Insurance And Sharks

April 20, 2010 -

John Heald

Because of the farting Icelandic volcano Heidi has been trying to work with Easy Jet to see what she has to do to get her Mum back to Holland and of course it all has to do with those two dreaded words………………….”travel Insurance.”

I have never fully understood travel insurance and that’s because when I travel for Carnival every part of me is insured …….except of course my underpants.

But when Heidi and I travel outside of Carnival’s embrace things are a little more ……. ummm …….. complicated.

I think you are supposed to compare various policies then choose the one that suits you best, buy it and then read all 497 pages of policy booklet thingy so that you completely understand all the terms and conditions. That’s what you’re supposed to do.

Bit you’re like me (I don’t mean an overweight Brit with hemorrhoids, I mean when it comes to insurance), you remember at the airport that you haven’t got any. You then spend the next three hours calling your local insurance place which is actually in India why you try and explain to Mr. Patel that you want simple, basic travel insurance and you don’t want a life insurance policy for your pet hamster.

That’s me. Or knowing many of my blogger family out there I expect you do everything your supposed to do, so you click “Yes — I would like travel insurance” just like on the Carnival website or wherever you are booking your journey from months in advance of your trip. Smart bloggers that you are.

In either case, when the 497 page policy booklet turns up in the mail a few days later, most of us just glance through it. Frankly, short of watching those two whispering guys hunt a deer on ESPN34…….it is the most boring thing in the world.

Now, not only is Heidi trying to see if her Mum is insured and therefore doesn’t have to pay anything to Easy Jet…………bet she does by the way although Easy Jet are one step from Ryanair …… the same way that ebola is one step up from the plague……..not only is my mother-in-law stranded but so are my cousins, Gary and Tanya and their two children who have disembarked the Carnival Imagination a few days ago and have since been unable to get home to the UK thanks to a volcano we shall now refer to as “Volcano Bastard.”

And they called me, in my capacity as Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador and, therefore, obviously an expert on how to travel in Volcano Bastards ash, for advice.

“Buggered if I know,” I said helpfully.

“I thought you were supposed to know about this stuff,” said my cousin

“Keep checking the Virgin website and watch CNN,” I replied

But his next question was a good one.

“John, does the insurance I took out with Virgin Atlantic cover ash?”

“No,” I said…….and trying to inject a little humour I added……..”Virgin does not go all the way.”

He hung up.

Seriously it’s a good question. Will his insurance cover the four days he has had to spend in a Miami hotel and all the food etc that a family of four has to eat? Although I could not answer for sure, I am not sure Virgin would foot the bill for the emergency accommodations. Ash from Volcano Bastard………… who knows?

Obviously you should take insurance out when you cruise as you never know (touch wood) what’s going to happen. I asked one of our Carnival beardies for their advice and she said “As with all insurance policies, guests must read and understand the level of cover provided to ensure it meets their requirements, before they purchase. It is common for travel-insurance policies, in respect of curtailment, to provide cover in case of injury or illness occurring during the vacation.”

Ummmm………….good………that clears that up then.

I guess the simple thing to say is take insurance, the best policy you can afford. Ask your Travel Agent, your PVP or a Carnival help chappy for their advice and if you don’t have insurance and go off on your own in Jamaica……..and fall over while climbing Dunn’s River Falls and twist your knee……….don’t coming running to me.

Time for today’s Q and A ………..away we go.

Mary Jones Asked:

Ah! What a bittersweet day March 12th was! The last day of a great vacation! We had a blast! From getting locked in the dry sauna during a spa tour to a great night at the Steakhouse, to laughs at the famous bedtime story, to fun at the casino, the comedy club, the cooking demo, on and on… it was a “Dream” vacation.

So… as much as I hate to complain, as we were leaving the ship on the 13th, I realized we did not receive our past guest pins! Did Carnival discontinue this?

