We are Family

February 15, 2010 -

John Heald

I haven’t been off the ship in the three weeks I have been here apart from my trip to Wal-Mart to buy diapers, baby food and nipple pads. I just have not had the time to disembark the ship in the ports of call. However, I knew I would be meeting Heidi and Kye on Saturday morning and that I needed to pay for the car that was bringing them from the Hyatt hotel to their Carnival Dream. And so I went to the ATM machine onboard because I had spent my last few dollars on those dam nipple pads…….oh……and some Preparation H for me.

If you had been onboard you will have heard some fat git shout “Bugger” in an English accent. That was me…….and my shouting was because the ATM outside the Gift Shops seemed to take great joy in telling me that my card “had been declined and to contact my bank.”

Now, I knew this had happened for one of two reasons. Either Heidi had spent all our savings on hiring the Chippendales for a private show ……or……..it was because I had forgotten to call our bank to tell them I would be traveling to America. Obviously it was the latter because why would Heidi need a Chippendale when she has me and my washboard stomach to keep her warm at night.

And so, because my girls would be here the next day and I needed to pay for their cab …………I had to phone my bank.

This meant I had to spend two hours on the ship’s satellite phone to a man in Mumbai who needed to take me through a list of security questions. So, three hours later after I had told him my name, my date of birth, my Mother’s maiden name, my 4-digit memorable number he then asked me for my telephone banking password. Now…. I think I had a good old moan about call centers before on my blog thingy but honestly…..this was ridiculous. I wanted $100……..that’s all…….$100 of my hard earned money which foolishly I had deposited into my bank in my home town.

Yet, sublimely, here I was, on a cruise ship, calling my bank in Southend On Sea and talking to a chap in India who probably has a few cousins who were down in the galley here making the sodding chocolate melting cake. 25 minutes later…..25 minutes….. Mr. Banker had agreed that I was who I said I was and that I had $100 in my account and that I should be able to take the money out. And so after the 10:30 pm show I went back to the ATM outside the Gift Shop put my card in…….and it was declined yet again. This time I was sure I saw a smiley face appears on the screen.

That night, the fury in my heart was so vibrant that it has become an all-consuming entity. It was like having the winner of The Smelliest Frenchman in the World contest living my head. Even thinking of Megan Fox’s bottom as a cushion didn’t help….

All I could think about was what I would do to the boss of Barclays Bank, were I to encounter him in the street one day. Last night, in my mind, I spent two hours poking him in the chest asking how in the name of all that’s holy he ever thought a problem with my card issued from my bank in Southend On Sea could possibly be fixed by an uninterested man in India.

And then I think I might have given him a close up look at your Carnival Dream’s propellers while she is doing 21 knots.

Of course, we have this rage and frustration in so many other areas of our everyday lives as well. Bought a new toothbrush recently? Tried to get it out of the packaging? I have and there is nothing I would like more than for the chief executive of Colgate to come round to my house and show me how it is possible without cutting all his fingers off.

I think I was upset because Heidi had told me that while the flight was great (more later) the security folks at Gatwick were not. Why subject someone to a humiliating strip search when they are a blue-eyed 9-month-old baby girl.

Heidi had to take her out of the baby carrier thingy that’s strapped to her chest…..OK…..that’s fine……..but they also made Kye take of her warm fleece thingy because it needed to go through the X Ray machine….. and then……….then they patted both Heidi and Kye down. OK, Heidi ….but Kye…. really ……….is the world that ludicrous a place to live in. Surely they realize that Kye isn’t a terrorist. My fear is that they are too busy checking the ridiculous that they will miss the chap with wires poking out of his underpants.

I called the bank again early on Saturday morning and went through all those security questions again and this time I was assured that the card had been activated and all would be well. And so after debarkation had finished I went to the ATM machine with joy in my heart that the girls would soon be here and that I could be a good husband and Dad and pay for the car and tip the luggage guys.

But I have no idea if my card works because when I got to the ATM machine outside of the Gift Shops I was greeted by a screen that said “Temporarily out of Service”……….. BUGGER!

So I got $100 from my assistant Craig. It was easy…….I said “give me $100 or you’re fired.”

So he did.

No security questions either.

Now that’s my kind of bank.

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

John Friedmann Asked:
or many a Stephanie can help!!!
We booked a cruise on the Spirit for February 7th. We mentioned this at church and people thought it looked good, and now there are 6 couples going. It will be fun, but our greatest joy would be sitting down at dinner and sharing our day. However, we are not all seated together. We are early diners and the original group of Friedmann and Konecny are probably together, but I don’t know about anyone else.
Is there some way that you could forward this to the maitre d and see if there is some way we could either sit together, or sit in two adjacent 6 person table. Where we could rotate seats. It will make a good trip into a great one!
Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated. We are looking soooo forward to getting out of this snow and freezing weather. Thank you!!! Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!

