There have been quite a few changes during the four months I was away from home. My daughter has learnt to say important words like “Dada” which is amazing and “poo” which is even more so. There have also been changes in our house thanks to Heidi doing her impression of a merchant banker and spending money we don’t have by having a new kitchen fitted and replacing the whole way we watch TV.

Before I left for your Carnival Dream back in January it was easy to make my television work. I plugged an aerial cable into the back, and then bashed the top with my fist until eventually President Bartlett stopped jumping up and down. Things have changed and Heidi has installed a new system which is a combination of the TV, phone and broadband all operated by the same company……a company called Virgin. Yep, Virgin, Richard “beardie” Branson also owns companies that offer “full communication” packages. And because his was £20 cheaper a month than good old British Telecom’s package……..Heidi had switched and switched three days before I got home and switched three days before the World Cup  (that’s sacccccerrr) started……..so of course………it doesn’t work. ………………Virgin my arse!

Have you tried to make a modern TV work? It’s sodding impossible. And after you have minced around with the 27 different remote controls for three hours………you eventually have to do your best impression of the French army…….and surrender. You then have to get a man round and then it still won’t work because you pretended to understand what he showed you but being a man you are to embarrassed to admit that you have absolutely what the hell he is talking about and after he leaves…….you still have no idea what to press on the 27 remote control devices.

Right now, I am sitting here…………..in my underpants…………. looking at the remote control for the TV in my office. It has 28 buttons on it, including one marked “PRECOMP/(rgb 7)”. Any idea what that does? I haven’t. I do understand the one marked “Power,” but this does not actually turn the television on. So far as I can tell, nothing does, which is why ever since I have bought it, the thing has just sat there, as turned on as group of college kids watching Judge Judy pole dancing.

However, nothing had prepared me for Saturday night. As some of you may know England played the USA at football…………I refuse to call it “saccccceerrrr” any more…………..and as you may also know ……..thanks to our goalkeeper Robert Green, the game was tied 1-1. Green my arse! He couldn’t even catch a cold.

Anyway, I had invited my ugly mate Alan round to watch the game on my TV, which thanks to me paying £45 to a “man” to come round and show me how to use it, was working. Heidi decided that she would rather be anywhere else than watch football so she and Kye went to some friends house for dinner.

Since returning from the Carnival Fantasy I have taken little interest in our new kitchen except to say “how bloody much” when I saw the bill. However, now Heidi had gone out leaving me to fend for myself I realised that I could not operate a single thing……… nope …………..not a single buggery thing.

Let me start with coffee…………ahh yes……….the simple joy of making a good old cup of Joe as you Americans would say. For many years this involved putting some water in a kettle and boiling it. But now kettles are seen as old fashioned as a pointless as a climbing wall, which is why my new kitchen has a multi-buttoned aluminium (pronounced correctly) panel thingy set into the wall. The idea is that you fill it with beans and the boiling water is instant. Sounds great, but the instruction book is 200 pages long and I’m sorry but if I read through that I might as well bugger off to Starbucks. The coffee machine, though, is only the beginning.

Along with our new Virgin TV system there’s a music thingy that can beam music into any room in the house. Last night I was listening to classic rock station called “Planet Rock” while I was waiting for the football to start and was head-banging away to some Black Sabbath when the phone rang and I answered it. But because Ozzy was screaming about Fairies Wearing Boots I couldn’t hear. This meant turning the system off and, for me at least, that was impossible.

Normally I would just hit the thing with a hammer or throw it on the floor this works well for alarm clocks in hotel rooms and the odd Social Host as well. But I was holding a remote-control device. Smashing that into a million pieces, I realised, would not stop the noise. I needed to find the actual box thingy and I couldn’t. So the only solution was to drive into London … and ask the DJ to stop playing music.

It’s not just the music system and the TV and the coffee maker, either. Heidi’s new kitchen has an extractor fan above the stove and has five settings. Why? What’s wrong with off and on? I can’t think of anything that’s less in need of seven settings … apart from maybe a Star Trek phaser.

Other things? Well, I can’t open the garage door — it’s remote control, obviously and it will only work if you lean your entire body out of the car window and point it at the garage. The alarm system? Nope. That has more codes than Da Vinci and every time I turn it on or off the thing starts beeping and then explode into a noise so loud that it would wake the dead.

Television? Nope. Broadband? Not a chance. And the cooker? Hmm, you could use its controls to remotely pilot a US Air Force spy drone. But to make a spotted dick? Not in a million years.

