On my way to the lobby to write today’s blog I passed one of the dancers who looked upset and after chatting with her for a few minutes I discovered that her cheeks were damp due to the tears she had shed because she wasn’t a professional table tennis referee…..and because she was a 23 year old dancer from Australia and not a Olympic standard table tennis judge from China ……… a guest had spent his Tuesday morning screaming at her.

Yep, the ping pong tournament had turned into a screaming match between two guests arguing about the score and the ping pong rules and when Mr. A Bastard lost……………. he took his anger out on the poor young dancer………………..unbelievable.

Apparently he expected the ping pong tournament, held at 9:30 am on the Fun Ship Carnival Glory, to have a professional referee to adjudicate proceedings. Anyway, I told the dancer not to worry and that we would have someone call the guest. I have since spoken to Ryan the CD and asked him to call him.

Referees have been in the news recently. Last weekend a man in a blue shirt used his hand ……. three times…………while playing a game of soccer and scored a goal despite the entire stadium and the millions watching on TV screaming “hand ball.” The only person who didn’t see it was the referee…………and thus Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup Soccer Finals. This made the man who manages the team in green shirts very furious. “F***k, S**t, cheats “F***k, S**t “F***k, S**t, ,” He told waiting reporters, angrily…………….oh by the way………….the player who cheated was called Thierry Henry ……………..he plays for France.

It seems that in soccer, football and in the NBA you can’t say anything bad about the referee or umpire without getting fined thousands of dollars……..even if they have made a glaring mistake and their decisions are jaw droppingly unbelievable.

Referees are a very strange bunch of people that no one ever sees outside the confines of a stadium. Seriously. I met Dan Marino on a plane once. I know a man who cleans the blood and bits of brain off the road after an accident on the New Jersey turnpike. I also know a man who makes pool cues and a man who swallows swords for a living. But I don’t know a single sports ref or umpire. I’ve never even met anyone who knows one socially.

This is because they must, by nature, be a bit weird. I guess it must be difficult being an NBA referee because whatever they do at work, they can be assured that half the people watching will want to rip off their thingy and use it to pump up the basketball.

The only upside of the job is that you get to boss about a lot of very rich young men, and if they fight back you can send them to the naughty step back in the changing room. Being a NBA referee is like being a police officer……………only without the Taser.

As you know my knowledge about sport is about the same as the designer of the Norwegian Epic’s knowledge of beautiful architecture. But, and I’ve given this a great deal of thought, there is no alternative. In American sports the official may call on the assistance of a video recorder, and that is fine. It means the important decisions will be correct. But if a soccer official were to call for a slow-motion replay every time David Beckham fell over, each match would last about three weeks. Sport used to be about just taking part and being gracious in defeat even if Stevie Wonder has been refereeing the game. Not anymore. Only tennis seems to have escaped. But even here we find players drifting around the court on crystal meth……….and wearing wigs.

Some say the easiest way of ensuring that this ugliness stops is to remove such massive prize funds from the events in question. They reckon that if Dwyane Wade were playing for the love of the game, he’d be less inclined to argue when a decision didn’t go his way.

Really? Ever seen those high school football games on TV and You Tube? Honestly, pop into your local ER you’ll find half the people in there are amateur refs who’ve been beaten up by amateur players for not making what they thought was the right decision.

There was one recently where some Californian high school girls started an all out brawl when the referee didn’t award a free kick. I watched on You Tube parents put down their Blackberries, stride onto the pitch and punch the ref in the middle of his face for not spotting something no one else spotted either. So don’t tell me its money that’s ruining sport these days because it isn’t.

No. The real culprit is us, 21st-century man. We are simply not suited to playing games with one another anymore, and there’s a very good reason for this.

In the past, people were allowed to abuse shop staff without fear of prosecution. We were allowed to shout at our children without being followed home and persecuted by social services and we were allowed to hate whatever country we were at war with.

Today, of course, none of this is possible. We must welcome foes into our midst and big signs insist that we remain calm when trying to find someone who speaks English at the Dolphin Mall in Miami. And if our children misbehave we must give them money and a puppy.
It all sounds like utopia but of course the human being has a temper. It has an aggressive streak. It likes to take on an opponent and win, massively; not to have the game stopped halfway through so we don’t hurt the other team’s feelings.

