that was designated. It did not matter; I am sitting at a slot machine with the designated “You may smoke here” sign and still getting harassed by people. Do you have to smoke; this is not good for my health. After listening to a few, I politely stated, this is a smoking area and if you do not want to be near the smoke, please move to the non-smoking area. One of the Casino Host happened to hear me and was very gracious and supported me. She explained to the lady that this area was smoking and if you wish to stay, please do but if you bother by the smoke, there are plenty of areas of the casino that is non-smoking. Now the smoking area is on one side and the machines are near the windows and really out of the main area.

Smokers can’t win. I would sit out on the Lanai at night (smoking area) and you still found someone complaining. A lot of the smokers, just said, this is the Smoking Area, go to the Non-Smoking area of the Lanai on the other side of the ship. One guy actually snapped at a lady who said something and he told her that she was “heavy” and “ugly looking” (paraphrased).

We do not ask for much. Believe me, it is detrimental to my health and well being to see some of these people who criticize smoking stuffing food down their throats as if it was their last meal or afraid that someone was going to take it. I do not say, Could you please stop eating, you are making me sick!

I am a very nice person and I do obey the rules regarding smoking on the Ships as well as other places but I believe that I am entitled to have a great vacation without worrying about someone complaining of the smoking. Carnival has done a great thing on the smoking and I abide by it.

I believe that if Carnival went to non-smoking entirely, the ships were not fill up to full capacity.
Thank you for your time.

John Says:
Hello Brenda

I want to say a big thank you to you Brenda for writing such a passionate piece and I understand your pain. As a cigar smoker I know that even when you do your very best not smoke in areas where it may affect others it is often not enough. I have had many people come up to me over the years and tell me it’s disgusting and that’s when I am in a cigar bar or even driving my own car. These are the same people who tell me I am too fat and too ugly and ….well you know. The new smoking policy on your Carnival Dream has I am told been met with wide praise from guests who have sailed so I was surprised that even though 90% of the casino is non-smoking that your fellow guests still find grounds to comment. As for The Lanai……..well one whole side is non-smoking and one area on the port side is designated for smokers……..I was again surprised that there were comments there as well.

As I have said many times here, this is a no win situation for you, for the non-smokers and for Carnival and I think it’s safe to say that all three groups are doing the very best they can.

I hope you had a brilliant time on your Carnival Dream cruise and I hope the smoking debate continues here on the blog
Best wishes
John

Pat Asked:
*John, Please Reply*

Hello John,
Thank you for all the laughs! Love the stories from the Carnival Legend. Make sure you have a great gift sent to arrive on or before the day of your anniversary so you don’t arrive home to the “dog house”.
I have a question regarding the Carnival Freedom. We sail on our 25th Carnival Cruise on November 21st on the Carnival Freedom’s 8-day Cozumel, Costa Rica, and Panama itinerary. Can you please tell me when the two elegant evenings will be? We would like to make reservations for the “Steakhouse” and don’t want to miss Elegant Evenings with the rest of our group.

As for the smoking question…I would like to see one side of the ship’s cabins and balconies be non-smoking. I am thrilled that there will be non-smoking roulette and blackjack tables on the Carnival Dream. I happen to be a non-smoking gambler that has not gone near the gaming tables on cruises for a long time due to the smoke at the tables.

Thank you again for all you do for all of us out here in blogland!
Pat

John Says:
Hello Pat

Thanks for the reminder about the gift……….I have made myself a note …………. bugger ……..I really will be in the dog house if I forget. The two elegant nights during your Carnival Freedom cruise will be on the 22nd and the 27th. May I recommend you book the steakhouse after leaving Cozumel……..it will be the perfect end to a great day in port?

The whole subject of smoking is very much “on the table” and that’s why it is so important that the comments keep coming.

Best wishes and have a great cruise
John

LorrieB Asked:
Dear John, (PLEASE, OH PLEASE, REPLY)

I must say the whole Gothic thing is beyond me but whatever floats their boat, right? Cruise humor!
I read the note written on the spa paper and found myself in tears. Now I am not prone to crying at the computer, oh who am I kidding? I cry at the mention of having to go to work, on the computer. Anyway, the story was amazing and tells me again that our military persons are people who are a cut above the rest. They put their lives at risk on a daily basis just so that we can sit around in our underpants doing our bloggy thingy… sorry, I wasn’t actually talking about you….. Well, not much!!!!!!

