Oh Puck!

February 23, 2010 -

John Heald

I am going to start today’s blog with one of those comments that make you want to laugh……..and then realize that no matter what you do as a cruise director that there are some people who are just born to complain.

Guest: Mrs. ————-Ref: 846006480A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: _______ Added-Changed: 02/22/10 – 02/22/10


Mrs._____ came to the GSD to say how angry she was that it had taken so long to get back on the ship in Cozumel. Guest stated that she was waiting on the pier in Cozumel for over 20 minutes to get back onboard and that there was no air conditioning. GSA said that we cannot provide air conditioning on the pier but guest said that it was not acceptable. Mrs___also said that she had cruised this time of year because the Carnival agent had promised that it would not be so hot. Guest then handed a letter to GSA addressed to John Cruise Director.
Scanned to CD

Note: Guest was shouting so loudly that GSA had to take gst away from desk as it was disturbing more guests.

Shame on us and shame on the Mexican authorities for not providing air conditioning on the pier. I realize that there are times, such as in Cozumel, when many of the 4,000 guests all return at the same time. There is a peak period in Cozumel between 4 pm and 5 pm and despite having 3 gangways it is going to take some time to get guests through the ID check and X-ray machines, etc. I would never say that this guest is not telling the truth but …………having checked with the chief security officer and my staff who were at the gangways it seems 20 minutes is a little bit of a stretch.

However, this guest has made this comment which means I have to act upon it and that’s time I could spend being on stage, writing a blog, doing the paper work or rubbing cream into my hemorrhoids. I sometimes wonder if this industry has created a monster that we will never, ever be able to conquer. We (the cruise industry) have allowed ourselves to pay homage to the most ridiculous of complaints made by people who know that if they do complain they will receive fruit baskets, discounts of future cruises, complimentary Latvian women in their cabins and other untold riches. Does this happen in the hotel industry? I don’t know the answer to that one……I am asking you.

I know that a complaint is a gift as people with beards have written about and yes we need constructive criticism ……….but sometimes……..you just feel like taking of all your clothes, turning off the lights and sitting in a darkened corner …….dribbling on yourself. I am sure she meant that it was hot outside and didn’t really expect the pier to be air conditioned though……..did she? Regardless, she gave me a great idea and so I am going to take a cruise on RCI and have my list of carefully worded complaints ready to give at the guest services desk………..here they are:

1. I was trying to sleep in this morning but there was a crew member working outside my cabin. He’s got this huge tool that vibrates the whole cabin and I just can’t take it anymore.

2. My cabin is right underneath the basketball court. I can’t get any rest because men are bouncing their balls on the deck.

3. Someone has stolen the toilet seat in my cabin. I have spoken to your security officer who tells me they have nothing to go on.

4. I don’t mind the cruise line allowing service dogs onboard but it’s the dog poo I find hard to swallow

5. I don’t like the food on Lido. It’s not as good as Carnival’s food. Your food has 50% less variety, is 50% more tasteless and 50% is served cold

6. I want to complain about the Lido deck being slippery. My wife slipped and fell on it yesterday, and now she is pregnant.

7. I went into my cabin and noticed a bad smell coming from my drawers.

8. The toilet is blocked and I cannot bathe Kye until it is cleared.

9. Our cabin mattress is not comfortable. I have one child and would like a second, so please send someone to do something about it.

10. My wife is very dissatisfied with the problems with the cabin. Please send a man with the right tool to finish the job and satisfy Heidi.

On that note it’s time for today’s questions…………..away we go.

Troy I. Asked:
Hi John, respond if you want to.

Just off my beautiful Carnival Splendor and wanted to share some thoughts. Gab (maiter’d) is the bomb, very good! He told me that you are going to start dancing on the table like him, I can’t wait to see that! George is a hidden gem, he needs to be a cd, soon, I can’t put a finger on what it is, but he has IT. We also did the behind the fun tour, very interesting. It would be nice if Carnival could figure out how to get all the pictures taken onto your in room TV, I think you would sell more pictures this way, even though I’m sure organizing it would be very difficult. I can’t believe how much better your shows are than celebrity, your shows are second to none, period. I feel sorry for the performers on celeb. I would say the same thing about the food, way more variety on Carnival. My only suggestion would to start breakfast earlier than 7:30 on Monday and Saturday, the whole ship shows up when it opens, which makes big lines, lines make people cranky. Overall, I would say your claim to the best value in vacations is right on track, keep up the good work! Now if you could help me get my land legs back that would be awesome!

