As you may remember, or not, a few days ago I wrote to you about my panic at not having a birthday gift for Heidi’s birthday for the 28th of April. In the end I went to a site which for now will remain nameless and bought her a beautiful coffee table book with 247 pages of photos of Holland. I also bought her 2 dozen pink roses (her favourites) and a Levana BABYVIEW20 Interference Free Digital Wireless Video Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera by Levana.

This is basically a baby monitor with …………..hold on, let me cut and paste exactly what it does.

“This portable system allows you to watch over your child with a handheld monitor and be alerted whenever she makes a sound, even when the system is in standby mode. The night vision feature allows you to see your child when it’s dark, and you can play comforting lullabies directly from the camera. The BABYVIEW20 is the perfect solution for every parent – now you can rest easy knowing your child is safe! And if your husband is a fat bastard and his lazy arse is watching football on the sofa he doesn’t have to go all the way upstairs to sing bouncy bouncy.”

OK, I added a bit at the end but you get the idea. Well, the flowers, the book and even the Happy Birthday balloon that I bought for Heidi knowing Kye would enjoy it ……..they all turned up ….. on time. Yet the Levana BABYVIEW20 Interference Free Digital Wireless Video Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera by Levana …………………..is nowhere to be seen.

Oh they said it would be there within 3 days because I paid extra for supersonic light speed warp factor 10 delivery, but they were talking total bollocks.

Now in the old days and you ordered something “over the phone” all we had was blind hope, as we crawled on our knees to beg the vengeful god of Fedexdhl to take pity on us and make sure that the courier company would deliver our thingy when they said they’d deliver our thingy, because we’d taken the day off work especially.

But now we have more than hope. Now we have a “unique tracking number,” with which we are invited to track our delivery online.

Well, just like I am with Megan Fox’s bottom I am obsessed with this. Every few minutes I go to the website where I bought the Levana BABYVIEW20 Interference Free Digital Wireless Video Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera by Levana, enter the 12-digit number and check its progress. I first did this at 7 am yesterday. It said: “9 am. Your goods are scheduled for delivery today.”

Good, but hang on. Is that 9 am USA time or UK time? I ordered from a major US website shop thingy so if it was 9 am UK time Heidi should already have her Levana BABYVIEW20 Interference Free Digital Wireless Video Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera by Levana.

I called………….she didn’t.

So it must mean 9 am US time. So I called Heidi at 9:30am EST and asked if she had the Levana BABYVIEW20 Interference Free Digital Wireless Video Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera by Levana ………………..she didn’t.

I checked the website again at two o’clock. Again, it said: “9 am. Your goods are scheduled for delivery today.” It also said the same at 2.30, 3pm and at 5 pm and it said the same thing. “Your goods are scheduled for delivery today. Well by now I knew this website was talking total and utter bollocks because it was 6 hours ahead in Essex UK which meant that it was 10 pm and if Fedexdhl did deliver it now and wake Kye and Heidi up my wife would deliver her foot into the couriers arse.

I may be wrong, but to me the phrase “tracking system” implies that there is some sort of system in place that does some tracking. I want it to tell me exactly where my parcel is. To track it, in fact. I want it to say:

“1pm. The driver is on I-95.”

2 pm………………He’s just stopped for a Big Mac, fries and a crap.

3 pm ……………Your package is on the plane. The pilot’s name is Barry.

9 am …………….The plane has landed in London. Barry has passed your package to the driver. His name is Tim and on weekends his name is Sabrina.

11:05am……………Tim/Sabrina is knocking on your front door.

Well, in reality I called them this morning because when I checked the website at 8 am today it said: “Unable to deliver. The package has been returned to depot.”

I called them. “Why were you unable to deliver?” I asked with barely controlled fury. The lady told me “It has arrived in the UK and the package is scheduled for delivery tomorrow.”

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggh.

I asked why I had paid extra for supersonic delivery and if I was mad before I was now laughing out loud………..I couldn’t help it because the reason Heidi’s Levana BABYVIEW20 Interference Free Digital Wireless Video Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera by Levana was late by a week was as the lady put it “a back log of deliveries and flights due to the volcanic ash.”

