I had promised in the last blog of 2009 that I would move away from talking about our new ship…..your Carnival Dream and concentrate on some of our other ships. However, it seems that this just is not going to be possible.

Over the last few days I have been reading some fantastic reviews about our flag ship plus one or two comments that seem………..well………….strange……….as in “how the heck did President Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize” kind of strange.

Here is one line from a review that I see made its way onto the cruise boards.

“We arrived at the cruise terminal at 11:45 am and check in was dreadful. After lining up at security and going through the whole check in process it was 12:40 pm before we walked on board. My husband complained to the staff in the terminal but nothing was done. This was a bad first impression as it took just 20 minutes to get on the boat when we took our last cruise”

Admittedly the review does go on to praise the food and the service and in case someone pounces on me saying that I didn’t mention the other negative comment……….yes……….these guests did not like the entertainment or having so many people on board as they felt the ship was too big.

But for now, it’s the check in time I want to comment on…..55 minutes…………that’s 55 minutes living in a world we share with some crazed individuals who want to blow us up into millions of pieces. Yes, it is easy to blame the check in time on the security issues we live with but it’s not an excuse…………it’s a fact…………and honestly, embarking 4,000 guests and with all the security procedures we have in place to keep our guests and the ship safe…………well 55 minutes does not seem that bad to me. Oh, and the fact that they complained about this makes my hemorrhoids flare up. Would they have complained to the people with the iron on badges at the airport …………….no……………absolutely not.

And it seems that the airports are only going to get worse. First we had the Mustafa Shite who tried to make a bomb out of liquids………. and that was us………….having to put our toothpaste, shampoo and Preparation H into a little plastic bag which was then placed through a scanner before it was allowed on the plane.

Then some guy called Richard……….or Dick as he is known around the world……….his a bomb in his Nike ……………..and that was us………….having to take our shoes off and then placed through a scanner before they were allowed on the plane.

And now we have Umar Abdulmutallabastard who had a bomb in his underpants……….and very soon…………..that will be us…………….having to take our Fruit of the Looms off and have them placed through a scanner before they are allowed on the plane.

However it seems just dropping our draws to make sure they don’t contain any high explosives or any oily discharge is not going to be enough. Because President Obama, Prime Minister Susan Boyle and other world leaders have said that it is time to put in place the full body scanners ….. all except President Sarkozy of France who wrote “We Surrender” on his underwear and mailed them to Al Qaeda.

Now………..full body scanners……………mmmmm……….this has me thinking. You see, what about kids…………..and specifically what about my daughter. I wrote last week that the security chap at the Santa Grotto thingy would not let me take a photo of my own child…………….yet she will have to pass through a full body scanner whilst strangers look at her.

While I understand the need for these scanners why does everyone and I mean everyone have to pass through them. Come on! You don’t need an Ivy school education to know that Kye does not have a lump of C4 hidden in her diaper. It’s the same with other people as well. My great aunty Margaret who is 88 and flied to Florida every year to see her family does not have dynamite hidden in her colostomy bag……why then does passenger have to go through these body scanners?

But it seems even without managing to ignite his underpants Umar Abdulmutallabastard and his mates have won because we are advised to arrive at the airport three hours minimum now for a trans Atlantic flight from London to the United States and once the full naked body scanner thingies are in place its going to require even more time.

So then …………..3 hours to board the aircraft or 55 minutes to board the ship……………….that surely is not worthy of a complaint………………is it?

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

Tina Lobaugh Asked:
Hiya John, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you yet…even after 17 cruises.. Whats the deal! LOL but I am hoping you can tell me how my best friend and I (going on the Valor 1/10/10 can get the same waiter in the MDR that we had in Oct?? LOL is this possible?? Can we request before hand, or just wait and go to MDR upon boarding and ask?

