Maybe it was the seven-hour flight delay. Maybe it was arriving back from the sun to a country totally paralyzed by snow, a country that has survived the Germans and terrorists yet is paralyzed by a bit of white fluffy stuff. It could have been the fact that because there is snow on the roads Amazon couldn’t guarantee the delivery of Kye’s Christmas gift which meant I had to drive 30 miles to the big Bluewater Shopping Mall…..whatever the reason it caused me a rare case of consumer rage.

And all because I was asked to pay 30 pence (85 cents) for 2 sodding bags to put Kye’s gifts in. I had just spent the equivalent of $200 on Winnie the Pooh stuff which Kye adores as well as a beautiful princess style snow globe in the land of sugar that is the Disney Store. The shop assistant, in a slightly flippant, snotty voice said “We’re all just trying to help the environment here” and then announced that there was now a 10p charge for bags then suggested I upgrade by spending £1.50 ($3) on a “re-usable” carrier. Lest I had failed to grasp the essence of “re-usable” she added: “I use mine all the time!”

Now hold on a minute. I don’t mind doing my bit. I know that charging for bags is a good way to stop the world’s wastefulness. But I draw the line at being lectured on plastic overuse by a sodding 18 year old toy seller.

But what gets the hairs on my arse standing to attention more than anything else is that after being lectured on the environment by this 18-year-old Gore-lover is that when you get the toys home you see just how much packaging manufacturers use to fasten one small, lightweight toy into its box.

Twisty ties, unbreakable plastic, moulded trays all apparently essential to anchor one Poo Bear into a waxed cardboard coffin. Mystifyingly, the whole thing is often then caged within a clear plastic dome as if it might attack and bite someone. Obviously, it is impossible to open. This is why so many parents can be found on Christmas Day crying and making obscene gestures at new toys with their clawed, bleeding hands.

This Christmas Day Heidi and I will no doubt argue and use very bad four-letter words as our fingers become bloodied stumps from all those twisty ties, plastic moulding and welded cardboard. I guess we have to have a supply of box cutters, screwdrivers and batteries to hand.
So this had me in a bad mood yet it wasn’t just the charge for the carrier bag and the thought of all the stress of freeing Kye’s toys from their tombs that had me all moody it was also the fact that every sodding shop I went in tried to sell me something else.

I think the correct street term for this is up selling! It seems everywhere these days, someone is offering the opportunity for an “up sell.” Take my recent trip to Starbucks when I ordered a simple crapafrapacino. The coffee girl… sorry….. the barista then started her hustle:

Barista: “Any sandwiches or pastries with that?
John: “No thanks.”
Barista: “We have a fantastic Christmas cupcake”
John: “No thanks I’m diabetic.”
Barista: “How about a sandwich then, the brie and water cress is today’s special.”

I had had enough by then and I just gave her a look that said either serve me my coffee or I will shove one of those steam pipes you use to make the froth cappuccino right up your arse….. and turn it on.

I then went to a shop called WH Smith. This is a huge chain of national shops that sell books and things and is very very popular. I was there to buy myself the new Andy Macnab (my favourite author) book which I would then give to Heidi to wrap up as my Christmas present. Well this shop is the worst and has started pushing bars of Cadbury chocolate like crack at the cash register but it is as I said everywhere and I hope that when we do give you an upsell call that it’s polite and welcome………..is it?

So back to the Disney Store and after spending a fortune for toys and the packaging and then having to pay for three shopping bags to put them in I was ready to hose someone down with a Heckler and Koch MP5 machine gun. As I paid my bill and the shopping assistant looked at me and with a huge cheesy Barneyesque type smile said “Is there anything else I can do for you today.” And I couldn’t help myself and to the embarrassment of my wife and to the amusement of the other shoppers I said “Yes, my hemorrhoids hate the cold and are really stinging, do you have anything for that?”

I’d rather toast my own bollocks on an open fire than spend a second of my life in a mall just before Christmas.

Time for today’s Q and A…….. Let’s crack on shall we.

Matt Asked:
Hello John! (Please Reply)

My wife and I just returned from a fabulous October 24th cruise onboard the Carnival Valor.

First off, THANK YOU, for arranging the table for 2 with the Maitre D for us in the dining room. Not that we are anti-social, but we scheduled the cruise to celebrate our wedding anniversary…Our entire week was certainly memorable.

The crew of the Valor was top-notch. We didn’t get a comment card and I’d like to point out a few of the crew members that seemed to give my wife and I personalized attention:

Meserame (Sales)- She did a fantastic job arranging our Vow Renewal ceremony. That ceremony was just as memorable as our wedding.
Frederick (Waiter in Washington Dining Room)- Very courteous and friendly. I appreciated his smile, and professionalism. When we would see him out on the Lido, he would say hello and knew our names.
Jasper, (Asst. Waiter) Also very courteous and friendly. Jasper and Frederick make a great team. Our food was always delivered the way we wanted, and our drinks never went dry. We got great personalized attention.

