Boston Illegal

April 19, 2010 -

John Heald

For some reason I woke up at 5:10 am this morning and for the life of me I could not get back to sleep. And so, here I sit in my underpants and the clock on the computer is saying 5:38 am …………..bugger. I will try again in a moment but I had a quick thought that I wanted to share with you. On Friday I wrote about the perils of the “pirate excursion operators” that can be found all over Europe and as we are going back there next year………….volcanic ash permitting……….I suddenly had it in my mind to warn readers who will be joining me on the Carnival Magic about another scam that I used to warn guests about during our seasons there on Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor………………the ATM scam.

Unfortunately I learned of this through the misfortunes of a guest on the Carnival Liberty pre blog and I don’t think I have ever written about it. So here goes and reminding you before I start that it’s sodding early and this won’t be therefore my best writing ever.

I do remember this scam though as it happened to a guest as I said and from what I remember this is what happens. A beautiful woman is accused of pick-pocketing by a loud, grumpy Italian man. In order to prove she has stolen nothing, she strips, slowly and right down to her underwear. This male guest and every other red blooded tourist stopped to stare, open mouthed, drooling a bit. Meanwhile, the beautiful woman’s colleagues were stealing his wallet.

After telling this story to me once back onboard I remember telling guests to be aware of this and that if anyone starts stripping, put your hands in your pockets. In general, pick pocketing is more likely in central areas and train/bus stations with Rome, Naples and Barcelona some of the affected areas as well as many other big European cities. I always tell guests when I am on a ship in Europe that when ashore, take only the money you need and have cash for transactions handy. Fiddling around in your pants trying to find your money belt is not only a bit of a clue……….. it’s embarrassing.

OK, on that note I will see if I can get back to sleep. I need something to help me though ………. Tylenol PM…….nope……. gives me a headache………..ahhh…….there it is……….the perfect sleep aid………..the new RCI brochure. Goodnight.

Good Morning, the photo of a climbing wall put me straight to sleep and here I am at 8:50am ready to face the day. I have a morning show live at 9:30am and thought I might write a bit to you before I go. Let’s start as always with a recap of last cruise which apart from awful weather in Grand Cayman and Cozumel was a great cruise and the people were absolutely terrific. I had some brilliant characters and as always it was my intention to make the stars of the cruise the guests. When I chose people, especially on the first night during the Welcome Aboard show, I never know what kind of people I am going to get.

Last week I showed you a photo of Grady “Tucker” Smith who as I mentioned was a big chap who looked like he would rather have drunk a bottle of camel urine than been on stage with me that first night. Yet, he was naturally funny and his pronunciation of the word “wife” which he said as “wiiiiffffffeeeee” became one of the many catchphrases of the cruise. I still wasn’t sure though if he had fun that night until I received this note.

You have no idea how rewarding that is. In fact  a letter like that makes me feel just as good as if someone said “John, we have bought you and Aston Martin DBS” and……….well…………..ok, that was total and utter bollocks…………..of course it doesn’t make me feel anything like someone buying me an Aston Martin DBS . I mean, if someone reading this was just about to buy me an Aston Martin DBS or even rent me one for a month and then thought “ahhhh, a simple note will be just as good, I was going to arrange his dream car for him but now I will write him a note instead” please know that I was talking total crap and I am prepared to pump gas in the crack of my arse and set it on fire for your entertainment if you get me the Aston.

Anyway, it was a wonderful note and that’s what it is all about. He was on stage and wasn’t sure if he wanted to be there but because he was he met so many great people who have become great friends………….and that………..is what fun for all Carnival cruising is all about.

Unfortunately though my overriding memory of last cruise, even though the guests were amazing and over 200 people bought a DVD of the bedtime story………despite this, the standing ovations and the brilliant hard work from the crew…….the one overriding clear and present memory is of the young lady and her mother who though I had been cruel to big people. So, on Sunday morning I paged them both over the PA system as I wanted one more try to make them understand that I was sorry and that my tummy bump and comments were meant in jest. And so at 7:50am I met with both of them hoping that before they left the ship they would accept my apology and realize maybe that I meant no offense.

This was a huge mistake because all it did was give them another chance to tag team a torrent of rage at me. I stood there listening to these two ladies scream and hiss at me like a couple of cats clawing each other to death and realized that for the rest of their lives…….these two people would hate me. And that makes me so sad.

