Out Of Office

March 18, 2010 -

John Heald

Life onboard cruise ships are vastly different to work on land……..or is it. I was thinking this today as I realised that I had just 20 minutes for some lunch between some paper work and hosting my marriage show. And so that was me, shoving a piece of ham and a lump of cheese between two slices of wheat bread all washed down with half a cup of tea. I was thinking of how nice it would be to have a job where regardless you had an hour for lunch…..or more. When I worked in London many years ago lunch was never hurried and often included a beer or three.

I then realized that those days have gone. All my Carnival friends eat at their desks or in their cubicles……… everyone gets their lunch from the Grab ’n’ Go cafe. They then return to their cubicles and offices to eat their Tofu on toast while continuing to check e-mails. However……….you won’t find this in other countries.  Do they have Grab ’n’ Go shops in Italy? Mama Mia……..of course not.  Over there, they’re still downing a couple of bottles of wine at lunchtime, and then sleeping it off until six.  I have noticed during the few times I have been in the Carnival offices that if they do go out for lunch it’s only an excuse to get some more work done. And so is dinner, and so, increasingly, is breakfast. In fact, they seem to be running out of meals over which Gerry and the Carnival executives can have meetings. Soon, people will be buying and selling products over a midnight feast.

And who drinks at lunch time anymore? I was talking to a Carnival senior manager about this last week, I won’t mention his name but Tim was at a lunch meeting and ordered a glass of wine and he said a deathly hush descended as though he had just farted loudly.

It wasn’t so long ago that you finished work at 5.30 pm irrespective of what you happened to be doing at the time. Jim Berra our chief marketing officer, could have been on a very important call with Gerry Cahill: “You see Gerry, my plan for our next  TV advertising campaign is to feature John Heald in his underpants hanging upside down from the funnel while a Latvian girl………oh sorry Gerry, it’s 5:30pm, time to go home, lets pick this up tomorrow.”

How times have changed. You always took your vacations and if you sneezed …………. you went to bed……. for a month.  These days if you catch some dangerous tropical disease, you must get the deal done before your lungs liquefy and your thingy drops off.  I expect to work seven days a week, every week while I am onboard and the Carnival shoreside people do, as well.

They go out at night with Borg-style cell phone headset attachments in case the office wants to get in touch and of course they all have their Blackberries. At least though most if not all turn theirs off when they go on vacation and when they do they leave an “out of office message ” Here is one I got today from a Carnival senior vice president:

“I will be out of the office until 2019. If you need assistance, please contact my assistant _______at ext _____ “

I find these very annoying. In the old days we wouldn’t need to do that. We would be on vacation and that was that. But I am not one to talk of course as my raspberry is always on, 24 hours a day every day. However, I have decided to turn it off next week and here is my new out of office e-mail that everyone who sends me a message will receive.

“I will be out of the office for the next two weeks for medical reasons. When I return, please refer to me as ‘Lorreta’”

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

Faith Bazzell Asked:
Dear John,

My husband and I were on the January 30, 2010 sailing to US Virgin Islands.

Carnival is lucky to have you, one of the most personable and funny gentleman we have ever had the pleasure of meeting!

However, since you are the cruise director, I will forward my disappointment to you!

I have given my input to the customer care folks and received several “SINCERE” apologies.

1. Our cabin 9342 was under the Lido deck, what I thought would be sooo convenient, turned into my greatest nightmare (oh no that can’t be right you have to sleep to have nightmares)! The constant scraping of deck furniture 24 hours a day meant no sleep at all for either of us.

2. Six of us were traveling together and were put in the “Crimson Lounge” with the senior citizen group. It was ridiculous!!!! The maitre D was unwilling to help in any way!

3. The cabin stewards need to be given instructions that they should introduce themselves to their patrons. If they wonder why there is no additional tip, it would be because we didn’t even know his or her name!!!

On a positive note your on board entertainment is beyond excellent!!! Just extraordinary!

Thanks for listening, we’ll be sailing with Royal Caribbean next year-we like being spoiled and getting what we paid dearly for, not to mention getting some rest after our busy days!

