Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

August 11, 2010 -

John Heald

Sorry if the first part of this blog is a bit ummmm…….rude.

I should start by saying that I never go into the dance club. I know I should because what happens there is my responsibility and of course the DJ works in my department. But I don’t.

Why? Well for two reasons. Firstly I hate the fact that I am immediately recognized by the guests who feel it is their divine right to drag the fat bastard cruise director onto the dance floor. Secondly, I the type of music played and would rather wipe my arse with barbed wire than have to listen to Slap My Bitch Down and other such total rubbish.

However, last night after the show I knew that I would have to make the effort. I had hardly said two words to the DJ since arriving here and that is very bad management. Now I had tried to call him during the day but like most DJ’s he is some sort of troglodyte who can’t come out of his cabin in daylight in case he bursts into flames. So into the valley of death rode the cuddly CD.

After politely telling a group of 20-somethings that I didn’t want to dance and ignoring the crap….. sorry……..rap that the DJ was playing I wandered over to see him. On the way I was astounded by what I saw.

Let me ask you a question. What could possess an intelligent, Californian woman of maturing years to stand on a chair and bend over like a Latvian pole dancer?

I don’t know the answer to that either. But there, in front of my eyes and in front of her husband was a 50-something lady doing just that………..thus making her husband look a bit of a twit. I am seeing this a lot these days on the ships, not just in California but on ships out of Galveston and Charleston and Port Canaveral. Let me explain what I mean.

As a CD I have seen many, many male guests in mid-life crisis. Earrings, chunky gold jewelry, etc., are commonplace. But the female midlife crisis used to be a hidden, silent beast but now it has come roaring out of the closet with an ankle tattoo, a tummy tuck and a closet full of skimpy clothing. In some cases this isn’t a bad thing but there are limits…………..aren’t there?

We laugh at aging men who buy a Ferrari and tease their comb-over into a straggling ponytail look. But the lady I saw last night was worse. She had a T-Shirt that had the midriff cut away exposing her belly button which of course was pierced. Her skirt was more like a belt….. and to complete this ensemble this 50-something was wearing what a colleague of mine described as “f- me” shoes.” I have never heard this expression before but unfortunately it summed up what she was wearing.

Time for today’s Q and A…….off we go……..oh by the way………I am wearing f-me socks.

Peter Asked:
Please reply!!!

There appears to be an inexperienced cruiser posting on cruise critic that thinks they do not need to purchase insurance because of an incident that happened to another poster. A host on cruise critic told them to contact him who in turn contacted you as to their situation. Their mother died in a house fire a few days prior and they did not have insurance.

A follow up question as to whether anything was done and it was replied to that there was a resolution.

So what is the truth? Do you need insurance or if something goes wrong and you do not have it will a cruise critic host and you take care of it?

John Says:
Hello Peter

I am not sure I can answer this question. There was a situation where someone about to cruise lost a family member in a tragic house fire. They contacted me and I in turn sent this onto someone in our CareTeam. Each case will be looked at individually but we always recommend that you purchase vacation insurance.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes
John

Volzcruiser Asked:
Please respond…

John,

While I can completely understand why Carnival is looking into moving cigar smoking to a different areas. I hope that Carnival isn’t forgetting the cigar smoker. Why I make this statement is that when I took the inaugural cruise on the Dream they didn’t have a spot for cigar smokers or at least most weren’t informed, I have since learned that not everyone knew where cigar smokers could go and I spent all of my cigar smoking time on my balcony, while this wasn’t completely a bad thing it did make it difficult to get another drink while enjoying my cigar.

With all that being said I would like to ask to make a few suggestions. In my humble opinion I think that moving the Cigar smokers to the sports bar would be a good place to start and I know that not all ships have a sports bar but the ones that do would be okay. Also I have run into and issue on some of the older ships where good drinking material (i.e. single malt scotches and a good cognac) wasn’t provided at the areas that you could smoke a cigar. This would help in make a cigar smoker feel right at home. Since I will be sailing on the Glory in 3 weeks this would be very nice for my sailing.

I know I started this off taking about cigars but I would like to bring up one last thing and that is the subject of single malt scotches. Carnival has really gone backwards on their selection of these. I would very nice to see that they bring back a few of the ones you use to have or maybe update them with a good McAllen’s scotch but that is just a personal request.