Brilliant.

I then asked why the tracking system had shown it being delivered at 9 am yesterday she told me that my package “had been scanned incorrectly.”

I gave up and hung up, turned off the lights in the conference room, got into the fetal position and started to dribble on myself.

That was 3 hours ago. I just called Heidi. It’s now 5 pm in the UK and the Levana BABYVIEW20 Interference Free Digital Wireless Video Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera by Levana has yet to arrive. In the olden days, before tracking systems and bollocks, what we had were men on horses and sailing ships. These men would take objects and messages the length and breadth of the world, avoiding bears, pirates, robbers and the plague. Goods were delivered on time, messages were conveyed correctly and everyone was happy. Indeed it was this arrangement that eventually led to the development of the modern courier company, which promptly went and ruined it for everyone. By the time the Levana BABYVIEW20 Interference Free Digital Wireless Video Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera by Levana gets to our house Kye won’t need it…………because she will be 15.

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

Sharon Monroe Asked:
Dear John Please reply.

My sister and I will be cruising on Carnival Valor (spelled correctly!) on May 9, 2010. This will be in celebration of many many things, one of which is my sister’s graduation from community college in Tulsa, OK. This cruise was originally scheduled for last August, 2009, but I had a heart attack and open heart surgery and could not get permission to go until now. Still can’t zipline, dang it! Everyone has personal tragedies and she and I are no different. There have been 3 deaths in our family in the last three years; our mom and dad within two years of each other. Their passings were not unexpected but still left us very sad. The unexpected one was our brother, John, who died aboard Carnival Conquest in January of 2008. So now it is just she and I. I am very proud of my sister. Despite odds working against her she is graduating with an associate’s degree at the age of 53, with excellent grades. I’ve ordered a bottle of champagne to be in our cabin when we arrive. What else may I do to honor her and her achievements?

John Says:
Hello Sharon Monroe

It seems you have lots to celebrate. A graduation and more importantly your recovery from your heart attack. We are honoured that you will be celebrating both onboard one of our fun for all ships. However, it seems that there will be moments of sadness and reflection as well and my deepest sympathies at the loss of your loved ones. Please would you write a note to Gary the Cruise Director who I have sent your posting to. Just write what you feel about your sister and he will read your thoughts on his live morning show. I am sure she will be thrilled and surprised by what you say. I will also ask Gary to send her something as well from me. I hope you have a brilliant time together and that amongst the times of sadness you will find time to celebrate your sister’s achievements and your recovery.

Best wishes to you both
John

Suzanne Bucher Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)

I have been reading your blog thingy for a couple of months now and I now look forward to your new blog every day. I am so entertained and I marvel at how incredibly busy you are, yet you always find time to answer people, do favors, and obviously do a great job as CD. I know you miss your wife and daughter a lot. I’m sure they are very proud of you! I have been cracking up reading about your adventures with Texans on the Conquest. I live 15 miles from Galveston and know that the people you describe are truly the way we are around here. It makes me laugh out loud reading your descriptions of dress, mannerisms, and accents. I am proud to hear you describe most of us as laid back, friendly, and fun. If you find yourself with a free evening in Galveston, please email me and I would be honored for you to have dinner with me and my husband. We’ll take you for some good ol Texas bar-b-que, yee-haw!!! 🙂 I am taking my first cruise on 05/18 on the Spirit to Alaska!!! I am an only child and my mom who is 75 years old is treating me to this cruise. It’s a wonderful gift. My dad passed away 5 yrs. ago after a long battle with cancer. My mom was a wonderful, devoted caregiver. They camped a lot during the healthy years and their favorite place was Alaska. They went 3 times with their travel trailer. Mom always wanted me to see the beauty but then Dad got sick and the traveling had to stop. So, now we are taking the trip she always wanted to take me on. My best friend is going, too for triple the fun! I know Dad will be smiling down on us. I will also be celebrating my 47th birthday onboard for an added touch of fun!! Stuart Dunn is our CD and I have heard good things about him. Can’t wait for all the fun and beautiful scenery. Maybe one day we’ll sail with you!! I get the feeling this will not be my only cruise!! I would love to get a Happy Birthday message from you and a hello to my mom and friend Pat, if you have the time. We will be in Cabin #5130.