Faith Bazzell

John Says:
Hello Faith

It is good timing that your question appears first in today’s Q and A because a chap called Stephen wrote me an e-mail stating that I never post anything but the positive comments on my blog.

Anyway, I was so disappointed to read this and I am aware that this is a problem that you faced this week. We have since taken steps to stop this and yet that of course will not help you now your cruise is over. I have sent this to our CARE team Vice President who I know will give it her full attention and contact you accordingly. I am sure that you had a great time on your Carnival Dream and wish you a great cruise with RCI later this year. I hope also that you will look at coming back to us and when you do let me know here on the blog so I can make sure that all is well. I did check our records and it seems that you did not bring it to our attention onboard and if you had done I promise we would have done whatever we could to make you happy. Anyway, it’s not too late and as I said I will send this to our CARE team immediately.

Thanks so much for the kind words and my sincere apologies for what happened.

Best wishes

Naomi & Marty Asked:
Good Morning John, PLEASE RESPOND

I just want to comment on a couple of things. The most important one being on what a beautiful family you have. Elaine (our daughter) showed me the pictures of Heidi and Kye yesterday and I must say, your girls are beautiful. Kye seems to enjoy cruising …wonder where she gets that from!!! What a beautiful happy little girl you have there…

While on your blog thingy I took the time to catch up on some past messages on had to comment…

Something has been bothering me. I understand that you love helping people, and I’m not going to tell you to stop. I know that when you do something that makes you happy, it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, you are going to continue doing it, and for that, I commend you. What I want to know is how do you determine who gets what? It almost seems to me like anyone can come to your blog thingy, ask for something, and you pretty much “grant their wish or sometimes you “grant their DEMAND””. I just don’t understand rude, nasty people, especially to you.

Marty & I will be boarding our 23rd Carnival Cruise in March and have never asked for anything. Last year our daughter Elaine did write you and to this day, Marty is still talking about the present he received from you this past June when we cruised the entire family for “Poppy’s Surprise 80th Birthday”… Trust me, after 55 years of marriage, it’s not easy to impress Marty and you did it… And I will always be thankful and grateful to Carnival and their Staff for making a great memory for my entire family.

But, let’s just say you have a fairly new cruiser with 8 family members or friends who come here and ask you to put them together in early seating with a table on the window… Well, what if they all didn’t “get” early seating. Is that fair to other passengers who wait (the right thing to do) until they get on the ship, see the Maitre’d and then gets turned down because you arranged it for someone who seriously didn’t “deserve” early seating. I know that this coming March there will be only 6 of us and while we are guaranteed early seating, (5 of us are Platinum and the 6th one will be on his 9th Cruise) we also would love a table for just the 6 of us by the window. As a matter of fact, on our cruise last March, we were at a table in the back, behind a wall and had to stand up and walk around the wall to watch the Wait Staff perform. Marty & I have both had double knee replacement surgeries and not once did we complain. Please tell me that you do, at least, take into consideration that these passengers are confirmed for the seating they are asking for that “special” table for…

As far as the fruits, bottles of champagne, etc., I see no problem with that…To me, it’s a very nice gesture on your part, but simply not something that is necessary with all the food, drinks etc available on a Carnival ship… So, if that makes some passengers happy, I say “go for it John”!

Sorry this is so long. It is not easy for this young 75 year old to write all this but I felt I needed to. With that being said, this upcoming cruise is not only the grandkids Spring Break but so many other things to celebrate… Marty and I will have celebrated our 55th Wedding Anniversary on February 19th, my granddaughter Lauren is Sweet 16 on that same day!! And my son-in-law Doug turns 50 this year. Actually, this is our present to him… Don’t you just love giving a present that you get to love too???? It’s a win win for all of us!!!

So, please explain to us just how you decide who gets what and do you just pretty much do whatever anyone asks you for… If that is the case, I know Elaine wants an upgrade from an inside quad (Marty & I are quite happy with our handicap cabin/location), we want a table for just the 6 of us by the window, in the center of the dining room so we don’t have to get up, a bottle of champagne (haha, none of us are even drinkers), a couple of those Ships on a Stick, haha well you get the message. Seriously, we want/need nothing except to have a great time on a great ship with a great staff … and we know with Carnival we will get it…

Again, sorry this is so long; Marty wants to know if I’m writing a novel!!! Enjoy the girls, I know you are… Family is everything….

