May 3, 2016 -

John Heald

Good morning everyone and here we are in our first port of call, Dubrovnik, and despite it being a rather grey day, there is much excitement to explore this amazing port of call. Ever since we started coming to Dubrovnik on Carnival Liberty in 2006 (Oh, FFS, was it really 10 years ago), it has always been a port that has massively exceeded expectations and its history of surviving civil war and the stunning beauty of its coastline always surprises people.

There is now in 2016 even more excitement for some to visit because of the phenomenon that is Game of Thrones, much of which was filmed in there

As I sit here in in the Horizon Dining Room in my underpants writing to you at 10:05am, we already have 2,433 guests ashore, many of whom are on the Best of Dubrovnik excursion. I think more and more guests are realizing that these days and because of the world we live in, that it’s good to have that secure, cuddly feeling that comes with being on a Carnival shore excursion.

Matt the averagely good looking cruise director did a brilliant job with his travel talk and I can tell you that there is a vast difference from doing a talk about Nassau or Cozumel than doing a talk about some of the major cities in Europe. But he has a warm and trusting personality and, of course, he had the benefit of me giving him all my jokes — the lucky bastard! But, seriously, it is obvious why he was chosen to be here as CD and he is, well……..the future. Great job, Matt!

It was a busy day for the entertainment staff as all port day mornings are. When we first went to Europe on the Carnival Liberty, we spent the first few weeks of that season apologising over and over again to guests for the awful tour dispatch system we had where guests would just wander onto the pier to try and find their tour which, when in ports like Naples and Livorno, meant 1,000 plus guests at any one time would be there and it was…..bloody chaos.

And so Heidi and I came up with the stickering system we use today here on your Carnival Vista. Guests come to the lounge, we give them a sticker with a number on it and then they take a seat. When the tour operator has the coach ready, the staff leads them down to the pier and straight onto the bus. The bus has a sign in the front window with the Carnival logo and a number…….the same number of the guest’s sticker, which means they always know they are getting on the bus.

It’s easy to forget the hell Dubrovnik went through and the best way to appreciate this and its beauty is to take the excursion with the addition of the Ramparts walk and, from up high, our guests can appreciate the old and new terracotta roofs that show the scale of the damage inflicted by the Serbian bombardment in the 1990s.

Yep, Dubrovnik is a fascinating city and one of my favourite ports of calls of all time. It never ceases to amaze me that, as I sit looking out the window, that just a decade ago, this very place where the Carnival Vista is docked, was pounded by Serbian artillery. That was then and this is now and, even in the rain, Dubrovnik today is more splendid than ever before.




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.