Happy sailing in Galveston!! Hugs!

John Says:
Hello Suzanne Bucher

Thank you for being so kind and I am glad that the blog is something you look forward to.  I had such a wonderful time on the Carnival Conquest and the Texans became my great friends. They certainly are some of the most passionate people I have ever met when it comes to cruising Carnival plus there were so many great characters …………..it was comedy gold. I was so pleased to hear about the first cruise you are about to take and that it is with Carnival going to the last frontier that is Alaska. I am sure you and Mum will have a brilliant time together. I am also sure there will be lots of poignant memories of Dad as you explore his favourite place. I will be happy to ask Stuart Dunn who is a brilliant CD to send you a little something on my behalf.

Have a great time

Best wishes
John

daytonadan Asked:
John and all the Stepanies, Thanks for answering.

BTW, we sailed with you on the Bloggers out of New Orleans, let me say every Carnival Cruise we have taken was outstanding, but that bloggers was really beyond outstanding, I can’t think of another adjective how great it was. My daughter Christina will be sailing on the Fascination, May 15th, cabin U5, late dining. Like I said before I would like to have the CD, matre’d and whoever to make it a big deal, (she worked long and hard, got great grades, and did it all without major assistance from mom and dad) and to kind of prank her a bit. For years I had told all my kids that I have spies everywhere, The pranking is just dropping little comments like Julie her sister worked on the Zuiderdam (camp hal program) for a short time, her first cruise was on the Tropical out of Tampa, her cat switch and pet rat elwood must miss her, Christina’s favorite teacher was Mrs. Murphy and what was your brother Danny thinking when he was jumping off the roof into the pool. These are things that she would wonder how would you guys know this stuff, Thank Trevor, and all for me, hope this works out.

Dan

John Says:
Hello Dan

The New Orleans bloggers cruise was indeed brilliant and the people who sail on these adventures are as you said “outstanding.” I have copied my great friend Trevor on this and am going to ask him to call her cabin or visit her at dinner with this list and then present her with a trophy and a medal. I am sure you are very proud of her.

Best wishes
John

Brad P Asked:

I have been reading your blog since inception and really enjoy the behind the scenes look at cruising. (Was trying to remember if it was 2006 or 2007 when the blog started) My wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary with you on the Liberty in 2006, cruised the Med again in 2008 and maybe joining you in Europe next fall for our 25th. I know you wanted to put the fog cruise behind you so I hope you don’t mind answering another question. You talked a lot about the guests waiting on the dock, the steps Carnival took to make them comfortable, the complaints, etc. What about the guests trapped on the ship……..well I guess you can’t really be trapped on a cruise ship……you know what I mean. What was done for those guests who must have missed their travel connections? Where the guests allowed back into their cabins to wait? Where there special activities while they waited to dock? Where there customer complaints from the passengers on the ship?

Just curious.

John Says:
Hello Brad P

I sometimes find it hard to believe myself that I started blogging in 2007 and here I am……… still in my underpants……..blogging away. Thanks for being such a loyal reader; it means a lot to me. We have a ways to go to improve facilities at our Galveston terminal to handle unexpected situations like the fog of last month. We did what we could with the area we have there but I know it was still uncomfortable for some and we will do better here…..we have to.
Now, for those onboard the day was spent like any normal day at sea. There was food, fun, food, trivia, food, movies, food, games, food, karaoke, food and lots of updates from me. They certainly had the better of what was an unfortunate situation. We received no complaints from onboard. Luckily the vast majority of people who sail from Galveston drive to the port so they were not too worried about flights. Let’s hope the fog stays away.

