People's Dreams

December 11, 2009 -

John Heald

I am in trouble again…….big trouble……….or to put it another way………I am in le grand mierde!

Yesterday, I hosted one of the shows along with Todd and all day long people were stopping me asking me when I was going to do another one and to “please do a comedy show….you’re so funny.” And so I walked down Promenade Deck to meet some bloggers at my favorite part of the ship, the Ocean Plaza, with my chest puffed out like Billy the Baboon trying to get some rumpy pumpy with Brenda the Baboon. And suddenly my mood was deflated quicker than one of Pamela Andersen’s breast at high altitude………..by a shouting guest…………who didn’t like my joke………….about the French.

Let me first tell you what I had said.

Todd was apologizing on live TV about the San Juan thingy and I had added that there was nobody to blame except us…..at Carnival……and then added…………well………..maybe the French.

It was a throwaway line and I though no more of it until Mr. and Mrs. Du Pree decided to tell me that in their mind I was rude and should be sent to La Guillotine.

Honestly, they were le pissed at me and as much as I tried to apologize they got madder and in the end they kept interrupting each other to take turns at shouting at me. I had no choice but to sit there, say Le bugger all………..until they had got it off their chest. I felt particularly sorry for Lyudmila the Bar Waitress, who in the middle of the shouting tried to serve me Le Diet Coke.

Finally, the shouting stopped and I took in everything that had been said. I tried to figure out if they were mad just because we had missed a port or if it was truly because of my French joke.

My apology started by asking what part of France they were from ……………… answer …………… Montreal. I should have known they were not from France…………because they had been attacking me.

However, it turns out that they lived and worked in Paris for many years and asked me what I had against the French. Now……I had two choices here……and I thought I should share them with you.

Answer A……..really…..it was just a joke…………..the French and the English have been making fun of each other for generations.

Answer B…………Paris……..a beautiful city…………you go there expecting to see unspeakably beautiful lovers French kissing in the sunshine Smiling mustachioed men in hooped shirts selling croissants? What you actually see …….something quite different as during my last visit there was a Judge Judy look alike prostitute plying her trade.

Let’s not beat around le bush here Mr. and Mrs. Du Pree. It’s no secret that I’m no fan of Paris. I don’t think the food is not what it’s cracked up to be and the natives can be quite rude.

Paris also has a certain aroma like its drains have remained untouched since Napoleon was having rumpy pumpy with Josephine.

Guess which one I went with.

Yep………….answer B……………..and Madam Du Pree kicked me in La Bollocks.

Kidding.

Of course I went with answer A. I apologized quickly and respectfully………took one sip of my Le Diet Coke……….and did what any self respecting Frenchman would do…………..retreated to my cabin and hid under the bed.

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

Michelle Asked:
John, please reply…

We canceled our reservation on the thingy of the seas yesterday and booked the Glory so I was so happy to read your blog today. We were on the Glory last year and had a fabulous time but did miss the seaside theatre. We are sailing on Feb. 28th right after dry-dock – great timing!

Last year we had Butch as our CD and he was SO much fun. When will we know who the CD will be on the Glory in February?

John Says:
Hello Michelle

I am not going to gloat on the fact that you canceled your RCI cruise and booked a Carnival one instead………..OK………….maybe a little gloating is called for so……………..YIPEEEEEE!

You will love the Carnival Glory after her dry dock period. Everything will be shiny and new and as you said you will have the Seaside Theatre Big Screen. I am so glad you are a Butch fan and so many of the guests who have sailed with him have told me how great he is. As to who will be the Cruise Director in February…….well………..I promise that next week I will post the CD schedule for the first part of next year. I actually was talking to Chris Prideaux about it (Director of Entertainment) today and it looks like it is almost ready to go. This means that next week I will be able to tell you who is going where. Thanks again for booking a Carnival cruise and I wish you and your family the best vacation ever.

Best wishes
John

Jackie S. Asked:
Hi John-PLEASE REPLY

I just wanted to comment on your observations regarding the piano bar on the Carnival Glory. My husband I sailed on the Carnival Glory on 8/22/09, and had a fabulous time. I had really been looking forward to the piano bar, as on my previous Carnival Cruise on the Carnival Fascination, back in ‘98-’99 (New Years cruise, and I was a young 19-year-old with my parents), I simply had the best time in the piano bar.

