Green Day

May 24, 2010 -

John Heald

We start today’s blog with a quick apology that I didn’t write on Friday. As you may have read in Thursday’s thingy the entire Carnival marketing and public relations teams were in an all day thingy called a retreat. This basically means you had 100 Carnival employees who during breaks from discussing our new marketing strategies will have huddled in corners talking about Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, giga bites and Eye Pads.  Anyway, as they were all busy there was nobody to post a blog so that means I have a lot of catching up to do.

First of all let’s talk about me. Some of you have remarked that having watched the 2 videos of the Charleston events that a) I have lost weight and b) you noticed I had my hair cut.

Thanks to the two of you who said I had lost weight and thanks to the five bloggers who noticed that my hair was different. Well, yes my slowly slowly diet continues and yes I had my hair cut at the spa. I would like to say that I had my hair cut for the guests, so I would look like a respectable cruise director and brand ambassador. But that would be a lie. I got my hair cut because I didn’t want an immediate bollocking from Heidi about looking like a girl when I go home in 2 weeks time.

Anyway, off I went to the spa. The last time I went to the spa on the Carnival Fantasy I was dating a massage therapist called Sarah. I thought it was love. Right up until the time I discovered that when I was on stage doing a show she was being pushed around her cabin like a wheelbarrow by an Italian officer.

These days of course it is impossible for me just to have my hair cut…… nope ………. what I’ve had is my hair “styled.” The last time I had it simply cut was in about 1986 when a man called Giuseppe, who owned a barber shop in Southend On Sea that smelt of old linoleum, bombarded my head with a pair of scissors that I swear I later saw being used by the butcher next door to cut up meat.

I miss his haircuts and not just because it was over in 10 minutes. Nope, despite the fact that I would walk around in a permanent cloud of talcum powder for days afterwards I loved going to see Giuseppe……..because while you waited for him to finish some other chap’s hair……..I could read his vast collection of Playboy magazines.

Giuseppe had, it seemed, every Playboy ever printed. I am not going to waste your time by pretending that I read the articles because that would be bollocks. Instead, I looked at the pictures of young women exposing….well, by today’s standards……. bugger all really.

These were women whose bodies were in proportion to their breasts, who’d never heard of waxing anything but floors, and who used things like fruit and white gloves to cover up their knockers and their lady gardens.

Strange isn’t it……..the availability of places I can see naked women and learn about rumpy pumpy has over my lifetime it seems run in reverse to my hormones. When I really wanted to see it, it was hard to get and not all that great once you had it. I remember that Giuseppe’s Playboy magazines were full of beautiful naked women free of tattoos and body piercings. Of course today tattoos and body piercings are commonplace which is fine now but what happens when these ladies are older, living in care homes. It’s OK to have a nipple piercing when you are 20 but imagine the noise of dozens of old ladies walking around a care home……their nipple rings clanking across the floor.

Anyway……….I digress.

That was then and fast forward to the futuristic Carnival spas of today and I’m afraid that simple scissors to cut hair just aren’t good enough. The young lady from the spa here on the Carnival Fantasy used a level of gadgetry that Q used to provide for James Bond ……. before Bond became a big girl that cries and bleeds.

Remember the Rambo films? Remember the bit when he spends 20 minutes clamping bits of military hardware to his arms and legs? Well, it’s like that. The lady who cut……… bugger……… “styled” ……. my hair had at least three different sorts of clippers and various serrated blades that look like something a ninja would use. She also had a huge container that dispenses “Eucalyptus oil mixed with camel urine” and a hairdryer that looks like it was designed by Aston Martin.

Even the chair I sit in is so complicated it looks like it was last occupied by Captain Jean Luc Picard (a Star Trek reference there especially for the Vances, Stephanies and assorted marketing beards). Then again Captain Picard was bald…… him being in a reference about hair styling was total crap John wasn’t it you idiot.

The icing on the cake though was when the lovely spa girl introduced herself as my “personal grooming engineer”……she was lucky I didn’t vomit over her nice pile of fluffy pink towels.

