Let It Snow

December 18, 2009 -

John Heald

As people with beards eat mountains of Tofu and discuss Climate Change in Copenhagen this week………the UK woke up this morning to the heaviest snow fall in many years…….I was tempted to say Global Warming My Arse here ……but I won’t. And while the heads of state wait for President Obama to arrive today to persuade everyone to hold hands and sing “Gum Bye Ya”……..I was shoveling snow off my drive way so I could get the Range Rover Polar Bear killing machine to the shops to get essential supplies like milk, bread and nipple pads.

While places my fellow bloggers live in like Michigan, Canada and up state New York seem to handle snow with ease Great Britain has come to a complete and utter standstill…….even Miami is better prepared for snow fall than we are.

According to Sky News this morning a fifth of the workforce didn’t make it to the office today.

“It’s pretty bad out there and throughout the whole of the UK,” said Sky weather lady the lovely “Lisa” who a friend of mine has a huge crush on……I must admit that the lovely Lisa does have a lovely pair of Dopplers.

Lisa then handed things over to Sky’s chief economic chappy who said “It gives the UK a bad name if there’s a bit of snow and the whole economy grinds to a halt.”

Oh bugger off I thought? Stop worrying about the cost to the economy and get on with building a snowman………and don’t forget to take a carrot for his nose……….or when your wife isn’t looking……..his penis.

In the old days, when it snowed the impromptu long weekend was a God-given right. It snowed, schools and offices shut down, Dads and sons went out to sled with other Dads and sons, and we all felt alive. We shared a brief collective moment of freedom before trudging back to work.

No one worried about the cost to the economy and it was wonderful. And I’m proud to say we made the most of it. Workers escaped their shackles for a few precious hours and spent time with their families. Men discussed the best kind of snow for snowballs with sons……. ahhhh…… those were the days.

Of course not everyone sees it like this. Sky news reported this morning that Gatwick Airport was mostly closed with many flights canceled. They interviewed a furious businessman whose flight had been canceled because of the snow who said that the UK was a “banana republic.” ………I am sure that’s the same guy who complained at the Guest Services Desk on the Carnival Splendor that the sea was too rough and he wanted a full refund.

But actually……he was right. I do live in a banana republic, where leaves can stop trains, sunshine can start hosepipe bans and snow can cause fun. We should celebrate this.

There is now a threat to our God-given right to grind to a halt at the first sign of the white stuff. Business leaders are calling for greater investment in snow ploughs. Employers are being told to equip their staff to work from home in the event of more “extreme” weather. We are all being told to learn from Detroit, British Colombia and Moscow. It’s all bollocks.

However, I have noticed one thing though today that is quite sad. Schools here in the UK have already stopped for the Christmas holidays and the streets should be full of kids on sleds throwing snowballs at each other………but the streets are quiet. It seems that snow, once the dream of every kid has been replaced by killing Zombies on your Wi–ninetndoxboxstation ………………….and that is very sad indeed.

Here are some photos of my car and driveway.

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

Waiting4acruise Asked:
John, Please Reply.

I just read a post on the 12/3/09 Dream Cruise Critic roll call and someone mentioned that they had a letter in their room that stated that they only get one bag of laundry free per Platinum cruiser…Is Carnival going to start taking things away from their most frequent cruisers because there are so many that are platinum now?

I will be Platinum next year. I sailed 8 cruises with Carnival in the last 3 years because of its loyalty program. It will be very disappointing Carnival will be cutting back on its Loyalty program when I reach Platinum status.

John Says:
Hello Waiting4acruise

Congratulations on nearing your Platinum status and thank you so very much for sailing an amazing eight times with us last year. I am sorry to say that the Cruise Critic thread you refer to is wrong. We are not reducing the laundry reward. This was done on one ship for one cruise only and that was the Bloggers cruise when we had 600 Platinum cruisers on your Carnival Dream. Obviously we asked that cruise if guests would mind only sending in one bag due to the demands on the crew and the machines. However the option to send in unlimited bags was offered by the state room stewards if they were required. As I said, this was a one time thing only and just to make it clear that Platinum guests have unlimited free laundry and we are not reducing any of the Platinum benefits…….in fact ……….as you will soon see. I would be grateful if you would correct the wrong information on the thread thingy by posting this answer.

Best wishes
John

Jill Buchweild Asked:
John – Please Comment

How ridiculous. You talk about how Carnival looks after their Platinum passengers and then what do I see, a report on Cruise Critic that you have canceled the free laundry service. This will I am sure make many rethink their cruise choices.

