Boo!

October 30, 2009 -

John Heald

So, the ship is now in full Halloween mode and last night we had the first of the Camp Carnival trick or treat sessions. Now, rather than have the kids randomly knock on cabin doors asking for candy and waking up Mr. and Mrs. Grumpy from their afternoon nap, we do this in the lounges. Each lounge has a department head and staff manning it ready to hand out the candy provided by our sponsor M and M or W and W as they are called in Australia. As Oct 31 is on the last night of the cruise we decided to give the kids a huge sugar rush tonight and then let them have two days to come down from their Twix and Mars bars high.

Now, Halloween is not something that is a big deal in the UK and for the last 5 years I have either been at home or in the middle of the trans-Atlantic on the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom which has an average age of 56…………..thus my exposure to all things Halloween has been limited to say the least.

Anyway, there I stood, in the Follies lounge waiting for the little darlings to come and threaten me with kicks to the ankle if I refused to give them yet more sugar. I also expected a nice collection of ghosts, Spiderman (s), fairies and Buzz Light-years……… ummm …………nope.

The Camp Carnival staff led the kids into the lounge and first up was a 6 or 7 year old girl who was definitely not dressed as a Fairy. I will try and describe what I saw. She was wearing a boob tube, leather miniskirt, platform heels and glitter eye-shadow and lashings of pink lipstick.

“Hello,” I said

“Trick or Treat,” she replied in a very confident voice and with her hands on her hips.

As I placed a generous amount of chocolate in her Carnival bag I asked her what she was dressed as.

“I’m a Bratz!” she declared.

“Oh”…….I declared, having no bloody clue what a Bratz was.

I learnt later from one of the Camp Carnival girls that a Bratz is a modern day kids doll and is apparently a cartoon as well. I am sure she looked like a Bratz to the trained eye ………..but to me………..she looked like…………well………….I would rather not say.

The parents came with them wondering whether they’d put enough effort into their kids outfits ……….my favorite was a perfect, blue-painted Statue of Liberty ……..whose name was Tasmin………aged 5 and a half.

In days gone by I would have been able to show you photos of the kids in their costumes but as I have learnt recently from my own experiences there are real Halloween monsters out there ……and so that avenue of pleasure is closed off. However, I will be able to show you the best of the adult costumes next week. So, for now, let’s have a look at some of the decorations we have put up around the ship.

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I personally don’t see the point of Halloween. I can see the kids thing about demanding candy with menaces from little old ladies but the whole thing about celebrating being scared……..I just don’t get it. Then again, when it comes to being scared and watching movies like Texas Chain Saw Axe Wielding Teenage Killer Mutant Prom Night Killers ………….I just can’t watch them. Then again, this probably comes from the time Heidi and I tried something in London called Cellar of Horrors Live. You pay an absurd amount of money to go into a dingy basement entrance and you do so with certain “it’s not real” swagger.

A kindly staff member pointed out that we shouldn’t go any further if we have a heart condition ……….I say bollocks………. and we stepped inside, past a waxwork of a Victorian police officer on the beat. Except it’s not a waxwork, it’s a drama student, who explodes in my face with a piercing yell, forcing me into an out of skin leap that Scooby-Doo would struggle to match.

For the next twenty minutes this is a short, sharp shock………. we wander through dark, echoing corridors, being chased by all manner of ghouls, from a huge bald bloke with an axe to Jack the Ripper, who emerged from the shadows to rattle chains, groan, dribble and spurt blood at us from various gaping wounds. The actors were truly impressive, and by the time we stumbled out of there Heidi had a huge lump in her throat ………and I had one in the back of my trousers.

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

Bill (Zydecocruiser) from ZydecoCruiser.com Asked:
John, Please reply

Hi John,
Bill here, Live and Almost Live for Carnival Dream. We arrive in Venice tomorrow (or maybe last month, depending…) 🙂

Having a wonderful time. No complaints and the Cove Balcony cabin is amazing.

Many pictures of it and many others, with tons more to come…

http://www.zydecocruiser.com/CarnivalDream/GrandMed/index.htm

Enjoy!
Best Regards,
Bill

John Says:
Hello Bill

I have been looking at your amazing photos and as always I encourage everyone to do the same. The fact that you share your photographic talents with everyone is so wonderful. Great news about the cove balcony cabin…………I thought you mike like that one.

I will see you in Bermuda mate and best wishes to you and Elizabeth.
John

Ken Stevenson Asked:
John,

A reply would be appreciated.
Perhaps you can help us with a Carnival procedure.