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

Jeanie Rockwell Asked:
PLEASE RESPOND

Ha, Ha, Ha, too funny! I just love this blog!!

Would love to meet you someday John. Any chance you will be on the Dream April 10th. As I wrote before, my brother and I will be celebrating our birthdays on this cruise and it would make our trip to meet you!

John Says:
Hello Jeanie Rockwell

Thanks, I am so glad that you get some laughter out of my silly musings. I am writing this knowing that you have just returned from your Carnival Dream cruise. I am so sorry that I am late in my reply and hope you will find the time to write and tell me all about the cruise.

Best wishes to all
John

Nancy V. Asked:
Dear John

My husband and I will be going on our 10th Carnival cruise on May 8th. We will be cruising on the “Liberty” and celebrating our 10th anniversary. I recently found out that my best friend and her husband are doing the same exact cruise. I don’t want to tell her that we will be on the same cruise because I would love to surprise her. Is there any way you can have us sit together for dinner? It would be a wonderful surprise when they see us. Our cabin # is 8305. I don’t have their cabin #, but their names are Richard and Elizabeth Abate. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Happy Cruising,
Nancy

John Says:
Hello Nancy

Thanks for letting me know about this and what a wonderful surprise for your friends. I have written to the Maitre D on the Carnival Liberty for his kind assistance with this.

Please let me know what happens. Have a great cruise.

Best wishes
John

Greg McNaull Asked:

My wife and 2 kids (7yo and 6yo) will be cruising on the Pride on May 2. This is our first vacation in a long time and we are all looking forward to it. Out last cruise was on the Sensation way back in ‘97.

This will be our 15th wedding anniversary and I have having serious trouble thinking of a romantic surprise for my wife. In all of your experience do you have any good ideas?

John Says:
Hello Greg McNaull

Well the Carnival Pride is the perfect ship to help celebrate your anniversary. May I suggest that on Wednesday night you leave the kids with our great Camp Carnival staff and without your wife knowing book a table at the Steakhouse? Before you sail, buy her something special. Now, you can go the jewelry route but may I suggest something else…….a card. Trust me, a hand written card spelling out just why she means so much to you will be the icing on the cake and the ambiance of the Steakhouse will be just perfect. After dinner, take her for a walk on the open deck and ………well……….Camp Carnival closes late…..very late………….nudge nudge…….wink wink.

I will also send you an anniversary gift.

Have a great time.

Best wishes
John

Daniel Green Asked:

John, we were on the Dream 3/13 sailing and wanted to say how great of a cruise it was. Everything was A+ except our room. We booked a Spa room and the deck map we looked at it did not appear to be right under the treadmills but it was. Nothing like having THUMP THUMP THUMP right above you from 6am to late. I am a little confused why they would have R&R Spa rooms right under the fitness room. This was a large negative however this was our first one after all these years and will not stop us from continuing to sail on Carnival. Between Camp Carnival for our son and the value for what you get it can’t be beat! Heck if all goes well we will be hitting our 10th carnival cruise at the end of the year. Another thing we loved was the Chef’s table; what a great idea! Anyone who complains about food service needs to sit at the galley table and get a good understanding how it all works and how amazing they get everything out in the manner they do…great job!

Question for you; what is the name of Big Sexy, is he a CD yet and if so what ship. If you both ever cruised together we want to know. We could spend hours with you both and just enjoy the show.

One other question; what happen to the pins? My wife has been collecting them and was upset that the Dream did not offer the pin for the past guests. Our room steward was not sure why they stopped. Can you order them or did they stop it?

Thanks and we will be seeing our Carnival Family soon!
The Green’s

John Says:
Hello Daniel Green

I have not heard the comment about the Spa Suite being under the treadmill and that you can hear the motion of the machine. That is not good. I wonder, did you report this at the Guest Services Desk? Please would you let me know if you did and what the outcome was. I will also be sending this note to the ship and the CARE Team.

I think the Chef’s Table is superb and am excited that we are adding it on other ships within the next few weeks. As well as the amazing food and company one of the thrills as you mentioned is seeing the galley in full operation and it is extraordinary what goes on in there.

Big Sexy’s real name is Josh Whitzman and he has actually just taken over as CD on the Carnival Triumph. This was a last minute change and he will be there for the next three months. I worked with him in New York at our special event there and he is big, fun and about as sexy as an inside out squirrel.

