This morning …………….at 9:00am……………….I hosted a Q and A session for the bloggers. I had expected that few would attend as it was ……………well…………….9:00am and judging by how busy the bars and lounges were last night I didn’t think too many would come. I was wrong…………..about 100 people showed up and we had a lot of fun. I will take you through some of the questions they asked and suggestions they raised in a moment but first………………I want to talk about one question I was asked…………………who ……………demanded blogger Dave from Canada…………… PA 007?

Now for those of you who are new to the blog thingy, PA 007 is someone who works at middle management level at our Miami HQ and who ………..on occasion………..leeks titibits of information that really …………he or she should not.

And so Dave asked who this person was and even suggested that it was Gerry Cahill our President and CEO…………obviously I assured him and the group that it wasn’t…………and I refused ……despite the boos from the audience………….to reveal our top blog spy’s true identity.

When I was a lad I always dreamt of being a spy………….of being Heald……………John Heald. Obviously in reality not one of the world’s top secret agents has ever successfully fought a man armed with a steel bowler hat or garrotted Robert Shaw on a speeding train. In fact what CNN and the BBC tell us over and over again is that most of what our secret agents do is boring; that instead of trying to stop Spectre from building a nuclear missile in a volcano they actually spend most of the day following Abdul and Mohammed to Home Depot and back.

I am sure also that just like a Carnival meeting held by our marketing department, today’s real spies have to sit drinking crap coffee in budget meetings with flip charts and beards.

Some would say that before the Iraq war, instead of dispatching their best man to stick some C4 explosive in Saddam’s toilet before having Rumpy Pumpy with as many women as possible, the security services simply asked George Bush and Tony Blair what they wanted. And then went on Google until they found it and said. “Yes. Look. Saddam does have missiles with nerve gas tips. It says so here in Wikipedia.

So the CIA and MI6 are not shooting men with metal teeth in the face and of course the locations they work in are a little different to where James Bond usually works. It’s not Venice and Bolivia or St. Moritz and Jamaica but rather New York, London and suburban towns and villages across the western world.

I often imagine what it would be like if Crappy Broccoli ever shot a true to life spy movie.

PA 007 is brought into M’s office. M has a beard and she asks PA 007 to wait a moment while she finishes her Tofu sandwich and Chi tea Frappacrapacino.

She then tells PA 007 that some people are planning to terrorize Carnival Cruise Lines. The interrogators have tortured one would be conspirator by forcing him to look at photos of Judge Judy naked …………and when that didn’t make him crack he was locked in a very small room with 50 Frenchmen.

Finally when he could stand the stench no more he begged for mercy and it emerged that some Royal Champion fanatics have hatched a plan to saturate Cruise Critic with lies and conspiracy theories that Carnival Cruise Lines is charging for iced tea, removing the solid gold plastic trophies, charging for food on Lido Deck and that Gerry Cahill’s real name is Gerry Blofeld and that he sits in his office all day……………….stroking his cat.

So M dispatches PA 007 to do what he has to do in order to stop this evil from happening. Bond heads off to the airport where he has to take a Ryan Air flight ………not a private plane…….. he is offered a Diet Coke for $9 and then finds that he has to pay to take a piss.

On arrival in the United States he has to wait three hours to get through US Immigration.

He then rents a Toyota Prius ……….not an Aston Martin………..and sits outside the suspect’s house waiting for Mr. Champion to leave and make sure that the neighbours don’t see him enter the house. Maybe PA 007 could have Rumpy Pumpy with the lady who lives next door to keep her quiet but PA 007 must remember that she will most probably look like Rosie O’Donnell……….not Pussy Galore.

Eventually, PA 007 enters the Champion residence and using a device that one of the 343 Stephanies and their bearded friends from the “Q” department have given him PA 007 infiltrates the Champion computer and after seeing that he likes Latvian women and the Teletubbies……………..he comes across a series of e-mails sent to his legion of Royal Champions instructing them to flood the cruise boards with tales of bollocks about Carnival.

