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  #31 (permalink)  
Old April 30th, 2008, 06:44 AM
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Thanks for the pictures Kuki And the sunset was beautiful . Wish I was there .

Happy Sailing to all ;
david
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Old April 30th, 2008, 11:54 AM
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Kuki, I am glad I am wrong on the to much crusing comment. It seemed like you went through a lot on the last trip. I am not a big fan of flying even when things go well. I still think the beer is a good idea. I look forward to reading your un-varnished daily adventures. Wishing you and yours a great cruise. Mike
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Old April 30th, 2008, 09:55 PM
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Kuki -

I am enjoying this cruise vicariously through your blog - right now, I can visualize myself on the balcony (not being dripped on) enjoying the oceanic view.

Keep writing and I will keep enjoying.

Jon
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Old May 1st, 2008, 12:29 AM
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Apr.30- Crossing the Atlantic – Freedom
Today is the first of six 23 hour days on this cruise. Stop that!! Someone find the bandits at Carnival, who are stealing time from my cruise, and arrest them! This is the downside of a west to east transatlantic cruise. The advantage; unlike on air flights, your body makes the adjustments gradually, which eliminates what’s referred to as jet-lag. But who’s going to compensate me for the 87 meals I could’ve enjoyed in that six hour period?

I did sleep until 9:30 AM, before waking to beautifully sunny skies, and very light swells in the ocean. As I made my way to the outdoor decks I still saw many do not disturb signs hanging in cabin doorways. The seas were actually calmer today than the previous days in the Caribbean.

As I perused the Carnival Capers for day-time activities, there didn’t seem to the non-stop flurry of activities schedule I saw on the NCL Jewel last week. There was a variety of spa classes, at a cost, throughout the morning, as well as a cute passenger participation “game show”, modeled after “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader”, followed by golf putting contests, and a blackjack tournament.

Later in the afternoon there was the Horse Racing auction, and Carnival’s On Deck for the Cure program (where guest make a donation with proceeds going to the Susan G.Komen for the Foundation, for Cancer research, and then walk one mile on deck, for both exercise, and to show support). I think “On Deck for the Cure” is a superb project for Carnival. Today they had close to 1000 people join in the walk. I’ve been struggling with a cold the last couple of days, so didn’t participate myself.

Basically it was a rather typical schedule for a sea day on a Carnival cruise, where passengers could likely find activities of interest to them. Having cruised just last week it’s difficult not to make comparisons; especially because on last week’s cruise NCL began a very innovative program of entertainment options on the Jade, which I was sailing. I personally found the options offered on the Jade last week (which is experimental at this point) to have a broader choice of interesting activities available.

Two of our cruisemates, who’ve been on probably more than a dozen of our group cruises, and who were assigned seating with us, had yet to come to the dining room for dinner. Tonight Donald and Yasmin showed up to have dinner with us.

And this was me when I saw them.


I chose tonight to be the night I test drove Carnival’s newest version of their dress code. For the first time ever I wore shorts to dinner in the dining room. “Dress” (or as they describe them, long) shorts are acceptable attire in the dining room.


I have to admit to feeling a bit odd donning shorts and heading to dinner, knowing the waiter would be better dressed than me. Did I ruin anyone meals by doing so? No, the galley staff did that without any help from me.
Tonight’s menu was another struggle. I found little to appeal to my very basic tastes. I normally love a soup course, yet there’s only been one night to date where I found a soup that sounded worth ordering, and I skipped the salad course because I’ve tired of eating Caesar Salad every night. For my entrée I ordered the chicken breast from the always available menu.

I know I’m beginning to sound hyper-critical of this topic, but there’s been a drastic change, and tomorrow I’m going to speak to Dino, the Maitre d’ to see if I can find out what happened. It’s going to be a bit of a tough chore, as I can’t simply go ask him why the food sucks.

I did hear a very funny story today from some Georgians in our CruiseMates group who have early seating. They were assigned a table in the Chic Dining Room to begin the cruise. The problem arose when they went there for dinner the first night. After sitting for some time they realized they had no servers for their table; no wait staff at all! When they saw the Maitre d’ they were moved to a table in the Posh Dining Room.

In regard to assigned dining times… for several years Carnival has been offering 4 dining times; 5:45, 6:15, 8:00, and 8:30. Now they have reverted back to the system they previously used; two dining times only, 6:00 and 8:15.