Jill

John Says:
Hello Jill

Please see above my answer to Waiting4acruise where you will see that the information you have read is not correct. Please don’t worry………the free laundry service for Platinum guests is still in effect………..except for some reason they refuse to wash my underpants.
Best wishes
John

Miriam Asked:
Hi John,

A few months ago, you did a blog about helping those of us with special needs kids. I wrote to you then and you wrote back asking me to write again in December to remind you of my cruise.

My daughter and I will be sailing the Destiny January 16, 2010 – room 8330. She has autism and I want her first cruise to be a fun, minimally stressful, time.

We chose Carnival because of its kid’s programs so I would be forever grateful to you if you would let the staff of the Destiny know of her sailing.

I’m really looking forward to introducing her to the joy of cruising.

I truly appreciate the offer to help us! (and warn the ship of her arrival – LOL)
Thank you so much, Miriam

John Says:
Hello Miriam

I am very grateful to you for taking the time to write back to me. I have alerted both the ship and the supervisors of our wonderful Camp Carnival program that your beautiful daughter will be sailing in January. I know that the shipboard staff will make sure that she has a great time leaving you time to relax and enjoy this well deserved cruise vacation. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
Best wishes to you all
John

Mike Asked:
John, Please respond

I am looking at the pics of the new dock at Roatan. Love the looks of the beach. When we went there with you on the Leg-end (as you so kindly called it) in October, we took a 45 minute, scary, ride to a beach on a tour where all we did was enjoy the sun and the sea, and of course a few of the local libations. I do hope that this beach will replace that tour.

I am debating on whether to take a cruise out of Baltimore, stop and see my Son in Pennsylvania for a few days and go see your Half Moon Cay, which we loved the first time we were there, in September, or go to Port Canaveral in December of next year and sail on the Dream…I want to give this as a Present to my Wife for Christmas..What would you suggest?

By the way, enjoyed meeting and talking with you on the “GOTH” cruise…Very interesting bunch of folks, to say the least.

Our best to you and your Bride and Kye.
Mike M

John Says:
Hello Mike

I am sure you have been enjoying the photos I have been slapping on the blog thingy showing the beauty of the new Mahogany Bay area in Isla Roatan. The beach that is accessible by the ski lift is stunning and I know that it will become a very popular destination and it should be on every cruiser’s “must visit” list.

The choice of Carnival Pride or your Carnival Dream is a tough one to make as both ships have their own special virtues. You should see Half Moon Cay and if you can do a Carnival Pride cruise from Baltimore and see your son………well that might be a wonderful way to combine family time and a great cruise vacation. The simple answer…..do both ships next year. I hope you had fun on the Carnival Legend with me and the Goths and hopefully I will get to sail with you again very soon.

Please let me know if you have any further questions
Best wishes
John

Cheryl in FL Asked:
Dear John (geez, that sounds like a bad start to a not so good letter! lol)!

First of all – you all but make me spit out my tea laughing when I read your blog – now on a daily basis! What visuals you create!

I do have a question for ya – on our last cruise on the Victory in May 08, our dining room seating was HORRIBLE – we were all the way in the last table on the second floor of the dining room – not very fun. Could not see anything and it was not very entertaining! How can we get good dining room seating on our Dream Cruise this coming May 2010? We have 4 of us going!

Boy, I sure wish we were cruising in March to see you on the ship! Who will be our CD at that time!

Be Blessed, John! Keep us laughin!
Cheryl in FL!

John says:
Hello Cheryl

Oh dear………..I am sorry to make you spit your tea out…………please send all claims of compensation for ruined computers to:

Micky Chaill
Carnival Cruise Lines
Uglyepic Street
Bollockville, Alabama

Please would you remind me a month before you sail and I will do my best to help you with your dinner reservation. Todd Wittmer will be the Cruise Director when you sail on your Carnival Dream and I promise you will have a great time. Have fun reading the blog and don’t forget to remind me about your cruise.
Best wishes
John

Alex G. Asked:
Hello John, Please reply when you can. No rush.

First of all, it’s always great to hear from Heidi and Kye! I’m glad I was able to see pictures of her last month at Rockefeller as we all miss seeing them on here. I’m happy to hear that they are doing well. Kye is so adorable!