P.S. Elaine told me that Ryan Fitzgerald is going to be our Cruise Director. Can you tell us a little bit about him and what he might like in the way of a little gift? Another thing, if we bring a gift for you/Kye to the ship, is there a way that it can be forwarded to you? We have cruised with you 3 times so far, but not this time…

Naomi (& Marty)

John Says:
Hello Naomi and Marty

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a passionate posting. I know that now and again I do get asked for help in the most matter of fact way and sometimes in a way that can only be described as “rude.” I take rudeness with a large pinch of salt and up until the other day when a lady wrote to me saying that I “must lose weight” I think I have handled most of the more unpleasant requests rather well. I can tell you that those rude ones go right to the bottom of my list of things to do. It always makes it easier to remember to help people when they have been nice when asking for assistance.

I think most are written with genuine thanks in advance and most are written by people I really want to help. If someone asks me to send them “a little something” I look at the posting and decide what it is we should send. Obviously if they are not sailing on the ship that I am the CD on then I rely on my colleagues to help. Most have been excellent with that assistance although one or two let me down recently including help arranging a Cruise Critic meeting for Kathy M.

Now I have read your posting twice but can’t see when you are sailing and my concern is that you are already onboard. I will check with Ryan now to see if you are. If not, and you are sailing next week please as soon as you read this send a posting straight back marked “Stephanie Please Read Now” and include your last name and the cabin numbers of those sailing.

You will love (or will have loved Ryan if you are already sailing) and thanks for thinking of him. No gift is needed although he does love sports….a local team baseball cap maybe?

I wish you all a wonderful cruise and many congratulations on your anniversary. I can only hope that Heidi and I will be so lucky to spend so many happy years together.

Best wishes to all

john&patty Asked:
hi john, please reply

We sent you a request some time ago, and you were kind enough to give us the information you had available at the time; you posted back to us, (jan. 26 2010 5; 27 pm) we are booked on the spirit may 11, 2010 to Alaska, this will be our 19th cruise with carnival, and as usual we are looking forward to a great time! , the info. you have not sent is as follows, the carnival site will not allow us to book in advance, so we need some ideas as to what the best tours that can be given to us for consideration, we are interested in dog sledding , some type of railway scenic tour and anything that is available, we know you from sailing with you over the years , and we know you are working on this for us , and it is appreciated , we are very happy you are with your girls, stay well and we will be with you on the magic on the may 22, 2011 sailing ! Thanks for being the person you are. john& patty (say hello to big ed and his wife , we met them on the dream bloggers cruise)

John Says:
Hello John and Patty

You know, I have still never experienced Alaska and I really must someday soon. Congratulations on booking your 19th Carnival cruise and I have asked the Shore Excursion Manager for his assistance with his top picks featuring some of the excursion types you mentioned. Here is his reply:

The only railway tour offered is in Skagway.  The White Pass Yukon Rail is a historic railroad built 100 years ago during the gold rush.  The scenery is spectacular.  We offer several train options including just a train ride up and back or several full day combo tours.  My favorites are “the Best of Skagway” and the “Ultimate Yukon.”

In Ketchikan, the thing to see is Misty Fjords National Monument.  Several ways to do this.  We offer trips via round-trip boats, round-trip float planes or a combination (boat out, fly back or vice versa).

Whale watching is also fantastic.  Juneau is the port to do this in, and all our whale watching tours guarantee sitings!

Regarding not being able to book in advance.  You will be able to do so, once we receive all the allotments from the local operators and they are entered into the presales system.  Keep checking back!

So, there you have it and if you need any further help please let me know.

Best wishes to you both

Linda Harry Asked:
John (please reply),

First, I wanted to let you know how much I truly enjoy your blog! I am constantly reading bits and pieces of it to my husband, and am usually amazed at some of the comments/complaints people have. We both have commented several times that it takes a special kind of personality to be a Cruise Director, because both of us would never have the patience to deal with some of the things that are brought to you from cruisers. So thank you!