Who designs this crap? This is a simple house in the UK not some high tech house in the hills of California.  Obviously some Brit with a beard went to a gadget show in Las Vegas, got completely carried away and then come to England  to install systems that no one over here can understand. We’ve only just got computers for God’s sake. And obviously Heidi was easy prey to sell all this bollocks to. A blonde lady holding a baby with no man in sight …………he must have thought it was Christmas

Anyway, there I was with Roger Blum on the phone from Miami trying to be heard over Ozzy and the boys, the football was about to start and the extractor fan was making as much noise as Black Sabbath. The coffee machine thingy was boiling water that wouldn’t stop and in a desperate attempt to turn everything off, I thought I’d find the fuse box. Fuse box? To an American gadgeteer, a fuse box is as Victorian as a horse and carriage and has been replaced by a circuit board that would baffle Stephen Hawking. I opened the fuse box door and it was like stepping onto the bridge of your Carnival Dream. I am not joking. There are rows and rows of switches and thousands of tiny blinking green and red lights. Thousands? Yes. Thousands.

I am quite familiar with the systems on our ship’s bridge and I assure you there are fewer switches and lights up there than there are in my house. My fuse box is so scary that I don’t dare touch anything in case I dock my house in Ocho Rios.

As I sat on the floor of my kitchen with no coffee, no food, no television, no broadband and as Ozzy started to scream Iron Man I realised how pleasant it must have been to live in the stone age…….in a cave……….in your underpants………waiting for your wife to cook a dinosaur steak over an open fire before dragging her by the hair to the bed cave for a spot of rumpy pumpy ……….those were the days.

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

Stacey Schafer Asked:
DEAR JOHN PLEASE REPLY:

Don’t know if you got my first blog since I neglected to write please reply. I am new at this stuff so sorry! We are a family of five sailing on the July 3 Freedom. We love Carnival and are so excited. We have requested early dining and would love to sit alone. We have no family time during the year and we love our private dinners. Everyone on Cruise Critic says you work ‘magic”. Can you work “magic” for our family?

John Says:
Hello Stacey Schafer

I know you must be very excited about your soon to be here Carnival Freedom cruise and I will send a note to the Maitre D asking him to assist you with your request. Please let me know all about your cruise when you return.

Have a brilliant time

Best wishes
John

John from NY Asked:
Hi John (please reply when you have a chance),

I wanted to address a concern of mine and many others on cruise critic and in general. We are not only concerned about the overuse or use at all of the big screen TVs during the day, but we are also concerned about the deterioration of the poolside calypso bands. The TVs are great to have at night and in the early morning. These bands are something that all cruisers look forward to. They add and make the cruise atmosphere the special one it is. The duos just don’t make up for the full calypso bands that we all used to love. These bands played our favourite songs, set the mood, got cruisers involved, and really made the pool scene the special one it is that we look forward to each and every day. Some people have commented that bringing these bands back could even boost Carnival’s bar sales by the pool by encouraging more people to relax, take in the moment, etc. According to the thread and other cruisers I know, it seems like just about everyone really would love for Carnival to bring back these 4 person calypso bands to play by the pool every afternoon.

The link to the thread is below.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1201098

Thanks so much for your help with this concern of ours and we all appreciate your help with this and with everything.

John

John Says:
Hello John

Thanks for taking the time to write and let me address the concerns of you and other Cruise Critic members. I think when we first got the Seaside Theatre Big Screens that we (I) did start to schedule less live music on Lido and over compensated the use of movies and concerts etc. However, that is definitely not the case now. All of the Cruise Directors that are on ships that have these giant screens have made sure that live music is scheduled from late morning until late afternoon.  This includes the calypso duos as well as utilizing other bands and musicians there as well. As for the four piece bands being replaced by duos……..well that is here to stay. The duos are for the most part as good as the four piece bands. I just left a duo on the Carnival Fantasy who were the best I have heard in a long time. The other factor here is cabins. I think it is important for you and others no note that on all of our ships we have only a certain amount of beds per department. It is easy for people to say that Carnival should “add this entertainment” and often when we don’t it is perceived that we don’t want to pay for this. More often than not it is simply because there is no cabin for these extra people to stay in. Each department therefore has a strict budget and every crew bed is filled accordingly. We used to have four piece bands and they were good but those extra beds have been taken by extra promenade and lobby soloists and duos which have been a great success.

If you or anyone else has a follow up to this, please let me know.

Thanks again for writing.

Best wishes
John

Shirley Asked:
John – Please Reply

Why oh why has Carnival done away with liquor sales through Bon Voyage? HELP

Sailing with a large group on Carnival Victory – July 4th out of San Juan.

Shirley

John Says:
Hello Shirley

I am sure by now you have seen that this was an internal mis-communication and one we apologize for. All is back to normal. If you need any more help with this or anything else please let me know

Best wishes
John

Terri Mullins Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply

I sailed on the Fantasy in May. This was my first cruise and I had an absolute fantastic time. The ship was great, the staff was great and the food was wonderful.