Talking to our servers tonight I confirmed there are many new staff members on the ship. They are not new to Carnival, but many recently joined from other ships. The dining room service, at least for us, has not been an issue; in fact it’s been quite good. The cruisemates table located immediately next to ours, with different servers, are routinely getting served their entrees as we’re exiting the dining room.

I should add, yet again tonight the crowd on this ship surprised me. It's quite an active late night crowd. The bars were busy.

I’ll end with a picture of tonight’s beautiful sunset.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old May 1st, 2008, 07:18 AM
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Thanks for the review and the sunset pic Kuki Good luck with your Maitre d’ today.


Happy Sailing to all;
David
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Old May 1st, 2008, 08:51 AM
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Seeing you and Simi, brought back memories, from our very first bash, back in 98. Only trouble is I am missing from the photo! This cruise, sounds like a mixed bag, some really good , and some, not so much:(
The chicken from the right side of the menu would be disapointing, but, the good news is, you have many more days for improvement

Say hi to the gang, and cruise on...................That'a a great thing!
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old May 1st, 2008, 11:20 PM
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May 1 – in the Atlantic- Freedom
Carnival really does have the best pizza at sea! I already knew that, but hadn’t made it to the aft pizza counter yet, until today.

While I’ve been fairly busy talking about the dining room food I should mention that the breakfast and lunch buffets have been very good. To me breakfast food is breakfast food; that is in most cases standard fare. And Carnival now also has made to order omelet stations to top off the buffets.

I quite like the Freedom’s buffet set-ups for lunch. Pool-side, on the port side, there’s a daily grill, serving tortilla chips, with warm cheese sauce, chicken fingers, onion rings, fried, hot dogs and hamburgers. On the starboard side the pool-side station serves a Tandoor selection.

Entering the Freedom restaurant, the first buffet line (served from two sides) offers Mongolie Grille style Asian food. You choose your ingredients as you pass, and when you reach the chefs they Wok the food, so it’s hot and fresh. Just opposite of these buffet lines, is the International Buffet, where the theme changes daily.

As you make your way aft, on port-side they have the deli window, with exceptional Reuben sandwiches, as well as pastrami and corned beef or combo options, or turkey sandwiches – all served on a choice of breads.
Further aft there are two traditional buffet lines, where selections change daily. And by the aft pool, port side is the 24 hr. Pizzeria. On the starboard side it’s a grill for hamburgers, hot dogs, and steak sandwiches.
Overall many, many choices, and good quality buffet items.

There’s no early morning scramble to save deck loungers on this cruise. Here’s a picture taken by the central pool on Lido Deck at 10:30 AM that pretty much tells the whole story.

Today Todd Wittmer, the CD, posted in the daily Carnival Capers, scheduling a meeting for all the Internet junkies to socialize and have a Q&A session with he and Assistant Cruise Director Noortje


I thought it was brilliant to broaden the scope and invite the folks who frequent the various cruise web sites, and bloggers. I suggested that Carnival should adopt the policy, call it Internet Connections, and have such an event planned every cruise. I do think that would be more effective and efficient then having people form roll calls, then writing Carnival to request get-togethers.

Todd shared some stories, answered people’s questions, until they didn’t have any more questions, and asked for suggestions from the fairly large crowd who attended the gathering. As one would expect, there were some good suggestions from the participants.

Later in the afternoon we had a CruiseMates meet for cocktails, and a gift exchange. I think about 60 of the 82 in our group showed up, and we had some fun opening surprise gifts, and chatting in the 70’s Disco.




I’ve met some wonderful new people in this group, and of course cruising again with old CM group cruise veterans. It’s very cool to meet CruiseMates from so many different places. This cruise we’ve even got a lovely couple from Australia in the group. I think it’s significant that CruiseMates makes us an International community. Oh… and our great CruiseMates’ friends John F and Priscilla- who’ve been on more than a dozen of our group cruises, I think – gave me the cutest darn Moose.

At the cocktail party I did take a straw poll of those attending and the majority seemed to say they were having an excellent cruise. I asked what everyone thought about the dining room food, and once again the majority responded that it was quite good. Though afterwards, privately, several did say they were disappointed. So, taste is obviously in the opinion of one’s own taste buds.

