March 10, 2010 -

John Heald

Yesterday was a very busy day yet filled with joyous moments……..like when I read this comment.

Guest: Mrs. ______ Ref: 83977012A
Cabin: _____ Booking#: _____ Added-Changed: 03/09/10 – 03/09/10

Gift Shop Complaint

Guest came to the GSD and wanted to say how she had purchased a sweat shirt from the gift shop. She had noticed that the XXL one was $14 more expensive than other sizes. Guest said that this was discrimination and wanted to pay the same price as others. GSA called the shop manager who said that the prices were determined by her head office. Mrs. _____ then said that she would not be buying anything from the shop.

No further action.

Now, I am not sure about you but I don’t quite understand this. If I go into a Starbucks and buy a Grande Mega Frapacrapacino it costs more than a regular one.  A loaf of bread costs more than a small one. Fact. Just as if you buy a suite here on my Carnival Dream it will cost more than a regular balcony cabin. Now I am a big chap and if I buy a shirt I certainly don’t expect to pay exactly the same price as someone skinny sod who eats tofu and air for dinner because it took double the amount of cotton to make it. I know it’s my fault that because I had a love affair with KFC that I have to shop at stores called “High and Mighty” and “Big Fella” and “Fat Bastards.”  Anyway, the bottom line for me is that I expect to pay more for my underwear than Gerry Cahill pays for his and even though I don’t mind paying more……..you would think for the price that would put some Miracle Grow in there.

Then this one caught my eye.

Guest: Mrs. ______ Ref: 83817312A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: 12M9R3 Added-Changed: 03/09/10 – 03/09/10

Guest reported leaving her iPhone somewhere on Lido Deck and can’t find it. Guest said that it was a new phone given to her for her 85th birthday by her grandson and was very upset. No phone has been handed to GSD.

Now while I am sad that she has lost it I can’t help but marvel that she has an Eye Phone at 85! My Mum and Dad regard mobile phones in the same way 16th century Catholics regarded witches.  I have my Raspberry for e-mails but as for a phone, I still have the most basic Nokia thingy I could find…………..and what hard work it was to get that.

I remember going to the Verizon booth thingy and the Dolphin Mall in Miami where a 14 year old phone child with slick hair, chewing gum and his amazement that I wasn’t speaking Spanish……..could not, like, believe what this dude was asking for…….”Cono!”

“You what?”

“I’d like a phone with no music, camera, video, radio, internet. I just want to be able to call people.”


“Just a phone.”

“How about the NK9000000000? It has a built-in waffle maker.”


“What about the FZX80000? It can teleport humans from one end of the universe to the other and it has a built-in climbing wall.”

I hope Grandma finds her Eye Phone because if she does……….maybe she can explain to me what it does.

We have lots to do today so let’s crack on with some Q and A.

Ernie/Cruizer4662 Asked:
John, you always have me chuckling after reading your “blog thingy”.

Please reply, Colleen & I took the “Behind the Fun Tour” on BC3. One thing when we were in the laundry (her Favourite stop, by the way), we saw one of the laundry staff loading one of the washing machines and she was wondering how many pounds it held? Seeing that you now are on the Carnival Dream, it should be easy to find out for her.

Jeans vs. Dress up, I normally wear a Tux to formal night, but I do not have to fly to cruise. I can see men in dress slacks if the prefer, but if you slack off to jeans, how will you be able to ask the guest who walks in with holes in the knee, arse or other places. They “Do have jeans on”. Casual will work!!

Thanks John,

John Says:
Hello Ernie

I am glad you enjoyed the Behind the Fun tour which has proven to be a massive hit across the fleet and for the most part sells out each and every cruise. The laundry is one of the places that seems to intrigue guests nearly as much as the bridge and engine control room. Here on your Carnival Dream we have seven large washing machines in the laundry. Each machine can take 450 pounds each unless my underwear is in there when the capacity then goes down to 300. Your thoughts on dress code were very interesting and I think we have a happy middle ground for most at the moment. We certainly do not allow guests to wear cut of jeans or ones with holes in them.  If you have any other questions please let me know.

Best wishes to all

retirementman Asked:

(Sorry to write so soon after the first one)

ELEGANT NIGHT is a must and even though people might not like dressing up even for only one night we must stress to everyone that Elegant Night is what elegant really means

E ducate the world of its beauty

L ead the way to enjoyment

E levate ones priority in life

G et together for being with special people

A dhere to the past, present and plan for the future

N ote – worthy that the night is for all of us

T each everyone that life is very precious.