Now, my reason for asking for a reply is this. I have written before but haven’t received a response. My husband and I are cruising on the Conquest November 8-15, with my mother who is handicapped. Please don’t tell her I said that. She refers to herself as walking impaired. This is her first cruise in more than 40 years and I want everything to be wonderful. I’m afraid that embarkation will be too difficult for her. How do I go about getting expedited boarding or is it even possible? I don’t want to stand up on a chair and yell that my mother is handicapped. That might get me hit with her cane, but I also don’t want to have her try to make it through embarkation without assistance and then begin her cruise in tremendous pain. What can I do? Also, I’m a bit concerned about the muster drill. Is there an area where she can sit and listen instead of having to stand in the masses?

Knowing what a wonderful human being you are and how you love to help others, I had to write this note.
Did I put too much sugar topping on the end? Yea, I do that sometimes.

Love the bloggy thingy and hope you figure out a way to celebrate your anniversary while on a cruise without your beloved.

John Says:
Hello LorrieB

The letters I often receive for the morning and afternoon shows are quite moving and the ones that share the stories of those men and women who have served their country and protected our freedom are particularly so.

I am so sorry I didn’t reply to your last posting. I am way behind as you know plus sometimes they…………well…………just disappear.

Don’t worry about embarkation. There will, I promise, be lots of friendly Carnival staff ready to assist Mum onto the ship. We have a special needs area and just ask for that and you will be taken care of from there. They do this many times each and every cruise so I promise all will be well.

You can always ask me for anything……….that’s what I am here for. Have a great cruise and my best wishes to you and Mum
John

Sheryl Asked:
John Please reply-

I keep reading posts on Cruise Critic about people who get handicapped cabins because of the larger size, even though they are able bodied. Then, someone who is disabled, like myself comes along and will be told that those cabins are unavailable. I know it is Carnival’s “policy” to relocate people if truly handicapped persons need the cabin, but how often, in reality, does that happen?

Can’t Carnival come up with a better system to stop TAs, PVPs, etc. from selling those cabins unless the cruisers are truly disabled? I know that there is a Special Needs form that I have to fill out before I sail. However, anyone could fill one of those out and send it in to Carnival. It’s not proof of a handicap.

I understand that Carnival does not want to sail with any cabins that are empty, so maybe if they waited until shortly before sailing, they could then sell any handicapped cabins that have not been taken.

Just needed to vent! Thanks, John.

John Says:
Hello Sheryl

Venting is good and I am happy that this blog thingy is a place where venting is allowed and in fact encouraged. Anyway, I have to be honest and say that until I read your post I did not even know that this was a problem. I am trying to think how we could control this better. I mean, if a guest calls a PVP, a travel agent, Carnival reservations or books online I am sure that there is no window of opportunity to politically correctly ask what a guests handicap is when they request one………..yep…………that would be difficult. I will though pass this on to one of our VP’s who I am sure, like me, will be just as astonished.
I can’t believe that someone would do this…..it’s like the people who park in handicapped spaces and then jump out of their cars and cartwheel all the way into the shop.

Anyway, thanks for letting me know about this and I will definitely pass it along.
Best wishes and I am here should you ever need to vent again
John
LorrieB

That’s all for today. As mentioned today and countless times before, your comments are so important so please post away.

The mini-golf courses across the fleet continue to be so very popular and I thought you might like to see this one taken during the last of the 12-day Grand Med cruises on your Carnival Dream.

Dream Mini Golf

I invite you now to read the last part of Peter Shank’s blog as he describes the final part of the Queen Mary 2’s triumphant voyage around the United Kingdom. Goodness me, Peter really knows how to tell a story……………here is an excerpt.

“As we arrived, the crowd went silent and we stood before the magnificent and very moving memorial to those that perished on The Lusitania. We were each handed a beautiful floral wreath and then one by one called forward to lay our wreath at the base of the memorial. I was taken a back – I had not considered the heavy responsibility of the moment and both the Commodore and I found it very moving indeed.”

To read the rest of Peter’s experience and to see the photos, please follow the link thingy.

www.wearecunard.com

Now, as promised to Juan and Maria Santana, here is the bio from my friend and Cruise Director of the Carnival Freedom Weeeeeeeeeee Jimmy.