Overall, I was somewhat disappointed in the turnout and the general atmosphere of the piano bar on the Carnival Glory. It was a lot quieter than I remembered. I think that part of it has to do with the location of the piano bar. If my memory serves me right, the piano bar on the Carnival Fascination was very close to the dining room (at least the one in which I was eating), and was very visible. When I exited from dinner, I quickly came upon a boisterous, energetic piano bar, and got sucked in. On the Carnival Glory, I had to search out the piano bar toward the aft of the ship, and it really did not stand out. My husband and I saw all 4 comedians while on board, and loved the comedy club, and still managed to find time for the piano bar, but did not have as much fun there as I had had in the past. The turnout was lower, and, as such, the crowd was quieter.

I was pleased to see that on the Carnival Dream, the piano bar seems to be in a much more visible location. Could you please comment on how that has affected attendance? Sing-alongs at the piano bar are a favorite for me, and I would like to be able to enjoy them as much as I did my first time around.

I hope that the next time that I have the opportunity to cruise, it will be with you as cruise director, as the blog thingy has me laughing aloud on a daily basis.

All the best,
Jackie S.

John Says:
Hello Jackie S

I was surprised to read that during your Carnival Glory cruise the Piano Bar did not have the atmosphere you had discovered on the Carnival Fascination. I say surprised because the location of the Piano Bar is the same on all the Destiny, Conquest and Splendor class ships, deck 5 aft, one deck up from the aft dining room. Maybe the atmosphere was more subdued because of the demographic of the guests that cruise or indeed because maybe the entertainer there was not as dynamic as he or she should have been.

Our Piano Bar entertainers are a focal point of our onboard entertainment program and we continue to shout out loud that we have the best in the business. I hope the next time you sail that you find the atmosphere you would expect. The Piano Bar here on your Carnival Dream is much more open and maybe our Piano Bar expert Laura AKA Divetrash would like to comment here.

I hope that one day you and I can enjoy a cruise together and if so I will do my best to make you laugh I promise. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
Best wishes
John

Tracy Asked:
John,

I’m a tiny bit confused. We’re sailing the Glory from Miami on January 3. Will that be after the refurbishment? Please tell me you will be onboard.

You are the only CD I have ever known the name of (16 cruises under my belt so far, 10 Carnival)! We were fortunate enough to sail on the Freedom with you in Europe, and I bought the only video I have ever purchased on a ship. The Bedtime Story where the woman tackled you was outrageous! I am only sorry I didn’t get you a cannoli in Taormina! I think you only received 24 or so?

If you’re not on the Glory, hopefully we can book the Magic and meet you again.
Tracy

John Says:
Hello Tracy

Wow, this is a little strange. Three questions all in a row about the Carnival Glory. You will be sailing on her before her dry dock period and the addition of the big screen on lido deck. I know you will have a fabulous time and please let me know if there is anything you need. Ahhhh ……….Canoli. I have such wonderful memories of my time in Europe and eating all those Canolis is part of the reason I am diabetic now probably. But the memories are wonderful and thanks for all those kind words and I hope we meet again very soon.
Best wishes to all
John

rickey coffey Asked:
I would like to know if the Carnival Dream is going to Rome in the month of November of 2011 on a 16 day cruise.

Thank you
Rickey Coffey

PS.
I had been on the carnival line this year on the new ship, the splendor wish sell on October 11, 2009. This is a beautiful ship and I really enjoy this ship. Please contact me as soon as possibly on my email.

John Says:
Hello Rickey Coffey

I am glad you found a way of contacting me via the blog thingy. I hope you understand that I can’t reply to everyone via e mail but will always do so if a comment is marked “John Please Reply.”

Your Carnival Dream is not sailing in Europe in 2011, however there is a possibility that one of our ships will return there. I will let you all know about this as soon as our Super Spy PA 007 lets me know.

I am very glad you had such a great time on the Carnival Splendor and I hope you enjoy the blog thingy.
Best wishes
John

Christine Asked:
John, Please reply

We will be cruising the Dream on March 20-27th. We have heard you were going to be onboard but then heard you were not. Can you please clear up the confusion for us?

Thank You
From the Cold state NY
Christine

John Says:
Hello Christine

The cruise of March 20th is my last cruise as CD on your Carnival Dream. I hope you are ready for a brilliant cruise.