I had sent you a message about 9 months ago about my daughter who was looking to buy a Funship Freddie key chain on the last cruise she was on. There was no keychain to be found with Freddie! Anyway, you had asked me to send you a message before our next cruise so that you could send her (my daughter) something for the good idea. Now, I normally wouldn’t follow-up with this, because I know you are busy, except that my daughter has not forgotten!! She keeps asking me if I have sent you a message to remind you of our upcoming cruise yet.

So – we will be sailing on the Dream on April 3 and will be in Cabin# 2215. Her name is Morgan.

That will be my 8th cruise, and I have yet to have you as our cruise director. I was totally bummed when I saw that we will be missing you on the Dream by just a few days! Oh well – hopefully one day we will have the honor of having you as our cruise director. I can’t wait until that day happens! Thanks again for all you do!


John Says:
Hello Linda Harry

It always makes me feel good to know that people appreciate the blog thingy. I am sitting here now at 7:20am in my underpants getting ready to start a busy sea day so it’s good to know that people like what I write. I will make sure that Morgan has a little surprise delivered on the first sea day of your Carnival Dream cruise and I wish I could be there to give it to her personally. Please send her my best and I hope she likes her little gift.

Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes to you all.

Stephen Smith Asked:
Please Reply

John, although I have not written in quite some time I have continued to follow the blog.

I have especially enjoyed reading about your exploits on the Carnival Dream and the changes you have made since taking over the reins from Todd. In my business we speak of those who are “problem identifiers” and those who are “problem solvers”. Problem identifiers are a dime a dozen, quite often whiners and offer nothing in regards to providing solutions to problems that present themselves. On the other hand, problem solvers take active roles in both discovering and implementing new ideas to correct what needs correcting. John you are definitely a problem solver and should be recognized far more than you are for what you bring to the table. No the compliment doesn’t come with any request for a favor, but is from the heart as an honest observation from one who knows the difference.

In the past you have solicited ideas from fellow bloggers on how Carnival might do things better or differently. I have a thought I would like to share with you and get your opinion. The concept is simple. Take one of the fleet’s smaller ships (maybe from the Spirit Class) and have it do specialty itineraries. Allow me to give you some examples. In the spring the ship could sail out of Long Beach on a northern route similar to what the Splendor did during the H1N1 scare. Maybe in the summer it could do a different Alaska itinerary than the Carnival Spirit or do the round trip to Hawaii from the West Coast. In the fall maybe a handful of Panama Canal cruises and then on to Canada for Fall Foliage. The idea is these cruises could never support themselves as a year round itinerary. For the most part they would be longer in duration and offer a Carnival experience that isn’t currently available. I realize both Princess and Holland America have ships that fill this niche. However, and with all due respect to your sister companies, they aren’t Carnival. I believe they do an excellent job for the demographics they cater to, but the experience, ambiance and general attitude of their vessels is completely different. I truly believe with the loyal and dedicated following Carnival Cruise Line has developed it could easily fill this one ship consistently and do so profitably. I realize identifying which ship to use, creating the itineraries, and producing the marketing materials takes a great deal of time and money. Yet providing new and exciting destinations keeps loyal customers loyal. Just an idea. I look forward to your feedback.

Stephen Smith

John Says:
Hello Stephen Smith

I am so very humbled by your kind words. I am not sure that there is any response to that except to say a heartfelt “thank you.”

Your idea is a terrific one. A recent poll here on the blog showed that the longer Caribbean cruise is one that most would like to see and so using a Spirit-class ship for that purpose is logical as they are Panama Canal friendly and can produce a quicker speed than the other classes of ships. We already move the Carnival Spirit around from Mexico to Hawaii and on to Alaska so in a way we are already doing this.

Moving a ship to different home ports may be cause us some logistical concerns but as I know we are always looking for guest feedback and ideas I think your comments are well deserving of a mention to terry our Senior Vice President in charge of itineraries. Thank you again for the ideas which I promise has been forwarded and again thank you for the gracious words for my work here on your Carnival Dream.

Best wishes to you and the family.