Sarita, (Asst. Maitre D) Very outgoing and friendly. She also got to know us personally, and we enjoyed her visits to our table for some conversation.

Iryna, (Bar Waitress in Dining Room) Such a warm smile, great service, and super-friendly. She learned what we liked to drink after one night in the dining room.

Vito (Photographer) – He truly loves what he does, and does it well. We had the pleasure of being photographed for our vow renewal by Vito. He was so friendly, and could really work some magic with that camera. The pictures that he snapped were stunning. I’m afraid my wife and I couldn’t afford all of the pictures, but he is more than welcome to include those in his portfolio.

I am always amazed at how hard the crew works. So many people are quick to complain about the things that go wrong, but very slow to praise what went right. If you could, please make sure that the crew members that I mentioned above realize that because of them, we had one of the best weeks of our lives….

Here’s my only complaint: The week went by way too fast.
Thank you, again, for helping us get a table for two, and thank you to the crew of the Carnival Valor for your great hospitality!

Sincerely,
Matt and Sheri
Guests in Cabin 9207 (Oct. 24 Sailing)

John Says:
Hello Matt and Sheri,

The perfect way for us to begin today’s Q&A. What a brilliant review and thanks for taking the time to write it. I am glad the table arrangements worked out for you. I always understand why there are times when people want to sit with their loved ones rather than others and a special anniversary can really be enhanced by spending some quality time together. It’s great to read that the crew of the Carnival Valor did such a brilliant job and I will make sure that everyone mentioned will see your testament of praise. I hope we see you soon on another Carnival ship and that you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you both
John

John W Asked:
John (reply if you like – no need for public post unless you want).

Just returned from a B2B (2 days to nowhere and 6 to Bahamas) and felt that several crew members really needed to be mentioned. This was our 5th and 6th cruises with Carnival and they really made it special. Yes, there were one or two difficulties (one of our older friends decided to fall down a couple of stairs, and yes, Norfolk still doesn’t have this embarkation/debarkation thing figured out, but NONE of these things can be laid at CCL’s feet. First, Lenora and Heru the cabin stewards were remarkable. Not only did they do their jobs, but any request or question we had was attended to immediately. Outstanding people and one of the reasons we keep coming back to Carnival.
Christina from Creams (I spent more time there than anywhere else I think) and Bojanna from the fun shops were both very kind and friendly. And when I say friendly, I don’t mean the, “I’ll be nice as long as you buy something from me” kind of friendly. It was obvious that they really were like this and even toward the end of the cruise when you knew they were tired, they were still just as sweet as can be. They were just really great people.

Jelena and Dali from the Emerald Room: This was our 3rd time there with Jalena and we just especially love her. Jalena probably doesn’t know this but we witnessed a minor incident between her and a customer at the coffee bar on Lido. She handled herself with grace and dignity in the face of a person who was totally an ass. Jelena will always have our respect.

I Kutut (waiter mostly in the Colors Lobby) was a remarkable man. Always smiling and for some strange reason, always managed to show up about the same time my wife’s cruiser glass was running low. Easy to talk with and obviously enjoyed taking about his home and its customs. We always like to know peoples customs and traditions and this gentleman was fascinating to talk to.

Chef Xavier and his Souse Chef and staff made the Chef’s Table an event that we intend to repeat again. We’re already booked on cruises for May and Oct 2011 and intend to visit the Emerald Room and Chef’s Table again. They made this an extraordinary night. I heard that this event is not well attended. I can’t imagine why. Perhaps better advertising is needed (just not so much that we can’t get booked again).

I mentioned earlier a difficulty where an older passenger (widow that we talked into going with us) took a spill down a couple of stairs coming out of the Emerald Room. She wound up on her butt and hit the back of her head on one of the chrome poles on Lido Deck (I think she might have actually dented the pole). Oleg (waiter in the Red Sail) and Henry Winston were both on the spot when this happened. Mr. Winston (officer running Red Sail) obtained some ice and Oleg helped me get the person into a wheel chair to take to medical. He pushed the chair while I got the bleeding to stop. Once there, Dr Jennifer and Nurse Vikki were very professional and dealt with the injury in a timely fashion. All are to be commended on their actions. There was another individual there who got the wheel chair but he was back doing his job almost immediately and I didn’t get his name.

The other person I would like to mention is Mr. Anuj Khosla, Hotel Director. It was obvious that he cared about how his passengers were treated and the staffs’ training was apparent. All I can say to him is congratulations on having such a fine staff.

Per your previous recommendation (prior to cruise) we passed out many phone cards during this cruise. We also increased our tips and included a few little extras for certain staff, but even with that there was no way that we could appropriately show our appreciation to these people. They made this the great vacation that it was.