This is the though the way of the world and on your Carnival Dream and Carnival Splendor where we have the Cloud Nine Spas guests are offered  a choice of  tea, ginseng, ginseng tea, mineral water, mineral water with ginseng in. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if tofu is on the spa menu as well. Tofu my arse. If you want to make me happy hurry up and cut my hair. Just make me look like an extra from prison break and if you are going to offer me something, make it a cheeseburger and a diet root beer ………… oh and while you are at it…………. a copy of this month’s Playboy.

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

Linda from Arizona Asked:
John, please reply

I have been reading your blog for the past few months and both me and by DH love your wicked sense of humor. We have cruised 3 times with Disney and 1 time with Princess to Alaska and we love cruising. But reading your blog has made us think about cruising with you and Carnival so we booked to join you on Splendor on September 26th. PLEASE PROMISE YOU WILL BE THERE.

We will be cruising with our two children aged 14 and 16 who are looking forward to the Circle Club and the Club O2. Also joining us are my husband’s parents who will be celebrating 55 years married together. My questions are first about the Steak house. I have read on your blog that this is very popular and I want to know what night you suggest we eat there. Also when are the formal evenings and how formal is formal on Carnival.

We are all looking forward to being with you and our first Carnival cruise

Keep us laughing please

John Says:
Hello Linda from Arizona

I am so honoured to read that you have booked to cruise with me on the Carnival Splendor. I will do my very best not to let you down and give you and your family the best cruise vacation you have ever had. Let’s have a look at your itinerary and I have marked the elegant nights for you and marked a night I would suggest you enjoy the Steakhouse experience.

Sun, Sep, 26 Long Beach
Mon, Sep, 27 at sea MAIN ELEGANT NIGHT
Tue, Sep, 28 at sea STEAKHOUSE
Wed, Sep, 29 PVR
Thu, Sep, 30 Mazatlan
Fri, Oct, 01 Cabo ELEGANT NIGHT 2
Sat, Oct, 02 at sea

Now, saying that I know a lot of people like to book the Steakhouse while we are at PVR ……….we write PVR because we don’t know how to spell Puerto Viyarta. Anyway, we are there until 10 pm and I know that is also a popular night to eat there. Remember, you can reserve a table online via the link thingy on the blog or I can help you as well.

The elegant nights are still popular or at least the first one is. The vast majority of the guests will dress accordingly with business suits more popular these days than tuxedos for the men although some do still go all out and wear them. However, at Carnival the choice is yours so just wear what you will feel comfortable in on an Elegant evening.

I hope this helps and please let me know if I can be of any other help to you.

Best wishes to you all and see you soon

Jo Asked:

This is my third time in trying to get my questions answered. I won’t take the time in asking them again, but would love it if someone could tell me how you ask a question on this thing???


John Says:
Hello Jo

Congratulations, you have found my thingy………oh bugger……..that didn’t sound right …. let’s try that again. Congratulations, and welcome to the blog. All you need to do is post a question and mark it “John, please reply” and I will. I should point out that I am 3 weeks behind still (sorry Tom) but I promise I will reply eventually. I look forward to hearing from you and thanks for persevering.

Best wishes

Frank and Bridie Asked:
John Please reply,

John I am sure you know we are leaving on the dream here in just a few weeks on the 29th. We did book the dream again for next year on the eastern route and I had a question for you. We have figured our shore tours for Nassau and St Thomas, However in St. Maarten we wanted to do an island tour seeing we did the awesome Americas Cup regatta last time. list two island shore tours for St. Marteen. One called ‘Dutch & French Island Experience” for $26 and Also a “St. Maarteen Island Tour” for $35. Can you tell me or find out what the difference is in these? When you read the descriptions they are pretty much the same thing. The only difference I can find is the cost. ???????

Many Thanks.