BTW, I love love reading all of your blogs! And one day I will be on the “right” ship and get to meet you

John Says:
Hello Tina

I hope that having taken 17 cruises and we are yet to sail together that the coming months will give us the opportunity to rectify this. I am very late with this reply and I hope that you were actually able to be with the same waiter. Once again I way behind with my replies and obviously you will be reading this when you get home so let me say that I hope you had a brilliant time and I look forward to reading your review.
Best wishes

beentravelin Asked:
We had a conversation some 2 1/2 months ago and you said the Stephanies has something brilliant planned for the Carnivalconnections video page and unless I missed it in another one of your postings there has been no announcements about this. There have also been no changes to the page. The last post was on Oct. 9th 2008. It featured Lawrence the production singer.

I have been following the videos on here and on Carnival’s main site as well as YouTube. I just think the more places you guys can post your videos, the more people will see them. Which is always a good thing.

Here’s our conversation about 10 weeks ago.
Beentravelin Asked:
Dear John (please respond)
Do you or one of the Stephanies know why there have been no posts on the Carnival Connections page since the Carnival Splendor?
John Says:

Hello Beentravelin
I checked with one of the 343 Stephanies and this is what she told me.
All of the videos we’ve been producing since the launch of the Carnival Splendor have either been posted on the blog or directly on carnival.com. But, we haven’t forgotten about the Carnival Connections video page. We are planning something very special and will be able to give the blogger’s more info next month.

So, there you go and I have no idea what the Stephanie’s are planning but judging by the amount of Tofu they have been eating…………I bet it’s going to brilliant.

Rob Herrin
All I can say about the new cruise centre is……..WOW! Carnival has done a wonderful job with the completion of this project. I thought Grand Turk and Costa Maya were impressive until I saw this latest slide show of Roatan. Bravo! I see by the pictures that the climb to the top of the hill to catch non-Carnival Shore-ex’s isn’t very steep after all. Good news for the elderly.
Here are my questions: Since Carnival will have their own taxi dispatcher then I’m assuming you could give us some sort of price list to the attractions around the island, paticularly (sp) the West Bay beaches. Could you see what you could do about posting a price list for round-trip fares to some different areas around the island?

Secondly and more importantly, I love the new Cabanas. Will these be available for purchase before the cruise………….. or at the shorex desk…………… or after you arrive on the private island? I would love to reserve one now as I’m sure they will go quickly.

I’ll also heard mention of a Snorkeling Area. Will this be easily accessible from the shore or will customers need to take a boat?

Thank you now for any insight you can provide into these queries.

P.S. I am very happy for you now that your home with your girls. Do keep posting regularly please!!!

Thanks again John for checking into this.
Rob Herrin

John Says:
Hi Rob:

You and many others seem very impressed with our new Mahogany Bay facilities at the island of Isla Roatan. I am very much looking forward to seeing this for myself on your Carnival Dream at the end of this month. I have sent your questions to our Shore Excursion Department and as soon as they send me the details I will of course post them here on the blog thingy. Thanks again for the great posting.
Best wishes

Alison Asked:
Hi John (Please reply)

Your blog has been keeping me in stitches reading about your exploits aboard Carnival Dream. My husband and I will be first time cruisers (ever) in January aboard the Carnival Splendor, and thanks to your blog “thingy” we are counting the days somewhat impatiently.
I had a question for you. As we are first time cruisers, we are not too familiar with the layout of the dining room. I have noticed in some photos that there are smaller tables amongst the larger tables. I am wondering how to get seated at one of the smaller tables. I am severely hard of hearing (almost deaf) and therefore would not be able to communicate with a large group of strangers and don’t want my husband’s meal interrupted by having to interpret to me what people are saying. (I can hear somewhat, but rely mostly on lip-reading, which is problematic in large groups).

I have already requested the accessibility kit for our cabin, but could not find any information re: dining. I figured we would try it once, but probably eat at the Lido Buffet most nights, which would be a shame for my food loving husband, especially since this is a late birthday present for him.

