A Developing Blog

December 17, 2009 -

John Heald

There are certain things I do not know the answer to. And while I answer many questions here on the blog thingy there are many things in life about which I know………..bugger all.

For instance. Did the chicken come first, or the egg? What the hell were they thinking when they designed the upper portion of the Norwegian Epic……….was the architect Stevie Wonder? Is there any blonde woman in the world who hasn’t had rumpy pumpy with Tiger Woods?

And………..why do the press always print photos of a new cruise ship and show just how big it is by printing photos of the Titanic next to it…………why not the Queen Mary?

Then today, Heidi sent me on a job that I could not do because I had no idea how to. You see, she has been taking photos of Kye with something called a camera………not a digital camera …………but something from the stone age that has something in it called “a film” and so the question she asked me was “Do you know of any local places that develop photographs?” ….. well I have lived in Southend all my life and I know there used to be many such places……..but when I went there today…….they had all gone.. I couldn’t think of anywhere that developed photographs. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I couldn’t even remember the last time I had a photograph developed.

Do you remember the excitement as you tore open the packet containing your holiday snaps? The nervous tension as you waited to find out how many of the 24 pictures were overexposed, or blurred, or your drunk friends had taken of their genitalia?

All that has been deleted by the digital camera……….and that’s a shame. A lot of people ask me about the photos onboard the ships and any of you who have been on a Fun Ship recently will know that there is still a lot of excitement in searching for and buying an actual photo.

Looking back on the Noughties…….which Tofu eaters have decided to call this particular decade……… I am amazed by how much has been made obsolete. Things that we have had for decades have been replaced by newer, better, techie things, and then those newer, better, techie things have been replaced by even newer, even better, even more techie versions of those things ………….and it’s all thanks to those bastards with beards.

Let’s see how many we can think of.

The watch
I want to start with this one because I had a coffee with my best mate Alan today. While we were talking about our mutual love and affection for Megan Fox’s bottom I noticed that he was not wearing his 40th birthday gift that I had given him…………a Citizen dive watch which shows tides and moons and ummmm….tells time. When I asked him where his watch was he told me “Why bother, when you have a cell phone?” Bastard! But actually he is right…….why bother? In years past someone decided that the watch says something about the man. And that having the right timepiece is just as important as having the right hair, or the right names for your children, or the right car.

Then we have a Cruise Director colleague of mine who shall remain nameless but who has a collection of watches. Yes, a collection. But despite this he has just spent thousands of dollars on a watch made by something called Brietling. He showed me his new watch at the CD conference explained who this company make timepieces for fighter pilots and space shuttle commanders and people who parachute from atomic bombs into power boats for a living. Well that will be handy then for when he’s hosting a deck party.

Now I know roughly what he earns and therefore I know what percentage of his income he’s just blown on this watch and I think, medically speaking, he may be mad……..all he needs is a cell phone.

Our Memory
There is bugger all point remembering anything any more, because we have computer thingies to do that for us. What’s my home telephone number? Not a bloody clue. You have a palm thingy or a raspberry or an Eye phone or all three to tell you that……..memories are for wimps.

Remember letter writing. Well this I am sure will be an extinct species soon thanks to Facespace. Twittering and the now totally old fashioned way of sending a message……………… Email.

In 2009, nobody leaves the house with fewer than 5,000 songs in their pocket. They then fail to listen to any song in its entirety, instead choosing to skip to the next because it might be better. Eye Pod my arse.

Walking On Deck At Night
Do you remember before the giant screens, water slides, comedy clubs etc – not that these are such bad things — but I remember when people used to take walks around the decks at night ……under the stars. Not anymore. And that’s a shame.

Anyway, I digressed there quite a bit. Sorry about that. It’s 6:45 am………..Heidi and Kye are asleep ………………and I am in my office ………..in my underpants…………and its bloody freezing.

Anyway, back to the subject of photos. In the olden days our cameras were the size of a coffee table book, but we’d carry them around with an assortment of spare lenses and flash guns and we’d move people out of the sun and make everyone smile and we’d take the film to the developers and we’d pay a bit extra for a fast turn around because we were desperate to see how everything had turned out. And then we’d leaf through the finished shots in 10 seconds, put them in a drawer and never ever look at them again.

