Hair Today, Gone on Saturday

March 4, 2010 -

John Heald

I have a stomach that looks like I have built an awning over my thingy……I have a Brazilian rain forest growing out of my nose and my ears………..I pee at 2 am, 4 am and 7 am which is OK except I wake up at 7:30 am………and I have hemorrhoids the size of Hummers. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse……..I have a bald patch on the top of my head. I have been dreading this but knew it was coming. And it’s something that would make a normally rational man, such as, say, Marv Albert insert hair plugs into his scalp to make him look like some sort of weird man Barbie. Am I to become like Marv?

It’s a fear every man has. It’s a terror so great that a musical superstar such as Sir Elton John, whose hair has been as thin as a Chernobyl technician’s since the mid1970s, convinced himself he could fool the world into thinking that he has a mane as lustrous as a My sodding Little Pony.

Anyway. I was talking to a friend of mine about this awful news. This friend works for Carnival and is folicaly challenged and he started to tell me about my options should my hair continue to disappear at the alarming rate it seems to be. My bald mate told me that he was researching the “trichological” industry and that there were many routes for him…..and eventually me……to take.

What’s a trichologist? According to Uncle Wikipedia, it’s a medical hair and scalp expert, “often with no formal training.” In other words, someone who makes a living from some of the most vulnerable members of society……..slap heads……..Kojacks…… bald men. Remedies range from the sublime to the bloody ridiculous. Hanging upside down for a couple of hours a day to let the resulting blood flow nourish your hair seems remotely plausible even if there is no scientific data to back it up.

But then again I have problems getting my fat, tired body out of bed in the morning so the chances of me doing my impression of Spiderman to encourage a few hairs to sprout of my bald patch are truly bugger all. The site also suggests rubbing chili spice on your head or smearing your dome in cow piss? Does this mean that it’s someone’s job to collect cow piss?

Mankind is spoiled by modern technology. In the old days there was no such thing as the Los Angeles Trichological Centre. There wasn’t a team of scientists working around the clock at the Laboratoire Garnier in Paris. If you were bald you were bald and that was that.

A mate of mine back home in the UK who is fit, has the body of a God and has money to burn swears that his baldness is why he is 44 and single. Bruce Willis has gone on record in interviews to say that Hollywood discriminates against baldies. Yeah Bruce, that’s why you’re struggling to get good parts. It’s got nothing to do with The Whole Nine Yards or The Bonfire of the Vanities or Die Hard 4………yippe ki yea my arse.

I don’t want to be bald. Megan Fox won’t let me cuddle her bottom if I am bald. Talking of that …… if I was bald and me and my CCL bald mate put our heads together…..I guess we would then make an ass of ourselves.

Time for today’s questions…………onward and upward.

Kathie Geistler Asked:
Hi John, (please reply) maybe!!!

We sailed on the Carnival Dream Jan 23. She is a beautiful ship and we had a fabulous time. The wait for breakfast and lunch was not nearly as bad as we had heard. We were quite nervous after reading all the bad press. We were the group with the safety green shirts you could hardly miss us, as we glowed!!! Thanks to the staff it made our trip wonderful! I would like to know why they didn’t sell the future vacation vouchers this year; we were able to get them on the freedom but not on the dream?? We sail every year and would like to know if they will be available again. As we are booked on the Carnival Miracle Jan 22 2011. Hope you have a wonderful time on the DREAM.

Thanks again.
Kathie

John Says:
Hello Kathie Geistler,

Even though I wasn’t cruise director that week, I do remember you and your group and I could tell you were having a lot of fun. I am glad you found the lines and other areas of the ship not to be as bad as reported. I always remind myself that what people write on Cruise Critic and other cruise forums, including this blog thingy, are opinions…. and not facts. Opinions are important, however, you have proven that it is better to see for yourself before making your mind up.

The Loyalty and Cruise Program is indeed very popular and is already on many of our ships. Unfortunately, with 22 vessels, it takes time to staff and train personnel in this area. Your Carnival Dream did not have the program on board when you sailed. I am sure you will be interested to know that the entire fleet will have the program soon and here is a list of the vessels that, as of today, do not have the program and shows when it will arrive.

Carnival Inspiration 03/13
Carnival Ecstasy 03/20
Carnival Elation 03/20
Carnival Fantasy 03/27
Carnival Fascination 04/03
Carnival Dream 04/03

I will be writing more about this brilliant program in the days ahead.