Naturally, the film does have a happy ending because instead of PA 007 being able to shoot a missile from his Hertz rent a car all he can do is report back to M ………….but not before PA 007 drops something that is shaken not stirred in the Champion toilet and not flushing.

Although I do like the idea of a final scene in which PA 007 straps the now naked Royal Champions to the smokestack of the Carnival Dream where they are tickled with a peacock feather by Fun Ship Freddy

So, PA 007’s secret identity remains a secret but what is not a secret is that these rumours on Cruise Critic are total and utter bollocks and I promise if we ever do charge for ice tea, or stop the gold trophies, or charge for food on lido deck or take the beds out of the cabins and replace them with hammocks etc ………..that I will tell you all I promise. Until then will the person who is writing this stuff, kindly and respectfully BUGGER OFF !

Time for today’s questions…………… we go

John Asked:
Hello John,
We have booked a cruise on the Valor for 13th December to enable us to spend time with our daughter who has just been transferred there from the Holiday (hairdresser/barber).

What I would like to know is, will she be allowed to dine with us, work allowing of course, and/or can we book to include her one evening in the Supper Club (paying for her of course)?

I don’t know what the rules are exactly, although I know they do get up to the disco!

The other question (which you will understand I have to ask because we are Brits) is what drinks does the Soda Card cover? I would have thought it was just fizzy water, but I suspect it isn’t! Many thanks, John.

John Says:
Hello John
It must be very exciting to be sailing with your daughter and I know you will be very proud of the work she does. I am sure that when her schedule permits she will indeed be able to eat with you in the dining room although I do suggest you try and ask for late sitting which will fit in with her schedule as well. She can definatly dine in the Steak House and I know that you will all love that brilliant experience.

The soda fun fountain card covers all the Coke products including Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Diet Sprite and caffeine free drinks as well.

So, have a safe flight and have fun with your daughter and make sure you get a free haircut.
Best wishes to all

Stephanie Asked:
John, please respond. I already contacted you but forgot to mention please respond… sorry! Anyway, we are taking our kids on their first Carnival cruise.. the Dream! What a way to start! We are so excited! I was hoping you could leave them a card in their room welcoming them onboard? We will be getting on as you are getting off 🙁 (12/12 sailing). Drop me an email for my kids name/cabin #! Thanks and sorry we will be like 2 ships passing the night..

John Says:
Hello Stephanie
Please send Stephanie……….that’s one of our 343 Stephanies …………..your cabin number and the kids names. Stephanie…………..that’s one of our 343 Stephanies…………….when Stephanie………..that’s the Stephanie who wrote this post ………………..sends you the names………….please send the details to James the ACD and he will deliver a photo and trophies to the kids from me.

Best wishes to anyone in the world with the name Stephanie

Essiesmom (Carolyn) Asked:
Dear John (please reply):
I am another with concerns about the lighting in the cabins. My finding is that all of the light is on the wrong side of the cabin. For reading in bed, doing needlework sitting on the couch, the lights are not bright enough, and on the wrong side of the room. the bedside lights are indeed better than the previous ones that were always behind your shoulder, but they are too low, and too dim.

Another complaint is about the magnifying mirror in the bathroom. HAL has this mirror mounted at the vanity, so we ladies can use it for make-up. But on Carnival, it is in the bathroom, and mounted so high you have to be a six footer to see into it. Yes, it does tilt, but I still need a stool to see into it as I am only 5′2″. I would bet that more ladies would like to use this than there are men who DO use it for shaving. Thanks for letting me vent, and perhaps this could be addressed in the Magic. Carolyn

John Says:
Hello Essiesmom Carolyn
It’s always interesting to read comments like this because they are ones that we really don’t hear either on board or on the blog. I guess if you are 5’2 that the magnifying mirror is too short and my apologies for that. I am not sure what we can do about it now though on the existing fleet but I will certainly pass on your thoughts to our design team for the next two ships the Carnival Magic and the Carnival Thingy.
Thanks for venting and anytime you wish to do so I will be here to listen.
best wishes

retirementman Asked:
John Please Reply

I begin this comment with an apologize. After speaking with Bee and Linda I understand that Charlie and MIke have always picked up a baseball hat on each of the Carnival ships they were on they have been on many of them. I still don’t understand how I missed it because I inquired and they kept saying they didn’t have them. Maybe at the moment I asked, they were just out. So, I was wrong. Sorry. Now the question I have. How can I get a hat on the ships I have been on, Carnival Legend, Freedom and Valor. Is it possible for me to still buy hats from these ships even though I’m not on them. Is there a way? I will pay the costs to get them. Could help me with this situation?