I hope that this little poem though weak in power, shows how important Elegant Night is to me.

I asked my friend how many elegant nights he had on his 12-day cruise on the Queen Mary and his answer was every night was Elegant Night. It didn’t mean that they had to wear tuxedos each night but just to show respect to those others during the cruise. Carnival is a little different because they are the Fun Ships but even having fun allows us to show respect to one another. Elegant Night must show elegance and demand elegance with all aboard. That is just the way I feel John.

Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul

Two postings back to back on dress code shows that many have very specific views on this. I enjoyed reading your explanation of the word “elegant” and I think that you saw from your recent cruise here on your Carnival Dream that the vast majority of guests do honour the elegant dress code. I must say though that I have noticed a new trend and that’s the number of guests who after dinner will change back into more casual attire. Personally speaking as long as they adhere to the dining room dress codes I think all is well. It certainly doesn’t spoil the enjoyment of my dinner if a guest is wearing a nice pair of jeans and a polo shirt but I know others may disagree. As I said, I think we have a good situation at the moment that pleases most of our guests. Thanks as always for your valued opinion and I hope it’s not too long before we see each other again.

Best wishes to you and the family

Terry Asked:
JOHN, Please Reply

You are always asking for reviews and feedback about our cruising experiences, so I wanted to make a few comments and suggestions about our most recent sailing – Carnival Spirit, 12/21/09 sailing of the Mexican Riviera from San Diego, CA.

Behind the Fun Tour

Absolutely worth the additional fee. No matter how silly, intrusive, or ignorant our groups questions, they were answered in detail and with a smile. When our guide did not immediately know an answer, she got on her walky-talky and got the answer in a matter of minutes.

Our one suggestion – since we are unable to take our cameras on the tour for security reasons – could a photographer be assigned to the tour to take general pictures of the tour areas (being sure to leave out anything of a sensitive nature).

Wine Tasting

The presentation, knowledge, and thoughtfulness of the sommelier was outstanding. We enjoyed the tasting so much, that we did attend the second presentation. Because of the sommelier’s presentation and help during our tastings and Steakhouse visits, we each now know exactly which wines we enjoy and how to order them properly.


The food was mouthwatering and beautifully presented and the staff – fantastic. Because of the sommelier and the hostess of the Steakhouse, we went back again and again. We were pampered from our first reservation phone call to our last evening departure. I would recommend the Steakhouse as a “MUST” on any cruise.

Lobby Bar Staff

Amazing! We are in the habit of frequenting the lobby bar before dinner. After our visit on the first day, we would sit down and our regular order would be delivered to us without our even having to order. My husband and I had a conversation about the “Goldfish” snack that is served at the bar (my husband loves them). A staff member must have overheard the conversation. The next night, and every night for the remainder of our cruise, when we sat down, a bowl of “Goldfish” magically appeared was in front of my husband.

Photo Suggestions

For those of us who create scrapbook/memory books or prefer professional photos, please have available for purchase:

• Photos of the different entertainment acts; piano players, bands, comedians, jugglers

• A general photo of the cast, in costume, from each of the main stage shows

• Photos of the captain, cruise director, entertainment staff, room stewards, dining room staff

• Have a photographer take pictures in the Steakhouse like they do in the main dining room

• A onetime flat fee with all of your photos on a CD.


Several blogs ago a suggestion was made to have a cake available in the shape of Fun ship Freddy. It was not available on this cruise – do you know when it will be available for purchase?

Your Choice Dining

This was our first experience with “choice dining” on a Carnival ship. It worked out perfectly for us and our cruising style. We will probably never go back to an assigned time.

Christmas Events/Decorations

The Christmas programs were wonderful and set just the right “holiday” tone. We especially enjoyed the Christmas sing-along. Our only complaint – it was way too short. When the staff saw how well the response was from those attending, they should have continued the sing-along.

The decorations were okay, but not what we expected. The “Fun ship” did not show in the very subdued holiday décor.

We are looking forward to our next cruise – a Back-to-Back on the Carnival Dream starting 5/1/2010.