My best wishes to you and all your cruising friends,
John

Grizel Robertson Asked:
John, Please reply in due course.

I may be wrong but I believe team GB may win medals in the Luge or Bobsled (English female) & Curling (with help from players from my native Scotland) at the Winter Olympics. Just keep your fingers, toes & legs crossed in case your underpants blow off on learning of a surprise Triumph for team GB.

Only 99 days until I embark on my BtoB cruises on Victory & I can’t wait to get away from the coldest winter we have experienced in the UK for over 40 years. In the meantime, I have booked a 9 day cruise on Magic in Europe sailing 26 August 2011, & I hope that you will be the CD on the trip. However, I hope that I get the opportunity to speak to you a few weeks from now. I received an email From Carnival UK a couple of days ago offering complimentary entry to the Cruise Show to be held in Olympia London on 27/28 March 2010. When I checked the programme & saw that you are scheduled to deliver a presentation about Dream in the New Ships Theatre on 27 March, my mind was set. I have managed to secure a good deal with BMI to include my return flights from Glasgow & an overnight in the London Tara Kensington on 26 March so that I will be wide awake & receptive when you launch the Dream image to an audience who may have yet to be converted to the Fun Ship experience.

I can tell that you are engrossed in your CD duties on Dream at present ensuring that passengers are looked after well but I appreciate that you must also be missing Heidi & Kye. Just remember the lyrics from two classic Beatles songs, It Won’t Be long & All My Loving or from two that are associated with my early cruise ship experiences with Carnival, Celebration & Holiday.

Take care. I hope that I can speak to you, however briefly, at Olympia in March.

Grizel Robertson, Coalburn, Scotland (-18C 07/01/10)

John Says:
Hello Grizel Robertson,

Hope you enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics. You would think with all the snow we had this year that team UK would have done better. I hope the weather is better now in Scotland and I also hope that the blog readers get a chance to visit your beautiful country. They may need to bring a translator.

Congratulations on booking the Carnival Magic and there is a very good chance that I will be your cruise director. My intention is to work from start up of the vessel until just before the trans-Atlantic crossing. This will allow me to have Heidi and Kye on board and maybe also have a couple of days off mid cruise and fly home as it’s such a short distance.

And now for the bad news. I am so sorry to say that I am unable to attend the Travel Fair in London. This was the plan but unfortunately it fell through at the last moment. I know that I was heavily advertised as attending and speaking but it was decided that my time would better be served as a cruise director. I realize that you are flying all that way to see me and words cannot express how upset this makes me feel. Would you please pass by the Carnival booth and I will ask the great UK staff, who so desperately wanted me to be there to have a little gift from me waiting for you. I hope you will forgive me and I will do all I can when I see you on the Carnival Magic to make this up to you.

With sincere apologies and best wishes,
John

Josh Scott Asked:
Please Reply!

I have asked this question before and searched the internet but cannot seem to find the answer.

How does one go about applying for a job for shipboard Information Systems? I can find information about any other job onboard the ships except this one. Please help!

It isn’t necessary for John to answer this question if one of the 343 Stephanies can answer it for me.

Thanks,
Josh

John Says:
Hello Josh Scott,

Thanks for asking. You are correct, I cannot find this anywhere so I have taken the liberty of sending your e-mail address to one of our IT managers who has a beard and works at our Carnival HQ. She will be in touch with you very soon and please let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes,
John

Slickabrina Asked:
PLEASE REPLY…

Hi John!

So looking forward to having your girls join you on board! I hope you will be able to share pictures but given what happened last time, I think we would all understand if you chose not to.

In regards to dinner, I am usually fine with the length of time that it takes. I’m not looking to be rushed through it. Unfortunately, sometimes I feel like we have to rush through it in order to get a decent seat for the show. Inevitably, as late seating diners, there is always a Bingo session right before our show and the players tend not to leave which makes it hard to get a decent seat sometimes.

I guess for me, the real issue is why so many bingo games right before that late show?