The pins were stopped last year and at this time are given only to our Platinum guests although they are available for purchase from the onboard shops. I hope that with the continuing loyalty you are showing to Carnival that it won’t be too long before you are a Platinum card holder yourself.

My apologies again for the noise from above and I hope to hear from you soon in this regard.

Best wishes to you and the family
John

Debbie browning Asked:
Hi John (please reply)

I am also from the U.K and find it very hard to get any information from your UK office. Although I have booked to go on the Carnival Magic from the UK office.  It took ages because they had to keep contacting the Miami office for answers. When checking my booking details there were some discrepancies but again the UK office were unable to do anything it had to go through Miami. Last year I was unable to book my cruise Carnival UK redirected me to Virgin Cruises. There is a big problem with Carnival UK. I have been cruising with Carnival for 15 years and although I would not want to cruise with anyone else. I feel there is some improvement required in the U.K.

John

Keep up the good work.
Debbie

John Says:
Hello Debbie Browning

I want to thank you for taking the time to write to me about this. I can tell you that Lyn our Director in the UK is working very hard to improve the UK website and until then I have sent your information to the London office and will ask someone to get in contact with you. Meanwhile, I am here and will be in fact with you on the Carnival Magic so if you have any concerns or questions at all please post them here on the blog thingy and I will reply as soon as I can. Put the Kettle on and what’s happening in Eastenders.

Best wishes
John

Kerricruiser Asked:
John – please reply

I am an avid Cruise Critic reader and noticed that when Cruise Critic groups meet on a Royal Caribbean ship they all get an hour of free booze and snacks. Why does Carnival not do this? Cruise Critic readers make up many of your passengers and if Royal Caribbean and others treat us better we many go there. I would be interested to know what you think and if Carnival will offer the same kind of party for us. We suggest that you do

Thanks
Kerricruiser

John Says:
Hello Kerricruiser

I can’t comment on what RCI do in this case and while Carnival and I realize how important our Cruise Critic friends are I do not think that we will be able to offer a free drink party. I will certainly ask though for you. Meanwhile I will be happy to help reserve rooms for Cruise Critic meet and greet functions.

Best wishes
John

MIKE HART Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY

Just returned from 8 day EXOTIC WESTERN cruise on CARNIVAL FREEDOM. (3/13/10 – 3/21/10) Let me start with my PVP, Amanda Herro, she is fabulous. We have used her several times since our previous PVP decides the grass was greener elsewhere. She is very detailed and ALWAYS returns our calls promptly even if it is not a very urgent matter. I highly recommend her to everyone I know. The embarkation was unbelievable. It was the fastest ever in getting to the LIDO deck. From the time we dropped off our luggage, parked the car, checked in, we were on board eating in less than 45 minutes. Our feet were on board in less than 30 minutes. Kudos to the changes that have sped up this process.

The 1st thing I saw on Lido deck was the ORG of the Seas. Not impressed at all.

The only lines we had the entire cruise was during embarkation when everyone is on the same agenda and no restaurant in the world could handle a rush like this without a small minute wait that we had. Kudos here too for the fine job by the entire staff during the embarkation process. Our cabin stewards Ildefonso & Hendra greeted us within minutes after we were allowed in our cabin. They were superb in every aspect of their job and greeted both my wife and myself by name each & every time we saw them. Please tell their supervisors what a fine job they did. It has been a while since we have experienced care and attentiveness like they provided. One of our last 2 cruises on Carnival, we never met our cabin steward the entire cruise. They did their job, but no wow factor like Ildefonso & Hendra. We were forced to compensate them extra for their efforts. (I couldn’t have lived with myself otherwise) Is double tip against the rules???? Our headwaiter Jose Rivera and his assistant Jesium did a good job in the dining room. I may not have the assistants name correct but her will make a fine headwaiter real soon. He was on top of his game, ever attentive to our needs. I am according to you (July 09 on Carnival Freedom) big as a house; however, I am picky eater. Most of the past cruises I have requested just plain lettuce for my salad every night and it was not an issue. For some reason this request went unfulfilled except the 1st night when a “lettuce wedge” was on the menu. I don’t think this was an unreasonable request. Our cruise was great and mostly uneventful which is good with the exception of our shore excursion being cancelled in Costa Rica and a liquor purchase. We didn’t find out the cancellation until after our dinner that night which really didn’t give us much time to search out and obtain a replacement. Excursion desk was closed by that time but we found out we could have booked a replacement at Guest services.

