I know that I promised not to bore the socks off you with tales of my daughter Kye and my family life but considering what happened yesterday afternoon I have little choice but to tell you.

First of all we start with the fact that my polar bear killing Range Rover is in for a service and having dropped the car off at the dealership and being told it would be ready sometime between tomorrow and December, Heidi, Kye and I took a taxi from the Land Rover garage into town for a spot of shopping.

Now, I have read a few pages of my “how to be a good daddy” manual but nothing in that prepares you on the protocol for compensating strangers when your kid’s semi-digested breakfast is trickling down the back of their neck.

Now, I should point out that Kye is never sick and yet for some strange reason she decided to make up for never being so with one huge performance. Kye gave us little warning and up it all came in a perfect projectile arc….. A ridiculous amount for a kid who pretty much eats bugger all. When she had finished the poor chap’s cab looked like a promenade deck occasional does in bad weather.

Now Heidi, being a brilliant Mum always carries wet wipes with her but these were as pointless as putting a band aid on someone whose leg has just fallen off. As the stench ascended all we hurriedly tried to clean up the gallons of mixed banana and diced carrot with these little wet tissue thingies which was like offering the deck crew of the Titanic a mop and bucket.

You could tell that the taxi driver was pissed off from the faint whimpering sounds he was making which were understandable when your valeted car smells like Paris on a hot summer’s day. I was mortified and communicated this by doing my best Hugh Grant impression and saying “sorry” over and over again while making picking tiny pieces of puke from his hair. Heidi did her best but even my wife who is a champion in such occurrences looked like she wanted the ground to open and swallow her up.

I then thought about it for a moment and was going to comment that our cab driver had been slamming on the brakes and driving pretty quickly……….but as the back of his head was matted with baby sick……….I decided not to. Anyway, he pulled over at the side of a busy road whereupon Heidi started to wipe the car down with the light jacket she had been wearing. I considered taking my T-shirt off and doing the same but the driver had suffered enough that day already and the last thing he wanted to see would be Buddha cleaning sick off his upholstery.

The driver, being British and thus not thinking all children are intrinsically little bastards, was pretty cool about the whole thing though but he quickly took the extra £20 tip I gave him. Actually, it was Heidi who gave him £20 because I was in such an embarrassment that I would probably have offered up a free cruise in the penthouse on your Carnival Magic. If it had happened in Italy or Miami we probably would have been lucky to have escaped with our lives.

It reminds me of the time when our brilliant Maitre D Ken was with me on the Carnival Liberty in Europe. We were crossing the Gulf of Leon between Barcelona and Cannes and it was very rough indeed. Ken went over to a table to chat with the guests and a guest barfed all over him. Ken……….being Ken……..stood there covered in chocolate melting braised short ribs. I wonder if he got $20 to clean his suit.

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

Patty Byrd Asked:
JOHN, PLEASE REPLY:

I am intrigued by the new “luggage express” service now offered on Carnival ships. I would direct my questions to customer service, but I believe having them answered on the blog thingy would benefit other travellers. Anyway… depending on the airline and for a modest $20 fee, guests may check their luggage through Carnival (put it outside the stateroom) and not see again under final destination. Wonderful! My question is how do we get around the fees that the airlines charge for each checked bag and fees if it’s oversized or overweight? What happens at the check-in counter when the computer asks if you have luggage to be checked? Do you check “no” even though you do but don’t have them with you? What happens if you check “yes” and don’t have them with you…does Homeland Security jerk your sorry butt out of line for a strip search as a suspected terrorist? I see that if you qualify for this service you receive your boarding pass, luggage tags, and a letter. Is this letter your ticket to pass check-in and go directly to the gate avoiding all the check-in questions?

How long has this service been in place and is it successful? I’d hate to sign up for this and have my luggage permanently imprisoned. So many questions, so little time. Hopefully, your answers will benefit others.

Be well and Happy Belated Birthday, Kye and Heidi. Kye is growing up right before our eyes!
Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Idiot from Ah-hi-a (Ohio)

John Says:
Hello Patty Byrd

The luggage express option is indeed something that I don’t think I have spoken much about here on the blog so let me see what I can tell you. The luggage is placed outside of the stateroom on the last night of the cruise with a special tag attached. This tag is provided by us and given to all those guests who take this option. And you are correct when you say that the next time you see it will be at your final destination. We will still charge the guest on behalf of the airline for excess baggage; these charges are published on the flyer we send to each stateroom.