John Says:
Hello Terry

What a brilliant review and thanks so much for taking the time to write it. I won’t comment on everything you wrote but wanted to highlight a couple of the points. The Fun Ship Freddy cake is in design as we speak and I hope to have news on this being available soon. I certainly think that the kids would love this and it makes sense to do this as soon as possible. Scrapbooking is also a huge deal these days as you mentioned and certainly we should have photos of the bands and entertainers etc. You will find that in the next few weeks each of the cruise directors and staff will have “trading cards” available. These will have a photo of the staff member and a bio on them. They have started here on your Carnival Dream and many of the ships will have them now so that’s a good start for the scrapbooking and we will certainly add the musicians and entertainers as well.

I know we do not allow cameras on the Behind the Fun tour for obvious security reasons but I was under the impression that we sent a ship’s photographer along to take photos. I will talk to someone about this today because it seems like something we should be doing. As for the photos, well there will be a lot of exciting news in the next few weeks on this subject so stand by for that.

It was interesting to read your thoughts on Your Time Dining and that you enjoyed it so much that this will be what you stay with on your next cruises. It’s good to hear as we have worked hard to iron out the kinks in this program and I am glad that you found it to be good. I happen to agree with you on the Christmas decoration issue. I think I mentioned how I thought there was too much green and not enough tinsel and sparkle. I have addressed this with the people at the top and hopefully you will see a difference next year. Thanks again for all the great thoughts and I hope you are excited to be sailing on your Carnival Dream in May…..and I look forward to reading your review on this fantastic ship.

Best wishes to you and the family

Wendy Bonnell Asked:
Dear John (the favour of a reply is requested)

I love reading your blog and am now a new blog addict as well as a cruise addict. This is my children’s and my third cruise and we are sailing the Dream March 13. I have a request! More of a question, I guess. I am wondering where on the ship would be a good place for my daughter to be able to practice her dance (ie jazz routine including several leaps and turns) I am asking because she is recovering from a nasty sprain of her ankle which occurred mid December. She is dancing again but still not able to jump full out and probably won’t be able to for another few weeks. This is a problem because as soon as we get home from the cruise, competition season begins for her and she is already missing dance time by being on the cruise (which wouldn’t have been a problem if not for the sprain). She is almost 13 and lives to dance and compete and is a bit of power house, so needs adequate space.

Can you help us pretty please?

Thank you and looking forward to meeting you!
Wendy Bonnell

John Says:
Hello Wendy

Your daughter is going to love the shows here on her Carnival Dream and as a dancer herself I know this will be one of the highlights of her cruise. She can practice her own dancing in the disco which for the most part during the day is empty and we also have the Song lounge which has a nice dance floor during the day. I am guessing she has one of those Eye Pod thingies so she can plug in her earphones and dance away. I hope she takes it easy on that ankle though and if you need anything while you are onboard please let me know by dropping a Dear John letter off at the guest services desk and I will be happy to help as best I can.

See you all soon

Best wishes

Jerry Asked:

Hello John thanks for all the wonderful information that you put out on your blog answering all of our questions. With that in mind here is a question for you. My wife and I, both Platinum cruisers, are currently booked on the Carnival Spirit cruise departing Honolulu on September 26, 2010 and arriving in Ensenada on October 8, 2010. We are strongly considering doing the 4 day cruise that follows it from San Diego to Cabo. The problem is we can’t seem to get the same answer twice from Carnival in regards to debarkation. In the past when we have done a B2B cruise we are mustered in private room, old sign and sail cards collected and new ones issued, we were then escorted off the ship to clear customs and then escorted back on to the ship. However, in this case after debarkation of the passengers from the Hawaii cruise the ship repositions from Ensenada to San Diego before new passengers embark. My question is this if we book the B2B cruise will we be allowed to remain on the ship after clearing customs for the reposition to San Diego or will we have to disembark in Ensenada and be transported to San Diego? Between our phone calls and our PVP’s calls we have received 3 different answers and don’t know which one is correct. We have been told that after clearing customs that we can stay on the ship for the reposition (ideal situation), also have been told that we must disembark and be transported with all other guests to either San Diego airport or Los Angeles Airport thus having to get back to the ship via either an airport transfer or other means, and also have been told that a special type of transportation would take us from Ensenada to the ship in San Diego for embarkation, which is correct? Any of the above scenarios would be fine so long as we know in advance which one, just don’t want to be expecting one thing and be surprised with another, Thank you for your help John it is greatly appreciated.