Second is about the pins. Will I be able to get the pins while I’m the Carnival Dream? Other than that stay healthy John and I hope that your family is doing well. See you.

Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul
No need to apologize Paul and the next time you sail with me I shall get you your very own hat. One thing that we discussed at the CD conference was getting our onboard shops to have an internet site where guests can purchase logo goods . This idea was well received and I hope they move forward with this quickly. Until then there really is no way to get them short of you asking someone who is sailing to get one for you. I am sure there are people who read the blog who would be happy to do this and have you mail them the money afterwards. So Paul……………ask away…………I bet you will have lots of offers.
Best wishes to you and all the family

Ron Asked:
John, Please reply,
I have a copy of the Carnival Cruise Ship Tycoon. It was available retail. In fact I just checked Amazon, and its still available for $70. Hmm. May have to put it on e-bay! I only paid $20. I think I’ll have to see if I can find it, as I can’t remember the game play. If I can I will send some screen shots.

John Says:
Hello Ron
Please can you send some shots of the game. I would love to see it as I am sure would many here although at $70 it seems like you need to be a tycoon to afford to buy the game.
Thanks in advance for the photos Ron
Best wishes

Peg Dunbar Asked:
Before I get to my problem I just want to tell you how much I appreciate all you do for us. I love your sense of humor and your honesty. You truly make my day when I read your blog. You have such a huge heart trying to help us in any way you can. I hope one day to get to sail with you once again. And as you know I hope that it will be one going to Europe.

I know how busy you are and since I have waited almost 4 months to tell you about this, I will understand if you do not get to me very quickly.

When we were on our Alaskan cruise last August we also went on a land trip through Holland America, booked through Carnival. The land trip was very nice and we enjoyed it very much but I and several others did have a problem which was very upsetting. Our first night we stayed in Anchorage. We were told to only pack a carry on suitcase for the next night and the rest of our luggage would be taken to Fairbanks where we would be staying for two nights. The next morning our bus took us to board the train to take us to Denali Park for the night. We were on the train for eight hours. When we got off the train Mike found his carry on but mine and several others were not there. There was one gentleman that had a wheelchair that was not there. All his medication was in the suitcase too. We were very upset as it was all we had. Our tour guide that we had throughout the trip did a lot of calling and late that night found out the person that put all the luggage on the train did not open the last compartment where the rest of our luggage was. The luggage finally arrived at 1:00am. Holland America never apologized to us nor did our tour guide. They did not even contact us except to tell me the luggage would not be at Denali Park until 1:00am. The only person that apologized to me was the woman at the front desk and she did not know what I was talking about as nobody informed her that our luggage was missing.

I do not know if there is anything you can or even should do. But since Carnival uses Holland America; I thought you should know how they treat or do not treat their passengers.

Our cruise as I have told you; was wonderful and except for my missing luggage, our Alaskan trip was amazing. I would not have brought this to your attention except that I read one of your letters were someone had complained about the luggage handlers in Rome or lack there of.

I hope by the time you respond to this that you will be home once again with your girls. I can only imagine how much you must miss them.

Keep smiling John, you truly are one of the good guys.

My best to Heidi and Kye.

John Says:
Hello Peg
Thanks for all the kind words at the start of your posting and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog for a long time to come. I want to thank you also for sharing your experiences with me and I was so sorry to read about your missing luggage. I have taken the time to send your comments to someone at Holland America and I am sure they will be in touch very soon. They have a brilliant tradition of excellent service and I am sure they will also be disappointed to read that the land part of your Alaskan Adventure did not compare to your time at sea.
Please let me know as and when you are contacted so i know it has been followed up on
best wishes to all’

Host Mach from Cruise Critic Asked:
John, please add this to the blog, respond as you see fit!!