Best wishes
John

Mr. Lee Hanson Asked:
John, hello!! Please reply.

My name is Lee Hanson been reading your blog thingy since this past December. Find it to be very funny, and a stress reliever for you as well I’m sure, things we would love to say, but can’t. We both have something in common we both like to make someone laugh. I love telling jokes and putting a smile on ones face, when someone really needs it!! You have been giving humor to us carnival passengers for years; hopefully there have been some of us, that has been giving it back to you, either on the cruise or in your blog. Carnival is very lucky to have you as their Senior Cruise Director, if there were more personalities like yours, sky really would be the limit. Been 6 years since I have sailed on Carnival, come January 16th, 2011 be going on a back to back cruise aboard the Carnival Glory, really looking forward to it. Be with 3 other people. My friend he will have platinum the second week, and I will be on my 9th cruise the second week, one shy of platinum. You are not old John, I turn 44 in October, feel like a kid, life is really a gift, and your gift is your daughter Kye, one in a million!! I know you receive many emails just remember me by being Megan Fox’s #2 ultimate fan, the #1 ultimate fan well Senior Cruise Director John Heald but of course. Megan Fox’s bottom will live on forever John. Hope I can call you a friend, while sitting there in your underpants reading this, just wanted to let you know, we appreciate what you do. People need to be more respectful of the staff, because without them, there would be no Carnival Fun Cruise!! To you John, and all the staff, there will be only one cruise line I am loyal too, Carnival and only carnival, let the fun continue, always. Take care my friend, and keep that blood sugar in check, or I will have one of the 343 Stephanies come after you!! Or I’ll have Wee Jimmy keep an eye on you!! Anyway stay who you are, and keep the blog thingy going. The Wisconsin man loyal to the end!! My 8th and 9th cruise coming up and my friends 9th and 10th. Carnival Glory here we come!!

Thanks for listening John, God speed to you, Heidi and Kye!!
Sincerely Lee Hanson

John Says:
Hello Mr. Lee Hanson

It is indeed a stress releaser. Writing this blog thingy does allow me to put in writing what I could never say on stage. Anyway, welcome to the blog and it’s great to write to someone who loves to make others laugh. That is a great gift and I hope that one day we will get to cruise together so we can share in the laughter. I certainly will not forget you as it appears that not only do we have laughter in common but also a deep undying love for Megan Fox and her stunning bottom. Nearer the time to you all sailing on the Carnival Glory I hope you will write again. Until then I say thank you for those gracious words.

Best wishes to you all
John Just

Jo Asked:
Dear John (PLEASE REPLY)

I am not sure if this is the right way to ask you a question. I can’t find an email address and have tried to post replies this way a few times. Either way – love your blog. It’s great. Two quick questions for you: Were you the CD on the Glory 9/27/2004? That was my first cruise and whomever the CD was made it a great cruise. We missed some ports because of a category 4 hurricane that had come through and cut our cruise short. That didn’t matter because it was still great. Second question – I am going on the Glory again May 30, 2010. Actually booked a balcony this time 8331 with the love of my life. Unfortunately this is her first cruise and she insists it will be like being trapped in a floating mall. It took me two long years to talk her into going so I want to make sure it is fun. Any ideas outside of the steakhouse and massages? I already ordered almost everything from the Bon Voyage group… just racking my brain and thought you could help. She is in her early 30′s, likes to dance, and is a lot of fun. So any help would be appreciated.

Thanks, Jo

John Says:
Hello Just Jo

Well done, your question is here and my apologies that it has taken so long for me to answer it for you as I am 3 weeks behind. I was indeed with you on the Carnival Glory during what was the longest hurricane season I can remember. I am glad that through all that happened you still have wonderful memories of your cruise. Your friend will have fun I promise. Make sure she sees all the shows, take her to the Fun Ashore Fun Onboard presentation and let the CD George guide her through all the wonderful things to do on and off the ship. Has she ever swam with dolphins? Has she ever been down a waterslide? Has she ever been to a comedy club or sang a karaoke song? These are just some of the things that should be on your cruise bucket list. And as she likes to dance well the Thriller Dance Class and some long fun nights at the dance club will have her breathless with excitement. I hope you have a wonderful time together and if you have time send me your cabin number please.