John Says:
Hello Jerry

That’s a really good question and as I sit here I am not sure of the right answer. I have not done this voyage before so although I am pretty certain what you will have to do I would rather check this out with someone first. I hope to have the answer before I post this blog thingy but if not I will have it for you in tomorrow’s blog.

Please stand by and I will be back to you soon.

Here I am with the answer from the guest services manager on the Carnival Spirit. If you have a follow up to this please let me know.

Unfortunately no Back to Back guests will be allowed to stay onboard for the repositioning. Last year CBP did not allow anyone from the guest list including crew family sailing to stay on for the repositioning. We put them on buses and the buses took them to the terminal in San Diego, from there they can go to Seaport village or the mall which is a few blocks away to kill some time. Embarkation in San Diego will start sometime after 2 PM, they do manual check-in for the early arrivals. Guests can have breakfast onboard, there will be bottled water on the buses, travel time is about 2 hours (depending on wait at the border).

Best wishes and thanks for the kind words

Mrsrocster Asked:
Hi John, Please reply if you have the time.

Respectfully, I must disagree with your recommendation for the water park in Nassau for Cally D. This park, per person based on the 5 person total Cally mentioned is $33 MORE per person than a single day at a Disney park in FL AND you still have to purchase food and souvenirs. Honestly, I’d save the money on the water park and just do the aquarium tour because you also get a mini tour of the grounds at the hotel. The aquarium is amazing! You don’t get to swim or go on the slides, but if that isn’t important to you, then you’ll save money. If swimming there is important and worth the extra couple of hundred dollars more, then go for it. They charge extra to make use of their beach if you don’t have a wrist band that proves you paid for a day there. Shopping (in my opinion) in Nassau isn’t what it’s cracked up to be either, all of it has to be shipped in from somewhere else so it’s not really ‘native’ to the island…….so, save your money for other things like the alternative dining options on board your Carnival ship, souvenir photos on the ship etc…..and no, those won’t come close to the same amount of money you’d spend in Nassau, but at least you’d have more money to spend on spa treatments on the ship!

Sorry John, don’t mean to go against what you recommend because usually, you are spot on, but I just had to comment on this one. Hope you understand.

Love your blog and can’t wait to hear about Heidi and Kye’s experience on the plane coming over and how you adapt to having your own little one on a ship! I’m sure your blogs after that will be blogs not to miss!


John Says:
Hello mrsrocster

Opinions are the most important part of the blog thingy and there certainly is no reason for you to apologize for expressing yours. I agree that the water park might be a little expensive for some folks but I think it is brilliantly impressive and a great family attraction. It is one of the most popular excursions along with the aquarium at the Atlantis Resort. I agree with you on the shopping and on our Eastern Caribbean itinerary it is still St. Thomas that has the very best prices. Thanks for all the kind words and Heidi should be writing a blog for the end of the week about her experiences on board and her flight home.

Best wishes to all

beentravelin Asked:
John (Please Respond),

You never have said how to book the Chef’s Table. Just curious.

Rob Herrin

John Says:
Hello Rob

The Chef’s Table can for now only be booked once onboard via the Steakhouse or the Celebrations shop. We are looking to add this fantastic event on other ships as at the time of writing it is only onboard the Carnival Ecstasy and here on your Carnival Dream. If and when we do add other ships we may consider giving guests the chance to book online as well. I can tell you that once again here it has sold out for both nights with 24 lucky guests enjoying an exclusive menu in the galley during full operation. I hope you get to enjoy it one day as well.

Best wishes

Kevin Asked:
John, thanks for your reply to my last set of questions.

Please indulge me in one last round in anticipation of my family’s upcoming March 27, 2010 cruise on the Carnival Dream. The cruise will be myself, my wife, my 12 year old daughter, and my 9 year old son.

I have signed us up for a wedding vow renewal, as this cruise is partially in celebration of 15 years of my wife putting up with me (she won’t know about it until we get on board). Just curious if you know where it will be held. When I initially booked it, the ship was nowhere near complete, and so the wedding department people had no idea…

Question on the “chair hogs”: I know that the recent reviews have been indicating no chair hog problems, but I’m concerned about our cruise with it being spring break – what is the current “reality” of enforcing those that get up at some ungodly hour (I’m on vacation), just to put stuff on a dozen chairs, or those that swim for a bit, then go to the spa or whatever and keep their books and towels on chairs, which are then unoccupied for long periods of time, etc. I don’t mind waiting my fair share for a chair, but I don’t want to be played for a fool either.

