I hope you all had a fun Halloween. I spent it in my hotel room with the door locked and bolted in case a child staying in the hotel decided to knock on the door and say “Hola, tricko oro treato.” The ships on the other hand celebrated in full Halloween style all except the Carnival Miracle which has a nude charter and where every night could be a potential horror night.

I personally don’t see the point of Halloween. I can see the kids thing about demanding candy with menaces from little old ladies but the whole thing about celebrating being scared……..I just don’t get it. Then again, when it comes to being scared and watching movies like Texas Chain Saw Axe Zombie Killer Mutant Prom Night Killer from Hell ….I just can’t watch them. I mentioned we are having horror nights incorporated on our big screen schedule and started with Paranormal Activity last cruise and have the Saw movie for this week. I hate those and just don’t get the pleasure thing about being scared. Then again, this probably comes from the time Heidi and I tried something in London called Cellar of Horrors Live. You pay an absurd amount of money to go into a dingy basement entrance and you do so with certain “It’s not real” swagger.

A kindly staff member pointed out that we shouldn’t go any further if we have a heart condition. Being macho, I said, “Bollocks,” and off we went. We stepped inside, past a waxwork of a Victorian police officer on the beat. Except it’s not a waxwork, it’s a drama student, who explodes in my face with a piercing yell, forcing me into an out of skin leap that Scooby sodding Doo and Shaggy would struggle to match.

For the next twenty minutes this is a short, sharp shock. You wander through dark, echoing corridors, being chased by all manner of horrors, from a huge bald man with an axe to Jack the Ripper, who emerged from the shadows to rattle chains, groan, dribble and spurt blood at us from various gaping wounds. The actors were truly impressive, and by the time we stumbled out of there Heidi had a huge lump in her throat ………and I had one in the back of my underpants.

Time for today’s questions ………lets crack on.

Annmarie Blomfield asked:

I tried to book a cruise on the new Carnival Breeze ship on carnival.com but it wanted a US state and phone number on the booking form and I live in the UK, is there any way to overcome this and book via the website?

Thanks,

Annmarie

John says:
Hello Annmarie,

Yes, I know it can be frustrating. I am therefore happy to tell you that the UK now has its own dedicated booking website that mirrors carnival.com. The address is www.carnivalcruise.co.uk. Please have a look at this and let me know if you have any questions. And you can expect a lot more great news for Carnival’s many UK fans very soon.

Best wishes

John

Rick L. asked:
Hello John,

I just joined your blog last week and I really enjoy reading it. My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Elation in 2007. Since then, we have gone on two RCCL cruises and we decided to book the Carnival Breeze, January 5, 2013 for my 50th birthday! Both RCCL cruises were good, especially Oasis of Seas; however, we kept talking about how much fun we had on the Carnival Elation. Most of our conversation centered round our CD, Mr. Stuart Dunn. He was by far the most entertaining CD we have encountered, especially on roller skates! We found out that he is in Australia now, and we were hoping he’d come back for our Breeze trip, but we know that is probably unlikely. We just hope whoever is CD for our trip will be just as entertaining as Stuart! Just wanted to say we are excited about coming back to Carnival because of our past experience!

John says:
Hello Rick L,

I am sure you had two nice cruises on the Oasis and enjoyed all the amenities they have on board but it is so wonderful that you are coming back to Carnival. Stuart is a brilliant CD isn’t he and that’s why we have chosen him to be the CD when the Carnival Spirit heads to Australia next year. I am not sure who the CD will be but there is a good chance it maybe some fat old English bloke called John Heald. I hope we see each other on a ship that I hope will keep you loyal to carnival for years to come. Please let me know if you have any other questions and welcome to the blog.

Best wishes.

John

Josh asked:

I have a question which I called Carnival about but the lazy and uniformed people there wouldn’t help me with. Will Carnival provide its many Jewish guests with anything for Hanukah and my parents want to know if they can bring a Rokeach Yahrzeit light candle on the boat? This is very important!!