Best wishes to you both
John

Tammy Asked:
PLEASE REPLY, Darlin’! John!

We absolutely love cruising with Carnival. Our Cruise #5 will be on the Conquest in September! I love that ship! I am wondering when the CD schedule will be updated! I want to know who is going to be the main man on our cruise! I love the Live Morning Show!! Y’all keep up the good work!

Tammy San Antonio, TX

John Says:
Hello Tammy

I am sure by now you have seen the new CD schedule which is posted on the right hand side of the blog thingy. It will show that your CD will be Chris Jefferson who is a great CD on a brilliant ship. I hope y’all have fun.

Best wishes
John

Dana Woodard Asked:
Dear John Please reply!

My family and I sailed with aboard the Carnival Dream in Feb 2010. We had an awesome time aboard thanks to our wonderful cruise director. This was our first time to sail with you, but hopefully will not be our last. My question is about the dining rooms. We are sailing aboard the Carnival Dream again in May 2010. This time there will be 20 of us. We had such great waiters. Our head waiter (Zosimo) will be on leave, but our assistant waiter (Edgar) and our drink waiter (Sumerta) will still be on board. I had talked to our MaitreD, Claudio, before we left and he had given me his email address so that i could email him our booking numbers so he could put us together for dinner. He was nice enough to tell me could choice either the round tables in the middle or tables by the windows. I have misplaced his email and was hoping you could help me get in contact with him. I was also wondering if we could request our waiters for our table.

Thanks, Dana W.
Georgia

John Says:
Hello Dana W

Please don’t worry. I have sent your request to my pal Claudio and I know he will take good care of you. It is always smashing when people ask for the same staff due to the outstanding service they received. I am sure this coming cruise will be the same. I hope I am not too late in replying to this.

Best wishes to all
John

Kathy Asked:
Hi John – Please reply

Firstly – is the Behind the Fun Tour fleet wide? I did it aboard the Legend and it was great! My mom and Dad are sailing the Glory soon and I would love for them to be able to have the same experience. And in regards to “Never mind the Bollocks… ” It is such a shame that people are so judgmental and cruel. I am an eternal pessimist and oftentimes quick to judge and have a very hurtful tongue. As I mature I am learning to control that; and people like you, who help me to laugh every day, make it that much easier to look at the lighter side of life. Thank you for your wit and humor. You can never make everyone happy. And those that lack the maturity to stop being cruel to others don’t deserve you. I hope to cruise with you someday and give you a big hug! Keep smiling and be happy! You rock John!!

John Says:
Hello Kathy

You will be happy to know that the excellent Behind the Fun tour will indeed be available on the Carnival Glory when your Mum and Dad sail. Please kindly remind them that they should purchase it as soon as they board as these days it sells out quickly. Thanks for the kind words of support and as I continue to write my daily musings I continue to become more and more thick skinned.

Best wishes and thanks again
John

Dennis Moore Asked:
Hi John, (reply if you wish)

First of all, I love the blog thingy. My wife and I normally go to Las Vegas every year (10 in a row) but decided to book a Carnival cruise this year to celebrate our 5 year anniversary and my birthday. We will be sailing on the Inspiration on September 20. At booking I found your blog on the Carnival website. It is now required reading! Reading about your adventures each day makes me feel as though I am onboard with you. As of this writing I am 161 days from our cruise. Your blog makes that wait seem bearable because I get to enjoy each day on the ship with you. So THANK YOU for the blog thingy! Since booking our cruise we have told friends and family about how affordable our cruise was and how much we are looking forward to it. Since that time we have had 8 people book their cruise so they could join us. They are also anxiously awaiting the cruise and have become fans of the blog. We all keep in contact on an almost daily basis to talk about how much we are looking forward to the cruise. Not only are we excited about the cruise, the upcoming vacation has allowed old friends the opportunity to reacquaint and grow closer as we are all spread out from Florida to New York. I am sure this will be one of the best vacations ever! Finally, please do not be too upset about the criticism about the bloggers cruise and the west coast. I may never get to sail on a bloggers cruise but I will still be a loyal blogger. I will continue to read and enjoy the blog as I have in the past. I will still enjoy your words long after my cruise is over. And I will look forward to meeting you one day. Until then please know that your adoring fans love and appreciate what you do for us.