So – see you soon
Best wishes to all
John

John& Francine Asked:
Julio/ John Please reply:

Hello Julio/ John. As you can see by your name (Julio) you can tell which Carnival Cruise we were on this past summer!

It was our first CCL adventure and it was GREAT!

We are on the Carnival Destiny for the Christmas cruise and were wondering if there will be any Religious service for Christmas on board ship?

Can’t wait to get on board, wish you were coming along. Be well and best to Heidi and Kye.

John Says:
Hello John and Francine

Ahhhhhh Julio. Great memories of the summer this year on the Carnival Freedom. It was amazing how many guests and crew called me Julio for the rest of that cruise. The plan is to indeed have a religious interdenominational service on Christmas Eve here on your Carnival Dream and Todd will place the times etc in the Carnival Capers. I know you will both love this ship and thanks so much for the kind words.
Best wishes to you both.
John

Lynn and Dave Asked:
John, please respond…….please, please help

We are sailing on the Carnival Dream, room 7330, on December 26. We have been confirmed for an 8:15 dining time.

What we are really hoping for is to be in the same dining room as Ken Byrne AND to have a table for two in the middle of the main dining room floor. Will Ken, the best singing (and only one that I know of) maitre d’, be still on the ship for this sailing or will he be home for the Holidays? He was on one of our Carnival Glory cruises, Carnival Freedom, and Carnival Splendor. He always makes the dining experience special. If he will be there, please send him our request. We are looking forward to seeing him again.

For the last two years, when we have sailed with Ken, we have been fortunate to have the same head waitress, Katarina. She is wonderful. We are hoping she is on the Carnival Dream.

Thanks for any help you can give us.
Lynn Drummond

P.S. We have been fortunate to have sailed on Carnival Glory four times. Do you know if Marcus Anthony will be performing on any of the Carnival Dream cruises? We always make sure to see his show. You are on our favorite ship and so I am sad to see it leave Port Canaveral but also looking forward to falling in love with the Carnival Dream.

John Says:
Hello Lynn and Dave

The good news is that Ken will be here and will still be singing and adding his incomparable charm to your dining experience. I have asked him to assist you with your dining request. Katarina is here as well I believe and she is as you said wonderful. It might not be possible to have her and be in the middle of the dining room as it depends on which station she has been assigned but I will again ask Ken to do his best. I wish you both a great cruise.
Best wishes to all
John

Linda Stein Asked:
John (please reply)

When a post goes into “waiting for moderation” on the board does that mean you never see it? I have posted a small review of my Miracle sailing 11/4 along with a question 4 times and each time it’s gone into “moderation” and never showed up on the board. I would really like you to see it but I don’t want to be a pest and post it 100 times if you saw it the first time.

John Says:
Hello Linda

I am so sorry that your review has been mislaid. I wonder sometimes if some comments get sucked into a big cyber hole somewhere. Although some comments do take a few days to get posted due to the sheer number of them or if the 343 Stephanies are busy doing other things, we do post all the comments. This includes ones that may not be so positive or have a comment regarding something we can improve on. The only time I will not post something is when the Stephanies send me a comment that is a personal attack on someone or contains subject matter that may not be appropriate.

So, the 343 Stephanies are now searching for your posting and I wondered if I may be so bold to ask you to send it one more time and we will all keep a look out for it.

Best wishes
John

David Lewis Asked:
John

We have over 100 family members and friends booked on the “Dream” Eastern Caribbean Jan. 16th. We have a small problem, and a solution, but it seem not to be getting any response from Carnival. The problem is we have some of our family and friends listed as confirmed Early dining and they desire Late dining and we have others who desire Early and are confirmed late. I know you all have a policy on placing people depending on the date of final payment but this is matter just moving the people and every one will be happy. Our travel agent has been in contact with her Carnival Rep and the latest is now we may not know until the week before we sail. I would think it would be a very easy fix and 1oo customers are happy.

I can provide additional info when you or a rep from Carnival responds to this email. Thank you and we are looking forward to our time on the “Dream”.

John Says:
Hello David

I will do my best to help you with this. My first question is are you booked as a group booking or individual bookings. Please would you let me know the group name and booking number and let me see what I can do? I look forward to hearing from you soon and my best wishes to all.
John

Janet Sammons Asked:
Please Reply.

Hi John, I am the Cruise Critic group leader sailing on the Dream, Feb. 20, 2010. I already contacted you with a few questions and I thank you for the answers. And we are so very excited that you accepted our invitation to our meet and greet. I will contact you about that in January.