John says:
Hello Josh,

Carnival will indeed provide our guests of the Jewish faith with menorah lighting ceremonies held in the lobby of our ships. This will be advertised in the Fun Times for you. I am not sure what a Rokeach Yahrzeit light candle is but if it is a candle that uses a real flame you cannot bring that on the ship. If it is an electric light candle then that should be OK. The people that work in the Miami office work very hard and I am glad to be here to help answer the questions they cannot. Have a wonderful cruise Josh.

Best wishes.

John

Lesley Bettridge asked:

For my birthday last year I went on the Carnival Fascination and Carnival didn’t send me anything for my birthday which is Nov 10 on Carnival Destiny. Me and my friend are in cabin R88. Will Carnival send me something this time?

John says:
Hello Lesley Bettridge,

Yes indeed they will, well I will and I wish you a wonderful birthday cruise and a very happy birthday to you.

Best wishes.

John

Colvin B asked:
John,

My husband and I just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Pride and had a really good time. I do want to comment on the new menu that overall was very good. I tried the alligator bites and even the frog’s legs and they were ok but the best new thing on the menu was the bacon mac and cheese which was really, really good and our waiter Jo Jo said was very popular. The one thing we tried that really wasn’t good was the meatloaf. John has anyone tasted this, have you tasted it? It really is awful John. That said we had the most wonderful cruise and the penthouse cabin we splurged on was out of this world.

John says:
Hello Colvin B,

Thanks so much for writing. You know, I was on the Carnival Liberty last week and I should have tried the meatloaf but I forgot. I say that because I had seen the comment about this on my Facebook page a few weeks ago but forgot. I will make sure I send these comments to the chef and let Sanjay see that you didn’t like it. I do know that the bacon mac and cheese is immensely popular, probably the most popular out of our new comfort food offerings. I ate from the new menu last week and I think my favourite dish was the jerk pork…….the new sauce they are using for that is fantastic although the prime rib was as always superb. I am so glad you had a wonderful cruise and rest assured that I will pass your comments on.

Best wishes.

John

Sandstone Cruisers asked:

As Platinum passengers with a total of 24 cruises between us my wife and I feel that Carnival needs to do more for its Platinum people. Case in point. We have to pay the same price on the internet as non Platinum people and we have no reserved places to sit at the shows either. These are all things that other lines do and that’s why we are considering NCL next as Carnival should treat us better than the rest. Just saying that’s all.

John says:
Hello Sandstone Cruisers,

Well I sincerely hope that you won’t leave us for another line. With 24 Carnival cruises to your names it shows that we must have been doing something right over the years and I hope you will take this into consideration. There is a new loyalty program and later this week I will be meeting with the man who will be putting it together ready to start early next year. I hope you will wait and see what happens before you book with another line. We value all our guests and we certainly value your tremendous loyalty so please keep reading the blog for the latest news.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Claire Heskie asked:
Hi John,

We will be sailing on the Carnival Inspiration on 10/31. We were on the Carnival Sensation a few months ago and loved the comedy club which was the bomb. Please tell me who the comedians are. There was one dark skinned man called Happy I think who was the funniest man I have ever seen and wondered if he would be there.

Thanks John.

John says:
Hello Clair Heskie,

The comedian you are referring to is Happy Cole who is you are right one of the funniest comedians there is and I am so glad you enjoyed him. Timing is everything and I see that you are already on the cruise and won’t see this but wanted to reply anyway just in case. Your comedians are Dean Gaines and Just Jack who will keep you laughing. I am sorry I am late in my reply and I hope you are having (had) a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.

John


Philip Medeiros asked:

Hi John,

I’ve been reading your blog for a month or two and find it rather informative. There are some things at Carnival that seem to be deep dark secrets or exclusively reserved for the privileged few. The very recent survey regarding Platinum, etc has made me so aware of how insignificant one can be. We’re not Platinum and perhaps never will be considering possible changes Carnival is considering. I didn’t get a survey and have yet to find what is mentioned in it. We have done seven cruises (47 days) through and including our “Owner’s Suite” cruise to hell which was on the Carnival Sensation in May 2011. We have six more cruises booked (another 58 days) actually nine bookings including those I have for family members. I am also a holder of CCL stock but I’m not important enough to Carnival (hereinafter known as Bastard Cruise Line) to be made aware what changes might be made let alone how those changes might change our reaching Platinum status next April on the Carnival Dream.