All my best to Heidi and Kye!
Regards, Dennis Moore

John Says:
Hello Dennis Moore

Las Vegas’ loss is our gain and on behalf of everyone with and without a beard at Carnival I want to say thank you so very much for celebrating 5 wonderful years of marriage on the Carnival Inspiration. And thank you also for becoming an impromptu Travel Agent and selling the cruise to 8 others. Please can you send me your cabin number one month before you sail and if you need any help with dinner seating please also drop me a posting.

Thank you for reading the blog and my best wishes to you both for a brilliant anniversary cruise.
John

You know, this blog thingy crosses many divides and forms many different opinions and over the years it has become so diverse. And nothing describes this better than the following two comments I received in the last 24 hours which I post only to show how true this is.

Let’s start with this one.

SALTY DOG
John I must agree with the other Cruise Critic members who have written about your “stalkers” pretending they appreciate you and your blog only as justification to get something for free. I stopped reading your blog because of this. I cruised on the Independence of the Seas last month and was able to get the table I needed by simply telling the Maitre D what I wanted. I am sure you will continue to lose more readers like me because of how mundane your blog has become. These people are using you and you seem too stupid to notice. Will be cruising on the Paradise in September and don’t need anything from you.

Hello Salty Dog
Opinions are so important in the world we live in and let us give thanks that we live in a society where we are free to express it. I have said this many times and I will say it again. I am here to offer help where possible to anyone who asks for it and hopefully that help is appreciated. I extend that offer of help to you as well. However, please don’t call the many thousands of people who read this blog every day “Stalkers”………because that is a word that has evil connotations and is so not deserved of the people here. You also called me stupid which I am indeed. I have always said I am not the brightest bulb on the tree so you are right there. I hope you had a great time on the Independence of the Seas and I remain here should you ever need anything before your Carnival Paradise cruise. I also hope that you will drop by the blog now and then as well.

Best wishes
John

Now, on the other side of the coin.

Andrea and Carl
Please Reply John
We both love your blog and I am writing to you to ask for a special favor for a dear member of my family. My sister is going on the Liberty on May 18th with her husband for their 35th wedding anniversary. Right now though they are really sad because their home in Mississippi was badly damaged by a tornado and they are now trying to rebuild. If this was not bad enough my brother in law drives is a retired police officer who gives up his time to drive a school bus and 2 from his route were killed in the storm. They are devastated as you can imagine and have discussed canceling the cruise but as a platinum cruisers ourselves we know that the Carnival people will give them the break from the hell they have been through. Can you please send them a note to their cabin? They are in 2341. I know how good you are with words and I think something like this would help them. It is going to take them a long time to get their home together and to come to terms with what happened.
Thank you John and our love to your beautiful girls Heidi and Kye.

Hello Andrea and Carl
You mentioned in your posting that “I am good with words” but I am not sure if there are any I can find that will provide any comfort to your family following the day that changed their lives and that of the community they live in. However, that will not stop me from trying to help and I will do my best to provide them with a special and heartfelt welcome onboard. I hope that they try, just for a few days, to put what happened at the back of their minds and allow the crew of the Carnival Liberty to serve and entertain them. Thank you for thinking of them and thank you for your loyalty to Carnival Cruise Lines and for allowing me the opportunity to help. My thoughts are with all those that this awful tornado affected.

Best wishes
John

Let’s take a break and return you to the Carnival Elation and here once again is Radu.

