A Day To Remember

November 10, 2009 -

John Heald

I am going to admit something to you all today…….sometimes……………not often……………but sometimes I don’t enjoy talking to people especially if they are being rude, obnoxious or are French. Therefore, having an exit strategy is important. This definitely applies when it involves being stuck talking to someone you don’t want to talk to. There are people who know exactly the right thing to say to get out of an uncomfortable or boring conversation……… I am not one of those people.

Take yesterday for example. Roger Blum, myself and some VP’s of Sales and stuff arrived at the pier in Bermuda at 9 am ready to board the ship, Roger and I to meet with the ship team to discuss the naming ceremony while the sales team were hosting a lunch for Bermudian travel agents and to drink a glass of wine or ten. None of us however could get onboard; in fact nobody was coming or going on or off the ship. And so it remained until 10:20 am when finally some 2 hours after arriving, the first guests started coming ashore. It turned out that the Bermudian Immigration officials were not happy that we had certain countries on the guest list and demanded to see each and every one of them……….around 100 …………and until they were satisfied that nobody onboard had wires sticking out of their shoes nobody was allowed on or off the ship. Well, as I said, eventually they started coming ashore and many……..and I mean many ……….guests recognized me and waved and shook hands and hugged and ripped my clothes off and tried to have rumpy pumpy with me………..OK, the last bit was bollocks but you get my meaning.

Each one responded to my “how was the crossing” and “are you having a good time” with smiles and positive words like “what a great ship” etc. And then I met a man…………..who saw me from the top of the gangway and seeing me shouted at the top of his voice “this sucks.” I ignored him hoping that he was talking to someone else but I knew he was talking to me. I recognized this man immediately and I knew that I was about to get both barrels. I knew this guy straight away for two reasons. 1) He looked like Rodney Dangerfield and 2) He had sailed on the Carnival Liberty with me on the Trans Atlantic crossing. This was the cruise where we unfortunately had quite a few guests who came down with gastro-sickness due to a bug being brought on board in Rome. And while many understood the change in service from self service to waiter service on the lido deck and other measures we had to take, this chap was the one who stood up at the debarkation talk, marched on stage and tried to grab the microphone from me shouting and demanding that everyone should receive compensation etc etc. I dealt with this man for many hours as did Duncan the Hotel Director. I listened to him swear and curse and call me every name under the sun and ones I have never heard before and I listened to him tell Duncan and I that he would never cruise Carnival again etc etc.

And so as I watched him walk down the gangway I had flashbacks to the time on the Carnival Liberty………..maybe he had changed…………come on John, give the man a chance. And so I extended a hand to him as he approached myself and Kirk one of our VP of Sales I said “Hello sir, didn’t expect to see you here, how are you”…………… and this is exactly what he said ………. and I mean……………exactly ……….turning to point to the ship he said ” this thing needs sinking.”

And from then on I stood with my suitcases around my feet and listened to Mr. Dangerfield rant and rave about everything that was wrong onboard………………..and that’s when I wished I had an exit strategy…………….but bugger………….I didn’t have one…………I never do.

I have yet to figure out the right thing to say but I know exactly what not to say. For instance, “I don’t want to talk to you now piss off you big nosed bastard before I flick your nipple.” Nobody wants to hear that. Because as much as people say they appreciate honesty……………….they don’t.

Being stuck in a conversation with someone over the phone is easy. There are plenty of viable reasons you might have to go. Someone could be at the door. Or if you’re at work, you’ve just been called to an urgent meeting by someone with a beard. I’ve lost track of how many times friends have told me they’re being called to a meeting. Only after they’ve hung up it hits me: they’re at home. And it’s 10 pm.

Talking to someone from a cell phone allows for many chances to bugger off. The battery is dying. Or it’s too windy. Or, whoops – the signal was just dropped. I get that one all the time. I’ll be talking to someone and suddenly the line goes dead. The other day someone said, “Sorry, my cheek hit the mute button.”

Yeah……………….mute my arse.

But when you’re face to face with someone it’s entirely different. It’s not like you can say, “hello, hello, I have lost you……..can you hear me know?” Excuses are tricky because people can actually see you.