The beards as you call them (hereinafter referred to as Apple Jacks) just don’t seem to get it. They are incapable of putting together two words followed by a question mark, “What if?” and then asking themselves the question at hand. That should be followed by “Then what?” They seem however to be too busy playing with all their “Apple Toys.” The derivation of Apple Jacks is simply their appetite for all things Apple and either being Jackasses or not knowing “Jack” about their own policies. I think calling them beards suggests they have some age and wisdom about them. From my personal experience with some of them, they are severely lacking in that department. You try to point out problems that arise when what ship’s crew believes policy to be, and what Carnival themselves have put in black and white for the guest about policy, differ. I got utter and repeated denial until they simply took a moment to verify what I told them. “Oh, well we will certainly correct that.” That was in May and here it is September and nothing has changed. And there was no apology for the treatment I was given by ship’s GSD and security. Bastard Cruise Line should adopt a new slogan that “The Guest Is Never Right, Even If We are Wrong.” I don’t expect you or anyone else to respond to this, as my questions to you in the past have gone unanswered. Having said that, you did forward my request for a Chef’s Table reservation, and I thank you for that. We will certainly go on our next cruise Nov 28 on the Carnival Paradise for our 42nd anniversary. Beyond that, my inclination is to cancel the rest of my bookings and sell my CCL stock, at a 20% loss. No wonder why. After all, to BCL I am too insignificant to matter.

John says:
Hello Philip Medeiros,

I have read your very passionate comments three times hoping that I can find some specifics to why you are so unhappy. It is hard therefore for me to comment on what happened without having these details but I promise that we do care, I care and so does Carnival. I am going to send this to a colleague at a very high level so I can see what happened and what we can do to turn this situation around and for you to remain a Carnival customer. Thanks so much for writing to me here on the blog.

Best wishes.

John

Radeep asked:
John,

Does Carnival rent iPads or lap tops on the Carnival Magic. I will be sailing over the Christmas cruise and it will be one thing less to pack.

John says:
Hello Radeep,

Yes indeed we do rent laptops (or the smaller note books I think they are called) from the internet station on Promenade Deck 5. I wish you a wonderful cruise and if you have any questions please let me know.

Best wishes.

John


Nicki Palmesco asked:

John,

While on our Carnival Legend cruise there was an announcement that was made that said a helicopter would be rescuing a passenger who was very sick. It was an awesome sight to see the helicopter over the ship but after that no more information was given. Why didn’t the cruise director or captain tell us what was wrong with the guest and what happened to him after and if he survived or not. I found this to be very strange as did the 100 plus passengers I spoke to about it.

John says:
Hello Nicki Palmesco,

I must start this answer by saluting the brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard who save so many lives each and every week and yet for the most part remain very much unsung heroes. That being said I should point out that we never give out the medical information of our guests and I am sure that if you were the one being rescued you would, I hope feel the same. All we can do in these situations is hope that the guest makes a full recovery and think of the family he or she was cruising with. I hope you had a wonderful time.

Best wishes.

John

And on that note……..I feel I should tell you that I have hemorrhoids by the way Nicki Palmesco ……….we will end today’s Q and A.

I have mentioned on my Facebook page that our senior photographer Mr. Radu has returned to the Carnival Magic and I thought that it would be nice to find out a little more about this amazingly talented man. Here he is in his own words.

My journey with Carnival began in a Finnish shipyard in October 1998, it was a great place to start and a beautiful ship, Carnival Paradise, the first non smoking ship. I came for the opportunity to see places and photograph these places and after 13 years I still have the same feelings, and I want to see more. Money was not the reason to be on ships. As you remember the crossing of the Atlantic was very bumpy, big swells and strong wind from Hurricane Mitch I think was the name, almost made me change my mind to get off the ship in Halifax. It was the worst ocean I ever seen, but once I got in New York, I forgot all the worst and all the best happened to me.