The upshot is simple. Because we can’t act normally any more, we vent our anger on the sports pitch. However, this does not apply to Mr. A Bastard who made one of the dancers cry this morning……I should be allowed to make him swallow a ping pong ball………….and that ………….I promise…………..will hurt………………..twice!

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

Carl & Shirley Ring Asked:
John, Pls Reply

I understand the Dream is coming to Cape Canaveral port on Nov 17th. Just trying to find out what time it arrives so we can give it a Special Florida Welcome. We are scheduled to take our 5 Carnival cruise in the Dream. March 6, 2010. As we have no Air Fair this time (we live in Melbourne) we have taken the best suite on the Dream. Look forward to your presentation as we have in the past on the Carnival Splendor, and the rest. Italy was the best of all cruses and we plan on going back next year and will be sailing again with Carnival.

John Says:
Hello Carl and Shirley

I am so sorry but it looks like I am too late to reply to this in time for you to have enjoyed the pomp and circumstance that the wonderful people of Port Canaveral gave your Carnival Dream when she arrived for the first time last week. I hate being so behind in my replies as I know people depend on me.

Vance, our mate from Carnival’s PR department was there and he told me that the event was very, very special and of course they will have the ship there permanently as of December 3rd. I hope you did manage to get down there and enjoy the spectacle.

I miss Europe very much and PA 007 our superspy is on the case now to see if in 2011 we will be returning. As soon as he or she knows they will tell me and I will tell you all. Sorry again for the late reply.
Best wishes to you both

Alison Asked:
Hi John, please reply

When are you home we are missing you!

John Says:
Hello Alison

I am home on December 12th and I know that you have been looking after Heidi and Kye while I have been away so thanks for being such a great friend. For my thousands of blogging friends who have no idea who Alison is……she is the wife of my best mate Alan who I also miss very much because it’s nice to hang out with someone uglier than me. Alison and Alan are dear friends and have been for 20 plus years now and I miss her and her Chicken pesto very much.
See you both soon

Sharon Dover Asked:
Pls reply

Is there any information at all on the itinerary for? The Magic as far as European ports? I have been on the Freedom, Liberty and Splendor and really enjoy Carnival’s European itineraries. Just trying to plan our cruises for 2010 and 2011. Hopefully Magic will be going to some new ports. We have not visited on previous cruises. Thanks for any information you may be able to provide; it would be greatly appreciated.

John Says:
Hello Sharon

It’s always good to read that people enjoyed our voyages in Europe on the Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor. I know you and many others are anxious to go back there on a Carnival ship. I have no idea at the moment as to when we will be going back but as our President and Chief Executive Break Dancer told the press while onboard your Carnival Dream, we are contemplating a return in 2011. As I just mentioned, PA 007 is on the case and is hovering around the people with beards who will be deciding and once he or she hears I will try and break the news here immediately.
Thanks for taking the time to write.
Best wishes

Brandon Southall Asked:
John, please reply

I am desperate to take a cruise to Europe for our 10th wedding anniversary in 2011. Do you have any news if Carnival will be there because I really don’t want to book the more expensive of the seas but time is ticking away? Do you have any news at all?
Thanks for the great blogs they make my day

John Says:
Hello Brandon.

Now, I don’t know if one of the 343 Stephanies put all the Europe questions together but regardless it shows how many people really want to experience a European adventure with Carnival. I promise that I will have the news here on the blog thingy as soon as I know which will be as soon as PA007 gets it.
Best wishes

Angela Guptill Asked:
Please reply.

Hi Stephanie just wanted to know if John will be our CD on the Dream in Feb. We are going on the 13th with our friends who will be celebrating their anniversary while at sea. Thanks, and have a great day.

John Says:
Hello Angela

I will indeed be your Cruise Director on Feb 13th. I will do all I can to make your cruise extra special and please would you leave a note at the Guest Services Desk when you board. You will love your Carnival Dream, she is simply amazing.
Best wishes to all

Juan & Maria Santana Asked:
John, pls. reply…

Congratulations to Carnival for the events re The Big Book of Dreams and the N.Y. events and all Carnival doing to help St. Jude’s Hospital, etc. On the other hand, we join many of the bloggers that think that Marcia Gay Harden was not the best choice to be the Dream’s godmother. We are disappointed.

Changing the subject… John, is there still the possibility that you will be on the Freedom on Nov. 21? You mentioned days ago that there was a possibility that it was going to be either the Freedom or the Legend…. Has it been decided? We are 13 days away from Nov. 21 and we’ll be sailing on the Freedom and would love to have you once again on board! We already sent you a comment about this but we know you are busy and are running behind on your replies.