All you can do is hope that your phone rings and then say you have to take the call or a crew member sees that you need rescuing and tells you “the Captain needs you on the bridge” but this never happens.

One time I was talking to a guest who was very nice but insisted on telling me every detail of every one of the 20-plus cruises they had been on and I was desperately in need of a poo……..I mean I was touching cloth.

I couldn’t say “sorry to interrupt your story about what you had for dessert on the Tropicale in 1987 but I have a turtles head in my underpants. Instead I said my phone was ringing even though it wasn’t. I said it was on vibrate, reached into my pocket, and then pretended to take a call. Then I said it was an important call, and politely waddled away clamping my thighs together tighter than a room full of Scotsmen and went to the bathrooms outside the main theatre. I thought I was free right up until the minute I came out of the toilet and I saw the person I’d been talking to had followed me and was lurking nearby. Patiently waiting to resume where we left off. Who does that?

I am sure there are many things I could say and do to get myself out of these situations and apart from it actually being my job to listen to the guests despite the topic of conversation there is another problem. The problem is, I’m not good at managing the guilt. When I want to get out of speaking to someone, I don’t want to the person to feel bad…………………so I don’t.

However, and I don’t think you have ever heard me say this before on the blog and you probably never will again because Mr. Dangerfield once again told Kirk and I that “He would never cruise Carnival again” and for the first time in 23 years of doing this it took all myself reserve not to say , “Good, then sail with RCI then you miserable sod”………I didn’t say that but knowing already the hell he would have put the ship’s crew through and knowing how rude and obnoxious he would have been to people doing their best to give him a wonderful cruise……………..I honestly hope he never does cruise with us again………but I know because of the incomparable value for money cruise vacations we offer …….he will……………like one of my hemorrhoids ……………….be back.

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

Mary Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)

We have just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Liberty. There were many many reasons why this cruise was so fantastic but it would takes pages and pages to list them all so I will just tell you about the 2 most important and outstanding reasons why. I had read on your blog and also on Cruise Critic what a great cruise director, Butch Begovich was. He certainly exceeded my expectations. Not only was he high energy and active as anticipated but a truly genuine and personable young man. He truly enjoys his job and it shows in everything he says and does. He is a shining example of a true Cruise Director. In over 20 cruises, only 4 CD’s have left a lasting impression on my husband and myself and he is one of them. The very first CD who made such an impression was yourself, 10 years ago on the Carnival Triumph and I can see Butch having such a long and impressive career as a CD like yourself. His enthusiasm carries over to his entire staff and most probably to the rest of the crew on the ship and this brings me to reason #2 why the cruise was so fantastic. The service. We had such great and personal service on this cruise, especially in the dining room. We had Your Time Dining. Now many people feel that the personal touch is lost in this type of dining. Not so. The hostesses (especially Sanja) made sure we had the same wait staff every evening and Imade, Deepak and Sachin were just as great a team as anyone could have in the traditional dining rooms. We were seated every evening without any waiting (we usually dined between 5:45 and 6:30pm) and were greeted by the smiling faces of the beautiful Jr hostesses, Oana or Katsuirana (sp??). Lipica also came over to chat with us often. The table artist, Babu also entertained us on a few occasions and was a lot of fun. The only negative about Your Time Dining on Carnival Liberty: because the service was so efficient, we were finished our entire meal before the singing or dancing started downstairs. Several evenings, we had to stay after we were finished with our meal just so we could enjoy the singing or dancing. As you know, the entertainment is scheduled for just before dessert in the traditional dining rooms. For those who are always asking you to arrange a table for 2, they would love Your Time Dining as you are given your own table whether it is for 2, 4 or more. No one shared like they do on Princess. (Although we enjoyed that too). We have enjoyed Anytime on Princess and the freestyle on NCL so we were familiar with the process and enjoyed Your Time Dining on Carnival too.

Also, for those who are always writing to ask you to send something for themselves or others who are celebrating a birthday, anniversary etc., Butch did this for anyone who sent him a note. He read their letters on his Morning Shows and although no one requested anything, he sent each and everyone who mentioned a celebration a bottle of champagne or an alternative (someone who mentioned expecting a baby). If all cruise directors did this, there would be no need for them to write and ask you and then no one would be upset with you responding to those who ask you on this blog.