This evening at about 6:45 PM, there was once again a very localized rain shower, on the balconies on Deck 8 (mine included). Only this time we spotted the culprit; the crew, above on Deck 10, were hosing down the deck. So guess where the dirty water was going! They seem to be assuming that no one will be using their balconies at this time of day. Why, I don’t know. I had been sitting out there not 10 minutes earlier watching yet another spectacular sunset. Worse timing and I could have been spectacularly drenched.


We’re on a roller coaster in the dining room, and tonight we were certainly climbing upwards. I was served a delicious, and very tender, Osso Buco entree. And even better, a wonderful beef and vegetable root soup, which was even served hot. There was an oddity tonight though; every entrée was served with the exact same accompaniments. This is not big deal, just odd, but probably much more efficient and cost effective for the galley.

Once again today the seas were calm and the sailing smooth, with temperatures in the low 80s F. It couldn’t have been two much better days to be on a cruise. With two social events, no nap, and facing loosing another hour due to a time change, after supper I headed straight back to the cabin; a draw-back to 8:15 dinner seating on this particular itinerary. We left the dining room at 10:30, so considering tonight’s time change I viewed it as 11:30, and I still had to write you and tell you about the day.

Another tough day at sea doing nothing in store for tomorrow.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old May 2nd, 2008, 09:50 AM
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Kuki: great reporting, but we heard you the first time....
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Thanks for the reports! I do have a question! Is the ship fully booked? Considering the economy I was just wondering.
Thanks!
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msblackjack
Kuki: great reporting, but we heard you the first time....
.. an internet hiccup. Deleted the double post.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sue
Thanks for the reports! I do have a question! Is the ship fully booked? Considering the economy I was just wondering.
Thanks!
I'm told the ship is sold out! But it was a VERY good buy.
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old May 2nd, 2008, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki
Quote:
Originally Posted by msblackjack
Kuki: great reporting, but we heard you the first time....
.. an internet hiccup. Deleted the double post.
well it appears the double posting is happening on other threads as well... so its NOT just the Moose....

I think the idea of the internet junkies meeting is a great idea.... we need to push for all the cruiselines to do this.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 03:45 PM
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Kuki, Glad to see Carnival is still doing well for the passangers (even giving them an extra shower regardless if they need it or not )
Will have to catch up on the rest of your trip when we return (with a slightly less fantastic review of the Fascination - I don't write as well). Hope you days are sunny and the water is smooth! - Nic
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 09:31 PM
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May2- Crossing the Atlantic – Freedom
Here’s another from “you can’t make this up department” – This morning I was enjoying a coffee at a pool-side table for six, chatting with one of our CruiseMates friends, Phyllbo, when a lady asked if she could join us. Of course we said “sure!”

A short while later Mrs. Kuki came wandering up to join us, and as she went to sit down, the “may I join you” lady told my wife, “Sorry, that seat’s taken”. Apparently once she had joined us, she wanted to save all the remaining seats for her friends, for whenever they showed up.

Mrs. Kuki, being the angel she is, began to walk off in search of a seat elsewhere, but I stopped her, and reminded “may I join you” that she had joined OUR table, and how terribly RUDE it was of her to now attempt to turn my wife away because she wanted to save the empty chairs. When she had joined our table, there were plenty of other tables around; she just preferred the location of the one we were sitting at I guess.

Mrs. “May I join you” just sat there steaming. And naturally her “friends” didn’t come by for another half hour or so. Oh how I wished she would have said something more to me!! I’d have quickly forgotten my good Canadian manners! I swear some people have less manners, and less brains than a mosquito after a dip into a Margarita.

One draw-back involved in a transatlantic crossing is the loss of television signal. We don’t watch a lot of TV on a cruise, but being three days without any news coverage at all does make one feel a bit isolated. This isn’t a crucial issue, but if some sort of calamity arose, our only information source would be the internet. Well that issue, and all those people who are peeved because they are missing All My Children.