4 of the 6 in our group went to the liquor tasting at the shops. 3 of these purchased the same product for $40. The next day upon checking our accounts on the TV we were charged 3 different prices. 1 was correct, I was charged $52 which my wife went back to the shop and they corrected. Then Rick who was only charged $29 went back and the guy that sold them told him that it was too late to correct, it had been boxed up and sent out. He would have to wait and return the wrong item and repurchase the correct item yada yada yada. This was correct by Carnival not by Rick, as the shop salesman said Rick would have to do. It was the salesman error and in our opinion his to fix. I wasn’t there so I can say but was told the salesman was not very pleasant to deal with during the attempt to correct the mistake. I know Rick was never rude as this is never his nature. I wish I had his patience at times.

Our CD Felipe was very good but I am a little disappointed with this CARNIVAL FREEDOM CD this time because my last CARNIVAL FREEDOM was far superior as it was YOU !!!!!!!! Felipe and his staff did an outstanding job. Felipe had a tough act to follow but he is a good CD. I had a chance to talk on the phone with Mr. Jamie Frazier whom I had the pleasure of meeting July 09. What a wonderful entertainer and very talented and nice person. I enjoyed his show very much. He said he remembered me from that cruise as did a fellow passenger. A lady approached me on Lido deck the 2nd day and asked if I was on the CARNIVAL FREEDOM last July. I said yes and she said “I know you are from Virginia too “. Would you please say HELLO to Jaime F as well as Jaime D for me?

The disembarkation experience was OUTSTANDING. WE were off the ship and on the road home in 30 minutes or less. WOW unbelievable. This is the FASTER ever. GREAT job by the CARNIVAL FREEDOM TEAM. The last Carnival Capers……….. FUN TIMES has a scheduled self assist list advising you of your approximate disembarkment time according to your deck. KUDOS to CARNIVAL for this. We hit the elevator and never stopped until CUSTOMS and that was even FAST.

Another GREAT CARNIVAL CRUISE and 2 to PALTINUM …..as for the ORG of the seas they can bugger off ! ! ! ! !

John Says:
Hello Mike Hart

A brilliant review and my favourite bit was “as for the ORG of the seas they can bugger off”  ………………….who taught you the word “bugger?”

Now, the gift shop fiasco was something I did not enjoy reading and I have sent this to our Hotel Director who I know well and will take appropriate action to make sure this does not happen again and that we remind the young man involved that customer care and friendliness is so very important and a must for all our employees to adhere to.

I also think a plain salad should not be too difficult and I was I admit surprised that this was not made possible and again I have asked the ship to take this into consideration. The service though it seems was superb and thank you for the generosity of the extra tip, you are very kind.

Felipe is a great kid and a fine CD. Unfortunately he had to fly home to Brazil this last week to take care of some family business and his place on the Carnival Valor has been taken by young Gary Brierly who like Felipe is one of the young stars of the present and the future.

I am so glad that you had fun and I appreciate you taking the time to write this great review and  hope we get to sail again together one day soon

Best wishes to you and the family
John

Alexia Felice Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)

We cruised on the Dream in January 2010. We also read articles that it was crowded, and the lines and the smell and the smoke and the everything. We loved our cruise. We were quite worried before we left but it was nothing like they said. It was the most amazing vacation with no problems. My advice to anyone taking a cruise. It will be what you make it. It will be what you want it to be and if you get caught up in everyone’s opinion yours will not matter as it will not be true.

We are now booked on Carnival Valor January 2011. Can’t wait!

By the way John you really are the best!
Thanks!

John Says:
Hello Alexia Felice

Sometimes words are not necessary and certainly after the brilliant words you wrote in your posting nothing I can say will top that. I just wish many more people would live and cruise by those words. Thank you so much for sharing them.

Best wishes
John

LadyJag (Laura) Asked:
Dear John (please reply if you get the chance),

After reading your answer regarding the Camp Carnival counselor screening and hiring process, I can’t help but chime in with my own praise for the program.

Last year, my husband and I took our then 3-year-old daughter, Alyssa, on her very first cruise aboard the Carnival Glory. I was very nervous about placing my little girl in the Camp Carnival program, because Alyssa has a motor planning delay known as Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).