Anyway, onto my question. I saw in today’s questions, Matt was asking about his favourite waiter. This got me thinking if my favorite waiter still works for Carnival? Back in 2004, I sailed on the Carnival Destiny out of Puerto Rico with my family. The waiter’s name was Vanburn who is from Grenada.

While I had many great waiters throughout my cruising history, Vanburn is my absolute favourite out of all of them. I remember we were celebrating my younger brother’s birthday and we gave him my brother’s hat while he wasn’t looking. He handed him the hat as “a birthday gift”. A very funny man as well! I hope to meet him again on a future cruise. If he’s still around, which ship is he serving on at the moment?

As for Christmas gifts, I know how you feel. I haven’t bought anything for my girlfriend yet and I am completely stumped on what to get her… I also have bought her something with a plug in the past year… a quesadilla maker. However, since she loves to cook, I didn’t end up in the doghouse… I usually don’t get that lucky…

Great photos from Radu! I hope to see another Dream-class vessel in NYC soon! I saw the webcam today looking at the wet, empty deck and it sure did look nasty out there for you guys. I wish Carol Marlow all the best in her new job at P&O!

Anyway, have fun tomorrow with the blogger’s cruise! I really wished I could’ve been there to join you guys. My best to you and your wonderful girls!
Cheers,
Alex G.

John Says:
Hello Alex G

Thanks so much for the kind words for Heidi and Kye and I hope that despite the freezing temperatures you had fun in New York at the Carnival event at 30 Rock. I know Vanburn very well. He was on the Carnival Freedom with me and I know that he is a favorite of many. He is currently serving our guests on the Carnival Liberty and I will make sure he gets to see your words of praise.

You are very lucky…….I buy Heidi anything with a plug and I am assured of spending Christmas Day in the dog house………although a quesadilla maker…… ummmm……now that might be worth being in the dog house for.

Thank you also for those kind words for Carol Marlow how I will be interviewing again very soon. I hope that you continue to enjoy the blog and as always I remain at your service.
Best wishes to you and your family
John

Frank & Bridie Asked:
John Please reply,

Hi we just wanted to touch bases with you early because we know that you are overloaded and back logged. But we are assuming everything is set for Jan. 23rd? I did see where Linda emailed you a few weeks ago. So we will wait for emails from you or one of the 343 Stephanies. We of course can not wait to see you and that beautiful ship your on right now. See you soon.

Thanks a Bunch,
Big Fans as always,
Frank and Bridie

John Says:
Hello Frank and Bridie

Sorry for the late reply to your question. I will see you on the 23rd and will make arrangements nearer the time. Thanks for your continuing support of the blog thingy.
Best wishes to you both.
John

Trish Asked:
Hi John, Please reply

What is going on with the Destiny??

I keep reading all over the boards about past cruisers who are furious over the change in itineraries.

The issue has been going on for months now and it seems they keep making temporary fixes that keep breaking. Specifically the propulsion problems causing the change it ports.

I have to agree with the disgruntled cruisers the small credit of $50 per person for the port charges are not worth the port changes.

I understand, per the contract, changes to the itinerary is allowed at the decision of Carnival. But when Carnival knows in advance they are not going to be stopping at the scheduled ports telling the cruiser 24 hours before they sail is not right. I would rather be told in advance so we could make an informed decision on if we should go or reschedule at a different date or on a different ship.

We are booked on back-to-back cruises – 9 days on the Destiny – and really don’t wish to spend the days circling and stopping at the same ports because of engine problems.
Have you heard anything about this? Are there any plans to dry-dock and fully fix the problems she is having?

John Says:
Hello Trish

Thanks for taking the time to write and yes, there were some technical problems with the Carnival Destiny which were unforeseen and took longer that we would have liked to be repaired. My sincere apologies to anyone who had their itinerary changed. I know that while many, if not, most guests accepted this some, were quite upset and that is something we never want. The good news is that since your posting the ship has had the technical concerns taken care of and she is running her published itinerary.

Therefore I wish you a wonderful nine days onboard and if you need anything else please don’t hesitate to write.
Best wishes
John

Alan Asked:
Hello John, please reply if you can…if not, that’s OK because this is my follow-up to your reply that was included in your Dec 1st blog.

Anyway, I promised a review of my DREAM vacation and my impressions of the new smoking policy on the Dream (particularly in the casino). I will try and keep this short and will be posting a much larger review on Cruise Critic (my nick there is Fire Lt if you or anyone else wishes to view it.