Thank you for taking the time read this and hope these suggestion at least don’t fall on deaf ears.

John Says:
Hello Volzcruiser

Hopefully you have seen from past blogs that the experiment into moving cigar smoking out of the designated cigar lounges has ended and all now allow cigars smokers to enjoy their time there. As you know I am a cigar smoker myself and have found it difficult here on the Carnival Splendor because a lot of Californians are not used to having cigar and cigarette smoke indoors. I have therefore become skeptical as a CD to smoking indoors. Therefore, I must say that I miss my Carnival Dream where on the portside of the beautiful Lanai, tables have been set up where guests (and I) can smoke a cigar overlooking the ocean. I had no idea that we stopped our once big selection of single malts. I will certainly check with the bar folks in Miami as I know that these are popular and we should stock more.

This is a great post and one that I really appreciate you writing. Hopefully one day we can smoke a cigar together onboard one of the fun for all ships

Best wishes
John

Shivan Asked:
John, Please Help!

Hi John,

I’ve been a long time follower of your blog and really like it. I am also a huge Fun Ship Fanatic. I’m taking some family and friends on a cruise later this year and was wondering if you could help me a little.

I’ve got a group of 11 on Glory on August 19th and would really like a table by the window for us. We got one by luck several years back on Destiny and thought it was the most amazing dining experience ever.

Thanks for your help & keep up the great work!

John Says:
Hello Shivan

Thanks for reading the blog so often and for the kind words you wrote about the fun for all ships here at Carnival. I have sent your request to the Maitre D on the Carnival Glory and have asked him to do his best to assist you. I hope you all have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes
John

Leroy P. Bedwetter Asked:
PleaseReply

Dear John:

It has been a while since I have written you, however, I reads your blog every day. Me and the little lady, Patty Pat (I calls her PP for short) just got back from our 14th cruise. We left the 6 little Bedwetters back home in Perry County, Kentucky. Their Aunt Betsy Louise stay with them in our double wide while me and PP had some us time on the Carnival Miracle. As always, we had us a fantastic time. Sailing out of New York was exciting. We gots to sail past the Stature of Liberty and seen some really big buildings. Heck, the biggest building we got in Perry County is the 2 story bank building. My cousin Harry Bedwetter rents him an office on the second floor where he manages his “distribution” business. They even got this room that, if you push a button, takes you from the first to second floor.

Anyways, me knows that Carnival being the best cruise line is always interested in improving. Heck, that is how they got to be the best. Anyways, even though me and PP had a great time and really enjoyed the cruise, we noticed a couple of things that could be improved. I nevers want to be excused of only noting the negative, thus, I wants to says that everything else was perfect.

First, I was wondering why Carnival has never addressed the problem created by the material that the pool deck is made of on the Spirit Class Ships. When that stuff gets wet it is slicker than a greased opossum belly. While on the Legend a few years ago, I seen a guy fall, hit his head and had to get the doc to come and take care of him. While on the Magic, I seen several people slide or fall. Even PP fall once. One minute she was walkin’ beside me, the next she was sittin’ on her hind side. That surface should have been addressed a long time ago.

Third, chair saving at the pool and main show lounge was a big problem. There were chairs saved at the pool from 8 in the morning, when me and PP arrived, until past noon before anyone showed up. No effort was made to control the chair hogs. Me understands that it is difficult for Carnival to control the situation without adding lots of chair police to the staff, however, Carnival needs to either enforce the rule or drop the rule makin’ first come first served the practice. The peoples who obey the rule gets screwed by not getting’ a chair by the pool.

Second, me and PP wanted to take advantage of the Platinum early tender benefit at Half Moon Cay. We wents to the Guest Services desk with our request like you told us to do in the past. Being nice people, we kindly asked the guest service person about using this here perk. While the person at the desk did escort us to the debarkation point, she acted like it was a bother to do so. We has experienced the same response on other ships. The process needs fixin’.

