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Mirjana’s Story

Mirjana Canirval Horizon

Bosnia & Herzegovina sure does seem like a lovely place.

There’s all that medieval stone, more than a smattering of terracotta roof, and copious amounts of undulating green and blue. Nature, yo.

Yeah, I’ve been gettin’ my Google Image search on.

For as lovely as Bosnia & Herzegovina seems to be, the same can be said about neighboring Croatia. And that’s one of the countries the Carnival Horizon stopped at* during its maiden voyage, the week before we climbed aboard one month ago today.

*This seems random, I know, but is important for the story I’m about to relay to you. I promise.

Up until our Horizon cruise in April, from Barcelona to Italy and back again, I don’t believe I’d ever met someone from Bosnia & Herzegovina. I feel confident in saying this because I’ve never met footballer Edin Džeko and he’s the only human-word-association-game-response I had to a B&H prompt. Thanks, football!

Now, Bosnia & Herzegovina for me equals Edin & Mirjana.

Mirjana, the Team Headwaitress of the Carnival Horizon’s Meridian Restaurant’s dinner service and our waitress at table 722, has become the friendly face of an ampersand eastern European nation.

With a massive smile stretching from Sarajevo to Mostar, and Carnival’s patented ‘our crew is the heart of our fleet’ attitude, Mirjana proceeded to give her all to all seated around the round 8-seater. We presented her with a somewhat rotating cast of press and PR reps and parents and partners and kids throughout the week but her focus on my two daughters never wavered.

Upon learning on night one of the cruise that they’re both vegetarians, Mirjana immediately knelt down to be face to face with my teen and tween. She wanted to formulate a plan with them, right then and there, to make sure the girls would be well fed and as happy as can be for the next 6 nights. Mirjana knows full well that good eats play a key role in the success of a cruise for each and every guest. As such she’s part of the large team who strive to make sure every guest, be ’em vegan, gluten-free, peanut-allergic, no-shellfish, vegetarian, and so on, is cared for properly. And how!

On the penultimate night of the remarkable European cruise, as we made our way from Livorno to Marseille, Mirjana emerged from the kitchen, smiling wide as per usual, and carrying under her arm the back of the house of menu book. It was a big old thing, swaddled in what looked like faux brown leather, stuffed with printer paper menu pages slid into individual protective sleeves. She pulled up an empty seat at our table, and worked with my daughters to find the perfect meatless going away meals for the following evening.

In between night one and night six, Mirjana packaged up dinners for the teen when she missed a meal to be with the playlist production cast and she whipped up an off-menu banana split for the tween because she overheard that my youngest had never had one. Mirjana asked about each kid when one was running late and when the other decided to stay in the room alone with her books and order room service. Honestly, at times Mirjana was thinking about my girls more than I was! Oh crap, did I just admit that out loud?!

Our new friend from Bosnia & Herzegovina cared so much about the well being of two children who she never met before and in all likelihood, will never meet again, not because they were kids of some random blogger, but because that’s the Carnival way. Mirjana embodies that to a tee.

Somewhere in the middle of our cruise, I learned that the Carnival way doesn’t just benefit guests. Mirjana enjoyed a very special Easter thanks to her employer and the itinerary of the Horizon’s maiden voyage.

This very short story is about Mirjana and a Carnival policy that, upon hearing about it, nearly made me cry happy, happy tears.

During the Horizon’s port day in Dubrovnik, halfway through its inaugural cruise, Mirjana’s family made the short 30 minute journey from their B&H home, through Croatia, to the port. While the guests were off the ship exploring Croatia, Mirjana’s family were permitted to come on board, to be with her, and to celebrate a belated Easter Sunday together.

To hear the glee and gratitude in her voice and to watch Mirjana light up as she talked about being able to spend quality time with her family, to break bread with them as a guest herself on board her ship. Man, the kitchen must have been cutting onions in bulk that night because I was just this side of crying. What? I’m an emotional guy who loves good news stories of corporations quietly taking great care of their people. We all should cry happy tears more often. Let it out, bro.

Knowing how much care Carnival put in to making Mirjana happy, to do for her what she did for my daughters, what she does for each and every guest who cruises with her, it all made me love even more the fact that I have the privilege of partnering with Carnival to tell stories of family travel, of being pampered, of having fun, of sharing meals, of using cruises to help develop a much-needed worldview in young people, and of meeting great people like Mirjana.

Now, to get my family to Bosnia & Herzegovina…maybe for a national team friendly match to see Edin Džeko play. Hmmmm…

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One Comment

  1. Great article, told with so much heart!
    The girls must have had a wonderful time.

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