Good evening John, Today we had the second port of our Panama Canal Cruise, Acapulco and we already covered 1424 Nml. We still have another 1508 Nml, to Panama Canal.

Once we stepped outside, on the pier in the morning, we had a surprise, a couple of dozens Volkswagen Cars, were a long the pier, good enough for each crew member, but we could not fit them on the ship, so we left them there, croaky.

I ended to Cliff Divers place, and I photographed the show, quite amazing, and the rest of the day I was walking around Acapulco Bay and Beaches. Sunny, hot and beautiful.

Here are my pictures. Have a great night.
Radu Ursu Senior Photographer

Once again Radu, we are amazed at those great shots. Thank you for allowing us to enjoy the Panama Canal cruise through the lens of your camera. We look forward to more from you next week.

Oh, and a quick update on the piano bar players who were missing from my schedule a few days ago which was duly noted by the Chairlady of the Piano Bar Association……..Laura AKA Divetrash. Here is the update.

Carnival Inspiration– Linda Wiggins 07/22/10
Carnival Fascination– Dana Barnes 08/12/10
Carnival Ecstasy-Lorraine Ingle till 05/10, then Dana Honey until 10/11/10

Recently, a friend of mine cruised on his Carnival Dream and at my suggestion he tried the Chef’s Table. I thought you should read what he had to say……………here is his review.

The process starts in the piano bar being served champagne and a chef’s variety of appetizers. Each sample was an amazing delicacy experiencing new tastes. Then the chef . . . ours was Executive Chef Roshan . . . joins us to explain a bit of what we are about to experience, as well as how his journey brought him to Carnival. After stories, questions and laughter, we are led to the kitchen. Through the orchestrated hustle and bustle of the servers, chefs and assistants . . . to our table in the center of the action . . . separated by the velvet ropes.

Earlier, Chef Roshan had asked if any of us had allergies….And that was all he needed to know. The rest would be at his whim.

The service was fantastic from the first glass of wine to the (who knows how many) last glass. The visual effect was as perfect as the food itself. Every one of our plates was identical to the next, as if each course was run through a copy machine. The 12 of us had been served . . . each of the 8 courses . . . at the exact same time . . . with each delicacy placed in front of us in the same direction.

Mentioning the food by name would be pointless. As I would not get the spelling correct . . . but all was fantastic.

Every dish included a story from Chef Roshan as to how the item was created. As well as how seemingly unlikely tastes . . . somehow find themselves pleasurably together. After the 4th course . . . Mediterranean Salad . . . . We were given a personalized tour of kitchen operations in full action. As it was now late seating, this was amazing to witness firsthand.

Back to our table . . . some more wine . . . and the main course. Sorry, I am wrong . . . 2 main courses. The first of which was a Filet of Chilean Sea Bass. I have had this many times before, but never at this level of preparation which made it incomparable and beyond explanation. Then . . . . To satisfy all the taste buds of all guests . . . . A second main course of a perfectly prepared Filet Mignon with a three pepper mustard . . .  which Linda will be preparing soon. Followed by more of Chef Roshan’s surprises and surpassing the best meal ever had. And I include places like Tavern on the Green which would cost triple and offer far less.

If anyone is looking for a meal of this caliber . . . . . reserve it now . . . before the word gets out. You will not regret your decision.
Glen DeMark

What a great review. Glen and his wife own Galaxsea Cruises one of Carnival’s biggest supporters and this is high praise indeed. I thought you might like to see the menu that Glen so enjoyed on his Carnival Dream Chef’s Table Experience.

http://johnhealdsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/new-chefs-table.pdf

So far the Chef’s table can be found on:
Carnival Ecstasy
Carnival Dream
Carnival Liberty
Carnival Imagination
Carnival Inspiration
Carnival Sensation

And in the next two weeks you will find it on the Carnival Pride and the Carnival Fascination.

It is truly a gastronomic treat which I hope many of you get to enjoy.