John Says:
Hello Troy I

Thanks for the great report. I was worried when I saw that you referred to the Maître D as “the bomb” but I guess that is actually a compliment although I am not sure how an explosive device translates into a positive comment about someone. Anyway, it was a great review and please stand by for exciting news about the way we sell photos on our ships very soon. We are very, very proud about our shows and it is always great when people take the time to compliment them. I will make sure the ship and those in the Miami head office get to read your words of praise.

Thanks again for taking the time to write.
Best wishes

Bob and Donna (CA) Asked:
John (please reply),

Donna and I will be leaving on the Carnival Splendor on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. This is to celebrate our 31st anniversary. We celebrated our 30th on the Carnival Legend last February. We had a blast with Jenn.

I am writing to let you know that we tried Carnival because of your Blog and are hooked. Last summer we visited with old friends from high school and began talking about cruising. They are veterans of many RCI cruises but had also just returned from their first Carnival Cruise. The had the exact same reaction that we did — FUN! We booked this trip on the Splendor with them back in the fall and it is finally here. There is one other thing you should know. They are from Gilroy, California the “Garlic Capital of the World” but I can assure you they are not French. And – it seems they told a friend who told a friend and I think half of the city of Gilroy is booked on the Splendor for this cruise. I think they are all tied to my reservation so I’m not sure how all of the dinner seating will work out…but I’m sure it will.
We are so looking forward to this cruise and want to thank you again for the Blog that brightens each day and for enticing us to try Carnival.
All the best,
Bob and Donna (CA)

John Says:
Hello Bob and Donna

I am so disappointed that I just read this posting as by now you are back home and I would so liked to have sent you a gift for your anniversary cruise. Words cannot explain how I feel when I read how you have decided to try Carnival because of this blog thingy. I am truly humbled by this and thanks you much and hope that we get to sail together soon so I can shake your hand and thank you in person.

Can you let me know how your friends and RCI fans enjoyed their time on the Carnival Splendor? Please forgive me for reading and replying to this comment after the fact and I hope all had a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes to you both and Mr. and Mrs. Garlic

John Asked:
Hi John, (Please reply)

I believe you had mentioned that you were going to ask Captain Cutugno to write a blog while the Glory is in dry dock.

What’s the status of this?

John Says:
Hello John

I did indeed and hope you saw his contributions on Funville. You can look forward to more guest blogs from our captains really soon. If you have any questions regarding the ship and or the job of the captain please let me know here on the blog thingy and I will forward them to one of our captains.
Best wishes

Tom K Asked:
John (Please respond!!!),

Great Blog! Just a quick question. In December 11th’s and December 17th’s Blog you stated you would be the Cruise Director on the 3/20/2010 Dream Western Caribbean cruise. The cruise director schedule shows Todd coming back on the 20th. Could you please clarify whether or not you will be Cruise Director? I really hope you are!

John Says:
Hello Thomas

Well spotted. Yes indeed Todd will return to be the CD and I leave my Carnival Dream for the Carnival Conquest.

I apologize for any confusion and am here should you need anything at all.
Best wishes

Sandra Marks Asked:
Hi John, I need your help.

An e-mail response will be fine. This is my first time writing you and I hope it gets to the right place. We have a cruise booked for May 1 on the Dream. My 17th with Carnival. This is going to be kinda like a reunion for some of us. A lot of us sailing on this cruise met on the Glory last year and another couple we met on the Legend in ‘08. I need your help with this one. There are 16 of us linked for dinner, late seating and I would love for us to get two round tables close together so we can all enjoy each other. Since I don’t know how to set this up I’m hoping you can get this arranged for us. I will be more than happy to send you my information if you will tell me where to send it.