Then, oh then while I was pouting about not getting my pin. I realized I left my camera in Cabin 7253, a quick call to Carnival to ask if we could return to retrieve it I sadly found out this would not be permitted! While the camera can be replaced the pictures cannot! In that camera case was 3 memory cards with not only vacation pictures from the Dream but from Carnival Destiny, Smokey Mountains, Branson Missouri, on and on….. I know it’s a long shot but John can you make a Dream come true for a second time and tell me if there is any lost and found that can be checked for my camera?

John Says:
Hello Mary Jones

Your Carnival Dream vacation is certainly one you will not forget. I didn’t hear about anyone getting locked in the dry sauna…….what happened there? I was so sorry to hear about your camera. You say you called Carnival and someone told you nothing could be done. Is this correct, if so I would love to know who you spoke to so please let me know. Anything that is left in a stateroom by a guest is sent to our lost and found department in Miami whom I will contact and see if anything has been found and handed in. I know that it is always the photos that are more precious than the machine that took them. Someone will be in touch soon and can you let me know who you spoke to please.

I am very happy to hear you had so much fun and I hope we see you again very soon.

Best wishes

Leigh Anne Bathke Asked:
Dear John, (Please respond)

We have just returned from a glorious eight days on the Carnival Spirit (March 11-19). Myself, my husband, our two children and twenty two of our “chosen” and blood families had the best time cruising through Acapulco, Ixtapa/Zihua and Manzanillo. Yeah, our room flooded on the first night, but it wasn’t as bad as the room next door. Guest services handled it promptly and provided me with early tender tickets to Ixtapa/Zihua. So we were grateful for the service. (And having a damp room on a ship is better than a damp room at home, any time!) Everyone we met on the staff was helpful, and that’s saying a lot since we had a tendency to move en masse about the ship. (And no one really complained to us about our impromptu St. Patrick’s Day parade around the Lido deck and into the Empire Room. Sorry if we did get anyone in trouble that day. As the daughter of English citizen, I was forced to participate against my will!)

But all the compliments aside, I do have one tiny, seemingly innocuous question: Why are the performers in the Legends show not allowed to switch genders? My husband is a wonderful karaoke performer. (Ask Taylor. Ask Steve when he used to work on the Liberty in 2008.) And his Elton John performance was fine, but his Madonna would have brought down the house. (Complete with male back-up dancers, he would have been in heaven!) But we were informed that guest performers couldn’t cross dress, although Taylor came out dressed as Cher during the Legends performance. Just wondering why the rule exists and if there is any one in particular I could write to about perhaps having it changed.

Other than that one tiny thing, we all had a wonderful time and have begun planning our next cruise!

Thanks for this blog, sir. I really appreciate the time and expertise you put in on it as well as your millions of other duties.

Leigh Anne

John Says:
Hello Leigh Anne

I was shocked and dismayed and horrified………that an English lass took part in a St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Seriously, it sounds like you were a fun group despite the impromptu indoor swimming pool we had built in your stateroom. Thanks though for being so positive and I am sorry that you had to go through that. As for the Carnival Legends question I had no idea why he would not have been allowed to. When I was on your Carnival Dream last month we had a female James Brown and a male Britney Spears and yes it was hilarious.

Maybe the Karaoke Host thought that the audience would not appreciate it or maybe she had lots of female guests who wanted to be Madonna. I will address this with the fleet and I think a little cross dressing never hurt anyone……although seeing me dressed as Dolly Parton has reduced some to projectile vomiting.

I am so glad you and the group had so much fun and thanks also for your kind words about the blog thingy.

My best wishes to you and all the family

Mike M Asked:
JOHN (please reply if you have time)

I too am having problems with my Barklyeys card..After they switched from Sea Miles to Fun Points, I had almost 40,000 points on my account. I lost almost 30,000 points what I have now is about $300 worth of credit on my account. I know you have nothing to do with this, but in my opinion it is pure BS (spelled correctly)

My Better half, my Daughter and her Husband, my Sister-in-Law and her Daughter, are sailing again on the Triumph again, (3rd time) this coming August. Can’t wait to do it again


John Says:
Hello Mike

I have helped a few guests out with this recently and I am glad you took the time to write. There was a technical something or other that had caused problems but I think it has been taken care of now. I will pass your details to someone who can help you and please let me know if you need further assistance.