If all the ships handled table requests and celebrations like the Carnival Liberty, there would be no need for anyone to bother you with such requests on the blog and you could just give the personal attention to the passengers on whichever ship you are currently on.

I know that you have indicated regret for not launching the Dream as the CD like you have for many of the other ships like the Triumph, Liberty and Freedom and many others. As you planning to bring out the Magic? If not, are you and those with the beards considering Butch? I know that Carnival like all the other cruise lines always put their best on the new ships. You are Carnival’s best CD and highest ranking CD so I know you get first choice. Butch is right up there so please have those with the beards have him in mind too if the timing doesn’t work out with you when the Magic comes out. Or he could take over for you as Goose did on the Splendor after you brought the Splendor out. Hope you don’t mind the suggestion. I think it is good to let the beards hear our ideas too.

I missed your blog while I was on my cruise so I have a lot of catching up to do. Do not think that you are being selfish being away from Kye and Heidi. As a matter of fact, it is very selfless of you to give up so much of your personal life so you can put smiles on so many thousands of passengers’ faces each and every week. How would the world go around if every person stayed home for their own family? Captains, staff captains, engineers, and the rest of the crew on all ships all make this sacrifice so people like me and those who call you selfish can enjoy cruising year round. Everyone has their niche and yours is on a cruise ship. You are right where you belong. Thanks for enjoying your job so much that you are willing to make that sacrifice of being away from your family. Hopefully, as you planned, Kye and Heidi will be able to spend some time with you soon.

One other question, if you don’t mind as this is getting very long. What happened to Goose on the Splendor? I read on one of your blogs that a CD was replacing Goose and I know he just returned to the Splendor in the summer (not long enough to be on vacation again). Enquiring minds want to know.

John Says:
Hello Mary

Wow, what a wonderful way to start today’s question and answer session and how proud I am of my mate Butch. I worked with him on the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom and taught him all I know and I am so happy to see that he has embraced this and gone on to add his own personality to the job and that’s why he will, as you say, soon become one of the very best Cruise Directors we have ever had. I am glad to see that he is continuing the tradition of the morning shows and encouraging people to write in their dedications and rewarding them for doing so with a little something special. I have been doing this for years and I wish other CD’s would do the same, it really makes a difference. Butch is everything a CD should be and once again I know he will be thrilled when he reads your wonderful testament of praise.

Thanks also for mentioning the dining staff who enhanced your “anytime dining” experience. I am hearing that more and more guests are taking this option and the early concerns of it losing the fun service assigned seating brings are quickly fading. I will make sure the people at the top get to read your comments as well as those you praised.

Goose had to leave the Carnival Splendor for two weeks for medical reasons. He is fine now and is back as the CD and bringing his own style of Cruise Directing to the guests on the west coast.

Thanks so much then for the posting and especially for your kind and sincere words for Heidi, Kye and myself.
Best wishes to you and the family

Linda Hernacki Asked:
John, please respond:

Very sexy picture there of you John! So when do you go back home to the U.K.? If Stephanie is coming on board, are you leaving? Question regarding our visiting you on 1/23, can you explain how that works, with passes and all? Answer soon! Linda & Mike

John Says:
Hello Linda and Mike

I will be in touch at the start of next year Linda re the Carnival Dream visit. I am here now and I know you will love the ship. I fly back home on December 12th after the bloggers cruise and as much as I love my job I have to be honest………..I cannot wait.

My best wishes to you both as always

Kristin Boarman Frankenfield Asked:

Not that any of my comments are ever even posted let alone answered, but I have a question. My Husband has a Sea Miles card. You had said that the 5,000 bonus miles would be the approx value of one person on a 3 day cruise. How do we calculate our miles? Is it really Mile for Mile? I’ve heard of other lines where you end up only getting $.50 on the dollar had you actually paid for the cruise.

I have looked everywhere to try to find sea mileage distances to calculate how many miles a particular cruise would be if indeed your “Sea Miles” is mile for mile.