Wee-Jimmy

1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair.
I am from a small village in the hills outside Glasgow, Scotland. I joined the company as a social host in 2000 and had many jobs along the way, including groups’ coordinator, Karaoke host, DJ, backstage assistant and then a backstage manager. Life is never dull and I love my job. I think being a cruise director for Carnival Cruise Lines is one of the most fantastic opportunities in the world. It helps you grow as a person and learn many things about life and what it has to offer. What an amazing opportunity to be able to bring so much joy, laughter and happiness to so many people. That’s how I smile everyday and feel that today is the best day of my life, EVERYDAY.

2. What ship are you currently serving on?
I am on the Carnival Freedom, enjoying a box of Sausage Rolls from this great coffee shop in Grand Cayman. Sorry if my spelling is bad. Hard to type and eat at the same time!

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.
My favorite area of the ship is probably next to the Café; you know the one with Cookies, Chocolate, Cheese and Carrot Cakes. Or next to the 24-hour Pizza or Ice cream machine. Obviously I like food and I have a sweet tooth, this ship has a great little selection of candy in the formalities shop, American Jelly Bellys are my favorite. I like to have them on my desk and I like to give them away to visitors, Candy just great, everybody should eat more candy.

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.
FT LAUDERDALE, FL – PORT EVERGLADES
Port Everglades is Fort Lauderdale’s waterway to the world. This cosmopolitan city spans 23 miles of Atlantic coastline. That’s 23 miles of sun, sand and surf for you to enjoy. World-class golf, dining, shopping and sporting events await you in this city by the sea, first made famous in the 1960 film “Where The Boys Are.”
Port Everglades – EVERGLADES EXPERIENCE
– I like this tour because you get to see so much wildlife and the best thing I liked was the alligator show Grrrrrr and the airboat ride made me feel like I was flying.

EVERGLADES EXPERIENCE W/ FLL AIRPORT TRANSFER
Take time before your flight home for an adventure through South Florida’s unique Eco system.
On this excursion you will:
• Take a short ride to the park in the heart of the Florida Everglades.
• Board an airboat and glide across the Everglades at speeds of up to 50 MPH.
• View alligators, birds and other native wildlife as your captain explains a little bit about this unique ecosystem and the effect it has on South Florida.
• Return to the park for an alligator and wildlife show.

KEY WEST, FL
The “Conch Republic” is a festive island of colorful bars and equally colorful characters in what may as well be the tropics. America’s southernmost tip, where Harry Truman spent his summers playing poker and running the country, is a non-stop delight. Visit Hemingway’s house where you’ll find his original manuscripts and many of his famed six-toed cats. And while you’re on the island be sure to sample its culinary treasures, such as conch salad and world-famous Key Lime pie.

Key West – DISCOVER KEY WEST
– I like this tour because you get a real feel of Key West, which is one of my favorite places. I enjoyed learning about the pirates at the shipwreck historeum and loved the touch pool at the aquarium. And I even got to touch a shark Yikkks (the Theme Tune of JAWS!) na naaa na naaa na naaa na na nananananananannana AHHHHH

DISCOVER KEY WEST
Sit back, relax and enjoy a ride aboard the Conch Tour Train or Old Town Trolley and through the beautiful streets of Old Town Key West.
On this excursion you will:
• Be transported to the time of the bold Spanish explorers and brave shipwreckers to the great cigar barons and sponge magnets.
• See the architecture of the homes from the 1800’s, the lush tropical foliage, and the history of this charming little island.
• Drive past Ernest Hemingway’s home, President Truman’s Little White House, the lovely harbor area, the Southernmost Point, Henry Flagler’s hotel, the Casa Marina, as well as a Civil War fort.
• See the colorful shops and restaurants as you drive down the famous Duval Street and Mallory Square.
• Visit the Shipwreck Historeum and the Key West Aquarium.
• See the Shipwreck Historeum’s live interactive shows on the world of the wrecking and salvage business.
• Wander through two floors of artifacts and treasures.
• See the best view of the island from the 120-foot tower!
• See hundreds of species of local marine life and enjoy the hands on experience of the aquarium’s “touch tank”. Be invited to pet a live shark!

GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS
Grand Cayman, kissed by sparkling, turquoise waters, is a dream come true for water sports enthusiasts. You can snorkel with stingrays, go scuba diving, sail a catamaran, take in some sport fishing, or just mellow out along the powder-soft sand of the magnificent Seven Mile Beach. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit Hell, which is devilishly popular with senders of postcards.

