Two Years of Thingies

March 5, 2009 -

John Heald

Let’s start by wishing each other a very happy second blog anniversary. Two years ago I wrote my first thingy and look where we are now……….3.8 million readers and a community of fun and caring people who love life and love cruising. I thank you all for taking your valuable time to read it each day and a huge thank you to Stephanie and Vance and all the people behind the scenes who have made the blog’s continuing success possible…………..long may it continue.

It’s that time of year when cruises become a popular destination for a lot of people, including students, taking spring vacations.

And it’s not surprising that so many people gravitate to a cruise based on some of the reports out there in the news about tourists having terrible things happen while trekking through some fleapit on the wrong side of the equator.

Happily, it will be years before my Thingy will have the chance to backpack around the world, and even more happily, by the time the Thingy is old enough he/she will have been on so many exotic school trips that the world’s wildernesses are unlikely to hold much appeal. “Oh, not Venice again. I did that in the 7th grade.”

The trips run by my school, back in the 1970s, weren’t remotely exotic. Once we were taken to a local museum where the main attraction was a Roman ……. ummmm ……… rock…….that looked like a ………..ummmm………..rock……. but this was an exception. Mostly, they’d load us onto the school minibus, which would then be driven by a certifiable lunatic to the woods where we’d be made to walk five miles through a peat bog to look at the local quarry.

“In geology,” the psychopath would bark, “this is a series of sandstones, grits and conglomerates, resting directly on the carboniferous limestone . . .”

“Hmm,” we’d all think, “but is it big enough to hide behind while we have a cigarette and I try and touch Sally Pool’s breasts?”

Then you had the Young Soldiers club, which was the school code for genocide. Large numbers of boys were bussed in eighth-hand army lorries to the Yorkshire Dales where we were told to leap to our deaths from cliffs, or walk around with 20 pounds of crap on our backs until we collapsed from heat exhaustion. Anyone who did actually die was also given detention.

Today, things seem rather different. I listen to kids here on the ship who when I remark that they are “lucky to be on a cruise,” look at me as though I am nuts they’re and say that they have already been to look bears in Alaska and now have to decide which school trip to take next……….skiing in Iceland or White Water rafting in Montana? “Oh please, Dad. Porsche and Mercedes are going on both so why can’t I?” ……………”Shut up Cadillac or you won’t get that new laptop computer and cell phone for your sixth birthday.”

Well, one of the reasons is that parents budget for the school fees without realizing that, in fact, we’ll need half as much again for Icelandic windcheaters, horse rental in Argentina and an all-terrain vehicle for the South Pole. Seriously, by the time my Thingy goes to college or she is likely to have more air miles than Hillary Clinton.

I mentioned the other day that I had a copy of my school magazine. When I was at school — i.e. the 1980s — it used to show photographs of well-scrubbed boys and girls at their desks learning Latin. Now, school magazines look like brochures for a travel agency.

They’re full of boys and girls building box girder bridges in South Africa and sensitive radio telescopes in the jungles of Costa Rica. I’m not sure this is a good idea because if a child has tackled the Zambezi, rescued 14 Colombian tribes from McDonald’s and colonized Mars by the time they’re 18, what’s left?

Mostly, when I was young, we went camping where my father taught me the lost art of pooing in a bucket.
So when I reached adulthood I went berserk and off I went traveling. The stamps in my passport became so prolific that I needed another, and because that was always away having my work visas stapled in place, I had to get a third. In the space of 10 years, I visited more than 20 countries and when I got off the ship I would spend that vacation still traveling.

Eventually, though, the ants in my pants settled down and I realized that while the world can offer many beautiful and wondrous experiences, home is where your friends are. And no experience is ever quite as rewarding as being in the gooey, fire-lit bosom of your family.

As a result I now sigh and mooch around with shoulders like a bent coat hanger if I even have to go to more than 10 miles from home, but that’s fine. I’m 44 and that’s a sensible age to pack away the passport.

I have a horrible feeling that my Thingy is going to leave school not prepared for the world but sick of it.

Obviously they will be far too tired for any further education. That means there will be no college and the Thingy won’t be assaulted in the Sudan like I’ve been reading in the papers as of late.

Instead, they’ll come home from their exams having done much too much, much too young. This will mean they’ll spend the next 10 years of their lives eating Taco Bell and drinking beer while shooting aliens on the PlayStation.

With this in mind I want to say that we have many spring breakers on this week and apart from leaving the dance club with someone so ugly that they will surely regret it in the morning……there have been no reports of any problems or concerns at all ……. and that’s great to hear.

Good afternoon. So here we are in the port of Belize………well actually we are about five miles of the coast that is protected by a huge barrier reef, which means we are once again tendering guests ashore. I am sorry to say that that the previous system the ship was using to do this was a little antiquated and involved the cruise director making as many as 20 announcements between 8 am and noon……….that’s not good. So I changed things around and started a tendering ticket system where rather than listen for announcements when a tender is alongside we guide guests from the lounges all proudly wearing their tender stickers.

Guests on tour (that’s 1,400 today) meet in the main lounge while between 8 am and 11 am guests going ashore who are not on a tour meet in our aft lounge. It seems to have worked very smoothly and I am glad of this not just for the guests’ sake but to prove the grumpy sods within the ship’s management who said the system didn’t need to be changed …………well it did……….it was……and it worked………………..so bugger off.

Belize is the port I will be flying out of on March 19. The last time I flew out of there was one of the worst days of my like as I held Heidi’s hand as we headed home following the sudden and oh-so-sad passing of her beloved father.

However, for many this port will be the highlight and if you haven’t had it as part of your cruise itinerary yet……….as Jean Luc Picard would say “Make It So.”

Belize City is smallish, battered by history and well off the beaten track. It’s built around the mouth of the Belize River, with ramshackle wooden buildings that lurch out over the water, some of which are old colonial, whose grandeur is somewhat faded now, which adds to their charm.

There’s a very lively population made up of Creoles, Maya Indians and some British expats. It’s not the city that the cruise ship passengers head to but instead I urge them to visit the jungles, the Mayan ruins and to explore the River Wallace. The snorkeling is amazing especially at Coffs Cay and we also send guests on canopy adventures where you fly across the top of the rain forest and jungles that the British Special Forces (The SAS) use to train in. It’s therefore understandable why this is such a popular destination and so why many guests tell me they keep coming back to because of the huge variety of things to see and do.

