November 11, 2009 -

John Heald

Good morning………..sorry in advance that today’s blog will be a bit shorter than usual but I have a very hectic day and the Stephanies and Vance who check and post the blog are all currently flying to New York to meet the ship. That’s why I haven’t complicated the blog today with photos etc so please again forgive me for the changes today…………but I have time to complain……….about the toilets.

You know, I am not sure who designed the public bathrooms located on deck 5 by the aft lounge here on your Carnival Dream but I bet he had never eaten a double cheeseburger with extra cheese and lashings of fries in his life and therefore was the world’s skinniest man. I say this because any normal sized man cannot fit in the space provided between each cubicle and if, like me, you are extra medium ……….you are totally buggered.

All the other bathrooms I checked are fine, but take heed men…………unless you are a stick insect or have an extra long thingy and can pee from 6 feet away………………don’t use this bathroom.

Unfortunately, I had no idea about this and I got the call of nature while watching my friend Al Ernst perform in your Carnival Dream‘s comedy club. And after trying to wedge myself into the stall I realised that there was more chance of Richard Simmons being the next James Bond.

So, as the call of nature was just seconds away from being a natural disaster……I went into one of the cubicles.

We men only do this because all the urinals are being used (or have been designed by someone who could play one of Snow White’s seven friends) as we know that when the urge to pee is as bad as it was for me……………there are risks. A man can take perfect aim at the toilet, and his thingy will still manage to pee all over the roll of toilet paper, down his left pant leg, and onto his shoe.

As soon as I got married, Heidi started to train me. I kept leaving little trails of wee wee everywhere and of course we were constantly involved in the seat up………….seat down battle. A battle I eventually lost.

Therefore I’m no longer allowed to pee like a man …………standing up. I am required to sit down and pee. She has convinced me that this is a small price to pay. Otherwise if she had gone to the toilet one more time at night and either sat on a pee soaked toilet seat, or fell right into the toilet because I forgot to put the seat down, she was going to do her impression of Lorraina Bobitt.

Now another thing us guys don’t usually like to talk about, but because you and I have become such good friends and you think I’m a classy guy, I might as well be candid with you because it’s a real problem, and you ladies need to be understanding. It’s the dreaded “morning thingy.”

Most mornings us blokes wake up with two things — a tremendous desire to pee, and a thingy so hard you could cut diamonds with it. Well, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get that thing to bend, and if it don’t bend you can’t aim. And if you can’t aim you have no choice but to pee all over the wallpaper and that damn fuzzy toilet seat cover you women insist on putting on the toilet.

And by the way, when you use those fuzzy toilet seat covers, the toilet seat won’t stay up by itself. So that means we have to use one hand to hold up the toilet seat and the other hand to try to control ourselves for that perfect aim.

Now sometimes, when you’re newly married, (and I know the male bloggers will back me up on this) you think you can get the toilet seat with that damn fuzzy thing to stay up. You jam it back and compress that fuzzy thing until the seat stays there. OK, so you start to pee, but then the fuzzy cover starts to decompress and without warning that damn toilet seat comes flying down and tries to whack off your thingy.

So us men will not lift a toilet seat with a fuzzy toilet seat cover on it, it’s just not safe.

I tried to delicately explain this morning situation to Heidi. I told her… look, it won’t bend. She said, “sit down like I told you to do all the rest of the time.” OK. I tried sitting down on the toilet with “morning thingy”. It’s impossible to get it bent under the toilet seat, and before I could manage it, I had peed all over the bath towels hanging on the wall on the other side of the bathroom.

Now, even if you are sitting down and you can get it forced down under the toilet seat, when you start to pee the pee shoots out from the crack between the bottom of the toilet seat and the top of the bowl. You pee all over the back of your knees and it runs down the back of our legs on to that damn matching fuzzy horseshoe rug you keep putting on the floor in front of the toilet.

I have found the only effective maneuver to deal with this morning urinary dilemma is to assume the flying superman position laying over the toilet seat…………………..oh and by the way………………my Hemmerhoids have been acting up and a cold toilet seat in the morning plays merry hell with them………………….and today I discovered the perfect cure for this……………..my lifejacket…………it’s a perfect fit.

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

Retirementman Asked:
John, Please reply

Good evening John. I have but one question for you to another and a reminder since I’m not sure when you’ll be able to answer me.

Question: My friend just came back for a 12 day cruise on the Queen Mary 2 of which he and his wife thoroughly enjoyed. He gave me a gift of a hat, a baseball type one with the name QM2 on the front and the full name on the back of it. My question is why doesn’t Carnival have hats with the names of their ships like Cunard does? I would definitely buy one because I like wearing hats and I would like to be able to give one to my friend. I keep looking around but hats just aren’t there.