Big Fans as Always,
Frank and Bridie

John Says:
Hello Frank and Bridie

In just 10 days you will be on your Carnival Dream along with Linda and Mike and I know you are going to have a brilliant time. I love St. Maarten. It has two very different sides. The ships dock on the Dutch side where the people are lovely, warm and friendly. The nicest beaches are though on the French side where the people are ummmm ……. French. The two excursions you mentioned are both good but may I recommend a third and that’s the Explorer Cruise and Island Tour. This visits the Dutch side by coach but after spending time at the French side capital “Marigot” you explore the rest of the coves by glass bottom boat…….it is an excellent excursion. Otherwise I would recommend the St. Maarten Island Tour which is a little more comprehensive.

Hope this helps and once again I wish you both a great time on your Carnival Dream.

Best wishes to you both

David Burns Asked:
John please reply

My wife, my son (16), and I sailed the Dream 17 Apr. We were loyal to a cruise line that sails malls. We decided to give Carnival a try. We had a great cruise, and will sail Carnival again. My son said” club O2 was wicked pissah” Massachusetts Slang for very good. My favorite was the comedy club, Jeff ‘the fun dude’ Shaw made the club great. My wife loved the shows, and movies under the stars. We had a Dream vacation. My only question is why did they have to serve the bacon, and not let us take our own at the buffet? My son, and I went on the behind the fun tour, it was a great tour. Seeing some of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes make you appreciate everything on the cruise even more. Hope to sail with you as CD sometime.

John Says:
Hello David Burns

I want to thank you for extending my vocabulary and I will now be using “wicked pissah” in conversations. I am so glad you had a great time and thank you for coming over from the “bloody hell it’s huge and do we have to pay for that as well of the seas” to experience a Carnival fun vacation.

The bacon used to be self service and you cannot imagine the amount that guests would pile onto their plates……..and then leave uneaten. It doesn’t happen with any of the other breakfast items and so we decided to go to the current route of servers providing the bacon. You can always ask the server for more. I am glad that you enjoyed the Behind the Fun tour which has been a massive fleet wide success.

I hope it’s not too long before you join us for another cruise………..have you ever sailed in Europe? I will be there on the Carnival Magic next year…….maybe the family could join me there. …….that would be wicked pissah.

Best wishes to all

John R Asked:
Hi John, (Please reply)

I hope you were able to buy Heidi a nice birthday gift and I continue to enjoy the blog thingy.

I decided that I wanted to bring to your attention some of my concerns regarding the procedures associated with the Future Cruise Certificates. I believe that Carnival can do much better in providing clear and concise information and instructions.

First you buy the certificate. You come home from your cruise and you read all the fine print. The certificate says that you can use (the $100) it as (part) of a deposit on a future cruise. This is what I wanted to do.

I went online to book my cruise and during the process there wasn’t any place that I could find to enter a certificate to use towards the deposit. So, I didn’t complete the booking and I called the 800 number at Carnival. The first rep I spoke to had absolutely no clue as to what a FCC even was, even after I explained it to him ad nauseam. So, I thanked him and called the number again. This time the rep seemed to be familiar with the FCC program and told me that you have to book the cruise first and pay the full deposit and then send in the certificate to get the $100 credit applied. I asked if the credit would go to my credit card and she said yes.

I certainly didn’t think that this was the correct procedure and I don’t know why – but I went and booked the cruise online with ES. So, now it is a done deal and I’ve paid the $500 deposit.

Then I sent in the FCC certified mail to Miami, received online confirmation from USPS, and after a couple of days I send an email to Carnival asking when the credit will be applied. The response that I get is that it takes about 10 days from when received.

After 10 days I called the 800 number and the second call I spoke with a woman in special promotions and she explained to me that in order to use the certificate towards the deposit it would require having a rep book the cruise and charge a $100 less for the deposit and then the customer has to send the certificate “overnight” to Miami.

OK, that makes much more sense. Now, I ask when will the certificate be applied to my booking? The answer is that it will be applied sometime before my cruise and accounting is behind. So, about once I week I check the details of my booking to see if the certificate has been applied.

So, here I sit in my underpants ;), wondering what would happen if Carnival “loses” my FCC before they apply it to my booking. By the time my final payment is due (January) it will be 10 months since I sent it in. I can’t imagine the conversation – I sent it in 10 months ago and I didn’t hear anything – how can you not have it? I had USPS online confirmation that it was delivered but it has expired and is no longer available.