Available activities today:
- Arts and Crafts Instruction – 9 AM
- Trivia – 9:30 AM
- Dance lessons – 10 AM
- Bean Bag Toss – 10:30 AM
- Poker Pro Tournament – 11 AM
- Mark’s Basic Italian lesson – 11 AM (by Mark Silver- our CruiseMates volunteer.. still packing them in)
- Horse Racing Pool-side – 11:30 AM
- Cooking Demo – in the disco – 12:30 PM – first time this had been held in the disco rather than the Supper Club, because of high demand
- Tea Time with Classical Music – 3:30
- Singles Dating Game – 3:30
- Dance lessons – 3:30
There were other trivia events, a basketball challenge, etc., which were also scheduled, but the above gives you a basic view of the days planned events. Planning an activities schedule for a cruise such as this, which is an atypical cruise for Carnival, compared to the Caribbean, is quite a challenge for the CD.

The more typical Carnival activities don’t go over all that well with crowds on these crossings. This is our second transatlantic sailing on a Carnival ship, and it was the case last time we did it as well. The problem is the crossings are done twice a year; once heading to Europe in the spring, and returning to the Caribbean in the fall. It’s no doubt difficult to adjust an entire program on a 14 day cruise, that isn’t likely to be effective again on the following sailings.
Also I believe the loss of television programming has exasperated the “activities issue” a bit as well.

Todd has certainly gone the extra miles, several times asking passengers for input on what they’d like to see happening about the ship. He has obviously been somewhat frustrated at times by the lack of ideas offered (that he would be able to enact on the go) or feedback, other than some folks complaining. And with the effort he’s put in, one can’t blame him for a bit of frustration. I’d personally, without doubt, be way beyond frustration and ready for fisticuffs already, if I were him.

Each morning Todd broadcasts the Morning Show, on in-cabin television, and on the big screen pool-side. During the phone in portion of the program, the telephone rang, and Todd jokingly commented that it if was another bridge player calling he was going to hang up.

Frankly I’m not sure how Todd or Carnival would be expected to know there would be so many people on the cruise interested in playing bridge, or how much better prepared they could have been had they known.

The seas today remain as calm as me before my encounter with “ Mrs. may I join you”, and the temperatures are still hot and Caribbean like.
This afternoon I wandered around the ship to see what was doing, and who was out and about. I was rewarded with a great chuckle when I discovered that on this sailing, Club 02, the Teen Disco was overflowing with card players. Normally this room is reserved for the 15-17 year olds. I wondered if for this cruise it’s designated for the younger 51-71 year old set.

While I may tease and joke, I have to be honest here; I’m 58 and not even close to being a part of the party hardy crowd. Particularly since I’ve been away since April 12, I’m more than happy to relax, eat, and visit with CruiseMates friends. Even my 27 year old son and his 26 year old fiancé are enjoying themselves immensely. There’s no driving disco beat to dance to late into the mornings, but they’ve both recently graduated college, and were ready for some laid back “veg time”. Therefore with sunny, clear skies and the superb weather we’re experiencing this cruise was perfect for the four of us.

Just like many cruises, every CruiseMates Group Cruise is different. Pre-cruise I always begin to email those who’ve booked into our groups. This particular bunch seemed very reserved and quiet in their responses. And that’s the way I try to gauge what, if any, types of group activities I should be planning. On some sailings I’ve planned some pretty “kuki” group activities. On this sailing, all I pre-planned were dinner time team trivia sheets, and several get-togethers for the group. At yesterday’s social gathering I asked how many would like more things planned for them, and the response was quite silent. I have a scavenger hunt set up for two 9 person teams. But most of the group, though they seem quite social, also seems to be happy to be left to enjoy the socializing, without the group games or challenges. That I think is a wonderful thing about our group cruise program, people in the group are free to get as involved, or not, as they care to be. A large part of my job is to get a read on just how “kuki” the group wants to get.

Once again we enjoyed a very good dinner. I asked our waiter if he could find me a simple garden salad to begin with, and he happily obliged. I followed that with very tasty pasta in cream sauce, and the prime rib tonight was excellent.

That’s two very enjoyable dinners in a row; maybe we’re on our way back to the Carnival food I enjoyed so much during our January cruise on this ship!

We turn the clocks forward yet another hour tonight. Mrs. Kuki had a nice long afternoon nap today, so after dinner she went off with “the kids” (son and fiancé) to watch the 10 PM showing of the movie on the Seaside Theater. The production show, The Big Easy, was on in the showroom tonight, but we’ve both seen that show. I didn’t nap today, and knowing I had to adjust to another time change, spent a bit of time in the Piano Bar, before retiring to the cabin, to tell you about the day, before going to sleep.
There was another brilliant sunset tonight, so I’ll leave you with that.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 10:08 PM
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So Kuki, how do you like Brad in the piano bar? I've never seen him play. I only hung with him a bit in Cozumel last January. I like him immensely as a person so I have high hopes for his piano bar.