So here we go…

My first impression on driving up to the dock in NYC was “Dang she IS big and beautiful”. Embarkation was a snap. The port authority and Carnival had obviously cleared up the problems from the 2 night CTN. We entered the terminal at 11:35 and enjoying lunch by the waves pool by 12:05. Talking to others who arrived after 12:30 that it took about an hour and a half to board, which when you are trying to get that many people on board is not surprising.

I was surprised to here Todd tell us at the welcome aboard show that we were setting a record with 4,300 passengers for this cruise (over 1,300 junior cruisers). Despite that number of people I never felt that the ship was crowded although it did get a bit cramped in the buffet area during peak times.

My wife, son, daughter and myself had a GREAT time on the Dream. There were tons of things to do and in fact the only down side is that we are going to have to book another cruise on the Dream to catch up with the things I didn’t have time for (oh darn the bad luck).
I will just hit a few points for now:

1. Casino smoking policy: I found that it worked out VERY well. There were enough tables where I could play and have a smoke while playing. I saw just a couple of people violating the rules and the staff were quick to correct the problem. They did this in a very discrete (the only way I realised a person was being reminded of the rules was because I was watching to see what would happen) and professional way. There was only 1 able game I wanted to play which was not in the smoking area. This was easy to get around by just stepping away from the table and onto the port side deck for a quick puff or two and then back to the table. No problem at all. Well done Carnival.

While on the subject of the casino…please pass on to the higher ups…this was without a doubt the BEST casino staff I have ever dealt with on any cruise (3 other Carnival as well as 5 cruises on other lines). The head of the casino is to be commended as well as all the dealers and supervisors. It was truly a wonderful casino experience!!!!! The fact that I came out $250.00 ahead on an 8 night cruise didn’t hurt either…ha ha)

2. Buffet area…This is an area that need a LOT of work. Although I did not have much in the way of any problem, this was because I adjusted my eating times to avoid the crowds. However, I talked to around 100 different people (I love meeting and talking to new people when on a cruise…my 23 yo son Carnival should give me a Carnival jumpsuit to be an onboard ambassador for the cruise…my 13 yo daughter accused me of being “just too dang friendly”) and 90% of those people had complaints about the crowds and set up of the whole buffet area. I will go into much more detail of this in my CC review). However one thing that would cut down the crowds would be to open one floor of just one of the main dining rooms for lunch.

3. This is a request…please join Todd in trying to get the rating system used in the question are changed. It is fine for new cruisers. But for us who have cruised before it does not work as well. In my instance I filled it out prior to seeing the debarkation show with Todd. I mainly used the “met my expectations” choice because as a seasoned Carnival cruiser I have come to expect superior service and entertainment and that is what I got! I did use the exceeded my expectations choice for a few of the questions because the staff involved was just so beyond belief!!!!

Well John I should close for now because this is getting a bit long but I do just want to relate one more tidbit.

John…you could have gotten me in trouble. Do you remember during the lead up to the Dream coming on line you would always refer to the Dream as “Your Carnival Dream”. Well I might have taken this quite literally and it was a good thing that the crew members who I talked to (and it was a LOT). When I would meet someone from the crew (especially one of the casino dealers) early on I would say to them “I want to thank you for being here on My Carnival Dream.”

Anyway on the morning of our second sea day I was having coffee by the waves pool with my wife and a crew member was mopping the deck (it was another day of light rain) and I noticed that here name tag said “new crew member” and that was all. So I said high and that she had an uncommon name and she sheepishly (she seemed a bit shy) explained that she had just joined the ship in NY and that here name was Cindy and she was from the Philippines. SO…you can see this coming…I said “Well Cindy it is very nice to meet you and welcome to MY CARNIVAL DREAM.” She gets this look of horror and says “you mean you are on the ship all the time???” I think she was afraid I was some important person from Carnival and that I lived on the ship. So I set her mind at ease that I was just another passenger and would not be on the ship all the time.

That’s it for now John. As I said in the beginning feel free to respond…or not.
Take care and hope you and your entire family have a great Christmas season,
Alan D.

John Says:
Hello Alan

What a brilliant review and there is not one subject in your posting that I do not agree with. I want to start with the Lido Deck which we know has challenges and we are all looking at ways to improve this. It’s interesting that we do in fact have the dining rooms open for lunch from noon – 1:30 pm yet it seems that we are not getting this information out to our guest’s very well as shown by the fact that you did not realize that eating lunch in the aft dining room was an option. We must do better here…………and we will. We have also recently added the new barbecue stations to the Lanai on deck 5 and I will be writing more about these next week.