OK, I am off to make a welcome video for all of you who signed up for the Carnival Sunday Funday event…………..back soon.

Here I am…………well, that went well except its 3,000 degrees outside and like an idiot I was wearing my woolen blazer which was as stupid an idea as inviting a Supermodel to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Anyway, here’s a photo of me on deck 12 and over my shoulder you can see the Carnival Legend.

john_1

Congratulations to the brilliant Carnival marketing department on winning this special distinction from Cruise Critic readers.

Informal On-Line Poll Ranks Carnival’s New ‘Fun For All. All For Fun’ Marketing Campaign as Best in The Cruise Industry

Cruise Critic members have spoken. Carnival’s “Fun For All. All For Fun” marketing campaign is unofficially the best in the cruise industry, according to members of the leading on-line cruise-oriented community.

In a poll conducted March 2 and 3, asking Cruise Critic members to rate their favorite cruise industry marketing campaign, Carnival got the nod by a wide margin with more than one-third of respondents indicating their preference for the line’s new campaign.

“Cruise Critic members are among the world’s most experienced cruisers and it seems Carnival is capturing their attention with this fun and quirky campaign,” said Cruise Critic Editor Carolyn Brown, whose site attracts more than five million visitors annually.

Well done to everyone involved and I am sure we are all excited to see what they have in store for us next.

So, while the guests are ashore, please allow me a few minutes to answer more questions marked for my reply……….here we go.


Amy Asked:

John,
Thank you for replying. And any help with our table would be greatly appreciated! My booking is under then name of Amy Hopmann, Jon Hopmann, Lauren Hopmann and Taylor Hopmann. There are two rooms booked, so I believe it is under Amy Hopmann for room ### and Taylor Hopmann for room #### on the Carnival Freedom sailing June 6, 2009. Thanks so much!!!

John Says:

Hello Amy
Thanks for this information and I will do my best to help you with your reservation. Please would you kindly remind me on May 25 so I can remind the vessel?
My best to you and your family
John

Debbie Asked:

Please reply: We are booked on the Freedom in April. We also booked our flights and transfers with Carnival. We have an 8 pm flight out of Miami on the day we come back into port. My question is this: We paid for the airport transfer with the flight. Now with the late flight back, we would like to take one of the debarkation excursions which also include transfers. Is there a way to get a discount on the excursion since we already have paid for the airport transfer? Also, on our last cruise they had a system where you could check your luggage before leaving the ship and didn’t have to worry about it until you we done with the flight. Does the Freedom have this option? We would like to stay in Miami and do some things before going to the airport. We don’t want to deal with luggage. Thanks for the information.

John Says:

Hello Debbie
I am sure you must be excited to be taking a cruise on the Carnival Freedom in April. The answer to your question is yes of course we can do this. Please go to see the shore excursion staff at their desk in the deck 3 lobby and they will assist you. You can book the tour and just pay the difference and then you and your luggage will stay together for the tour’s duration before they return you to the airport. I hope you have a brilliant time and please let me know if I can help further
Cheers
John

jerry calvert Asked:

John, I have to get this off my chest – since you have the new S&S card thing today.
Just finished my second of three CCL cruises this spring. Both of them had bogus charges on my card. In this case (Miracle) $52 spa charge – purser sent me to spa, but I got it reversed. Bogus $10 charge on last morning bill – too lazy to fight the purser desk crowd, so let it stand. This time (Imagination) bogus $11.50 showroom charge. Went to purser desk –they filled out inquiry – I went away happy, but no credit on final bill. Am I being picky, is this just poor # reading on manual entries or is there a flaw in the card system??

John Says:

Hello Jerry
I was sorry to read this mate and I will look into it. Please send me a note with a scanned copy of your final bill and I will pass this up the line. Thanks for telling me and I will do all I can to help.
Best regards
John

Barb Asked:

Please Reply when get a chance
John, my husband and I met you on the Liberty in 2001. It was our fifth cruise and fifth anniversary. We got a picture of you and of the ship with the captain’s signature. We are going on our 10th cruise in April. First one was in May 2005 and have been hooked every since. I was wondering if I could get an updated Picture of you and of ship for my photo album. Thanks a lot and keep Blogging it makes my weekends when I can catch up.
Tell Heidi and Thingy hello.
Barb and Ken

John Says:

Hello Barb and Ken
How wonderful to hear from you and congratulations on your Fun Ship addiction. I wish I could be with you on your next voyage. I will be happy to send you a photo so please write via the blog thingy a few days before you cruise with your cabin number and I will have one delivered.
Best wishes to you all
John

David Allen Asked:

When you have the chance, would you post a photo of the beautiful “Rosie the Riveter” mosaic that is on the “Carnival Valor” for everyone to enjoy?
Thank you.
David

Hello David
Your wish is my command

img_0004

img_0007

img_0008

Cheers
John

Larry Asked:

John,
No thank you on the new cards. Too cartoonist. I much prefer the old ones. I hope the rollout of the new ones is loong if it has to happen at all.
On a related note, there is a mention on the Cruise Critic boards of having to surrender the cards at the conclusion of a recent cruise on the Splendor. Is this a new policy? Please say it ain’t so.

John Says:

Hello Larry
It seems there is mixed emotion regarding the new Sail & Sign cards. Many like them and quite a few don’t. We shall see what happens in the future. They are certainly more fun than the last ones but I can understand that the cartoon image is not liked by all. Now, as far as the collection of these cards is concerned I am afraid this is one of those Cruise Critic rumors similar to the one a few weeks ago that said I was divorcing Heidi and marrying Judge Judy. I have checked with five different ships as well as the head office and I can say that this rumor is total and utter……..well ……….bollocks. So, please don’t worry as we at Carnival know that you all like to keep these as a souvenir of your Fun Ship voyage.
Thanks mate and hope you are well
John

Bobby Terneus Asked:

Hi John, I like the new sail and sign cards. I can’t wait until we get ours; we are going on the Carnival Valor at the end of May. I wanted to know if you’re going to be our cruise director for that ship then. Please reply back
Sincerely
Bobby

John Says:

Hello Bobby
Oh how I wish I was going to be the CD but I shall be home hopefully nursing our healthy thingy that will be a few weeks old. Your cruise director will be Big Tex and I am confident that you will think he is amazing. If there is anything I can do for you please let me know and I wish you and your family a brilliant cruise
Cheers
John

Karl Asked:

Hi John – please reply if possible -,
It’s has been very quite the last few months about the Dream inaugural. Since we missed the inaugural festivities onboard the (original) maiden voyage of the Carnival Splendor, I was wondering about any news about the festivities on the Dream.
Is there any news when the inauguration is planned? Are the passengers on the first voyage going to see anything of the party..? Is Catherine Zeta Jones coming…?
Hope you have some insight…

John Says:

Hello Karl
Well, I knew someone was going to ask this question and it was just a matter of who said it first………so congratulations, that’s you. I can tell you very little at the moment as plans are still in the very early stages. I can tell you that the naming ceremony will be very special but the exact date and who will be breaking the bottle are still shrouded in a huge cloak of secrecy. However, I promise the first people to know will be you all on the blog thingy and if I have my way……me and Catherine Zeta Jones will be on the podium together and one of us will be wearing a very short skirt.
Cheers
John

Tracy Asked:

hi john now u said but will be the cd on the splendor nov 29th?and would u mind hand me downs for ur baby if its a boy. I have a boy and too many of his out grown clothes would u like some if it’s a boy? Tell Heidi hi and hope the thingy is good.

John Says:

Hello Tracy
Oh how wonderfully kind you are. Heidi and I would be honored to take them from you. We still have no idea if it’s a boy or a girl and won’t know until Dr. Ramitin tells us when the Thingy is born. I hope to see you soon and many thanks for your kindness ………..if your husband has any hand me down underpants I will take those as well.
Cheers
John

meghan Asked:

Dear John,
Please reply.
First I want to thank you for the best cruise ever this past week on the Carnival Valor. This was my third cruise (all with Carnival) and I cannot wait to go back, in fact as part of my birthday gift my boyfriend signed us up for the future booking thing….I’m so excited. Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you and thank you to all of the wonderful staff of the valor who made this trip so amazing, but I promised one person I would tell you about her. Her name is Alma, and she was one of the bar servers in the piano bar, its a funny story actually, because on the last night (which was my bday) the bar ran out of Bud Light, well she knew how much I liked it and ran to the casino and to the lido deck to get me some as well as to Winston’s, she should have told me to, well bugger off as you would say, but she was just so sweet and all week when I was there was kind to me, even when I made a fool of myself (several times). anyways I just wanted to mention her by name here. Back to my actual question. Could you please give me the address for guest services? I would like to write a letter to carnival to compliment the lovely cruise that I just had and I prefer to send a snail mail letter. There is so much to explain that I was not going to write it in the comment card. Thank you. And also thank you for the lovely bottle of champagne, ship and photo you sent to my room for my birthday…I was the girlfriend whose boyfriend couldn’t write her name…haha….thanks again. Meghan!

John Says:

Hello Meghan
Thanks you so much for sailing with us and I am so happy you had a brilliant time. I loved the story about Alma and I will make sure both she and the hotel director read it and she gets the praise she deserves. Please send the letter to:
Guest Services Director
Carnival Cruise Lines
3775 NW 87th Ave
Miami
Florida 33178
Many thanks and I hope we all get to sail together again soon.
Cheers
John

OK, just as a quick follow up to a question from last week where a blogger asked if the LEX program where guests can hand their luggage in onboard and collect it at their final destination is available in other ports? I have checked and unfortunately it is only available in Miami and Fort Lauderdale vessels and not in Texas, California or any other homeports. We are looking to expand this highly successful program and as and when we do I will let you all know.

That’s all for now and there will be more later this week……..but now………here’s Jaime

March 3, 2009

Dear John,

The city of Valparaiso happily welcomed the Carnival Splendor on this slightly cloudy yet still beautiful day. After debarkation was complete, I had the opportunity to go outside to explore the town. There were rumors of the capital city of Santiago being a one and a half hour bus ride away. Although this did sound quite appealing, the time restraints was not accommodating to this possibility. Visiting Valparaiso was certainly a nice experience but it is like going the port of Warnemunde and not taking the time to see Berlin… Still a great day but just wondering what was is in the distant town.

While leaving the ship, I was expecting a day of solo exploration. I understand this may not be the wisest decision when you are a girl in her mid twenties, who does not speak the language and who may appear somewhat touristy looking with a notebook and camera in hand. After exchanging twenty American dollars for 110,000 Chilean pesos, I was rich! To add to this good fortune, I ran into two of our guest services representatives from the ship – Carlene, and Alisa.

Heading around town with pursers is always a good idea, one because they already know a lot of information about the city, and also because they typically each of them speak between four and 12 languages, which is an extremely helpful resource. Spending time with these lovely ladies was quite enjoyable. We all took a taxi to Vino Del Mar, which is a 10-minute ride from the terminal building. We were in search of a Western Union so that Carlene could put US dollars in her bank account. This way, her bills being deducted all the way from South Africa would be paid without problem. Unfortunately, even the Money Gram and Western Union locations that we did find were not accommodating in allowing her to send US dollars, these locations were the opposite of helpful, they would not permit a person to deposit money straight to their bank account! This is one issue that as an American citizen, I have never had to struggle with. Thank goodness for direct deposit! Instead, I have other challenges, like… taxes.

The downtown area was quite nice, even though the weather was not on our side. During our taxi tour I did my best to take pictures to show you the interesting agricultural layout. However unfortunately having clean windows was not one of the prerequisites for our taxi selection. The town of Valparaiso had traditional Chilean staples such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Dominos. Once we reached the Vino Del Mar area we realized that every other building was a “banco” or a “farmacia.” The three of us made our contribution the Chilean economy with the purchase of some toiletries from one of these locations.

The highlight of our afternoon was finding the mall in Vino Del Mar. This mall was very crowded and absolutely massive. We found a nice quiet spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and the most delicious nutty cheesecake imaginable (John, do not make a joke about the nutty cheesecake in my mouth!) It is so wonderful to have the opportunity to have a nice relaxing day exploring the downtown area. Our taxi driver on the return trip spoke enough broken English to point out the Valparaiso naval museum and the house of President Ferrari (I think that is what he said at least)… maybe he was showing us a car dealership? Either way, Mr. Taximan showed a valiant attempt of welcoming us to his city!