Grand Cayman – DOLPHIN SWIM & STINGRAY CITY
– I like this tour because no matter what you do in Grand Cayman you need to visit the Stingrays. They love human contact and they are so cute, kind of like a flat fishy. What do you call a fish with no eyes? Fshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! LOL anyway, there is loads of options and combinations with the Stingrays such as a beach, shopping, turtles and more (you will love the turtle too if you choose a tour with them). The dolphin swim is just out of this world no matter how many time you do it, never fails to be the most memorable experience. In the 8 years I have been with Carnival this is one of my highlights, I had my photo taken which still sits on my desk; dolphins are just so intelligent and fun and you can’t stop smiling when you are in the water with them. They are so playful and everyone loves them, they really bring out the inner child in you although one of them thought I was an inner tube. If you get the chance to do this….do it; you will love it! I took my Mum on a Dolphin tour in Cozumel and she loved it.

DOLPHIN SWIM & STINGRAY CITY
Experience the fun of swimming with bottlenose dolphins and interacting with stingrays in this combination tour.
On this excursion you will:
• Take a short drive in air conditioned comfort to Dolphin Cove where the friendly dolphins await.
• See the beautiful birds as you stroll along the tropical walkway en route to the dolphin area.
• Listen to a brief orientation the feel the thrill of swimming with these fascinating creatures in their own habitat.
• Pet and kiss your dolphin, and even have the opportunity to ride “belly to belly”! Depart Dolphin Cove’s private dock aboard a vessel and cruise to Cayman’s famous Stingray City Sandbar.
• Listen to an orientation and then enter the crystal clear waters with the local family of Southern Stingrays.
• Have fun and interact with the stingrays as they glide by you.
• Enjoy a cruise back to Dolphin Cove where you can relax for a while before being transported by motor coach back to George Town for shopping.
• Choose an optional drop off at the world famous Seven Mile Beach.

GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS
Grand Cayman, kissed by sparkling, turquoise waters, is a dream come true for water sports enthusiasts. You can snorkel with stingrays, go scuba diving, sail a catamaran, take in some sport fishing, or just mellow out along the powder-soft sand of the magnificent Seven Mile Beach. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit Hell, which is devilishly popular with senders of postcards.

Ocho Rios – TRANOPY ADVENTURE
– OK, I went on this tour last week and I had a blast. Has to be the most fun I have had in a long time. Not only is it incredibly fun it is so beautiful so don’t forget your camera’s. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun the Bobsled & Zip-line was. I have to admit I was kind of on a date, so I bought lunch in the restaurant and I really enjoyed it so did my date (no I’m not going to tell you), the view was breath taking. Wee Jimmy tip: try the Jamaican Beef patties MMmmmmm.

TRANOPY ADVENTURE
Experience the Jamaica Bobsled, the Sky Explorer chairlift and the zip-line canopy all in one adventurous tour!
On this exciting excursion you will:
• Board an air conditioned bus for a short ride to Mystic Mountain.
• Ride the Sky Explorer chairlift up 700 feet through the tropical forest canopy and at the peak, you can explore the displays and learn the history and culture of Jamaica.
• Get ready for the thrill of your life on the one and only Jamaica Bobsled adventure ride!
• Listen to an orientation.
• Board a specially-made Jamaica bobsled and hold on as it plunges through 3,280 feet of twists and turns down the mountain.
• Stop, to be slowly lifted back to the top on an elevated tramway.
• Receive an orientation, safety equipment and harness system for your zip-line adventure.
• “Fly” through the canopy on a series of cables and pulleys that are interconnected on both tree and land-based platforms while gazing at the spectacular view; your canopy tour ends at the mid-station of the chairlift where you can catch a ride back to the top of the mountain.
• Spend as much time as you desire admiring the panoramic views while swimming in the infinity edge pool; when you are ready to depart, simply hop on the Sky Explorer chairlift back to the bottom where a shuttle will take you back to your ship

And that concludes the amazing 6-day cruise. Doesn’t it sound fun? I love the 6-day cruise it packed full of great things to do. Or you can do nothing if you choose. Ok, lets move on to the 8-day western.