Lastly, the power strip issue. Power needs of us guests have gone up over the years. Shucks, on my first cruise I don’t remember having any need to plug anything in. Now, with my IPOD, Cell phone, laptop, electric razor, blackberry and camera, I needs to be able to charge lots of batteries. PP has to bring her hair dryer (sometimes the ones in the cabins will not blow a feather off the dresser), hair straighter, hair curlers, laptop, cell phone and PPD (personal pleasure device). On the last sea day, I needs to charge my IPOD while PP need to charge her PPD. With only one plug in the cabin, it was a big problem. PP won. Anyways, Carnival does not wants us to bring our own power strips. That restriction leaves the guest with no option. The solution is simple, starting with all new builds, add more than one freakin’ outlet in the cabin. On existing ships, Carnival should provide power strips that meet their safety requirements. They can even attach them to the dresser so they don’t leave the ship with a sticky fingered guest. For Carnival to continue to ignore the problem is like me ignoring that mole that is growing on my hinny. The one with the hairs sticking out. It just keeps gettin’ bigger and hairier.

This here message is long enough so me is goin’ to finish by thanking you for giving a place for us guest to share our experiences and suggestions.

John Says:
Hello Leroy P Bedwetter

Thank you for this outstanding posting and I am so glad to read that you and Mrs. Bedwetter, the lovely PP, had such a wonderful time. Let me address your comments if I may. We are very much aware that at times the deckling can get somewhat slippery. This especially happens when people get out of the pools and whirlpools and drip water on to the floor. Our staff are constantly monitoring this and trying to keep the floors as dry as possible while watch your step signs are everywhere. To replace the entire deck would be a mammoth task one as well so we are treating the decking with a substance called Slip Stop to try and help. I will once again bring this to the attention of the vessel.

Deck chair saving………well I don’t mind admitting that honestly……I give up. We have tried announcements, in fact we have tried multiple announcements and with the limited manpower we have we try to enforce the issue. But it would be silly of me not to say that we have failed because guests ignore what is written and what is said and continue to save seats. Managing 1,500 deck chairs all day is honestly impossible. It is impossible to know who has reserved them from 8 am or who has just popped to the bathroom. Again, we do not have the staff to do this.

I was discussing this with the CD of the Niuew Amsterdam recently and it is obvious from our conversation that this is not just a Carnival problem but one shared by many cruise lines. I know it is frustrating and I will keep asking the CD’s to announce our policy……but as long as multiple guests ignore it…….I am not sure what else we can do. I am open to suggestions.

The power strip issue has been much documented here in great length. I have been in a guest cabin and tried to charge my laptop and my raspberry etc and it’s tough to do when there is only one power socket. But this is the world of safety and high visibility jackets and this regulation is here to stay and just like hotels do not………so we won’t be loaning out power strips. I am grateful to you though for writing and for your obvious Carnival loyalty. I hope you tell me before you sail again so I can send the Bedwetters a little gift. What will you get …….. mmmm…… Depends.

Best wishes to you all
John

Jim Govan Asked:
Hi John – PLEASE REPLY

My wife and I were on the Carnival Splendor as part of Host Randy’s Cruise Critic Group a year ago last April when the Swinre Flu broke in Mexico and we ended up going to San Francisco. We are re-doing that Cruise in October….well al least we hope to do the Mexican Riviera part of that cruise and skip San Francisco this time.

We had a great time on that cruise as we have on all of our Carnival Cruises together…We spoke with you outside on the Lanai at the Ocean Plaza on our January, 2010 Carnival Dream cruise when my wife called you over and started you off with an emphatic “I don’t want to end up on your blog”. You quickly had us all laughing.

Anyhow we have always had our “Welcome to ….” picture taken on the gangway taken which we subsequently purchase and put in our album of ports visited. On the Swine Flu cruise we purchased our ‘Welcome to San Francisco’ picture but when we returned home the picture had been damaged beyond repair and we were wondering if it would be possible to arrange to get the picture re-done behind the ‘Welcome to San Francisco Lifesaver’ so we could purchase a replacement. If not behind the Lifesaver could the photographers work some ‘Carnival Magic’ to at least give us a photograph saying Welcome to San Francisco with the date of our original visit which we could supply them with.

See you in October
Dee and Jim

John Says:
Hello Dee and Jim

I am sure we can do something for you. I am going to ask the photo manager here to see if we have the San Francisco life ring onboard and if not……we shall indeed work some magic for you. Please leave me a note at the Guest Services Desk when you board. See you soon and best wishes to you both.

John

URSULA TAYLOR Asked:
Dear John (please read)

I love your blog thingie! It brightens my day to read of your adventures on the high seas and about your beautiful girls.