Our next port of call is Arica, Chile. I have some very exciting news to share with you about this day! 47 guests and 25 crewmembers, myself included will be disembarking the on Friday March 6 from Arica, Chile and will be experiencing a tour to Machu Picchu. This tour will be 2.5 days long, as we will rejoin the ship in Lima, Peru. I am so grateful that Carnival is allowing a select few of us to take a work break for these days so that we have the amazing opportunity to further explore this part of the world.

This is a brief summary of the trip that we will be taking:

Overland Cusco & Machu Pichu
****
(2½ days – Approximately 52 hours)
Experience this once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cusco, “the archaeological capital of the Americas,” and then journey via train to discover the Incan sanctuary of Machu Pichu. This unforgettable opportunity will be a 2½ day experience full of memories and photos for you to cherish forever. On this amazing excursion you will:

Day One – Be transferred to the airport by motor coach to take a 45-minute chartered flight to Cusco. Arrive at Cusco and be transferred to your hotel to check-in and have some free time to relax before a light buffet lunch. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of this amazing colonial city. Conclude with dinner at your hotel and time to relax for your early start the next day.

Day Two – Enjoy an early morning buffet breakfast. Meet your guide and transfer by motor coach (approximately 1½ hours) to the train station for your rail trip to Machu Pichu. Relax as you travel by train for approximately 1¼ hours through the scenic countryside while enjoying a breakfast snack. Arrive at the Machu Pichu train station then walk a short distance to the minibuses that will take you up the mountainside to the citadel of Machu Pichu, one of the most renowned examples of Inca architecture.

Enjoy dinner once more in your hotel in Cusco.

Day Three – Begin your day with an early buffet breakfast, check out and a transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima. Arrive in Lima where you’ll enjoy the 4-hour “Panoramic Lima” tour of this beautiful city before rejoining your ship, already docked in Callao, Lima.

I imagine this excursion will be extremely worthwhile and slightly strenuous and I will do my best to write you during these days, however I can not guarantee what the internet connection availability will be. I promise to give you an amazingly thorough description when I return.

I look forward to filling you in soon!

I am going to start drinking my tea so that the altitude doesn’t kill me!

img_0577
The Carnival Splendor docked in Valparaiso

img_0548
Chilean Money – I thought it was pretty!

img_0559
Downtown in Vino Del Mar

img_0573
The view of the city near the terminal building

Have a great day!
Jaime =)

The journey continues and I am sure by now the crew are looking forward to seeing California …….I am very proud of the job they are doing and thankful to Jaime for allowing us a look behind the crew only door.

From: VALOR GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 5:55 PM
To: VALOR CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: VALOR GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; VALOR GUEST SERVICES; VALOR GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR
Subject: Would like to speak with CD

Hello John,

Mrs. ___________came to the desk today and asked if it would be possible to talk with cruise director. The guest was very much crying and I asked what she needed. She asked to write a note to you and for you to call her. She wrote the note on a bar napkin so I have typed it out for you so it can be read. Please call her as soon as you can and let me know so I can follow up if you need

Thank you very much.

Kind Regards,

Silvia Mardini- Guest Services Associate | Carnival Valor

Dear John
I had such a terrible experience on my tour today that I had to get off the bus and take a taxi back to the ship.
This woman seated next to me was so enormous that she was literally sitting on top of me. Her left leg was pressing down on my right leg and her arm was across my chest, pinning me down. To add insult to injury, about halfway into the tour, I discovered that her husband was sitting directly behind her. He clearly knew better than to sit next to his own wife.
I had to spend $30 to get back to the ship and my tour was ruined. I just wanted you to know that I think she should not have been allowed on the bus or be given two seats.
Thank You
(name)

Well this is a new one on me. I have heard of this on planes but never on a tour bus before. Of course we are refunding this lady’s excursion and her taxi fare and I called the guest to apologize. However, I explained that after investigation I had discovered that the bus was full and that there was no other place for the guest to sit. . The guest was understanding but still upset about the whole experience…….understandably.

However, I wonder how the other lady feels. I am sure she must have been embarrassed as well, especially when she discovered that the lady had left the tour early. I am sure that upset her greatly as well so I also feel for her. It’s a difficult one isn’t it? I actually feel like I should try and find out who this guest is and make sure she is OK as well……….it’s a difficult one this and I don’t have an answer to how to avoid this in the future……do you?

On a lighter note………….I lost my mind at the Morning Show yesterday. A young man called Jeff was singing a crap song……….sorry……..singing a rap song to win a prize for his wife……..and for some strange reason……..I felt the need to ……. well ……. watch this.

I am so sorry you had to see that so I think on that note I should say goodbye

Oh just before I do.

I have been reading my Pregnancy for Dummies book and today I came across something shocking. “Any woman with child will notice the difference in her pelvic floor muscles,” the book says. “Weakness here can lead to stress incontinence – some women find that they leak urine if they laugh, cough or sneeze.” ………….Oh joy…………….well, I don’t want Heidi to laugh so I shall make sure I don’t tell her any jokes or say anything that may make her laugh like “Can we have rumpy pumpy tonight?”…….. and the first time I hear her cough or sneeze she can bugger off and sleep in the spare bedroom …… there’s no way I am sleeping in a water bed.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. If it is something that's unrelated, please use the Ask John tab above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

77 Responses to Two Years of Thingies

  1. Freddy Beach says:

    Happy anniversary John and happy anniversary to the many original bloggers who have been following you for 2 years.

  2. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    Congratulations John and all faithful bloggers on TWO YEARS of this wonderful blog thingy!! 3.8 Million! Fantastic!!!

    Well, I got my Jaime fix! Thank you so much, Jaime! Can you see California from where you are?? :D

    You’ve got to admit that Cruise Critic folks are not only smart… we have EXCELLENT taste!! Congrats, Carnival on such an great job!!

    OK, John… I suspect that you’re still trying to make me feel better after I had to prance about the stage in that leopard whatever it was thingy. It didn’t work. Perhaps if you had danced in a thong… ;)

    All my best to Heidi, the Thingy and all of the wonderful folks who build this blog every day!!