We cruise frequently – January will be our 13th with Carnival – and between age (80’s) and surgeries we find our mobility pretty limited. For everyone’s benefit we have been using Carnival’s Special Requirements Information form to request a table for two near the entrance to the dining room. Before our last cruise my wife even included a cover letter on personalized, Platinum stationery. We have never yet been assigned to a table for two OR near the entrance let alone both even though after standing in line and taking the maitre d’s time we find that the tables we need are still available. It would really be of great benefit to us and to those around us if we could be assigned to such a table on our upcoming cruises without the necessity of standing in line each time hoping our luck holds out. Is there something we can do, someone we should contact for our future cruises?

Thanks for any help you can offer. We know many people enjoy your blogs as much as we do, keep ‘em coming.
Ken Stevenson

John Says:
Hello Ken

I am so honored that you have taken the time to write and how wonderful that at 80 years of age you both still love to cruise the Fun Ships of Carnival. Please would you post another comment marked for my reply and include your cabin number and ship plus date of sail and I will make the request for your table as you requested.

I hope to hear from you soon and my best wishes to you both.
John

Bonnie Boatner Asked:
Dear John. Please reply if you want.

Thank you for your blog. I find it entertaining and eye opening. I am amazed at the things people will complain about. FTLOG, they are on a cruise! Not everyone is able to cruise, so they should just be grateful. I am a smoker, but you won’t hear me complaining about the new policy. I will just smoke where allowed and get over it.

I am so excited about the Bloggers Dec 3 cruise. My sister is coming with us, she has never cruised before. Boy, she will be ruined!! She is working on her masters and working full time, so she will be so ready for this break. I can’t wait to see her face when she takes her first step onto a cruise ship. I plan to show her everything that I love about cruising, but I don’t think I will tell her to make sure she gets up before flushing the toilet, that is something every cruise novice needs to enjoy 🙂

Anyway, just wanted to say, I am sitting here in my underwear, reading your blog and smiling. Thanks for all you do and happy 5 month birthday to your beautiful daughter.

John Says:
Hello Bonnie

Your positive outlook on life is a joy to read and thanks for sharing it with us all. I am also sitting here in my underwear and promise faithfully that the Bloggers Cruise on your Carnival Dream will be the most wonderful cruise vacation you have ever had ……….and the same goes for your sister.

See you both soon
Best wishes
John

Ann-marie asked:
John Please Reply-

My husband and I will be on the Carnival Dream on Dec.3, we would like VERY MUCH to have a table for 2 at Dinner each night at 8pm seating, we are big people and need big table.
Please Help.
Thank You

John Says:
Hello Ann – Marie

Please can you send me your cabin number and last name and I will do all I can to accommodate your request. Please send this as soon as possible.
Best wishes
John

Dave (please reply) Asked:
I know it is way way early, but it seems we have a bit of a CruiseCritic avid poster non official (I don’t do anything official, too much evidence) cruise starting for the Miracle in Jan ‘11, guess there is no chance of you being the CD then is there ?????

John Says:
Hello Dave

I have never been on the Carnival Miracle and so it certainly would be great to be the CD there at least once before I retire. I obviously don’t know my 2011 schedule as yet but ……….never say never…………and it certainly would be great to meet you.
Thanks for all the support
Best wishes
John

Divetrash Asked:
Hi John (please reply)

Re: your answer to Cruisin’ Librarian about the Dream Piano Bar entertainer. Ron Pass is on the Splendor until November 7th. Then after a break he will return to the Splendor in February. Damian Brell is currently on the Dream, however, when the Dream gets to New York on November 12th; he will be leaving the ship and returning home to LA. Vince Strong will be taking over in the piano bar and should be on starting with the Cruise to Nowhere. Vince is a great guy and a great entertainer; he’s gotten nothing but good reviews over on Cruise Critic.

Of course, this is all subject to change but that is the story according to all three entertainers.
Sorry I’ve been quiet as of late, but I’ve had to do a lot of catching up on the blogs. I just spent another 2 weeks in the hospital and had another surgery because of the injuries I received in the accident last April.

Anyway, I believe I read in one blog that there will be some sort of Blogger’s event in New York on Nov. 7th. Is that correct? It just seemed sort of early. When will there be more details on this?

Thanks for any info. Give my best to Heidi and Kye and all 343 Stephanies. I hope we get to talk soon.