Thanks John, I love your blog.

John Says:
Hello Sandra

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. Please send me your booking and or cabin numbers and I will do my very best to assist you with your dining requests.

You will have a wonderful time here on your Carnival Dream and hope to hear from you soon.
Best wishes

New York Sam Asked:
John – please reply

I doubt you will publish this as you only seem to post the comments saying how good you and your cruise line are. Me and my wife cruised on the Dream out of my home city and it was the worst experience we ever had. It was cold, the ship rocked so much me and my wife and every passenger we spoke to had been sea sick. The worst part was the food. I am a from the food capital of the world and I know a good meal when I eat one and the food you served on the Dream was the worst I have ever eaten. Care to comment or reply?
New York Sam.

John Says:
Hello New York Sam

Thank you for your comments and I do remember that during the ship’s New York’s cruises that the weather leaving the Big Apple was indeed cold and wet although one could say that in November that this was to be expected. As for the food, well I am sorry that you did not find the food to your taste although I have to respectfully disagree as many thousands of very satisfied Carnival guests would agree with me when I say that the food we serve is excellent and for the price we charge for the cruise……quite astonishing. And if you really want to taste the worst food you have ever have come over to my house and try my home made chili…..it is positively revolting and once eaten you will need to keep your Nike’s on in order to get to the bathroom quicker.

I hope that you will consider cruising with us again and thanks for taking the time to write. Hopefully this shows also that I will post both positive and negative comments alike.
Best Wishes

John please reply.

Hi John, as usual I love the blog and continue to read on a daily basis!

I am hoping to possibly ask for you help again. I was on the second sailing of the Dream out of Rome and was in the “aft” wrap cabin that was not a wrap. You had kindly said that my complaint would be forwarded to the correct person and well I have still heard nothing. This after sending my own email one month later and a snail mail letter. I shall copy here your original response and would so appreciate if it could be directed to someone other than your overworked self. I have even called and was told to wait for a response! We are getting ready to look for another sailing in May but I would really like some closure to the problems with the last one…( Again CRUISE itself was awesome, but if I had know my cabin had no wrap I would have just taken a reg balcony cabin)
Thanks so much

Here is the original info.

Mel Asked:
John or Stephanie please reply,
Hello John and I must say I missed your blog for the past three weeks, but I was in Italy and onboard the Gorgeous Carnival Dream Oct 3rd sailing. What a ship and what a voyage. The ports of call were amazing and I have to say it ranks as my number 1 trip thus far! Please tell all the bigwigs to put a ship back in Europe! Also it was my first encounter with Ken in the dining room, this man is AMAZING and I will certainly be looking to find another voyage that he is on!

I am actually looking for some assistance or direction to follow. We were disappointed with our cabin 8466 and I have returned to see it was definitely a ship building error. I called the pursers desk whilst onboard and they all came for a tour of our cabin. They followed procedure and contacted Miami who gave us a 200 pp obc stating this was the cost difference between our 9a and the extended balconies (when we booked the ext aft balconies were Cat 8b and not 8G as they are now).I disagree but I know the pursers desks hands were tied. We were booked on the Freedom and then the Liberty which were cancelled and then to the Dream. I know for a fact our cost difference was approx 1000 for both of us as we had a discussion as to whether we wanted to spend the addition money and I worked extra to spring for it! Our friends on the 6th and 7th decks had the aft balconies and I know for sure the cost diff was 800.oo. I had said we would be happy with a future cruise credit for the difference. We paid 5000 for the cruise and though I do understand sometimes mistakes happen I would expect my credit to on par with the cost difference for when I booked. I would have changed my choice of cabin at time of booking if I had known I was not getting an aft wrap. (btw friends had a cove balcony and they are LOVELY).

Who should I address this with or is there someone you could get this too? Also the cabin does not have a sofa in it as I was told when changing from the cancelled Liberty sailing.
Thanks John and I do want to emphasize that we still think this was our best Carnival cruise yet!