Still love your blog “thingy” even if you haven’t posted any of my comments.
So I’ll say it again: Legend 10/11: Honeymoon!!

Michael our stateroom Steward (5157)
Dining Room Late Seating #280-Gusti and Iis
Golden Fleece: Alex (??-short blond hair, female)

and of course you…Even if Dick Little was fake! (Still waiting on an answer to that for the bet with my husband, stakes are high!)

John says:
Hello Kristen

Thanks for taking the time to write. Just before I reply to your comment let me just say that I checked and all your comments were posted. Now, I should explain that sometimes it takes a couple of days to approve the comments. The 343 Stephanies read each one just to make sure there are no bad words or anything of a personal nature included in them and then they are posted. This as I said may take a few days. As for answering them I do answer each one marked for my reply but I am always working behind. Your comment for example was submitted on 28th October and here I am on November 9th replying to it so please accept my apologies for the delay in doing so. In fact, I have already answered one of your comments recently as I remember your question about my mate “Dick Little.”

Anyway, in answer to your Sea Miles card question may I direct you to www.seamiles.com Here you will find all the information you need and there are customer representatives with beards who will explain everything you need to know. The 5,000 miles the onboard rep advertises does work out to 3 days worth of cruising on some of the Carnival fleet. Anyway, have a trawl through the web thingy and if you have any questions please let me know
My best wishes to you both.

Wendy Asked:
Dear John, (Please Respond)

It is getting close to our trip on the Carnival Valor. We ship out of Miami on Nov. 15! I’m sure you don’t remember but I asked you questions about tours about a month or so ago. I had surgery on my arm and wasn’t sure about the Sea Trek Helmet Dive. Discussed it with my doctor and he said if I feel alright to try it, so we have decided not to book tours on-line but to wait until we arrive and see how my arm is doing.
Thanks for the information.

We have dinner reservations for the Steak House on Thursday night. That isn’t a formal night is it? I also read where you suggested to a gentleman (I believe on the same cruise we’re on) to give his wife a single rose at the steak house as a surprise, is there something you could suggest for me to give to my husband that evening? A rose is cool but can you think of something more guys like? He has been such a good guy taking care of me for the last four months he deserves something special from me to say thank you.

One last thing, you said you would try to help us get a table for two. If that is possible, I would be thankful. We have early sitting, room 9263 and name is Wendy McCarthy.

Thank you for all you do with this blog. You are a very special person with a talent for humor and the patience of a Saint. Waiting for the announcement for the 2010 bloggers cruise. If that doesn’t work we are planning on visiting you on the Carnival Spirit out of San Diego next Nov. Hope to see you then or sooner.

John Says:
Hello Wendy

I hope your arm is feeling better and you will be able to walk underwater and enjoy the superb Sea Trek Helmet tour. Thursday is not an elegant night and will be the perfect evening to enjoy a special dinner in the Steak House. I have contacted the Maitre D Pablo on the ship and requested your table as you asked and I am sure he will do his best to accommodate you. I know a rose is not a “manly” gift so instead, why not have your portrait photo taken on the first elegant night, sneak away the next day, buy the photo and a frame and write some romantic words on it and present it to him at dinner. I am sure this will be something he will always remember and always cherish.

Thanks for all the kind words and as soon as I have information on the 2010 bloggers cruise I will of course let you know.
Best wishes

Karen Asked:
John…….please reply

Just wondering when we will learn of the activities, etc. that are planned for the Dec. 3rd blogger’s cruise on the beautiful new Carnival Dream. The excitement of our group is really building and want to know of the FUN things that will be happening!
See you soon!!