It makes no sense to me to have to fork over about $20 in order to “overnight” the FCC to Miami in order to have the $100 applied to the deposit.

I would think that if the detailed proper procedures for redeeming the certificate were provided on the certificate, that would reduce confusion and avoid customers several interactions with Customer Service reps.

It just should not be this difficult to make use of the FCC to its fullest benefit to the customer.

John R

John Says:
Hello John R

First of all I want to say a big thank you for realizing that using a computer dressed only in a pair of underpants is a true fashion statement and one that is fast catching on around the world. I heard a rumour that the likes of Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela and Sting all use their computers dressed only in their undergarments and in fact Gerry Cahill our President and CEO is about to send out a memo to all shore side employees stating that the usual dress down Friday will now become “underpants day.”

On a more serious note I want to thank you for sharing your concerns with me about our very popular future cruise certificate. I know that many guests have appreciated the ability to purchase this and it has been very popular indeed. It seems however that we may be guilty again here of not being clear on what exactly this certificate is for, how it works and what the terms and conditions are. I have sent your comment to our vice president of reservations and have asked for clarification on the certificate itself. You will be hearing from a member of our CARE Team and I promise to publish the FAQ’s and their answers very soon here on the blog thingy.

Please don’t worry and once again thanks for writing and for your kind words.

I remain at your service.

Best wishes

Janey – (OKGIRL) Asked:
John (Please reply at your convenience),

I am so sorry that I did not get a chance to sail with you during your time on my Conquest, she is my favorite ship and I’ve sail on her 5 times.

I look forward to the news of BC4. My sister and I were on BC2 & 3 and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. But this brings me to my 1st question.

I am trying to plan our 2011 cruises and I’ve heard that BC4 is going to be a 2011 cruise (I hope so because I can’t squeeze more than 3 in this year). I’m hoping that it will be early in the year because we would like to sail on the Magic while she is in Europe.

We sailed with you on the inaugural voyage of the Freedom from Venice in 2007 and just can’t wait to go back…..but I’m rambling.

Question, There hasn’t been anything announced about the Magic’s Trans Atlantic cruise and this is what we are most interested in. You mentioned in a blog a couple of weeks ago that you once sailed a TA that was crew only. I hope this isn’t the case with the Magic, but do you have any idea when the schedule and pricing will be out?

Second question… We just returned from our 20th Carnival cruise on the Ecstasy and noticed a couple of changes that I wanted to comment on.

Your Time Dining!!!! The best thing since sliced bread. We loved having the flexibility to wander into the DR whenever we were ready. We never had to wait and though it was a stretch to call a “private table” such when you’re seated at a table which is only 8″ away from the next table for 2. We certainly enjoyed the extra elbow room. Is YTD becoming more popular and are the beards planning on expanding this option?

Last question. I noticed that none of the bars serve snacks anymore. I assume this is a cost savings issue, but it would seem that the more salty snacks that are served the greater the demand for a refreshment to quench your thirst, which should more than offset the expense of the snack. Any chance snacks will come back but maybe in smaller bowls so there isn’t so much waste?

Looking forward to sailing with you on BC4 and Thank You for such entertaining daily blogs. I can’t get my workday started without them.

John Says:
Hello Janey – (OKGIRL)

I truly loved the Carnival Conquest and I look back on my short time in Texas very fondly indeed. You have probably read by now that BC4 will be in February on the Carnival Glory and it will be a brilliant time so I hope you can join us all. I was thrilled to read about your love of Your Time Dining. I know that it was met with some sceptimism ……..sceptermiserm……..sceptomis…………I know some people were not sure if they would like it or not but most of those who have taken this option have said how wonderful it was……..just like you. More and more people are taking this as their dining option and as we see its popularity increase then we will adjust the dining room space we give it accordingly.