We’d like to have some just well “beach time” somewhere – where would you recommend? Also possibly a snorkel excursion – keeping in mind I swim about a good as a boulder?

Any shot of the short stay in Nassau getting replaced with, oh, let’s say Roatan?

Finally, what is your recommendation on the end of cruise survey? I know you said some work was being done on this, but was wondering if there was an update… for example, my first cruise on the Inspiration, everything clearly exceeded expectations – didn’t know what a great thing I was getting into. Second cruise on the Imagination, I had a harder time saying EE as I my “expectations” were now higher because of past experience – nothing was “wrong” except an issue with a shore excursion thus my recommendation request from you. As I approach my this cruise, here is what I’m expecting based on my past excellent experiences: great dining room staff, great food, great Camp Carnival, great room steward, wonderful entertainment, and the best vacation deal I could find. And yes, I did comparison shop to an all inclusive and gasp – even other cruise lines – for something different, and could find no value to come close to what I’m getting on the Dream. On the survey, I don’t want to “ding” the ship’s rating for them doing what I expect, which is what I would feel like I am doing if I only give them “meets expectations”. Meets should be considered just fine.

Thank you,

John Says:
Hello Kevin

I am so sorry that I won’t be here with you to help celebrate your anniversary and your renewal of marriage. What a romantic chap you are in arranging this and keeping it a secret from your wife. The ceremony will be held in one of The Chambers conference rooms which will be decorated accordingly. I know you will love the setting and the ceremony itself and it will be something you both will have everlasting memories of for sure.

Now on to the “chair hogs.” Here is the reality. We make announcements and it is written in the Capers that you……bugger……it is written in the Fun Times that you cannot save deck chairs on Lido. The reality though is that some guests do not listen and refuse to abide by the rules. The other reality is that we do not have enough staff to monitor each chair and whether the guest has put a towel, a pair of shoes or a goat on there because they have popped to the bar or the Lido restaurant or that they reserved the chair at 7 am and then went back to bed. This is an industry wide problem and in the days when our security personal has far greater things to be concerned with than saving deck chairs it is not one that is going to disappear anytime soon. However, on the positive side there is a lot of deck space here on your Carnival Dream and not just on decks 10 and 11. Don’t forget there is the Lanai all the way around deck 5 with deck chairs aplenty there.

My thoughts on the comment survey have been well documented here on the blog and I have been pressing for a change for many months. The good news is that I think they listened to me as there will be some big changes forthcoming within the next two months that I will be talking about soon here on the blog thingy.

Have a wonderful time here on your Carnival Dream and best wishes to all.

cruisingeagle Asked:
Please reply

Hi John, just wanted to take a minute and say thank you for the blog and thank you for making a Carnival cruise wonderful.

My daughter and son-in-law sailed on the Carnival Triumph February 1 for their honeymoon. They had a wonderful time. They are experienced Carnival cruisers. They were even surprised one afternoon with a knock on the door and a gift from you. They said to tell you thank you. The chocolate covered strawberries were delicious.

They did the Dolphin Swim and Ride with Lunch and had a wonderful time. They thought the excursion was well done and wonderful. They also did the Behind the Fun Tour and loved it.

When they became engaged on the Carnival Imagination in July, 2008, Jorge Solano was the cruise director then and again on their honeymoon cruise on the Carnival Triumph. They did get to talk to him and share this information with him. They said all the staff was wonderful.

Thank you again for all you do to help people have a wonderful cruise. Thanks also for the blog, as it keeps us going until our next cruise. Can’t wait until I get to cruise on the Carnival Triumph on June 5.


John Says:
Hello Cindy Cruisin Eagle

Thanks for the perfect end to today’s Q and A session and I am glad they had such a great time. George Solano is off the ship at the moment as he needs some medical treatment and we are all wishing him a speedy recovery. Please send your daughter and son in law all the best for their future together.

Best wishes

That’s all for today and as always a big thank you for your comments, opinions and questions.  By the way, did you notice I have been given the honour (spelt correctly) of a mention on the www.carnival.com front page? Yep, I do and thanks to Jim Berra, our chief marketing officer, for allowing me this huge privilege. Talking of Jim…….here is an in depth interview with him which I hope you enjoy.