You are certainly preaching to the choir when it comes to the comment card. This antiquated review sheet with its “expectations” wording is as outdated as a Betamax VCR and we must get rid of it. I brought this up at the recent CD conference and I was assured by people at the top that this would be done………………..hooray!

I know that the smoking policy in the casino ruffled a few feathers and that we still have some people who are sitting at the machines pretending to play while having a crafty cigarette. The casino staff is working hard to make sure that this does not happen though and as the world changes with regard to smoking……..slowly………….so will the cruise industry.

I thought your story of “your Carnival Dream” was very funny and I hope that you have some wonderful memories of your cruise. I will now forward this comment to those in Miami and onboard who I know will appreciate, as do I, the time you took to write it.
Best wishes
John

JD in BC Asked:
Hello John (please reply),

I have a suggestion and I’m not sure who to talk to about it. I have been on over a dozen cruises (all with Carnival) over the past 10 years. Everyone I come in contact with knows this as I talk about them all the time. One of the biggest complaints I here from people that have only gone once or twice is the tipping. I try to tell them it’s just part of vacationing and you just put it in your budget. One of the complaints I hear is we never go to the dining room yet they want us to tip for the service there. I always tell them that that server depends on those tips and it’s not fare to them or their income because you didn’t want to eat there. I was wondering if there was a way Carnival could offer a buffet only dining choice along with the any time and scheduled time. If you choose the buffet only your S&S card would read buffet and your tips could be lowered by $3.50 per person per day. This way the wait staff would not get stiffed by having empty chairs and people wouldn’t complain about the tipping. I know some people don’t have their kids go in the dining room so maybe they could get it for their kids only. It was just a thought I had but I wasn’t sure where to go with it. I know you are the man with a voice so let me know what you think.
John

John Says:
Hello JD in BC

The subject of tipping always causes mixed emotion. In fact I was talking to a friend of mine who is British about his recent trip to the States and his lack of understanding when it comes to tipping.

Although a buffet style option is already available on the Lido deck each and every night of the cruise we do hope that guests will experience the fun service and excellent food we provide in our dining rooms. Certainly, if guests choose not to use the dining room and only eat on Lido then they have the option of removing the gratuities from their Sail and Sign card at anytime during the cruise. You are correct in stating tips are very important to our service personnel on board. At the end of the day tipping is a personal thing and all we can do is provide guidelines especially for first time cruisers. But in the end……….it is up to the individual. All I ask for is that if you have received great service and appreciated the efforts of your waiter that you do not remove the gratuities. I am sorry to say that there are often incidents on each and every ship where people will eat in the dining room all cruise long……then on the last day remove the gratuities …….and eat on the lido deck on that last night so as not to face the waiter. And that is quite sad isn’t it?

Please let me know if you have a follow up to this and thanks for your ideas which I will as you requested pass up the line.

Best wishes to all
John

That’s all for today. More, of course, on Monday.

The bloggers cruise was as I have been saying in recent blog thingies……… a brilliant cruise. One of the many gifts I received was something that as I write…….I am wearing now. They are a very special pair of…….umm……..underpants. They are made of the finest silk and lined with Camel hair, which although warming can be somewhat……..ummm……….itchy. However, the luxury doesn’t stop there because hanging from my underpants…….oops…………..that didn’t sound right did it? Let’s try that again. Attached to the outside of my underpants are all a blogger would need to survive. A pen, notebook, tape measure and an emergency packet of Preparation H.

I was going to show you a photo of me actually in the underpants but as young children read this blog….I thought I had better just show you a photo without me actually in them.

These were presented to me by Big Ed, Mrs Big Ed and their Evil Krewe and I thought you might like to see all of Big Ed’s photos of the bloggers cruise using this link thingy.

http://www.photoworks.com/slideshow/album/AD38E4338FB4?source=pw980

Thanks to Big Ed for allowing me to share these and thanks also for my jock itch!

It’s been a few weeks since we heard from our man in the UK…….and Cunard Line’s President Mr. Peter Shanks………..so it is with a spiffing amount of pleasure that I invite you to read this.