I would consider it a personal favor if you could make sure the appropriate responsible people are informed of how well these individuals do their job each and every day. I know in my job that customer comments play a fair percentage on our evaluations and I would hope their supervisors could be advised. I would be happy to send this via mail also if you have an address.

One other request: Once upon a time they posted the portraits of the Captain and officers on Deck 3 Forward next to Guest Services.

Apparently, this has been discontinued. When I asked why, I was told that it was too expense because, “the officers rotate out too often”. OK, I can see that as a possibility. How about placing one of the digital photo frames like they have outside the dining rooms just outside Guest Services where they used to have the portraits? It would be just a onetime cost and no wasted film. It’s kind of nice seeing the portraits and being able to identify the officers on sight. Sure beats, “Hey you…” when you see them.

Thanks for your time. Keep blogging. Love to Heidi and Kye (hope they got the bags by now).

John and Fran Williamson

John Says:
Hello John and Fran Williamson,

And here is another fantastic review that warms the cockles of my heart to read. I want to highlight the fact that you took the time to hand out phone cards to the crew who served you. This is quite extraordinary and I am sure that the crew were truly touched by this as am I.

I also want to mention the photos of the senior officers that you referred to. It is indeed correct to say that we used to have these marquees next to the guest services desk or the Purser’s office as we used to call it……and in fact that’s I still call that. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

We now have these photos placed on a plasma screen behind the desk which rotate with other information that is placed there. This means that you may not actually ever get to see these photos and that’s a shame. Let me speak to a beard about this. So thanks again for taking the time to write and for this great review which highlights just why Carnival continues to be the world’s most popular cruise line and thanks to people like you it will continue to be. Thanks so much for the kind words also for my family.

Best wishes to you both
John

Stephanie (345?) Asked:
John, Reply if you like

Dear John,

We are back from our 10/16 Carnival Dream cruise and I wanted to thank you for your assistance in a table for two. It was our 34th anniversary, and my hubby is too fluffy for a booth. Again, thank you for your help with this matter. We enjoyed the cruise very much. Our wait staff was the highlight of the cruise. Salvio and Oliver were funny, professional and attentive to our needs. We were in the Scarlett dining room.

In the casino, our lives were impacted by a wonderful casino host, Ritu. She was so sweet and took good care of us, was very kind and we are keeping in touch. She may come visit in January when she leaves Carnival to go home and be a mommy. She is a positive force for Carnival.

Our room location was another story and we are dealing with it thru customer care. The ship was full and they could not move us.

I wanted to tell you about those that made our cruise special, that includes you, of course, John, because I have not received an email comment card yet.

Thank you for not printing the nasty people comments against you for your bloggers to see and for Heidi to see. It hurts us too!!!!!!

Keep up the good work.
Stephanie (345?)

John Says:
Hello Stephanie 345,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write to say thank you to all those who made your cruise so special. I will make sure that the people mentioned see your words of praise. I will be talking about the review card subject later in today’s blog thingy. Please let me know if you need my help with the concerns regarding your room location. Thanks so much for your loyalty to Carnival and for those so very kind words.

Best wishes to you and your family
John

Bill Asked:
John please reply,

John,

I want you know that it is all your fault. You are the face of Carnival and you need to know it is always your fault. This time you can take credit for us having a great time on our Carnival Paradise.

First, we received an upsell call about 4 days before the cruise and for a very small fee we went from 2 inside cabins to one GS. It was our first balcony. It was a great idea as it worked well for our daughters nap schedule.

We walked into our cabin and we were impressed by the size and the balcony. A few minutes later a member of the staff delivered 3 24k pieces of ship on a stick and a picture the ugliest looking sod I had seen since I looked in the mirror a couple minutes earlier. Thank you very much as it saved me from being dragged around the ship. All three went to my Mother in Law as our daughter one her own at the costume contest when Freddy picked her as the most beautiful princess ever.

We had a great stateroom steward named Yoga and he was great with getting a roll away for our daughter and then would swoop in and clean it whenever we left. He waited until 11:30 on the day we were in Ensenada while my wife and I slept in while the Mother in Law went on a fabulous Carnival excursion.

We had your time dining and ate in the dining room with the same wait staff 3 of the 4 nights. The one night we did not we had the trick or treating and costume contest so we fed the daughter and then after the contest ended up on the lido deck as it was easier for the mother in law. Anyway, our wait staff was the best we ever had. Head Waiter Sherwin, Team Waiter Wijayanti, and Asst Waiter Savio were gold. Wajayanti could easily serve as a head waiter based on our experience she had a great personality.