COZUMEL, MEXICO
Long before Cancun became a popular destination, Cozumel was well-known as a diving spot and home to the world famous Palancar Reef, which gives divers the opportunity to view thousands of brilliantly colored fish. Non-divers can kick back on a sun-drenched beach, or enjoy any number of seaside activities, such as shopping in colorful marketplaces or dining in an open-air café.

Cozumel – ATV JUNGLE ADVENTURE
I like this tour because it is more my thing, getting totally dirty! I thought this would be a tame boring guided tour; totally not! You get to really fly through the forest on these machines and try to keep up with the guide. My advice, don’t wear white & expect to look like a Panda Bear when you remove your goggles, don’t forget your camera (the before and after photos are great).

ATV JUNGLE ADVENTURE
Maneuver your way through the Cozumel jungle on this unique ATV adventure.
On this excursion you will:
• Begin with a bus or van ride to the Welcome Station.
• Participate in a brief orientation and receive your one person ATV.
• Drive through the winding, narrow paths that lead into the dense jungle and to the unexcavated burial ground.
• See two original temples that once held the bodies of Mayan royalty.
• Cruise back through the tropical foliage on a spiraling path.
• Keep your eyes open for tropical birds and critters.
• Enjoy a well-earned cold beverage.

LIMON, COSTA RICA
The lush, peaceful country of Limon, Costa Rica, has long been a well-kept secret among biologists and beachcombers. And it’s easy to see why. More than 27 percent of Costa Rica’s amazing terrain is designated as national park, biological reserve, wildlife refuge or some other category of protected area. Home to hundreds of thousands of species of exotic flora and fauna, this special fertile land is also a haven of spectacular beaches that stretch for miles, jungle rivers perfect for rafting and kayaking, and wonderful historic ruins.

Costa Rica – WHITE WATER RAFTING CLASS III
I Like this tour because it is so exciting, it’s such an adrenaline rush. I never thought I would do something like this ever in my life time. Let me tell you I slept well that night!

WHITE WATER RAFTING CLASS III
There’s nothing like the excitement of white water rafting!
On this excursion you will:

• Depart Puerto Limon aboard an air conditioned motor coach.
• Take a one-hour ride to the heart of the Caribbean Section of Costa Rica.
• Arrive at the rafting site and receive a safety briefing and your gear.
• Begin with an exhilarating and continuous set of rapids.
• Raft the dam-controlled Reventazón River’s powerful rapids, big waves and clean waters.
• Relax during the long calm stretches and quiet pools.
• Have wonderful opportunities to enjoy stunning scenery, wildlife and exotic landscapes.
• Feel the adrenaline rush as you flow down the river surrounded by the natural beauty of the rain forest.
• Return to the Rios Tropicales Center for a delicious Costa Rican lunch and refreshments, before the return drive to your ship.

COLON, PANAMA
There’s more to Panama than the canal. Panama’s ethnic mix is reflected in its arts. This is a proud nation that honors its many Indian tribes and its rich Spanish legacy. You can shop for traditional arts, such as wood carvings and ceramics, tour an Embera Indian village or take part in a peaceful kayaking trip. One thing is sure – once you’ve embraced Panama, you’ll find it hard to leave.

Panama – PANAMA CANAL TOUR
I like this tour because you actually get to go on a boat that takes you through some of the locks. No many people can say they have been to the eighth wonder of the world. Don’t forget you camera’s and video recorders on this tour. There is some really wonderful photo opportunities.

PANAMA CANAL TOUR
Take this incredible excursion and witness the wonders of the Panama Canal.
On this excursion you will:
• Arrive at the Colon 2000 terminal and board a bus to the Transismic Highway through the city colon to the Balboa Pier at the Pacific Coast.
• Board a large ferry that will transport you through the Panama Canal.
• View this great accomplishment from open areas on board the ferry.
• Go through the Miraflores Locks and Lake.
• Pass through the Pedro Miguel locks and onto Gaillard Cut.
• Cross the Continental Divide.
• Enjoy the ecological wonders of the area.
• Travel to the city of Gamboa and the dredging division of the Canal.
• See the largest floating crane.