Today, things are very different. Because you have a digital camera on your phone, you take pictures of absolutely everything and on YouTube every day’s a wedding day. You used to come back from your holiday with 24 pictures, because that’s how many were on the film. Now most people come back from a cruise with about a billion. The other day I took a picture of one of the crew cleaning the promenade deck on your Carnival Dream simply because they were using a machine I had never seen before. It’s not particularly interesting………..but I took it anyway……………here it is.

Kye, meanwhile, has had more photos taken of her than Lady sodding Gargar. That’s because cameras are effectively free and because there is no longer any developing, photography no longer has a cost. And without a cost it has no value.

I didn’t question Heidi’s return to using her old film camera because as you know me and technology get on together in much the same way Tiger Woods is getting on with his wife right now…….we have a bit of a rough relationship…..and I putt in no effort to improve it ……….. did you spot the two golf jokes there?

Let me explain why. Just after Kye was born I decided to transfer all the pictures of her taken from my Raspberry onto my computer. This is easy enough if you have about four spare weeks, the patience of someone who’s actually dead and a master’s degree in Klingon. Once you have finally understood how to put the photos onto the computer thingy you face another problem. Do you delete the ones that have bugger all meaning or which are out of focus? No. You either leave them all where they are, in which case they will be lost for all of time when your hard drive crashes. Which, one day…………… I assure you it will.

Nope…………as I just said………………I can totally understand why Carnival’s hard copy portrait photos are so popular……….because you can actually put them in a frame…………..and look at them without having to press “control, alter thingy, delete” and calling Mr. Dell a complete and utter bastard.

The only negative thing about hard copy photos are that people tend to put them in albums and bring them round your house. I have a certain relative who will be doing just that this Christmas ……….and I will have to endure a year in photos in the life of my Great Uncle Harold. Personally …………….I would rather look at a boil on Judge Judy’s bottom.

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

Jeri GreenAsked:
Please reply – if you have time

Now I’m really looking forward to our flight tomorrow! LOL

A year or two ago on the Carnival Imagination sailing out of Miami we, Larry and I, chatted with you and talked about our two trips on the Carnival Liberty in Europe and the Transatlantic (the virus trip). You did say to let you know whenever we sailed again. Well, this Dec. 26th we get to cruise on the Carnival Dream to celebrate our 53rd anniversary and New Year’s Eve. It is also our Landmark cruise! Yea!

I realize you now have over 5 millions readers of your blog but I will alert you to our cruise anyway. Since Larry never has time to read the blog and I get to tell him about it, maybe you can surprise him with something for being such a great husband (and father) for 53 years.

John Says:
Hello Jeri

Thanks so much for letting me know that you will soon be on yet another Carnival cruise this time on your fabulous Carnival Dream. I remember our conversation very well and of course have many varied memories of our voyages together. Congratulations on your pending anniversary and on reaching your Platinum status and I truly hope that this is your best cruise ever. I would be honoured to send Larry something.
Have a great time.

Best wishes to you both.

Greg Pethan Asked:
For John To Reply To

Having just returned from our Splendor cruise I have an urgent question that needs your immediate response please. I noticed that there were adult movies available on the TV system. As a Christian I was disgusted to see that a family cruise line had this option. Please can you tell me why?
Thank you
Greg and Louise Pethan

John Says:
Hello Greg and Louise

First of all I hope you enjoyed your cruise on the Carnival Splendor and maybe if you have time you can send me your review of the ship so we can all enjoy reading it. There are adult movies on the interactive system as there are in most every hotel chain in North America. The TV has the ability to lock these movies out so that children cannot view them. I apologize if you were offended that these movies were available and I truly hope you had a brilliant cruise.
Best wishes to you both

Lissa (Crazy4Koko) Asked:
(You can reply if you have time, feel inclined, have nothing better to do…yada, yada, yada)

Dear John and Family. Well, do I mean Carnival family, or do I mean ‘family family’… ah heck, I guess I mean your whole family! Now that I’ve got that out of the way…on to some more fun…

Hubby and I sailed the Freedom on 10/24. We were fortunate to have met up with a rather large group of Cruise critics online prior to sail, and I’ll tell you, they are the greatest people I had ever met… Until I met Wee Jimmy! Well, actually I’d cruise with all of them in a New York Minute, given the opportunity.