John, at our first dinner we were presented with a bottle of non-alcoholic wine compliments of some dude name John Heald. My wife and mother in law were very thankful and my wife especially enjoyed it. I want to thank you very much for that act of kindness even if you were on your way to PV.

I must also say thanks for ensuring that Fun Ship Freddy was on board and he did not disappoint.

My final compliment is to the bar staff who lost money on me as I lost track at 15 diet cokes and that was only day 1. Seriously, they were all great about getting my diet coke and I was grateful. The soda card is great a reason I cruise.

There were a few items that could use improving. The one night we ended up on the lido for dinner was disappointing. The meats (I had chicken and fish) were great. However the pasta that was served tasted like it had been on the table for two hours as the sauce was dried out and the noodles rubbery. The bright side was that Pizza saved the day as always. The deserts on the lido were good though so it was not all bad.

The other item they could do is put a burrito bar on all California ships. The best thing Carnival does in the buffets is the cooked to order foods and a burrito bar would be great.

I almost forgot the highlight of the trip was the behind the scenes tour which lasted for 3 hours and was spectacular. My mother in law was not interested and spent the time donating money to carnival in the casino. The tour guide was amazing and apart from the person in charge of the storage and supplies who went very fast the staff we met were amazing. Chef was the best. I can not say how much I learned from this.

Finally, one question and one recommendation:

Question: apart from when you or I are on the ship how much toilet paper does the boat go through in a week? (I guess the number doubles when we are on board.)

Recommendation: Get a picture of your family or at least Kye it would be so much better to look at then the one you give out. LOL. I do hope that some day we will sail with you. Maybe in 2012 or 2013 as next year is already planned. And if I have not said it enough: THANK YOU and God Bless

John Says:
Hello Bill,

It is smashing to be blamed for something good for a change and I am grateful to you for taking the time to write another brilliant review for today’s blog thingy. I will certainly mention the pasta on lido deck to the chef and I know he will look very carefully at that. The Burrito Bar is very popular as I saw recently on the Carnival Splendor so it would make sense to put one on the Carnival Paradise. I am not sure though if the lido configuration would allow for this but I will certainly ask a beard for you.

Thanks for the kind words about the bar staff as it relates to the soda card and I am glad you got the gifts I sent you and I am puzzled though as to which photo they gave you. I hope I had clothes on I have no idea how many toilet rolls are used each week on a ship but you can bet your bottom I am going to find out for you and will have the answer soon. So thanks again for the great review and I hope that we do get to sail together one day very soon.

Until then I send my best wishes to you and the family.
John

UPDATE – IN REGULAR OPERATION THE CARNIVAL SPLENDOR USES 50 CASES CONTAINING 96 ROLLS – THAT’S 4,800 ROLLS ON A SEVEN DAY CRUISE.

If you need any more information on this subject please let me know because……I am on a roll.

Girl Friday Asked:
Hi John! Please reply

I have not had a good year. My husband of 8 years left me for ANOTHER MAN and I lost my job from JP Morgan as well that same month. On January 2nd I will be taking a cruise on Valor with a friend. It was supposed to be with my husband but I had to pay extra to get a friend to come. Please can you arrange for me and my friend to sit at a table with anything but married couples? I don’t think I can face that after what I have been through. We are in cabin 2424.

I love the blog and your Facebook updates.

John Says:
Hello Girl Friday,

I was so sorry to read your news and I hope that this New Year will bring you nothing but happiness and joy. I will certainly ask the maitre d to assist you and place you with other single cruisers and not married couples as I can understand how difficult that would be for you considering what you have been through.

Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes,
John

Jane Smith Asked:
Dear John, ***Please reply****

My husband and I just got off the Freedom on 10/31 and wanted to let you know what a fabulous job Ryan and his staff did. We had a medical emergency early on Saturday morning and had to divert to Grand Cayman so the guest could be treated in a hospital. We were supposed to get back into port Ft. Lauderdale early Sunday morning, but this did not happen until around 12:30 pm. Ryan and his staff kept everyone informed on what was going on. People were upset that they had to change flight plans, etc… There were many guests that were yelling at Ryan and giving him a hard time, but he kept a smile on face. Ryan and his staff deserve a standing ovation. What a hard job the CD and staff have.

Jane

PS we enjoyed the 8 day cruise so much we booked another one for next November 10 on the Miracle!

John Says:
Hello Jane Smith,

I was so proud of Ryan when I read your post and he did what a good CD is supposed to do in situations like this. I know that when the unexpected happens that guests can get upset and often they have good cause to be. It is the cruise director’s job to be there to listen and to try and explain as best and as calmly as possible just what is happening. From what I have just read it seems Ryan did exactly that. I will make sure his supervisors get to see these words of praise.

Thank you so much for writing and thank you so very much for your loyalty to Carnival and have a brilliant time on the Carnival Miracle.