JoAnn Makowski Asked:

I am very happy you and your family are together…knowing another cruise director, and an entertainer I know how hard the separations are….now…have tried to locate an email…blog for Jamie who is scheduled to be our CD on the Pride next week…and have messaged you before, have a good group sailing and request a cruise critic gathering…seen some very negative comments…re no responses….please say it isn’t so…right now I’m bringing the name tags for our sail away….if I can make it….now instead driving from DE we are going to be doing the impossible….driving to BWI and flying to Buffalo on Sat for our nephews viewing…he passed away this week..Then flying back to BWI on Sunday morning hoping and praying the weather is good!!! Stress…..been worried about snow with our crazy weather….do we get a hotel in Baltimore the night before so we’re sure we make the cruise…now worried about flights…AARRRGH…Please take one more worry off my head, and let me know this group which has a big percentage of newbies as well as several anniversaries will be given a great carnival welcome!! Our last Carnival cruise was the Spirit…but we’ve done Costa…Princess…and also RCL….annual event for us….Bringing four newbies with us this time!!! Please, Please respond…Thank You….decruiser…JoAnn

John Says:
Hello JoAnn Makowski

I guess this is again one of those postings that I am late in answering so let’s start with me apologizing for that. I do want to make it clear that I have been asked to arrange dozens and dozens of Cruise Critic get togethers across the fleet and only two did not happen. I sound a little upset and I don’t mean to but I will say that with only a few exceptions I never hear about the dozens and dozens that were arranged but only about the two where my colleagues dropped the ball.

I am sure that if you asked me to arrange one for you that Jaime will have done so as she is as good as it gets. Please let me know.

I was so sorry to read about the passing of your Nephew and I am sure that the cruise was one of mixed emotions for you. My sympathies to you and your family.

Please let me know how the cruise went and if your meeting was arranged.

Best wishes to you all

Lynn and Mike Sagara Asked:

We are so glad the girls are there. Please give them a kiss and a hug for us. We are not surprised that Kye did so well on the plane after all traveling is in her blood. Love the Chippendale picture but would prefer pictures of Kye and Heidi.

Now for the million dollar question. WHEN IS THE NEXT BLOGGER’S CRUISE??????? We need to budget for it and ask for time off from work. We don’t want to miss seeing everyone. Lynn and Mike Sagara

John Says:
Hello Lynn and Mike Sagara

The girls had a great time and I miss them more than words could possibly ever describe. I am working on the Bloggers Cruise for later this year. I have not forgotten and will promise news on this very soon.

I hope you can come and join us again.

Best wishes to you both.

divetrash Asked:

So, this past Saturday I managed to have a sort of Carnival Cruise experience without the Carnival ship. How did I manage that you may ask? Well, it started like this:

Saturday night I met up with Carnival Piano Entertainer Laurie Anne Gardner here in New York City. She was with her friend Roy who has 25 Carnival cruises under his belt. The three of us went to a piano bar here in NYC to see former Carnival Piano Entertainer Mark Weiser perform. While we were there enjoying the music and fun, a good friend of yours came into the bar. Carnival Cruise Director Ralph “Wee Jimmy” Valente. And I finished up my evening at another bar to see former Carnival Piano Man Jordan Addison. All that was missing was a chocolate melting cake!

I have to say Wee Jimmy is a very charming man, I can totally see why he is a cruise director. He suggested I should ask you about a couple things… apparently you talk to soft toys (stuffed animals and the like)…is this a fetish John? He also said to mention your mother’s cakes, and the last thing was, and I don’t know if I have this right because the music and the gin was making hard to hear… your “frenchen” or “frenshen” or something like that, Dutch for friend? Please explain these things sir for I am now intrigued.

I hope I get to sail with Ralph someday he seems like a lot of fun. I know he heads to the Legend next. At the very least I hope I run into him at Sweet Caroline’s again, if for no other reason than to get some dirt on you! LOL!