I have been on Carnival Sensation after that, Carnival Destiny, Carnival Paradise, and in 2001 my dream came true, when I was chosen to be part of the Carnival Spirit photo team for Alaska season and Hawaii. I did love it so much that I did spend three years on the Spirit, and I did visit Alaska three more times after that. Since 2005 I have been on all Carnival ships as fleet wide senior photographer for our stock and generic images, this is something that only my photos can tell how blessed I have been to see all these places where Carnival goes. I met great people, made friends, and I had the opportunity to photograph a couple of stars, like Shaquille O’Neal, Mira Sorvino, Katie Couric and others that are our ship godmothers, or the president of Honduras or Panama. My best experience was to fly over the Panama Canal, above flowing lava in Hawaii, and above Mt. McKinley in Alaska.

I still dream of photographing the Himalayas, the wildlife of South Africa and not at last the Antarctica; I think this is my best wish.

Since 1993 I am taken photos with Nikon cameras, since 2003 I did change on digital camera also Nikon, now I have Nikon D3 and NikonD2x, I have wide lenses from 12 mm to 35 mm, all Nikon lenses 80-200mm, tilt shift lens 85 mm and the most lens I love is the big big lens Nikon VR 600 mm, the one I did photograph Stromboli or the crocodiles from Tarcoles River in Costa Rica. It is so big and heavy that I can stand during a hurricane.

John asked me to pick my favourite 10 photos. It is very hard to pick 10 images, I have so many but here are my top 10. Thank you everyone for liking my photos:

Carnival Destiny at Half Moon Cay

 

Portland Maine Lighthouse

 

Carnival Victory in St. Lucia

 

Fundatica, Alaska

Fundatica, Alaska

 

 

Alaska College Fiord

Alaska College Fiord

Alaska Aurora

Alaska Aurora

Patagonia Torres del paines

Patagonia Torres del paines

Hawaiian lava flow

Hawaiian lava flow

Hawaii Kauai Kalalai valley

Hawaii Kauai Kalalai valley

Radu in Alaska

Radu in Alaska

Amazing shots and Radu is hosting a photo workshop on the Carnival Magic’s Atlantic crossing and I am sure that this will be something the guests will truly appreciate and enjoy. I am also working with him to make a calendar for 2012 as well. Thanks Radu for all you do for all of us mate.

So tomorrow I have a meeting with a chap called Rob. He is the vice president beard in charge of refreshing our loyalty program and tomorrow I will find out some of the things that will be happening and as soon as I can, reporting those changes back to you. I have a whole list of questions to ask him and while I don’t expect he will be able to answer them all I hope that he will be able to put some minds at ease, encourage people to become loyal customers and have our already loyal customers really excited. I will of course let you know.

A month or so ago I asked on Facebook what questions I should ask Rob and many were the same. What length the loyalty program would be based on, number of days cruised or as it is now number of cruises? Some who are close to Platinum and indeed Milestone are hoping the goal posts are not changed and most of the questions were as I said based around those.

However, doing some revision yesterday I saw one that wanted the Milestone card to be …….well more obvious and even suggests we make it from Titanium. Certainly the crew need to see that the guest presenting the card is a VIP because that is exactly what they are.
I guess this mirrors my thoughts on credit cards because I don’t want the loyalty program to have the same sinister underbelly that is rarely talked about with credit cards. I’m talking about not having the right one.

Last night I went for dinner with a group of beards from the office. It wasn’t something I really wanted to do because I knew that all we would talk about was work. And we did. Now the beards I went with are all vice president and above so all earn more than me. OK fair one but I still feel like I needed to offer to pay, that’s just how I was brought up. So dinner was over, the check arrived and everyone started chucking their plastic onto the leather thingy the check was in. It was a sea of platinum. I felt like a total failure as my Barclays Bank green checking account card landed on a shiny Platinum Amex. Compared to them I felt like I had the social standing of a constipated yak.

I know some credit cards have certain privileges but also I think some are designed solely to impress. But I totally understand that some. Not all Milestone and Platinum guests want to show the rest of the ship just how much they love Carnival. Anyway, let’s see what the beards have in store as I know there are new designs for the blue, gold, platinum and milestone cards and I will put forward your ideas as always and as soon as I am able I will show you the new designs for all our loyalty cards..