We issue the boarding pass and send it to your stateroom onboard. There is no need to check-in again or go to any desk or self help kiosk at the airport. The program has been running now for a couple of years on several of our vessels and home ports and has proved to be a great success for those guests who have wished to take part. The entire program has of course been approved by Homeland Security.

Here is a copy of the flyer we place in the state rooms

I hope this answers your questions and if you have a follow up please let me know.

Best wishes
John

Norine Asked:
John, Please Reply,

I just read an e-mail sent to you about bringing a CPAP machine onboard. I am not sure how to write to a Stephanie, but you wrote that the person should post to her a few days ahead of time.

My question is: Can we bring an extension cord along or can we get one at the GSD when we board?

Or let me know how to write to a Stephanie.

Please clarify this for me; we leave June 10th on the Glory.

Thanks for your help,
Norine and Carl (he’s the one with the CPAP)

John Says:
Hello Norine

I just wanted to make sure that you had seen the e-mail that one of the 344 Stephanies had sent you before you cruised. I know you are onboard at the moment and hopefully you will have seen that you can indeed bring on all the necessary equipment needed for your husband’s CPAP machine. Please let me know all was well and I hope you had a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes to you both
John

Rhonda Stacy Asked:
Please reply

Not sure what I am doing wrong, but why when I go to the Carnival website does it not display the number of days till my next cruise. Sad that its not there, my kids and I love to watch it.

Thanks

John Says:
Hello Rhonda Stacy

We had a technical glitch thingy on the countdown clocks but they are working now. Once your booking is added to carnival.com you should be able to see it at the top of the page. I hope you and your family enjoy watching the time get closer to you walking onboard and having a brilliant fun for all cruise.

Best wishes to all
John

Steven Asked:
John, (Please Reply)

In a few weeks I will graduate from the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) and to celebrate my wife and I are taking our very first cruise to Alaska on the Spirit on July 6th! We are very excited to celebrate my graduation and her birthday with Carnival. Even with the relaxation on the ship I can’t help get out of the education mindset (Improve yourself to improve the lives of others).

My background is in Family and Human Services (Social work), Psychology, and Political Science. My wife is a Public school teacher. In the fall I will be pursuing my Masters Degree in Special Education.

Due to the sensitive nature of working with children I completely understand why adults are not allowed into areas like Camp Carnival, Circle C, and Club O2. Having worked with vulnerable populations I commend Carnival for taking the security and safety of these guests seriously.

However, I am very curious about the enrichment activities, educational programs, and curriculum that Carnival has developed for these age groups.

Is there a way to contact the Carnival employee who is in charge of these programs on the ship to learn more and perhaps see the layout of these areas when there are no guests in them? I would be happy to meet with them even at what to a vacationer would be an unreasonable hour of late at night or early in the morning if necessary.

Any insight or help you could provide would be greatly appreciated…

Warm Regards,
Steven

John Says:
Hello Steven

I commend you on your pending graduation although couldn’t your university come up with a better mascot than a duck? There are tigers and lions and Vikings and sharks and ………….well ducks…..do you all stand in the stadium at a sports event quacking? Seriously though, congratulations to you and your wife. I have often said that as the son of a teacher we should pay you all so much more. All of us have a teacher who made a difference in our lives. Mine was Mrs. Prouse who despite having a mole on her face from which grew 5 huge hairs that I always wanted to pluck……….she was a brilliant lady who taught me so much.

We do indeed have very strict policies when it comes to adults visiting Camp Carnival however I see no reason why you can’t speak to someone about our program while you are onboard.

I will send this on to one of our shore side Camp Carnival staff who will be in touch with you directly or via one of the 344 Stephanies. You and your wife deserve the best vacation possible and I know that the staff and crew of the Carnival Spirit will make sure you have just that.

Please let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes to you both
John

Jordan Asked:
John (please reply, and you may include some humour!)