John Says:
Hello Mel
I want you to know that I just forwarded your comments to our Senior Vice President Roberta Jacoby and the shipboard staff. I know having done 11 new deliveries I that bringing out a new ship is never easy. No matter how much you prepare and plan there are always going to be times when you say “bugger, I didn’t think of that.” So, your positive words will mean so much to the captain and crew.

It has been well documented here on the blog thingy that we did indeed make a mistake when building cabin 8466. I know by now you will have read that the partitions have been removed. However, obviously this was not done in time for your voyage. Please let me apologize for this and I will make sure that your comments are sent to one of our vice presidents for her immediate attention. Please leave this with me and I promise someone will be in touch shortly.
If you need anything else I remain at your service.
Best wishes
November 4th blog

John Says:
Hello Mel

I am so very disappointed that you have not been contacted and I have no idea why. Maybe my e mail got lost in the shuffle because I know that our CARE team responds as soon as they can to situations like yours. With that in mind I have sent your concerns to the Vice President of the team and have asked her to take a personal interest in this matter.

Please let me know if you need anything else and my sincere apologies.
Best wishes

Jinna White Asked:

Hey John, doubt you remember me but my family and I cruised with you on Carnival Freedom last summer in July and I corresponded with you several times on your blog after we returned! You made it a vacation to remember and because of you and the GREAT fun we had we have booked the Carnival Dream to Virgin Islands on July 17th. My daughter is graduating in May from college with an Early Education degree and we will be celebrating her graduation!! I’m not sure who the Cruise Director will be (but we have our fingers crossed that its YOU!) but I was trying to figure out some way we could recognize her and thought you might have an idea? Please let me know what I need to do and if you could tell me who cruise director will be I would really appreciate it!!! Thanks again for making our Freedom Cruise one to remember and can’t wait for the Carnival dream!

John Says:
Hello Jinna White

I wish I could be here in July but I am going to be spending June and July at home with the family Todd will be your CD and if you can remind me a month before you sail and include your daughter’s name and cabin number I am sure between us Todd and I can sort something out for you.

I am glad you have such great memories of your Carnival Freedom cruise and I know that you will have a brilliant time here on your Carnival Dream.
Best wishes to all

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John, Please reply.

I was amazed when I looked your room number up to find that they only gave you a small inside room, I hope that is not the room you will have the whole time you are assigned to that ship. In that room (the inside) you really don’t even have enough room to sit and do your blog (in your underpants) or anything else for that matter. I really do hope that when Heidi and Kye join you that you will get a larger (I will pray for a suite since you have earned it) cabin for the 3 of you.

Give my love to Heidi and Kye.
From your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan,
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

Yep, it was an inside room but there is only one of me so it wasn’t a big deal. I am though hoping that on the Carnival Magic I can have a bigger cabin so that the family can sail with me more often. I wonder if the captain would swap with me.
Best wishes

Catherine Asked:
Dear Mr. Heald, Please reply.

I have been reading your blog for about 7 months now and I enjoy looking forward to reading it every afternoon as soon as it is posted.

I just got off the Carnival Splendor and I would like to send a letter to Corporate about one room steward that went above and beyond when it came to her job. The young lady’s name is Atthaya, I did not get her last name, but she did tell me she was from the Philippines. On the first day when I met her she asked me if I was traveling alone and I said “yes”, well no one had ever asked me that in the 12 previous cruises, so I just thought that maybe this was her way of figuring how long it would take her to do my room. That was not the reason at all, so let me explain. On the 1st full sea day, I was fine, the 2nd full sea day, I was feeling like I was coming down with something so I stayed in my room, just in case I was I would not be giving anything to other passengers. So I put the “Snoozin” sign on the door and locked it. Well around 8:30pm my phone rang, but the person had the wrong room, well this happened two or three more times, so after that I did not even bother to answer the phone. Then at 9:45pm there is a knock at my door and it is some Officer asking me if I was all right and I said “Yes”, and that is when he explained to me that my room steward was very concerned because I had not left my room all day and she did not see me. He told me that he had tried calling me on the phone but there no answer and that is why he was now at my door checking up on me. The next morning I thanked Atthaya for being concerned about me and that I really appreciated it. John, it made me feel really secure in knowing that if something did happen to me, I would not be in that room for 6 days before someone realized something was wrong. Well it happened again on Saturday, with the ship rocking n rolling, and since I had already fallen twice, I decided to stay in my room on Saturday instead of trying to walk to the back of the ship to eat. Well on Saturday evening around 10:30pm my phone rang and I answered it, it was someone asking if I was ok and letting me know that someone would be coming to my room to check on me. 20 minutes later, two Officers’ (a man and a woman) came to check to make sure I was ok and asked if I needed anything. I explained that with the ships movement I could not walk to the back of the ship without falling so I just stayed in my room.