John Says:
Hello Karen

All is set for the bloggers cruise and I will be preparing a special Blog Caper which will be delivered to the cabins during embarkation. I don’t want to spoil the surprises but we have a lot planned. I can tell you that there will be a welcome aboard cocktail party which is where I will unveil myself to you……….OK……………that didn’t sound right…………..but you get my drift right? Anyway, I will see you soon.
Best wishes to all

Kevin Jandreau Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)

I haven’t followed your blog thingy for a real long time but I have followed the dream from its conception. I guess dreams do come true. I have seen most if not all videos of her and you. I thought how nice it would be to have you on board when we sail to the exotic western Caribbean on our Carnival DREAM. When we first heard who would be cruise director on DREAM we were a little disappointed but was fine with it. Then it happened. We saw in your blog that you would be on our DREAM on Feb.20th. How excited we are. We have cruised carnival several time and made one mistake and went on RCC Jewel of the Sea. She was like a prize in Cracker Jack box. We will never make that mistake again. As a matter of fact we have people coming with us that are RCC cruisers and there first CARNIVAL. My wife Susan has a birthday the day we set sail on Feb 20th. We have several couples traveling with us and I plan to have a birthday party for her at dinner that night. How great it would be if you could make a quick stop by our table @ dinner. I do understand how busy you are and we understand if you can’t. But it sure would be nice. How lucky Carnival is to have you. Our last cruise was on Glory in Jan. 2007. I never thought CARNIVAL could out do themselves, but they seem to do it every time. Congrats to carnival on there new ship and a big thank you for keeping us entertained in your blog thingy while waiting for our Carnival Dream departure. It will be a real pleasure and honor to meet you.

John Says:
Hello Kevin

Thanks for the great posting and for your loyal support of Carnival Lines. Don’t worry about making the mistake of cruising with RCI. We all make mistakes. I remember the time I thought I would look good wearing leopard skin Speedo. …………..but I was wrong. I will indeed be the CD on your Carnival Dream in February and I will make sure we get to meet. I am here on the ship now and I can promise you she is a magnificent ship and I know you will have a brilliant time.

Please let me know if there is anything else you need.
Best wishes

Canuck Cruiser Asked:
Hey John, (Please reply………….HI Stephanie)

Remember the socks that I sent you?
Wear them during the day and your legs will be calmer at night. I’ll bring you some more in January. Let me know your shoe size again. OK?

Great shot of the mini golf……….can’t wait to shoot a round. Sounds like you had fun with the astronaut at dinner. Very brave bunch for sure.

All the best to Heidi and Kye and the 343 Stephanies………….
B&D from rainy and wet Canada

John Says:
Hello Canuck Cruiser

This is so strange. A few days ago I put those socks on that you bought me and they really did help. These and the magnesium tablets I am taking seem to help. You have been so kind to Heidi and I and I hope we get to sail together again soon.
Best wishes to you and your family

Abe Green Asked:
John – Reply please

I just read on Cruise Critic that you will arrange the emptying of the mini bar in our cabin. I would like you to do this for me as I will be bringing my own sodas and water as I refuse to pay $1.95 for a soda as it’s a rip off. By the way, why doesnt Carnival serve free sodas like the other cruise lines we have sailed on? I am sailing on the Freedom on December 20th in cabin 2348.
Thank you.

John Says:
Hello Abe

Thank you for writing in and I must apologize straight away if I have misled you or anyone else regarding the mini bars. However, I think I was pretty clear when I stated that I would make such arrangements only for those guests who need space to store medicine such as insulin, etc. I am sure you realize that if I empty the mini bars for people bringing on their own sodas and drinks that I will be inundated with such requests and honestly I don’t want to open that door.

By the way, apart from AIDA who runs an all inclusive cruise I am not aware of any contemporary cruise line that included free soda within the price of the cruise………am I wrong?

I hope you have a wonderful time on the Carnival Freedom and please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
Best wishes

Sam Simmonds Asked:
Please Reply

There is lots of talk on Cruise Critic that Carnival has started charging for ice tea on lido deck and at dinner. If this is true a lot of people including myself will stop cruising with Carnival.

John Says:
Hello Sam

I love conspiracy theories. I love the one that says Fort Knox no longer contains any gold but is used to house aliens. I love the theory that Princess Di was killed on the orders of the Queen who by the way also had Jimmy Hoffa whacked.

Well, as you can tell from that rather sarcastic opening to my reply, whoever started this rumor that we are charging for ice tea must have been smoking my underpants…………….because it is totally, 100% false?
The end

Thank you Sam for letting me know.
Best wishes

That’s all for today, I will have more answers and replies tomorrow. Thanks for all the comments and as I have said many, many times before, your comments are so very important and are read not just by me and the 343 Stephanies but also by the people at the top of the Carnival tree.