Thank you much!
Colleen

John Says:
Hello Slickabrina,

We actually have bingo sessions before some of the shows. If the shows are at 8:30 pm and 10:30 pm, bingos are at 8 and 10 pm. Guests on early seating have the option of playing the first bingo game and see the first show while guests on second seating have the option of the latter bingo and showtime. It is unusual for people who play bingo at the 10 pm sitting to then stay for the show if they have already seen it. We also do not have bingo games before our main production style shows. I always suggest to guests that providing they are in the showroom by 10 pm that they have the best seats to choose from. Guests on our Your Time Dining programs can obviously choose which show they see. However, Colleen, you bring up a great point. Do people prefer shows after dinner or before? Do people who eat later prefer to see a show before they go to dinner or afterwards? Please let me know what you think. Overall, I think the length of service in the dining rooms is just about right…….for the most part.

Best wishes and thank you for the kind words,
John

jbraabe Asked:
Good Day John, (Please reply)

I noticed that your blog thingy has created quite a stir over on CC – Oh well, not everyone can appreciate you and your blog. (Some find it crass!)

Anyway, we are a group of 5 sailing on Glory 2/21 and would greatly appreciate it if you would forward our dining request to the maître d’ for a table just for the 5 of us.

We are repeating the same itinerary as we did for my 50th Birthday on the Valor since we had such poor weather that almost all of our excursions were canceled. We are all looking forward to a great cruise.

Thanks for your help and all the information and joy you spread with the blog thingy.

John Says:
Hello jbraabe@comcast.net,

I just saw that you had asked me to help you with a dining reservation and that you have already sailed. This is one of those times where all I can do is apologize and hope that you had a fantastic cruise. I know some of the Cruise Critic readers don’t like my blog and I am sorry that this is so. It is certainly never my intention to upset anyone.

Best wishes,
John

Richard Oyler Asked:
Hi John,

Would like to know why Carnival does not have any amber beer on board. They have everything else but a good amber beer i.e., Killians, Amber Bock, Alaskan Amber. They do sell the Alaskan Amber on the Spirit during its Alaskan cruises and it is a big seller. You could even have a Beer’s of the World bar on board that would sell alot of different types. (poll this and see the response). Will be with you on 13 Feb cruise and would love to hoist one with you, I’ll bring the beer. Thanks for your Blog we love it. Even if you do take a poo every once in a while. Rick

John Says:
Hello Richard Oyler,

I hope we got chance to meet last week and I hope you had fun. Please let me know.

My wife Heidi, is an expert on Bock Beer as much of it is brewed in Holland, where she is from. She tells me that this is very much a seasonal beer and is usually drunk from September to the end of January. However, Heidi agrees with you that we should have it on board.

Best Wishes to all,
John

Lisa Asked:
Hi John, (Please Reply)

My husband & I will be cruising on Carnival Freedom on March 27th, and we are anxiously counting down the days! This cruise will be our seventh with Carnival, and we are really excited to be sailing on the Freedom, and seeing two ‘new’ ports that we’ve never been to (as well as three that we have).

I would like to make a reservation in the Steakhouse, and wondered if you could tell me which nights will be the elegant/formal nights? This is an ‘eight’ day trip, so I assume the second night of the trip will be the first formal night, but wondered which night will be the ’second’ elegant night of the trip?

Also, could you please try to get us a table for two in the dining room? We are cruising ‘without’ the kids, and look forward to ‘romantic’ dinners for two, so we would REALLY appreciate it 🙂 We are confirmed for the late (8:15) seating, and our cabin number is 1049.

Your blog is a joy to read, and it always gives me a good laugh, so ‘thanks’ so much for all you do. I’d be happy to write a short review of the trip after we get back, but I already know we will have a wonderful time…we always do 🙂 My best to Heidi and Kye, and enjoy your time together and try not to worry, everything will work out great!

Lisa

John Says:
Hello Lisa

You will love the 8-day Eastern itinerary on the Carnival Freedom and the elegant nights will be as you said on the first day at sea and on April 2, the sea day before Nassau. I also know you will love the Steakhouse experience and remember you can book online using the link thingy here on the blog thingy. I have asked the Maitre D to assist you with your dining request and hopefully he will be able to accommodate you. Thanks for all your kind words and have a brilliant cruise

John Concilus Asked:
Hello John,

I’m a reader from Alaska, and am wondering if you can give me some insight into a pretty unusual (I think) situation I had with a cruise booking.

My family and I booked back-to-back 7 night cruises on Dream for next Christmas 12/25/10 sailing) and New Year’s (1/1/11)…five of us in two cabins….from chilly Alaska. It’s -15 F at the moment 😉

We got an email yesterday that the 12/25/10 sailing had been changed to a 9-day departing two days earlier (and adding a stop in Nassau), and the cruise before us was shortened from 7 to 5 days.