1. Jim, you have been with us since November 2008. How would you describe your Carnival experience so far?
I’ve been with Carnival for approximately 480 days at this point, but who’s counting. I’ve learned so much and have never worked for a company that is so welcoming and supportive – even when I screw up. I love coming to work and feel that we are making a lot of progress within marketing and as a company overall.

2. Before we move onto some of the brilliant successes you and your department have achieved I know you have managed to spend some time onboard some of our fleet. Having seen what we do and still being relatively new to Carnival how would you describe what is that we offer our guests?
What impresses me the most is how genuine and natural the interaction is between our guests and our crew. The culture onboard is really unique and it creates an environment where you can be yourself, meet new people and have tons of fun. We’re trying hard to capture that spirit in our advertising, but it’s a real challenge.

3. I had the honour of being with you for the New York event and Carnival Dream naming ceremony. I had a brilliant time and I think it was a great success. I know this was very much your project so……were you pleased with the outcome and do you see a future that will bring more events similar to what we did in New York and Baltimore?
We had such an All-Star team and I still can’t believe we were able to pull off back-to-back events of that scale in New York – whoever invented espresso deserves a big thanks as well. Seeing Carnival literally take-over Rockefeller Center with our Big Book of Dreams was the highlight of the year for me. Your photo essay with “Monique” during the naming ceremony is a close second and I can’t thank you enough for lugging a thirty pound plastic champagne bottle around Manhattan. What made everything all the more worthwhile was being able to tie the launch events to making a difference in the lives of others and giving back through our partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

We will definitely have more events in the future. We actually are part of a big event in Charleston later this month to celebrate our newest year-round homeport and have a couple of other ideas we’re kicking around.

4. One of the projects that was announced was Carnival’s partnership with St.Jude Children’s hospital. I know this program is dear to your heart. Before I ask you about how we can all help, I know you just returned from visiting the hospital. Can you describe what happened and as a Dad yourself how it affected you.
It’s honestly hard, even for a marketing guy, to put it into words. It’s incredibly inspiring and they have honestly thought of everything that a family will need as they go through treatment. One great example is that they have teachers who work hand-in-hand with a child’s school back home to replicate the lesson plans his or her fellow classmates are following. This helps the child stay connected to their friends back home as they can talk about what they are learning and when the child returns home from treatment, they can pick up where they left off. That’s just one example of how they view everything they do through the eyes of their patients and their families.

5. So Jim, the many thousands of daily readers of this blog and loyal Carnival cruisers want to know ……how can we help?
When we first announced the Carnival-St. Jude partnership late last year, we said that we would be launching some shipboard fundraising activities in 2010. Those activities are going to be rolled out soon and will provide our guests with some truly fun and unique ways to help us raise money for this outstanding cause We will be announcing those details soon so stay tuned.

We will also develop opportunities for our associates and past guests to get involved through various events and contests. More to come in that department I promise.

6. The new Carnival commercials are the first that you have been in charge of producing. The bloggers love them as do I so congratulations mate. Can you tell us how you and your team decided on these and what message they are trying to convey?
As I mentioned, we’re trying to shine a spotlight on the feeling of fun you have on a Carnival cruise. The goal is to make the experience the hero of the ads and help people who’ve never crossed our gangway to get a sense of our personality and spirit. We also wanted to show that cruising is so many vacations wrapped into one, so you’re seeing more of a balance between fun onboard and fun ashore.

7. I now you place a lot of importance on internet marketing. What’s been happening in that part of your Carnival world?
Tons of new content and features. Funville is now up and running and I want to thank everyone for hanging in there during our launch phase. I promise that it will continue to get better and easier to use. Also, we’ve introduced a new Facebook page with more content and features. Also, you will notice a lot more video across the site and we’re close to launching a new video center. We’ve also rebuilt our site search which needed a lot of help, so we turned to a company named Google who is apparently pretty good at search.

8. And before we have a bit of fun. What else have you been working on and is there anything you can tell us about the future?
We have an event later this month in Charleston to celebrate our newest year-round port. We’re also developing a game plan for launching Magic which is going to be a lot of fun. And we’re starting to think about our marketing plan for 2011 – time to crank up the Powerpoint and start thinking in bullet points.

9. So, this marketing language you all speak. I write about this often and I wondered if you could give me your top three marketing terms and translate them into English?
Happy to do so. I’m going to use a few common words that have a completely different meaning when used in a marketing context.

1/ Test – whenever a marketer says they plan to test something, they are really saying “you can’t blame me if this totally fails and ends up being a complete waste of time and money.”