I hope your family has a great time on the Carnival Triumph and my best wishes to all

Ron Asked:
Please reply

Hello John, in reply to John B.’s remarks about corporate greed, when did it become morally wrong to make a profit? Carnival is not a charity or a government agency, it is a business. It is operation to make a return for its shareholders and no other purpose. Businesses that fail to turn a profit are soon out of business. Carnival needs to make enough money to pay its employees, pay for its ships and other equipment, set aside for unexpected expenses and make a profit. Carnival just announced its first dividend in a year of $.10 per share. Yes that’s right, one whole dime for each share. To buy a share today would cost about $39.00. Ten cents for the last year is hardly obscene profits.

I started cruising over twenty years ago. The cost I’m paying now in unadjusted dollars is about even with what I paid then. In adjusted dollars, the price is less than half. Carnival and the other mainstream cruise lines have brought the fares down to a much more affordable level and made them feasible for a far larger section of the population. Carnival should be commended for this and those of us who sail her ships thank the directors and employees for making it so.

I will be sailing with Carnival in July and on the Carnival Splendor for New Year’s Eve. I truly think that Carnival provides an excellent product at a reasonable price.

I’ll get off my soap box now.

John thank you for this blog and all of the information you provide. The glimpses into the life of a CD are truly fascinating. I will admit I’m more jealous of you for the lovely wife and child than I am for your job though.

Ron Maurer

John Says:
Hello Ron Maurer

You can stand on that soap box anytime you want to Ron. Thank you for those brilliant words of support and I am still very proud to say that I think the value for money vacations Carnival provides is astonishing.

I remain here at your service.

Best wishes

Paul Asked:
(Please Reply)

Hi John,

A few weeks ago I posted about travelling with our 10 mos. old son on the Carnival Liberty sailing May 8. You had asked me to reply back with the room number to make sure that a sleeping pen and high chair were arranged. While certainly not necessary, I’m sure the staff would have jumped to make it happen if there was an oversight, it is certainly appreciated very much appreciated by my wife and I… and by Joshua are son but he can’t talk yet so I’ll talk for him.

So… our cabin # is 7348, under Paul, Diane and Joshua Ellis.

Anyways, we are absolutely bursting at the seams with anticipation. This will be my wife and mine 4th cruise on Carnival. Our first 3 being on the Valor, we were engaged, married and honeymooned on the first 3 (yes, in that order, ha-ha) and now it’s our first family cruise.

This time there will be 16 people with us from family and friends who sailed with us on our wedding, and have become Carnival fans for life, just like us. Other friends were asking if we wanted to try another line… my answer, why would I want to see if the grass was greener on the other side of the fence when the grass on my side of the fence is the greenest of greens.

Anyways, that got a lot longer than I had wanted, it’s the sales guy in my blood. So I will say, thank you again for taking the time to make sure our son has a play pen / yard whatever. It certainly takes a load off.

Paul, Diane and Josh

John Says:
Hello Paul, Diane and Josh

Please tell Josh his bed is waiting for him and I know he will have a fantastic time. We are honoured that you and all the family are coming together for this special family vacation and I know that the staff and crew of the Carnival Liberty will do all they can to make sure you have the best of times. The playpen/cot will be there and I know from when Kye was with me on her Carnival Dream that you will find it very useful.

Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes to all.