Although Carnival protected our price, we need to pay change fees to air tickets and change our other arrangements for the group. We are responsible for those charges and hassles, according to customer service.

My question: What would prompt Carnival to change an existing booking, and undergo both customer wrath, potential loss of customers, and additional expenses?

I’m not so much complaining as just darn curious what could be so important to prompt the move.

Thanks in advance, and we sure enjoy reading your blog, and imagine you have encountered this sort of thing before.

John

John Says:
Hello John Concilus

I am not sure how many readers of the blog thingy we have from Alaska but I welcome you and thanks for the posting. This is a good question on two counts and with regard to both the extra costs involved and the reason we changed the itinerary………..well I have to say I don’t know the answer to either. But I know a man who will know and I will promise that in the next 48 hours to have posted the answers right here. I know Carnival reserves the right to change the itinerary at anytime but I wonder why we did in this case.

So, please give me a couple of days and I will let you know as I am as curious as you are. I do know that having just looked at the itinerary it looks fantastic and I know you will enjoy it.

I will be back soon

Oh and in fact……..here I am. I asked Terry Thornton, one of our senior vice presidents, as to why we changed the cruise itinerary and here is his answer.

John,

Hope you are doing well.  The reason for the change was that we were receiving a lot of feedback from guests that did not want to travel and embark the cruise on Christmas Day.  There was a strong preference to sail on a Christmas cruise where they could enjoy this special holiday during the cruise.

Thanks, Terry

And when you read this it makes total sense doesn’t it? If you have a follow up question or comment please let me know.

Best wishes to all
John

Lisa t Asked:
John, Please reply:

I have enjoyed reading your blog for nearly a year and rarely miss a day! I have a question I have never recall being addressed.

My husband and I have only 99 days until we board the Carnival Dream. We can’t wait we booked last June I think. We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary, our honeymoon was on the Carnival Sensation and it was my very first cruise… That was it I am hooked. So this May, besides the anniversary celebration we are cruising for my 48th birthday and also important my husband’s 10th cruise with Carnival. Yipeee!

My question is since this will be (only) my 8th cruise how will the VIP benefits work? Boarding and free laundry? I know I am allowed to board along side with him but do we separate the 8th cruise laundry pile from the 10th cruise laundry pile? Yeah I need the free laundry way more than he does 😀

I don’t see where else to contact you with questions I hope this is the area… thanks for all you do. You entertain more people than you’ll ever realize if you think of all us folks sitting at home longing to be on the ship with you… Best to Kye and Heidi…

John Says:
Hello Lisa T

Congratulations to you and your husband on yet another Carnival cruise and thank you both for your loyalty. You can use your husbands Platinum benefits including the priority boarding and laundry as you are both in the same cabin……you are in the same cabin right? Please can you let me know a month before you sail and include your cabin number. Please feel fee to contact me anytime here on blog thingy

Best wishes to you both
John

That’s all for today. OK, time to get something of my chest. I have looked back over the blog thingies of the past few weeks and have counted 5 different people who suggested that I change the format of the blog thingy. By this they mean less……..ummm………attempted and not always successful humour (spelt correctly) and more help, guidance and information and of course a more rapid response to the questions marked for me to reply to.

This has been playing on my mind and after the sudden appearance of my bald patch, Heidi and Kye leaving on Saturday and how the heck I will ever get over the fact that now the Olympics has ended that there is no more curling on TV…………..it’s all I can think about.

So, with that in mind I have asked one of the 343 Stephanies to conduct a poll. Here she is to tell you how to vote and the results of the first two polls we carried out.

Hi Bloggers

Your newest poll will be located on the side of the blog. Make your selection and hit the vote button. That’s all there is to it. 🙂

Here are the results from the last two polls we conducted:

Q: What is the license number of John’s gas guzzling Range Rover?

641 bloggers voted – 34% of those votes said CCL 1.

A: And the answer is….post your comments and tell John he needs to provide an answer. LOL. He doesn’t want to tell me.

Q: What itinerary would you like to see Carnival offer in the future?

546 bloggers voted – 39% of those votes said more 10 day or longer Caribbean cruises.

Thank you to all that voted. Be sure to leave your feedback on the new poll.

Stephanie H.