    Ciao!!

    Host Mach

  3. "BIG" ED says:

    John, Congratulations on your 2 years of a wonderful blog that was only supposed to last a month. Did you ever think when you started this blog with Roberto 2 years ago you would still be hammering out posts to this day. I would like to thank you personally for this wonderful family you have given Pat and I. Through you we started as bloggers then we became friends now we are a true family.

    Pat and I Love you, Heidi, Thingy and all the Family.

    BIG ED

  4. Bradley says:

    Hi John,
    I’m 15 years old and have been on 7 cruises soon to be 8(all Carnival). Cruising is absolutely my favorite thing to do and I have decided that when I am older I want to be a cruise director for Carnival. I am sailing on the Carnival Splendor on 4/19 and I was wondering if you would be able to help me set up a meeting with Goose to discuss the schooling and other things required for the job. Thanks any help will be appreciated.

  5. Bravo John, please let us see more of the dance routine :-)
    I hadn’t given it any thought until you mentioned that it’s that time of the year called Spring Break. Please do NOT tell me we will have to put up with drunk, disorderly kids that are on break while we are on the Valor 3/29. Please tell me it ain’t so………shutter. Hopefully they will be back in school???????????????
    Countess Carolyn
    PS I hope the one in a short skirt isn’t going to be you ;-)

  6. Ed Milan says:

    Hello John
    Congrats on 2 years of the blog thingy,
    keep up the good work we enjoy all your posts.
    Best to Heidi and thingy
    Papanh

  7. Cruzin2some says:

    John,
    Congrats on 730 thingies only 270 to go to reach a 1000. Figure it takes an hour for me to read each one that mean you have cost my company 730 hours of me goofing off. At $45.00 an hour thats $32,850.00. It would have been cheaper for them to just send me on a cruise. WooHoo!
    James & Nancy
    The Cruzin2some

  8. Canuck Cruiser says:

    Congrats John and all of the Bloggers on two years !

  9. Ray McTeague says:

    Dear John,
    Happy blog anniversary…wow does time fly, been an enjoyable two years of laughter and some really great stories…two years from now you’ll be sharing experiences of Thingy’s terrible 2′s with us all LOL.
    Hello Heidi…all the best to you both.
    Cheers, Ray & Deb

  10. Jay Gallman says:

    John,

    Another congrats for a great 2 years of blogs. I read every day and look forward to the chuckle I always get. Please let Caroline and Don know that it is still spring break on the 0329 Valor cruise but she can look me up. I am a teacher on spring break and the last thing I want are more kids:)

  11. kiciaski says:

    Congratulations John on having the most famous blog in travel land. I’ll bet you can’t believe it’s already two years for your blog and both the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor have been delivered with the Carnival Dream on the way.

    Thanks for keeping us informed.

    Linda & George

  12. Dave Myerly says:

    John,
    Dancing is definitely not your strong suit.

    Please stick to the jokes and comedy however
    it was very entertaining.

    Dave

  13. Jeanette says:

    John, I have fond, er not so fond, memories of going to the same museum year after year after year after year from kindergarden to grade six! The same went with our local zoo, after grade 5 it held no charm anymore (it is a small zoo). My parents firmly believed in the camping trips from HELL as our form of summer holidays. I was 16 when I flew on a plane for the first time and 22 when I went on my first REAL vacation (a 7-day Xmas Caribbean cruise on the Holiday in 1991). I see that kids that haven’t even finished elementary school have more cruises than they’ll likely hit 50+ before they reach the age of majority to cruise on their own (21).
    Your wee one will be fortune cuz he or she will be a cruise director in training before he or she can walk or talk….

  14. Juli says:

    Thanks for bringing us Jaime’s notes each day – I am enjoying reading about her adventures and can’t wait to see the pictures from her 2 day excursion – what a lucky lady!

    Congrats on your anniversary – I just found your blog through CC and I’m not visiting every day for a laugh and to get ready for my upcoming cruise.

  15. David Allen says:

    Dear John,
    Thanks for the great “Rosie” photos. Another picture that I think everyone might enjoy is that of the atrium. It is quite uniqe and beautfully done.
    David

  16. Jay, you didn’t have to tell me that………….sigh
    It was bad enough to find out that John is going to leave before we get on the ship, but to find out we’ll have to share the cruise with a crowd of unruly, spoiled, ill mannered kids on spring break.
    What else can go wrong?
    Alas, what if the godson of the KY basketball coach is on the ship again this year …………. groan………
    Remind me next year why I won’t cruise in March ever, never again. Well I might consider it if the cruise was free…. :-0
    Carolyn
    PS Wonder what percentage if any will act like adults that would make their parents proud ?
    There will be 3 couples of us that are members of the Evil Krewe, if you need someone to talk to just look us up.

  17. well dude, the correct term is “blogesversary” so happy blogesversary!!! and many more. i will celebrate my third in july. time goes by so fast. i was sitting in podunk tired of watching leaves grow and discovered a blog on the internet and decided “hey, i could do that” and the rest is history…

    smiles, bonnie and prince charlie

  18. John -

    You are totally missing the both on this (silent c)rap music. It is clear that you have found the inspiration that you need for your exercise program.

    Jonny missing the SFP

  19. Stef aka Hockey Addict says:

    Hi John!! (please look at this!)

    Did you realize that you referred to the Thingy as SHE???? The last sentance…. Ooooooooo!!!

    “Well, one of the reasons is that parents budget for the school fees without realizing that, in fact, we’ll need half as much again for Icelandic windcheaters, horse rental in Argentina and an all-terrain vehicle for the South Pole. Seriously, by the time my Thingy goes to college or she is likely to have more air miles than Hillary Clinton.”

    I heard that there was a passenger that is reported over board on the Splendor! Sad news… I hope they find them!

    As far as Cruise Critic choosing Carnival’s slogan… of course they did!! =)

    Thanks again for Jamie’s update… It was great!

    I hope Heidi & the Thingy is doing well! Have you discussed names????

    Wishing you a smooth sailing!!!
    Stef

  20. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Jaime: You go girl!!!!! We can’t wait to hear about the Machu Pichu excursion.

    John:

    Congrats on 2 years of keeping us entertained, sharing our joy and our sadness and just being a friend.