Let’s do the news.

They say charity begins at home and that is certainly the case when it comes to the family you are about to meet. They will soon be sailing on the Carnival Legend and as well as packing their swim shorts, toothbrush and elegant night wear they also are bringing some very special extras for those much less fortunate than ourselves. Here is the link thingy that will tell you all about them.



What an amazing gesture and I thank them so very much for doing this and I hope they have a brilliant time on the Carnival Legend.

You know, I don’t think Radu our senior photographer knows just how good he is. What an amazing eye he has and I think he should start a gallery. Anyway, here are more stunning photos taken my this so very talented young man of Bermuda…………………have a look at this.












Our friend Jaime sent me these photos of the fun we had in New York for the Big Book of Dreams celebrations………….her photos are not as good as Radu’s.

FW_ Pictures from New York_Page_1

FW_ Pictures from New York_Page_2

FW_ Pictures from New York_Page_3

FW_ Pictures from New York_Page_4

Jaime will be covering for her future husband Kirk as Cruise Director when he beams over to the CD conference and I know she will do a wonderful job………..not as good as Kirk……….but she will still be great.

Thanks Jaime, it was great to see you in New York…………….not as great as seeing other people …………….but still nice.

Well, here I am on your Carnival Dream and as I speak the ship is preparing to sail to New York. Last night as I walked around the ship I must have been stopped by at least 100 plus guests who read the blog and or have sailed with me before. They all……..and I mean all………………love this ship and apart from Mr. Dangerfield everyone I spoke to raved about the features, the decor and the crew. Let me share a few things with you.

1. The weather
Well, the crossing it seems was excellent and apart from the day before arriving into Bermuda which was a bit “bumpy” the crossing was smooth. I also spoke to Captain Queirolo who stated that the ship was “very strong” and handles the rougher seas with ease. However, he did say that the last Med cruise where he canceled Barcelona was some of the worst weather he has seen and described the conditions as “horrendous.” Now, I know Captain Queirolo pretty well and for him to turn the ship around and head away from the port means the weather must have been very, very bad. But he is thrilled by the way your Carnival Dream handles the ocean. At this point I could be unkind and say “unlike the Mall of the Seas” but I won’t because that would be unprofessional so I won’t say anything about them being delayed then…….. oops ……….. bugger.

2. The concern with the odor on deck 6
There had been reports in the blog and on Cruise critic that there was a rather unsavory smell that affected some of deck 6 and below. I spoke to the Hotel Director Donato about this and he confirmed that this was indeed the case. I won’t bore you with the technical details but I will immediately apologize for anyone who was affected by this. Apparently, there was one particular day while the ship was docked in Monte Carlo that it was particularly bad. This was a design fault which only became noticeable once the ship started to sail. Well, we immediately called the experts in from Fincantieri who have now fixed the problem. So, all is well here and once again my apologies for this rather pungent problem.

3. Smoking in the casino
I know many of you will be very interested in this as it proved a very hot topic when I announced that the majority of the casino would be none smoking. I spoke last night to Chris the casino manager and Todd the CD and both told me that this had been met with huge success. They did however say that it took a few days to get the message across that the casino was mostly smoke free and that though was not the biggest challenge.

That was the fact that some guests were sitting at the slot machines smoking……….and pretending to play………in other words they were just using it for a quick smoke break and obviously stopping other guests from using the machines. This problem has now been stopped as not only is it carefully explained in the Carnival Capers but the smoking area is constantly patrolled by the casino staff to stop this from happening.

Chris also told me that he has had only a few (less than a dozen) negative comments from smokers since the ship sailed in September and that overall the smoking policy is a huge success. Chris also told me that the casino is as busy as it should be despite the worries that non smoking may mean non gambling.

I went to the smoking areas myself last night in the casino and it was very busy and the extraction system means that the casino and the promenade deck itself does not smell of smoke at all. Overall then, a success.