Terri M. Asked:

I am writing this not to complain, but to tell you what a wonderful experience all of my cruises have been. My husband gave me my first cruise as a Christmas gift in 2007. We started cruising on the Holiday in September ’08 (me, hubby, sis & bro in law). We sailed around Hurricane Gustav that year – as we live in south-central Louisiana we really appreciated that the boat kept everyone updated on its track. We still joke that we “evacuated” to a cruise ship so we should bill FEMA for that cruise. (loll) We sailed again on the Holiday in May 2009 with our 16 yr old daughter, and a third time on the Conquest in September 2009 (just me & hubby). Now we have our 4th booked September 18, 2010 on the Triumph. It seems every cruise there are those few people that are not satisfied with anything the staff does for them. Then we come back and I read the reviews and wonder if some of these people were even on the same boat as us. I realize you get a lot of people complaining about problems. My biggest complaint is that my cruise always ends. If I take a 7 day cruise, it lasts 7 days and then other people get on MY ship!! Is there anything you can do about that? (lol) On a more serious note, I just wanted to take an opportunity to thank you and all the staff, both the ones we have cruised with and the ones that we hope to cruise with eventually. It is always a pleasure. Even when something goes wrong, there is enough going right to make up for it. We go prepared to relax and we always do just that!!! Thanks for all your hard work!!! We look forward to being on a cruise with you someday. Terri…..

John Says:
Hello Terri M

Life is indeed full of interesting people and nowhere else do you get to meet more interesting people than on a Carnival cruise. It is always astonishing how 3,300 people can say they had the time of their lives and then 10 people will tell you that they would rather take a vacation to Afghanistan than cruise again.

But the majority of people love the Carnival product and thanks to them and people like you who realize the amazing value for money vacation experience we provide, Carnival remains the most popular cruise line…………………………… the world. I want to thank you for those most passionate and kind words and I hope we see each other onboard one day soon.

Best wishes to you and the family.

Cyndi Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply when you have time.)

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog, I enjoy reading it on a daily basis.

My husband and I took our very first cruise ever in February of this year. We celebrated our 20th anniversary and our first child free vacation in 15 years.

We sailed on the Carnival Freedom and totally fell in love with cruising, why didn’t we do this sooner? Filipe our cruise director was very funny and we enjoyed all the entertainment staff. Jaimie Frasier was amazing in his stage performance. We didn’t have a bad moment on the ship, other then maybe not being able to find a deck chair. We loved the food and the dinning staff, or cabin was wonderful.

We enjoyed ourselves so much that we plan on going again the end of 2011 and bringing our children with us. Is there any certain ship that is better suited for children then others? We are a family of five and I’m wondering if it’s better to get a family suite verses two connecting rooms with balconies?

I will be keeping an eye out for your schedule, I would love to try and plan a trip that would put us onboard with you.

Thanks for all that you and the Carnival staff do to make everyone’s vacation special.

Have a great day!

John Says:
Hello Cyndi

What a brilliant review and it is one that I will be sending to the Carnival Freedom so they can read your words of praise. It is interesting just how many people say how they wished they had discovered the world of cruising earlier and the fact that they, like you, now love it is wonderful to hear.

I hope you do sail again soon and may I suggest you have a look at the deluxe family cabins on your Carnival Dream. They sleep five…….and have two bathrooms, one with a shower and toilet and the other with a bath/shower and sink. I think that might be the perfect answer for you. Have a look at where there are photos and more information.

Please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes to you all.

Maurene (yes spelled that way!) Asked:
Hi John (please reply)

I have been following your blog for a few days now, and going back and reading up. I am enjoying it immensely. It reminds me of my last cruise and helps me look forward to my next cruise.

My hubby and I have booked on the Carnival Liberty for the May 14 sailing. We are heading to the Eastern Caribbean. Our last Cruise was on the Glory in 2007 where we had Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Jimmy as our cruise director. He was hilarious. That was our “honeymoon cruise” and here we are 3 years later going on another. My parents went with us last time, but sadly they have both just passed away. My mother had wanted to do the eastern Caribbean cruise, but every time she started planning, something would happen and dad would end up in the hospital.

Eventually she gave up trying, and cancer took her this past January. Dad being the gentleman he was, went first to prepare a spot. We truly believe that he didn’t think he could live without her so he simply gave in.