Laura (aka divetrash, aka Princess Laura, the sweet and recovering of Big Ed’s Evil Crew)

John Says:
Hello Laura

I hope by now you saw my get well e-mail and how disappointed I was that you were not joining us for the bloggers breakfast in New York. However, I know this year has been a terrible one for you and that you are still recovering from that dreadful car accident. This therefore is a great opportunity to thank you for all your support of the blog and for the loyalty and love you show to our piano bar entertainers and mostly………for us all to say “get well soon.”

Best Wishes from us all
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply.

When someone does something for someone else and enjoys doing it, then it should not be anyone else’s business. If you enjoy helping your fellow human beings, and it makes you feel good about it, then don’t worry what others think.

John, you are a “One of a Kind” type person, you are kind, considerate and the one trait about you that makes you special is that YOU CARE ABOUT OTHER’S. All you want to do is to make sure that everyone who cruises on a Carnival ship has a fantastic and memorable cruise.
Please don’t worry what others say, you just keep doing what you feel is right.

Take care and please send my love to Heidi and to Kye.
From your #1 blogger thingy fan,

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

Thank you for those so very kind words. I know that you are a huge supporter of the blog and cruising and I always relish reading your comments.
My best wishes to you and your family
John

Ed Milan Asked:
John please reply

Just back from Lost Wages and it is true you CAN smoke anywhere in the casinos.
Best to Heidi and Kye
papanh

John Says:
Hello Ed

Thanks for that information and I must admit, I was very surprised about this. Anyway, I hope you came back with some money left to come and hopefully cruise with me soon.
Thanks for the kind words mate.
Best wishes
John

Jenn Asked:
John (please reply) Hi John,

I just wanted to let you know about the casinos in Las Vegas. Seeing as I live in Vegas, I can confirm that there is only one non-smoking casino in this town. All the other casinos have small (very small) non-smoking areas, but the Westin is the only completely non-smoking hotel/casino here in town.

I love reading your blog, and look forward to a time when we get to sail with you as CD.
..Jenn

John Says:
Hello Jenn

Two in a row. I guess my information was totally wrong as I was led to believe that the Vegas casinos were mostly non smoking. My apologies and thank Jenn for this. I to hope we can sail together very soon.
Best wishes
John

Peggy Taylor Asked:
PLEASE REPLY

Hello John, I’m a blog thingy fan since June. It’s every entertaining!

I am cruising with my cousin on the Carnival Elation Nov. 2 out of San Diego. It will be her first cruise and a great way to celebrate her birthday. I’m excited for her and can’t wait to see her enjoying the cruise experience as much as I did on my first cruise this past July. If you can, I’d like to know who the CD will be and the name and nationality of the Captain of the ship and the next in command. Any recommendations for Shore Excursions would be great. Ensenada, Mexico and Catalina Island, CA are the two ports.
Thanks muchly – Peggy Taylor

John Says:
Hello Peggy

Thank you for saying how much you enjoy the blog thingy and I am sure you are excited about your cruise on the Carnival Elation next week. Your Cruise Director will be Steve Knisley and he is Canadian. He is also very funny and I know he will give you a wonderful cruise. The Master of the vessel is Captain Vito Garuccio who like all our captains is from Italy.

Peggy, I have never actually cruised out of the west coast much to my regret and so my knowledge of these tours is sparse to say the least. May I suggest that you attend Steve’s travel talk and afterwards he will make himself available for questions and be able to help you find the right ones for you. I will tell him to expect to meet you then. Have a wonderful time.
My best wishes to you both
John

Linda Stein Asked:
John, please reply

Oh my God…I could not stop laughing! Trying to get those toys out of the packaging! What memories you brought back. I hope your finger is healing well because you will need it when you get home to open whatever Heidi has bought for Kye while you were gone!

I have a question about that “On the Deck for the Cure” Walk. Is that only done in October for Breast Cancer awareness month or do they do it on every cruise? We’ll be on Miracle the week of Nov 4th. Recently someone close to me was diagnosed (she’s actually having her surgery tomorrow) and if the walk will take place while I’m on board Miracle, I would like to take part.

Keep up the great work on your blog. As usual I came home from work today in a bad mood and you made me laugh and feel better. A rare gift you have. I hope Malcolm is as great a CD as you are. If so we should have a fantastic time. Well, I know we will anyway. We were on Miracle last summer and she is a great ship and crew. I can’t wait to get back for my 25th anniversary cruise.

Thanks again for the laughs!