A friend of mine sent me a photo yesterday that I have to share with you. It’s of me and one of Carnival’s longest standing entertainers, Mr. Eddie Capone. This was taken many years ago on the Carnival Fascination in 1994 I think. Back then we went to ports like Caracas, Venezuela and where this was taken in Guadalupe. Actually, I didn’t call it Guadalupe as since it is a French island I always said Rudealupe as you know my distaste for anything French.

One of the ports we also went to was French but it was a stunning port with gorgeous scenery, stunning beaches and as I remember some fantastic shopping. That island was Martinique and I hope one day Carnival sends a ship back there as I remember just how much the guests loved the place. Yes it was French and there was still that “attitude” but past that it is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean and one day I hope you get to visit. Have any of you been there? It’s one of the islands that made a huge impression on my early days at Carnival.

Anyway, here is that photo of me and the incomparable Eddie Capone.

Sorry about the hat. Yep, I have become one fat bugger for sure. Eddie is still working our ships and is still making our guests laugh out loud. Have a look at the Godfather of Comedy’s website at www.eddiecapone.com.

I am feeling a bit guilty you know with the Carnival Magic about to start her six days at sea. James the cruise director is doing a wonderful job and reports on Facebook from the guests on board are all positive. Anyway, let’s see what’s happening as we turn things over to Calvyn for his daily report and we start with yesterday when the Carnival Magic was in Malaga.

Hello John

Well Halloween is here and what a day it is to be in Malaga. Sunny skies with a nice breeze with big white fluffy clouds. I did not get off to experience the city; however 1,600 guests booked tours which is great news!

As James and Kevin were decorating the Spotlight lounge and other areas I was signing out Mahjong game sets. I never knew that Mahjong was so popular; and the people who play are very intense and vulture-like to get their hands on a game set. Of course the sets weigh about ten pounds each and are very awkward to carry, so carrying three at a time was quite a challenge and I had to make two trips. Poor me, poor me, pour me another.

At any rate, I am going dressed as Amy Winehouse (RIP) for Halloween. Do you remember last year’s Halloween when we went dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz.? I was the Lion and you were Dorothy………ahhhh such happy days.

Looking forward to seeing you soon and spending hours in your cabin pressing wild flowers together.

Cal

You know Calvyn, sometimes there isn’t enough vomit in the world.

Here’s what the guests did yesterday.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2011

MORNING
7:00am Sunrise Stretch – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
7:30am Fab Abs – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
8:00am Carnival Magic Arrives in Malaga
8:45am Daily Puzzle Pick-Up – Plaza Café, 5 Mid
9:00am SkyCourse Open – Deck 14, Mid

  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd

11:00am Putt-Putt Challenge – Turf on Surf, 12 Mid

AFTERNOON
1:00pm General Knowledge Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
2:00pm Guess That Song: Beatles Covers – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
3:00pm Uno Challenge – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Soccer Dribbling Challenge – Turf on Surf, 12 Mid
  • Get Your Bridge On (Instructor Led) – Conference, 4 Mid

3:30pm Bean Bag Challenge – Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd
4:00pm Pumpkin Carving Demo & Contest…Beach Pool, 10 MId

  • Outrageous Law Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
  • Total Body Conditioning – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd
  • Friends of Bill W. / Jimmy K – Escape Bar, 4 Fwd

4:30pm All Guests Must Be Back on Board

  • Bookworm Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

EVENING
5:00pm Carnival Magic Sets Sail for Las Palmas

  • Dance Class – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

6:30pm Scary Movie Trivia – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
7:00pm Showtime (Late Seating) – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Guess the Price of the Painting – Promenade, 5 Mid
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd

7:30pm Halloween Meet & Greet – Ocean Plaza,5 Mid
7:45pm Thriller Dance Class – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
8:00pm Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino,5 Mid
8:15pm Halloween Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Guess the Price of the Painting – Promenade, 5 Mid