My question is in regards to some friends of mine. They are getting married in July and taking their honeymoon on the Pride on July 18th. I would love to send something to their room to surprise them. But I don’t want to ask their room number or booking number…because they will want to know why of course. Is there anyway of ordering things without that information? All I can really supply are their names and which sailing they are on. I know this isn’t much, but I would really like to surprise them.

Thanks in Advance,
Terri

John Says:
Hello Terri Mullins.

I am so glad you had such a great time on the Carnival Fantasy as did I. Please send me the names and cabin number as soon as possible and I will be happy to send your friends a honeymoon gift. You can also order a gift for them through www.carnival.com/bonvoyage where you will find a whole range of brilliant gift ideas. So you send them something and so will I.

I hope it is not too long before we see you again.

Best wishes to all
John

Dan Yarosh Asked:
John and all the Stephanies, please respond

I have to write you now, I just got a phone call from my daughter Christina from the deck of the Fascination, She’s just 10 hours from port and couldn’t wait to tell me what a FANTASTIC time she had and that Trevor and crew really made her graduation cruise a super special event. You guys went over and above the call of duty, (probably why Carnival is the worlds leading cruise line) thank you, all the Stephanies, Trevor and the Fascination crew for me.

Loved your little tune to Kye, reminded me of my time, when my kids were little. Keep singing,
Dan

John Says:
Hello Dan Yarosh

Each and every blog I get asked to help people in some way or another and I truly enjoy being able to do so. However, I don’t always get a thank you posting like this and I thank you for taking the time to write. It’s not because I need a thank you but because it is nice to pass these thanks to the CD’s and maitre d’s whom I ask help from. I will certainly pass your thanks onto Trevor and his staff for making Christina’s cruise that extra bit special.

Best wishes to you all
John

James Farrar Asked:
Good day John

My family thoroughly enjoyed the Conquest Mar 28-Apr 4 “Dick Little” cruise. We lost our cell phone on board that foggy Sunday when the Port of Galveston was closed. We filed a report on board and again with Miami.

Could you provide a supervisor’s number that I can call directly? I’ve talked to folks in Miami but am afraid the phone is in a drawer somewhere on board.

Thanks,

John Says:
Hello James Farrar

I am hoping that as I am three weeks or so behind on answering questions that you have found the missing phone. Just in case you have not I will pass this on to our Guest Services team to ask them to kindly contact you. I hope you find it and thanks for the kind words about your cruise……I really enjoyed my time on the Carnival Conquest too.

Best wishes
John

Laura Teeter Asked:
John (please reply)

I am one of those people who are writing to you for something. Not that I don’t love you and I do read your blogs everyday.

My daughter and her husband will be on their honeymoon on the Carnival Spirit 7-6-10.This is my daughters 11th Carnival cruise (she is trying to catch up with me-I have 12 Carnival cruises so far) and this is her husbands first, but not his last if she has her way. They are in cabin 2448, a suite that they decided to splurge on for their honeymoon. If you could do a little something for them, if would mean a lot to me and would surprise them big-time.

My daughter is in Washington DC this week with a bunch of middle school kids. She is a teacher and is one of the chaperones for this school trip. Although she does read your blog I am hoping she will miss this one.

Thank you in advance for whatever you can do to surprise them.

John Says:
Hello Laura Teeter

Please let me thank you for taking the time to write and I can see your daughter and her husband have booked a suite on the Carnival Spirit and that will be a great place to spend their honeymoon cruise in……………..hopefully they will come out of the cabin once or twice.

I will send them something to wish them a very special honey moon cruise.

Thanks so much for reading the blog as you do and I hope you continue to do so.

Best wishes to all
John

Bonnie Boatner Asked:
Dear John, reply if you like:

In the past, I didn’t understand why people put their kids at Camp Carnival either, until we took our grandson cruising (Last year on Fascination). He loved it, but we couldn’t get him out of camp. We are taking him on Inspiration next month with friends and their 2 sons, also repeat cruisers. When asked what they want to do, it’s “See my friends at camp.” Kudos to the young people who staff the camp, and I hope that parents who use it see their way to tip, as the counsellors are not included in the auto gratuities.

Also, thanks for the Fantasy updates. The news here in SC has been full of reports about her arrival yesterday, we are so excited to have a drive to port and hope Charleston becomes a 2 ship port like Tampa. Why not Savannah for a replacement for Jax? Its in the area, it would make an exceptional pre/post cruise city, just an idea, Savannah is a great destination. Thanks for your blog, have a great day

John Says:
Hello Bonnie Boatner

What a brilliant commercial for Camp Carnival and I have heard the statement that kids don’t want to leave many times before. I will pass your thanks to the staff on the Carnival Fascination and their supervisor.