Host Mach had managed to organize an at sea meet and greet in the Piano bar on Tuesday afternoon…about 40 of us crowded into the bar and spent an hour or so playing trivia games (How many passengers fit on the Triumph? (My answer… ALL OF THEM), getting some info on the workings of the shows, crew rotation, etc. We were fortunate to win the coveted ‘Caribbean snow globe’… Now I know that you’re wondering what the heck that is. Caitlyn, our 12yr old, loves snow globes…which are not exactly Caribbean themed gifts. SO, when we won our ’ship on a stick’, we instantly dubbed it her ‘Caribbean snow globe’. Anything to keep kids happy, right? She is tickled to have such a rare commodity nestled among glass and artificial snow! Stephanie, our 15yr old is now wanting one of her own.

We had a few laughs with Jimmy, including at the 3:45 Past Guest reception, where the refused to be my partner in a dance contest! I think I caught him off guard…well, I know I did, but we certainly had a good laugh over it. I think maybe he thought I was trying to pick him up. Hey, if he’s gonna announce to everyone that he doesn’t have a dance partner, he’s gotta be prepared for whatever comes up the stairs! (And yes, I had the blessing of my husband…after being together since 1982, he certainly knows I’m not going anywhere!) I suppose it’s probably a good thing I can’t dance… Jimmy would have been sorely disappointed!

We came off the Freedom on 11/1, full of sadness that it was over, but also full of joy and anticipation. Yes, in fact we are planning on taking our girls on their first cruise in June… aboard the Destiny. Naturally of course, I never thought about purchasing the future cruise certificates…that would have made too much sense! From what I hear lately, though… I’m a bit nervous about booking! Would love to hear something concrete about the status of her propulsion system.

My one disappointment aboard the Freedom? The Sun King. There were six of us that evening. From women being called ‘Sir’ twice, to Porterhouse steaks that were supposed to be cooked to medium that were served moo-ing, to giggling wait staff, to ‘warm water Canadian lobster’..It was undoubtedly the most disappointing experience while on board. My response from Carnival’s Guest services was obviously a canned response. “Sorry you were disappointed, but hope you will cruise with us again”.

Well, I guess that’s about all I’ve got to say and comment on, other than to say Thanks to Host Mach for organizing the Meet and Greet with Jimmy, Thanks to Jimmy for taking it all in stride, To Gayve for taking the teasing about who he looks like as all in fun, for the Cast and crew of the many shows we enjoyed while we were aboard, The staff for making sure that if we had a need, it was met, and to YOU, for making it possible to get my Thanks out there!
Happy holidays to You, Heidi, and the little ones! (Yes… Thingy counts!)

John Says:
Hello Lisa

I see we have yet another Wee Jimmy fan and that’s no surprise because all the qualities you mentioned are the reason he is for many their favourite CD. I am glad the meet and greet was ok. Host Mach sent me the request and I remember it was a pretty late one so my thanks to him for letting me know you were all sailing and to the ship for organizing it so quickly.

I was disappointed by your review of the Steakhouse. Normally I only receive glowing praise for the food and the service so I’m not sure what happened here. I hope you sent the steak back. I say this to all of you who eat there. If the steak is not cooked to your liking please politely let the servers know and they will make sure it is changed ………..we shouldn’t be afraid to ask. We will also address your comments about the service.

I also know that sometimes when large corporations send out apology letters they can seem to be a little stale and devoid of personality. They are not meant to be that way but the substance of these letters are correct………we are sorry………….and we do hope that you had a great cruise and will sail with us again.

I want to thank you for the great review and I will make sure that the Hotel Director, Wee Jimmy and Gayve get to read your comments. Thanks again for taking the time to write.

Best wishes and thanks so much for the beautiful words of kindness.

Terri Asked:
John (please reply)

Can you please tell me if you are going to be the Carnival Dream January 23, 2010? I booked it because I thought you were going to be on that week!!!!!!! Also, is there any way I can be put in the main dining room, I love Ken, we have been on several cruises that he has been on. One more question, is Wee Jimmy on the Dream also. If so they did a great job of getting the best of the best on the ship.

John, I have been on quite a few cruises that you were also on, it was always exciting when we boarded the ship and you were there. We were guaranteed a great time. You give us so much laughter.

I’m trying to get Roger’s family to join us on the cruise in January. They have never been on a cruise before, it will be a great experience for them.

Thank you for all that you do.
Terri (one of the Butlin girls)

John Says:
Hello Terri

I will indeed be on your Carnival Dream when you sail. I won’t though be the CD as it will be Todd’s last week and I have a handover period with him. Wee Jimmy is on the Carnival Freedom but the good news is that if you send me your last name I will make sure you are in Ken’s dining room. Hope to hear from you and see you soon.
Best wishes

James and Tracey Kirch Asked:
John, (Please Reply)

We just came back from our honeymoon on the Carnival Dream on Nov. 15-23. This was my husband’s first cruise and my 2nd (1st was with another cruise line.)