So here we are in Calica, Mexico. I can’t remember the last time I was here but it has certainly been a long time. Once again the weather is beautiful and the guests are off enjoying the sun. Me ……………well I am here in the conference room writing to you. Yesterday though I realized I needed to get some fresh air so I went for a walk around the open decks. Obviously the air in Cozumel at 1 pm is about as hot as a Parisian’s armpit but never the less I took a walk. One of my stops was the Serenity deck which was part of the upgrade to the Fantasy class ships and is an area that is absolutely stunning and has truly transformed the aft section of the vessel. I wish I had my camera with me and I will make sure that next week I take some photos for you.

However, as gorgeous as it is and even at 1:30pm on a port day afternoon it was obvious by the various articles left on the sun beds that people were saving seats. There were books, shoes, towels, nuns and goats and I just do not know what to do about this problem. It is one that is shared by all of us that operate big cruise ships and one that I don’t think anyone has found a perfect solution to. It is ridiculous to pretend that we have the man power …….. sorry ……… person power to monitor who is doing this and it is equally silly to say that we will remove personal articles if the people who have left objects on the sun beds don’t return after 30 minutes.

This is also because someone would have to stand by each chair looking at their watch. That would be OK if just one person was doing it……..but obviously it’s not just one…..it’s many. Now, the Cruise Directors, myself included must do better in getting the message across that seat saving is not allowed.  There has to be a better way of enforcing the no seat saving rule.  I realize that Princess Cruises charges to use their facilities and I don’t think that would work for Carnival We must, however, control this situation as I know every cruise line would be grateful if someone has the magic answer………anyone have it?

Well, this is one of those rare occasions where I ask you for a favour. Can I please take Friday off from blogging? On Saturday the Carnival Fantasy will be undertaking her first seven day cruise in many years calling at three brand new ports of call. Obviously therefore there is lots to do and I need to spend Friday taking care of everything from schedules to boring sodding meetings and packing…….again……ready to move into the CD cabin on Saturday. So, with your kind permission then I will return on Monday with tales of the Carnival Fantasy’s seven day voyage to Montego Bay, Cozumel and Grand Cayman……you’re finally building a pier you cheap bastards.

Yesterday in Cozumel the ship was in with the Carnival Legend and I had a visitor from there and a visitor who was vacationing in Cozumel. This gave me the chance to take a photo with the camera on my raspberry which has a pathetic camera on it so sorry for the quality. Anyway, have a look at these.

Now, for those who don’t recognize who these people are let me tell.

The small ball of fun on the end is Wee Jimmy, Cruise Director of the Carnival Legend.

The chap in the baseball cap is of course Ugly Craig.

The girl with the ID round her neck is of course Stephanie Meads. She is currently on vacation and will soon be the Cruise Director on the Carnival Fascination.

What do these 3 have in common? Well, they all were at one time my Assistant Cruise Director and in Stephanie and Wee Jimmy’s case my personal assistant following my Brand Ambassador thingy role.

So, who you ask is the other lady in the photo? Well, she is my new assistant. You see, Ugly Craig has done such a brilliant job these last 6 months and I appreciate his help so very much. He was with me on his Carnival Dream, Carnival Legend, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Conquest and now he is here with me on the Carnival Fantasy. However, it is time for him to move on and become a proper Assistant Cruise Director and from there move on up to CD. He won’t be able to do this as long as he is attached to my coattails. He is also head over heels in love with a girl from Texas called Lauren and since he met her he has been doing bizarre things like listening to country music and buying Calvin Klein underwear.

So, these next three weeks will be my last with Craig. This means the young lady who you see in the photos is my new assistant who is learning my idiosyncrasies before returning to her current role as Assistant Cruise Director on the Carnival Splendor. She joins me in August as my personal assistant.

And her name………..and I kid you not………is Stephanie……another bloody Stephanie ……………. that’s now 344.

She has done a great job these last few days and I think she will be perfect for me. The only criticism I have is that I have had to tell her to cut her long fingernails.

She asked me why?

“Hemorrhoid Cream darling,” I said……..”Hemorrhoid cream………you are not putting it on with those nails.”

See you on Monday.

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.