Snacks………well I know that there will be those who may say that it is a cut back are the same one or two who have written that we charge for ice tea on lido and that Elvis is still alive and working at a Chuck E. Cheese in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Well….I don’t know about Elvis but the main reason we removed the snacks was a public health issue. People digging their hands in bowls of chips and nuts is not the most hygienic thing to do and so we decided to remove them. If you think about how strict we are in all other food preparation and service areas it was one area where, we had to change.

I will be talking about the Carnival Magic a little later.

I really hope I can see you in Europe and on BC4.

Best wishes to you and the family.

Dorothy Asked:
John, Please relpy, not in a hurry

Can we still bring an extension cord from home? My son has medical equipment that he has to have at night and usually need the extension cord because the wall plug is usually on the wrong side of the room or is too far away from the bed. I usually bring a small fan for him since he sweats so bad at night and get very upset when he does, do I have to leave it at home now. We never leave the stuff plugged in when we leave the room, it is always unplug and placed out of the way until night when it is needed. I hope we can still be able to bring these things for his comfort.

Thanks for keeping us updated on all the changes, it nice to know ahead of what we can bring and not bring.

John Says:
Hello Dorothy

I know there has been some confusion (our fault) about what can and can’t be brought onboard. Hopefully now you have seen the updated list and that you are fine to bring on the medical equipment cords etc that he needs. However, may I remind you that we can provide a fan onboard and if you let me know when you are sailing I will make sure one is available for your son.

Please let me know how I can help

Best wishes to all

LadyJag (Laura) Asked:
Dear John (please reply),

Sorry to bother you with another “please reply” comment so soon after my last, but you asked that I let you know when we’d be taking our next Fun For All cruise. Well, we’ll be sailing on the beautiful Carnival Dream on May 29th, spa stateroom 11203, and we can barely contain our excitement!

You might recall that my 4-year-old, Alyssa, has a speech impairment that we have been working on (mostly with speech therapy) for over two years now. I wanted to mention again, though, that Carnival has also played a part in her slow but steady progress.

I’ve already praised the wonderful Camp Carnival staff for their patience and quality care that helped Alyssa improve in her clarity during her last two Carnival cruises. But Alyssa has so much fun even outside of Camp Carnival activities that it’s now easier to get Alyssa to work on her speech at home when I prompt her with Fun Ship topics and words like “Waterworks” and “Fun Ship Freddy.”

John, you should see how excited Alyssa gets when I pull up photos and virtual tours of the Carnival Dream, and show her all the fun things she’ll get to do on board! Admittedly, I’m just as excited as she is, but that’s beside the point. 😉 What’s important is that Alyssa asks to see the pictures again and again, and in our discussions about the ship, she has no idea she’s actually doing her “work.” (Shh! Don’t tell!)

Anyway, thanks again for letting me share Alyssa’s story on your blog. I hope that someday we can sail on a ship with you as our CD so that Alyssa and I can both say thank you in person.

Hugs to Heidi and Kye,

John Says:
Hello Laura

I am glad that you wrote again and you must be so proud of your daughter Alyssa and her continuing progress. I will make sure that my friends on your Carnival Dream know to expect Alyssa and she can also expect a little gift from me as well.

Please say a big hello to her from me and I wish you all a brilliant family cruise vacation

Best wishes to all

Erica (PLEASE REPLY) Asked:
Dear John,

My fiancé and I are looking forward to our first ever cruise, and are glad to be experiencing it on Carnival. We haven’t had much quality time together, as he works away in Iraq for most of the year. He is from the UK, and I’m for the US. We met on my deployment to Iraq and it’s been heaven ever since. We so need quality alone time, and that’s what this cruise is for us, quality time together. I was wondering if you could help us with reserving a table for two for dinner. We are sailing the Conquest on June 13. Any help you could give us would be so very appreciated.


John Says:
Hello Erica

What a wonderful story and I hope the heaven lasts forever.

I have sent a request for your table to the Maitre D on the Carnival Conquest and I am sure he will do his best to help you. I hope you have a great time.

Best wishes to you both

Cynthia Asked:

I want your honest opinion following your recent cruise with Kye. We are thinking of taking our then-10 month old daughter on the 5-day cruise to the Bahamas leaving Charleston on the Fantasy on September 6th.