All the best to you, Heidi and Kye!
Laura (aka divetrash)

John Says:
Hello Laura (aka divetrash)

I know you are about to embark the Carnival Destiny so before I forget please have a great time. OK, Wee Jimmy is a Scottish git and payback will be forthcoming. I have no idea what he is talking about (that’s bollocks but no way am I discussing it here) but I will say that my Mum’s cream cakes and spotted dick are legendary. Wee Jimmy likes them because:

A) It’s food

B) He doesn’t have to pay for them.

I am glad you had some fun with your CCL friends and as always I thank you for being our number one supporter of the brilliant piano bar entertainers.

Best wishes and have fun

That’s all for today.

I forgot to wish all my Irish blogger friends a happy St Patrick’s Day. We had a bit of a party here on your Carnival Dream during our Lido Deck party. The bars had green, white and orange bunting draped on the counters while the staff served extra-cold Guinness ……..however most of the Irish Americans dressed in their green T-shirts seemed to prefer that other famous Irish beer………Bud Light. I am sure that if I had stayed up late I would have found the odd guest singing drunken versions of Danny Boy.

This week the 26th annual Cruise Shipping Miami Convention, the years largest cruise event got underway in Miami. This yearly event is where everyone who wants to attract business from the cruise lines pitches their wares and hopes someone will take them onboard. This ranges from people representing ports of call from all over the world to tour operators, food vendors and people who want to offer their services. The day starts when all the presidents and top executives sit at a table and pretend to like each other in the same sort of way you pretend to like your wife’s ex-boyfriend. You shake his hand and smile while secretly thinking what a bastard he is.

One of the stars of the convention so far is a stunning model of the much anticipated Queen Elizabeth. Here is a great photo of Peter Shanks and President Peter and Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono and some exciting news for Cunard fans.

Now, talking of Cunard the Australian’s have gone Cunard crazy and the welcome that the Queen Mary 2 received throughout her voyages down under has been extra ordinary. So much so that next year the Queen Mary 2 will sail on a 23-day circumnavigation of Australia. This was announced yesterday and Peter Shanks our man in London tells me that they have had 2,500 register for this once in a lifetime experience already. Peter will be writing a blog for us next week including news on his meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. How our lives are different. Peter gets to meet Archbishop Tutu………and I wear a damn tutu every Friday night in the Legends show………..bugger.

Oh and one more thing. It seems that even arguably the most famous Australian of them all got Cunard fever as well. Pop on over to www.wearecunard.com and have a look at which Hollywood A list celebrity came on board.

Time for some random photos taken of Nassau from deck 5 this week and on Tuesday as I got off the ship in St. Thomas to eat the world’s most disgusting barbecue ribs.

Here are two letters I choose for yesterday’s Morning Show for you to read.

This is interesting:

Guest: Ms ———-Ref: 846081385A
Cabin: ____Booking#: _____Added-Changed: 03/17/10 – 03/17/10


Ms_____ reported at GSD that while on lido this morning a man was reading a pornographic magazine in the chair opposite in full view of her and the children on deck, GSA asked security to check and they asked the male guest not to read the magazine in public.

And who can blame this guest for being upset at this. I checked with security and it wasn’t a pornographic magazine as in Big Jugs or Asian Babes or Latvia Lust Weekly (reminds me I have to renew my subscription to this) but it was something called FHM – For Him Magazine. As well as articles about sports and life there are many photos of bottoms and bosoms. I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable reading this on a plane with an Ms or a Mrs. sitting next to me or surrounded by kids. Anyway, I took the FHM magazine from him and as I am done reading it I will give it back.

Well tomorrow is my last day on my Carnival Dream and actually it may be my last time on here for some time. Todd returns on Saturday and certainly there are no plans for me to return here this year and hopefully next year I will be on the Carnival Magic…..with you.

And so it’s time for me to recap this great ship. Even though I was not the cruise director from her start up I feel a very close bond to her. I visited her twice in the shipyard and of course I had so much fun at the naming ceremony and hosting Bloggers Cruise 3.

There was little for me to do here because Todd and his team had everything set up perfectly although I have made a few minuscule changes which I think have worked. The Lanai barbecue and the live music at the brunch, both well promoted, have reduced the lines on Lido Deck at lunchtime. If you read the recent reviews here on the blog and on Cruise Critic you will see that most of them admit that the problems we had at the start up have for the most part……..and here is my favourite word again…….. disapissatated (spelt correctly).