I have cruised on Carnival 12 times and this was the first time that a room steward showed this kind of concern and I just want her to know how much I appreciated it.

There is another place where the crew goes above and beyond and that is in the buffet area. The minute that any of them would see me come in, one of them was right there to assist me with my plate or getting me anything that I wanted. They would carry the tray to any place that I wanted to go, even if it was back out by the pool, and one thing that amazed me was they remembered my name, out of the thousands that at in the buffet, these waiters would remember me.

If you could send me the address of where I could send this letter to, I would greatly appreciate it. This young lady needs to be recognized for her extra concerns she has for single handicapped passengers and the person who runs the buffet area should also be told of the wonderful way handicapped people are treated by his staff.

BTW, this is just a suggestion, could you please pass it on to the ship designers not to put the handicapped rooms at the front of the ship. Those of us with mobility issues makes it a challenge to have to walk the length of the ship to get to the buffet area to eat. It would take me almost 30 minutes to go from my room to the buffet area. I would walk so far and then have to sit down for awhile, then walk another distance and I had to keep doing this until I got to the buffet area…

John, I have to say that this crew on the Splendor made me feel so special, that I have already booked another cruise on the Carnival Splendor, but this time my room in going to be in the middle part of the ship near an elevator.
Best Wishes,

John Says:
Hello Catherine

You know, a few weeks ago I answered a complaint from a guest whose stateroom steward had woken them up by knocking on the door at 10:30am even though there was no “snoozin” sign on the door. That was a very angry comment indeed so it is therefore a joy to read your wonderful words of praise about Atthaya which I have forwarded to her onboard and shore side supervisors. I never apologize for repeating myself here on the blog thingy when I say over and over again that it is our crew that remain our greatest asset and although all the bells and whistles are marvelous it is the crew who can truly make a great cruise a fantastic one.

I have also taken note about the handicapped rooms which I have also passed along as it makes total sense.

Thanks again Catherine for your very kind words and I know by taking the time to write you will make Atthaya’s day when she reads this.
Best wishes

That’s all for today and those questions were posted on January 30 so as you can see I am 22 days behind now ………bugger. I see we are getting lots of nice comments about the blogs new format and that they are mostly positive. Thanks again to the 343 Stephanies and in particular Stephanie H for putting it together.

**Be sure and check back tomorrow morning on something you may find of interest.

Now as you know from my blog on Saturday that your Carnival Dream scored a 100% in their U.S. Public Health inspection. Here is Vance then with the official news release.

New Carnival Dream Earns Perfect 100 Score on First Full U.S.P.H. Inspection

The guests here on the ship have no idea that this happened although I will be telling them at the debarkation talk this Friday. I am sure that the guests will be thrilled as are all the top Carnival executives.

So, I made a big mistake on Sunday night and I spent yesterday apologizing to 20 or so annoyed Canadians. You see, I had been asked ahead of time and here on the blog thingy to show the hockey match between Canada and the USA on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen. I had looked at the TV schedule with the AV Manager and we saw that indeed NBC were covering the Olympics and would be showing the game. I therefore advertised this accordingly. Unfortunately what I had not seen was that the main NBC channel would be showing the gold medal event in speed skating and that they had relegated the hockey match to MSNBC……….a station we do not carry.