I wanted to relay my experience aboard My Carnival Dream and pass along a few kudos to staff who deserve special mention.

We were first time cruisers along with my children, my brother and our parents who were celebrating 50 years of marriage. We booked 3 Cloud Nine Balcony Staterooms (12212, 12210 and 12208) and sailed July 3. The Cloud Nine Spa is heavenly! Wow, what a treat it was to just step down the hall and get away from it all!

My 15 year old son loved Club O2 and our Daughter loved Camp Carnival. She had a blast on the scavenger hunts!

I was impressed with the lanai. There were always chairs available there if you needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of the pools. The bbq there was good and never crowded.

We attended most of the shows. Dancing in the Streets is awesome! The comedy club was my husband’s favorite. Our daughter loved the Fun Force guys. I don’t know if my son saw any of the shows as he was busy doing teenage “stuff”.

Now, kudos to staff. I have to say that our state room stewards were spectacular. Vida and August. They were just a pleasure to be around. They always said hello and were even calling my parents Mama Dot and Papa Ed in just a few days time. You have a treasure in those two! I believe Vida said she would be aboard the Carnival Splendor after her vacation so she might join you in California. Seriously, you know how people cruise a ship because of the Cruise Director? Well, I would consider following Vida and August around! BTW, Todd was great too.

We did the Your Time Dining and it worked perfectly for us. After we met Conrad (head waiter) we requested his section each night. He and his assistants were all fantastic.

I ordered flowers and an anniversary cake from Celebrations for my parent’s anniversary and they were both lovely. The cake tasted great. Very light and moist (I chose vanilla with strawberry filling). I was even able to get a pair of dress shoes for my son after one of his went missing. I think he lost it in the hotel parking lot before we boarded the ship.

I have nothing but good things to say about Our Carnival Dream! We are all ready to go again! Our son said to forget Disney and everything else. He is a cruise convert. Steve and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage next year and hope to be aboard a Carnival Cruise to celebrate! I would love to cruise to Bermuda but the Magic just might call me there. Europe looks temping!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the week with your girls! Take care!

Ursula Taylor
(Alabama)

John Says:
Hello Ursula Taylor

Oh how I am going to enjoy sending this to Donato the hotel director on your Carnival Dream so that he can send his congratulations to all those who served and entertained you. I am going to keep an eye open for Vida and pass on your words of praise personally. I think that you would love to cruise in Europe and on your Carnival Magic. Please have a think about that and if you have any questions just let me know. Until then thanks again for this great review. Best wishes to you and the family

John

Tyler B Asked:
John needs to reply!!!!!

So on the Cruise Critic pages there is a story about someone who had a fire before their cruise and Carnival refunded the money. Last year I had tried to refund a cruise because I had to change jobs but was told NO! What do you have to say about that? They had no insurance yet Carnival helped them and this has left many Cruise Critic members angry.

John Says:
Hello Tyler B

Just like I told Peter at the beginning of the Q&A section and as I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I am really not in a position to comment on these types of individual cases short of sending my sympathies to the family at their loss of a loved one. We do recommend to everyone that they purchase some kind of travel insurance. Sorry I can’t help further.

Best wishes
John

Julie Gregory Asked:
Hi John (Please reply)

I am loyal fan of your blog, and a cruise critic member as they say on that thread I am a lurker! I just got off a cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy 7/10 and had a great time! Next cruise is 1/14/2011 on Carnival Spirit and will be my 6th in less than 2 years, with the 7th following on Carnival Triumph 2/26/2011, I guess you can say I’m hooked! (1) Can you please tell me the 2 formal nights? I think the 1st is on the 1st full sea day, but no clue to the 2nd night. trying to decide when to book the steakhouse but don’t want it to interfere with a formal night (2) Can you tell me when they will open reservations on Carnival web site for booking the steakhouse for 2011—- I am not sure if your aware but web site still has 2008 & 2009 listed but nothing past 12/2010. FYI I was on a cruise in November 2009 and happen to have two table mates from Seattle and we struck up a friendship and have been emailing back and forth so the 4 of us decided to book the Spirit and we can’t wait to see each other again. So it’s true you can make life long friends on a cruise. Julie G.