As I have previously written, Charleston is a superb home port and one that will continue to grow I am sure. We need to work with the port authority and local government to improve the terminal and parking facilities and this will allow us to maybe add bigger ships as well. Certainly we were welcomed by the people of Charleston and I expect this port to be a new Galveston…………and that is very high praise indeed.

As for Savannah………well our SVP Terry and his staff are always looking at possibilities of additional home ports so I will be sure to pass your comments on to him.

I am glad you enjoy the blog and thanks again for taking the time to write about Camp Carnival.

Best wishes to you and the family
John

Brandy Asked:
John (Please Reply)

Carnival has the Cruise Critic boards in a tizzy! The Bon Voyage Dept is no longer selling hard alcohol? When was this decision made, why did they do this, and how can we get the Beards to change their minds? We understand if they are rolling in a new drink program, but please let us know why and what is going on. We hate being left in the dark without any rumpy bumpy to keep us occupied LOL. I enjoy the ability to have a rum and coke in my room before dinner and do not want to have to wait for the poor room service guy to trek down to my cabin to deliver it to me. Please help us get to the bottom of this John. We just like the convenience of Bon Voyage and having bottles in our room waiting on us to start the party.

Thank you so much!

John Says:
Hello Brandy

Just a quick apology for the problems this little glitch caused. Normal service has now been restored and I hope you enjoy your rum and coke before dinner.

Apologies once again and best wishes
John

JJFlurett Asked:
Dear John (Please reply)

Not getting any help from other sites. We are booked on the Carnival Legend on 12/5/10 in cabin 5157. When we booked we paid balcony prices and understood these were obstructed balconies. Now my reservation shows cabin 5157 as an “Ocean view.” Please tell me I have a balcony or this is a no go cruise as far as DH is concerned.

Thanks, enjoy your blog!
J

John Says:
Hello JJ Flurett

I asked the Guest Services Manager on the Carnival Legend for some information on your stateroom. Here is what he told me:

Cabin 5157 is a balcony stateroom with a slightly obstructed view and is a cat 7a.

Here are two photos of this cabin and I am sure as you will see it still provides you a good view and will be a great base for your cruise.

I hope this information helps and if you need to follow up with anything I remain here at your service

Best wishes
John

Renee MacLaughlan Asked:
Please reply-

Hi John,

I just made a reservation for the Steakhouse on the Splendor for November 30, 2010 – we sail on November 28. My husband and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary on the cruise, as well as (hopefully) my 6th month of being cancer free – I have surgery in early June and plan to beat it!

Would you please let the Steakhouse personnel know that we are celebrating our anniversary? I did put this on my profile but I am not sure that the restaurant will get the message. Much thanks. And we look forward to meeting you since the calendar shows that you will be our CD!

John Says:
Hello Renee MacLaughlan

I will be there with you on the Carnival Splendor as your Cruise Director and if you leave me a little note at the Guest Services Desk when you arrive I will make sure that I remind the Steakhouse of your reservation and send you a little anniversary gift.

See you soon and best wishes to you and your husband.
John

Justin Asked:
John, Please reply

I just got off the Carnival Freedom and I had an awesome time. The cruise director Ryan and the karaoke host Lil Jon were awesome. So were my dinner waiters. I don’t remember their names buy they are the waiters who served table 551. Because of this trip I would like to be a cruise director when I get out of college. (I’m in 9th grade) and I was wondering how you become a cruise director.

John Says:
Hello Justin

Thanks mate for writing and I am so happy that you had such a brilliant time on the Carnival Freedom and liked Ryan and Lil Jon. I will make sure they know that you said how good they were.

To be a Cruise Director ………well you really need to do is like people and having fun. Those are the two most important things about the job. There are other things as well but smiling, laughing and wanting to be around people all the time are the most important. Our Cruise Directors all come from different jobs. Some were dancers and entertainers. One was a gold miner and one or two were DJ’s. Me………….I used to be an aerobics instructor.

So, keep working hard at school and when you are older and you realise you like people and like to laugh and have fun then you too could be a Cruise Director.

I wish you success and happiness in whatever you do Justin

Cheers
John

Karen (formerly techmom) Asked:
John (please reply)

I have just returned from cruising to Alaska on the Carnival Spirit. It was amazing and a must see!

Since I have cruised before I can tell you this cruise is different than others we have taken. There are activities on the boat but not has much as a “warm” weather cruise. Also was surprised to see that there were not as many elderly on the boat than I thought there would be. There was a large group and they brought a mixture of ages.

