Raffles chats with Jennifer Vandekreeke of Carnival Cruise Lines

Raffles & Jennifer Vandekreeke of Carnival Cruise Lines

My scurvy wee scourges of the seven seas are fanatical fans of cruise holidays. So, on the eve of Australia’s 2015 summer cruise season, able seaman Raffles gets the inside story on family fun afloat from Jennifer Vandekreeke, Vice President of Carnival Cruise Line in Australia. 

Over to the cruisome twosome…

Though we didn’t leave port, I’ve been lucky enough to have had a little sample of your epically awesome ships, Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend, on some Sydney fun days.  It must be so cool to be the boss of such a cool cruise company, but don’t you think it would be even more epic if your office was actually on board a ship?
You make an excellent point. However, if my office was on the ship, I’m not sure I’d get any work done! I’d constantly be running off to take a ride down the waterslides or challenging someone to a game of foosball in the RedFrog Pub.
Sounds like a pretty good office to me…

Which do you think is more important, the ship or the destination?
Hmmm, that’s a good one. And in reality it depends on what you’re looking for. There’s a ship for every cruiser and in the case of Carnival – we’re perfect for free-spirited fun lovers. So, I’d say find the brand that fits your holiday dreams and then choose the right itinerary on that brand.
I’m usually looking for fun, adventure and something to eat!

Raffles & SUgarpuff after their play day on Carnival Legend

Mum tells me that Carnival Spirit has some brand new features including new restaurants, which are just about my favourite thing ever! Can you tell me about the Boomerang Burger?
On our Facebook page, we asked Aussies what ingredients were required for a true blue Aussie burger and the resounding response was “Beetroot”. You should have seen Guy Fieri’s reaction when he heard that. But then he tried it. And he liked it! So, he created a special beetroot relish and added bacon and cheese to create the Boomerang Burger – because it keeps you coming back for more. 
Sure sounds like something I’d come back for more of…

I hear you have planned some super spooky Halloween fun on board your cruise ships this year. What are your tips for a ghoulishly good night?
Halloween is one of my favourite holidays ever. My top tips for a great Halloween include:
1. Make sure your costume is comfortable so you can focus on fun instead of itchy make-up or stuffy masks.
2. Many people feel like they’re supposed to dress scary for Halloween, but it’s not necessary. I recommend wearing a costume that is just a little bit crazy… how often do you get to wear something silly in public?
3. Always trick or treat with friends (and a parent, of course). The more the merrier I say. And, you can swap lollies afterwards so everyone gets what they want. And in case you were wondering…I always like the dark chocolate lollies.
I love everything about Halloween and dark chocolate is my favourite too. I can’t wait to dress up for this year, it’s going to be epic!

Halloween Scary Cheesecake on Carnival SPirit

I love your Splash Parks. How many times have you been on Green Thunder? Did it make you go green?
Would you like to know a secret? I was the third person EVER to go down Green Thunder when it first opened in 2012. And I’ve been down lots of times since then. I get such a huge rush every time I do it…it never gets boring.
Whoah! You’re an awesome adult!

Green Thunder on Carnival Spirit

You must have been on a lot of cruises. What is your favourite ever cruise destination?
Yes, I have been on a lot of cruises… and I think you have too! To be honest, I’ve actually lost count… how spoiled am I? My favourite destination is Port Vila – the locals are so warm and friendly and there are heaps of outdoorsy active things to do like playing in the cascade waterfalls, sailing through the sky on the Flying Fox and of course splashing in the warm tropical waters.
I like Port Vila too, especially the waterfall. Oh, and the scary warriors at Iarofa Village.  

What was your most memorable moment on a cruise?
I love playing with my kids when I’m on a cruise.   One of the most memorable days we’ve ever had is when we spent the day on Amadee Island, which is a shore excursion you can take from Noumea. It has a beautiful white sandy beach and amazing snorkelling. We chased sea snakes, built houses out of sticks and palm fronds and splashed the day away. It was heaven!
That sounds like a perfect day. 