Are we insane?

My husband and I are avid cruisers. We took the Grand Med cruise with you on the Liberty in 2006 for our honeymoon. We took a short jaunt on the Holiday in 2007 to the Caribbean, and then joined you on the Splendor for the Baltic cruise in 2008. Our most recent cruise was in 2009 on the Spirit to Alaska — our “babymoon” — and we thought it would be our last for awhile.

But our daughter seems to have an easy disposition, and we’re thinking of “testing the waters” (so to speak) with a 5-day cruise. We live on the East Coast and so could drive to Charleston — no air travel required.

So are we crazy?

Thanks in advance for your reply — but mostly for all the great entertainment you’ve provided us in the past.

Regards to the entire Heald family — so happy there are three of you now.

Cynthia & Michael (and Michaela)

John Says:
Hello Cynthia

No, you are not crazy, you are wonderful parents and as someone who would give anything to have more time onboard with my daughter Kye I say bring her. She will have some time at Camp Carnival and although we don’t offer babysitting for the under twos there will be time while she has those 2 hours of play fun when Mum and Dad can ummm …….make brothers and sisters. Carnival Fantasy has excellent facilities and the splash park will have her giggling as will the bright lights and costumes at the show. I wish I could be here to meet her as I did you in Europe and in the Baltic.

Have a think about it and if you need more persuading please let me know

Best wishes to you all

Ann Martin Asked:
Reply requested!!!!!

Have you seen the thread on Cruise Critic where people are discussing about you? I thought you should see what Cruise Critic member Corvette Lady wrote about you. It seems not everyone thinks you are the best. As she wrote this.

John Heald was leading the blogger events and I was not impressed. He isn’t funny and there was once when I thought he was harassing Stephanie.

I still look at his blog, usually scan through it to see if he has any news on the Magic, and lately the banned items. He is, IMHO, a hypocrite. He is constantly putting down the French, RCCL, and the Grand Caymans for not having a pier. He doesn’t put Carnival down for not having a pier at Half Moon Cay, he gets upset at people who complain about Carnival, and he says we shouldn’t stereotype any group. These are just a few examples. He also seems to think he is always at the beck and call of rude passengers. I know that he misses his family but do we really need to read about how guilty that makes him feel? He made a choice, his wife knew what he did when she married him, so get over it. There have been times that I wanted to comment on his blog but his loyal followers don’t want to hear any complaints about John. Of course it is my choice to still read his blog but the last time I laughed was when he had that spicy food in Miami.

What do you have to say about that then?

John Says:
Hello Ann Martin.

I am not sure what pleasure you get from trawling the boards looking for people who have written negative things about me or the company I work for.  As for Corvette Lady, well she is more than entailed to her opinion and while I reserve the right to talk about what I want she also has the absolute right not to like me or the subjects I discuss.

I think I listen to everyone who tells me that they are unhappy with something that has happened on a cruise and I hope that this blog provides an outlet for people to do so. I would remind her though that it’s a blog about my life and that included how much I miss my family and that is one thing I will never ever apologize to her or anyone else for.

Anyway, as I said, I have skin tougher than an elephant’s scrotum and I hope that Corvette Lady comes to sail with me when I am a cruise director so I can try and show her that I can when I really try hard…… a little bit funny. Oh and by the way. Please let it be known that anyone who wishes to write anything negative about me I urge you to do so. It’s the only way I will know how to improve and after 23 years at sea……..that is something I still want to do…improve.

I still don’t understand why you sent me this posting Ann and the only reason I replied and posted it is because I don’t want to look like a hypocrite to Corvette Lady to whom I send my best wishes and I am glad that my episode with the hot sauce made her laugh.


Mingo Asked:
John – Please Reply

Just my two cents on the PINS. How about if repeat cruisers are given a ‘coupon’ that would be redeemable in the gift shop for a pin???? That way, those who truly want them can (easily) get them and those who don’t can just toss the coupon……

I read your blog thingy sporadically, anytime I need a laugh. Saw you briefly on the Dream on the TA and hope to do a whole cruise with you sometime.