8:30pm Scary Movie Trivia – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
8:45pm Dance Hits & Mixes – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft
9:00pm Showtime (Early Seating) – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Halloween Ball – Spotlight Lounge, 5 Mid
  • Piano Bar Party – Play It Again, 5 Aft

9:30pm Twilight Golf – Turf on Surf, 5 Mid
10:00pm Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid

  • Casino Witching Hour – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • Frightful Hour – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft
  • Friends of Dorothy GLBT Meet – Play It Again, 5 Aft

10:15pm Halloween Costume Contest – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
12:00am (Movie) Young Frankenstein – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwdotlight

Here’s another update from Calvyn:

Hello John

Last night was Halloween and what a night it was! James was a toy soldier with perfectly round glitter dots on each cheek and knowing James you just know he spent a solid two hours getting the dots perfectly round. Lanie was dressed as a mummy, Leonnie as Marilyn Monroe, Christian as Harry Potter, Ryan a zombie, The best and yet slightly insulting costume came when Kevin revealed his costume which was an exaggerated version of me right down to my red watch. Now Mrs. Huxtable from the Cosby show once told Rudy that imitation is the best form of flattery, but did he have to wear the fat suit?

The winner of the Carnival Magic’s inaugural Costume Party was a woman named Ellen. I am not sure of Ellen’s age nor did I dare ask; however I am going to say that Ellen is around 60 years old and she came dressed as a Hooters girl with her boobies hanging down to her waist. It was quite hysterical and a real solid win for Ellen.

Now I have to say that I had a personal favorite and ironically it was quite low key. It was a guest that was dressed as Flo from the progressive insurance ads.

Now let’s talk about today. The skies are blue with spotted bits of white fluffy clouds. The ocean is as smooth as ice and the activities are busting from the seams of the Fun Times.

The spirits are very high and the crowd highly energetic.

John, I had a dream about you last night. It involved me and you in Paris and we were in each other’s arms dancing the night away to Barbara Streisand tunes.

Love,

Cal

Paris, Streisand, dancing with Calvyn………some would call that a nightmare. ………..I know I bloody well would.

Here is what the guests are doing today

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2011

MORNING

7:00am Sunrise Stretch – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
7:30am Legs, Bums and Tums – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
8:00am Yoga + – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
8:30am James’ Walking Club – SportSquare, 12 Mid
8:45am Daily Puzzles – Plaza Café, 5 Mid
9:00am Acronym Puzzles – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Bridge for Beginners Series – Northern Lights, 3 Fwd
  • Putt-Putt Challenge – Turf on Surf, 12 Mid
  • Indoor Cycling – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd

9:15am James’ Morning Show – Channel 16 & Seaside Theatre
9:30am General Knowledge Trivia – Spotlight Lounge, 5 Aft
10:00am Super Trivia (Round 2) – Spotlight Lounge, 5 Aft

  • Bean Bag Challenge – Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd
  • AquaFun – Beach Pool, 10 Mid
  • Intermediate Bridge Lessons – Northern Lights, 3 Fwd
  • Arts & Crafts – Conference Center, 4 Mid
  • Introduction to Chinese Medicine – Ocean Plaza, 5 MId

10:30am Live Hair & Make-Up Show – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
11:00am Dance Class – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Mahjong Players Meet – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
  • Dodgeball – SkyCourt, 12 Aft
  • How to Increase Your Metabolism – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

AFTERNOON

12:00pm Food & Wine Pairing  – Prime Steakhouse, 5 Aft
12:30pm Scrapbookers Meet – Conference Center, 4 Mid

  • Uno Challenge – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

1:00pm Ice Carving Demonstration – Beach Pool, 10 Mid

  • Slots ‘O Prizes – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • GoSmile Tooth Whitening Workshop – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Catholic Mass Service – Conference Center, 4 Mid
  • Bridge Play (Duplicate & Social) – Northern Lights, 3 Fwd

1:15pm Beary Cuddly  – Camp Carnival, 11 Mid
2:00pm A Magical World Cruise – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Guess That Song: TV Themes – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
  • Soccer Tournament – SkyCourt, 12 Aft
  • Arts & Crafts – Conference Center, 4 Mid
  • Look 10 Years Younger Today – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd
  • Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd
  • Friends of Bill W. & Jimmy K – Escape Bar, 4 Fwd