Reminder: Please make sure that on my cruise January 23rd, 2010 on the Carnival Dream I’d like a table on the bottom floor because I would enjoy seeing Ken do his thing. Before they placed us on the upper section and we never got to see Ken. Bee and Charlie Cordle should also be with us if Charlie is feeling better. I enjoy meeting new people.

Well that is it except to say that my first cruise was on the Carnival Legend and MaryLou and I really enjoyed our time on that beautiful ship. Everyone treated us excellently. See you.

Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul

It’s always great to hear from you and I am sure your friends had a wonderful time on their Cunard voyage. You know, your comment surprised me………..I honestly didn’t realize that we didn’t have baseball hats with the names of the ships . This is honestly quite ridiculous. I know that everyone who likes to wear a baseball cap would snap these up and so this has now been added to my list of topic discussions for the CD conference next week.

I won’t forget your table request mate but as its still some weeks away please can you remind me in early January.
Best wishes to you and your family

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

Thank You for all your help with this

John Says:
Hello Ann – Marie

I will pass on your request to Ken our brilliant maitre d who will do his best to accommodate your request.

see you soon
best wishes

George Richards Asked:
John, reply if you like

We always eat breakfast in the MDR because the service is great, the food is good, and there are no lines! Breakfast in the MDR is one of Carnival’s best kept secret – in fact – so is lunch! Additionally, in the MDR, you don’t have to “hunt” for a table the waiter escorts you to one. Normally, our fellow guests are somewhat quiet until they have their first cup of coffee. After that, there always seems to be good conversation over breakfast.

What is missing? Biscuits, white sausage gravy, and real hash browns. Of course, some Baileys with the coffee would be ok too!

I’m sure, Carnival hasn’t changed either the breakfast or lunch menu in years. Some change here, especially the luncheon menu, would be good, as I believe most seasoned cruisers could recite both menus by heart!

John Says:
Hello George

I wanted to quickly reply to your posting as it gives me a chance to thank you and everyone else who gave their suggestions for extra breakfast items for the fleet. I see that biscuits and gravy is a popular request and I have sent this and your other suggestions to the people at the top and I know they will act on your requests. I can tell you that there are exciting menu additions coming next year for lunch and dinner and of course our super spy PA 007 is on the case and we will let you know what’s happening soon.

Thanks again for the comments and I agree………….more people should eat in the main dining room for breakfast and lunch.
Best wishes

Leanne Asked:
(Please respond)

Just wanted to mention that Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw actually skated at Wolman Rink in Central Park. There is, however, ice skating at Rockerfeller Center as well – if you don’t mind waiting a while. They do it in timed shifts – I believe 1 hour increments.

John Says:
Hello Leanne

Thanks Leanne for the information. I am sure sometime in my past Heidi has made me watch Love Story. I don’t remember it as there are no explosions or car chases. I loved spending time at 30 rock although as I have been blessed with the balance and poise of a drunk penguin…………..ice skating was not on my to do list.
Best wishes

Dorothy Asked:
John, Please reply.

Thanks for offering to check out the penthouse suite for us.

We are booked on the Carnival Imagination for February 1, 2010. There are 4 of us in the suite, my dad, one sister, Gene and myself. Thanks again for the offer to check it out for us, have a nice weekend.

John Says:
Hello Dorothy

I will be sailing on the Carnival Imagination for the cruise director conference and will take photos of the cabin for you…………..not that I am staying there of course. I will have someone give you a call.
Best wishes

JavaJoe Asked:
John please reply:

I wanted to pass along some feedback about the Early Saver program.

I love the intent of this program. In exchange for my early commitment, in the form of a non-refundable deposit, to sail, I am guaranteed the lowest price for my cabin category on that sailing.

The process is supposed to be that if I notice an advertised fare that is lower than my existing booking, I fill out a form at carnival.com. It states that within two business days, I will receive a response.

The problem that I and many others on Cruise Critic have noted is that the responses are very inconsistent. When you fill out the form, there is no confirmation number, or no email verification, or anything. You have no proof that you submitted the request, and there is no way to see if it has been received or where it is in the process.

To make matters worse, sometimes a response is received within the stated time frame and sometimes it isn’t. So many of us have just decided to keep submitting it, until eventually we get an email from Carnival saying that the request is approved.

So, in short- while many of us love the program. The implementation needs work. At a minimum, when a request is submitted, an email should be sent so we have verification. Ideally, there should be a tracking number assigned and a way for us to look up the request to check on its status.

I am sure the people with beards could make this happen.