John Says:
Hello Julie Gregory

It’s great to welcome a friend from CC and a blogger lurker who has finally come out of hiding. Congratulations on booking your Carnival Spirit cruise so let’s have a look at where you are going and I have noted the two elegant nights for you.

Day Port Arrive Depart

Friday, Jan 14             San Diego, CA            4:00pm

Saturday, Jan 15         Fun Day at Sea           ELEGANT NIGHT

Sunday, Jan 16            Fun Day at Sea

Monday, Jan 17          Puerto Vallarta           8:30am 6:00pm

Tuesday, Jan 18          Mazatlan                     9 am 4 pm

Wednesday, Jan 19     La Paz                         8 am 4 pm

Thursday, Jan 20        Cabo San Lucas          7 am 7 pm

Friday, Jan 21             Cabo San Lucas          7 am 3 pm – ELEGANT NIGHT

Saturday, Jan 22         Fun Day At Sea

Sunday, Jan 23            San Diego, CA            7 am

I asked the 344 Stephanies to check when reservations will open for 2011 Steakhouse seating times and they told me around November 1 so please check back then and if you have any difficulties please let me know. Making new friends on our ships is a tradition that goes back to the days of the Mardi Gras and I am very happy to hear that you struck up a firm friendship and that those friends may be joining you for a cruise all together next year. Please let me know if you have any other questions and if you do, stop lurking and come say hello.

Best wishes
John

Corene Foust Asked:
John, (Please Reply)

I want to thank you for your very entertaining Blogs. I am a recent new reader and have enjoyed them so much. I am really disappointed that you will not be the CD on our cruise on the Carnival Valor in October. We are cruising October 17th-24th, 2010. This will be our 3rd Carnival cruise and we will be celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary. I looked on your CD schedule and saw that our CD is scheduled to be Goose. Can you tell me anything about him? Just curious.

Hope you are enjoying your time with Heidi and Kye. I know they love having you at home for a while.

John Says:
Hello Corene Foust

I have just spent a week with Goose here on the Carnival Splendor and I can tell you he did a super job as CD. His deck party was fantastic and his adults-only game called The Quest must not be missed. Goose’s real name is Gustav but everyone and I mean everyone calls him Goose. He hails from Toronto and here is a photo of him.

Ok, that was obvious and rather silly…………here is the real photo

I know you will have a great time on the Carnival Valor and that Goose will make sure of that. Thanks so much for all your kind words and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.

Best wishes
John

Beth Flynn Asked:
Please reply:

I think you should enjoy your time off and I don’t mean to intrude, but you did ask that I remind you a month out about our trip. I am sailing back to back on the Carnival Liberty August 21st with 20 of our closest friends and family. This is the first cruise for quite a few of them and I can’t wait to share my passion for cruising with them. The second week of the cruise my sister will be joining us and it will be her birthday. I was hoping if it wasn’t too much trouble, if you could send her a little something to make it special. Also, I was going to ask you to arrange that we could all sit together. We have 2 different groups going the 2 weeks with our immediate family being the cross-over. 12 the first week and 15 the second week.

We have a lot of difficulties traveling with this group as granny lives with us and is 87, my husband is handicapped and our son is only 10, so we have the young, old and infirm, but dang do we make the most of it!! I would like to apologize in advance for the inconvenience our group will inevitably cause our poor stewards and waiters, but rest assured not one of our group would EVER withhold gratuities (we are generous tippers!) I would also like to thank you in advance but I will write a review and a thank you after the trip as well. I have also decided to slow the pace down a bit with the next cruise already booked for girls only next June on the Carnival Glory. Only 5 girls booked so far, hopefully we can keep it small, LOL!!

Have a great family trip John and we will be waiting when you get back!! I will just have to spend more time on the Carnival site….wishing and planning. 🙂

John Says:
Hello Beth Flynn

It really is no trouble and I will be honoured to send your sister something plus ask the maitre d to assist you with your table request. Please don’t worry about any of your party as our friendly crew will make sure they have a brilliant time. Please write and let me know all about your cruise when you get home.

Best wishes to you all
John

That’s all for today. More tomorrow.

Let’s see what the guests are eating for dinner this Wednesday evening.