If you go back in, tell him that Laura"the Mayor" says "Hi!"

I'm enjoying your reports from the Freedom and loved your adventures on the Jade!

Take Care,

Laura
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 10:54 PM
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I would have just loved to have been sitting at that table, when Mrs, May I Join You, sat down....OY!
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Another tough day at sea doing nothing in store for tomorrow.
My sympathies to you - NOT

Any day at sea beats a day in the office.

Enjoy the rest of the cruise and tell Todd & Noortje that I am still waiting for an email from them

Jon, the Coffee God
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 03:21 PM
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May3- Crossing the Atlantic – Freedom
Other than some total moron of a passenger slugging a Purser, it was another routine day at sea onboard the Freedom.
The attack on the Purser actually occurred yesterday. I didn’t witness the attack, nor did I hear the reporting of it, but apparently Todd spoke about it this morning during the Morning Show broadcast. I am going to try and follow up as soon as I can to see if I can get a few more details, and confirmation that it actually happened.
When I heard about it I was of course aghast. No matter what the issue was, I certainly do hope the person involved was placed into custody, and held, and at the very least they should be put off the ship in the first port of call. Last night in the theater two old men wanted to get in a fist fight over god only knows what. One of our cruisemates was there to break it up, before it went too far.
I’ve always thought most cruisers were the nicest people in the world, and that’s part of the charm in cruising to me; meeting so many people and making great friends on cruises. That philosophy has proven true during all of my previous cruise experiences. But this cruise has an element to it, where you can find the rudest and most thoughtless people, constantly complaining, at almost any turn. It’s very odd, because I’ve found the crew onboard to be nothing but friendly and helpful. Amazingly so, considering the verbal, and now physical abuse they’ve been putting up with.
This afternoon we held our CruiseMates cocktail party, and I am VERY HAPPY to report, it’s a wonderful group of people, who are just too busy enjoying the cruise, and having fun, to be rude to anyone. Yes, there were some negative comments about the food the first few days, but everyone I spoke to at cocktails tonight said they were having a GREAT cruise. And it is an excellent cruise! We’ve been blessed with wonderful balmy weather, and smooth seas, and excellent evening entertainment. I am bewildered by what more people expect or want. I’m also bewildered because at least “ballpark”, I know how little the people onboard paid for this 14 day cruise.
No doubt the vast majority of people on the ship are enjoying every minute of it. But of course the PITAs stand out from the crowd.
We’re heading to dinner shortly, but I thought a partial’s day report was warranted because of this incident. I’ll continue the story tonight when I return to my cabin, and post pictures as well.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 08:13 PM
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Seniors Escape Florida Asylum – Discovered on Carnival Freedom
- an on the scene report


I’ve just returned to the cabin after dinner in the Posh Dining Room. The waiters sang and danced tonight, but that wasn’t the only entertainment provided.

According to today’s Carnival Capers tonight’s scheduled entertainment was the Guest Talent Show. But I had no idea they’d be entertaining in the showroom and the dining room.

During dinner tonight, at the 3rd table over from us a man, who I’d estimate to be in his mid-70s, attacked a table-mate, also of the same “vintage”, and held a knife to his throat. It would have been more fitting perhaps, if it was a butter knife, but it was a knife from the tableware. Thankfully it didn’t appear that the man had his own teeth, so he hadn’t ordered the steak, and it was a simple table knife.

At first I imagined that since a second serving of bread is sometimes difficult to come by in the dining room, they were fighting over a dinner roll, or perhaps the attacker had lost 80 cents to the victim playing bridge or gin rummy earlier in the day.

The incident was brought under control almost immediately by a group of vigilante 90 year olds who’d organized earlier in the day (just before their naps), to help take back our decks and restaurants and hallways from the younger criminal element, who calls themselves AARP, who’ve slowly been trying to take over the ship.

They had taken to drag racing their walkers up and down the indoor Promenade Deck (too windy outside), putting other less agile passengers at risk, and continuing this activity late into the night… well past 9 PM.

Rumors abound that for security purposes the Captain is going to put a 9PM curfew in place for everyone over 65. There’s simply no controlling them!