Likes:

We went down Endicott Fjord instead of Tracey Arm due to icebergs. It was amazing! Amazing! We sat with our friends on our balcony (all bundled up) and watched the scenery and listened to the naturalist on board. The glacier at the end was breathtaking. Would like to have you post some pictures but not sure how to do that.

Our weather was beautiful in Skagway and Ketchikan. Juneau it rained. We did the White Pass Railway in Skagway and that is a must see. In Ketchikan we just wandered through the town but our friends did the snorkelling. Yep! Stu (our cruise director) also did that excursion. In Juneau we went to Mendenhall Glacier and I have to say the glacier we saw in the Fjord was a million times better.

We did the Your Time Dining and never had an issue. We were told by Martina-waitress we had every night-that there were only 220 signed up for it on this cruise because there were several groups so that may have been why we were seated no matter what time we got there. The hostesses upstairs were wonderful. There were two Ekatrina and I didn’t get the name of the other (short blond hair) who knew us the minute we got there and were very accommodating.

Dislikes:

People who just sat in the buffet areas playing games while we wandered around looking for a table to eat. We sat many times by the pool because there were no seats. You hear about the deck chair hogs, well this cruise had table hogs. Sometimes there would be one person at a table reading-really; there are no other places on the boat to read!

VIP check in-other than a shorter line they let everyone on the boat at the same time. I have seen in Galveston where they do it differently so was a little surprised by this. There was nothing different for debarkation either.

No deck party. There was a 4pm Mardi Gras party which was no big deal. Nothing like the line dances and stuff that we have seen on other ships. Didn’t see much of the social hosts either. Stu was good. I told him I read this blog and what would he give me if I said nice things about him on here and he said my thanks so forget it! I want gifts. No, he was ok and we saw him more than we saw Kirk on the Pride.

My husband feels we will be doing it again next year but he is wrong. I plan on being on the Carnival Magic next August or September and we are already booked on Carnival Miracle for December. But we will do this cruise again. The Spirit class ships are great and the crew on this cruise was exceptional.

Karen

John Says:
Hello Karen (formerly techmom)

Thanks for the great review. I always love reading ones about the Carnival Spirit and Alaska as I have never been there or been on the Carnival Spirit either. Your description of the scenery though reminds me again that before I hang up my CD blazer I must see the last frontier. Your commentaries of the scenery were superb and thank you for sharing your experiences. I must say I was disappointed to read the comments about VIP embark and debark as this is something we promise our Platinum guests and I was surprised therefore that this was not done. I will make sure the right people see this and although it won’t help you now your comments will assist us to improve. So, my apologies for this and indeed that the Entertainment Staff were not visible either. I am Stu will be disappointed as well and will look at his schedules carefully.

Previous CD’s have told me that late night deck parties on the Carnival Spirit don’t work. I think it may be because of the temperature outside but that was in the past and maybe we need to look at doing this now.

I have also been reading other reviews that have said, as you did, that it is not just older people that are cruising on the Carnival Spirit these days and that unlike the past ……………. families with children and younger couples are now experiencing the wonders of Alaska.

So, thanks again for the kind words and I hope you will be on your Carnival Magic where I will have a gift waiting for you.

Best wishes to you all
John

Handymancruiser Asked:
Reply needed to this urgent comment!

The people on Cruise Critic are spitting fire about Carnival and your stupid policy on power strips. And usually when Cruise critic folks get mad the cruise lines listen. I have cruised twice with your line and will now go back to Royal Caribbean because of this. Hundreds more Cruise Critic people will no doubt do the same.

John Says:
Hello Handymancruiser

We listen to all the comments from our guests, regardless if they are Cruise Critic members or not. The power strip issue has been well documented here and I guess all I can say is that it is what it is. I am sorry that you feel you need to leave Carnival to go to another cruise line and I hope that once the red mist had disapissatated (spelt correctly) that you will remember the fun you had on your first two Carnival vacations and not let the lack of a power strip influence your decision to cruise with us again. I do have to say that your sweeping statement that “hundreds of Cruise Critic members will do the same” is simply not true. The end.

Best wishes
John

Volzcruiser Asked:
John,

I have been a reader of your blog for quite some time and really enjoyed it. I am hoping that you can maybe answer a question for me. I have just learned today that your Bon Voyage Dept. has stopped selling Liquor by the bottle to be delivered to your room at the beginning of the cruise. This really is a shame that you have discontinued this practice, because it kept me from having to go down to get a drink when I was just relaxing in my cabin or hanging out on my balcony. I didn’t mind paying a higher price for the bottles than I paid at my local store and also meant that I would never have to smuggle booze. Now either I am going to be inconvenienced or I just won’t go get a drink which is a lose lose situation for all involved. Now that I have given you all that here is the question, is there plans in the works by Carnival to either move this type of sale to another department or maybe we can order bottles from room service at the price we were paying to the Bon Voyage dept? I do thank you for taking the time to read this hopefully to get an answer

John Says:
Hello Volzcruiser

I think we realised pretty quickly that the internal miscommunication regarding stopping liquor sales through our Bon Voyage department had caused some to get a wee bit upset. My apologies for this and I am sure that by now you have seen that normal service has been resumed.