I’ve been busy writing my review of the Carnival Dream’s Cruise To Nowhere but I thought I needed to add some of the highlights here, as well.

First, the ship is GORGEOUS. End of story, she is the most beautiful ship in the Carnival fleet. I can’t tell you how much fun Stitch and I had on board despite the fairly extreme weather we encountered.

The service, as always, was top notch. Our waiter in the dining room, June, was brilliant. Funny, attentive and quick he did a fantastic job.

The Chef’s Art supper club ( I REFUSE to call it a steak house…) was fantastic. It was on a par with the other supper clubs but the decor is perfectly lovely. I was a bit disappointed to see tables and diners on the dance floor, however.

The Pasta Bar was great!! Amazingly popular and for good reason. I’m Italian and make my own sauce and such and I can tell you, this was good!!!

The Atrium is amazing. It is subdued, refined and jaw droppingly lovely.

The Burgundy, the comedy club, is one of the best decorated areas on the ship. I was stunned by the masks!! It was almost by accident that I discovered them as it was late evening when we arrived in the club. Once I looked up I was amazed. I took picture after picture of the masks. Fantastic.

Now, my Cove Balcony… it was worth the price of admission. We stood out there for hours in the cold and rain being amazed at the look and feel of the ocean. When the balcony door closed every bit of the sound vanished… not a peep from the balcony. I know what category cabin I’ll be booking on the Carnival Dream from now on!!

I have some amazing photos of the transfer of the pilot to the boat. If one of the Stephanies would like to add a couple to the blog just email me.

I love the Dream. I can’t wait to sail on her in her element… the blue waters and blue sky’s of the Caribbean!!!


Host Mach

John Says:
Hello Host Mach
Thanks mate for taking the time to post your Carnival Dream review. I was disappointed that we didn’t have too much time to spend together but at least I got to say hello to you and Stitch. Your review was as always well written and after the ridiculous time it took to get through the New York embarkation process it was a joy to read that you enjoyed the ship and the crew so very much. I have asked one of the 343 Stephanies to e mail you for the photos and I will make sure the ships management get to see this report.
Thanks again Mach and thanks for your continuing support of the blog thingy.
Best wishes

Sheryl Asked:
John, Please Reply
I am writing to comment on the four choices and voting for the music on the Lido Decks. As much as I would like to pick one choice, I can’t. I can, however, say that I, definitely, would not like a D. J. Then all we would be hearing are “canned” songs, not live music. I believe that belongs in the Disco.

I don’t think the rest of the choices are so cut and dry. Yes, I can see a Calypso Band or Duo or Pan Players on ships sailing to the tropical ports of call in the Bahamas, Caribbean islands o Mexico. but what about ships sailing to Alaska, New England or Canada? What about sailings in Europe? (someday soon, I hope) This music would not be appropriate.

Therefore, I say, choose the type of music that fits the sailing. I think it’s what people would expect and enjoy.
Just My Honest Opinion!

John Says:
Hello Sheryl
Thanks for taking the time to write and I agree with you that in Europe and Alaska a Calypso Duo or Reggae band need to be replaced with other types of live music on lido. In fact that’s what we will be doing and I think that everyone agrees that a deck DJ is not the way to go. We have already committed to rotating the bands and musicians so all of them get a chance to feature their music on Lido.
Hope this is OK with you and thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
Best wishes

Cheri Bolchoz Asked:
John -Please reply

1st would love the facespace to keep in touch with all of you.

Please tell me you were able to mail the ornament & nametag

hope the conference is going well, even though it is work.
Cant wait to get on Carnival Destiny in January

We are ready for another Carnival Cruise now!!

will have to send you a picture of our tree with all our Cruise ornaments on it

Take care
Cheri & Michael

John Says:
Hello Cheri
I think the other CD’s will have time for a Facespace page thingy but me…………..I don’t think the blog will allow for that. We are seriously looking at Facespace pages for all the CD’s and I will let you know what’s happening on that soon. I e mailed you yesterday replying to your e mail you sent directly to my e mail address……………did you get it?
best wishes to you and Mr. Carnival

That’s all for today and I will be back on Monday with more.