Best wishes
John

CAPTAIN M Asked:
PLEASE REPLY

I am a ship’s captain for “another” cruise line and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. It amazes me that Carnival gives you free reign to talk about the subjects you do in the way you do and I commend them for this. You are a breath of fresh air in a somewhat stagnant industry. Congratulations

John Says:
Hello Captain M,

I am so very honoured (spelt correctly) that you enjoy the blog and that you took the time to tell me so. I am very lucky that Carnival does allow me to write this blog in my own words and style. I wish you calm seas and happy passengers, captain, and I hope one day I get to shake your hand and thank you personally for reading the blog.

Best wishes to you and your crew
John

Terry and Danielle Asked:
John: please reply

Here is a clip from a message I received today from a large travel company:

A large steel sculpture at the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico was dismantled and removed last month at a cost of $2 million. Officials on the island were prompted to make the move after the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream was unable to dock at the berth to which it had been assigned last December due to the position of the sculpture. Tourism officials were forced to move a news conference they had planned to hold onboard the Dream when they realized it could not dock.

The structure is described as looking like a giant paper airplane propped up by two legs and was installed in 2006 as part of a $30 million project to improve San Juan’s port facilities. A Port Authority spokeswoman said that the structure was dismantled to make room for bigger cruise ships.

We were with you on that voyage and while many were upset in missing Puerto Rico, we understood that it was out of the control of carnival. This is a little retribution, neh?

Terry and Danielle
lovely Prince Edward Island

John Says:
Hello Terry and Danielle,

I had no idea about this so thanks very much for telling me about this. Oh yes, I remember that cruise very well. Todd was the CD and he and I faced many a barrage from guests who did not understand what had happened. It was a challenging situation and one that could have been handled better. Anyway, I am glad that it has been removed and I am sure the port of San Juan realise that they have to do what they need to do in order to have the mega ships of today’s cruising world sock at their piers. I hope we see each other soon.

Best wishes to you both.
John


STILLMissingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:

John – PLEASE REPLY

(sung to the Flintstone’s tune)
Bloggers. Meet the Bloggers.
They’re the modern extended family.
From the cruise ships of Carnival,
They’re get togethers make history.
Let’s ride with the bloggers on the BC4
Through the courtesy of the Stephanie’s..
When you’re with the Bloggers
you’ll have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
You’ll have a gay old time.

John Says:
Hello STILLMissingthesmokefreeparadise

Brilliant! Here’s my reply to the tune of Barney’s I Love You:

I love you, you love me
The Carnival Paradise is not smoke free
But our ships have places where you can breathe fresh air
So come and cruise in your underwear.

See you real soon.

Best wishes to you and MrsStillMissingthesmokefreeparadise
John

Renee B. Asked:
Please reply:

My husband and I and some family members traveled back in Feb. on the Carnival Dream. As far as kids was concerned, we didn’t see many except in the pool and on the waterslide. The kids on the Dream were well behaved. We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to another cruise in May 2011 on the Dream again. I’m happy that Carnival is a family oriented vacation. The crew was wonderful on the cruise as I said we can’t wait for the next one. Of course you were wonderful to as you were the CD on the cruise. We really enjoyed listening to your shows. Thanks for a wonderful cruise hope to see you again soon.

John Says:
Hello Renee B,

The Circle C and Club O2 facilities on your Carnival Dream are located on deck 4 aft and therefore gives the kids a brilliant place to have fun and one that is somewhat hidden from the rest of the guests. Carnival is so proud to be the cruise line that carries more families than another. I was very glad to read that you enjoyed your time so much and that you enjoyed my silliness on stage. I hope we get to sail together soon

Best wishes
John

Derek H Asked:
JOHN PLEASE RESPOND IMMEDIATLEY

Need a table for four on the cruise of 25th December on dream. I don’t want my family to have sit with other people.
Cabin 8234
Reply to confirm!

John Says:
Hello Derek,

I have asked the Maitre D to assist you with your request. This is a very busy cruise and I am reading this request only a few days before you sail so it may not be a guarantee but I will do my best. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes
John

J J CRUISER Asked:
John – please reply

Just a few weeks before our Inspiration cruise my husband broke his leg when he fell off a ladder at work. I wanted to change my cruise date to a future date. I called my PVP. And I was told at this late date of just a few weeks away from my cruise….Carnival will keep my money except for the Gov. taxes and some fees. I am not able to roll over my money for a future cruise.

I WISH CARNIVAL IS LIKE ROYAL CARIBBEAN AND PRINCESS THAT GIVE PAX’S a chance to change dates for travel.

John Says:
Hello J J Cruiser,

I hope your husband is OK and please send him my best wishes for a speedy recovery. I really am not in a position to comment on what Carnival’s policies are compared to other cruise lines as I honestly don’t know. I will though send your post to someone at Carnival so that they can have a look at your situation. Thanks for letting me know

Best wishes to you both.
John

Vicki Asked:
John Please Reply.