John – a little something different for your bloggers:

‘Queen Mary 2 gets ready for Father Christmas’

After a very busy transatlantic season, and some challenging Autumn weather – Queen Mary 2 is now in the Caribbean. I asked our Captain how the weather had impacted our ability to keep the ship looking at her famous best. He told me not to worry as he had a plan in place with the deck team and he would keep me up to date. Yesterday he sent me the attached pictures of our team working hard to clean the most famous funnel in the world. I thought I would share the fabulous pictures with your bloggers. We often talk of our Cunard White Star Service and everything our ship’s company do to look after our guests. Often it is the hotel team who are seen to be delivering the service. However – as these pictures show – it’s every member of the ship’s company that make the difference. Of course it also means that we will have a beautiful clean Chimney – just in time for Father Christmas!

Best Regards

Peter Shanks – President and Managing Director – Cunard Line

Brilliant photos Peter and you are correct, these are things we don’t often think about during our voyages at sea and thanks for honouring (spelt correctly) those behind the scenes. I will be sailing with some of you next year on that stunning British Isle cruise on the Queen Victoria …………I can’t wait.

Bloggers, I cannot thank Peter enough for taking the time to share his thoughts with us so often. To have the President and MD of the world’s most famous Ocean Liner company write so often for this humble little blog is truly wonderful. So let’s say a big thank you to Peter and hope he enjoys a brilliant Christmas with his family and has time to relax and roast his chestnuts by the fire.

And now let’s turn things over to my friend Captain Scala for another view from the bridge.

It’s been a Pleasure
by Captain Pier Paolo Scala – Carnival Destiny

I have to admit that blogging for John’s very popular blog has been truly a fantastic and fun experience. Thank you, again, John for the opportunity you have given me to write and share my stories with thousands of readers. It was amazing to see how so many people remembered me from their past cruise vacations. Sharing my stories and answering so many questions in this particular fashion is what I love to do.

When on board, I always look forward to the last day of the cruise for my Q&A session where guests can ask any questions regarding our on board operation or the cruise industry in general. Although I have been doing this for over six years now, it still excites me to be able to share my stories and technical background with so many interested people. In this regard, I would like to thank all of the readers who through this blog, or directly through my Q&A sessions on board, have taken the time to hear or read my stories of a long time sailor and for giving me the opportunity to answer all your questions.

Doug Asked:
Captain Scala (Please Reply)

My kids and I had the pleasure of sailing with you on the Carnival Ecstasy in January of last year. Thank you so much for the great trip! You and your entire crew did a wonderful job, and we had a great time.

I was thrilled to read that you and John are talking about working together next year. I would like to sail with you again, and have been wanting to sail with John as well. So, if the two of you decide to team up, I will book immediately!

Now for a question if I may. When leaving Galveston, is there only one corridor thru the oil rigs? I am curious, do all of the ships inbound and outbound, to and from the Houston/Galveston area, have to take the same route out into the Gulf of Mexico?
Thankyou for taking the time to blog, and we look forward to sailing with you again in the future.
Doug

Capt Scala Says:
Hello Doug.

Thank you very much for the wonderful comment and for taking the time to read my blog post. I would really be honored to have you on board my ship again. If John and I will have the chance to work together next year, you will be the first to know.

Here is the answer to your question:

Leaving Galveston there are four – two ways exit lanes (corridors) : North/Eastbound lane for traffic towards the Mississippi river and the eastern part of the Gulf, South/Eastbound lane for traffic towards the Florida Strait or the Yucatan Channel, Southbound lane for traffic towards the Southern part of the Gulf and finally the Southwest bound lane for traffic towards Corpus Christi or any port located on the west part of the Gulf. Each lane is approx. 1 nautical mile wide. The Carnival Ecstasy and the Carnival Conquest typically follow the South/Eastbound lane on their way to the Caribbean or ports in the Yucatan peninsula.

Carolyn and Don Asked:
Please Reply

Captain Scala. Don and I were on the blogger’s cruise on the Fantasy with you and John. You left a lasting impression on us what with your wonderful sense of humor, spelt correctly. You seemed to be very much at home on the stage with an audience. We enjoyed you.
If I remember right, you were going home on vacation and also to bring your wife and daughter back to cruise with you. My question is, How did your daughter do on her first cruise?
Carolyn

Capt Scala Says:
Hello Carolyn.

Thank you very much for your comment. I have to admit that being on the stage is one of my favorite parts of my job. Being able to interact with so many people each cruise is what I like the most. I hope I will have the privilege to have you as a guest on board one of my ships in the future! With regards to my daughter Sofia, I can tell you that she really had a great time on her first cruise. I took her on the stage during the Senior Officers introduction and the first thing she did, she wanted to take the microphone from me. You can tell she is already following in her daddy footsteps!!! I really look forward to having her on board with me many more times in the future.