In a nutshell, Alyssa’s brain has difficulty getting her mouth and tongue to form the words she wants to say. So what she WANTS to say and what she THINKS she’s saying can actually sound unintelligible to the person she’s talking to. (It’s like trying to watch a cable channel on TV with a broken descrambler – there’s nothing wrong with the TV and nothing wrong with the channel itself, but all you’re going to see is static.) I’m sure you can imagine how frustrating it is for my little one to have to repeat herself over and over again and STILL not get her point across!

Anyway, my initial concern with the Camp Carnival program was that Alyssa would be unable to clearly communicate her wants and needs to the counselors, causing frustration for both parties, and possibly setting us back on the slow but steady progress we were making with speech therapy. Clearly, though, I had nothing to worry about.

Alyssa absolutely LOVED her Camp Carnival experience! She made a lot of friends and had a great time. Most rewarding, however, was that by the end of the week, both my husband and I noticed a marked improvement in her speech! It was amazing, and I can’t thank the good people in Camp Carnival enough for their patience, understanding, and kindness.

Alyssa turned 4 this past weekend and is looking forward to our April 5th cruise aboard the Carnival Inspiration and then her third Carnival cruise in May, which will be aboard the Carnival Dream. She already tells me all the things she wants to do on the ship and in Camp Carnival, so I’m taking full advantage of her enthusiasm by getting her to practice her speech using “fun ship” topics and words like “Carnival,” “slide,” and “Fun ship Freddy.”

Thanks for letting me ramble on and add my personal commentary on this subject, and good luck with your conference call. I’ve never been a fan of meetings, myself, and see them as an absolute waste of time.

Laura (LadyJag)

PS – I don’t actually own a Jaguar. I just happen to be a fan of the American football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. 🙂

John Says:
Hello LadyJag Laura

Ahhhh……..football. Bugger! I had this image of you driving around in a vintage Jaguar ………….. that’s JAG U R………..not as you Americans say “Jagwaaaaar.”

I am so mad at myself right now. How I would have loved to have sent your beautiful daughter Alyssa a gift but I have missed your cruise and you are home now. Please make sure that when you return to the fun for all ships that you let me know in plenty of time so I can send her something.

Thank you so much for praising the Camp Carnival staff. I think it is fair to say that over the last few years we have really grown in our knowledge in how to care and provide fun for children with special needs and that is something we are very proud of. I will send this to the ladies in charge of the program back in Miami and I know they will be thrilled.

Please tell Alyssa that Fun Ship Freddy sends his love to her and a big hug as well.

My best wishes to you and all the family
John

James and Bobbi Asked:
John (please reply when you have time)

I have so procrastinated, my apologies! We cruised with you on the Carnival Dream on the 2/27 sailing. You were in a word simply amazing. I don’t expect you to remember me, as we only met once on the first elegant night. I am sure my husband; James must have got a huge thrill from me running to you like a teenager after the Beatles. I am a huge Doobie Brothers fan and while I have met them, you were on par with meeting them. I must admit to waiting many more years to meet those idols though. You were everything and more that you are on here, warm, accommodating and just so doggone down to earth. You let me give you all the hugs I wanted. Thanks John for being the best.

The Carnival Dream was so much more beautiful than pictures can describe. My husband joked that I would know her inside and out before I ever sailed, but she was oh, so much more. The pasta bar and the Tandoor grill were two new things we tried and they were superb. I suppose we must have ate at odd hours, because we never waited long.

You entertainment staff on board were also incredibly wonderful. Everyone was very approachable. I must give extra props though to Katie. I called out to her one day and asked if she was “Annie” from the Carnival Conquest and she answered YES! Every time after that, when she saw us, she would run over and give us both a huge hug. She so made us feel like we were home. I hope I get to sail with you both again someday.

Last and most importantly, thanks to you and Katie for the wonderful surprises. They will be treasured for many years to come. One of my surprises from Katie was not so much a surprise, but a prize for leading the theater in a round of Row Row Row Your Boat with a fellow guest. What you do on Carnival stays on Carnival right?

Thanks to making us feel special and at home, we have booked our next cruise on the Carnival Conquest (for the third time) on 10/10/10. What a date. Can’t wait.

Oh I almost forgot..Dancing in the Streets (did I get that right) is the most amazing show on the seas!!