And so it was that at 7:40pm EST that 20 or so Canadians plus around another 30 guests were gathered under the big screen to see the game. And of course they were disappointed and some were very angry that we were not showing the game. And so I went out there and told the collective audience that I was sorry but the game had been moved to MSNBC, a channel we could not receive. Most understood and some didn’t and let me have both barrels. Interestingly the ones who were most upset were all Canadian guests.

I say this only because I guess it shows that hockey is as loved in Canada as basketball is in America, soccer is in England, rugby is in Australia, water polo is in Italy and running ………away is in France. I have apologized to them all and hope that they will forgive me. Even though I cannot be held responsible for NBC’s re-scheduling but ………. I should have double checked and I didn’t…….and that’s not good enough.

I have never quite understood hockey and I admit to never actually sitting through an entire match. Let me see if I have this right. It appears to be a game between two teams attempting to score goals by driving a tin of tuna, into the opposition’s goal with the use of curved sticks, shoes with knives on them and protective padding. Then why is it the games I have seen involve a bunch of huge men called Wayne and Pierre punching the crap out of each other while the crowd wait for a hockey match to break out.

Seriously…….can someone, preferably a Canadian………explain to me why the fight is allowed to continue? Are the referees scared? Is betting done in the stadium to see whose nose will get broken first? Or is it just a Canadian pastime like lumber-jacking and eating Tim Horton’s doughnuts? Please explain.

Yesterday the weather was gorgeous in Cozumel and although the early morning was a little cloudy by 11 am the sun shone and the guests enjoyed the excursions and of course shopping. Kye is now officially the ship’s mascot. Everywhere she goes she is greeted with coos of joy and delight from both guests and crew. It is such deep joy to have them here and both the girls are having a wonderful time. Today we share the Mahogany Bay facility in Isla Roatan with the Crown Princess and again the sun is shining down and as I look out of my cabin window on this beautiful vista I once again realize how lucky I am to have this job and….that I had better close the bloody curtains so people don’t get a view of me and my underpants.

Last night’s show featured a hypnotist………mmmm…………do I believe these people actually allow themselves to be put under……………..I am not sure. He did have a few who walked of stage as they were as awake as a beaver on speed but then there were others who did everything he told them to so. I won’t spoil the show by telling you everything but I can tell you that he had one chap believing he was the Captain and considering the man was from Tennessee……….his noon time announcement was perfect as was his Italian accent ………….. but I am still not sure.

I sort of look at hypnosis in the same way I look at alien abductions who visit Earth and through some kind of Martian hypnosis are said to have the power to make the people who have been abducted forget that they have been. Their victims are rendered powerless, taken from their homes, most commonly from their beds, and subjected to traumatic surgical procedures, usually involving their genitals. When they are returned to their normal lives, they are left with no exact memories of these events. Anyway, personally I am not a fan of hypnosis shows. Maybe it can be used to cure phobias or help people quit smoking but in an entertainment form…….it’s not for me. I maybe in a minority here so I am interested to know what you think?

I am sure that nobody will disagree when I respectfully say that the most anticipated new ship of 2010 is of course the Queen Elizabeth. Cunard’s new vessel that carries that most famous of names will be joining Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria in October. Now, to be chosen to be a senior officer of any new ship is a huge privilege but to be chosen as a senior officer on a ship with the name Queen Elizabeth and that carries so much history with her is a massive responsibility and boy does it look good on your resume.

Here is the rather grand announcement of who will have the privilege of being the Senior Officer start up team on the Queen Elizabeth.

Cunard Line Appoints Queen Elizabeth Senior Officers

23 February 2010 – Following the appointment of Captain Christopher Wells as Master of its new Queen Elizabeth, Cunard Line has appointed three more Senior Officers who will be onboard when the ship enters service in October 2010.

Robert Howie, Hotel Manager
Scottish-born Robert Howie brings almost 25 years of experience – on land and at sea – to his new post as Hotel Manager aboard Queen Elizabeth. He held the position of Food and Beverage Manager aboard Queen Mary 2 in the ocean liner’s inaugural year and was later promoted to the prestigious position of Hotel Manager on Cunard’s flagship in 2005. Howie was also the first Hotel Manager onboard Queen Victoria when she entered service in December 2007.