Any help in this area would be greatly appreciated.
Looking forward to our “maiden voyage”!!!
Alison C.
Cabin 1056, Jan 31 – Feb 6/10

John Says:
Hello Alison

I am glad that the blog thingy keeps you laughing and I hope that this New Year it will continue to do so. I have (after reading your posting) asked the Maitre D to arrange a table for two for you so that you don’t have to worry about your hearing difficulties. I will see you on the 31st and I will do all I can to make this cruise the best vacation you have ever had.
See you soon
Best wishes

Tracy Asked:
Hi John. ty for getting us a booth in the dining room on the Splendor we had a great time I love the ship and the CD goose was great very nice guy. my 2nd fav ship now the Splendor #1 glory. How is the captain doing I don’t know his name but the one who was on the Splendor before my cruise? please reply. how’s the family? and ty again for the booth. tracy

John Says:
Hello Tracy

You are most welcome and I am glad that you had such a brilliant time and thank you for taking the time to say “thank you.” I think you are referring to Captain Rassello who was taken ill during your cruise. He is fine now which is great news and next month will return to work as Master of one of our fun for all ships………….thanks for asking.
I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy
Best wishes

Valerie O’Rourke Asked:
Please reply. Hi John,

Loved the transatlantic Dream crossing, saw you get on buy missed the get together. Wonder if you can work your magic with this. Our party of 2 cabins both had 2 bottles of wine each sent by the TA. When they did not show up we inquired at the service desk. Told they were not ordered. Turned out they were. My TA called Carnival to report that we did not get them. Carnival said too bad since they were signed for, but Carnival does not save these signed cards.

We will sail on the Fantasy Jan. 16 out of Mobil Al. Sure wish Carnival could provide us with some wine.
Valerie and Thomas O’Rourke

John Says:
Hello Valerie

Well, while I don’t know the facts about the travel agent and the wine I will be happy to send you a little something. I hope you both have a fantastic cruise and I wish I could have been with you for the trans-Atlantic crossing. Maybe next time!
Best wishes

Jeanette Asked:
John, please reply

What ship will you be a CD on in September of 2010?

John Says:
Hello Jeanette

We recently posted the Cruise Director schedule for the fleet up until June 2010. However, I can tell you that in September I will be on the Carnival Pride for a while and I hope that you can come and join me.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Best wishes

jordonsgrammy Asked:
Hi John:

Thank-you for replying to my blog…as the nerves are starting to settle I realized I forgot to ask about a B-Day cake for Jan.8 as we have a little girl turning 11. So my question is do I talk to Butch about this or do I buy a cake in Miami and bring it on the boat what do I do? Remember if this sounds like a stupid question it’s because I am a first -timer…lol

John Says:
Hello Jordansgrammy

As I said in my last posting please do not be nervous as you will have a brilliant time. As for the birthday cake these are available for purchase from the Celebrations shop on board. I recommend the chocolate cake and then ask for your dining room team to have it delivered during dinner and they will also sing their own brilliant version of “Happy Birthday.” Write Butch a letter will you please and deliver it at the Guest Services Desk when you board the ship. Just leave him a note that tells him it’s your girl’s birthday and that I promised her “something gold” and he will do the rest. Have a brilliant time and get ready to be hooked on cruising forever.
Best wishes,

Mike M Asked:
John, Please reply

Good morning sir…I had the same question that Linda did…I have posted comments on the blog thingy, nothing insulting, or demeaning to anybody…My first was about the experience we had, or didn’t have, on the Goth cruise with you..The second was some questions about the Dream, which I am considering going on next October. I have never seen any reply…Am I doing something wrong? Maybe they did get lost in outer space somewhere…
We hope to see you very soon.

Our best holiday wishes to you and your lovely family at this special time of the year.

John Says:
Hello Mike M

You really are not doing anything wrong and did in fact reply to your posting a few blogs ago as I remember the Goth cruise subject well. Sometimes it takes a few days to post the comments as they are moderated by a team of 343 Stephanies who have many comments every day to read. I am very strict about posting the bad ones as well as the good ones……….I won’t have it any other way and unless they are personally insulting to another blogger or an employee we will post them all…….eventually.

So, I hope you saw my response and once again my apologies for the very late reply.
Please let me know if there is anything else you need
Best wishes

Kyle Green Asked:
Reply needed

I guess you leave me no choice but to have you arrange a table for 4 NOT A BOOTH for my family cruise on the Valor on the 24th of January. I have been reading on Cruise Critic that you arrange this for your so called fans. This leaves the rest of us not able to get what we want when we do it the usual way by telling the dining room head manager on the first afternoon.