John Says:
Hello John Friedman
I saw that you are already on the Carnival Spirit and luckily one of the 343 Stephanie’s alerted me to this and so I sent your request to the maitre d of the ship with your dining request. I only hope I got it to them in time and if I didn’t….well please forgive me. I hope you are having a brilliant cruise or had a brilliant cruise if you are reading this at home and please send us your review if you have time.
Best wishes to all.

GarettsNana (aka BobsNana) Asked:
John Please Reply
Happy birthday John!!! Garett (aka Bob) will be so excited to know that the two of you share a birthday. He’s 15 today.
He is getting his learner’s permit soon and we’re looking for a polar bear killing tank for him to drive. However, I think he’s going to balk at the helmet, goggles, and racing driver seat belts that I’m going to install 🙂 .
His birthday surprise is a cruise next summer on the brand new Carnival Magic! I don’t think he will mind that (because of the cost!) it will be his birthday present for two years!
Please, please tell me that you will the cruise director in June 2011. He will be excited about the cruise, but it would be a dream come true if you were cruise director.

John Says:
Hello Garrett’s Nana
And a very, very happy belated birthday to Garrett (AKA Bob) whom I will indeed be seeing when we cruise together in June onboard the brand new Carnival Magic. Europe is a fabulous destination and as we get closer I will be writing more about the ports and the ship herself. Until then I hope you continue to enjoy the blog and best wishes to you and Bob…………..and good luck to Bob with the driving test.

Flynlo Asked:
Hey John, please reply.
Just a quick question. What’s the reason for no locks on our bags? Is Carnival looking for my smuggled booze or my pics of Megan Fox’s “bottom”? Neither of which I would want to lose. Keep up the good work!

John Says:

Hello Flyno
We have indeed stepped up enforcement of our existing prohibited items policy and like many other cruise lines we are doing this for safety reasons We do therefore suggest that you keep your bags open so that if anything is discovered it can be reviewed more easily without having to delay delivery of your bags to your stateroom. As well as alcohol we are, of course, looking for objects that could cause damage to the ship. Since we started the stepped up enforcement a few weeks ago we have, for example found 42 irons. These could easily start a fire and that is one of the reasons we are doing this. So yes, this is an effort for to keep prohibited items from coming on board. I will be here if anyone has a follow up question.
Thanks for the posting and the kind words
Best wishes

Kathy M. Asked:
Dear John,
Please Reply,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY FRIEND!!! This day will be very easy for me to remember, since it was the Anniversary date of my parents, who after only knowing each other for 5 days when they got married, they enjoyed 58 years of happiness together. They were so much in love that after my dad died, my mom died 22 days later of a truly broken heart. She just could not survive without him.
John, do you remember last month when I asked you if you could set up a meet and greet and have it announced in the Capers (and I had also asked if I could get a picture of you) well, I just have to tell you, what happened. On my way to catch the ship, I took sick half way and had to have emergency surgery, so I was not able to go on the cruise, but other members of the meet and greet said that there was nothing announced in the capers and that Carnival does not do that. They do not post private meetings in the Daily Capers, so my question to you is that true, because in Oct 08 I went on a group cruise and our doings were posted in the Daily Capers. Is it the decision of the Cruise Director or someone else on what gets in the Capers and what does not. Just thought I would ask. The one thing I was the most disappointed in was not getting a picture of you, but that is ok, I am hoping to be able to cruise with you when you are on the Carnival Spirit.
Please give my love to Heidi and a hug to Kye.
I will keep you in my prayers for a safe trip back to the states.
From your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M
It’s strange getting all these birthday wishes so long after the event but how kind of you to think of me Kathy. I had no idea about your illness. Are you OK now, please let me know? I am sure you were bitterly disappointed and I feel so bad for you.
As for the Meet and Greet, well, every time I am asked to arrange one I send the request to the Cruise Director of the ship in question. I ask him or her to block a lounge and to place a “CC Meet and Greet” wording in the today at a glance section in the Carnival Capers. I apologize that this was not done. It has been done many times though as my member friends of Cruise Critic will tell you but on this occasion……..someone dropped the ball and I will follow up on this to make sure it does not happen again.
Most importantly I hope you feel better and I send you my best wishes for a quick recovery

Jennifer Asked:
(I’m not sure this posted the first time I tried it, since the moving circle thingy never disappeared [on the mobile version of this Blog].)
Hello, John Heald.
I’m writing to remind you three weeks before my cruise, as you requested when I asked for help several months ago. My cruise begins three weeks from this Sunday; it begins on February 14.
I’m sailing on the Carnival Glory with my service dog for my disabilities. For her canned food and my own disability-related items I need a refrigerator in my cabin that is set to regular refrigerator temperature (not warmer, or her meat/fish will spoil when the cans are in there for up to four days and my items won’t be palatable, and not overly frigid or her royal dogness will refuse to eat the too-cold food [and I have no way to quickly warm it on the ship, of course]).
I’m in cabin — (with the A Matter of the Heart group) and if you could pull some strings to be sure this happens for me, I’d be forever grateful.
Thank you very much! I hope you have/had a lovely time with your family.
This guest wrote awhile back requesting a regular temperature refrigerator to store her service dogs food and her disability items? You asked that she email you three weeks before the cruise; she did but she is sailing on Sunday 2/14.