Can you tell me when you will start talking about excursions for the Magic as I want to start planning?

So excited!

Thanks
Vicki

John Says:
Hello Vicki,

I will be talking much more about Europe and your Carnival Magic very soon so please continue to read the blog thingy. I can understand why you are so excited. See you soon.

Best wishes,
John

Greg F Asked:
Dear John (Please Reply)

After reading so many recent negative comments about the Carnival Triumph’s crew and accommodations I was a bit apprehensive as my wife I sailed Oct. 30 on our 1st Anniversary cruise. I must say I DO NOT KNOW WHERE PASSENGERS WHO WROTE NEGATIVE THINGS ABOUT THIS SHIP SAILED BUT IT CERTAINLY WAS NOT ON THE TRIUMPH! Every crew member was as friendly as can be…and there was not one who did not reply with a “hello” or “how is your day” when we walked by or offered our greetings first. I MUST also say I have never seen a ship more spotless. This crew was constantly polishing everything (even the poles underneath chairs and stools)! I believe a ship is also kept as clean as her passengers allow. The more slobs you have on a sailing I think the harder it is for the crew to keep up. Also Big Tex (not so big anymore) was also tremendous as CD. I also must tell you that the CHEF’S TABLE is AMAZING. Chef Gomes did an awesome job with the entire presentation and the dining experience was simply superb.

There is one burning question I have though…it seemed like there were almost NO trash cans in public areas to dispose of trash. We constantly found ourselves near an elevator, outside/inside the Rome lounge, the lobby area, promenade, etc. looking for a place to dispose of trash. Why are there so few? I speculated maybe it was a fire hazard, but really don’t know. We are going to miss the Triumph when it moves over to Galveston. We hear the Ecstasy is nice but from the outside anyway when we docked next to it in Progreso and Cozumel seemed to dull in comparison. Again I cannot commend the crew more for their hospitality and upkeep of the ship.

Kudos!

John Says:
Hello Greg F,

Another fantastic review and one that shows how important it is to go on a vacation with an open mind and ignore what others say. Everyone has and is entitled to an opinion but what always annoys me is that some take these opinions as fact and often,,,….as you have discovered ……… they are far from that.

Anyway, your review was brilliant and I especially enjoyed reading about The Chef’s Table and how much you enjoyed this incredible experience. I have been taking lots of bookings for this here on the blog and it is certainly getting more and more popular. I understand how much you will miss the Carnival Triumph but I promise that you will love the Carnival Ecstasy and with her many upgrades she will once again provide you with so much fun.

Thanks again for taking the time to write and I will make sure that all the crew you mentioned read your words of praise.

Best wishes to you all.
John

Grizel Robertson Asked:
John, please respond.

It is Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night tonight here in the UK & I am sure that Heidi & Kye, together with your parents, will be enjoying the spectacular displays that commemorate the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. Despite the fact that I have been working very long hours over the last 4 months, I have been reading your blogs, but have had no time to respond until now.

Please ignore the negative comments that you receive via Cruise Critic & please ignore the negative comments on this website. In 16 weeks, I will be joining BC4 & I cannot wait to join you & the wacky cruisers who will make this event something to remember. I need this release from my prison to enable me to recharge my batteries & fully enjoy my 2 weeks in Carnival heaven. To Heidi & Kye, I would say, if I do not meet you on C Glory, Bloggers BC4, I do hope that I meet you on C Magic in August 2011

John Says:
Hello Grizel Robertson,

Well you wrote this on Guy Fawkes Night which is of course November 5th which shows how far behind I am with my replies. It won’t be long until we see each other on bloggers cruise number 4 and I want to thank you for your kind words of support now and of course I will thank you in person when we see each other on the Carnival Glory.

Best wishes and see you soon
John

Bill Turnball Asked:

John Please Reply

Maybe this will teach you not to talk about politics on this forum you self serving jerk off. As a God-fearing Democrat and paying Carnival passenger I want an apology and you may want to send one to President Obama as well. His leadership is saving the world.

John Says:
Hello Bill Turnball,

I think you are referring to a very old blog I wrote where I stated that a guest looked like President Obama and that some other guests heckled him. Anyway, if I offended you I sincerely apologise and maybe you could pass this onto the President as well as I don’t have his address.

Best wishes
John

Kim F Asked:
John- Please Reply!

Hi, I sailed with Carnival on the Splendor on 10-24-10 through 10-30-10. I wanted to say that I absolutely LOVED the your shows and I just didn’t want to leave the ship! I was hoping that you could post pictures of the cast of the performances on your blog. I enjoyed their singing and dancing and would love pictures with their names! Thank you and best wishes to you and the rest of the Splendor crew!