Thanks again ever so much!!
Bobbi

John Says:
Hello James and Bobbi

I do indeed remember you and thanks for the amazing words of praise, I feel like a celebrity. I so happy that your Carnival Dream cruise has left you with so many cherished memories and I am very glad that you enjoyed the Pasta Bar and the Tandoor. I always hope that people try the spicy and zesty flavours of India and like you, when they do, they really enjoy it.

This was my first time working with Katie or “Annie” as she was once known and I, like you, found her absolutely charming, funny and approachable which is strange because she comes from Yorkshire!

Thanks again for taking the time to write and I hope that there are many more memories ready to be made on your next Carnival cruise.

Best wishes to all
John

Nick Howell Asked:
Hello John, (Please Reply)

We just finished a great cruise on the Carnival Liberty. I had posted asking about you helping us get a table for four, but I had posted it too late… No need to worry, we got our table anyway, and things went well.

This was my 2nd on the Carnival Liberty, and 5th with Carnival, that’s right 1/2 way to Platinum.

I wanted to offer some feedback on this cruise, and thought you may be able to point some things in the direction of the beards in Miami that like feedback. I do want to point out, I would prefer to call some things “constructive criticism” as I honestly could not complain for the value and service you get with Carnival.

First, the hours of lunch seemed to be shortened… When I cruised the exact same ship and itinerary one year ago, we never had a hard time finding food, but for some reason, this time seemed like everything was always closed except for the usual pizza, deli, and burger grill (and the burgers were not that good, a Carnival first). Have the hours changed? If not perhaps we just had a later start to the day, I’m not sure. Would it be possible to extend hours? It just seems so short to get everyone through the lines in 2.5 hours. We loved the new burrito bar, but again, very limited hours. So it left long lines at the open places all day.

My next issue was now the crew serves you food, as opposed to previous self service… We didn’t like this very much at all. Maybe it is due to the pig thingy or a CCL bean counter thinking it saves food… If it is related to safer food handling, you have to consider people touch the same things all the time everywhere; I hope it doesn’t lead to someone pushing the elevator buttons for us. I didn’t like this approach because, you can’t see the crew member serving the food (due to the height of the heat lamps), so you slide your tray in and hope for the best. Sometimes you wanted more, and sometimes less, and this way it was hard to get what you wanted. I just didn’t like it, and wanted my voice to be heard…LOL

One thing regarding deck chairs… I know it’s an industry problem, but do the execs ever revisit the issue? Could more deck chairs be added? I could easily see the Liberty had plenty of room to add a few more stacks. What about the idea of using a “hold card” What you do is check out a time stamped hold card at the towel hut, which gets you your 40 mins of leaving your chair, then deck crew could pull expired chairs. There has got to be an idea, I’m guessing this cruise had a whopping 40% consistently empty chairs, but ones people left their stuff on. I was next to a row that remained saved for over 2 and a half hours. What are your thoughts on this?

Next thing, a few from our family attended the future cruise seminar, and really enjoyed it, heck my mom even won a raffle, and got a spa certificate for $30 off.. My issue is with that certificate, she was so excited, and couldn’t wait to visit the spa for the first time ever… well the disappointment was when she found out the certificate could only be used on the inflated regular prices, not any specials, which everyday there are always specials….it’s understandable, but heck if you are going to give something away, and make someone very happy winning, they shouldn’t have made it an illusion of a free thing….in my honest opinion. I felt bad for her as she returned disappointed from the spa, so I told her to go back that I would buy her the massage.

We did the Behind the Fun tour and loved it!! We had a gal named Charisma a CCL trainer, and she was awesome! (Please pass my compliments if possible) My suggestions for this tour though, since no cameras are allowed, have one of the freebies they give you be a small album with stock photos of some of the areas we visited. That would be nice when sharing the experience with others. We did get photos on the bridge and bow of the ship, but would be cool to get some of the others, even if they are stock file photos. I would also think it would be great if Carnival let you keep or gave you a similar pass… as that’s the fun part not the lanyard that they give you. I’m sure there are ways to do this and not compromise security. Maybe they could be dated with the tour date, that way it’s no biggie if guests keep theirs. I bet most people in our group would go without the hat and wristband in favor of keeping the pass and or a photo album.

A comment on the CD, Butch did an excellent job, but my favorite is still Stuart Dunn, he has been the best I have ever had… I can’t wait to sail with Stu again.

Loved the country comedian this trip, John Westly Austin, oh man, of all my past Carnival cruises, this guy the funniest I have ever seen. I was rolling laughing so hard, and my 70 year old grandparents about died they were laughing so hard…Keep this fly on around.