Here are my details and as we are a larger family please guarantee that we will not be seated in a booth on the early seating.

Will you confirm this by e mail?

John Says:
Hello Kyle

Thank you for taking the time to write and I am sure you are excited about your coming family vacation on the Carnival Valor. I have asked the Maitre D to do as you requested and he will certainly do his best to assist you. I will not be able to confirm this by e mail but I am sure all will be well. I hope that like the many thousands of people who read this blog every week that you too become “a fan.”
Best wishes

Kathy M. Asked:
Dear John, Please Reply.

I sent you a email a few months ago asking if you were going to be on the Carnival Spirit during the week of 10/27/10 and you replied yes, because I told you I wanted to book a cruise that I knew you were going to be the CD on, then today 12/11/09 you write this:

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 be 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, the Conquest, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Pride and hopefully the Carnival Spirit.

So now you might not be on the Carnival Spirit, so what gives?

Could you possibly send me Chris P’s address so that I may write to him? I think it is terrible that as the Brand Ambassador for Carnival you have never sailed the West Coast. I think that it is about time that you showed us the same courtesy that you show the East Coast.
Same with the bloggers cruise, you have already done three of them on the East Coast, do one on the West Coast before you are sent back to Europe full time (don’t get me wrong, I think you should be closer to Heidi and Kye) but if this is the last year that you might be in the States, then I think you should show some of your famous Brand Ambassadorship to the West Coast for a change.
Give my love to Heidi and Kye.
From your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

I know how passionate you are about both Carnival and the blog thingy and how disappointed you are that I am rarely on the West Coast. The only reason I wrote “maybe on the Carnival Spirit” is that it is nearly a year away and of course a lot can change then. Chris Prideaux has nothing to do with my Brand Ambassador role and quite honestly I hope that I can be on the Carnival Spirit as that certainly is the plan and I truly hope nothing changes and we can cruise together.
Best wishes

That’s all for today. Thank you so much for all the happy New Year comments for Heidi, Kye and I which we once again return to you and your families. I will of course be replying to more questions tomorrow.

Talking of the New Year, while my family and I had a very quiet celebration the parties on our ships were in full swing. The fleet featured champagne, live music, balloon drops, the big count down and of course a fun for all atmosphere.

I have hosted many of these myself although actually, thinking about it, the last time I did so was onboard the Carnival Triumph for the Millennium party. It’s really hard to put into words the atmosphere that we create on board during this event and so rather than me waffle on let’s ask Radu to use his camera to show you how the party was celebrated on board your Carnival Dream.

As I said these celebrations were fleet wide from the Carnival Fantasy to your Carnival Dream. It was also a very special party on the Carnival Glory as you will see in a few days time on a special video made by Ryan Fitzgerald the CD and Zed the AV Manager and of course Anuj the Hotel Director. They are busy downupsideways loading it to the 343 Stephanies and as soon as it’s ready I will be posting it here on the blog thingy. For now though, here are more great photos of guests ringing in the New Year onboard the Carnival Glory. But before we post these in one of those slide show thingies, let’s have a few words from my great friend and the Master with the red glasses………………Captain Cutugno

Dear All,
Here I am again to give to all of you, devoted and faithful Bloggers a special and unique happy and health 2010 with a hope that the next year will be also a year with a great peace around the world.

Yesterday Dec. 31, 2009 we set sail from Roatan (Honduras) to Grand Cayman at 03:00pm after a beautiful sunny day spent at the beach right close to where we dock just a few minutes away or if you like you can reach it by taking the sky lift just out of the terminal and together with the beautiful view that you get you can reach this nice beautiful and very fine white sand beach, like you are walking on top of the loose powder.

During the all entire day we set up all the outside Lido Deck Areas for the night event, inside the main atrium lobby we set up a net and during the entire day, guest and/or crew blow up his own balloon (I just did 4 myself) with a personal written Wish for the New Year.