Boarding the boat seemed to be total chaos in the NY Terminal.. Me and my husband are both patient people and were just laughing when they called zone 5 and people with zone 15 were arguing with the guy to let them pass.

We had a couples massage on Monday morning, which was great but afterwards we were getting a sales pitch to buy lotions after we politely said no once, she continued to recommend the lotions, the girl was pleasant but after we said no once shouldn’t it have been enough?

The biggest disappointment was on Wednesday in Port Carnival 1. Because the boat was leaning to one side we could not take a shower before our excursion because the water would not drain and no one ever heard of this problem before. When we came back no one ever informed us that it was fixed we sort of tried it and noticed no flood. 2. 2nd is that we planned an excursion for the Wildlife Pontoon, we decided on this excursion before the cruise because the website explained the pontoon and mentioned going to cocoa village afterwards, I was a little shocked when we went back to the boat. I went to the guest services desk to have the girl look into a book and say no, no shopping after that excursion it is not in the book, we then went to fun hub and I pulled up the description on the website. Shore excursions desk was closed so I went back to guest services and they told me they couldn’t help… go to shore excursions. We never got down when they were open. We didn’t want our good time to stop because we had to complain to shore excursions.

Leaving the ship was easy but our luggage was mixed with other zones and took forever to find our bags.

Our CD Todd was great and our Steward Suphol was incredible. The food was excellent and we loved all the choices, just wish room service had more choices. We spent most of our time in the casino and Piano Bar Vince was awesome and kept the room singing along… the comedians were the funniest.

If you can please let me know about that excursion that would be greatly appreciated.
Tracey and James Kirch

John Says:
Hello Tracey and James

I was very happy to read that despite the chaos of embarkation in NY. Having seen it for myself I know that it certainly was not a brilliant start to the cruise and if we ever dock a big ship in New York again I think we will have to carefully examine how we handle the embarkation and debarkation process. We do have the excuse of being in a terminal that was built many years ago and not built with the big ships in mind. However, there is no excuse for getting the bags mixed up as happened to you and please allow me to apologize for this.

As for the tour…….well I honestly am not familiar with this one and I have copied everyone onboard and shore side who needs to know this and I will ask that someone there sends me the explanation so I can follow up with you on this………….which I will. I was glad to read you enjoyed Vince, Todd and the food choices and that overall you found the service to be excellent.

Thank you then for the honest report and I will be back to you as soon as I have completed the investigation.

Wishing you both a wonderful life together.

Mary Sanborn Asked:
Dear John.

Not really haha it’s BOOBOO how are ya? my granddaughter and I will be sailing the Dream on March 20-27. Please tell me you will be on as the cruise director, I really would love you to be there, you have become quite special to my family I don’t know if I’m doing this right so I hope you receive it if not could you please e-mail me. Thank you hope to see ya soon Mary Sanborn BOOBOO

John Says:
Hello BooBoo.

I will indeed be on your Carnival Dream as CD for your cruise. It will be my last one before moving to the Carnival Conquest and I will do my best to give you both a wonderful time. I am glad you found the blog thingy and hope you enjoy it.
See you soon
Best wishes

Kimberlee Drayton Asked:
Dear John

I wrote you several months ago and you graciously said you would help do something special for my in-laws on our cruise on the Carnival Miracle leaving FLL 12/14. I know you get a million requests so I understand if you are unable to help at this time I have copied you on the previous correspondence. I imagine you are very busy as this is the holiday season, but thought I would give it a shot. Have a very Happy Christmas in the UK, pop a cracker or two for me. We were stationed there for 10 years and I miss it everyday. Nothing like a cup of PG Tips to wake you up in the afternoon!