2/ Integrated – this means that it’s really complicated and will take more time and money than you would think. It also means that if whatever it is works, it will probably be really hard for me to tell you why it was successful.

3/ Viral – we plan on spending no money to market this idea and instead plan to lob it out into cyberspace in the hope that people instantly love it and send it to all of their friends. Chances for success, mighty slim.

10. Time to choose Jim:

Carnival Magic Godmother – Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, or Lady Ga Ga?

I know it shows my age, but I’m still an Angelina fan.

Dream Car – Ferrari California, Aston Martin DBS, Bentley GTC?

No contest for me. I love the DBS and the great thing about Miami is that there’s more hot cars per capita than anyplace I’ve ever lived.

If you had to work on a Carnival ship – Chef, Cruise Director, Massage Therapist, or Bartender?

Bartender for sure. I make a pretty solid martini. They’re a lunchtime tradition here in the marketing department 🙂

Thanks Jim. You have quickly become a shining star here at Carnival and your new ad campaign scored brilliantly with the thousands of bloggers who read this daily rubbish of mine. I know some of you got to meet Jim in New York and Baltimore and those who did all told me that he is a truly nice guy. I know that Jim is now working on the Platinum and past guest benefits and I will have a follow up interview with him on this subject soon.

I for one am looking forward to working with all the guests on the new St. Jude partnership and we should be getting this going over the next few weeks. We have some onboard activities that I think everyone will want to take part in knowing that the money is going to help those kids who desperately…….desperately need it. As a father I know this is something very close to Jim’s heart as it is mine and I will be devoting as much time and energy to this project as I hope will some of you.

Today’s random photos are a little different as they feature my colleague Steve Cassel, the cruise director of the Carnival Ecstasy who has recently fallen in love. I thought you might like to see a photo of him and the new lady in his life……….here it is.

As you can see they are very much in love even though they have little in common. I mean what’s the difference between Steve Cassel and a dolphin…..well one has whiskers and smells of fish………….the other one is a dolphin.

So as you know we missed Roatan yesterday. I was called to the bridge at 8:10am which was a shame because it’s the one day of the cruise where my alarm isn’t set at 7 am. So, I was having a wonderful dream where I was riding my bike along a deserted beach when suddenly I saw Megan Fox’s bottom sticking out of the sand. I was just about to…… well ………..I will never know because the phone rang and an Italian voice said “coma toa de bridgea.” I was hoping that last night my dream would return. It did. The only problem was that instead of Megan Fox’s bottom sticking out of the sand it was Judge Judy’s. Still ………………..at least I had somewhere to park my bike.

The passage into Mahogany Bay can be dangerous during heavy winds as proven by the two old wrecked hulls of ships that didn’t make it. The captain tried at 8:30am and again at 10 am but it was just too windy. He spoke to the British captain of the on the VHF radio and both agreed that it was too dangerous to enter and so they aborted the call leaving a total of 7,000 Dream and Princess guests safe………..but disappointed.

My first job here is to keep everyone informed and I had made my first announcement at 8:30 am after the captain had tried to enter the port. I told the guests that we would try again at 10 am and until then please enjoy breakfast and the service of the friendly crew. Then I sat on the bridge waiting to see what would happen. I was all on my own and thought that none of the officers were talking to me because they were busy. It was then I realized that I hadn’t had a shower yet and smelt like a camel that has just carried Rosie O’Donnell across the Sahara desert.

I have been doing this job a long time and you sort of get a sixth sense for these things and I was pretty certain that as hard as me might try Captain Marino would not be taking us alongside. And so I woke Craig my assistant and asked him to grab his pen and pad and come to the bridge. He did. And I was glad because he smelt worse than I did.

Now we have a “missed port Caper” for these…….bugger……I meant to say “missed port Fun Times” ready for these occasions and I made a few adjustments adding in a morning show and a marriage show for me to help cheer folks up as well as lots of live music including our great salsa band to play on Lido Deck. Craig then went off to prepare this, print it and wake the entertainment staff ready to print it. Sure enough my sixth sense was right and after another attempt the Captain looked across at me and shook his head. That was it….bing bong “Good Morning once again everyone, I am sorry to say, etc. etc.”

Later that morning we sent this letter to each stateroom.