My question today is one that has me very concerned. I have been emailing back and forth with Carnival, and I am just getting nowhere!

I understand that when we sail on the Dream in Feb. we will visit Isla Roatan’s new pier. My concern is this. We have been told that there is a rather large hill one will have to climb to get to the street where we will be able to meet up with independent tour operators. We are told by Carnival that no tour operator except ones offering Carnival excursions booked on the ship, will be allowed to come down the hill to pick us up.

We have several people in our group that are elderly and/or disabled. Some in wheel chairs, some just unable to walk up or down a long steep hill. My concern is for these people. Can you please tell me how Carnival intends that these people get up the hill?

I told Carnival in several emails my concerns, after several replies to me, none of which answered my question, I asked ” “Well if that is the case, can you please tell me exactly how large and steep this hill will be. Also, can you please tell me the taxi fare to the top the hill for those that are in wheelchairs. ” I was then told by the Carnival rep. “Please contact the tour operators that are organizing the excursions for your group for that specific information. The Carnival Dream has not yet visited Roatan and are unable to provide us with the information.”

Isn’t Carnival building this pier? Are there not blueprints that would indicate the length and grade of this hill? How can Carnivals rep not know the answer?

Can you please help me to find out the answers? I would like to be able to tell the folks in my group that all is well, and their needs will be taken care of.

Thanks,
Janet Sammons

John Says:
Hello Janet

I am glad you are all getting excited about your cruise in February here on your Carnival Dream and please remind me to attend your meet and greet and if my schedule permits it will be an honor to do so. The new pier facility in Roatan is extraordinary and tomorrow I will feature some stunning photos of Mahogany Bay. As for the question about the independent tour operators. I asked the Carnival Legend which has called there to tell me the facts and they informed me of the following.

The tour buses, independent operators and taxis meet at the end of the pier. There is a 5-10 minute walk to the end of the pier, the berthing pier is flat and only the last part of the walk has a 20% incline before reaching the bus dispatch area).

I will ask the Shore Excursion Manager here to confirm this after their call next week and will write more soon.

Best wishes to all
John

Stephen Smith Asked:
John, Please Reply

One of my closest friends was on the Carnival Valor last week. He and his wife had a wonderful time. Why this might not be surprising news to you, they have very discerning tastes and are not easy to please. However (there always seems to be a however) they did witness something I would like you to respond to.

When they were in Belize, a Carnival trainer was physically assaulted and had her purse stolen. They assisted her (along with the police) back to the ship. While she was shaken, none of her injuries was of a serious nature. That was the good news. The bad news is my friends were left with the impression this was not an isolated incident and in fact such occurrences were becoming so common place in Belize that Carnival was re evaluating whether their ships would continue to make port calls there. I realize things can get blown out of proportion and people have can and do exaggerate. With that said I know you will provide a straight answer as to what degree of security issues exist in Belize and if Carnival’s level of concern has risen to the point that it is actually considering pulling its ships from the port.

John Says:
Hello Stephen

I was so sorry to hear about this and I would like you to thank your friends for me for their help and kindness. Carnival keeps a very close eye on all the ports that our ships call at. In fact, it goes much wider than that because the whole industry monitors incidents such as the one you described. If we believe that a port of call is genuinely unsafe versus being an isolated incident for our guests and crew the I promise you that Carnival and the industry will act immediately but I have heard of no plans of pulling our ships from Belize, which remains quite popular. Rest assured the safety and security of our guests and crew are Carnival’s highest priority – nothing else even comes close.

Thanks for allowing me a chance to answer your question and once again my thanks to your friends for their act of kindness.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and once again may I say a huge thank you to all of you for taking the time to post your comments.

Let’s take a break and look at some more stunning photos of your Carnival Dream.

I hope you have enjoyed all the great shots this last nine days and my thanks to Radu, Jordan and Peter the Hair for sharing their amazing talents with us.

Today is the last day of the bloggers cruise and this afternoon I will host a farewell cocktail party which will include a private show by Carnival’s first lady of comedy Kim Harrison and of course drinks and hors de thingies. Everyone will be taking a group photo dressed in their Bloggers T Shirts and then it will be time to say goodbye. I want to thank all 183 people who booked to come and sail with me and a special thank you to the core group of 50 or so who have been to every one of the events……….even the ones that started at 9 am………………and midnight!