So hubby and I are going to live their dream for them. We are taking along our daughter, who will be almost 23 months when we sail, and his brother (to look after the daughter so we can have fun!!) I would like to know what there is for Children that small. She is quite independent but has been advised by our booking agent that under 2 years are not allowed in Camp Carnival. Also, how safe is the ship for a toddler? We have a balcony room, should we be worried about her getting on the balcony?? We wish we could get a suite, as she is a bit terrified of the shower, we are not sure how to get her clean while onboard, and suites have tubs.

Anyways, rambling over, what is there for small children to do on board when they can’t attend camp carnival? I have booked the butterfly experience while we are in St Thomas, but other than that I don’t see much.

Please let me know what you suggest!

John Says:
Hello Maurene

Please allow me to send you my deepest sympathies on the passing of Mum and Dad. You are in my thoughts.

I just had Kye my 11 month daughter with me on her Carnival Dream and I can tell you as a Dad, I felt totally safe having her onboard. Although we don’t have night time babysitting services for your daughter there will be daily playtime where you can leave her with the Camp Carnival staff allowing you to enjoy a couple hours of sun and relaxation. This can also be done on a sea day as well as a port day. There is also a kid’s splash pool that she will love and as a family I promise you will all have a brilliant time.

Don’t worry about the balcony. The balcony door is heavy and she won’t be able to open it on her own and I am sure you will keep a watchful eye on her. Just watch her fingers in the bathroom door as sometimes if the ship is moving a little the door may swing…… advice is to keep it closed at all times.

Take her to see the shows, she will love the lights and the costumes and the music and together you will all have a great time while Mum and Dad are watching you from upstairs proud of the family they have help create.

Best wishes

Gillian Asked:
Hi John, (please reply)

I know for a while you did have non-smoking ships, however those didn’t go over very well. The sad reality is there are some venues that us non-smokers just cannot visit because of health reasons. I, myself, have Reactive Airway Disease Asthma, which basically means one inspiration of smoke and I can hack a lung up on the floor. It makes me sad that a lot of friends from CC can go spend their evenings in the casinos and piano bar, but with the cloud of smoke it seems like people like me are banned from the fun. Why doesn’t Carnival institute a better ventilation system to help all their guests sailing enjoy all the publicly available entertainment? I sail aboard the Dream in April and I am very excited about the casino. Again, I think I will have either take 20 puffs of my inhalers and be queen of the jitters all night or just skip the piano bar. I don’t even know how those poor buggers sing in that haze all night. Anyways, enough of that, love the blog, read it all the time. Wish you were still on the Dream so I could have finally had you as my CD. But that will have to wait for another cruise. Hope you are having fun on the Conquest.

Tata for now,

[Spelled the proper way because my mother was born in Manchester 😉 ]

John Says:
Hello Gillian

I realize that smoke for someone with a condition like yours is both dangerous and very uncomfortable. We did indeed have the Carnival Paradise as a non smoking ship and it didn’t last as bookings, particularly with groups, and onboard revenue were less than we had hoped for. Smoking is as I have said here many times a very sensitive subject which is why that no cruise line has a completely non smoking ship. Your Carnival Dream is the friendliest though with 95% of the casino non smoking including the casino bar which unlike the Destiny and Conquest class does not allow smoking. I guess the only place that you will not be able to enjoy is the piano bar which does allow smoking.

We will continue to investigate ways of keeping both smokers and non smokers happy.

Thanks for the correct use of the word “bugger”………..someone taught you well.

I hope we get to sail together one day.

Best wishes

Steve Asked:
(please respond)

About the whole complaint thing…

I have seen for myself the sometimes ridiculous things that people complain about, especially working in the service industry. I have seen some really stupid complains while on a ship as well, I don’t know if they were just trying to get something for free or what…

However, I had what I felt was a pretty legitimate complaint while on a Princess Cruise last summer and I don’t think it was handled very well.

Here’s what happened; we were on a shore excursion in Alaska, when one of the guides, who was being very careless, broke my camera. At the end of the tour we spoke to the staff of the excursion about getting some reimbursement for them breaking my personal property, but they were all college kids and had no idea what to do or who to contact with their company (this was also a little worrying, what if something serious had gone wrong?), and they told us to speak to the shore excursion manager on the ship.