John Says:
Hello Jennifer
I have emailed the ship and they are expecting you. I hope you and your best friend have a wonderful cruise and may I ask a favour from you. There is always an opportunity to learn when it comes to having service dogs onboard so please let me know your thoughts and if you see any places that we can improve our services in this area.
Have a wonderful time.
Best wishes

Ken Stevenson Asked:
John – Please Reply
Just returned from another Carnival vacation and wanted to pass along a few comments.
We left Tampa in sunny Florida – at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Great start to a Caribbean cruise. Then the weather turned nasty, as though 40 wasn’t bad enough. Then in Cozumel on Wednesday it started raining. About that time we realized what was going on. Not that we’re superstitious or anything but this was our 13th cruise with CCL and Wednesday was the 13th!! Had it been Friday I’d have been on the veranda looking for icebergs!
O.K., that was the part that Carnival can’t control. The part they can control? Well, we have two more cruises booked in 2010 and can hardly wait, we enjoy each one more than the last. Since getting around is something of a problem for us we restrict our on-shore activities and naturally all the on-board activities were unaffected by the weather. These activities included two terrific musicals using some 15 singers and dancers along with the ships orchestra plus other performers – singers, jugglers, magicians, comics – in between. How can you beat it? And how ’bout Mahogany Bay on Isla Roatan? Sure looks like a winner to us and I mean that literally. It was a joy even sitting on the veranda looking at the neat, new community carefully laid out and landscaped and the ’ski lift’ over to the beach and cabanas. We certainly won’t be surprised to see something similar show up down the beach from the present Belize port.
And then there’s the food. What can I say? “So much food, so little time”. There are still things we haven’t gotten around to at lunch what with the salads, the rotisserie, the deli, the International station, the pizza, the grill, ice cream dispensers and the choices at each station to boot. We don’t use the Asian station much but my wife has learned that Mulligatawny can be pretty tasty. Not satisfied yet? How about the 24 hour room service?!! And if even that’s not enough, for the lucky Platinum cruisers, one evening they’ll knock on your door with canapés and another evening with petit fours!!
Speaking of all that food and all the choices – are we shortchanging the Brits? How can you have a Full British with neither beans nor kippers? Would the Queen be happy with my wife’s favorite, a toasted bagel with cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly? Something tells me that when she snaps her fingers at Windsor she has a Full British before you can say “Gordon Ramsay”. For Yanks like us it’s very hard indeed to think of anything we could possibly want for breakfast that isn’t available. That’s just breakfast and already we’re overwhelmed by the choices.
Note: SCUBA diving? No problem. Taking the dive in the miniature sub? Forget the beans!
It’s easy to start rambling when on the topic of Fun Ship cruising. A final remark, John. When we had our initial chat with Yusuf he knew our name and our requirements and mentioned the magic word, “blog”. Thanks. It made the cruise even more enjoyable for a couple of Gimpy Geezers.
Ken and Lorrene
Platinum Cruisers
P.S. When will CCL update their paper products, they’re way over due?!

John Says:
Hello Ken and Lorrene
What a brilliant review and so well written. It sounds like you had a great time and those Platinum extras really do add the icing to the cruise cake don’t they? There is nothing more frustrating for a Cruise Director then bad weather because it is the one thing that you can do absolutely bugger all about except plan more activities and entertainment. I will certainly make sure the ship gets to see your words of praise. When we were sailing in Europe we had a lot of Brits as we do on the Carnival Victory due to the pre-cruise stay in Barbados. We do have lots of my fellow countrymen we provide a full English breakfast for them which is:
Eggs – always fried never scrambled
British Sausages
Baked Beans
Fried Bread
Black Pudding

OK, that’s not fair. I had a cracker and some cheese for breakfast and writing that has made me drool over myself. I hope one day we will be able to have a similar breakfast together………maybe next year on the Carnival Magic…what do you think?
Thanks again for the great review and best wishes to all

Wyn Asked:
Someone on the cruise critic board recently posted the following exchange between you and someone on your blog. It went like this:
Kathy Asked:
Hi John, Please, Please Reply.
I have been wondering about something and I think that you will be the only person who can give me the correct answer. When a person cruises solo as I do, why is it when the Early Saver Program only gives us the OBC for one person when we in fact are paying the same price as two people. I feel that is discrimination against solo cruisers. Why can’t we get the same credit as if there were two people in that cabin instead of one? I just don’t feel this is fair to solo cruisers. Maybe you could ask one of the men with the beards what the reasoning is behind this.