John Says:

Hello Kim F

I wish I could post photos of the cast but they have of course been reassigned to other ships following the fire on the Carnival Splendor. I am so glad you enjoyed the shows tough and I want to thank you for taking the time to tell me. I hope we sail together again very soon.

Best wishes
John

And that’s all for today.

So here I am, back in my underpants writing today’s blog to you. I missed you all and want to thank you for allowing me to have some time off. It meant so much to me and to Heidi and Kye as well as instead of waking up and spending the entire morning behind the computer I was able to spend the day with them which of course was simply brilliant. While I was away you will have seen that I continued my Facebook updates and that Eric the Beard and Everett the Beard did a brilliant job in answering some questions for me which I want to thank them so very much for. I have sent them a big box of Tofu and paid for a year’s subscription to Naked Mac Users Magazine. Seriously chaps…………thanks. And as you’ve heard, there will be some new changes and additions happening to the blog as well over the next few weeks which I will now invite Eric to tell you all about.

Hello my dearest Bloggy People, long time no speak!

So as you know, last week John’s blog went through some minor surgery (Everett and I moved it over to a new server) so that us bearded folks would have the ability to make it even awesome-er (yes, that’s a real word…sorta :-P) than it already is.

A lot of the new changes/additions we’ll be making to achieve that are aimed at improving functionality (like the new comment form I spoke about last time), as well as a ton of new design elements and some other TOP SECRET surprises!

Keep an eye out over the next few weeks, as we start implementing these new changes… and as I mentioned before, if there are any specific ways you see us improving certain aspects of the blog, or other items you’d like to see available here in the future, please share them with me at socialnetworking@carnival.com. We beards are relying on you (John’s loyal readers) to help us make this blog thingy the best it can be! 🙂

Before I go, I want to thank everyone who voted so far for in the Carnival Awards. Over 500+ readers have submitted their votes and more are piling in every minute. If you haven’t voted yet, go to the Carnival Awards page and submit your votes right now! Just as a reminder, voting ends on 12/26/2010 and winners will be announced on 12/27.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

– Eric the Beard

Thanks, mate. I’m excited about the changes and with the lads help I am determined to get caught up with my questions that are asking for assistance and the new blog format will certainly allow for this to happen.

So a lot has happened while I have been away and let’s chat about some of it, starting with the Carnival Splendor. I know that many of you are disappointed that the ship will be out of service until Feb. 20. I did, however, want to remind you that there another Mexican Riviera option on the West Coast — eight-day cruises from San Diego on the beautiful Carnival Spirit.

If you haven’t cruised on a Spirit-class ship then I urge you to do so. Many readers here will tell you that the Spirit class is their favourite and of course she will be visiting some of the stunning ports visited by the Carnival Splendor. Here is a link thingy to the Carnival Spirit’s itinerary and the current pricing.

Recently I have been highlighting some of our brilliant piano bar entertainers and I have more to highlight in the New Year. Now though, let’s see who is playing where……here is the new schedule.

  • DE Larry Maconaghy 01/10/11
  • IM Tom Grable 01/14/11
  • TI David Ross 01/15/11
  • FD Doug Ross 01/15/11
  • GL Gerlald Lewis 01/23/11
  • EL Lizl Strauss 01/24/11
  • VA William Barclay 01/30/11
  • IS Peter Brenner 02/07/11
  • MI Greg Gallello 02/15/11
  • LI Brad Alexander 02/19/11
  • SE Barry Miller 02/24/11
  • FS Jordan Heppner 02/24/11
  • DR Tom Riccio 02/26/11
  • VI Wally Boik 03/06/11
  • SP Jafar Curry 03/06/11
  • EC Calvin Carrington 04/11/11
  • FA Robert Crucilla 04/23/11
  • LE Angela Johnson 05/15/11
  • PA Todd Troutman 06/03/11
  • PR Roger Concepcion 06/05/11
  • CQ James Morris 06/12/11

My thanks to Rob in the office for sharing this information.

I think I need a break and while I pop to the toilet to deliver my Yule Tide Log……….you have a look at some photos of the Carnival Pride in dry dock.

It is pretty neat to see a ship docked on land!

 

 

The Atrium lobby – looking like a ghost town

 

 

 

The Beauties Disco before it was re-done

 

 

 

The Beauties Disco after being entirely re-done

 

 

 

The ship yard in Freeport, Bahamas

 

 

Great shots and as you can see from the use of the words “pretty neat” that these were sent to be by Jaime who I am still hoping will be able to join me as part of the start up team on your Carnival Magic.

Well I have also been asked to take part in the New Years Eve celebration in Times Square. If you didn’t get to see what’s happening here is the press release one more time.