Thanks Stephanie for coming up with this new poll thingy. I have already sent the results of the destination poll to the top guns at CCL HQ. I found it very interesting that the results showed the popularity of the longer Caribbean cruise. Something to think about there for sure. I hope some of you will take the time to vote on this poll so I know how you best want the blog thingy to continue.

Well, back here on your Carnival Dream I am having a bit of a weird cruise. The guests are good and the complaints minimal but ……..well………..it’s hard to explain but there are some…. well ….. let me say this. Today we are at sea and I just returned from my live Morning Show where I read out lots of great dedications, messages of love, etc. After that I went up to the coffee shop to get a cup of tea and then walked to my cabin. I passed maybe 50 guests and said good morning to every single one. Now, 30% were cheery, talkative and complimentary while some……..well some just blanked me completely. Now this was either because they had no idea who I was or they think that I am an idiot and about as funny as gangrene.

And out of those two choices………I am not sure which one I hope it is. Let’s see. It’s Thursday. I have hosted two travel talks, one welcome aboard show, three morning shows, three main shows, two past guest parties and two captain’s celebrations. I am on three different TV channels and have used the PA system each day.  So it’s probably not the “Why is that tubby man with the strange accent saying hello to me?” OK, then it must be the fact that the people who didn’t even give me a smile or a nod probably find me as entertaining as 24 hours of C-Span. And if that’s the case……well that’s not good is it. Maybe they are not just morning people. I guess we shall see when the review cards come back.

So what would you do if you were a cruise director? Here is the scenario. A guest is taken ill in the dining room. It is a very public event and approx 500 guests can see that the ship’s medical staff is working to save their life. Well, as you know I reported in yesterday’s blog that one of dear guests on board passed away. Obviously a lot of guests have been asking me and other crew members about what happened. So here is the problem. It’s nobody else’s business……. but then it was as I said a very public thing. So, do I announce to the whole ship that a guest passed away and ask for their thoughts and prayers? This is something though that maybe people don’t want to hear while they are on vacation…….something that would make them sad on a ship of fun. Well, as yet I haven’t said anything but I am leaning towards doing so on Friday at the debarkation talk.

It’s a conundrum for sure.

Time for today’s random photos.

I received a letter today from Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison. In it he describes how he wants to make me president of Carnival Cruise Lines and play starting power forward for the Miami Heat. OK, I may have stepped into the realms of fantasy there but I honestly did receive a letter from Mr. Arison ……..as I am sure did or will many of you. It was a letter to all us shareholders who have been smiling recently as things start to get better. I thought you might like to see his letter but before you do…………..have a look at this brilliant video.

And here is the annual shareholders letter from Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc Mr. Micky Arison.

To Our Shareholders:

During 2009, the global recession significantly impacted the financial performance of travel companies worldwide. We responded swiftly and successfully, thanks to our talented management teams and global portfolio of well-recognized brands. As a result, we weathered the most challenging economic environment in the company’s history exceptionally well.

The global recession, however, resulted in reduced travel demand, which had a negative impact on our revenue yields. For our North American brands, yields fell 13 percent and, for our European brands, a more modest 6 percent (in local currency).

Another challenge during 2009 was the U.S. government’s advisory against travel to Mexico as a result of the flu virus, which necessitated itinerary changes for 27 of our ships calling in Mexico. These itinerary changes, coupled with the temporary reduction in demand for travel to Mexico after the travel advisory was lifted, reduced our earnings by approximately $80 million, or $0.10 per share.

We managed to partially offset the pressure on revenue by intensifying our cost-containment efforts. All told, we reduced operating expenses by $170 million in 2009 from our original guidance. Fuel conservation has been and continues to be a large part of our cost-containment efforts. Over the past year, we reduced fuel consumption by 5 percent on a unit basis.

Taking all of these factors together, Carnival Corporation & plc maintained its position as the world’s most profitable leisure travel company in 2009, posting net income of $1.8 billion, or $2.24 per share. More importantly, our company provided exceptional vacation experiences and lasting memories to a record 8.5 million guests.

A key component of our success was the ongoing implementation of our global expansion strategy, with particular emphasis on Europe, Australia and Asia. Five new state-of-the-art ships began service last year, each providing unique cruise experiences while garnering excellent feedback from guests. Three new vessels were introduced to our fast-growing European brands—the 2,050-passenger AIDAluna, the 2,260-passenger Costa Luminosa and the 2,978-passenger Costa Pacifica. Two new vessels were introduced to our popular North American brands—the 3,642-passenger Carnival Dream, the brand’s largest ship, and the 450-passenger Seabourn Odyssey, the ultra-luxury line’s first new ship in two decades.