Thanks for listening and for all you do!!

John Says:
Hello JavaJoe

This is a very important point and I am very thankful that you took the time to tell me about it. I know that the program is very popular yet we are always looking for ways to improve. Sometimes, it takes you the guest to tell us what we can do to make things better and I am glad that the blog thingy gives you all a chance for your opinion to be heard. Thanks again and I will work on this for you.
Best wishes

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John, Please reply.

As for eating in the MDR for breakfast, I did not even know that they were open for that, I thought that they were only open for dinner at night (so I learned something new again today).

You have mentioned that you have a problem like many other people have and that is with the smelly stuff that comes out at the most inappropriate time. I don’t know if you know this but there is something you can take to take care of the odor and that is chlorophyll tablets. You can get them at any drug store, you take one a day and you won’t have to worry about the odor problem again. I have a bowel diversion (Colostomy) and I have that problem a lot, but let me tell you the most embarrassing time I had with the gas problem. I had gone to see the movie “The Exorcist” well just before the famous vomit scene was to happen, the audience was glued to the screen waiting to see what was going to happen. Honestly, John, it was so quiet you could hear a dime drop, well just then my diversion decided to make the famous noise that they do, but because it is on my abdomen and just covered with my clothes, it gave out the loudest sound I have ever heard. I was so embarrassed, so it was this when I made up my mind I was going to find something that would take care of it and these tablets do. I call them embarrassment savers.

Best Wishes,
Your #1 Bloggy Thinggy Fan
Kathy M

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

That’s a great post and very funny although it probably wasn’t at the time. Thanks for the advice on the embarrassment savers and most importantly thank you for being such a wonderful supporter of the blog thingy.
best wishes

Joshua York Asked:
Hello John,

I have met you a few times on past cruises. I am 24 years old and I will be going on my 26th Carnival cruise on Dec 12th on the new Carnival Dream. I am soo excited we have an 11th floor balcony stateroom. One question I have for you is that I have never experienced the Supper club on a cruise and I want to know if you recommend?. Second thing that I want to know is that is there any special things besides being a milestone Platinum member for guests that have been on over 20 cruises? I really love being a platinum guests, but there should be other benefits for guests who have traveled on over 20 cruises. I LOVE Carnival and I am soo looking forward to this cruise. I have been to all of the ports that we are going to except Isla Roatan, and I want to know with your suggestions on what is good to do thee? John when I return from my Dream cruise, I will write on your blog to tell you how it went. Peace!!

John Says:
Hello Joshua

My goodness me, how lucky you are having done so many cruises and only being 24 years old. Well, to answer your question…………yes………….you really must try the Steak House and my personal recommendations would be:
The Caribbean Crab Cakes
The Lobster Bisque
Cesar Salad
Porterhouse Steak with wasbi mash potato
The quartet of chocolate desert
a cab back to your cabin

You can book online and if you need any help please let me know. You already have Milestone status and for now, that’s our top reward. I know that our Chief Marketing Officer Jim is looking at our whole reward program which we already feel is the best in the industry. Lets see what the future holds.

Roatan is one of the most popular of our recent addition ports of call and don’t forget we have the new Mahogany Bay docking facility with the only ski lift in the world that leads to a beach. I would also recommend you try Gumbalinda Park excursions which allows you to meet the Honduran wildlife up close and personal…………..the monkeys are so cute. Then there are parrots…………..hundreds of parrots that come and shit…………sorry……………………sit on your shoulder.

So, thanks so much for your loyal support and I hope to meet you one day soon.
best wishes

Carolyn and Don Asked:
John please reply….

Don and I are sitting here discussing why we don’t go to the dining room more often for breakfast. Well it’s more like we are discussing it during commercials as he is watching the World’s Series.

We can’t come up with an answer, other than he sits on the Lido deck and drinks coffee while I shower, dress, fix hair and makeup. So when I join him we just eat there. I’m not much of a breakfast type food eater. I’d just as soon eat spaghetti for breakfast. Guess that comes from having food allergies which includes eggs as well as milk products.

What are you missing in the way of breakfast food? Biscuits and gravy. Not the biscuits that we had on one ship, but biscuits like McDonald makes for instance. They had biscuits on one ship and they were about an inch square and did not resemble anything like any biscuit that I have ever had, nor did they taste like one either. Sorry to say your chefs are lacking in the biscuit department.

There is one thing that I have had a problem with. Lactaid milk. They had it on the Carnival Freedom, but did not have it on the Carnival MS Holiday. I called before we sailed on the Carnival MS Holiday to make sure they had it on the ship and was assured they always have it. Unfortunately they did not. I have already called and asked special needs department if the Carnival Dream would have it and was once again assured that all Carnival ships always have it. …..NOT.