And that concludes the wonderful 8-day western carribean cruise. Doesn’t it sound fun? I love the 8-day cruise it’s fun and relaxing and you get to go to palces you would not normally have the chance to go to. One piece of advice, make sure you book tours in advance on all cruises but in particular this one. Ok, lets move on to the 8-day eastern.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
Historic San Juan, once nothing more than cobblestone streets and the distinctive architecture of the Spanish who founded it, is now a modern world capital. Among the peaceful shaded courtyards and commanding colonial fortresses of El Morro and San Cristobal, you’ll find a cosmopolitan city of wide boulevards, lively cafes, highly regarded galleries and designer boutiques. This is where the old world meets the new – and you can enjoy them both.

San Juan – NIGHT HORSEBACK RIDING
All I need at this point is two words, Campfire and Marshmallows!!!

NIGHT HORSEBACK RIDING
Ride on horseback through the foothills of the rainforest, where only the stars in the sky and some friendly local fireflies light well-groomed trails.
On this guided excursion you will:
• Take an approximate one-hour drive from San Juan to a local ranch in the rainforest.
• Be introduced to your horse and participate in a short orientation.
• Leave the ranch along trails that lead along the foothills of the rainforest.
• Ride as trail dogs keep the horses on track and the guides keep you and your fellow riders spaced.
• Appreciate the tranquility and peacefulness of nighttime of the rainforest, you will not be lead into the rainforest itself.
• Stop by a campfire to roast marshmallows, have a cold drink and learn a little bit about the area from your guides.
• Re-mount and head back to the ranch for the return trip to San Juan.

ST. THOMAS, USVI
Not all of St. Thomas’ treasures are buried. Most of them are right in the open on this gorgeous island, home of the infamous Bluebeard’s Tower. Whether looking for jewels, crystal, perfume and fine wines in the shops of Charlotte Amalie, or soaking up the sun on the incredible beaches, you’ll marvel at the wealth of history on this treasure-filled paradise.

St Thomas – BOSS UNDERWATER ADVENTURE- You really have to see this to believe it; it is the dumbest I have ever felt in my life, yet so much fun, I actually think you see more fish on this tour than any snorkel tour because they all come up to you thinking “What the heck is that?!!” Loads of fun and has the great advantage that, as it uses compressed air and there are loads of bubbles, you can even make your own bubbles and nobody really knows!

St Thomas – ST. THOMAS SKYRIDE TO PARADISE POINT – This one is not really a tour as such, it is a ride to the top of Paradise Point and it has the most amazing views of the ship and the islands off the coast. There is a great bar and restaurant up there, but honestly, what I like best is just going up there to watch the sunset, sometimes, like in every job you work hard, you get tired. You start taking everything for granted, but when I sit up there and look over the Caribbean I really realize just how lucky I am and what a great lifestyle I have. It is a place that really just makes you feel happy to be alive (Tip: Ask at the bar for a Bushwacker or two).

BOSS UNDERWATER ADVENTURE
Explore life under the sea in a whole new way with your own underwater motor scooter.
On this exciting excursion you will:
• Begin when you board a 60-foot, custom dive yacht for a scenic cruise to your crystal clear dive site.
• Receive your B.O.S.S. (Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter) to view the marvels of the sea.
• Explore the brilliant undersea world with a guided tour of the stunning tropical reefs and colorful fish of the Caribbean.
• Participate in snorkeling adventures or relax on spacious sun decks if you like.
• Be provided with snacks, refreshments, bathrooms, and freshwater showers.

ST. THOMAS SKYRIDE TO PARADISE POINT
St. Thomas Skyride to Paradise Point takes you 700 feet above sea level to the most spectacular views on the island. Come at your leisure anytime during the day!
On this excursion you will:
• “Ride the View” on a state-of-the-art aerial tramway, 15 minutes round trip.
• Enjoy panoramic views of the harbor, cruise ships and downtown Charlotte Amalie.
• Get excellent photographs of your ship and the beautiful views.
• Have plenty of time at the top for relaxing on the spacious observation deck with a refreshing beverage.
• Browse in one of the boutiques, walk on the nature trail or watch the parrot shows given twice daily.
• Stay as long as you like at Paradise Point before catching the Skyride back down.

ANTIGUA
The largest of the British Leeward Islands offers you warm, steady winds, a coastline of safe harbors and a nearly unbroken wall of coral reef. These same attributes that once attracted the British Royal Navy, also established Antigua as one of the premier tourist destinations in the Caribbean.

Antigua – PIRATES OF ANTIGUA: THE BLACK SWAN
I love this tour because you can lose yourself in your imagination. I just loved watching people walk the plank! How much did the pirate pay for his earrings? A buccaneer.