John Says:
Hello Kathy,
This is a good question and so I asked one of our VP’s for the correct answer and I am happy to say she told me that if a single guest books they should get the OBC based on double occupancy since he paid two cruise rates. So, I will have someone contact you next week and we will adjust accordingly and if anyone else has a problem with this please let me know.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
Best wishes,

We are in the very same situation for my grown son who is sailing on February 27, 2010 aboard the Liberty. I alerted our travel agent and she said that the folks they talked to at Carnival did not know who you were (!!) and would not budge on the OBC being offered to him. Is there anything you can do on our behalf? I can supply any contact info, booking #s, etc.
Thank you, John!

John Says:
Hello Wyn
Thanks for taking the time to write. I wanted you to know that I have sent your information off to our CARE team VP and she will ask someone to clarify this and contact you directly. Please let me know if I can be of further service to you.
Best wishes to you and your son

SCarlow Asked:
(Please reply)
John, I have had my share of cruising (all Carnival of course). I was on the Liberty last year for Super Bowl. I cannot put the words together to describe the ultimate party experience at Sea with about 500 of my new best friends. I still talk about it to this day. It was my best cruise ever until I did the Maiden Voyage of the Dream.
I do not see any problems with showing a large sporting event out on the Lido deck. Super Bowl, Daytona 500, NCAA basketball. These happen over the course of time. Most cruises are 5-7 days and there is plenty of time to enjoy the music on the Lido Deck. As much as I enjoy listening to the music, sometimes it does get a little redundant… Same music over the course of the week and sometimes it gets a bit annoying and a bit loud. For those Sundays where there is a large sporting event, could the music just start earlier and possibly move it to another location? Just an idea.
I am getting ready to book two cruises and one will be on the Liberty again for next year’s Super Bowl…… I think that people need to just experience it once to know what it is like to be a part of such a great experience.

John Says:
Hello S Carlow
Well that’s great timing because we just had the Super Bowl shown here on your Carnival Dream’s big screen and it was a huge massive success. Did you see the photos on the blog?
The secret of success when it comes to the Seaside Theatre is to show as much a mix as possible including movies, concerts and sporting events. What is important though is that we keep the poolside tradition of live music and I think that on our ships we have a pretty good balance.
I hope you do indeed book more cruises on the Carnival Liberty and if there is anything you need from me please let me know.
Best wishes

Deby Asked:
Hi John (please reply if you get a chance)
As a reader from day one I am very confused about the post from the Lady who was upset they had to associate with other people and did not get their table for two. I have never, never understood the purpose of the blog for you to be the reservation agent for people who read about it on cruise critic and never read the blog at all. I have always thought it was to tell us about what goes on behind the scenes on the ship and keep us all up to date on the ship and its happenings. I dearly love to read about the fun and crazy stuff that goes on. Keep on doing the great job you are doing! Deby

John Says:
Hello Deby
I appreciate your words of support and I truly enjoy helping people. However, it is rather frustrating when people do ask me for assistance and do so in a rather ummmm ….. flippant way. Oh well, the good thing is that for the most part I know that the people I do help truly appreciate it.
Thanks for the kind words and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.
Best wishes.

Karen pee Asked:
Reply please
In response to your question regarding the no sound on football. I agree with your decision. If you are on a cruise and want to watch sports– go to the bar or your room. At family events at our home even we watch without sound if family is trying to visit. Make both groups happy. If you don’t like to watch it, watch and listen on a radio, or go to your room.
And remember– can’t please everyone. I would make a wager, most people were happy with your decision.

John Says:
Hello Karen Pee
Not long now until your cruise on the Carnival Triumph where they have a Seaside Theatre Big Screen. I am sure you will enjoy that a lot. Please let me know what you think of the movies etc. Please let me know if you need anything at all.
Have a brilliant cruise.
Best wishes.

Marty Paul Asked:
Hi John (Reply, if you want/have time),
Welcome back onboard our Carnival Dream. I like what the crew is doing with the cooking on the Lanai…there’s plenty of space out there and a nice addition to the Ocean Plaza area.
Regarding lines at certain stations in Gathering, of course there are lines at certain stations-> ever been to an omlette station at a hotel Sunday brunch? No different. One word for line complainers- “patience”.
Regarding the NFL playoffs being shown on the Seaside Theater without sound, in my opinion, with so many customers that you have to please; I would say it is all or nothing. I think it would have gone better if Todd would have announced that the NFL playoffs would be shown in multiple places; namely at the casino bar and in the staterooms and that live music would be outside. Keeps it simpler and doesn’t give lazy football fans who don’t want to get off their “arse” and leave their pool chair, something to complain about (picture without sound). Just my 2 cents…
Thanks to Carnival Corp and the Carnival fleet for all they are doing for the victims of the earthquake tragedy in Haiti. Hopefully, eventually Haiti (Port-Au-Prince) will be rebuilt much, much stronger & better for their people.
Unfortunately for the “Swofties”, there’s also a group of men over the age of 50, who have the unfortunate habit of forgetting to take their Viagra, who also go by the same name.
Happy Birthday again John!
Marty & Jeanne