What makes a Carnival Cruise so awesome for families?
Did you know more families sail on Carnival every year than any other cruise line? We just love families. I don’t know if it’s the children’s clubs, the waterslides, the pools, the mini golf course, the yummy pizza and ice cream (free 24/7!), the Hasbro Game Show, Seuss at Sea brunch, family friendly comedy or all the family activities that make it great. I think it’s probably that every family gets to choose the perfect combination for them.
The Green Eggs and Ham at the Dr. Seuss Brunch is totally genius! And mini golf is one of my all time favourite things…

Suess at Sea brunch on Carnival Legend

What do your kids most like to do on board the ships?
After eating pizza and ice cream…they find some new obsession on each cruise. One time Chase just wanted to play minigolf, non-stop. Another cruise, he wanted to play foosball in the RedFrog Pub all day. And I can never get them out of the pool on a sunny sea day.
They sound like smart kids!

What are your top tips for a fun family cruise?
1. Bring your swimmers in your carry-on bag so you can jump right in the pool the minute you get onboard.
2. Choose your shore excursions early and get them booked. The team at the excursion desk will guide you to the right ones for your family. They know all the great spots to visit and will help you choose the perfect shore experiences to bring the destinations to life for every member of the family.
3. Grab the children’s club schedules and make sure you mark down the “can’t miss” activities for your cruise. (Mum… now you know when to book that spa treatment!). My kids really like the scavenger hunts.
4. We always have cocktail hour every night and watch the sunset as a family. We’ll have the amazing bartenders at Alchemy Bar custom design a mocktail for the kids and cocktail for the adults and then we grab one of the family pods on Deck 10 and trade stories about our day as we watch the sun set over the Pacific. Bliss!
They’re all really, really good tips, Jennifer. I’ll make sure we use those on our cruise.

Thank you so, so much for sharing.


15 Comments on Raffles chats with Jennifer Vandekreeke of Carnival Cruise Lines

  1. Ai Sakura
    October 16, 2015 at 10:00 am (9 years ago)

    I’ve always wanted to go for a cruise holiday… gonna use her tips for when when finally do!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

      October 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm (9 years ago)

      They’re good ones! 🙂

  2. Amy @ HandbagMafia
    October 16, 2015 at 10:03 am (9 years ago)

    Sounds awesome- I’d love to go on a cruise one day!

      October 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm (9 years ago)

      So much fun, I never thought wed love it as much as we do.

  3. yinyangmother
    October 16, 2015 at 10:42 am (9 years ago)

    Another good interview Raffles!

      October 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks Kathy. Raffles x

  4. Sally@Toddlers on Tour
    October 16, 2015 at 10:58 am (9 years ago)

    I’d love to take our family on a cruise and have admired the Carnival cruise ships – I wish they would include Perth into their itinerary.
    In the meantime I think will try and recreate that Beetroot Relish, it sounds delish!

      October 16, 2015 at 3:45 pm (9 years ago)

      It does indeed sound delish! They’re always expanding so you never know SAlly

  5. maidinaustralia
    October 16, 2015 at 8:19 pm (9 years ago)

    Do you know what? I’ve never been on a cruise (unless you count dodgy ferries in the Mediterrean many years ago) and yet I always recommend Carnival Cruises to friends with kids. Not sure how that works, they must have awesome PR people. And if I ever took my kids on one of their cruises I would actually go down the Green Thunder. This is now a public promise …

  6. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    October 17, 2015 at 10:12 am (9 years ago)

    As always Raffles asks the perfect questions and gets to the nutty gritty!! BTW Raffles you will be the only kid at Halloween this year. Is that ok? 🙂

  7. Vanessa
    October 28, 2015 at 2:40 pm (8 years ago)

    I’m never quite sure how I would go on a cruise – I would like to try but don’t think I’d like to be around that many people either. Maybe a 3-day to test it!

      October 28, 2015 at 11:38 pm (8 years ago)

      I used to feel the same way Vanessa but I’m a convert!

  8. My Brown Paper Packages
    October 28, 2015 at 6:37 pm (8 years ago)

    I’m always hesitant to go through with booking a cruise because everyone always seems to get sick, but they sound like so much fun.

    Thanks for linking up with #wednesdaywanderlust

      October 28, 2015 at 11:45 pm (8 years ago)

      We’re four cruises down and never been sick! You can choose less rocky routes too!

  9. Bumble Bee Mum
    October 30, 2015 at 2:29 pm (8 years ago)

    What a family-friendly cruise line! That Green Thunder is like.. woah! #wednesdaywanderlust


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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