The shore excursion manager on the ship told us to talk to the tour operator after the cruise. I didn’t want to wait till then because the tour operator had already told me that I needed to go through the people on the ship and it was just going back and forth.

Eventually, after talking to a lot of people, over a couple of days we did get some compensation, but only for about 60% of the value of the camera, and to even get that I had to give the camera to the shore excursion manager who was very rude.. When we got home I contacted the Princess customer service people at an email that they had given me on the ship. It took several weeks for them to even respond, and when they did it was to say that it would be a few weeks before we got an answer.

It was 3 months after the cruise was over before we finally got a response from them, and it was only to say that they considered the matter resolved since they had already given me some reimbursement.

I feel that they should have reimbursed me for the full value of the camera, and without having to talk to a dozen people, surrendering my camera, or waiting till the end of the cruise to get that. Please tell me that this would have been handled better on Carnival

John Says:
Hello Steve

I have to say having read this comment that I have to agree that it does sound like the operator was at fault and it seems to me that you could have been helped you more than you were. I can’t second guess why they didn’t without additional details but I would hope that someone would do the right thing. Did you follow up on this with anyone from the cruise line? Thanks for taking the time to write and let me know if you need any help.

Best wishes

That’s all for today and thanks so much for the many kind comments about Kye and Heidi following her Friday blog.

So good morning once again from me and my underpants as we get ready for a Tuesday at sea. It was a beautiful day yesterday, one of those days you dream about. There was not a cloud in the sky or a nipple on the water………..bugger……………sorry……………that’s ripple……………not nipple.

And today is much the same as we head to Montego Bay, Jamaica. I have to mention that last week the ship received its highest review card score for a long, long time and that was testament to the hard work of the crew and the brilliant group of guests we had on last week who laughed out loud from start to finish. This cruise seems to be much the same although the guests are a little older than last week. My voice is getting on my nerves! While my head has cleared my voice is still crackling and I have an annoying tickly cough as well. Yet, I am being brave and if had a Latvian woman to rub my chest then I am sure I would feel a lot better.

The guests are having a great time and yet as always delve into the incident report will always turn up a gem or two………… is one such comment.

Guest: Mr. ——— Ref: _______
Cabin: _____ Booking#: _______Added-Changed: 04/119/10 – 04/1910

Gst advised that he had been told by his Carnival sales planner that there was a shark diving tour in Cozumel. Guest said that he had come on the ship especially to do this and was told by the Shore X staff that we did offer this. GSA checked with Shore X manager who confirmed there was no such excursion. Guest was very upset and used bad swearing and was asked to leave the desk. Guest said he was going to sue Carnival. Guest has left letter for Captain.

Why……why do they have to swear at a staff member who is just relaying the correct information? Sometimes we forget just how difficult the purser’s job is and …….. bugger ………. sometimes we forget just how difficult the guest services associate’s job is and that every now and then they take a verbal beating. Now, if this guest did indeed receive the wrong information from a Carnival employee then we need to apologize but it wasn’t the 31 year old Romanian GSA who told him yet it was poor Olga that took the full force of this chap’s disappointment.

I have been doing this job a long time and I cannot remember us ever offering an excursion to swim with the sharks……I think there used to be something like that in Nassau but not an organized excursion anyway.

Now my assistant ugly Craig is a professional diver and before he started to work for me he used to go diving all the time and his teachers certificate thingy. Anyway, I asked him if during his dives in Cozumel he had seen any sharks and it appears he has. However, in the lovely warm water of Cozumel the only sharks you’ll see are so small, they wouldn’t even classify as a hungry man’s appetizer. From what ugly Craig said it didn’t sound like the predators that bit Robert Shaw’s bollocks off in Jaws which is ashamed because if anyone deserves to have their testicles nibbled on by Sammy the Shark…….it’s the guest who swore and screamed at poor Olga.