I thought I would like to say that I love your blog, I enjoy reading it every day. Don’t let others say a bunch of garbage and nonsense about you and Carnival. I have not met you yet, but hopefully some day in the near future I will have the opportunity to meet you. I enjoy your humour (spelt correctly) that you offer on the blog.

My parents just returned from a cruise, the Royal some cruise line. They said it was nice but the food on Carnival was far better than the Royal thingy. They also said the staff on Carnival was a lot friendlier than the Royal thingy ship they were on. So I applaud Carnival and the staff and crew on the ships for doing a superb job.

I was on the Conquest about a year ago, May 2009, and simply enjoyed it, would love to take another cruise sometime soon. I think cruises on Carnival are the best.

I am also looking to get a job working on a Carnival ship. I am a broadcast technician, videographer, video editor, lighting technician, audio technician, and stage technician with some jobs on land, but I would love to go work for Carnival. John, do you have any advice to give me on applying for a position on board a ship?

Jordan

John Says:
Hello Jordan

Thanks so much for telling me you enjoy the blogs and for taking the time to write. It was great to hear that you parents had a nice time and I am glad that they enjoy the food on Carnival. There is no doubt that we have come a long way with our food quality and selection and more and more converts from other cruise lines are saying the same thing as your Mum and Dad. We have always been so proud of our friendly and fun crew and again we proudly feel that we lead the industry in this regard. I have sent your information to the chap at Carnival who hires our AV staff and meanwhile please read all about the job and apply online at our web page thingy www.carnivalentertainment.com .

I wish you much success.

Best wishes to you and your Mum and Dad
John

Linda Asked:
JOHN, PLEASE REPLY:

I’m delighted to see that Charleston is now a homeport for all us Carolina girls! I know Sandra and I wish we were with you again–loved being with you on the Freedom & Splendor. One question–any additional changes or updates for the Carnival Fantasy during its November drydock? I’m getting ready to book for next spring for the Bermuda cruise and just wondering.

Linda

John Says:
Hello Linda

As you know I just left the Carnival Fantasy and so enjoyed my time onboard and meeting the people from Charleston and the surrounding area. Placing a ship there was another brilliant move by Terry and his deployment team. The ship will enter dry dock as you said in November and will undergo lots of interior cleaning, carpet replacement and lots of other jobs that cannot be done while the ship is in operation. She already has the water park, upgraded cabins, lounges and dining rooms and I know that she will offer you the perfect and most fun way to cruise to Bermuda. I hope we get to sail together again one day soon and if you need anything please let me know here at the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you both
John

Brian Donahue Asked:
John, Please Reply

First, like most I love your blog thingy. I have been reading it for a while after hearing about it on Cruise Critic. Great stuff!

I have a request, and while you don’t know me from Adam, I hope you can help, which would also get me in REAL good with the girlfriends family!

My dear girlfriends’ nephew is graduating high school next week and for his graduation he wanted to go on a family cruise. So 20 or so of us are heading to Cayman and Cozumel on the Carnival Inspiration on June 5th. I was hoping you might be able to send a congratulatory note or something special to him. Marcus (the graduate) is in R98 and I really think it would make his summer!

I know everyone is looking forward to this cruise! Dear Girlfriend and I were on the Carnival Inspiration last summer for the same cruise and loved it. In fact, it’s where I first used the “L-Word”, out on the deck at midnight in our formal wear. Great memories there for us and we’d like to make sure Marcus has some too!

I know it’s short notice, but I appreciate anything you can do!
Thanks!

Brian Donahue (E136) Asked:
Hello Brian Donahue

My thanks to my mates on Cruise Critic who put you in touch with the blog and I am glad that you are enjoying it so much. However, this reply is tinged with disappointment because owing to the fact that I am three weeks or so behind in my replies I missed the chance to send your girlfriend’s nephew a congratulatory gift. So please accept my apologies and please also pass on my congratulations to Marcus. Thousands of people read this blog and I am sure they all join me in sending him our best wishes for the future. I hope you all had a wonderful time and that new memories were created. Maybe one day you will propose to your girl and we will sail together for your honeymoon cruise. My apologies once again for being late in my reply.