John Says:
Hello Linda

Let me start by saying that I send my best wishes to your friend and I truly hope her surgery was successful. The On the Deck for the Cure walk is held year round but is also dependent on stocks of the T-Shirts and Wrist bands that comes with the $10 donation. However, it is safe to say that most ships hold this event on most cruises so hopefully next week you will find that the event does happen. I have e-mailed Malcolm the CD just to ask him to do his best to make this happen.

You will love Malcolm and I am sure you will be saying “woo hoo” for weeks to come ……….you will see what I mean next week.

Thanks for all the kind words
Best wishes
John

LorrieB Asked:
Dear John, (PLEASE REPLY)

My husband was in the military for 21 years and served his country in the best possible way he knew. Unfortunately that meant leaving his wife and three children at home, sometimes for a year at a time, while he was sent to Korea or Spain. He missed his family more than words could explain but also knew that what he was doing was important. He is now retired and his children are 20, 21 and 23. They may not have fully understood at the time why their father was gone a great portion of their youth but the time they were able to spend with him was precious and memorable, more than the day-to-day. I say all of this for one reason. You love your wife and daughter and the fact that it has recently caused you tremendous pain and pause speaks volumes about your character. You joke past the pain and fill each person’s life who comes in contact with you with a piece of your joy. Never doubt that you are a special person and you were placed on this earth to make others happy. If you were supposed to be home every day you wouldn’t have the abilities you have to make others laugh. You are a true gentleman and are loved by those who have not even met you other than in your blog thingy. Bravo, John!!!!!!!

Now, I need a favor. Yes that’s right. I’m going to ruin everything I said above with a request. My mother will be cruising with my husband and I on November 8-15, 2009, on the marvelous Carnival Conquest. I want this to be the best vacation she has ever had. I don’t care what you do, but if you could send something to her cabin, I would be FOREVER in your debt. Even a photo of you in your underwear would be okay, although you might end up having a stalker. She likes fluffy men!!!!!!

Thank you in advance for anything you do and even if you can’t, thank you!!!!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello June

What a charming way to ask for something for Mum and it will be my honor to send her a little gift as you requested. I hope she has a brilliant time onboard the Carnival Conquest.

I also want to say a big thank you for your kind words of support which mean so much. I also say a big thank you to your husband for his years of service.

Thanks again and my best wishes to you and all the family.
John

Judy Asked:
John please reply soon!!!

We are going on the Glory 0ct.31 with our great granddaughter she a just a year old, anything we need to know and we are platinum and her grandparents are going to can we get the VIP check in for them too, wrote earlier but didn’t hear, know you are busy first traveled with you on the Glory many years ago and it gave us such pleasure we just can’t quit. Hugs to the family.

Guests sailing this sat on the GL and asking if their great granddaughter can also receive VIP check in. Although they only ask for the great granddaughter; it sounds like there is another cabin; the VIP check-in extends to guests traveling I the same cabin with them or minors traveling in a separate cabin. (Wouldn’t extend to adults in another cabin)

John Says:
Hello Judy

I think I am right here that you want VIP check in for your granddaughter. Well, VIP check-in extends to guests traveling in the same cabin with them or minors traveling in a separate cabin. So, yes, you can get your lovely granddaughter onboard with you as VIPs however unfortunately it does not extend to her parents. Still, I am sure they will be grateful for their daughter not to have to wait in the terminal and instead explore the ship with you.
I hope this helps and thanks again for taking the time to write.
Have a wonderful cruise and best wishes to all
John

Lisa Asked:
John – Please reply if you wish

From a recent blog:
If there is one port that sits atop the ”why doesn’t a Carnival ship go there” it is of course………..Detroit…………in second place is my home town of Southend On Sea and in third place……………it is of course Aruba. And while the motor city and the chance for me to go home for lunch and a poo on my own toilet remain a dream …… Aruba……….is back.
Your wish may come true:

The next major cruise ship hub will be in … Detroit?

Could Detroit become a major cruise ship hub? That’s the idea, say government officials who visited the down-on-its-luck city Monday to talk up a taxpayer-funded waterfront development.

The Detroit Free Press, a sister paper to USA TODAY, reports that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other leaders painted a vision of Detroit developing as a Midwest cruise ship capital.

LaHood and other politicians toured a $21 million port facility taking shape on the Detroit River that is being partly funded with federal stimulus funds. The facility will include a dock for cruise ships and water taxis as well as a new customs facility. It’s expected to be finished in late 2010.