So, back to this morning and the Q and A session which featured the following suggestions and comments from my blog friends.

1. The need for longer cruises. It seems that everyone loves 9, 12 and longer Carnival voyages

2. Inter line rewards programs. This means that guests want to cruise on Princess for example and have that cross over to their Carnival awards…………….sort of a Carnival corporation reward scheme.

3. The new home ports of Charleston and Baltimore were well received and there was a general sense that Carnival needs to place a ship in the Midwest…………..Chicago for example. This suggestion got a big round of applause as we have a lot of Midwest bloggers here

4. Europe of course came up and when I told them that our President Gerry Cahill had told the press recently that we were seriously considering a return to Europe in 2011 there was much rejoicing.

5. The subject of Platinum laundry benefits came up as well. This is because this voyage we have 600 Platinum cruisers and as you know they get free laundry service. Now usually we have 50 0r so Platinum guests so free laundry is never a problem. However 600 bags or if they do 2 bags……..1200 bags is a huge task to get back the same day or even the next day. And so we asked guests this voyage to see if they can manage with one bag per cabin and everyone has been most understanding.
Obviously, if someone has more than one bag we will not say no.

Yet the question was that apparently someone on Cruise Critic had posted that this was a fleetwide policy for each and every cruise and indeed Host Mach from Cruise Critic wrote to me saying that was a posting stating this.

Nope………………yet again……………….total bollocks……………it is this ship and this cruise only and if anyone asks for an extra bag we will honour that request. It just means that my underwear won’t get washed which is no big deal………………………………………….. as Heidi can do them in 8 days time.

I told the bloggers that I would pass their comments onto the people at the top who I also informed them read the blog thingy everyday and that their………..your……………comments are read very seriously and I thank them and I thank you for all the opinions you express here on the blog.

Two things were very obvious. They all love the ship and the comments on their Carnival Dream were brilliant to hear. The favourite things so far are the Lanai and outside Promenade………….the Laser Show last night and the cabins. Many are in the cove balcony cabins which they had booked after reading my words of praise for this new feature and thank goodness they all agree with me that they are fantastic and give the most incredible views of the Caribbean Sea. Some bloggers are in the deluxe two bathroom cabins and I was told how great it was to have that facility. Yep, everyone is having a great time although I must apologize to blogger Tim Kriebel who was in a public bathroom this morning and after finishing his ummm………..well…………… know…………tried to get out of the bathroom stall and found that the lock had broken. He was stuck in there for 30 minutes before he was freed…………….he looked rather flushed but was laughing when he told me the story…………as was I.

It has been great to see the ship in the Caribbean having seen it only in the bad weather of New York’s 2-day cruise. The sun is shining, its 80 degrees outside, the Serenity Deck is very popular as we thought it would be and the pools, whirlpools are full of happy people. The calypso duo is playing on Lido deck and the atrium and the Ocean Plaza have music and activities happening as I write. It’s now 1:30pm and in an hour I will be hosting a two hour tea time with conversation and tea (hot with milk) and little cakes and cucumber sandwiches. Then it’s time for elegant night and portrait photos with me and the bloggers. Tonight they will all receive a John’s Thingy mousepad following on from their John’s Bloggers Cruise lanyard they got last night.

Talking of last night we had our welcome aboard cocktail party where I said hello, introduced Stephanie Meads, Sexy (not) Craig, Jordan and Peter from the office , Todd the CD, Donato the Hotel Director and Captain Carlo Queirolo.

They all received a fantastic reception and as I stood at the exit I was hugged and kissed by everyone………………it was an extraordinary experience.

I wish you could all be here and I wish that today I wasn’t so busy so I could write more on the blog thingy. But its Tea time and 183 people are waiting for me. So I will leave you with a video of yesterday and I will see you on Monday.

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.