    As for the woman who took up the entire seat on the bus, I would have been sympathic if her husband had been sitting beside her; as he should have been. The location of where he was sitting (IMHO) SHOUTED an utter and complete lack of respect for all other individuals on that tour. You did the right thing refunding the lady’s tour money and her taxi fare. And the heavy set “couple” (not just the woman) should be ashamed….again not because of her weight, but because of their selfish (entitlement) attitude.

    Btw, loved the dancing…but I think Tex’s “signature moves” still put him as number one!!

    Hope Heidi is feeling better and the Wee One is growing fine. Please tell my Cruise Son Melvin that I said HI!!!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  21. Dear John, Heidi,& Thingy & Stephanie & Roberto)(
    Happy Anniversary to all the wonderful words, time, jokes, Videos for the past 2 years.
    (Holding glass up) Here’s a toast to another wonderful 365 more days of wonderful experiences to discuss and read & share.
    Thank you for all the wonderful new blogger friends.
    Take Care & Happy Blogerversary
    from Florida
    The Tuckers
    Arnold & Elizabeth

  22. PennyB says:

    Hi John,
    It’s me, PennyB from New Orleans.
    I’ve really been missing all my new “Cruisin’ Friends”, yourself included. Guess I need to sign up for some more cruises. I’m already doing another Fantasy, Dreamin’ on Dec 3, and now Mach is getting a group for the Dream in late 2010.
    I do have a question about your dancing in the latest video – did Big/Lesser Tex teach you some of his moves? They do look kind of familiar. Actually my real question is about cruising in the Eastern Carib. You mentioned before that in the Med you cruise for the destinations, which I agree. What about in the Eastern Carib. cruises? Those are some wonderful ports that we’ll visit but I guess the touring is not as intense as it is in Europe. Is it as relaxed as the Western – ie, Mexico, Cayman, Jamaica? I’m really looking forward to some new ports with the Dream and also with the Triumph coming to New Orleans.
    See U on the Dream, if not before.
    PS – Remember if you need an “older” type Nanny, have passport, will travel. I know Heidi’s mom gets first pick but I’m experienced with six grands!

  23. Clair says:

    Hi John,

    Congratulations on the 2 year anniversary! Thank you for starting & continuing with your blog thingy. Also, thanks to Stephanie and everyone else who works on the blog too.

  24. Dave Myerly says:

    John,

    Hi Jaime – keep up the great Splendor blogs. We spoke as we left the ship
    Hello to all our new Cruise Critic friends still aboard the Splendor.
    Hugs to Martina and Peter our BEST EVER Gold Pearl Table 437 waiters.
    A big hug to my Harem at table 437 from Sultan Dave to Rascal Rider Ruth, Grace, Donna, June, Joan, Ezria, and Marie.
    Thanks to our favorite photographer couple and friends Flavius and Delia from Romania who again assisted with our many photography needs.
    Thanks to NyiNyi and Sakte our great room stewards for Cabin 7400

    We arrived home in snowy & very cold New Jersey about noon after the overnight LAN Air flight from Santiago. It took about 2 hours to drive from JFK NY Airport to the NJ side of the George Washington Bridge and another Hour+ to get home to Denville, NJ. Flight time from Miami to Newark, NJ would take about the same time.

    We had a great time on the Splendor this trip. This was our 5th time on the Splendor in the last 4 months. Two Cruises b/b Baltic & Med,
    2 Cruises b/b Caribbean, and this one to South America. We appreciated trying some new items on the dining room menu and as always enjoy
    hearing our friend Ken Byrne, Sr. Maitre D, sing in the Gold Pearl. Of course we had friends Martina and Peter again as waiters. They are still the best ever.

    Weather was not as hot in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Valparaiso and Santiago as expected, only 70-75, and not as cold as anticipated
    in southern ports of Port Madryn, Ushuaia, and Port Montt, only 50, and because of high winds, some over 90mph, we waited in Ushuaia
    and left 7 hours later and did not arrive at Port Arenas at 2 PM the next day which was too late to be cleared to visit the City. Seas were fairly
    calm for most of the trip except for a stretch through the Chilean Fiords where we had 90 mph, hurricane force winds. Captain Pagano,
    The Officers and crew and Chilean Pilots did a fantastic job winding through the tight channel from Ushuaia to Port Arenas and to Port Montt.

    Many individuals experienced medical needs during the cruise. Some had severe sinus and cold like symptoms that lingered a week or so and
    was still going around the ship as we left. We heard it referred to as the Carnival Cough. It was something more then a common cold and
    bordered on a flu like condition. Some were unlucky enough to trip or falls that resulted in sprains and splints etc. Our condolences to families of several who passed away during the cruise. The ship and medical staff handled each with care, compassion and understanding.

    The following item bears particular mention because of the outstanding coordination and our commendation to all who were involved in putting
    this together and making it work so well.

    Jo Ellen and I have traveled the world and this is the first we have run into this. The ships and port people handling of the luggage leaving the
    ship. Usually when you disembark a cruise you pack your bags the night before and put them outside your cabin by midnight and they are
    collected and taken away by the Carnival crew. It is taken off as soon as the ship arrives in port and put in a warehouse by tag color or number.
    The next morning, usually 7:30 to 9 when your number is called, you leave the ship, go in the terminal warehouse and wonder around to find
    your pieces of luggage arranged in a large pile by color or number, put it on a trolley and proceed through customs and immigration, then put
    it on a bus to leave for your airport.

    We packed, put our luggage outside our stateroom by 8:30 PM and it was taken away by 10 PM. We were told not to expect to see it again until we got to the airport in Santiago. We were skeptical.

    We disembarked the ship Tuesday morning at 8 AM for an all day bus tour of Valparaiso, Veno De Mar, a horse ranch, Santiago City tour and lunch before being taken to the Santiago airport for our
    10:45 PM flight to JFK in NY. The tour was great. Busses were comfortable, tour guide was funny, knowledgeable and took great care of us.

    I believe about 700+ people left the ship for flights from Santiago. When we arrived in Santiago we were taken to the Intercontinental Hotel, a very nice place, to wait before being taken to the airport
    30 minutes away, 3 hours before flight times. They provided large tables, chairs, water, and a large hospitality room. A lady checked everyone through, answered questions and gave out stickers so everyone knew what time to board a bus. The busses were the same we had for tours that day. People were on a dozen flights between 6 and 11PM to US cities. The lady who was the Intercontinental guest coordinator at the hospitality room did a wonderful job and
    should be commended. We were on a bus at 7PM and at the airport at 7:30PM.