Tomato Mozzarella
Fried Shrimps
Chicken Breast Marinated with Thai Spices
Wild Mushroom Cream Soup
Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
Asparagus Vichyssoise
California Spring Mix and cherry Tomatoes
Caesar Salad
Penne Tossed with Tomato Cream & Vodka
Pan Fried Fillet of Red Snapper
Oven Roast Tom Turkey
Veal Parmigiana
Duet of Petit Fillet Mignon and Short Rib Confit
Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna
ALTERNATE
Black Tiger Shrimps
Fresh Fruit Cocktail
Broiled Fillet of Snapper
Grilled Breast of Corn Fed Chicken
Grilled Flat Iron Steak
Baked Idaho Potatoes, French fries or Steamed White Rice
Assorted Steamed Vegetables
SPA
Broccoli & Cauliflower Tortellini
California Spring Mix
Grilled Red Snapper on Gazpacho Jus
Dinner Dessert Menu 5
Diet Pumpkin Pie – Spa
Raspberry & Vanilla Crème Cake
Old Fashioned Apple Pie
Fresh Fruit Plate
Warm Chocolate Melting Cake

I love the Veal Parmigiana………….what would you have?

We are in P.V. today and thank goodness the weather is beautiful. I say that because the shore excursion count is very high and the captain had mentioned that there was a tropical depression in the area and there was a chance of heavy rain. However, this has disapissatated (spelt correctly) and as I sit here, in my underpants, the weather is for the moment hot and sunny. This is the rainy season though and I have warned the guests that this time of year there is always a chance of rain.

The counts on our shore excursions are very high with the beach tours and the canopy tours very popular indeed. So too are the island and shopping excursions. That’s because they include the magical word “shopping” which whenever we place on a shore excursion title is always going to sell well because whether it’s Mexico, Venice or Grand Cayman……people love to shop. And people love to fish. I was talking to some guests who are going marlin fishing today.

I have never quite understood this game fishing thing. I can imagine that dangling your thingy in a river, smoking a cigar and nibbling on a cheese sandwich while waiting for the fish to bite could be quite relaxing. But this whole big fish thingy…..it’s hardly relaxing is it? A marlin reacts to getting a hook in its mouth just like you would. It gets real pissed off and puts up a long and hard fight. Then, even if the fisherman wins he can’t carry his spoils of war up the sodding gangway…… so as I said…..what’s the point?  Anyway, there is no doubt that P.V is a superb port of call made even more special by the fact that we are here until 10 pm.  It is one of the many reasons why so many crew have told me over the years how much they love being on a ship on the West Coast………………and I am beginning to see why.

However, there are some that seem a bit worried about these ports.

Guest: Mr ————-Ref: 842010671A
Cabin: ____Booking#: _____Added-Changed: 08/010/10 – 08/010/10

WORRIED ABOUT MOSQUITOS
Guest came to desk saying that he was surprised that the cruise director had not mentioned anything about the dangers of mosquitoes and drinking water in Mexico and mentioned that on another ship the guests had all been given free mosquito cream. Guest asked for some free cream which we do not have. Guest was advised that he could buy from gift shops. Mr. _____ was upset by this and wanted to speak to Captain or to John CD.

Tasked to CD

Yep…………..tasked to CD…………..because I am in charge of sodding mosquitoes.

Before meeting the guest I decided to check with the doctor here on the ship and find out what advice he had for the guests. I admit that when I asked him I wasn’t being too serious but it turns out he gave me so pretty good advice about what guests should do to make sure that they don’t get sick………….this is what he wrote to me.

To repel biting insects, use 50% Deet repellent on your skin and reapply at least every 90 minutes in sweaty conditions. (Yes, it’s a man-made chemical, but it’s more effective than natural repellents.) If you are particularly concerned then wear long-sleeved tops, pants and socks in the evening which is when most mosquito bites occur. Drink bottled water and don’t bite your nails: reservoirs of bacteria thrive under them.

Bloody hell……who knew about the finger nail thing? Anyway, the doc has asked me to make sure that I mention the washing of hands as much as possible because it is one of the most effective ways of preventing illness. So, I have made some announcements to this effect. There is no serious problem with mosquito bites, certainly none have been reported on board these past few months and I don’t really feel comfortable talking about that in my fun ashore talk. I mean, if I talk about that should I go on to talk about ummmm……..rabies………and tell guests to try to avoid being attacked by animals, particularly sick, frothy ones?

How about Ebola? Should I warn guests to avoid being urinated on by a monkey?