John Says:
Hello Marty and Jeanne
Thanks so much for the kind birthday wishes. I just wanted to say a big thank you for taking the time to comment on those different subjects. I happen to think that if we are going to show a sporting event then it should be with sound or not at all. That’s just my opinion though and I know some Cruise Director’s thing differently.
The scary thing about your Swoftie comment is that in 5 years time……..I will be a male Swoftie………….bugger!
Thanks again for the posting and especially for the supportive words for Carnival Corp and their charitable work for the people of Haiti.
Best wishes

David Asked:
Hi John
Please reply if possible.
First of all Happy belated Birthday, and I hope you enjoyed some time off with the family.
We are sailing on our Carnival Dream in March and are very excited. Now I was hoping you could address the 300lb Gorilla in the room. The smell issue. From all accounts I have read it’s not something that would keep us from sailing, but we are a little concerned. We have an aft wrap booked, and most comments have been about the smell towards the aft of the ship. I would hate to have something like an odor keep us from enjoying the view. What is the cause, and what if anything can be done?
I understand your position w/ CCL may limit your ability to address this situation but anything you can add would be appreciated.
We enjoy your blog, and I hope you will continue to do it as long as you can. It is a tremendous source of information and glimpse into the life on board the ships. Keep up the great work!

John Says:
Hello David
Thanks so much for the birthday wishes and please do not be concerned. In the 3 weeks that I’ve been on the Carnival Dream, I have not experienced this problem at all.
The ship is beautiful and you have a gorgeous state room and I will be here waiting for you and the family
Best wishes to you all and see you soon.

Arpie Asked:
Dear John –
Hope you had a good birthday. I have a request. My son is a cruise fanatic! He is almost 14 so our cruising schedule is tied to his school schedule. Two years ago I went back to school (masters program) and still work full-time. He has been very supportive and why I want to do something special for him. We are sailing on the Dream May 22 (we will say for his 8th grade graduation) and I was wondering if you could do something for him??
He is such a cruise nut, he asked for Christmas for two cruises in cheap rooms instead of one with a balcony. I just laughed.
We hoping to book a couple more for this year and would love to sail with you before you retire. (We would do Fantasy w/ you but already had Dream booked when dates were announced) Hopefully your July – Oct schedule will be out soon!
Thanks for your help. He loves Carnival and everything they offer. He spends most of his time in the Circle C so he loves getting to know the staff. Arpie

John Says:
Hello Arpie
You sound very proud of your son and you should also be proud of yourself for going back to school to get your master’s degree…………fantastic. Please can you remind me one month before you sail and I will have the Captain sign something for your son and send him a little something which I hope he will enjoy.
Thanks for the kind birthday message.
Best wishes to you and the family.

Jerry Calvert Asked:
John I know you recently were the CD on the carnival Legend so maybe you can help us?
In Belize, the Private (Bannister) island beach break has been eliminated. This leaves quite a gaping hole in the shore ex’s for us beach people.
Are there plans to re-instate or get a new tour?
We will be on the 4/25/10 sailing.
Best Regards!

John Says:
Hello Jerry Calvert
Good question. I know there were some changes over at the island which meant it was postponed for a time. Please let me check and I will get back to you on this ASAP.
Best wishes
Jerry – just heard that the island is closed for now as it is under new management. The only excursion that does go to the beach is the Barrier Reef Snorkel & beach Break which is highly recommended by our Shore Excursion department

Eric Thayer Asked:
**Please reply**, Hi John,
Just left the Carnival Splendor. Very good cruise, but rough weather last day and a half. It delayed our arrival at Long Beach and we, along with half the passengers, missed our flights. Anyway, I was very pleased with the service and food, both of which I thought improved greatly, (even though I though they were excellent before). I am very disappointed though in that it seems as though the gym has ended all aerobics. I remember my first cruise on the Imagination back in 96 when they offered classes, at no charge all day, (e.g. stretching, step, etc.) Now it appeared that all the gym staff do, is offer a few seminars and then stand around the rest of the day. What a shame since those classes I spoke of seemed to be so popular in the past. A few years back Carnival started offering specialty aerobic classes for a fee, and now not at all. I really hope the day does not come when Carnival will start requesting a fee to use the main gym. I was also surprised (for my knees) to find out that the ship did not have a cork running track, ouch! Carnival will always have my loyalty but I just hope they do not nickel and dime everything to a ridiculous degree. Eric