Please reply….
I have booked my immediate family and some friends as well as my in laws on the Miracle Western Caribbean departing 12/14/09. Here is my problem, my in-laws have always sailed Royal Caribbean. They live eat and breathe everything Royal Caribbean! The mistake they made was letting me plan our cruise! I love Carnival, I love the service the food and the value. My father in law was a self made man who is very very talented and interesting to talk to. But he does sometimes set his mind that he is right. I really wanted to impress him with Carnival and I was wondering if there is any way we could get seated at the Captains Table or Officers Table one night. This is a very special cruise for me as my husband recently retired from the US Air Force and we never had a honeymoon. We will be renewing our vows on this cruise and if my in laws are unhappy it will take away from the experience. I know a million requests come to you but I hope you will be able to help me.
Best regards
Ps I love love love your blog, we were stationed in England for 10 years and miss it terribly.
John Says:

Hello Kim
This is a bit like The Miami Heat vs. The New York Knicks or England vs. Australia at cricket or Tyson vs. Holyfield or the French vs. Everyone who hates them which is of course everyone who isn’t French. Carnival vs. Royal Caribbean…you vs. the in- laws ….a titanic struggle where only one will survive.

Joking aside, there is nothing to worry about because the amazing value for money that a Carnival cruise provides along with the brilliant service and never-ending fun will for sure bring the in laws over from the dark side.

I will do my best with your request but the captain’s table is never easy to influence. However, I would ask that you remind me two weeks before your cruise and I will do whatever I can to make sure your father in law has an amazing experience and that the Carnival Empire will strike back.

Don’t worry Kimberlee…………if he starts talking about climbing walls just remember ……. use the fun Kimberlee…………use the fun.
Best wishes
Obee One Johnobe

John Says:
Hello Kimberlee

Just a quick note to say I hope you are having a wonderful time and that you are discovering that Carnival really does have fun for all.
Please write when you get home.
Best wishes

Rob O’Connell Asked:
John : (please reply)

I just finished the November 15-23 sailing on my Carnival Dream and what a great experience it was. As for the person that asked about the quality of the food, I can say that the food was second to none. This was my second (of many many more to come) Carnival cruises (sailing on the Carnival Pride last November). With today’s economy and companies looking to trim a dollar anywhere they can, I was thinking that the food choices or quality might be a little less than last year. I was very wrong about this. The food was even better (and I really didn’t think that possible) than last trip. There were steak and beef choices every night, as well as lobster on formal night. On more than 1 night my excellent waiter Jorge and his assistant treated myself and my brother to more than 1 helping and there was not 1 thing that was of substandard quality. I also have to give compliments to Kenny the maitre D and the entire dining room staff for learning a complete new set of performances from my last cruise. I was expecting the same performances and just about every one was new. Great job all around the dining room!

I also loved the layout of this ship. The lido deck with the big screen and the water slides was a big hit. The laser shows at night were incredible, and not 1 but 2 late night deck parties were both great. My 1 criticism of the first deck party was that the lounge chairs were left out (I guess so people could enjoy the laser show) which left almost no room to dance. This was corrected in time for the second party which made it much more fun for everyone.

Deck 5 was another big hit on this ship and Ocean Plaza was full from early morning to late night just about every day. I loved the Dancing in the Street show that could be on Broadway it was so good. I also loved the “mini shows” that followed the main show in the atrium. What a great idea that is to have a quick stop in the lobby for a little more entertainment on the way to dinner. The fun force break dancers were unbelievable, how can they do those things on a moving ship without hurting themselves? Simply Amazing. Todd and his staff did a great job keeping us busy all day and night, and James looked like he was having a blast filling in the big chair for a few days while Todd was with you at the conference.

I would like to mention a few crew members who stood out and deserve special recognition. Social host Amy was very nice and took the time to have a conversation about life on the ship. I have to send out a “Whoo Hoo! Excelante!” to Mouna the karaoke host. She was always full of energy and took the time to greet every guest that walked in or by her shows, and also gave a big smile and hello every time she walked past me in the halls. “Mr. Magic” the strolling magician was great doing tricks for the young and old, and taking time to talk about his life experiences. Vince Strong had the piano bar hopping every night. What a great piano player and overall entertainer he is. Now…drum roll please… the number 1 star on the ship was piano bar bartender Zolan, nicknamed “Doctor Z”. What a great asset he is to the Carnival name, greeting everyone my name, and doing a dance while mixing every drink. There wasn’t a night that went by, including Vince’s night off, that I didn’t stop by for a drink and a laugh from Dr Z. On the last night of the cruise, I handed him an envelope to show him my appreciation of his service, and he came around the bar and gave me a big hug and told me I was the best. What a great way to end a cruise.