Anyways, thanks for hearing me out, and again I am not complaining…I couldn’t do that, I love Carnival, and again the value of what you get for what you pay is always excellent. I can’t wait to be Platinum. Thank you for your time with this blog and what you do for everyone. I get such a kick out of reading every day, you are a funny guy. Can’t wait to go on a bloggers cruise next year and meet ya.. My thanks to your sweet wife and daughter for letting you keep your job that requires you to be away so much.

Oh yeah one last thing, you keep talking surprises…. Could that be a new ship or new ports for the West Coast, tell CCL not to forget about us West coasters and send more iron our way…LOL We are already missing the Elation, and she hasn’t even left yet.

Thanks John!!
Nick

John Says:
Hello Nick

That is a brilliant review and please let me first of all say sorry that I did not get around to answering your question until the time of your cruise. I am however glad to hear that your table assignment worked out well for you. I don’t think our lunch hours are shortened. I checked the Carnival Liberty’s program and they have the Lido sections open from noon – 2:30 pm with the grill and deli open to 11 pm and midnight. I will certainly send your ideas to my mates in Miami though.

As for the self service on the lido deck well that is indeed a requirement set by the United States Public Health and Center for Disease Control. But, it is only put into place when a ship has a certain number of gastro illness cases onboard which I know that the voyage you were on there was. This is why they changed the service style on the Lido which is obviously the right thing to do under those circumstances.  Luckily, by the end of the cruise the number of cases lessened and from what I understand service returned to the self service mode on Lido Deck. This is one of many protocols that we follow to do our very best not to get a severe outbreak such as a few other lines have already had this year.

The spa raffle prize is wrong. It’s that simple and I will apologize to you and thank you for bringing it to my attention. If the prize is going to be as such than it must be advertised that way and I will make sure that we change this as soon as possible. Please apologize again to your wife.

I am glad you enjoyed Butch and as you also said Stuart is brilliant as well. We are blessed to have so many great Cruise Directors at the moment.

I will pass on all your excellent comments and observations and I know they are looking at photos already for the Behind the Fun Tour.

And I hope you have seen that I am on my way out west in August and I hope you will join me.

Best wishes and thanks again for the great review
John

That’s all for today, more Q and A tomorrow.

Right, let’s see who is joining me here on the Carnival Conquest for voyage CQ180410

Guests                                     3,253

Non US                                   87 – 38 from Mexico

Under 2 Years 25
2-5 Years 64
6-8 Years 47
9-11 Years 41
12-14 Years 49
15-18 Years 57
19-21 Years 26

I mentioned last week that we would be spending the Sunday working with the United States Coast Guard and indeed they did a full drill including boarding the ship at speed. We felt it best to alert the guests about this so as well as announcements I sent this letter to everyone.

April 18, 2010

Dear Carnival Guest,

Welcome aboard the beautiful Carnival Conquest.  We’re excited to have you sail with us this week and hope you’re making yourself right at home.

Before you get busy with all of the great entertainment and exciting activities we have planned for you, I want to take a minute of your time to let you know that officers of the United States Coast Guard will be performing a routine Security Escort Training exercise today during our departure.

As part of this event, a team of officials will be boarding the vessel.  You may also notice a Coast Guard Cutter and small boat that will be escorting us out of Galveston.

Don’t worry; this is simply a standard drill that the Coast Guard does with major cruise lines in various ports, which establishes Positive Control Measures.  I just wanted to make you aware of the situation in case you are curious about their presence.

My officers, staff and crew are looking forward to providing you a fun and memorable cruise vacation.

Sincerely,
Captain Antonino Sammartano

Obviously the men and women of the United States Coast Guard have a very important job to do and we were honoured to be able to help them train for it.

Well Iceland’s farting volcano continues to cause havoc leaving millions of people stranded including Heidi’s Mum who is still in the UK unable to return home. While that’s a good thing ………….providing she is gone by the time I get home……………kidding……………..there are serious consequences as well. I have read the sad stories about people who cannot reach loved ones who maybe ill or need help and I cannot imagine how I would feel should anything happen to my family at this time and I could not fly home.

Obviously the cruise industry is affected as well, especially some of our sister lines that have a lot of European passengers. Carnival has a few ships where we have lots of European and British guests such as the Carnival Victory and your Carnival Dream. Those due to sail cannot get to the ship and those who have sailed this past week can’t get home.