Alright, I admit to taking literary license with the last few paragraphs, but indeed, for the first time ever on any cruise I’ve been on I saw another passenger (and he is at least in his 70s), attack another passenger, and he did indeed put a knife to his throat. And I’ll admit it wasn’t over a dinner roll. It was in fact over a woman at the table.

They were all traveling single, and one man decided his friend was trying to move in on “his woman”, and that set off the incident.

When I spoke to Dino, the Maitre d’ in the dining room, and learned the fight was over a woman, I looked over at the elderly women at the table, and I told Dino I wouldn’t even give up my dessert for any one of them, let alone fight over them.

There truly are some people on this ship who are going NUTS… or more likely they got on the ship that way. I occasionally joke about more elderly passengers on longer sailings, trying to keep it all in good-natured fun, but there’s a serious problem with some of the people on this ship.

Perhaps Carnival is going to have to think about implementing a policy, similar to their age restriction for guests under 21 who must travel with a guardian, for crazy crotchety old folks.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 08:30 PM
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Due to the unexpected incident in the dining room, and all the great material it provided me , I haven't yet been able to follow up on the prior incident for more information.

I did get a bit of an opportunity to talk to Maitre d' Dino about the new menus, and he did admit to some problems the first couple of nights. He did say that it takes a bit of time adjusting to any new menus, but he feels they are "under control" now.

I had another very good dinner. Our wait staff is very nice, and very friendly, and fun. They've taken note that we're the friendly sort, and joking with us, and enjoying our company more, as we are theirs.

No doubt I'm feeling very bad for the staff for the way some of the passengers onboard are treating them. Sometimes people simply make you shake your head and go MMMMMMMM??????

I used to play quite a bit bridge, but I SWEAR if that's what the game can do to your mind, I'll never play again!!
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 09:54 PM
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Kuki,

It sounds like a very "interesting" cruise. It makes me wish that I had known how my health would be and was able to go. It would be a riot watching this stuff.

I do hope we are not invaded by crazed bridge players or other raucous seniors and juniors onboard the Jewel. Itchy and I leave in the morning.

I hope all the CM gang are being have themselves, within reason. You have to go a little crazy.

Have fun and say hi to the CM gang for me. I'll try to keep up with the escapades after I get onboard the Jewel.

Take care and thanks for the Gem and Freedom virtual cruise. We've really enjoyed and are enjoying them.

Mike
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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:39 AM
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Kuki, thanks for so many laughs, Ellis and I are enjoying your writings. You do have a way with words. Now watch out for those "seniors" with knives!!
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Old May 4th, 2008, 03:48 PM
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I'm enjoying all your reports and the sunet pictures! They are awesome and wish I were there to see them in person. Nice to see photos of some of the folks, too!

TAs (or other positioning cruises) are always an interesting situation! I've enjoyed the ones I've been on but they were all somewhat different when compared with regular cruising.

Looking forward to more installments!
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Old May 4th, 2008, 06:44 PM
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I think some of these same people must have been aboard our 14 day cruise thru the Panama Canal last year. There was one particularly evil lady that seemed to take great pleasure in trying to run me down with her motorized scooter or whatever they are called. Thanks for the reports and all the great pix.
Looking forward to the next exciting chapter in "The advertures of Kuki".
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Old May 4th, 2008, 08:33 PM
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May4- Not much mayhem- Freedom
We woke up yet again to calm seas, though the morning temperature has cooled just a bit. Today is the last day of the crossing before we touch land, in Funchal, Madeira. If you’re never stopped in Funchal, it’s a gem of a port of call; more about it tomorrow after our visit.

Today I tried to dig a bit deeper into the situations that arose yesterday. I’d left a note for the CD, Todd, asking to meet to discuss them, with no response, so today through another officer I tracked down the Chief of Security. He, however, told me he’d have to speak with the Staff Captain to get permission to tell me anything, so at the moment at least it seems I am being stonewalled.

I gently explained that I was writing about the incidents anyway, and I would think they’d like to help make my reporting accurate. I also explained that I didn’t want names, just information on policies with handling guests who get involved in these situations, and what may happen to them after the infractions. We’ll see if anyone onboard returns my calls or not.