Big kisses to Kye and regards to you and Heidi.
The Santanas of Miami Beach

John Says:
Hello Juan and Maria

Thanks for the kind words about our New York events. They were a huge success and I loved having the chance to meet Marcia Gay Harden and read the big book. Respectfully I must disagree with your comments on Marcia Gay Harden who I thought was both charming and personable and her performances that have won her an Oscar and a Tony was amazing. Marcia was indeed the perfect choice for godmother to your Carnival Dream. I am still lobbying for Catherine Zeta Jones to be godmother for the Carnival Magic.

As you can see I am on the Carnival Glory and meanwhile you are already on the Carnival Freedom. I am so sorry I cannot be with you but am sure Ralph (Wee Jimmy) is giving you a wonderful time. Please write when you get home .
My best wishes to you both

Chris Asked:
Hi John, (Please reply)

My first cruise with you was back around October of 1999, when the carnival triumph made its very first cruise to the western Caribbean. I had a wonderful time and having you as the cruise director made it even more special. At the welcome aboard show, the ever so famous Mr. Dick Wooden was introduced to us and you had fun all week with that. As a travel agent, I try to book my clients around when you’re going to be sailing, and almost 99% of the time, they always come back with such wonderful things to say, and they always ask again for carnival. I am proud to be a VIP with carnival with 13 cruises and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon sailing with carnival. My question, do you know when your going to be sailing next year. I would like to bring my beautiful girlfriend Cynthia to come see you and the magic you create on board. I wish you the best and hope that one day soon to shake your hand in person again and say thank you for the wonderful vacation. My best wishes to your wife Heidi whom if I remember correctly was with us on the sailing on the triumph and your new gift that you so deserve, Kye. Thank you for your time.

John Says:
Hello Chris

I am so very humbled by your kind words and thanks so very much for taking the time to write and for your loyal support of Carnival Cruise Lines. Please let me know via the blog thingy if any of your clients are sailing with me so I can call them and say hello etc.

Next year I will be on your Carnival Dream from January 30th until March 27th. Then I pop over to the Carnival Conquest until late April and then the Carnival Fantasy until early June. Then I will be off during the summer and then back in September on the Carnival Pride and Carnival Spirit. Hopefully we can sail together on one of these ships. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
Best wishes to you and the family

Brian D Asked:
(please reply)

John – We (2 thingies) and 1 adorable wife (you will make comments about) will be on the Dream on 11/23/09 out of NY….based on everything I can find (schedules etc), I can’t determine if you will be on that cruise. If so, please let me know so I can bring my “racing socks”….we need to race day 1 so they can dry for formal night (haha)

John Says:
Hello Brian D

I am so sorry but I won’t be there with you. However, can you leave a note at the Guest Services Desk when you board addressed to Assistant CD James…..let him know I said hello and that I promised something for your two thingies. Have a brilliant time and best wishes to you and all the family.

That’s all for today and my continuing thanks for taking the time to post all your comments. I will continue to do my best to keep answering the ones that I am asked to reply to as quickly as possible.

Yesterday I posted a brilliant photo of the most famous name in shipping being added to the hull of the new Queen Elizabeth. There is now a new video featuring my colleague Alistair Greening on their website as he takes you to the ship yard to see for yourselves how this soon to be historic vessel is taking shape. Here is the link thingy.

Carnival Glory is a great ship and Heidi and I have so many happy memories about our time here. She was the last ship on which we sailed across the Atlantic on with only crew onboard. This meant that after the hard work we had done in the shipyard the crew had those extra 7 days to prepare for the first cruise and of course had time to relax and unwind. These days, crossings are all undertaken with guests onboard of course and while this makes total economic sense and allows you to enjoy that great experience I must admit those crossings without you were really useful………..and fun.

As I mentioned yesterday the Carnival Glory will be heading to dry dock in January and will receive her Seaside Theatre Big Screen and all the new fixtures and fittings she needs. Of course this is the last cruise that the ship will sail on from Port Canaveral. She will return there on Saturday, disembark the 3,400 guests and then sail to Miami and begin her new life sailing from Miami. I will also be sailing down to Miami with her which means I don’t have to fly or drive down. Anyway, just in case you are not aware of what the ship will be doing once she arrives in Miami; here is her new and exciting itinerary.