My only 2 negative comments would be embarkation and disembarkation. The New York terminal is just not well equipped to handle 4000 guests and arriving before noon and not getting aboard until 3:30 was tough to deal with. Carnival however was TOO efficient with disembarkation. I was in zone 26 (of 32) and was off the ship by 9 AM. I was hoping that disembarkation would take days to complete, so I could spend more time on my Carnival Dream. I can’t wait to book another Carnival cruise, hopefully with a cruise director as good as Mark Price was on the Carnival Pride and Todd Wittmer was on my Carnival Dream…possibly Carnival’s senior cruise director? Thank you John for this blog thingy and all you do to keep everyone happy. You, too, truly symbolize the Carnival name. Stay healthy and travel safely.

John Says:
Hello Rob

As you may have just read, I totally agree with you that the embarkation and debarkation process from and to the New York terminal did not go well. There are reasons for this but none can justify the long wait you all had to get on and off your Carnival Dream. I am truly sorry for the inconvenience caused.

On a much happier note the review of your cruise was wonderful to read and I know that everyone whom I forward this to will feel the same way. Thank you so much for taking the time to praise not only the great entertainment, shows, food and service but also for praising people like Dr. Z who I know will so enjoy reading your comments.

I hope that one day you and I will have the chance to sail together. Until then I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.
Best wishes to you and the family

Des Ellis Asked:
Hi John (Please reply)

Regrettably we missed you at the cocktail party when boarding the Carnival Dream in New York on the 15 November due to embarkation delays. We did however leave a special “bloggers wall hanger” thingy for you at the guest services counter. Did you ever get it??…….if not please investigates as it was in a letter size white envelope marked for your attention.

Best wishes/regards
Des & Carol (Cape Town)

John Says:
Hello Des Ellis

Oh thank goodness you wrote in and told me who sent my wall hanger as I had no idea who it came from. Thank you so very, very much for doing this and I am very sorry we didn’t get to meet. As I have just said, embarkation did not go smoothly and I am upset that this caused you to miss our get together. Please would you let me know when you are sailing again so I can return the kindness you have shown to me?
Best wishes

Cheri Bolchoz Asked:
John (Please reply)

I agree with you totally that Susan Boyle would have been great at the Naming Ceremony for Carnival Dream. The song fits.

Will you please be able to mail the ornaments & nametag & maybe the ship on a stick from Todd, before you leave for the UK.?

Be safe in your travels. Looking forward to the Carnival Fantasy being in Charleston. Only a 15 min drive for us.

Hope to hear from you real soon

John Says:
Hello Cheri

Mr. Carnival’s “thingy” has been mailed. Please let me k now as and when you receive it.
Best wishes to you both.

Jan & Larry Ritchie Asked:

I have read and enjoyed your blog quietly from the sidelines never intending to write you. But. After the itinerary change for the Miracle (which we booked immediately) I was wondering if Carnival was going to increase the number of cruises to Bermuda. Would love to go there in June of 2011 for my retirement celebration. I noticed today that Holland something or other has a cruise there in June of 2010 and that rather than just being at King’s Warf will be docked in Hamilton and St George’s. These to me are the preferred docking points having been to Bermuda before. If you could make this happen I would treat you to pickled nachos at the Pickled Onion on Front St; in Hamilton. These are to die for.

We will enjoy your company on Dec 3 aboard the Dream.
Thanks for all you can do.
Jan & Larry

John Says:
Hello Jan and Larry

Bermuda was actually the subject of part of yesterday’s blog thingy. I had been reminded by our Super Spy PA 007 that the Kings Wharf pier cannot take the larger ships with Holland America’s Veendam being the largest that docks there.

However, we realize how popular a destination Bermuda is as we have seen with bookings for the Carnival Miracle. We will continue to look at the possibilities of making more calls there and of course I will keep you posted here on the blog thingy.
Please let me know if you have any other questions
Best wishes

That’s all for today. One of the 343 Stephanie’s tells me that I am about 60+ questions marked for my reply behind in answering. I will do my best to get to them as soon as I can. Also, some of the comments have not been posted as quickly as they normally are. There is a lot going on in the world of carnival.com (as I will be telling you about in the next few days) so it has been very busy. We will post your comments soon I promise and as always thanks for keeping them coming.

As you may know the Carnival Ecstasy has just come out of her dry dock period where she received her brilliant upgrades. I wrote to my old friend Captain Cilento yesterday and asked him to kindly send me some photos of the upgrades. Meanwhile I wanted to share these photos taken from your Carnival Dream from when she was docked next to the Carnival Ecstasy last week and you will notice the addition of the new aft balcony cabins and the WaterWorks.