All 183 of you are very special to me (as are all of you who take your valuable time each day to read the blog thingy) and I hope that you enjoyed the gifts, the fun and the family atmosphere and most of all I hope you enjoyed your magnificently brilliant Carnival Dream.

How do I sum this ship up? It’s not easy. I have been involved with her since the building began and apart from our Chairman and CEO Micky Arison I think I was the first Carnival employee to visit her during the early construction period.

Your Carnival Dream is truly a wonderful ship with facilities and areas that have allowed us to do things that we have not been able to do before. Yes………..there were teething problems as there always are whenever you open anything new. Certainly the embarkation and debarkation in New York gave us cause for concern and I think we are now getting the flow of traffic right in our lido deck restaurants. At our town hall meeting this morning I received valuable information on what we can do to improve the product here on your Carnival Dream, including enhancing the gifts and services for Platinum club members among other things.

Then we had Jordan from Carnival.com come and speak about the most popular website in the cruise industry. He did a fantastic job and he was so well received. He told the audience that very soon we would be launching something new and exciting and everyone seems very excited about that. Suggestions were made regarding the booking system, E Docs and making the whole system friendlier and easier. “It’s Barbara Walters now; we need to make it Paris Hilton,” said Jordan. Actually………..I said that but it will be easy soon.

You see, before Jordan took control of this a few months ago, E Docs, My Reservations, Shore Excursions were all websites managed and designed by separate entities. This is no longer the case because now Jordan and the beardies have total control and you will start to see major differences in the whole website including the areas that our loyal guests spoke to us about today. It was a very productive meeting.

So……how about the praise ……….well, instead of me waffling on about how I am in love with this ship……………maybe we should let your fellow cruisers and blog lovers do the talking. Here is a link thingy to a few of the reviews that have been written and I think they sum up just why………….their Carnival Dream…………….was so special.

http://johnhealdsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/dream-comments2.pdf

My thanks to Stephanie H for putting that together. I must say huge congratulations to the Captain, officers, staff and crew for the amazing work they have done and will continue to do. Opening a new ship is never easy as I said yet they have been the iconic feature of the ship and I am proud to have seen them in action and look forward to working alongside them next January when I return a Cruise Director……..oh one last time………I have to say…… have you booked yet?

And so it’s time to say goodbye, not just to this ship but to my 2 months of traveling. I have been the CD on the Carnival Legend; I have hosted a fun event in New York, hosted a naming ceremony and a bloggers cruise and attended a CD conference. I have flown 7 times and used three tubes of Hemorrhoid cream and I have had a fabulous time doing all of that. I must admit though that I am looking forward to being more of a Cruise Director next year than I have the opportunity to be this year.

My brand ambassador role is important and one I relish but my in my heart I am still a CD and as I doubt I will b e a CD for too many more years I want to use as much time as I can doing what I love the most………entertaining. I hope that some of you will be joining me on your Carnival Dream, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Pride and hopefully the Carnival Spirit. I will also be hosting a 2011 Bloggers Cruise as well and will tell you more about this soon.

But for now I admit to having just one thought in my mind ………and that’s seeing my girls. I have missed them more than words can describe and tomorrow night American Airlines will fly me to London and I will be reunited with them on Sunday morning. It’s been hard………truly hard to be away from them and entertaining on stage and of course writing this blog and reading your comments has been a great distraction from the loneliness of returning to an empty cabin.

At this point it’s time for me to say as I always do when I go home that I hope you will come with me. The blogs will still feature all the latest happenings around the fleet and across the Carnival Corporation. I will still be here to answer your questions and help you when I am asked to do so. There will be guest bloggers and a look at what Christmas is like onboard for the crew.

With your kind permission I will write next on Tuesday so I can overcome jet lag and spend Monday with the girls. Meanwhile the following will happen.

On Sunday there will be a wonderful slide show of photos of the new Mahogany Bay facility in Roatan.

On Monday Captain Scala will post his second blog about the life of a cruise ship Captain.

Then on Tuesday I will return with a normal blog that will also include a video montage of the bloggers cruise much, much more.

So, thanks again for your time and I will leave you with a little video of me……..doing something for the first ever time……..singing at Karaoke……….and singing a song chosen by Linda Mum of DJ and………….well……………you have been warned.

I’m too sexy …………my arse!

See you in the UK.

Goodnight
Your friend
John

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

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