2:30pm 5 Game Bingo  – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
3:00pm Bean Bag Challenge – Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd

  • Connect 4 Challenge – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid
  • Tea Time – Southern Lights, 4 Aft

3:30pm Dance Class – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
4:00pm Broadway Trivia – Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Movie Matinee: Casino Royale – Seaside Theatre, 10 Mid
  • Pilates  – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

4:30pm On Your Marks, Get Set, Draw!….Ocean Plaza, 5 Mid

  • Fab Abs – Cloud 9 Spa, 12 Fwd

EVENING

5:00pm Catholic Mass Service – Conference Center, 4 Mid
6:00pm Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
7:00pm Karaoke Party – Spotlight Lounge, 5 Aft

  • Modern Masters Exhibition…Gallery on the Way, 4 Mid
  • Library Time – Books & Games, 4 Fwd

7:30pm The MBA of Art Seminar – Conference Center, 4 Mid
7:45pm Cha-Cha-Cha, Cheek to Cheek – Magic Lobby, 3 Fwd

  • Olympics Trivia – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft

8:00pm Say What You See Trivia – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid

8:30pm Showtime (Early Seating) – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd
8:45pm Dance Hits & Mixes – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft
9:00pm Modern Masters Exhibition – Gallery on the Way, 4 Mid
10:00pm Say What You See Trivia – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

  • Texas Hold ‘Em Players Meet – Hat Trick Casino, 5 Mid
  • Motown Hour – Vibe Nightclub, 5 Aft
  • Friends of Dorothy GLBT Meet – Ocean Plaza (Port), 5 Mid

10:30pm Showtime (Late Seating) – Showtime Theatre, 3 Fwd

By the way, I remember the Mahjong battle on the Carnival Liberty and a fierce Asian lady who to this day is the only guest ever to actually hit me. She slapped me around the head because we didnt have Mahjong on the ship and oh yes, she hit Ken Byrne the maître d as well.

By the way, talking of the one and only Ken Byrne the senior maitre d, I was thinking of him today when I opened my e mail and found my usual offer of Viagra. The reason I was thinking of Ken was that he lives five minutes away from the town that makes the world’s supply of Viagra, a town called Ringaskiddy. I am sure you read the story in the press yesterday about Paddy O Leary who was the manager of the Viagra factory for 20 years and who dies yesterday aged 88. In fact Paramount is making a movie about his life working in the Viagra factory for all those years. It’s called………..Die Hard.

I want to finish today on the subject of tipping. My Facebook page is awash with posts telling us that they had seen that we had raised the gratuities from $10 per day to $11.50. This was the first raise since 2001 and comes into effect on December 1. I wanted to point out that those with pre-paid gratuities will not have their rates changed. This was posted first on Carnival’s travel agent booking site and led to quite a few comments. I quickly want to address this one I received below as it was one of three such comments.

David Amiel asked:

Why is Carnival trying to sneak these new gratuity increases by their customers? There has been no mention of this on your blog or on Carnival’s web page. This is a sneaky move that is so typical of Carnival.

John says:

Well, if I may address that quickly, David, as I did get two other comments that were similar. We were not trying to sneak anything by anyone, to suggest so is just plain silly. It has been posted on our travel agent web site, given to our call centers, updated on carnival.com, and here I am writing about it today.

So, what do you think about this increase? Well it has been about 10 years since our last increase and I could sit here and talk about how other cruise lines have done this previously but I don’t think this is important. What is important is that I hope you all think that our crew deserves this. Obviously, you can always adjust the rate up or down if you’d like. Gratuities have to be earned and should not be expected by any of our service crew but I hope that if they provide you with professional service mixed with a huge dollop of fun that you will continue to reward them as you always have done.

Brilliant burgers, red amphibians, blue lizards, twisting water slides and fat cruise directors telling stupid Viagra jokes are all well and good but it’s the Carnival crew that continue to be the heartbeat of our ships and I thank you all for the rewards that you have given and I hope will continue to give them.

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.

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