4. The Lanai
Talking of smoking I had a cigar last night out on the port side of the Lanai. There were about a dozen or so smokers there at 11 pm and I spoke to them all. They said how much they appreciated an outside smoking area with comfortable chairs, bar service and sea views. I spoke to one chap (a cigar smoker) who was disappointed that there was no inside cigar bar and I must admit I agree with him. But, this is the way of the world and at least here the aroma of our cigars was not bothering anyone unlike the cigar bars on the Destiny and Conquest class ships with people having to pass through them to get to the internet cafe.

The starboard side of the lanai is even more popular at night. It’s non-smoking and includes the same bar service and seating.

However, the two big winners at the Lanai are the oversized, overhanging hot tubs both of which are I am told constantly in demand and of course the fact that guests can now walk around the entire ship on deck 5 has proven a huge winner. This morning there were many, many guests who were taking their morning stroll around the Lanai……..and that’s exactly what we wanted to see happen.

5. The Ocean Plaza / Lobby Bar
These two places are fighting it out to win the title of the most popular area of the ship. Todd has the Ocean Plaza busy from early morning to late at night, rotating the bands and holding fun activities including theme nights he calls Party in the Plaza. Then over in the lobby the Wave Duo play music for dancing and our Fun Force acrobatic dance team entertain the guests with high energy shows. I have said from the start that the lobby of your Carnival Dream is our most beautiful in the fleet and with the addition of the Ocean Plaza we now have two areas offering diverse entertainment, music, dancing and of course Fun for All.

Tomorrow I will be reporting on the piano bar, open decks, shows and of course the incredible array of dining options……….I love this ship.

Tomorrow I will have to write my speech for the naming ceremony. I have done a few of these now and it’s something I tend to leave until the last possible moment. I don’t know why, I just do. The hardest thing is deciding whether to try and to be funny or keep it serious. In this case I will try a mixture of both and hope that it comes off.

The first time I ever had to make a proper speech was when I was a best man at my friend Timmy Lawrence’s wedding.

This of course was during my pre Cruise Directing days and I was filled with pride and dread in almost equal measure. The prospect of speaking before 200 people made me feel sick. It was there I think that I discovered humor was a great way to hide my obvious lack of public speaking abilities. This started during the service itself when the audience giggled out loud when they saw Timmy kneeling at the altar and the letters HE written in magic marker on the left shoe and the letters LP on the right shoe………the future Mrs. Lawrence and the mother in law were not amused.

You know, thinking about it I don’t think I have ever watched our wedding video. Heidi may have done but honestly, I don’t remember doing so. And I think how much effort I made on the big day. I paid a man in a cheap suit to come along. I allowed him to jostle our friends and relatives out of the way. I sacrificed an hour of perfectly good eating and drinking time so he could get some nice angles of me and Heidi on a bridge in Amsterdam. And where’s the video now?………….I haven’t a bloody clue.

Anyway, the reason I am waffling on about weddings is that I met a couple at breakfast this morning who got married yesterday in Bermuda on a beautiful pink sandy beach. Joe Lubrano is a retired United States Marine and he reminded me that today is the Marine Corp’s birthday. I can’t remember how many years he said the Corps has been in existence but I do know how proud Joe was to tell me. I called Todd who has arranged a gathering for all the retired Marines (and any serving) to attend a special celebration onboard. We have organized a big birthday cake and I am sure that the guests will appreciate this birthday wish from all of us to the few, the proud………..the Marines.

I have seen a lot of guests walking around the ship wearing baseball caps declaring that they were Korean War veterans or Vietnam Veterans and one who was wearing a Green Beret ………….. and even though he walked with the assistance of a walker………….he did so proudly.

It was poppy day in the UK on Sunday when we remember those lost serving their country and of course it is Veterans Day tomorrow. So, instead of finishing today’s blog in the usual way I want to thank them.

We owe our soldiers, past and present an incredible debt of gratitude. We owe it to them to keep the memory of what they fought and too often died for burning bright in the minds of every blogger and everyone who, because of them, enjoys the freedom to cruise and the freedom to live as we wish. Let us remember them and the sacrifices they made and continue to make with incredible selflessness and humanity. Today and every day let us hold them in our hearts, and offer our thanks to them……………. for making our world a better place.

Your friend

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.