For the first time ever, Carnival Cruise Lines is infusing its fun spirit into the world’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration in New York’s Times Square.  Carnival today announced it is the official confetti sponsor of the Times Square New Year’s Eve 2011 celebration, bringing its signature fun and popular brand to the annual gathering of more than a million revelers.  The sponsorship includes multiple opportunities to associate the “Fun Ship” brand with the annual excitement and engage Times Square visitors and Carnival fans online with the option to have their wishes for 2011 added to the celebration’s confetti.

Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald will lead the official confetti air-worthiness test in Times Square in late December.  He will then grace the main event stage on December 31 to lead the New Year’s Eve celebrants in a practice countdown, complete with 500 pounds of Carnival-colored red, white and blue confetti, the first confetti drop of the New Year’s Eve 2011 party.  At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2011, a ton of colorful Carnival Confetti, hand-tossed by approximately 100 “confetti dispersal engineers,” including a number of lucky Carnival employees, will fill the New York City skyline.  Carnival will also engage the crowd through billboard advertisements and a text to win cruise giveaway on New Year’s Eve.

“Carnival is thrilled to be part of New York City’s New Year’s Eve celebration and add our brand of participatory fun to the festivities,” said Jim Berra, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines.  “There is no place more iconic and energetic than Times Square on New Year’s Eve, so the opportunity to be the official confetti sponsor of this celebration is a great way for us to reinforce the fun our guests experience and to kick off the New Year for our brand. We’ll also be sending warm thoughts of Caribbean climes and tropical breezes to the revelers braving the cold by giving away a Carnival cruise vacation to one lucky person.”

Carnival is giving people a chance to get in on the confetti fun with the Carnival Confetti New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall at the Times Square Visitor’s Center located at 1560 Broadway in New York City.   Wishing Wall visitors are invited to share their hopes and dreams for the coming year on colorful slips of paper that will be added to the ton of confetti that will rain from the sky as the clock strikes midnight.  Those unable to visit the Wishing Wall but who would still like to have their wish included in the Carnival Confetti, can visit www.facebook.com/Carnival to learn more and follow simple instructions to share what fun things they wish to do next year and have their wish included in the confetti that will be part of the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration.

Carnival has been wonderful and has paid for Heidi and Kye to fly out with me which is so kind of them. I am waiting for our director of public relations to tell me more as I’m really looking forward to this event as you can imagine. Hopefully she will tell me in the next couple of days because as it gets closer to Christmas the PR and marketing teams will be renewing their friendship with Robert Mondavi which means that I won’t understand a word they are saying. I do know that we will be doing some special videos on the blog and as soon as I know anything more I will tell you here and on Facebook. I am very honoured to be doing this though and I truly hope I will see some of you there.

So how does this leave the blog schedule then…………….well like this.

DECEMBER 24, 25 AND 26 – NO BLOG

DECEMBER 27 – FULL BLOG

DECEMBER 28 – JOHN AND THE GIRLS FLY TO NEW YORK

During this time in the Big Apple I will post video blogs of course and update Facebook all day long.

Regular blog service with 5 blogs a week will start from January 3.

Here is a great Christmas shot from the Carnival Conquest

Its also tradition at this time for the CD’s to send each other Christmas wishes. Here are 2 examples staring with the very creative Butch and his Carnival Dream team

And now Karl with a K and his team on the Carnival Victory.

To the Carnival Paradise now and Felipe and the Entertainment Staff.

And a great card now from the wonderful Lynn and the Carnival UK team.

Well time has nearly run away from me but before I go here is a very special video from some of the people who have a very special Christmas message for all of you.

 

Please remember the crew these next few days. They are away from their family and loved ones and will be doing all they can to make this holiday cruise so very special for thousands of guests.

Christmas is all about children, from the birth of one in Bethlehem to Kye’s eyes that will no doubt be wide open in excitement come Christmas morning. I remember when I was a lad I could never sleep on Christmas Eve out of sheer, bed-wetting, excitement. I refused to go to bed, and then when I did I couldn’t sleep and would wake my Mum and Dad up before dawn, meaning they spent most of Christmas Day half asleep which nearly resulted in my Dad cutting off his hand with the electric turkey-carver.

And so its time to go but before I do I have to tell you about Kye’s first Santa experience at the Bluewater shopping mall. She doesn’t quite understand what he is or what he does but Heidi who must be obeyed said that we should take Kye to see him and I have to tell you that he was absolutely crap. Now surely the minimum requirements for Santa Claus is that he must be fat…… he must have a real beard……. or an incredibly convincing fake one…… His moustache absolutely on no account can fall off…… And he isn’t allowed to tell you, in front of your child, that all the toys aren’t actually made in the North Pole by elves, they’re imported from factories in China. Kye looked at him and probably because she spends each day sitting on a fat man’s knee ………. she yawned ……………and pointed to the exit.

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.