The politicians didn’t say which cruise ships they expect to visit the port.
I’ll be ready to book the first Carnival cruise out of Detroit! 😉

John Says:
Hello Lisa

I just wanted to say …….wow……..I had no idea. The only reason I said Detroit was that I had a guest doing silly things on stage that week and his cue word to do it was “Detroit.” Well, maybe then this was an omen and one day you will see the Carnival smokestack in the motor city.
Thanks for letting me know
Best wishes
John

Pair-a-medics in SC Asked:
John, (Please Reply)

My girlfriend and I are booked on the Inspiration in a few weeks. She has asthma and several allergies. We have medicines for her in the event of asthma attacks or allergic reactions. When she has asthma attacks they are many times too bad for just the standard ole pocket inhaler and require her oxygen powered nebulizer. We have our own small oxygen cylinder for her to use in these cases. My question (or one of them) is… Is there going to be a problem carrying this on the ship? The tank (and any medicines we use) fits in my carry on.

Also, this is my fifth cruise. I have cruised with Steve and Wee Jimmy, both unbelievably good CD’s, and (I believe his name anyway) was Mark on the Imagination (2003) and Triumph (2005). I see Felipe is the CD for our next one but I haven’t heard much about him. I have never had a bad trip; just want to know he’ll have us laughing too.

Also, is it better to book your next cruise onboard on @ your local travel agent? We want to take the kids on one and let them experience the fun that Carnival is for us.

I hope to see more pics of Kye soon if the Stephanies can super-glue them in the blog. She is an adorable little girl…. and you are so far from selfish. I terribly hope to cruise with you one day as I have not done that yet.

Anchors away!
Tabby & Kris

John Says:
Hello Tabby and Kris

Please don’t worry about your girlfriend. We have many guests who sail with us with similar allergies and we are used to looking after them. First of all the answer is yes, you may bring the oxygen onboard. We will store it for you safely and you can use it as and when needed. Please do though contact our dedicated staff to assist you pre-cruise with these arrangements? They can be contacted on specialneeds@carnival.com.

Please tell them the type of cylinder you have etc and they will make sure all is arranged.

You will truly enjoy the young Brazilian Felipe whose energy and fun is making him very popular with our guests. As for the best way to book? Well, there really is no right or wrong answer to that as it’s what you are most comfortable with…..as long as you just book!

If you have any questions about a particular cruise or pricing etc please know I will be here to help.
Best wishes to you both
John

pipergirlKerry Asked:
PLEASE REPLY

Hi John!
First, do NOT feel bad for providing for your family, especially if your wife doesn’t seem to be upset with you! I can’t imagine how it must get you down. If you “talk” to Kye on the computer she’ll never get to the point where she won’t “know” you. You really don’t seem like the type of man one would forget anyway!!!!

My family (8 of us) is going to be on our Carnival Dream on Dec. 3 with you celebrating a 5th, 40th, 60th and 70th birthdays! Two things….is there anything we could/should do to our booking to be added to the “bloggers cruise”

And second, is there any way of putting in a request for one of the ROUND tables for 8 in the dining room. It’s just so much nicer to be able to talk to each other without leaning over and screaming to the other end of the table.

Thank you soooooo much!
Kerry
(Wooo hoo only 46 more days!)

John Says:
Hello Kerry

I am sure you are as excited as I am to be sailing on your Carnival Dream. You need to please send your cabin numbers, names and booking numbers as soon as possible marked for “STEPHANIE – PLEASE ADD TO BLOGGERS CRUISE” so we can make sure you get an invitation to the activities and events etc. Send the request to socialnetworking@carnival.com.

I will also send this to Ken the Maitre D who will certainly do his best to help you with your dining request.

Not long until we see each other onboard.
Until them I send you best wishes
John

SharonR Asked:
Dear John, (please reply, if you don’t mind)

I haven’t had the time to check in on the blog for a few months due to some family problems that took precedence over my “surf the net” time. I decided to check in as we are anxiously awaiting our 11/15 cruise on the Dream to celebrate my 50th birthday and you had told us to remind you closer to cruise time that we wanted to be included in the blogger activities (we had booked the cruise early and had been thrilled when we heard that you would be there as we loved cruising with you on the Freedom in Europe a few years ago). I was very disappointed to read the comment that you would not be on that cruise after all! We still love you and will do our best to enjoy our cruise without you-:( , but would love to be included in the reception to say our hellos.