Best wishes to all
John

Justin Allen Asked:
John: (Please Reply)

Thank you so much for answering my post and the comments you wrote. I will definitely be waiting to see that picture of Megan Fox that you have and will make sure my wife and Heidi don’t find out about it 😉

Since writing that question, our 14th cruise has changed. We are now sailing on the Carnival Dream! We are both looking forward to this and cant’ wait to see what she has to offer. I do have a couple questions as the Dream is a different class than we are used to sailing on. The First question is: We’ve been on the Spirit class, Fantasy class and Conquest class so we’ve got a good idea of all the layouts and things that make each class unique. What is it about the Carnival Dream that makes her unique (excluding size and decor)? My second question, which kind of goes along with the first, is: What do you like most about the Dream?

Sorry if I have talked your ear off, I know you have plenty of things to do 🙂 Take care and see you soon!!(Well, next year in Barcelona)

Justin Allen
Florence, SC

John Says:
Hello Justin Allen

Congratulations on booking your Carnival Dream cruise. I know that you will have a brilliant time exploring the first of this new class. The ship has many different features to the other class of ships you have been on. The most obvious is the outside Lanai which allows you to walk all the way around the ship on deck 5. As you do so you will pass the oversized, overhanging whirlpools and see the outdoor seating areas…..one smoking and one non smoking. The Lanai will also feature a brilliant lunchtime barbecue featuring our now famous sliders.

Then you have the Ocean Plaza where live music and activities accompany our coffee shop, gelato ice cream shop and of course a bar, which pretty much has become the hub of the ship. The piano bar is open plan and the lobby allows for more seating and is on of 3 places where you can use our Fun Hub internet service. She is 130,000 tons and has the most beautiful aft this side of Megan Fox. There are new shows, new feature cabins, the Cloud Nine two level spa and a two level adults only deck called Serenity. There are many other areas I could boast about but will leave those for you to discover. As for my favourite thing about my Carnival Dream …………… mmmm ……..tough one that to answer……….but I think it has to be the Lanai………..not only is a great place to sit and relax but its a great place to see the ocean………..something that as ships get bigger these days…………is becoming more difficult to do. If you have any other questions, please let me know. I will see you on your Carnival Magic.

Best wishes
John

Dave Asked:
Hi John (please reply):

Long time Carnival cruiser, and as a blogger myself I really enjoy keeping up with your blog thingy. Hopefully some day I’ll have the chance to sail with you on a cruise!

As I mentioned, we love cruising on Carnival. I’ll be going on my 12th Carnival cruise this July, with another booked already for May 2011 on the Legend. So what could make us love Carnival even more?

With Carnival’s “close to home” campaign, I thought I’d make a little suggestion to make a home port in the great city of Philadelphia. The birthplace of the US, there’s so much to see and do in Philly. Lots of history and culture here. So why doesn’t Carnival sail out of Philly? I realize that not many ships could fit under the Delaware Memorial Bridge, but if I’m not mistaken (which I very well could be!), a Fantasy-class or Spirit-class ship could just squeeze under it. That’s what the port authority says is holding back all the cruise lines.

We have a cruise terminal, with no ships leaving out of it. It would be quite convenient for those of us in between Baltimore and NYC.

So I guess my question is, does Carnival have any plans to eventually home port a ship in Philadelphia?

Sorry for the long-winded comment.

Keep up the good work with the blog thingy!
Dave

John Says:
Hello Dave

I don’t know if you are aware but last year I was in Philadelphia to attend the filming of Carnival’s giant piñata commercial. We arrived the day after your team one the Super Bowl baseball thing and the city was jumping for joy. The night I arrived I got bugger all sleep because of the cheering, screaming and blowing of car horns. But regardless of this I had a great time and can certainly see why so many people love Philly. I think I am right in saying that in days gone by Carnival used to sail the Mardi Gras or Carnivale from there and we sailed there with the Carnival Legend a few years back. And while I do not know of any current plans to sail out of there again I will certainly make sure that our Senior Vice President Terry sees your comment and maybe one day you will see a Carnival ship docked there once again. I would love it …………. especially for the steak sandwiches. I tried one from two famous places….can’t remember their names but they were both superb. Thanks for the kind words about the blog thingy and hope to see you soon.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and I think I should kindly remind you that if you have a question please mark it for my reply and remember that I am 3 weeks or so behind so please try and get any questions or requests to me as soon as possible before your sailing date.