John Says:
Hello Mingo

The pin subject is being re visited as we speak and I have certainly given my opinion that we should give them to those who truly want one. I have also suggested a Platinum pin for those who have done ten or more and Milestone pin for those who have done 25 or more ………..I know many would wear these with pride as would I.

The beards have my ideas on their desk, let’s see what they say.

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog

Best wishes

That’s all for today and please keep the comments coming. I see Bill Z and others have been asking about the famous Carnival Count Down Clocks. It appears they are “off line” and I have contacted the bearded ones who have promised to get them back ASAP. I know how many people really like these so I know they are working hard to get these back “on line” and providing there isn’t a new Star Wars movie or Apple launch a new product in the near future………they should be back soon.

So the first cruise from Charleston was very successful. What was interesting from the start was how many first time cruisers we had which has something I am sure to do with the new homeport and the fact that people can drive to the ship. Whenever I had guests on stage at the shows and I asked them where they were from it was always South and North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. I don’t think I heard too many other states mentioned. The mood was great and the guests had fun from early in the morning to late at night.

There are some challenges here though regarding the terminal and the pier. It would seem that the vast majority of the guests drove to the ship and parking their cars ……or as they say in these parts………….their veeehickels……is as I said, a bit of a challenge. Parking is some distance from the ship and shuttle buses are provided to bring guests to the terminal. Once at the terminal you will notice it’s not exactly……….ummmmm……..big and certainly a little dollop of patience is required during check in. Despite this the shore side Carnival staff and the Charleston port people did a brilliant job in making this a relatively smooth embarkation last cruise and yesterday as well.

The biggest challenge though is the terminal as I said which is quite small and the fact that guests have to embark and debark the vessel from deck 3, which on the Fantasy class is the crew deck level with the pier. Once onboard we have just four elevators on which to get guests where they want to go. So, I decided to have a staff member control each of the four elevators and using a special key the guests are taken to either deck 7 or deck 10. Deck 7 because that’s where the Purser’s Office is and………bugger………that’s where the Guest Services Desk is and deck 10 because that is where of course the food is served.

From there guests can use the midship or aft elevators as well as the forward glass elevators to get to their staterooms. If the elevators were not controlled by the staff then they would never get back down to deck 3 and guests would be crowded downstairs.

I must say that this system worked very well during embarkation not only thanks to the organization of the shoreside and shipboard teams but because the guests arrived at staggered times which meant the flow was constant but never hectic.

Debarkation is another story with everyone wanting to get off the ship as soon as possible. My first job was to promote the self assist option as much as I could because quite simply the terminal is not big enough to accommodate lots of luggage at the same time. So I encouraged those that could physically manage their luggage to take this option. I organized it by calling one deck, one side, at a time. So, basically the announcement went as follows: “For those guests who have been staying on Main Deck port side (even numbers) and that have all their own luggage with them, please come to the Main deck forward elevator lobby.”

Then, once again I had a staff member in each elevator and we sent all four elevators to the Main deck. Stopped them there, loaded in the guests and took them down to deck 3 and repeated that process until Main deck was complete.

Now there are stairs but obviously dragging a suitcase down the stairs is no fun so we have to rely on the four only elevators. Overall, it worked well………here is what happened.

The guests seemed to understand and with a few tweaks next week I think we will have the best solution to a challenging problem. Obviously long term we need a gangway into the lobby on deck 7 and I am told that the port authority are working on this and that it should be ready at some point down the road.  I’m also hearing that Charleston is looking into the possibility of building a new pier facility and I will let you know more about that when I can.

Ultimately though Charleston is a great home port and despite the difficulties I mentioned, once onboard the guests have not stopped telling me how excited they are to have Carnival in South Carolina and I have not stopped telling guests how excited we are to be there.

Here’s who is sailing with us this 7 day cruise.