Today’s activities schedule was once again pretty standard for Carnival. Arts and Crafts, Big Screen Trivia, Dance instruction, bean bag toss, in the morning, with a wine tasting, Art Auction, Blackjack Tournament, a game of “What’s My Line”, Mini-golf tournament, and Bingo in the afternoon.

In the evening, during late seating dinner, there was a “Love and Romance” game, and a “Sea Feud” game in the showroom. With late seating, we of course didn’t see either.

Speaking of dinner… imagine my surprise when Jack the Knife Sr. was back at his table for dinner tonight, along with the friend he’d kill if we were armed with more than a butter knife.

I was when we discovered that one of our CruiseMates from Florida knows these people, because the night before I had been kidding her that they were her cousins.

Their story, to her, was they had agreed they wouldn’t talk politics, but then Jack the Knife’s “girlfriend” began to “talk politics”, and “the friend he’d kill” told her to stop, and the situation escalated from there. The entire situation more certainly falls into the “???!!!” category. And the fact that they are back sharing a dinner table tonight, though apparently agreeing they’d no longer be friends, but would still break bread together, has me feeling as though I’ve been witness to a taping of Punked, or am living a Monty Python skit.

Sadly the only entertainment in the dining room tonight was the wait staff dancing. Too bad, I was rather looking forward to another episode of “geriatric mentalpause”.

By the way… dinner was quite tasty again! I especially enjoyed the Braised Ribs.

I also spoke to Dino tonight about Carnival’s change back to offering only two dinner seating times, as they used to do (rather than the 4 they’ve been offering more recently). His explanation seemed to be that demand was high for the 6:15 seating, while very few wanted the 5:45 seating. Therefore they felt it best to return to the 6:00 PM and 8:15 PM dining times only.

Throughout the trip the speed of the ship’s internet service has been pretty reasonable… for a ship at sea, but today I’ve been struggling with it a bit, so apologize for not posting pictures again.

The ship hits land tomorrow, with a stop at Funchal, Madeira, and I don’t think anyone will be happier than the ship’s staff!

I did have some discussions today with some friends who believed Carnival should have done more to plan activities specifically for the demographic they should have expected on this cruise, such as more enrichment lectures, as well as bridge instructors. My argument was/is that it’s not Carnival’s style to include such activities; they were simply doing what they do. The activities schedule was very similar to what Carnival does on all their Caribbean sailings.

Now, knowing this sailing, and the repositioning cruise back to the Caribbean in the fall, will draw atypical crowds for Carnival, the question is – Should they make changes and adjustments to their “standard program” for just those two cruises?

To some extent I believe they should try and do more. However, as this was not a theme cruise, I don’t think anyone could expect them to know they were going to have 87,403 bridge players onboard, out of the 3400 passengers, whose play forced them to use many of the lounges and public areas onboard, which made the lounges unavailable for other uses, and I don’t believe Lawrence Welk is touring any more.

At 10:30 tonight one of Carnival’s top performers Marcus Anthony did an encore performance “Under the Stars” (well, under the Big screen) above the pool on Lido Deck. Comedian Eddie Capone appeared to tell a few jokes as well. The outdoor concert was well attended, and the audience appreciative. I thought it was an outstanding idea, and it was a beautiful night.

We were turning the clocks ahead yet another hour, so I didn’t stay for the entire concert. I am tiring of having some unknown force stealing time away from me. I'm now not sure if we're having dinner at 2:00AM, or going to sleep at 7 PM. The good news... because of it I feel I am fitting in better with my fellow passengers
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Old May 5th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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Nothing worse than having time stolen from your cruise!
I really like the idea of entertainment under the stars. What a great idea!

donna
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Old May 5th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Kuki

The Natives due seems restless. Perhaps it is time for the ship to dock.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 10:54 AM
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Kuki, that was a surprise, in this time of Satelite communication signals no TV. I am surprised at that. Sorry to hear there are so many rude people on this trip. I know this is not politely correct, but the lower fares are drawing a larger cross section of the population, and less money spent less value placed on the experience. Mike
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Old May 5th, 2008, 11:29 AM
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The Assistant CD--Noortje--I've sailed with before. When you get a chance...ask her what ships she's been on. And, if it was Elation 3007-3008...just curious if she'lll be on the Freedom's return TA.

Thanks, Kuki.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:54 PM
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Wow! I caught up! Things certainly haven't been dull! And we thought Sis and Kat would be the ones in trouble! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

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