I changed some of the show orders around including adding the Comedy Club to the last night. This means guests now have 5 hilarious shows as well as the Carnival Legends show to enjoy and this has worked well. I have utilized the Ocean Plaza moving some more diverse entertainment there including some “Plaza Moments” with our production singers Heather and Lawrence who perform Beatles and country music while the bands take a break. I have included two new activities that I host myself.  What’s My Line and the one I wrote about yesterday, Is The Cruise Director Smarter Than a Camp Carnival Kid?

The shows here are simply amazing and while the Comedy Club is a hit that we must …… we must…………add this to as many ships in the fleet as we can. And there is no doubt the most talked about show is Dancin In The Street. Now you can have Blue Men and Underarm Hair Spray musical and shows in swimming pools but I bet you a signed pair of my underpants that you will not find a better show than this on any ship anywhere. The end!

The Lanai was the big surprise for me. It is amazing how many people walk around it during the day and at night. I know this because most of the buggers walk past my cabin. It’s not just a great place to walk off that extra chocolate melting cake but also a very popular place to lay out in the sun as well. And the smoking section on the port side has been a huge plus for both the smokers and non smokers alike. And yes, once again I will say that smoking continues to be the most sensitive of subjects but in my humble opinion we have got the mix the most right here on your Carnival Dream. The casino being mostly smoke free, not having to walk through the cigar bar to get to the Internet Cafe are just two of the huge improvements we have made and the comments from the guests prove this to be the case.

One other area that is both smoke free and is one of the most popular areas onboard is the double decked Serenity. By 10 am on a sea day the double wide beds and chairs are all taken and it gives a total sense of peace and tranquility…….it’s for adults only…….. and it’s free……..and it is a little slice of heaven away from the music, the pool games and ……… well…………everything.

There is one thing that I did not get accomplished while I was here but are in the works and will be ready soon. The first involves the Serenity deck which by early evening is empty. My intention was to put live music up there at night along with some drink specials and nibbles……for a great sunset party. I had it all planned but unfortunately there is no 110 power up there which the band would need to plug in their amplifiers etc. So, we now have to wait two more weeks while the ship’s engineers run cables, etc. to the area. Once installed the duo Cool Breeze will play romantic ballads for dancing and we will serve Mohijos…….Moheatoes……Mojetos………the mint drinks with loads of green stuff in the glass, as well as chips, salsa, music and dancing. I want to call it “Serenity Moments” …….it will be ready to go by the end of the month.

The only thing left outstanding I think is the need to add a third performance of Dancin in the Street. We promote this so hard onboard and on the blog and everyone wants to see it. There are great seats and not so good seats due to the staging of the show being set to the back of the stage at times. I have suggested we add a third “encore” performance of the best show at sea to those at the top and we shall see what they have to say.

Tomorrow I have to pack (boo) and prepare my handover to Todd and host the usual round of Friday shows, events and meetings and put that damn Dolly Parton dress on again. This is of course a lead up to me asking for your permission to take Friday off so I can do all of that. I hope that’s OK. I have to fly to Houston at 11 am on Saturday morning (boo) and then head to Galveston a city I have never been to and on Sunday to the Carnival Conquest, a ship I have never set foot on. As always……I hope you will come along with me.

Honestly, I wish I could stay here. Yes the cruise director cabin is the worst in the fleet and goodness knows what Heidi and I are going to do on the Carnival Magic. But that’s it………I love this class, it’s as simple as that. Your Carnival Dream came out the same time as RCI’s new ship and is often compared to her and NCL’s soon to arrive big lass. Obviously people compare the three and each of them have their strengths and selling points and those who love to sail the bigger ships may be a little confused as to which to choose. So, let me say this……..and I do so with a smile and a wink. My advice is simple.

If you like shopping malls go on the Monster of the Seas or, if you are impervious to design abomination, choose the Norwegian Epic. But if you want to be have fun and have fun at affordable, brilliant value for money, then your Carnival Dream ticks all the boxes that matter.

See you in Texas

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.