    When we arrived at the airport we experienced something we have never before seen and were amazed at how well we were treated.

    The bus stopped in front of an entrance and sitting along the curb, were about 150 luggage trolleys, lined up in 3 rows abreast, like they were ready to start a race. Each was loaded with luggage and
    as we got off the bus a Carnival employee (Jorge with a Gold Carnival badge) directed us to go with a porter who would help us locate our luggage. Our porter ask what color and number our tour
    tag and bag tags were and took us right to the trolley which had all our luggage pre loaded. That was so simple and amazing. Then he took the luggage trolley and escorted us into the airport to our check in line for American Airlines/LAN Chile. From the time we left the bus until we were in the correct check in was 5 minutes. We were AMAZED and EXTREMELY HAPPY with how well we
    were treated with this service. CARNIVAL could use this model to make certain ALL disembarkation points (ESPECIALLY FT.
    LAUDERDALE) could move more people quicker and leave every guest with a very positive lasting customer impression. It was a first class operation and very impressive.

    We hope everyone still on board the Splendor has a great cruise for the remainder of the 50 day voyage. It was well worth our time and effort to be a part of it. Until we board the Carnival Dream next year, for the bloggers cruise.

    Dave and Jo Myerly
    Frequent and Platinum Carnival Cruisers
    Denville, New Jersey

  25. jaxonboy says:

    Hi John:

    Congratulations on two years of fun for all. What sets you apart is your ability to create a sense of community.

    An elusive quality for most, but you have the knack of connecting with people. You talk for an eternity on the PA, just one more announcement, oh by the way did I tell you, oh be sure to sign up for the “tooar” just a few seats left, be sure to see “Cap-ree” it is just “brilliant”, watch out for the skillet heads, did you know you are on the largest ship in the Med?

    And the best is “Welcome Home” as the ship gets underway and we are off to another destination.

    Please keep improving the process of debarkation for tours or time on our own, you and Heidi are on track and the improvements are some of the things that create brand loyalty. Good enough is not.

    Thanks John.

    your friend

    Bill Heck

  26. robert says:

    Congratulations john amazing how time does go by, two wonderful years on the blog, great job and thanks. I loved the video that was great made me laugh, I went back to work on wednesday after being out again for two weeks, starting to get my strength back, now we are waiting for march madness to start and the selection show a week from sunday, you know how much i love college basketball

  27. Eric says:

    John -

    Will be cruising for the first time on the 22nd. Actually, it will be the first time as an ADULT, but I rarely count anything I did as a rugrat.

    Anyways, wanted to say how sad I was to see you departing the ship before my scheduled trip…and I have never even met you! Discussion boards and reviews around cyberspace have really talked you up. And because of their words, I found this blog and have enjoyed YOUR words. I can see why so many people are such fans of you and why you have such a loyal following online and beyond. Excellent customer service is a hard quality to find in today’s marketplace, and from all I’ve read, you deliver it.

    Keep up the great work — and well wishes to you and your soon-to-be growing family.

    Sincerely,

    A New Fan Who You’ve Never Even Met, But Hopes We’ll Cross Paths On A Future Vacation.

  28. Please reply.
    John, congradulations on two years, hope you do many more.

    Can you tell us who will be CD on the Victory on May 8th out of San Juan and on the Pride out of Baltimore on Sept. 8th.? We are booked on both.

    It won’t be long before you are changing those smelly diapers. ha ha!!!

    Our best to Heidi.

    Jennifer and Danny

  29. Alex says:

    Dear John,

    Please Reply….

    Earlier today I found myself reading an article about the ports in the Caribbean and how many seasoned cruisers are seeking out new, more exotic itineraries that include ports such as St. Croix and Tortola, and it got me to wondering, does Carnival have any new Caribbean ports or itineraries launching int he 2010-2011 schedule?

    I came across a Carnival charter a few weeks ago that is including Cancun, Mexico as a port-of-call. I know that Cancun does not have a pier to accommodate a large cruise ship, but has any consideration been given to offering Cancun as a tendered port on a future Western Caribbean itinerary?

    Certainly the city has the infrastructure to handle the influx of guests from a cruise ship, and the city is already well-known as a wonderful beach destination for vacationers. I know I would be at the front of the line to put my deposit down if Carnival were to offer a Western Caribbean itinerary that includes Cancun as a port-of-call, perhaps as an alternative to Calica, Progreso, Grand Cayman or Belize that is offered on most of the Western itineraries.

    Give my best to Heidi and the Thingy.

    Regards,
    Alex

  30. michelle mann says:

    Hi all

    Cannot believe its been two years, time goes quickly, just to say how much I have enjoyed reading the blog. The dancing video great, what a laugh,
    take care
    bye for now, hitting the sales in Southend!!!
    Live
    Michellex

  31. Mort13ers says:

    Im Sure all of us are happy about this special Anniversary Day. Congrats John.

    Take care Hedi and Thingy

  32. John – please reply-

    Thank you so much for and congratulations on this blog thingy anniversary! I love reading it and it helps me take care of my need to cruise….well…it and also cruise critic of course!
    I was reading that there will be changes in scheduling in 2010. I am booked on the Carnival Dream out of PC for September of next year. Now, I am a little worried that her schedule may change, I hope she doesn’t go to Europe because I can’t fly that far do to medical issues. I would really love it if you happened to be the CD at that time! I had read before that you may be filling in for the current CD while he is on vacation. What are the chances of you being onboard then?Also, are any blogger cruises for 2010 decided yet?
    I would love to join you on the Dream later this year but my cruise in September is booked on the Liberty. I don’t cruise in Nov/Dec. timeframe.

    thanks again!
    cruzn

  33. Elaine says:

    WOW… Congratulations John on two years with the Blogger. Although I have been here from the beginning, I only recently started posting. I have laughed with you, yelled at you (and Carnival) and cried with you over the past 2 years and will continue to be here with you as long as you continue to entertain and educate us.