Well you can imagine what happens all night long, I can say we had one of the Best New Year Eve Party, Just look how the crowd get on the open decks and the one on the atrium main lobby waiting for the balloons rain coming straight from the sky bringing a written wish for the coming year on each one of them.

In one of these Pictures you can also see how during the all event we took a few second of Our Time to have a Group Picture with the family.

Taking this opportunity once again I would like to wish all of you and yours,
myself and all the Glory team BEST WISHES FOR A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Warmest Regards
The Red Glasses Captain
Giovanni Cutugno

Well, I am sure that many of you who have never experienced the absolute joyous thrill of welcoming in the New Year on one of our fun for all ships and having seen those photos will now be anxious to do so………go on………….book it now…….2011 is just around the corner. Who needs to hob knob with the rich and tanned on Miami Beach or the Bahamas. Who needs to be surrounded by loads of naked Latvian women when you can celebrate on a Carnival ship?

I started today’s blog writing again about your Carnival Dream. It seems that there are still a few comments floating around the cruise boards that are not based on fact. I won’t bother going into detail again as I have addressed these many times here on the blog and we still do have one or two challenges that I promise we are working on. However, most of the ones mentioned on the boards have been rectified and while opinion the world such a brilliant place it is always good to remember that these are opinions which obviously everyone is entitled to. It does seem though that some of you are suggesting that there may be something a bit fishy about some of these reviews…………..see what I mean.

bhudda Asked:
What is up with all the poor reviews for our Carnival Dream on CC? There seems to be a conspiracy of sorts and lots are recommending that other line at the ends of their reviews. We have been on Norwegian, Princess and Carnival and have always had the best cruises on Carnival. I will find out soon since its 13 days to our Carnival Dream. Thanks for making me laugh all year and the best to you and yours.

John Says:

Well Bhudda (which is what I look like when I wear Speedos); I know you will have a fantastic time just as a chap did recently. I was sent a full review by Host Mach our great friend at Cruise Critic. The review can be read on their boards and it gives an honest opinion of his time onboard and tells us what is brilliant and areas we can improve on. Honest opinions. However, there is one part of the review that I asked Host Mach for his permission to post here on the blog thingy…………and here it is.

“And this is what I want to say about the whole line ‘issue’…I wish I had never read any of the reviews of this ship before I went on it! I feel as though it tainted me. Had no one ever said anything to me about lines/crowds, I never would have thought anything about it in comparison to past cruises.”

A very honest review and I ask anyone who is cruising on your Carnival Dream to please have a read of the full report which I will ask Host Mach to provide a link to when he posts his next comment.

It compares his previous two cruises with on the Somethings of the Seas and their food and ours etc. As I said, it also has some areas in which he feels we can do better and he is right we can and we will. I just felt that it was important once again to remind everyone that you can’t always believe what you read. I love the French and want to live in Paris!………see what I mean.

While we have all been enjoying the holidays Jim Berra and our Marketing department have been hard at work producing our new TV commercials. And, here is a first look at what I think will be our best spots ever. First of all, here is our good mate Vance from public relations to slap on the official press thingy and contained therein you will see the link to the commercial. This is the one we are sending out to the press and the industry people and you will hear a voice over from someone you may recognize when it is played on TV. Anyway, have a read and have a look.

Carnival Cruise Lines Launches New TV Advertising Campaign

So, watch TV tonight and over the next few days and please tell us what you think. Jim and the rest of the men and women in our marketing department will be anxiously scratching their beards waiting for your opinion.

Personally……………I think they are absolutely superb.

Well, the New Year has begun and I am sure many of you have resolutions to be fitter, happier and thinner. My diet is still going well and I intend to continue this throughout 2011 and I know that just dieting is not enough………I need to exercise. This means of course that by the end of January I will be totally pissed off with myself when I realize the only exercise I have done is walking to the cupboard to get new batteries for the remote control. So, I have decided not to make any new years resolutions and although I will try and continue my diet for me and for my family….. I shall not get stressed out about it because…..after all…….happiness is more important than thinness.

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.