PIRATES OF ANTIGUA: THE BLACK SWAN
Relive the swashbuckling days of long ago as you party with the Pirates of Antigua aboard the pirate ship, Black Swan. On this excursion you will:
• Transform from a landlubber into a buccaneer as you step aboard the 89 ft. schooner and don your eye patch.
• Start your adventure at sea with a blast of canon fire as the Black Swan sails out of the harbour.
• Cruise away into the fantasy world of the spirited and friendly pirates.
• Enjoy a voyage along the west coast of Antigua filled with adventure and fun, anchoring in a quiet bay where the fun really begins.
• Walk the plank or swim. You can even take the boat launch to the beautiful beach where you can soak up the sun.
• Depart from the bay and continue the fun aboard the Black Swan with festive music, dancing and a limbo competition all the way back to the pier.

TORTOLA, BVI
Sail across the channel on yachts destined for Norman, Cooper, Salt or Pepper Islands. Here you can swim and snorkel into underwater caves and among colorful coral reefs. A scenic island tour takes you up Fort Hill to Cane Garden Bay where you can relax on spectacular white-sand beaches. Enjoy the tales of this historic waterway as you retrace the paths of Christopher Columbus and Sir Frances Drake.

Tortola, BVI – VIRGIN GORDA & THE BATHS
I like this tour because It is now time to relax. Especially towards the end of the cruise. This is beautiful and picturesque and just a great way to chill. If you have a partner there is a places to steal a kiss.

VIRGIN GORDA & THE BATHS
Virgin Gorda is the third largest and second most populated of the British Virgin Islands.
On this excursion you will:
• Begin with a 40-minute cruise across the Sir Francis Drake Channel; to Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda.
• Board open-air safari busses for a short 5-minute ride to the famous baths.
• Swim or bask in the sun amid mammoth boulders in this unique atmosphere of palms, sand and sea caves.
• Take a stroll through the intricate network of trails discovering hidden caves and sea pools.
• Enjoy a complimentary beverage before boarding the boat back to Road Town and your ship.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS
What makes Nassau so special? Picture an idyllic place with stretches of perfect white-sand beaches, gracefully swaying coconut palms offering oases of shade, and warm, crystal-clear waters revealing the secrets of incredible multi-colored marine life. Whether you spend the day shopping for duty-free gifts and mementos, taking a carriage ride past sorbet-colored buildings, or touring in a glass-bottom boat, chances are you’ll leave this happy place in the Bahamas with lots of beautiful memories.

Nassau – ATLANTIS AQUAVENTURE
I like tour because! Well just look at the description, inner tube, pools, water coasters, body and water slides. This was a fantastic day out and I just went by myself! Its fantastic for family and groups! You’ll go Weeeeeeeeeeee all day long.

ATLANTIS AQUAVENTURE
Be among the first to discover a new world of fun and excitement on this full-day Atlantis adventure.
On this excursion you will:
• Disembark a short distance to the Atlantis Resort.
• Begin with a 20-minute transfer by bus to the world famous Atlantis Resort.
• Be escorted on a tour of the grounds as you discover Atlantis.
• See the exhilarating new waterscape of pools, water coasters, body slides and rivers, making it the largest water-themed attraction in the Caribbean.
• Explore the resort’s 141-acre waterscape comprised of 20 million gallons of fresh and seawater with more than 50,000 fascinating sea creatures.
• Feel the magic of a fabled world long lost in time as you explore the maze of archaeological ruins called The Dig.
• Conclude your tour at the Day Visitor Center, just beyond the Royal Towers.
• Ride the four adrenaline-inducing water slides among a mile long rapids and wave river.
• Experience the thrills of the towering Mayan temple’s five water slides and the 7-story Power Tower.
• Grab an inner tube and join the fun!
• Spend the afternoon relaxing in the warm tropical sun, plunging into the refreshing waters of a swimming pool or pristine beach.
• Enjoy the formal splendor of the Royal Baths Pool or the relaxed atmosphere and fun of the Lazy River pool.
• Have lunch at one of the several outdoor or indoor eateries and spend the rest of the day as you like.
• At the 7-acre Paradise Lagoon, you can arrange for non-motorized water sports and rent water bikes, kayaks, water hammocks and snorkeling equipment.
• Visit the Caribbean’s largest casino or embark on a shopping expedition and stroll through over 20 colorful shops in the Marina Village.