I’ll take this opportunity to wish you and your families a joyous and happy holiday season and I look forward to seeing you onboard soon or hearing from you on “The Blog” in Funville.
Best wishes,
Captain Pier Paolo Scala

Thanks, Captain. I see many of you have enjoyed the chance to ask him questions and we shall have more news on the Captain’s guest blogs soon. Thanks again Captain.

Now, here is the original Stephanie…..that’s Miss Leavitt…..to tell you about Carnival’s new Facebook thingy page.

Hi Everyone, I hope you’re all ready for the holidays and spending time with the family. In between your shopping and holiday festivities please stop by Facebook and check out our new page. We have videos, photos, virtual gifts and more! And if you’re not fan of Carnival on Facebook yet please add us today!

Thanks and Happy Holidays! Stephanie L.

http://www.facebook.com/Carnival?v=app_195357804305

Also, have you seen the new home page of carnival.com? It looks fantastic and congratulations to Jordan, the 343 Stephanies and all the interactive marketing team and there will be more fun news about the industries number one website very, very soon.

Just a quick reminder in case you missed yesterday’s blog that I posted the new CD schedule on the blog. In the next few days it will be permanently linked to the side of the blog.

I have been reading your comments on our shore excursion program vs. the option of finding cheaper less secure tours on the Internet. I have found your answers and replies fascinating and it seems that most of you want to book the tours through the cruise lines. You want to do this it seems because you realize that with a ship-booked excursion comes peace of mind that should a problem occur that the cruise line will be there to assist you.

However, it does appear that you have some concerns most of which involve pricing and those concerns have been sent to a committee of representatives from all Carnival Corporation & plc’s cruise lines and I know they will take what you say very seriously indeed. We need to continue to offer you the best pricing possible and make sure that our guests realize that little bit extra you pay is worth so much because the security and peace of mind you get by doing so….is invaluable.

I will be writing much more about this in the near future.

Well, I have been suggesting this for years to anyone who will listen………..the world has gone mad. Have a read of this comment sent to me by the Cruise Director of the Carnival Liberty …………Butch.

John, I thought your bloggers would like to read this comment from our incident report.

NAME———– REF: 20499AA50
CABIN _______ DATED: 12/17/09 – 12/17/09
UNHAPPY WITH CHRISTMAS MUSIC

Guest Miss ______ came to GSD saying that she was very unhappy with the Christmas theme to the ship. Guest said that there were carol music playing in elevators and on the lido restaurant. Miss _____- said that she did not was an atheist and she found it offensive. Tasked to CD and AV Manager

Thanks for sharing this Butch…….there really isn’t anything to say here. I was in Aventura shopping mall in Miami in late November and I heard strains of Silent Night etc played there. I understand and accept that not everyone celebrates Christmas but come on………to take the time to stand at the Guest Services Desk and have a moan about it is quite silly.

As is the political correctives of today’s world. And as I said……the world has gone mad. You won’t be seeing the halls decked with holly or any kind of nativity scene if you live in parts of North London or any of the other places that can’t bring themselves to utter the C-word. One borough of London organized a multicultural Festival of Lights instead of traditional Christmas illuminations…………..so not to offend those at the local mosque.

But would it offend them?……..probably not. And what could be more damaging to race relations than the idea that Muslims …….. or anybody else ………would want to ban Christmas? I am sure that the majority of those who don’t celebrate Christmas fully expect to see a Christmas parade, a Christmas grotto, a Christmas market, a visit by Christmas reindeer and a Christmas display of people emerging from the office party with cheap red wine and vomit over their shirts.

At this point I should mention that on every ship we have the proverbial melting pot of cultures who celebrate Diwali, Hanukkah, Ramadan and Christmas together….. as one true united family.

I have asked Butch to send me a guest blog next week about holiday celebrations on board which I’m sure everyone……..apart from Miss Bah Humbug……..will enjoy reading. Butch’s report will include the Christmas show, the Hanukkah candle lighting services and life for the crew during the holiday season.

See you on Monday and I to celebrate Christmas I will leave you with a photo of Santa who I hope will be coming down my chimney on the 25th………….because I have been a good boy.

See you on Monday
Goodnight

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.