I know you have to ask for it as it only comes in half gallon containers and there is no posting that it is available.

So if you would, could you ask the powers that be on the Carnival Dream to make sure that they have it so I can have my cereal and banana for breakfast? If need be I can bring 1/2 gallon and keep it in the fridge in our room along with my cheese, butter, and coffee mate that I already bring. But it would seem that others, besides myself, would use it for cereal, coffee, etc.

The brand name is Lactaid milk, which is milk that is lactose free. Not soy milk….

You’re looking good. I can tell you have lost more weight since we saw you in July.

Don’s granddaughter is to have a C section tomorrow, 10/31, and we will have a new great granddaughter. So this makes him 2 great granddaughters and 2 great grandsons. I share his since I don’t have any yet.

I know you and Heidi are counting down the days until you get to fly home for a few days before you host the BC3. Thank you for sharing your time with us on the BC so close to Christmas and missing your anniversary. And thanks to Heidi for so un-selfishly sharing you with us.

We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks on our Carnival Dream. Hugs to you and Heidi, and cuddles and kisses to beautiful Kye.

Carolyn…….. counting the days until the BC3

John Says:
Hello Carolyn and Don

I am so sorry that the Holiday did not provide you with the Lactaid Milk and the fact that someone told you that it would be there but did not follow up is rather disappointing to say the least. I have spoken to Ken the maitre d and he will make sure that we have it here on your Carnival Dream. I hope that we get to have a bloggers breakfast all together during the forthcoming bloggers cruise and I will see you both soon.
best wishes to you both

That’s all for today. I will answer the next group of questions on Friday.

Well, time to move on. It’s a very busy day for the ship and for me. The seas are calm but the sky is grey and we have had heavy rain this morning. The temperature has also dropped considerably and there is a chill in the air. Todd is, as I write, hosting his debarkation talk and later today I will be hosting a tea time for those transatlantic cruisers who are also bloggers. I have spoken to so many guests who know me and the overall opinion is that the voyage has been a huge success. We have learnt a lot as a company about these longer voyages. Let’s face it. While the Cunard liners are built with longer voyages in mind the Carnival ships are not………………oh by the way, I am talking about the facilities inside the ship…………..not the ship itself which like her sister ships before her has handled the sometimes angry Atlantic seas with ease.

Oh……….and while I am on this subject let me just say that the bad weather did affect the Carnival Triumph entering New Orleans to mark the start of this being her new home port. The weather from Hurricane Bastard……………..sorry……………Hurricane Ida ………….closed the port to all shipping. Now, I noticed a friend of mine (who has a beard) slapped the back of my leg suggesting that my mentioning of the Mall of the Seas being delayed by the bad weather had come back to bite me in the bottom. Well, it was a little different as the port was closed………………anyway………..I will be seeing my mate with the beard and will invite him to join me on a plank of wood which will be extended in his honour over the Hudson.

Anyway, I digress. As I was saying, we have come a long way since our first TA crossing on the Carnival Legend and I think we are just about where we need to be. We could improve in some areas. I would like to see more guest lecturers, maybe giving classes in finance, life coaching, computers and photography etc. I know our sister company Holland America has an extensive lecture program and I will be suggesting that we use their experience on this subject to better the Carnival experience.

The guests are all and I mean all raving about their Carnival Dream and I have heard many people say the same thing “this ship is now our favorite” and I must admit……………it is rapidly becoming my favorite as well.

Let me tell you one or two things that guests have told me.

This is still new for a lot of people and there is no doubt that there are many die hard Carnival guests who will never consider taking this option. However, I spoke to guests who did and they loved it, especially on this longer voyage. The couples I spoke to said that there was never a wait for a table of more than 15 minutes and the only improvement they would like to see is to have more tables for two. We are aware of this and I think this applies to all the ships. However, the 350 guests who had Anytime Dining seemed to really appreciate the option especially on the longer port days. It is interesting to note that early sitting was by far the most popular request and I think this probably has something to do with the older demographics of our guests. If and when Carnival returns to Europe, my recommendation would be to seriously consider the Anytime Dining option. How wonderful not to be tied down to eating at a specific time especially after a long day or excursions.

I went up to deck 11 to look at this yesterday and my goodness how popular it was. For those of you who don’t know how this works let me explain. You take a menu card and choose a type of pasta……………spaghetti, penne etc………….then a sauce…………tomato, seafood, cream etc…………..and then a topping………..sausage, chicken, seafood etc. Then you are given a stick thingy with a table number on it……………….have a seat ……………..and within 10 minutes a server will bring you a freshly made to order steaming hot bowl of pasta right to your table and……………it’s free.