As Hotel Manager, Howie is in charge of all onboard operations: housekeeping, food and beverage, entertainment and human resources. Prior to joining Cunard, he served in senior managerial food and beverage positions for Princess Cruises – both shoreside and onboard – since 1990.

Alastair Greener, Entertainment Director
Alastair Greener from Marlborough, England has a love of both the sea and stage, characteristics that will serve him well as he prepares to join Queen Elizabeth as Entertainment Director. Alastair has also served as Entertainment Director on both Queen Mary 2 and QE2 and was the first Entertainment Director onboard Queen Victoria.

Currently, Greener is the face of the company’s very popular blog, WeAreCunard.com, which he frequently updates with all the latest news about the fleet. Alastair is a member of the British Actors’ Union and has appeared in a wide range of film, theatre and television productions, including the BBC’s “House of Cards” and Warner Brothers’ “Black Beauty.” He was also asked to represent CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as a media tour spokesperson.

Prior to Cunard, Greener joined Princess Cruises in 1997 and served on eight ships within the fleet.

Hamish Sunter, Staff Captain
Halifax-born Captain Hamish Sunter joined Cunard in 1990 as an officer on Cunard Princess, where he remained for three years. He also obtained his Master’s Certificate at this time. In 1993 he was transferred to QE2 as Junior First Officer and left that ship as Chief Officer in 1998. After two years Sunter was keen to go back to sea, which he did in 2000 with P&O Cruises, sailing as First Officer on several of their ships. He returned to Cunard as Chief Officer on Queen Mary 2 in October 2005. He rejoined QE2 as Staff Captain in December 2006 and has also served in that capacity onboard Queen Victoria.

Colin Black, Chief Engineer
Colin Black hales from East Lothian near Edinburgh, Scotland and joined P&O / Princess Cruises in 1990 as a CPO Mechanic onboard Royal Princess. He subsequently moved up the ranks to First Engineer prior to being given the responsibility for the newbuild of Princess Cruises’ Dawn Princess, followed by Ocean Princess. In 2001 he was based in the Southampton Office working within the newbuild department. In 2002 he moved across to P&O Cruises serving onboard Oriana, Aurora and then the new Arcadia. Black’s first appointment as Chief Engineer was onboard Tahitian Princess in 2006 and her sister ship Pacific Princess.

In 2007 he was assigned as Technical Fleet Services Project Manager for Queen Victoria, thereafter taking over as Chief Engineer.

“Loyal Cunarders will be delighted to find so many familiar faces aboard our newest ship,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “One of our distinguishing characteristics is the number and frequency of our repeat guests, and they will truly appreciate sailing with these revered and long time Cunard staff members.”

Queen Elizabeth will feature many unique Cunard traditions linking her with her sisters Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria and their predecessors, together with all the modern day luxuries Cunard’s guests have come to expect.

From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at an experience that differentiates a Cunard liner from a modern-day cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship’s adherence to liner traditions, with elegant double and triple height public rooms on a grand scale, luxuriously endowed with rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics, hand-woven carpets, gleaming chandeliers, and cool marbles. Art Deco features will pay homage to the original Queen Elizabeth, and will allow the new ship to reflect a more civilized era of travel.
For more information about Cunard and to book a voyage aboard Queen Elizabeth, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to www.cunard.com.

Congratulations to all those mentioned, especially Alistair Greening who has been chosen as Entertainment Director. I hope to visit the ship in October and report on the ship to all of you here on the blog.

Now, when Carnival chooses her senior officers for a new ship it is done with little fanfare or none at all. I have delivered 10 new ships and mostly get told I am doing so very casually indeed. In fact I was told I would be the CD of the Carnival Splendor when I was CD on the Carnival Freedom. How? Well I found a post it note stuck on my cabin door from the Chairman Micky Arison.

Along with my signed photo from Dame Judi Dench Godmother of the Carnival Legend and my photo album containing 197 photos of Megan Fox’s bottom……….it is one of my most prized possessions.

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.