Stuart and Sharon Rosenberg
Guests are sailing on the DE 11/15 celebrating her 50th birthday; you asked her to remind you closer to the sailing. Guests had wanted to be included in the Blogger’s cruise activities

John Says:
Hello Sharon

Thank you for writing and I hope your “family problems” are over and welcome back to the blog. I am so, so sorry that I will not be with you for the cruise. I will be holding a bloggers cocktail party before departure and I hope that you will be able to join me. I will be sending details on this very soon.

Please look out for a little birthday gift for your birthday.
Best wishes to you and all the Rosenberg family
John

That’s all for today. There will be more soon.

Now, I have read a few comments here on the blog and understand that there are thread thingies on Cruise Critic suggesting that Carnival is charging for ice tea. I am sorry but the only thing I can say to this string is “I am afraid knot”……get it?…….afraid not ……….. afraid knot ………string……..haha……… Anyway, we are not nor do we have any plans to charge for ice tea so please tie this on to the sting thingy would you.

Well, all too quickly my time here on the Carnival Legend has come to an end and on Sunday I will have a meeting ashore with some of the port people and then a flight to Miami. I want to thank all those people who have offered to drive me etc……….especially Tom and Jane who are such good friends. However, its work for me right up to the last moment.

I will be reminiscing shortly about my four weeks here but one of the things I will miss will be a chap the crew refer to as “Mr. G” He is one of Carnival’s in-house success stories. Someone who started in an entry level position and yet through hard work he is now the Hotel Director of the Carnival Legend. So, rather than me tell you about him …… lets have Mr. or Guna to give him his real name…..tell you all about his Carnival journey.

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1. Guna, please tell us about your history with Carnival Cruise lines, where has your journey taken you so far.
I joined our company on 13th of May 1990, and will be completing my wonderful 20 years on 13th of May 2010. Joined as a Management Trainee in Food & Beverage Dept after 6 months of training in various outlets of Food and Beverage Department, I was promoted to the position of Asst. Food and Beverage Manager. In 1997 I was named Bar Manager aboard the Carnival Imagination, and promoted to the Position of Food and Beverage Manager in 2001 aboard the Carnival Victory. I will never forget that day as my promotion was announced on 12.31.2001 at approx 12.00 midnight. After serving for approximately 6 1/2 years as F & B Mgr, I was promoted to the level of Hotel Director in June 2008 aboard the Carnival Freedom.

2. What do you remember about your first day aboard and what did your job back then involve?
Working aboard a cruise ship has always been my dream. I was assigned to Carnival Festivale to start my training. I joined the ship in San Juan on 13th of May 1990. It was a pleasant experience on my first day as the ship was having United States Public health Inspection. Soon after the inspection was over, I was introduced to the F & B Team. Meeting individuals from all over the world was amazing. And I realized how large the world is when you get out there and are introduced to new sights, sounds and smells.

My 1st 6 months was dedicated to training in all areas of F & B (learning all procedures in the galley, bars, storeroom and restaurant; and the operational and accounting aspects of the Food and Beverage)

Soon after my training I was assigned to take charge of the main galley and lido. My main duties and responsibilities were to run the galley operation by ensuring that all company specified procedures are followed – Identifying inferior products and minimizing wastage and breakages, taking care of private and special functions, scheduling and training of employees, making sure the USPH and Environmental procedures are followed.

3. You have come a long way since then and one of the jobs you were given was to be the Food and Beverage Manager on ship start ups. Can you tell us about that experience and some of the challenges you faced?
It seems like I was on the Carnival Liberty just few days back but it is almost 4 years since. We did face few day to day operational challenges but nothing major, I have only great memories of the ship and my time in Fincantieri Yard in Monfalcone. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment of my time aboard the Carnival Liberty and my time in Europe.

4. So now you are Hotel Director of the Carnival Legend. What are your responsibilities?
I oversee the running of the vessel’s Hotel Department , which includes: Food & Beverage / Housekeeping / Guests Services / Entertainment / Shore Excursions / Camp Carnival / Accounting / Information / Casino / Corporate Training / Salon / Spa / Gift Shop / Art Auctioneer/ Internet Café Services and Golf Pro.

My major responsibilities are:
– Ensuring that guests are provided with a Fun and Memorable vacation by consistently seeking to improve guest service through motivation; as well as training of Team Members
– Making sure that all guest requests, inquiries and concerns are responded to promptly
– Enforce and Assist in the readiness of Hotel Depts. pertinent to United States Coast Guard Regulations in case of an emergency.
– Making sure that all Hotel Depts. are strictly following the Safety, Environmental and United States Public Health procedures and policies.
– Checking for maintenance and cleanliness of the vessel and follow-up as necessary to ensure vessels are maintained at the highest possible level.
– To monitor aboard inventories and ordering cycles of all consumables (including Bar, Food and other Supplies).
– To oversee all areas of crew issues and provide support as necessary to foster a harmonious relationship / environment aboard. Also, be able to develop employees to realize their maximum potential and prepare for future promotional opportunities.