John Says:
Hello Eric Thayer
I am sorry to hear about the bad weather and the effect it had on your flight home. I will be talking about the weather in a moment and although it is something we cannot control I do apologize for the obvious inconvenience it caused you and others. I am sure the Captain slowed the ship down to provide a better and perhaps safer journey back to Long Beach.
You know, I never thought of this before but you are right. We have Pilates and spinning which are held in something called “a gym”……and while I don’t what that is or where that is I do remember typing the word ” aerobics ” into the Capers for many years ……… but not these days. Is it not fashionable anymore? I don’t know so I asked the Spa Manager here. She told me that yes indeed, aerobics classes have for the main part been replaced by Pilates and other classes both on land and at sea……..shame………..I was going to get my leg warmers out again.
I am sorry to hear about the running track; hopefully you were able to use the treadmills in the “gym” instead. I never quite understand the words “nickel and dime” because I truly believe that the cost of the cruise is so affordable and the product we give is amazing value for money. I hope you agree.
Thanks for taking the time to write and maybe one day you can show me how to find………..” the gym.”
Best wishes

Just Cruisin Asked:
I need a gift sending to my daughter who will be sailing on the Valor on February 20th for her graduation. She will be in cabin —.
Can you tell me what it is she will be getting
Just Cruisin

John Says:
Hello Val
I will be sending your daughter something made of real gold………plastic.
I hope she has a great cruise
Best wishes

SoBelle129 Asked:
Dear John: Please reply. John, I’m trying to complete my Carnival Cruise Lines Ship Pins collection and I need the following pins. I called Carnival’s customer service number and I was told that they won’t give me these three pins because I haven’t been on these ships. Can you help me get them? I need the Ecstasy, Miracle, and Victory pins. I don’t know if they ever made ship pins for the original Carnivale, Mardi Gras or Festivale (I was on the Festivale), and I was on the Tropicale (need that pin also). Please let me know what if anything you can do to help me get these seven pins or at least the three current ship pins. Thanks. Hope you had a happy birthday. Regards, Leslie

John Says:
Hello SoBelle 129
You are one of many who have asked me on the blog for pins and obviously as you know we now sell them in the onboard shops as well as giving them to our Platinum guests. The problem is that we don’t have the facility to at the moment to sell them online which I think we need to change. I can’t send out pins either as once open that door I would be at the post office every day. I am currently working on a solution to this as well as asking the gift shops to produce pins for the older ships you mentioned as they were never made.
I will get this done as I know how important these pins are to you and many others.
I will be back with more news on this soon
Best wishes and thanks for the kind words

Semper Fi Asked:
(John please reply)
Well Hello my Friend.
It’s been a while since I have written. I won’t go into the reasons except to say we had to have some very serious surgery and an extended Hospital stay, however I am back up and almost back to 100% even if I have some funny looking scars (kinda looks a little like Miami’s street map)
I just finished reading 3 months worth of Blogs trying to get caught up on all the action.
Loved the Carnival Dreams Naming event. The video of you with the bottle had me laughing so hard I actually popped a stitch.
Talk about time flying, it’s hard to believe that Key is 8 months old already, damn I am getting old.
Look , I know that you are busy getting ready to take over the Carnival Dream so I wont tie you up, Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that Cindy and I are back and getting ready for a much much much much need Carnival Fun time.
We just finished talking with Jose and booked 3 cruises for this year.
I really need to just get away from doctors and hospitals and just have some fun for a while.
Cindy and I will be on the Carnival Liberty on March 6th… booking —- cabin —.
The Carnival Spirit on July 20th to Alaska
And finally we get to cruise on the Carnival Dream on Oct 21 can’t wait.
Both Cindy and I we heartbroken to miss our Carnival Dream Bloggers Cruise but we probably would not have cleared port security with all the damn tubes that we sticking out of me… lol
But this year, I have a new lease on life and Cindy and I have vowed to make up for lost time.
Great to see that you are back at the CD job and we were really happy with the Europe announcement. Cindy and I will be re joining you for the 12 day grand Med cruise. lol Lets see what evil we can plan for you …
In any case my friend, just wanted to update you and let you know that we are still with you and Carnival. We can’t wait to see you in person in the Med.
Love to Heidi and Kye

John Says:
Hello Bill
It’s great to hear from you especially after your wife told me how ill you were. I am glad that you are better enough to have booked your cruise on the Carnival Liberty and I will be dropping you a get well note there.
We missed you on the bloggers cruise but the fact that you are well again is far, far more important.
Wishing you continuing good health and happiness.

That’s all for today and as we are talking about good health with Bill let me also say that I understand our friend Linda, Mum of DJ, is on the road to recovery as well which is great news.

I will be back tomorrow with more questions answered.

Let’s do the news and we start with terrific story from of the sea as told by our man in London and Cunard’s top man………..Mr. Peter Shanks.