Other growth initiatives focused on Australia and Asia. P&O Cruises Australia added a third ship to its fleet with the inauguration of Pacific Jewel in Sydney Harbor, which was one of the country’s most celebrated cruise events. We also deployed a second ship in Asia, with the 1,302-passenger Costa Classica joining the 784-passenger Costa Allegra in China.

CONTINUED GLOBAL EXPANSION

Our newbuilding program is the primary growth platform for brands operating in well-established cruise markets throughout Europe and North America. In December, we announced our first new ship order in two years, a 3,690-passenger Dream-class ship for Carnival Cruise Lines that is set to debut in 2012. With this announcement, our order book is now complete through 2012, with 13 new ships driving a 6 percent average annual capacity growth. Six of those vessels will enter service in 2010—four for our European brands: the 2,192-passenger AIDAblu, the 2,260-passsenger Costa Deliziosa, P&O Cruises’ 3,100-passenger Azura and Cunard’s 2,092-passenger Queen Elizabeth; and two for our North American brands: Holland America’s 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam and the 450-passenger Seabourn Sojourn.

Through 2012, our average annual capacity growth in North America, the world’s most developed cruise region, is 3 percent. The majority of our capacity growth over the next three years will come from our European brands, which are expected to grow by 9 percent, compounded annually through 2012. Europe represents a significant growth opportunity. From a market-development perspective, it compares to where North America was 12 years ago. The continued strong profit performance of our European brands reinforces our commitment to expansion within the region.

We continue to grow our presence in the emerging markets of Australia and Asia by transferring existing vessels. That reduces our risk of entry in these markets while optimizing our fleet profile. We have made great progress in these emerging markets and expect to double our capacity by 2012. We believe the Asia-Pacific region represents a significant long-term growth opportunity for us given its early stage of development, favorable economic outlook and increasing affluence of consumers in this region who have a strong desire to travel.

In 2012 and beyond, our current intention is to have an average of two to three new cruise ships enter service annually, which is below our recent capacity growth levels. Over time, we expect industry capacity growth to slow and demand for cruises to accelerate as global economies recover and emerging markets continue to develop. We believe the resulting favorable supply and demand balance should positively impact our ability to profitably grow our business.

We continue to believe that there is opportunity for global growth of our capacity over the long term. Only 20 percent of the U.S. population, 9 to 10 percent of the UK population and 4 to 5 percent of the continental European population have ever taken a cruise. We have achieved mainstream awareness of cruising in North America with our four brands serving the contemporary, premium and luxury segments. We have also secured a solid foothold in Europe through our top-rated brands in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. In 2012, we will have more than 100 vessels deployed around the globe—twice that of our closest competitor. We have achieved a powerful global footprint and will continue our focus on expanding our already strong presence, but at a more measured pace.

SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability is about preserving our environment, respecting our employees and communities, and returning value to our shareholders. Sustainability is not a cost of doing business; it is a way of doing business.

Our environmental efforts are focused where they have the greatest impact. They include reducing our carbon footprint by lowering energy use on our ships, preserving clean air and water by using chemicals responsibly while seeking environmentally friendly alternatives. We also are reducing waste in our operations and managing the disposal of waste through comprehensive reuse and recycling programs.

We demonstrate our commitment to employees by offering opportunities for development, rewarding performance, valuing diversity and providing a safe and healthy work place. We take leadership roles in our communities, both in our homeports and in the destinations we visit throughout the world.

Our company strives to create value for our shareholders while providing a positive impact on the world around us. We engage employees, guests, suppliers, communities and other important stakeholders to magnify our impact.

THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

Confidence in the future earnings power of our global cruise brands, despite the current economic environment, was demonstrated by our board of directors in January 2010 with its decision to reinstate our quarterly dividend at $0.10 per share. The dividend was suspended last year at the height of the financial crisis. The suspension preserved liquidity and afforded us the financial flexibility to fund capacity growth in 2009 while maintaining a strong balance sheet and high investment-grade credit rating. We are committed to delivering sustainable cash returns to shareholders. Initiating the dividend at this level allows us to begin to return cash to shareholders at the peak of our capital expenditure program in 2010. We expect to grow the dividend as our capital investment program slows beyond 2010 and our cash flow increases.