5. How many crew are aboard and can you answer the following?
Total Number of crew 912

The top three countries represented amongst the crew….
197 crew from Indonesia; 179 crew from Philippines; and 137 crew from India

How many in the hotel departments?
783 of them are in the hotel operations

6. I have fallen in love again with the Spirit class ships. What are your favorite areas of the Carnival Legend?
I love the Golden Fleece Steakhouse for its striking interiors inspired by the Greek legend Jason and the Argonauts with gold bas-relief ships, black and gold figures of Jason, Grecian urns and other classic design elements. I adore the Truffles Dining Room for its décor that includes display cases housing elegant, decorative china patterns – cups, saucers, soup tureens, and platters – along with ceiling and wall murals featuring the swirling flowers, vines, vegetables, and tendrils made famous in Royal Copenhagen’s Flora Danica china pattern.

7. This ship was the first to include Your Time Dining. From a hotel perspective , has this program been successful and what are the comments you are receiving from guests?
Yes, Carnival Legend was the first ship to implement the “Your Time Dining” in June 2008. It is another great addition to our guests dining experience. Continuous service from 5.45pm to 9.30pm. Guests assigned to these open seatings are invited to dine when and with whom they choose each evening. So, guests will have the option of arriving at one level of the dining room within the specified times and request a table. “Your Time” guests are able to request any table size or waiter and are typically seated immediately when arriving at the dining room. However, if a modest wait time is required, guests are given a pager so they are free to relax elsewhere on the ship until their table is ready.

We believe that our new Your Choice Dining Program has proven to be an extremely popular enhancement to the Carnival vacation experience.

Few Comments from our guests:
• It’s great dining alternative for people traveling with teenagers, who cannot be rushed getting ready for dinner.
• This is the best option for dining. I loved being able to go to dinner at different times based on when we were hungry or ready to eat
• It was nice to eat whenever suited our our schedule for that particular day
• It was absolutely the best way to dine, no time restraints made each day so much easier!
• We were always seated promptly and were quick on choice of table.
• Excellent choice will never do assigned time. Your Choice Dining provides extreme flexibility, enhancing the cruise experience.
• We really enjoyed the wait staff even though it was different tables each night. We thoroughly enjoyed each and every one
• We did not eat at the same time every night so the total choice was perfect for us.

8. One of the things that our readers find intriguing is the behind the scenes operation. Can you tell us about one of those things that the guests don’t see…..the preparation from the time guests debark the vessel and sailing with a new group of guests. (Stores, cleaning etc)….
The debarkation/embarkation day is the busiest for everyone. You have no idea how much supplies our employees have to bring aboard, and ensure that we have everything we need and more. Everyone is making sure the previous cruise leaves no trace for the present. Every little crags and cracks and morsels are cleaned out. But what comes to mind right up is the unusual load of work for our housekeeping people. Not only do we have guests turn-over, but new crew members are coming in as well. This means many hundreds of rooms that they have to make sure are all ready and clean as per company standards. Imagine all the luggage they have to carry and deliver after all the cleaning and clearing up– and what is amazing is – to do it all with a welcoming warm smile to each and every guest. This is not only for housekeeping; but everyone aboard from each and every department. We gear ourselves up, leave the past behind, and welcome our new guests with all the hospitality we could muster amidst all the hard work they probably would never know about. That makes me proud. I am proud that my team presses on, week upon week – not at all begrudgingly, but always with a warm smile on their faces. That is what I hope the guests would realize.

9. What are your aspirations for the future?
I am still in the process of learning, looking forward to take additional courses with one of the Hospitality Universities and further improve my knowledge and skills and be beneficial to our Company.

10. Finally, please tell us a few of your favorite things.
MovieMy Favorite actors are Harrison Ford, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Fox. I was really touched by a movie I recently watched, “Soloist” by Jamie Fox and Robert Downing Jr.

Indian foodI thoroughly enjoy South Indian food, any type of Biryani, Tandoori Food and Indian Breads (in short, my Mom’s cooking)

Non Indian FoodI love Mediterranean Food, Chinese, Thai and Mexican Food – Uhm, isn’t that practically everything else?