Itinerary: Western Caribbean:
Miami, FL; Fun Day at Sea;
Cozumel, Mexico;
Isla Roatan;
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands;
Fun Day at Sea;
Miami, FL

Eastern Caribbean:
Miami, FL;
Nassau, Bahamas;
Fun Day at Sea;
St. Thomas, USVI;
San Juan, Puerto Rico;
Grand Turk;
Fun Day at Sea;
Miami, FL

The shows here are fabulous and the new magic show is it seems the one they are all talking about. It stars Justin Illusion and is produced by Kevin and Curuso who have also produced the magic show which you will I am sure have read many brilliant reports about on the Carnival Conquest. Last night the cast performed Living In America and both shows received a great standing ovation. It’s one of our older shows that debuted on the Carnival Victory but it is still a firm favorite. I am though going to mention to Ryan that he needs to mention that fact that the show does contain “showgirl” style costuming as this, unlike the majority of our shows, does contain G-string moments and I think we should worn the guests ahead of time……….just in case.

The guests really like Ryan and it’s easy to see why. He has tons of energy and is very funny. I am not sure he knows how funny he is and I have been talking to him about giving the audience time to laugh. He has all the tools to be the best and I am doing my best to take the top of the bottle and let his talent come pouring out.

He is from a military family. His father, Colonel Fitzgerald, has just retired after 30 plus years in the United States Army and he has a younger brother currently serving in Iraq. And most importantly………….his Mum is a blog reader and so Mum…………..you should be very proud of your sons………one is allowing the other to have the freedom to give people a wonderful cruise vacation. Congratulations on raising two great sons……………..even if one of them puts product in his hair and last night wore a pink tie!

The flow of guests was very interesting last night because the comedy club of course had 4 shows featuring two comedians. All four shows were packed and the two uncensored shows were standing room only. These shows will be repeated tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how busy they are. The aft lounge seats 300 so that means 1,200 out of the 2,400 guests saw the comedy shows and I wonder if the rest of the guests will go tomorrow. One of the casualties of the comedy club was the piano bar which didn’t seem to have many guests their last night despite the entertainer being excellent as usual.

A disappointment to me was the cigar bar which is one of the nicest we have in the fleet. It has comfortable leather chairs and dark woods that make you want to kick off your shoes, light up a Monte Cristo and share some great conversation and enjoy the Latin band that plays there. But those days are gone and while I would understand if it had become a completely non smoking bar but it hasn’t. Only us cigar smokers have banned to the sports bar while the Marlboro Light lovers are free to smoke away…….this makes no sense. I know that the entrance to the Internet Cafe is right there and for non smokers it’s an ordeal to have to walk through the smoke but …………….why are we the lepers of the smoking world? No offense cigarette smokers……….but in my opinion my cigar which was hand rolled on the inner thigh if a beautiful Cuban senjorita has a more gorgeous aroma than your Camel.

Cigar smoking is allowed in the sports bar where the chairs are not as comfortable ……………but well……………I have to see what we can do about this strange decision.

The people I have spoken to who have recognized me here are mostly guests who love the fact that Port Canaveral as a home port allows them the chance to drive and not have to fly to join the ship. Many have cruised multiple times on the Carnival Glory and are very sad to see her go. However, as sad as they are to say goodbye they are of course excited to see that their Carnival Dream will be arriving on December 3rd to begin her life cruising to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. For those of you who have not sailed on the Carnival Glory before here are some photos of her to enjoy.

I must say hello to a few people who I have met here and are avid blog readers. Let’s start with Ivor and Gloria Pipen who have been reading since I started the blog back in 1874.

Seriously, they have read from the start and believe it or not they have never posted a comment. The Pipens have been married for 48 years and come from Palm Bay, Florida and are this week on the Carnival Glory for the 7th time and on their 24th Carnival Cruise. We had a nice chat yesterday and it was an honor to meet them.

Then there is Janae Longo our dynamic singer from the production shows. I met her last night and she said she was a huge fan of the blog and went all gooey eyed as though she had just had a close up of Brad Pitt’s bottom. ……….it was quite humbling that this brilliant performer and fellow crew member enjoyed the blog so much.