Thanks for taking the time to write

Best wishes
John

Melody Asked:
John, PLEASE REPLY:

My mom has been reading your blog for a few years now and just got me hooked!! After reading a few days worth of blogs, I realized that you would be a good person to go to for a couple of suggestions I have. 1st, back in Oct 2009 I was on the Inspiration with my husband and 4 year old. She absolutely loved the water slides (so did we), but she was just over the 42inch height requirement and almost EVERY time she went to climb those stairs, they were measuring her to see if she was tall enough. I am all about safety, so no problem there. My suggestion is maybe a wrist band given to the children that have met the height requirement, thus not needing to be measured 47 times on a 4 day cruise.

2nd, my husband and I just recently got off the Sensation (May2-6th) and you MUST hear our photograph story. It was on elegant night when they come around and take your photo as a couple, and then each of you separately. My husband always laughs because, well, why would we ever want a photo just of him, or just of me. Anyway, we never found the photos until the last evening and when we did, we were laughing until we were crying. See, for our “couples shot” my husband had his arm around me. Then for his individual shot (that he didn’t even want taken), he must have dropped his left arm down the back of the chair. So, the result: a photo of my husband with only one arm!! It totally and completely looked as if he only had one arm. If the photo wasn’t $20, I would have purchased it for a joke. And I bring you this story so that it can be relayed to your photo team. Watch for arm placement when taking photos. Enjoying your blog and my new found addiction to Carnival cruising. By the way, Al Ernst was great, our juggler/magician….not so much!

Melody

John Says:
Hello Melody

What a great suggestion. Yep, a wrist band may be something worth looking into. Obviously the people in our Miami HQ who wear high visibility jackets to bed at night will have the final say in this but certainly it is well worth sending this idea to them and I will let you know what they say.

I guess we ask people to take solo photos because we think their partners will want one on their office desk or bedside table so they can remember who the one they love is but obviously we need to be careful of “arm placement.” What a great story. I am glad you didn’t buy that photo………..he would have looked like someone wanted for “armed robbery.”

Seriously though thanks again for taking the time to write. I hope you had loads of fun on the Carnival Inspiration, welcome to the blog and my best wishes to you and the family

John

Michael Asked:
John-Please Reply

I just read DNA’s comment about why Carnival is not building ships like RCI…and while I can admit it was posed quite rudely, I honestly believe it’s a valid question that deserves an answer. Carnival is the number one cruise line in the world…and if anyone can afford to build new and innovative ships it would be Carnival. But the corporation seems to be rolling out “new ships” that are carbon copies of the last “new ship.” There seems to be a complete lack of innovation coming out of Carnival Corporation and it’s disheartening. I am well past Platinum and am close to milestone…but I’m afraid I will never reach it because my next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas. It’s not about a Mall of the Seas or paying for a steak…it’s about innovation. New experiences. Cutting edge technology. Just a sense of feeling something new when I step onto a new Carnival ship. If I wanted a familiar Carnival experience, I would sail on the older ships. Every new ship should not be the same as the last! I was so excited when the Dream Class was introduced…but when I saw it was an oversized Conquest class ship with a “Lanai” I was so very disappointed. You’ve recently introduced laser tag on most ships, and from what I’ve read it was met with great enthusiasm and became extremely popular very quickly, even at a premium. This shows that there is a want for more. Like Teddy Roosevelt said, “If you build it, they will come.” Please give the people more. Something new!!!

John Says:
Hello Michael

There is no doubt that the huge RCI ships have some amazing entertainment spaces. However, I must defend the Dream class which respectfully is much, much more than a Conquest class with a Lanai. There is the water park with four different slides, the new atrium, Fun Hub, 2 brand new shows, one of which “Dancing in the Street” has been met with much acclaim. Then there is Laser Tag and the Carnival Comedy Club which is a must see. We introduced family double bathroom cabins and cove balconies.

We build lots of totally different ships depending on what our brands passengers need. (AIDAblu, Costa Delizosa, Azura, Seabourn Sojourn, and Carnival Dream were built in a year none……. carbon copies? Am I right in saying that there are 7 Voyagers and 5 Solstices thingies? There is plenty of innovation not just gimmicks. Things most or all of our guests can use like

  • Movies under the stars
  • Serenity and Sanctuary decks
  • 4D cinemas
  • Formula 1 simulators
  • As you wish and 2 seating dining. (True choice)
  • Speciality dining
  • Mini golf courses
  • And on your Carnival Magic you will find entertainment and other areas that we have never had on our ships before and of which I will be telling you about very soon.