May I also just shout this…………”YIPPEE AND HOORAY”………….my exuberance is due to the fact that for the first time in ages there were questions or comments about sodding powers strips.

Yesterday I posted a brilliant video about Cunard’s visit by one of my idols Sir Terry Wogan. Well of course the many fans of Cunard and those who love ships are getting very excited about the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth. Here then is the latest video which highlights a special restaurant called the Verandah….warning….this video contains scenes that will make you hungry.

http://www.youtube.com/wearecunard

Over the next few weeks I will be featuring some of the ships in the Carnival fleet and posting photos of them and the people who work onboard. I am doing this so that when you cruise on that ship you will already know some of the people who will be there to make sure you have a great time. I will include the Captain of course and the Cruise Director, Hotel Director and the Maitre D (s).

Let’s start with the Carnival Paradise.

She has always been a favourite of many and she continues to provide the people of California and beyond with fun for all cruise vacations.

Let’s see where she is going.

3 day cruise

LOS ANGELES (LONG BEACH), CA – DEPARTS AT 5:30pm

ENSENADA, MEXICO 9:00am 6:00pm

FUN DAY AT SEA

LOS ANGELES (LONG BEACH), CA – ARRIVES AT 8:00am

LOS ANGELES (LONG BEACH), CA – DEPARTS AT 5:30pm

CATALINA ISLAND, CA 7:30am 4:30pm

ENSENADA, MEXICO 9:00am 10:00pm

FUN DAY AT SEA

LOS ANGELES (LONG BEACH), CA – ARRIVES AT 8:00am

And here is the beautiful Carnival Paradise.

Now let’s meet those onboard.

Captain PierLuigi Lanaro

Hotel Director Keith Bunton

Maitre D Metin

Maitre D Fredy

Cruise Director Jeff Bronson

The ship has all the Fantasy class upgrades (sans the water park) and a brilliant crew. If you have any Carnival Paradise questions or are sailing on her soon and need me to help you with anything ………….please let me know.

I once met Elvis on a ship. It was on the Carnival Imagination back in 1995 and I have an absolute clear memory of one particular incident. It was a scene of almost unimaginable hysteria. During a performance of Suspicious Minds that had the ship rocking…literally.

This was the Ultimate Elvis Cruise……a contest for Elvis impersonators. Now I know that Simon Bowell thinks that Elvis impersonators are, just like cruise ship entertainers…….at the bottom of the entertainment ladder……but he is wrong………on both counts. I tried asking Uncle Google just how many Elvis impersonators there are in the world but he was no help. I just know…….there are loads and that there are Elvis armies in Asia and Europe and North America and beyond. They come in all shapes and sizes, though out of the big group I sailed with I don’t remember there being any women. Contrary to popular belief, most of the Elvis were really nice and basically sane.

That was way back when and now the Elvis cruise has morphed into a phenomanin…… phenomonin ……….phernominan…………into a huge thing and now we have the Elvis charter cruise. So, if Elvis and his pelvis makes you all shook up…………have a look at this link thingy and find out how you can meet the King(s) of Rock n Roll.

http://www.carnival.com/cms/live/concert-cruises.aspx

Remind me sometime to tell you about the Star Trek charter!

I wanted to finish today by posting this comment.

Cruisinggatorfan Asked:

John

I do not read your board ever but was told on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Critic page that you like to make fun of the Oasis of the Seas. Well I thought you should know that I just cruised there. The ship is the biggest in the world and has more stuff to do than the Carnival ships and you should not talk bad about something you nothing about. Biggest is best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rob

John Says:
Hello Rob

I am glad you enjoyed the monster of the seas. It seems that the last few days one or two RCI fans have popped over here to tell me that I am an idiot and that Carnival is this and that etc.

You know Rob sometimes; I think life would be a lot less complicated if we were deer. Because then, all we’d need do to establish ourselves, as the superior being in a group, is to stand tall and wave our antlers around.

Unfortunately, men cannot do this, partly because we don’t have horns and partly because the human equivalent is the penis. And if you and I start waving that around over which ship is best ……………it will end in tears…………. and some jail time.

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.