I will have more photos to share with you of the Carnival Ecstasy very soon.

A few months ago I wrote asking for your opinions on whether or not you think the Cruise Director is an important factor to your cruise. Many of you said yes, a good CD really does set the tone and does make a difference. Some of you said no and that you didn’t care who the Cruise Director was and a few more select group said that they would look at who the Cruise Director is before booking the cruise.

Most of you though do seem to want to know who the Cruise Director will be and so it is with much pleasure that I bring you the latest Cruise Director schedule.

It will be up to and including June and as always I preface this by saying that things may change and unexpected movements may occur………….I had one of those last night by the way …………. probably the poached eggs with Tabasco sauce I had for breakfast.

Anyway, here it is………..have a look and I will wait here for you to finish.

Well, what do you think about that? You will notice some CD’s are staying on the ships they are currently serving on. The reason for this is because the old saying of “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it “certainly comes into play here. Take Butch on the Carnival Liberty for example or Goose on the Carnival Splendor. They are doing a great job and have the ships running really well….. so why move them?

Then there are people like Jeff Bronson whose wife had a baby recently. They live in California so it makes sense for Jeff to remain on a ship that is based there. Other changes have been made because we want to put the right people on the right ship and certainly it is safe to say that some ships are tougher for a Cruise Director than others.

Take the Carnival Freedom for instance. This ship has three different itineraries. A six-day Western Caribbean, an eight-day Western Caribbean and an eight-day day trip down to Costa Rica and Panama. That means three different sets of Capers and three very different entertainment schedules and knowledge of nine ports of call. I found that a challenge and so did Todd and Ralph (Wee Jimmy) has done a wonderful job there and now he gets to sail on the Carnival Legend and a seven-day routine……….while the excellent Ryan Fitzgerald gets the challenge of the Carnival Freedom.

There are some new names on the schedule as well and I wish all the acting CD’s the very best of luck. Be yourself, be visible, have fun and remember…….you have the best job………in the world.

One last thing re the schedule………it is very strange to see my name down as CD of the Carnival Fantasy. The last time that happened was in 1991. I am used to being on the newest ship……..and in May I will be on our “most mature” ship………….and quite honestly……………….I can’t wait.

If you have any questions about the schedule please let me know and over the next few days one of the 343 Stephanies will post this as a permanent link thingy on the side of the blog thingy.

I want to thank Chris Prideaux for allowing me to post this. As far as I know no other cruise line allows guests to see which CD is on what ship ahead of time………I may be wrong…………but regardless I think it’s a great asset and I wondered……..would anyone be interested in me posting the Maitre D’s schedule of even the Piano Bar entertainer’s schedule…………….let me know.

I want to pass on something to you all that I am proud to write about. At this time of year it is always easy to forget those less fortunate but that certainly that is not the case on the Carnival Corporation ships. I know that right now many of the Carnival ships are planning Christmas parties and charity events for children’s homes and orphanages across the Caribbean. I have asked some of the ships to send me reports on this and I will tell you about them soon.

It’s not just Carnival ships that are doing this. Pop on over to www.bestblogsatsaea.com
and you will see a front page story about the crew of Holland America’s Zuiderdam. During the Zuiderdam’s call to Curacao on November 27, Captain Christopher Turner, officers and crew, along with Santa and Mrs. Claus, spent the afternoon with 163 children who have been orphaned, distributing presents and entertaining them. There are some great photos of this on the site and congratulations to them and all the ships crews who are making this Christmas time a very special one for so many who have so little.

I mentioned yesterday about Carnival’s President Gerry Cahill showing a video of my adventures with the XXXL champagne bottle. For those of you who may have missed this part of your Carnival Dream‘s naming ceremony………….here it is again.

While you were reading the CD schedule I to my Centrum Performance vitamin and my Multi Betic vitamin designed for diabetics. They seem to have sparked up my energy levels. Talking of energy I am amazed that the energy drink companies have told Tiger Woods to bugger off. He’s a professional athlete who is also having rumpy pumpy with 14 or more women. That’s a champion’s performance. They should be lining up behind him……….Tiger is the new Wilt Chamberlin the basketball player who famously said he had been with 1,000 women ………. although I never understood how someone who has had rumpy pumpy with 1,000 women could have had the name ………………”Wilt!”

Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

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.