I know that you have cruised many times with Carnival and we are so honoured by this and of course I am sure you know that all the bells and whistles that RCI have on their monsters of the seas have to be paid for which is why the ticket price is higher. So, I hope you have a great cruise on the monster of the sea but I hope you will look outside of the ice rink and the other shiny things and look at the staff, the fun, the food and what is included in what you pay for and what is an extra cost. New innovations cost money and lots of so called innovations makes the cruise a lot more expensive.

I must admit that I thought twice about replying to this because honestly, this could be a set up question and regardless if it is or not I am giving free advertising to another line. But it did deserve an answer and one that I am proud to give. And to help me I wanted to post this which was sent to me by a Cruise Critic friend member.

We’ve recently finished the 5 night Western Mediterranean cruise, departing Barcelona on RC’s Adventure of the Seas. As we had also done a Western Caribbean cruise with Carnival, a few weeks earlier, we had a great chance to compare the 2 cruise lines side-by-side. Both cruises were done on our honeymoon. We can confidently say that Carnival won in practically every category. This rather surprised us, as we had read in forums online that Royal Caribbean was supposed to be the ‘classier’ cruise line. Here were the major differences:

Food: Carnival’s food was simply amazing. I am a real food lover, and we really could not find any fault at all with the food on the Carnival cruise. The Deli section on Carnival (where you can order things like pastrami on rye) was sadly missing on the Adventure of the Seas, and the quality of the salad bar, hot meals, and desserts on the Adventure ship was poor. The *best* dessert we had on RC was worse than the *worst* dessert we had on the Carnival cruise. It was as if the recipes used on RC were just not tested enough (the staff on RC are not allowed to actually alter any of the recipes themselves, and must follow them blindly, so they can hardly be blamed for the bland food). The night-time dining experience was a disappointment on RC. We had specifically requested a table for two, and given that it was our honeymoon, thought that surely we could be accommodated (there were very few other honeymooners on board). As it turned out, we were dumped at a table with 6 other people, all from the same family. On Carnival, we could choose whether we wanted to sit at a table for 2 each night (which we did), and we were always able to, given that Carnival has a *lot* more of them. Also, late dining on RC is just *too* late, starting at 9:15pm. Meals often didn’t finish until well after 11pm. Service was also markedly slower on RC than on Carnival. Many other things (such as RC having pre-packaged butter packets, rather than Carnival’s special whipped butter, made dining less enjoyable on RC).

Staff: RC’s staff pretty much all had a chip on their shoulders. Genuine smiles were nowhere to be seen. I actually would’ve settled for ‘indifference’ but the staff were often plain rude. Carnival’s staff were *always* cheerful, and really great fun. The difference was extraordinary. The cruise director was 100 times better on Carnival.

Look of the Ships: Carnival ship design was far more interesting and exciting, with each area of the ship being based around a different ‘legend’. The Adventure of the Seas’ design was far from inspiring, featuring bland modern art.

RC also failed to do anything for our honeymoon, even though our booking agency informed them about it. I asked them at the end why we hadn’t received any special treatment at all, and they said they had no record that it was our honeymoon. Once finding out it was our honeymoon, there was no ‘sorry’ or any attempt at all to make up for the failing. Carnival, on the other hand, brought us a special cake during dinner service, and even had numerous staff sing us a special honeymoon song, which was fantastic.

We also met another couple of the RC cruise, and funnily enough, they had the exact same opinion about the difference between Carnival and Royal Caribbean. They also thought that Carnival was far superior. It is very unlikely that we will use RC again for a cruise.

One last thing. For as many who have said they have enjoyed some of the new innovations that can be found on RCI’s new ships I have read many that have said that they missed something simple……………..seeing the ocean.

Thank you for your loyalty to Carnival; Michael and I hope one day you do get your Milestone card. I will be honoured to present it to you.

Best wishes
John

Stacey Asked:
Good to see you, John! (PLEASE REPLY)

Had a quick question regarding who decides when to switch up the fleet wide dinner menus a bit.

Seems to me, by frequenting the Carnival board on Cruise Critic and looking at your past guest/Platinum stats on your blog, Carnival enjoy a great amount of passengers who have sailed Carnival before (of which I am happy to be one). Has anyone (beards) done any research into how satisfied the passengers are with the same menus recycled onboard year after year?