Some of you have been asking where you can find the regulations regarding what you can bring onboard. It’s available on……….and here is a cut and paste thingy.

Can I bring liquor on board?

A liquor and beverage consumption policy was created in order for Carnival to be able to control the liquor consumption of minors and the quantities consumed that lead to the disruptive behavior of others on board.

Liquor and Beverage Policy

Bringing Alcohol On Board – Embarkation Day:

Guests are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages on board. However, at the beginning of the cruise during embarkation day, guests (21 years of age and older) may bring on board one bottle (750ml) of wine or champagne, per person, only in their carry-on luggage. A $10 corkage fee per bottle will be charged should you wish to consume this wine in the main dining room; $14 corkage fee per bottle in the steakhouse. Guests may bring a small quantity (package of 12 per person) of non-alcoholic beverages. All prohibited alcohol, excessive quantities of wine/champagne or non-alcoholic beverages will be removed and stored for safekeeping until the end of the voyage. The retained item(s) will be delivered to your stateroom on the last night of the cruise. Unsealed containers with prohibited liquids will be discarded, as well as any unclaimed items left after the voyage, and no compensation will be given in either case.

Large cooler restrictions:

Carnival Cruise Lines does not allow guests to bring large coolers on board its ships. However small, personal-sized coolers, no larger than 12”H x 12”L x 12”W for the purpose of housing small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages and/or medications are permitted as carry-on luggage. Screening and movement of large coolers through embarkation is an impediment to the boarding and security screening process. Therefore, large coolers are not permitted as carry-on or checked luggage.


Alcoholic beverages of any kind purchased in any Port-of-Call will be retained at the gangway, stored on board and held by Carnival until the end of the voyage.

Gift Shops On Board:

Alcoholic beverages of any kind purchased in the ship’s gift shop will be stored on board and be retained by Carnival until the end of the voyage.

Drinking Alcohol On Board:

The minimum age for the purchase and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the bars, lounges and gift shops is 21 years of age. Carnival reserves the right to refuse the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone. In the event that Bar/Restaurant/Gift Shop staff are in question that a guest is less than 21 years old, they shall request picture identification, prior to serving the drink or selling the bottle of liquor.

Now, before we talk ash…here are some stunning photos taken by Radu our senior photographer.

Dear John,

Two weeks ago I did fly from London above Island and Greenland, it was absolutely amazing, and I had the chance to take some pictures true the frozen window of my Boeing 747, it was so clear I could see the North Pole, but only few days after the Volcano erupted and everything change.

I think Planet Earth is celebrating his 40th Anniversary with some fireworks. Take a look at the pictures.

All the best

Radu Ursu
Senior Photographer

As always we thank Radu don’t we for sharing his talent with us yet again.

Well, while some of Europe’s airports have managed to get some flights in the air many, including the UK have not, as Volcano Bastard let forth a humongous new fart sending a new cloud of ash towards northern Europe and the UK.

Some of the British press are accusing the government of overreacting and insist that it is safe to fly………and of course they are talking bollocks. Now don’t get me wrong. I think a toilet brush could do a better job as British Prime Minister than Mr. Brown and while you all know my thoughts on the ridiculous world of the men and women in high visibility jackets this time I am on their side.

I feel immensely sorry for all those who are displaced but I can’t understand those who are saying “Come on, it’s safe to fly.” Maybe it’s because I work at sea and know that risk is never worth it but to me. There’s something very all or nothing about this situation. Either you have an airliner, weighing hundreds of tons and carrying hundreds of passengers, proceeding safely to its destination; or you have that airliner, its engines full of volcanic ash and hence with no power, falling out of the sky like a lead lined safe.

The British Government has decided to send the Royal Navy to collect thousands of stranded people. They have made their way across Europe but are now stranded in France. The ferries and the Channel Tunnel are fully booked and I am therefore sensing something might be happening and that this volcanic ash saga is just a cover because………we are invading France …………’s not like they are going to put up a fight now is it?

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.