Maybe I should do a talk just about things to avoid in every port of call that could kill you.

“Ladies and gentlemen good morning, this is John your cruise director with today’s health warning. When going ashore today we strongly advise that to make sure you do not get hepatitis B that you do not get your nipple pierced in a backstreet Jamaican tattoo parlor. We also do not want any Carnival guest to get the plague so when ashore in Venice today and you see a rat…… please do not stroke it………..just run away……..fast.”

Seriously though I will make sure that the guests are educated in washing their hands often with warm water and soap as well as using the hand sanitizers located outside the restaurants and on the gangway. As for the chap who wanted mosquito information. Well, I called him and sadly it seems all he really wanted was not to have to pay for the repellent as he states this was free when he sailed on the Mosquito of the Seas. I couldn’t give him any for free and he remains upset. I have sent him a fruit basket by way of apology and knowing my luck one of the apples will have something living in it that will bite him on his thingy…………… and give him malaria.

On Monday I told you about Carnival Corp.’s Chairman & CEO Micky Arison and his wife’s visit to Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam. Their visit continued yesterday as described here in an extract from www.hollandamericablog.com as described by Stan Kuppens who is Nieuw Amsterdam’s hotel manager

Micky Arison’s Visit to Nieuw Amsterdam: Day 2

The captain and I picked up Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, and his wife, Madeleine, from their stateroom for their visit ashore. When asked, they said that they thoroughly enjoyed their first day on board Nieuw Amsterdam and had a good night’s sleep. They also said that they enjoyed Cantare. When they came back on board, they asked to say hello to the crew in the mess room while they were enjoying their lunch. We had dressed up the area for their visit, including a banner welcoming them to the mess of the Nieuw Amsterdam.

From left: Captain van Zaane, Madeleine and Micky Arison, and Hotel Manager Stan Kuppens.

In the early evening, before heading up to the bridge for departure, Mr. Arison visited various areas of the ship including the Mediterranean barbecue taking place on Lido Deck. After watching us sail out of Civitavecchia, Mr. and Mrs. Arison headed for the dining room to experience our open seating, which he had been anticipating.

I have no idea if Mr. Arison reads our blog thingy but having written about him a lot these past two days caused me to have the weirdest dream last night………..let me tell you about it.

I am sure many of us dream about the day when George Clooney or Megan Fox calls to say they are the area and would like to drop by for dinner. We fantasize about what we would cook for them, and the sparkling conversation we’d serve up with the coffee and petit thingies. Well, last night I dreamt that I was at home in Essex and Mr. and Mrs. Arison called to say they were coming over for dinner. In my dream. I remember being gobsmacked and I became a stuttering idiot as I told him on the phone how honoured I would be to have them.

And then the practicalities set in. My dream had Heidi in Holland and then my dream moved into nightmare proportions as I began to examine my culinary skills. Given time, I can make fairly decent baked beans on toast. Providing no one minds their toast slightly burnt..

But we were talking here about catering the most important man in the cruise and basketball industries. A man who has traveled the world eating at the best restaurants and who can, at the click of his fingers, order the finest food money can buy served by Latvian supermodels in suspenders. Caviar, Kobe Steak, huge baked potatoes on steroids filled with foie gras complimented by roasted peacock were the things he was used to eating……….and in my dream the only things I could find was a two pieces of cowboy steak, a few cans of Guinness…… and some Pringles. What if Mrs. Arison wants a glass of Dom Perignon 64 with a dash of pomegranate juice? I think at this point of my dream I woke up in a cold sweat and I don’t remember anything else.

Funny isn’t it how fame sends us all into a complete mess.

But as you saw from their Holland America visit, Mr. and Mrs. Arison wanted to meet the crew and meet and greet them in their environment. Something they have always done when they visit the ships is to treat the crew with care and respect which is why they are so respected by so many.

I met Mrs. Arison once and I can tell you that behind her dazzling eyes and beautiful clothes, she is as wife, a Mum and as normal as your Mum or mine. So take my advice if Mr. and Mrs. Arison do call at your house for dinner…… throw some steaks on the barbecue, pop the Pringles and open some cans of Guinness.

Then again……if Megan Fox comes to my house for dinner……..there will definitely be spotted dick on the menu.

Goodnight
Your friend
John

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