GUEST COUNT                                 2289

NON US                                              31


Under 2 Years 8
2-5 Years (Camp Carnival) 38
6-8 Years (Camp Carnival) 35
9-11 Years (Camp Carnival) 34
12-14 Years (Circle “C”) 30
15-17 Years (Club 02) 35
18-20 Years 82

Here is where we are going and the entertainment lineup:

So a seven day cruise and as you can see we will be visiting Half Moon Cay (why can’t we build a pier there, we are cheap bastards……….that was just for the Corvette Lady) and Grand Turk, two of our most popular ports of call.

We have Marcus Anthony with us who I know many of you are huge fans of and amongst the other entertainers is Al Ernst our 248th best comedian……….oh hold on ……… sorry, I just heard that we have hired a man called Derek who has an amusing collection of vegetables that look like thingies……….so Al Ernst our 249th best comedian will also be with us once again and that’s great news. I have not worked with Darren Sanders before and I will see what happens at the hypnotist show…….and while they are a huge hit with our guests………..I remain very much undecided.

Oh yes, we did sail later yesterday from Charleston because we needed to pump in lots of fresh water as there fresh water as there are no facilities in either Half Moon Cay or Grand Turk. This meant that instead of 4 pm we sailed at 5:40pm and as I explained on the PA system this wouldn’t be affecting our arrival into Nassau.

Now we had a bit of an incident last cruise at the Ticket to Ride show which is of course our Beatles tribute. For those who have not seen this show it is as I mentioned a tribute to John, Paul, George and Ringo and if there is one production I wish I could sing in, it would be this show. However, I doubt the guests would like it very much and the only voice more stomach churning than mine singing a Beatles song would be ……….. ummmmmmmmm ……. Ringo’s!

Anyway, enough of the silliness and back to what happened…….oh by the way did you hear that NASA will blast the Beatles song “Across the Universe” toward the North Star in hopes of communicating with alien life forms. The star is over 400 light years away, which means it would be at least 800 years before we’ll hear any reply. But when they do ………………. Larry King will interview them. Sorry………enough of these stupid Beatle jokes………back to the story. Anyway, there we were on the last night of the cruise at the first performance of Ticket To Ride and during…………..oh by the way, did you hear that following Heather Mills divorce from Paul McCartney she has come into financial difficulties………yep…………..she now has a job as a waitress…………at IHOP.

Bugger…………sorry……….that was the last one I promise. So during the finale of the show we hand out glow sticks to the guests and during the singing of “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude” they are encouraged to stand up, wave their glow sticks in the air and sing along. It is a wonderful spectacle and is one of the many reasons why it is one of our most popular shows. Well…….unfortunately instead of waving his glow stick around 5 year old Brandon from Columbia, South Carolina he ate it. Yep……….he chewed through the glow stick and that was him……….with a mouth like Shrek.

Now, obviously Mum looked around and was horrified when she noticed her son’s mouth was green and in the middle of the finale she picked him up and ran from the lounge. One of the entertainment staff saw her and obviously ran after them and she decided that she should immediately take them to the medical center. Once there the medical staff asked me for any chemical information on the stuff that makes the sticks glow. While Brandon was showing no symptoms of distress his Mother was very concerned and the medical were as well not knowing what the dye was made from. I grabbed the box the sticks came in and took one down to the medical center. On the side of the box it said in huge letters “NON TOXIC – CHEMICAL FREE – CHOKING HAZARD FOR THREE YEARS AND UNDER.

The medical staff seemed to be fine with this but they kept Brandon under observation for an hour or so and during this time his mouth turned from Shrek green to a faint luminous glow. I awarded Brandon a trophy and a medal for being brave and thank goodness this story had a happy ending for Brandon…..or as his Mum and I call him ……..The Incredible Hulk.

This cruise has been great so far as well and I will tell you more about it tomorrow. And, our Super Spy PA 007 called me yesterday to say that he/she may have some magical breaking news in the near future.

Right, that’s it for today except to apologize one more time to Corvette Lady and hope that she doesn’t mind me saying that I miss Heidi and I miss Kye. I wish the Caymanians would hurry up and build that sodding pier.

You know what……. I think I might just paint my thingy in fluorescent green paint and stand on top of a climbing wall on the “Something of the Seas and wave it about while shouting “Bugger off” to the French.

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.