5. If someone were to ask you “What does a Carnival Cruise Director do?” how would you reply?
There is this big thick book that has a huge list of all the things a cruise director has to do in his office. Then an e-mail comes in and tells me more things I have to do. Before I have done that the phone rings to tell me even more things I have to do. Somewhere In between that I host some shows and make some announcements. And at the end of the day I get a call for forgetting most of the stuff in the big thick book. Then at the end of the day I call Mum and go to bed and start all over.

6. What is your most favorite part of the job.
Free Food. Or was I supposed to say “making people laugh?” Because I have to tell you: free food is better!

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.
I host all the comedians show because they make me laugh so much, simply don’t miss the comedy show.

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD.
We only get to Key West once a month, have you ever tried to buying Halloween costumes, riding the white knuckled speed Boat and eating a bowl of conch chowder before a staff meeting.

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.
“The Love Boat” of course. I thought Isaac was really cool.

10. Finally – please fill in the blanks

YOUR FAVOURITE ACTOR
The brother from “Frasier.” I don’t remember his name. I saw him Live on stage on Broadway in “Spamalot.” He was amazing.

YOUR FAVOURITE ACTRESS
I like Diana Troi from Star Trek. She’s not even that good but I really like Star Trek Next Generation.

WHATS ON YOUR EYE POD
Everything. I download as much as I can until it’s full. You got anything I can down load?

YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE
I like anything will elves, swords and wizards. And spaceships. Ooh! And I Like Comedy.

WHO MAKES YOU LAUGH
Billy Connolly. And as mentioned before the Brother from “Frasier” – can’t remember his name!

YOUR FAVOURITE CARNIVAL CRUISE DIRECTOR EXCLUDING YOURSELF AND ME (JOHN) AND WHY.
I can’t chose just one. They are all so nice and alot of FUN.

IF YOU WERE INVISABLE FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD YOU DO
Wow. That would suck. I guess I would try to find a cure.

Thanks Wee Jimmy. You know, his personality is best summed up in that last question about being invisible. While others have said how they would use their powers, wee James said he would hate it and I believe him. He would hate this because nobody could see him and nobody likes the company of people more than him………..he really is a great kid and a brilliant if slightly sweaty Cruise Director.

Talking of Cruise Directors the new CD for the Carnival Legend arrived today in Grand Cayman and it is of course our friend from Bloggers Cruise 2…….Stephanie Meads. It feels quite strange thinking of her as a Cruise Director and not my assistant. Still ………. she isn’t too important to get my tea in the morning and wash my underpants.
I had better not ask this guest for help though!

Guest: Mrs. ________ Ref: 828710449A
Cabin: ______ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 10/25/09 – 10/25/09

Bitten by Mosquito

Gst called desk, upset that while on deck 9 by the pool she was bitten by a Mosquito. Mrs.______ then went to infirmary and was charged basic service charge. Guests states that as she was bitten on the ship that Carnival should pay for the treatment.

While I sympathize that the guest was bitten by Molly the Mosquito I don’t think that we are responsible………are we? I mean, unless the Mosquito was wearing a Carnival T Shirt and holding a Fun Ship Special ……then it’s not really a Carnival Mosquito.

Anyway, it’s a strange comment and stranger in the fact that I don’t ever remember anyone being bitten by a Mossie while at sea.

Last night during our Captain’s celebration I met lots of bloggers and as always it was a joy to hear people say how much they enjoyed what I write. Talking of bloggers ……….. tomorrow……….Wednesday I will be releasing information on the big bloggers breakfast event in New York which I hope some of you may be able to attend.

Oh………..one more thing. Last night the Captain and I attended a private show held by the Aqua Fest Group which made up of 200 plus gay and lesbian guests…………..oh and what a party it was. The group leader Thomas Baker is great supporter and regular reader of the blog…….so a big hello to Thomas and congratulations on another successful cruise.

The Captain and I spent 30 minutes watching a brilliant female impersonator sing a parody of Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand tunes and I have to tell you it was quite a performance.

OK, it’s time to go to the infirmary to get some ibuprofen for my dodgy leg syndrome and to have my flu shot. All Carnival crew are offered a complimentary flu shot and I am off to get mine. It’s only a little prick……funny…….I seem to have heard that somewhere before.

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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