However, there is another way that this has affected us and on every ship. That’s the crew. You see many of our crew are from Europe or are due to arrive or go on vacation through a European connection. Take our Indian crew for example. Their flights from the United States all fly via London and then to Bombay, etc. Here on the Carnival Conquest we have 31 crew who have worked hard for 6 months or more and have been looking forward to seeing their families but instead are having to stay onboard and hope that they can get home next week. Their replacements are waiting……….to come and take their place. Surely if we send Obama and Al Gore to reach out to the volcano, it will see the error of its ways and the planet will be saved.

As always on my Monday morning blog here from the Carnival Conquest I get to share with you some highlights from my Welcome Aboard Show. The fact that I was able to do it all is amazing and a true testament to the incredibly brave and courageous person that I am. You see I have a runny nose, a sore throat, a nasty hacking cough and every few minutes my eyes fill with water ……….I have a cold………bugger. I have no idea where it came from ……………. Iceland probably.

Or it could be the fact that I shake hundreds of hands every week and get hugged by men and women so obviously germs get passed to me. I had been offered lots of cold remedies from guests last cruise and some crew and I wished I had my Indonesian friend from your Carnival Dream who the last time I felt ill gave me ummm……..ummm………..well I have no idea what it was, tiger penis, crushed elephant scrotum…….whatever it was it worked. One of the staff recommended tea and honey which is fine……….without the honey as when you are diabetic and have a cold your sugar can spike without the honey.

So I went up to the spa on deck 11 and asked the manager for some stuff that Heidi always used to use when she worked onboard. It’ some sort of liquid that you drop in the bath and it gives off an aroma that supposedly clears your blocked nose. So, while Beth the spa manager went off to get me some I stood at the reception desk listening to the sounds of whales having rumpy pumpy, a soundtrack that seems to be obligatory in Spa’s on land and at sea. I stood and talked to a male guest who told me how funny I was and that it had been a fantastic cruise and that he was about to have a one hour body massage “to unwind.” I nodded and wished him a nice time and held myself back from saying that actually I hated massages and that I do not understand what a massage can do that sitting on a sofa, with your legs up, eating ribs and chicken wings watching The Godfather trilogy.

Anyway, Beth arrived back with my little bottle of eucalyptus something or other and told me that with my staff discount that would be $29.

Sorry?

$29 she said again

I stood there and was about to tell her $29 my arse when I felt another sneeze coming on ……… I even contemplated forgetting to cover my mouth and leave her standing there holding the $29 bottle of bollocks.

But I didn’t, I paid her and you know what……..2 hours after sitting in my bath………..my cold is not better. I am sneezing just as much, I still am breathing like an asthmatic goldfish ………..but the upside is that I smell like the inside of my great Aunty Margret’s closet.

Anyway, I wasn’t feeling too good and still don’t but the show must go on and it did and as always I met some great characters.

Have a look at this chap.

This is Tiger Lin. He is named Tiger because he was born in the year of the tiger which he told us is this year as well on the Chinese calendar. He has been married for 38 years and without my help he went straight into a Tiger Woods joke saying “I am not like other Tiger, I faithful to Mrs. Lin.”

Brilliant.

We often mention the brave men and women who have just returned from active service here on this blog. Here is another one.

This is Lorraine Washington. Here on her honeymoon with her husband Anthony and this time it is Lorraine who just returned from Afghanistan with the United States Army. She spoke of her love for Anthony and how much she has missed him these past 9 months. They have been married for just two days and I think the standing ovation the audience gave her spoke louder than any words I could say.

So, despite being snotty and sneezy and having a head that felt like there was a Frenchman living inside it………….it was a good night.

Oh yea……….one last thing before I go.

The NBA playoffs have started and Saturday was a painful night if you were a Miami Heat fan. When I left to put on my gorgeous Dolly Parton dress the Heat were all over the Celtics like a cheap suit…….. but then after mincing about working Nine to Five I got back to my cabin and found we were losing……….and then………….we lost.

I watched the last quarter and then the highlights and even a Brit who knows little about basketball ………I was astounded. So let me say this. For Monday’s game 2 the referees should just come out in Celtics jerseys, holding a Guinness and blowing “Danny Boy” on their sodding whistles……….. so to at least not insult us that they are somehow neutral.

Goodnight
Your friend
John

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.

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