This along with the other new addition of the Burrito Bar have proven most popular here on your Carnival Dream. I know some of you were disappointed that we took away Fish and Chips here but I promise you ……….the Pasta Bar is brilliant

Well, they have served over 1000 covers this voyage and again the value for money that our $30 experience gives the guests is extraordinary. Last night the chefs prepared a special Sea Food menu including fresh fish and crab legs. It was sold out.

I think this is something we need to do more and not just on the longer voyages. I know that we have close to 50% repeat guests on some voyages and that many are now very familiar with the menu at our Steak Houses. I have often said that we have some amazing Chefs onboard and we should, from time to time, allow them to be creative and create daily specials and ethnic foods from their own countries. I have been unsuccessful in getting this done so far but I will not be giving up.

Meanwhile the Steak House here on your Carnival Dream has had rave reviews and I continue to say that this is a must do experience on the Spirit, Conquest, Splendor and Dream class ships.

Well, as you know, I tried the slides out a few weeks ago along with our President and CEO Gerry “the slider” Cahill. I wrote that “if I can do it, anyone can” and it seems that many people listened to what I said. Reports from Todd and his staff are that during the days in the Med and at the start of the TA voyage all four slides were in constant use and…………….by people of all ages. I want to say a special congratulations to a lady called Cynthia Sasso who was filmed by the AV staff here going down the Twister slide……………..she is 84 years old. Todd awarded her a medal and trophy ……………..brilliant. If its popular here now, imagine how popular it will be once the ship gets to the Caribbean.

The three main shows are richly diverse covering Motown, Country and the one that is called Dancin in the Street which………..is quite honestly ……………the best show I have ever seen in my 23 years at Carnival. I am not going to tell you too much about the shows as I don’t want to spoil any surprises but the ovations that all have received are a huge testament to Carnival having the best shows at sea. The guests have told me all about how much they have loved the diversity of the fly on entertainers. These have included opera singers, violinists, jugglers and comedians and once again they have all received standing ovations and shouts of “more.”

Then of course we have the new Comedy Club which I saw for the first time last night. The comedians perform four shows on one night………………two family shows……………and two uncensored shows. I saw one family show at 9:00pm and the 11:00pm uncensored shows and both were packed…………….and packed with the sound of laughter. We are currently evaluating a possible expansion of the concept.

Well, there are many more things I could talk about but time is marching on. It would not be in the keeping of this blog to pretend that everything in the garden is rosy of course. I have received a few comments about some things that guests feel we could do better. These include better seating in the main show room, more first run movies and as I mentioned earlier, guest lecturers.

There is one other thing that unfortunately many have mentioned……………..and that’s our arrival time into New York. The Captain announced that we would be passing under the Verrazano Bridge at 3:00am and past Liberty Island.

This means that many if not all will miss the sailing into New York experience which as I know myself is a very special moment. I know we have to get the ship alongside as early as possible and I know that some guests have early flights but…………………and this is just my opinion……………..I think we could have planned this better …………..even arriving an hour or two later…………6:00am at Liberty island for example………….this would make such a difference. I know better than the complexities of traffic in the Hudson and disembarking 3800 guests…………but……………..I also know how important the arrival into New York is and I think we need to look at this the next time we do a TA into New York.

Regardless of when the ship arrives her crew are in for a busy day………….here is the schedule.

Debark 3800 guests

Take on full stores and provisions

Full Crew Immigration check……….meaning each crew member has to go through United States Immigration

United States Coast Guard Inspection……………as this is the ship’s first time into a U.S. port the Captain and crew will be examined on their ability to fight fire, muster guests and the abandon ship procedures

1000 – Travel Agents and press for the naming ceremony

3000 – Travel Agents and special interest groups for the overnight celebrations

I have done many new ship deliveries and I can tell you that at the end of a long 16 day voyage the first day in a home port is one that tests the crew’s resolve to the full. But……….our crew never let us down and as every guest I have spoken to here on your Carnival Dream has told me……………..it is the crew here that have made this voyage so absolutely fabulous…………………………………and I congratulate each and every one of them.

In a few minutes I have a rehearsal for the naming ceremony and the bloggers tea time to host. Just before I go I thought you might like to see the latest blog readership figures.

Views in October – 238,541
Total Views – 5,317,482

It continues to amaze me that so many of you take the time to read my musings and I will continue to do my best to keep you entertained and informed.

Tomorrow don’t forget we have live streaming video of the naming ceremony of this brilliant ship……………….your Carnival Dream……………..and I will see you back here on Friday.

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.