Not sure if you have seen this. It is a story to warm the cockles of your heart – and one I thought your bloggers would like. It made the BBC News here in the UK last night. What do you get if you take a an excited couple on the Queen Mary 2 – a camera lost overboard – a Spanish trawler fisherman – and a lot of luck – I’ll tell you what you get – you get a blog …..

Best Regards


Picture This!
Fisherman in Spain nets lost camera with pictures of QE2’s final tandem crossing with Queen Mary 2

12 February 2010 – When standing on the deck of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 in October 2008, Mr. and Mrs. Gregory from South Africa were enjoying the spectacle of sailing alongside QE2 and capturing the view on camera when disaster struck as the camera was accidentally dropped into the Atlantic. At the time, both ships were off the south coast of Ireland over the Continental Shelf and the Gregorys understandably thought their holiday photos were lost forever.

That was until Benito Estevez, a Spanish fisherman who was trawling the ocean last month, discovered the lost camera in his net! While the camera itself was damaged beyond repair, the photo memory card was amazingly intact.

The fisherman contacted both Cunard and the BBC and the BBC managed to locate the couple in South Africa. The Gregorys have since been reunited with the camera and their photographs.

“In all my years in the travel industry I have never heard of such a heart-warming stroke of luck and we at Cunard are delighted that Mr. and Mrs. Gregory have been reunited with their photos,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The images are even more poignant as they depict the last transatlantic crossing of the great QE2 and can never be taken again.”

Peter, what an amazing story on so many levels. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. I have some extraordinary photos of the time I spent with you in Southampton when the Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria were together so I can imagine these photos were of the two Queens………….truly remarkable

I am looking forward so much to Kye, Heidi and myself sailing on the Queen Victoria in July, a trip that I will be reporting on throughout the voyage.

Before I talk about this cruise I want to talk a little more about the last voyage. As I mentioned during Friday’s nervously written “Hope Heidi and Kye are OK” blog, I think that first cruise was a big success. I think I prefer the Eastern cruise though, not from a port perspective but from the fact that the day and half at the start at sea at the start of the voyage and the two days at the end of the cruise mean that I can be on stage more and on TV more and out with the guests more. Anyway, the mood from the guests seemed good and my two new promotions worked well.

The first of those was the brunch.

I love the menu and I added live music to the event which means that the number of people who attended increased a lot. I don’t have the figures yet but I think it was about 450 – 500 on each of the sea days. I have added this to tomorrow’s lunch options, as well. This is because of our short stop in Nassau with all guests having to be back onboard by 1:30 pm. Many of the guests come back at the last minute and I thought that this would be a nice option. Obviously the idea is to help reduce waiting time on Lido Deck and that’s my job, to promote this superb menu. Tomorrow’s Caper has a dedicated space widely promoting the brunch, the menu and the music………..and free Mimosas!

Oh yes………I have asked the Chef to add the barbecue on the Lanai to the Nassau lunchtime as well ………..I hear the “sliders” are yummy.

The second area that I tried to promote was the Chef’s table and in fact it is pretty easy because after one mention at my Fun Onboard/Fun Ashore presentation all three evenings with the Chef in the galley…..sold out. Oh and just a word of advice to anyone sailing here on their Carnival Dream……both Behind the Fun tours have been sold out before the ship leaves Port Canaveral.

The last evening of the last cruise was dominated by the weather. It was about 7 pm when the wind really started to pick up and at one point the ship was battered by a 70 mph gust of wind across the port bow. This unfortunately caused the water from the overhang Jacuzzi’s on the port side to flow out across the Lanai and into the Ocean Plaza. It’s extraordinary how just a 130,000-ton ship can be bullied by the wind like that. There was no damage and most guests didn’t realize what had happened……..unless they walked into the Ocean Plaza and discovered our new indoor swimming pool. The sun did make a wondrous appearance in Nassau yesterday though and the temperature was a very pleasant 73 degrees.

And so it was throughout the night as the wind buffered the ship right up until we arrived into Port Canaveral. We usually dock next to the Disney Magic and I noticed she wasn’t there. We later discovered that high winds had buggered her new cruise because the ship was unable to leave their private island despite Mickey and Donald’s best efforts. The Carnival Pride was late back into Baltimore and it truly has been a weird few weeks of weather. It was only 51 degrees in Port Canaveral on Saturday and yesterday in Nassau ………….it was a ridiculous 57 degrees when we arrived at 8:30 am.

And of course the fact that much of America is covered in snow as is Europe has meant that Al Gore is keeping a very, very low profile. GWMA!

Let’s see who is sailing with us this cruise

UK – 61

Under 2 Years 14
2-5 Years 84
6-8 Years 148
9-11 Years 183
12-14 Years 230
15-17 Years 189
18-20 Years 67

So, lots of kids but if there is one ship more than any that can handle a high count it’s your Carnival Dream as the facilities at Camp Carnival, Club O2 and Circle C are all superb and in separate areas that will not affect the rest of the vessel.