Well, I have to say that the guests were brilliant and as I walked around after my Morning Show everyone was greeting me and although many were disappointed, their disappointment was matched by their understanding that safety as always was the most important aspect of their cruise vacation. As always in these situations I tell the guests over the PA and on TV to please not be mad at the crew, it’s not their fault and if they want to blame anyone to blame me.

And out of 4,000 guests……only 4 did just that. Yep, only four guests registered their anger at the guest services desk. I won’t bother talking about three of them because they were just looking for money and I am not going to waste your time or my 2 typing fingers telling you what they said because I expect you know. “The only reason I took this cruise was etc etc.”

I listened, sympathized and said no when they asked for various sums of money and discount of a next cruise. By the way we provided more than $80,000 in missed port credits and refunded a huge amount of money for the canceled excursions. I tell you this because it will come into play when you read these remarks made by a guest yesterday.

Guest: Mr ______ Ref: 846007013A
Cabin: _____ Booking#: ______ Added-Changed: 03/09/10 – 03/09/10

Gst called Guest Service to request to speak with Cruise Director or Captain in regards with Itinerary change. Gst stated that Dream should have been able to pull alongside as per his past cruise experiences. Gst is accusing Captain and Cruise Director not docking to gain revenue. Gst commented that staff which he refuses to name told him that the Captain and Cruise Director use this excuse to keep Gst on board due to them getting a percentage of the revenue.

[3/9/2010 6:39:13 PM DAAP]
SGSS spoke to the gst, he is insisting crew members told him (would not say who) that Captain, Cruise Director and Hotel Director only want the revenue and we did not try hard enough to come to the port. He was on 36 cruises and never had missed port especially on such a high tech ship, he was told by crew members this is a common practice in CCL as if we miss the port the Casino, Gift Shops and everything is open and they have huge revenue on that. Gst was advised that this was not the case as we tried to dock for few hours and he confirmed another ship could not dock either. He still thinks that the winds were not that high and this is ridiculous as they only came to cruise because of the Roatan. He wants to be compensated and advised it would not be possible and again explained the safety reasons. Gst understood that and he knows that all of our ‘excuses’ are about safety but he still wants to talk to Captain or Cruise Director. He said that Cruise Director mentioned the ship was going to try to dock but we did not even try, at the same time of the announcement we were already turning away. Gst explained everything again but still wants to speak to Captain or Cruise Director. GSM informed, Cruise Director will call the gst.

[3/9/2010 7:46:24 PM DRCHPUR] Cruise director spoke with gst and explained the logistics and the fact we have no other option but to cancel the call into Roatan just like the Princess ship did, apologies for the wrong information presented by one of our team members were extended, at the end gst agreed that he had over reacted and fully understood the logistics.

Now, I spent 20 minutes with this young man and he was very reasonable and after explaining the what’s and why’s he understood, apologized and even admitted he had overreacted. Again, he was just venting his disappointment. However, the ridiculous remarks made by the crew member are another story and I can tell you that this one individual has really upset me and the captain greatly. To suggest we did this to put a few dollars in our pockets is despicably ridiculous and if we knew who that crew member was he or she would be singing “leaving on a jet plane.” Anyway, this proves that in situations like this it is the cruise director’s responsibility to talk to guests who may feel aggrieved and angry and although it is not always a pleasant experience….it is a vital one.

The day though was great. Ocean Plaza was full for all the activities and I gave thanks for this area here on the Carnival Dream. The Lido was in great mood with people dancing and enjoying the live music and pool and deck games. The older people played cards and read and the BBQ on the Lanai was busy as was the quickly prepared brunch menu in the dining room. I had about 1,000 people at the Marriage Show and throughout the day and night the mood remained bright and cheerful. And from experience I can tell you that doesn’t always happen. It was, under the circumstances……….a very good day.

Having spent time being shouted at and in one case being sworn at it was a joy to sit with a very special family. Let me set the scene with this letter which I received on Sunday.

So, as you read there little Tandi is a type 1 diabetic and her letter really touched me. I called her Mum who told me that she had cried because everyone at the table had been able to enjoy the chocolate melting cake and other deserts and she had not been able to. Now being diabetic myself, I knew exactly how she felt and so I called upon my friends in the galley and the following evening I had a sugar-free cheese cake (her favourite) delivered to her table . It had her name on it and I gave her a trophy and a medal for being so brave.

Here she is.

And yesterday I received this note from Tandi, aged 9.

She made a tough day……… a priceless one.

Your friend

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.