And I would not be writing this blog if it wasn’t for our I/S manager Mark Pennington. As I mentioned the ship won’t get complete wi fi service until her dry dock and that means trying to find somewhere where I can do the logging on thingy was not easy. Therefore I had to make the dreaded call to our I/S managers. They are all great guys and girls but many could win a gold medal for the boring conversation Olympic event. Most I/S Managers have to tell you all the reasons why they can’t fix the computer and why you are a bastard for breaking their precious hardware………..before eventually pressing a few buttons…………stroking their beards…………and then saying “It’s done, don’t break it again.” I usually avoid calling an I/S manager in much the same way as I avoid looking at myself naked in the mirror or about dreaming about having rumpy pumpy with Rosie O’Donnell.

But Mark did his techy thing quickly and without bollocking me for being as thick as sumo wrestler’s buttocks and hence I am able to write to you while I am here and my thanks to him and his wife and Mum who are all blog fans…………and amazingly Mark does not have a beard.

I know that occasionally I am very naughty and write some …….ummmm…….cheeky words about the ships of Royal Caribbean. I often wonder if the people in their ivory towers over there ever read this blog and have photos of me over their dart boards……probably not…….I am as important to them as not having long lines on the Mall of the Seas is. I do respect them as a company, in the same way I respected my old high school principal. But we never became friends.

Why am I talking about our friendly rivals I hear you ask………well ……..two reasons ……..here is the first…………….a letter that speaks for itself written to the Cruise Director of the Carnival Valor…………..Big Tex.

Hi Tex,

Sorry this took so long to send. We wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our vacation on board the Valor. We have 23 cruises with Royal under our belt and we took this Carnival cruise by chance. We had a week vacation in November and my wife simply went on the computer to search for a cruise that left the week we were already off from work that left out of Miami and we chose this one. We have never sailed Carnival before because we had always heard it was just a party boat and if you’re not a drinker there wasn’t much else. We were also under the impression that the food wasn’t up to par. Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised. The food far surpassed Royal’s menu’s and selections both in the dining rooms and buffets. The taste, quality, presentation and quantity were superb. The ship was clean and extremely comfortable. We loved getting the robes in our room. It took us 11 cruises before we qualified for them on Royal. The entertainment was first rate. The ship’s staff were friendly, courteous and entertaining. The shore excursions ran very smoothly. It was nice to see the Captain out and about on the ship. He is very approachable. You’ve done a great job and my wife is trying to get me to do your dance. We enjoyed it so much that we have booked a back to back sail on the Freedom January 2011 and also purchased 2 more certificates for future sailings. Keep up the good work.

Thanks for a memorable vacation.
No longer loyal to Royal,
Bob and Averina Socash
Wilmington, De.

Bob and Averina were two people who unfortunately have been led to believe that the Carnival product is something that it is not and more importantly that it is inferior to other lines. I really don’t need to mention anything else as I could never sum it up better than Bob and Averina and I hope that their message rings out loud and true to any other skeptics out there……..and that message is that the affordable value and fun that Carnival provides is unbeatable. The end.

Except it’s not the end because there is one more thing I would like you to read. This was sent to me yesterday by one of the 343 Stephanie’s. I asked her not to post it until today……so have a read of this.

Scott Abrahams Asked:
John (Please reply if you have time)

Please forgive me when I tell you that my family and I are currently on the “of the seas” at sailing in the Caribbean. I will explain why we are here and send you my review when I get home but let me say that the service and fun is nowhere near the level that Carnival provides and the food is not something I am going to waste time writing about at these internet prices. I do need you to know that we were sailing next to a Carnival ship yesterday (I think it was Liberty) and the Cruise Director was on the speaker system telling us that if we looked off the port side we would see that Wal-Mart had started a cruise line. This made me very angry and I wanted you to know.

John Says:

Well, Scott. First of all I hope you and your family is having a great cruise and we all look forward to reading your full report when you return. I am not surprised that the CD made this comment as I have heard reports of this before. I don’t know too much about Wal-Mart but I do know that they make money and are successful so I have no problem with being associated with that image. However, it would be bollocks for me not to say that these comments don’t make me mad. I know I make fun here of RCI on the blog but apart from making a guest remove a RCI T- shirt he was wearing on stage with me I have never said anything derogatory about them…… why would I want to give them free advertising?

However, as I said ……it does make me angry and I have heard this comment myself recently. I was on a ship that was docked close to an RCI ship in Cozumel. I heard the CD of the Enchantment of the Seas say that they were docked next to the Carnival Wal-Mart……this made me very angry………..and so I told the Captain of the Carnival Legend to ram them…….so he did.

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.