Oh, by the way, did you see the new feature there? I will be including the number of guests who have sailed 10 times or more before and which guest has sailed the most times with Carnival.

Oh and just back to the subject of eating again and I also suggested we open the dining room at lunchtime on embarkation day. As the state rooms are not ready until 1:30 pm the Lido can get very busy. And so we opened the dining room for the first time and I made a quick announcement about this suggesting guests may enjoy the menu and service. It was just a light push……..here are the results:

11:30 am- 12:00 pm -104
12:00pm- 12:30pm – 133
12:30pm- 1:00pm – 108
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm – 148

Not bad and taking 450 off the Lido Deck on this busy day was a good thing.

For the last few years Heidi and I have not celebrated Valentine’s Day as five years ago, in the night of February 14 2005, Heidi’s Father Joop passed away suddenly. It seems we are not the only ones though because last night in the show I met a lady called Dee Dee who is from a place called Indian Head, MD ……..I am writing MD because I have no idea how to spell Maryland. Dee Dee has been married to Robert for 40 years and I asked her if she expected Robert to be romantic this Valentine’s Day. She told me and the 1,500 people in the Encore Theatre that he had never once bought her a Valentine’s card and the only time he had ever bought her flowers was in 1980 on her birthday. She described him as “the world’s most unromantic man.” And so……as I love a challenge I decided to have this man do my Yaba Daba Doo skit. This is something I do now and then when the chance comes along. For those of you not familiar with this, let me explain.

Every time I now say the words “Indian Head” this cruise Robert needs to run from the audience as quick as he can onto the stage. He then has to do three leaps of joy in the air which the audience counts off 1 – 3. Then he does a 10-second sexy dance to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance. I use this as it’s happy and the audience can clap along.

Then he goes down on one knee with his arms open wide in a huge posture of love and repeats the same speech every time.


Now, every time he does this successfully I will put a prize in the bag which we will present to his wife at the end of the cruise at the debarkation talk.

And it’s part of the deal that if I mention Indian Head over the PA system………..he still has to do it.

As I have said, I have done this skit over the years and I know some of my blogger friends have even been the subject of this piece of fun. However, last night was a little different. I had never met Robert before and when he eventually came on stage I knew I may have to change one or two things.

Here is Robert

Now he couldn’t jump and he couldn’t go down on one knee but…….he was absolutely hilarious and his sexy dance was……..well………indescribable……..everything moved and shook……I mean everything! He brought the house down and what a brilliant sport he was. Oh and one more thing……Robert is a tow truck driver and like his son he is a volunteer fire fighter and……he is the most famous man on the ship……and we have only just begun.

One comment to share with you before I finish today’s blog…………….here it is.

Guest: Mrs. ———–Ref: ________Owner: (DRSHEXMGR) Dream Shore Excursion Manager
Cabin: _____ Booking#: _______Added-Changed: 02/14/10 – 02/14/10

Guest came to the GSD to say that there was no information on the ship. GSA asked guest what she meant and guest said that on Royal Caribbean the elevators have information on the time and the date. Mrs. ____ also said that she had been to Nassau 17 times and was not happy that the Dream was going there.
No further action

I don’t need to say anything about this comment do I……..I don’t think you need me on this one do you?

Well, it’s extraordinary to be sitting here ……..in my underpants………at 6:50am with my daughter playing in her crib and my wife snoozing the morning away. Yep, the girls are here. The flight was long but during the nine and a half hours she only pooped three times and cried twice……..and so did Kye.

Seriously though, she only got a little restless during the last hour but for most of the time Kye was playing and being treated like a little princess by the British Airways cabin crew.

Heidi was though exhausted by the time the plane landed and she was therefore surprised and very happy to see that two bloggers Tom and Jane Rachford were there to welcome them both to Orlando. They should be private detectives because I don’t think I mentioned her flight details. My thanks to them for the wonderful welcome.

They have been made welcomed by the ship’s crew as well and no more so than the Hotel Director Stewart. The ship is completely sold out as per usual and therefore I could not get Heidi an extra cabin.

Although the CD cabin is bigger than most it is too small for Heidi and Kye to live in and for me to work from…….remember it’s my office as well. On the other hand the Hotel Director’s cabin on the Dream class is huge with a massive living room which my cabin doesn’t have and Stewart, a family man himself, has swapped cabins with me for three weeks which is truly a marvelous gesture and one I am very thankful for. Heidi said she and Kye would visit me more often on the Carnival Magic if I had this cabin……… and so I shall start my maneuvers for this cabin in the next few weeks……..my chances are about as good me posting a photo of myself typing today’s blog…..in my underpants !

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.