Ports of callMy Favorite ports are St Maarten, Cozumel, Half Moon Cay, Dubrovnik and Venice . They are simply beautiful, and give you a sense of peace – whether you plan to shop, relax, or do active activity. It regenerates you from within.

MusicLove Indian Classical Music and 70’s and 80’s Music.

And – what is your favorite moment during your Carnival career?
The best moment of my life — and I suspect yours — isn’t strictly a moment. It’s an accumulation of them, a light that flashes brighter and brighter until it blinds you with its beauty.

I have many wonderful moments, My first favorite moment was the day I was promoted to the position of Food and Beverage Manager and the 2nd one was the day I was chosen by our Company in Jan 2005, to attend a Management course in Cornell University, Ithaca, and the 3rd was the day I was promoted to the position of Hotel Director, I can never forget this day as the announcement was made during the crew Q & A with the QCC Team members aboard the Carnival Freedom.

Great interview Mr. G and it has been a true pleasure working with you. I hope I get that pleasure again soon.

Well, as I said before I got here it had been 7 years since I had worked on a Spirit class ship and although I have no regrets about being on the bigger ships…………..I have been totally reminded as to why the Spirit class is the favorite class of many of our guests.

There is certainly a difference between 2,200 guests and 3,200 guests as on the bigger ships. The flow is different and at no time does this ship ever feel crowded. The free flowing design of guest entertainment decks on 2 and 3 helps this happen as does the lido deck configuration as well. I think the steakhouses on this class are the most elegant we have and overall I have found myself falling head over heels in love again with the Carnival Legend. I have, if the truth be told, often poo pooed those who said they were the best ships in the fleet. But after spending the last month here………..they may be right.

So thanks Carnival Legend for all the fun and it’s no wonder that the Crystal Eagle that Mr. Guna was photographed with earlier stands proudly in the lobby here. This is awarded to the happiest and friendliest crew in the fleet and the winners for 2009 were the team here on the Carnival Legend and it wouldn’t surprise me if they win again in 2010.

But it’s time to say goodbye. Here, as a quick reminder is my schedule for November.

November 1st – Fly to Miami
November 2nd – Meetings and more meetings about Bloggers Cruise 3 and 4
November 3rd – Fly to New York
November 4th – Meetings/special project – information to follow soon
November 5th – Meetings about your Carnival Dream naming ceremony
November 6th – Special Rockefeller Center event
November 7th – Bloggers Breakfast and continuation of special event
November 8th – fly to Bermuda
November 9th – Join my Carnival Dream
November 10 – 12th – Sail my Carnival Dream to New York and host bloggers party onboard
November 12th – Host naming ceremony and overnight travel agent function
November 13th – 15th – Sail on 2-day cruise to nowhere
November 15th – Fly to Miami
November 16th – 20th – Cruise Director Conference onboard the Carnival Imagination
November 21st – 29th – TBA – Possibly on the Carnival Freedom or Carnival Sensation
November 29th – fly to New York
November 30th – Sail your Carnival Dream (no guests on board) to Port Canaveral and plan BC3
December 3rd – December 11th – BC3
December 11th – Home with the girls

You have been with me every step of the way so far everyone. I know how much more fun the blog is when I am onboard but I hope that you will stay with me through November and follow my travels here on the blog thingy. I will be giving you first hand notice on all that’s happening at Carnival as well as the 343 Stephanies providing something called “steaming video” of the naming ceremony. I also hope to have some wonderful breaking news from PA 007 around the end of the year as well. I will of course keep answering your questions and continue to be your sounding board for all things good …………. and occasionally……not so.

I hope that you will continue the ride with me here as we all continue to write and talk about the one thing we all truly love……..Megan Fox’s bottom…………oh and of course Carnival Cruise Lines.

I want to leave you with one visual……last night, I went out on my balcony to take in the night air and get out of the cabin for a few minutes because my arse is on fire after eating some spicy Indian soup for dinner. Anyway, as I stood there I could see the Carnival Valor sailing close by also sailing away from Belize. This sight always gives me a special warm feeling inside and I never tire of experiencing it.

Tonight, as I watched I realized how lucky we all are to be able to enjoy the best vacation in the world ……. the enjoyment of seeing amazing places and then to return to the safe and luxurious surroundings of the ship to head to another port and new adventures ….. cruising is truly a vacation like no other…….why would anyone do anything else?

See you in Miami.

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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