Looking forward, we believe the inherent value of cruising, combined with consumers’ pent-up demand for travel in a recovering economy, will create strong demand for cruise vacations. Stringent cost controls continue to drive down expenses, resulting in our outlook for lower unit costs in 2010. We believe Carnival Corporation & plc is a better, stronger, more efficient organization than we were just a year ago, leaving us well-positioned for the prosperity of an eventual worldwide economic recovery.

THANKS AND RECOGNITION

I would like to acknowledge Meshulam Zonis, who passed away last year. He was a long-time Carnival Cruise Lines executive who was part of the team that founded the company in 1972. He was an original member of the Carnival Corporation board of directors when we went public in 1987, and served on the board until 2003. His contributions to our company and industry were immeasurable. Two other beloved members of the Carnival family also passed away last year—Captain Carlo Chiarella and Chief Engineer Raimondo Nicita, both of whom were with the company from its inception in 1972. These three outstanding individuals each played a vital role in the creation, growth and success of our company and we are grateful for their dedicated service. They will be missed.

I thank our shareholders for your continued support as well as our talented management teams and 85,000 employees, both shipboard and shoreside, for your hard work and dedication in providing our guests with memorable vacation experiences. I also express my appreciation to Carnival’s board of directors for their guidance and support during a most challenging year. And finally, none of this would have been possible without the millions of guests who entrusted their cherished vacation time to us. Thank you and we hope to welcome you aboard our ships again soon.

Sincerely,

Micky Arison
Chairman and CEO

Here’s a chart that lists some financial highlights for the past five years.

H I G H L I G H T S

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
(in millions, except per share amounts and other operating data)
Revenues $          13,157 $          14,646 $          13,033 $          11,839 $          11,094
Net Income $            1,790 $            2,330 $            2,408 $            2,279 $            2,253
Diluted Earnings Per Share $              2.24 $              2.90 $              2.95 $              2.77 $              2.70
Total Assets(a) $          36,835 $          33,400 $          34,181 $          30,552 $          28,349
Other Operating Data
Passengers Carried (in thousands) 8,519 8,183 7,672 7,008 6,848
Passenger Capacity(a)(b) 180,746 169,040 158,352 143,676 136,960
Number of Ships(a) 93 88 85 81 79
Number of Employees(a) 85,000 83,000 81,000 75,000 71,000

(a) As of the end of the year.

(b) Passenger capacity is calculated based on two passengers per cabin.

Great news all round and it looks like there might be some light at the end of the of the tunnel was the fact that Mr. Arison took the time to thank those whose hard work and endeavors set the foundation for Carnival Cruise Lines. And by mentioning Mr. Zonis, Captain Chiarella and Chief Engineer Nicita, Mr. Arison has continued to prove what his father and our founder Ted Arison says to me every week. On our past guest video Ted Arison looks into the camera and with humility and passion says “the most important thing about Carnival is family.”

He did that interview in 1996 aboard the Carnival Destiny and how truly proud he would have been to see how his son has expanded that family to include Cunard, Costa, Holland America, P&O, Princess, AIDA and Seabourn allowing all of them to keep their very specific identities.

How his heart would have filled with pride when despite H1N1 pig thingy and credit crunch for breakfast that the company he founded continued to be the most profitable in the leisure travel industry.

Surely the only way Ted Arison would have been any more proud of his son was if Micky made me chairman when he retires and gave the job of my executive and personal assistant…..to Megan Fox.

Talking of family…….mine leave on Saturday. Therefore this is one of those times where I ask you for kind permission to take Friday off from blogging. Friday is my most busy day and what little spare time I have I would like to spend with the girls. It has been amazing having them here and it looks like it will be another two and half months before I see them again. Kye is growing each day and these last three weeks she has learned to wave goodbye, stand on two feet and she sort of says “Da Da”………well that’s what I like to think she is saying anyway. Heidi is the best Mum in the world……..and there is very little else I can say about my wife except thank her for raising Kye and for making sure through the use of video and photos that she doesn’t forget me.

And so I will see you on Monday where I shall be writing a blog as usual……early in the morning ……………..in my underpants…………but in a cabin that will feel so very empty and without the sound of the most joyous sound in the world……………….Kye’s giggle.

Goodnight
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.