I get that the food prices for Carnival can be kept low by ordering in mass amounts. But can’t they order the same/standard million pounds of chicken, 4000 pounds of celery and onions, 25 different spices, 560 gallons of cream and a bazillion pounds of butter per week, and come up with a few different uses for them from ship to ship to fill the menu spot for a chicken dish? I mean, bring in some of the mediocre contestants off of “Top Chef Masters” and let them at it, I’m sure they could come up with something different…let alone the magic that the chefs Carnival has employed could work if asked to do so.

I do love Carnival and the value, and I’m not a picky eater. I just think it’d take some effort and creativity every few years…even rotate the different dishes through the fleet, ship by ship, every now and then. That is really the ONLY thing I’m not a huge fan of Carnival’s– is the same, standard menu. Granted, I’ve only cruised 3 times, but that menu has been the same for going in 5 years now and I can’t imagine the vast majority of cruisers who sail more often than I wouldn’t welcome a bit of a change.

Thanks for taking the time to reply,
Stacey

John Says:
Hello Stacey

The timing of this comment is perfect. That’s because just before I left spoke to our Executive Chef and the Vice President of Food and Beverage and we chatted about menu items. Now, we have been changing some items and as many of you will have seen. However, I promised them that I would ask for your wish list. Now remember, we need to feed the masses so asking for deep fried peacock in white wine sauce may not be a good idea. Our menu have gotten better and better over the years and the comments about our food are a joy to read. Slowly but surely people are starting to realise that our food is as good or better than our competitors and the quality of food ratings have never been higher.

However, there is always room for improvement so what Stacey would you like to see on our menus that we don’t have. You and the other bloggers can be non specific and suggest more meat, less fish or more spice or etc etc. But if you have a specific dish you want to see added such as Shepherd’s Pie made with real shepherd then please………….tell me here on the blog.

This should make for fascinating reading.

Thanks for being a loyal Carnival cruiser and thanks also for taking the time to read the blog and post this comment

Best wishes to you and the family

That’s all for today. I answered a few more than normal so I can catch up a bit after my four days off……………which by the way I thank you so much for. I had a fun with the girls and they thank you also.

On a rather more sombre note I wondered if any of you have heard from our friend and Cruise Critic host “Mach.” It seems he has been missing from the boards recently and some of his colleagues have contacted me asking for your help. If any of you have heard from him please let me know as some are worried………..myself included.

So, good morning from my little office here at home where I sit ……….in my underpants ……. writing this little blog thingy. It’s 9:50am and for the last 45 minutes I have been exercising. Well…….when I say exercising I mean playing with Kye whose latest game is for me to give her a toy and for her to drop it on the floor. She then waits for me to pick it up, give it to her and then drop it on the floor again. I am sure she enjoys watching her Dad’s fat arse bending over to pick it up time and time again.

In fact, I can hear her now so while I go and play with her for a few minutes I will leave you with a video. It’s a video of someone of whom I admire very much. His name is Sir Terry Wogan. For many years he was the most listened radio to DJ in the UK. His Irish boyish charm made him a huge star and also formed a fan base called TOGS…….Terry’s Old Geezers. And just like we have our bloggers cruises, Sir Terry has his TOGS cruise on Cunard’s Queen Victoria. So, I thought you might like to see a great entertainer and someone I truly admire and how the TOGS raised thousands of pounds for children……….in need.

Congratulations to Sir Terry, his Togs and to Cunard. Don’t forget you will be sailing with me (via the blog) on the Queen Victoria soon.

I have been promising that PA 007 our super spy would be breaking the news on where your Carnival Magic will make her home port. Well…….I think this week……….may well be the week. Yes, I know I have been saying that for the past 17 years but PA 007 told me that he/she is confident that they will be able to get this news very, very soon.

We have banned power strips for non-medical uses and we have banned you from hiding a liquor store in your Samsonite but I think Carnival has missed the most important item. This is an item that the high visibility jacket wearing beardies have yet to ban….but it is something that can cause our guests to feel ill and in some extreme cases can lead to projectile vomiting.

And while Carnival’s health and safety men and women scratch their beards and talk about “mind your step” signs I in my role as Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador hereby launch today a 100% ban…………..on Speedos!

Now some of the lady readers may be howling in despair “no, don’t ban the Speedo.” But a Carnival outright ban is the only way to go. You see, while you may enjoy looking at George Pitt or Brad Clooney in a pair most of our guests who wear them don’t look like them …….. they look like me……….or or 80 years old or 80 tons. And the last thing you want to see after eating a big bowl of Mongolian Wok is oversized guy in a pair of Speedos. On the Carnival Fantasy I even had someone come to my debarkation talk in a pair.

So, please join me in helping me ban Speedos from the Lido Deck. Voice your support and ban this item of clothing that looks like the man wearing them is trying to smuggle two plums and a budgie.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.

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