    Thank you also for always making my day brighter as I read your newest blog each morning. And, you now have your newest blogger…(and perhaps oldest!!! did i say that???)… I understand my mom Naomi posted for the first time here last night!!! She must really love you John because she hardly ever uses the computer!!!

    WE LUV U & HEIDI & THINGY!!!

  34. jerry calvert says:

    John– thanks for taking action on the tendering queue’s. If there’s anything we passengers hate, it’s standing in line.

  35. jerry calvert says:

    John –while still on the subject of people “standing up and making a difference”, I’d like to single out one Carnival associate for recognition.
    “Frankie”the Maitre de on the Carnival Miracle provides a bright ending to every dinner hour.

    Like the cruise director, the M.D. is a very important person to cruisers. As there is a full spectrum ( from not so good to excellent) for both functions, the excellent need recognition.He not only makes announcements that can be understood, he’s enthusiastic. We need more like him in that function!!!!!

  36. TJ & Gineyda says:

    John,
    First things first, Happy 2 year anniversary on the blog thingy! :) We really appreciate the hours of entertainment.

    Second, I (TJ) talked to a classmate who is the brother of another fan of yours. He told me his family took a lot of Carnival cruises. So I originally was excited to tell him all about your blog, but part way through my explaining all the details he tried to convenience me to take a cruise on a ship that has an ice rink (I do NOT take cruises to be cold in the Caribbean), a climbing wall (as if i want to do manual labor on vacation), etc. I was polite but refused…I mean really! He did email his sister your blog thingy link.

    Third, returning a half drunk bottles of wine takes gumption that is for sure…
    Sorry to hear about your savings…:( but you may be on to something…I see a new product for ebay…money security pants: wrap your money in John Heald’s underpants (caution product to be handled with care)…LOL

    Also, don’t let the iron man crazy guys get you down. Given the large number of women who post on you blog thingy I bet you are more popular.

    All signs point Us to Carnival for all times….Gineyda’s cab driver to the airport this morning was a former Carnival mechanic. What are the odds on getting in a cab in NYC to go to the airport for your flight to take a Carnival cruise and having a former employee…

    We are now off to the vacation of destiny…there were so many people making unsolicited Carnival references in the past few weeks…Glad to know that we can get our John blog thingy fix while cruising.

    TJ and Gineyda

  37. TJ Hadley says:

    John
    Thank you so much for passing these questions to the right person. I really appreciate the help with the paper.
    Please let me know if you need any other information from me.
    Thank you again (off to cruise now on the Liberty :) Its spring break!!!!!!)
    I will be checking the blog thingy!
    TJ

    1. What types of public health challenges are present on cruise vessels, given the wide range of people on board?
    2. Has the presence of the hand sanitizers on the ship decreased the incidence or prevalence of communicable disease reports to on board infirmaries? Generally, is there a noticeable impact of the hand sanitizers on the general health of passengers and/or crew members?
    3. What is the most effective way to protect passengers and crew members from the norovirus?
    4. Some performers have animals as a part of their acts. Are there some specific steps taken prior to the animal arriving on board?
    5. What types of challenges are presented by the presence of service animals on board? Are there restrictions placed on the passenger with the service animals?
    6. Does the ship require customs officials at various ports to look for specific items prior to re-embarkation after a port of call?
    7. What types of systems are set up on board to deal with a medical emergency?
    8. Given the differing cultures among the staff, how does Carnival train for the required health standards?
    9. Which country of the ports visited have the most stringent human health standards?
    10. The CDC has a vessel sanitation program. How do inspections effect the operation of the vessel? Also, how does Carnival participate in the vessel sanitation program guideline creation?
    11. What additional measures are ships asked to take when an increased number of passengers or crew become ill?
    12. Does Carnival conduct health inspections outside of the CDC inspections?
    13. Are guests ever denied re-boarding if they get off at a port and return to the ship sick?

    Cruise Director Perspective
    1. How many hand washing announcements are made during a given cruise? Is it just on the first day during embarkation or is it a daily reminder?
    2. What is the guest reaction to the health safety reminders?
    3. As cruise director, how involved are you in preparation for and during health inspections?

  38. Sandra says:

    I had surrender my sign and sail cards on the Legend AND the Liberty,Why?????I wanted to keep them like I did in the past but Nooooooo they waited as we got off and had their hands out for them so John I beg to differ,

  39. Jeri R Green says:

    Congratulations on your second anniversary of the blog. I’ve been reading since the first blog and still check in every day I’m home. Keep it up!
    Thanks to Jamie for wonderful updates on the Splendor.
    Re: the tour bus situation. I do feel sorry for both parties but think the husband should have offered to sit beside his wife. It was unkind to make the other lady so uncomfortable!
    My platinum card? Keep it like it is – please! Jeri

  40. Stef aka Hockey Addict says:

    Oooo I forgot…. Thanks to David Allen for asking you to post a picture of the “Rosie the Riveter”.
    That is AWESOME!!!

  41. Deborah says:

    WOW – I can’t believe it’s been two years of uncontrollable laughter and at times some tears. We have shared so many moments with you, Heidi, the guests, the bloggers and the wonderful and professional Carnival Staff & Crew! It’s been a fantastic two years and I all look forward to many more – Thank you for our virtual cruises and all of our virtual friendships!

    All my best to you, Heidi and Thingy,

    Debs

  42. Princess Lori says:

    Happy Anniversary Bloggers and congrats to you John and to those working behind the scenes to make this all possible!

    Thanks for the laughs along the way!

    Lori
    Catmama044

  43. tracy says:

    lol ty john. i didnt relize when i wrote it some things i typed didnt make it i think the little one was sitting on my lap at the time lol. did u say butch was gonna be the cd on the splendor nov 29th. i cant rember and i tryed to look back but dont rember what blog it was. thats good i have many boxes of boy clothes if u have a boy i will send u a box if u have a girl i will send domething also.tell heidi hi.i was in belize once i didnt think it was that great. i loved st thoms antique and cozmel.so far. have a good day

  44. Sheryl says:

    John,
    Congratulations on the blog’s 2 year anniversary. May you have many more years together!
    I must say that I was having a bad morning and now I am crying….tears of laughter, that is. Loved the video of you dancing. Hope Heidi isn’t sitting on anything you value very much when she watches it!

  45. nonna ivana says:

    Hallo!!!
    Complimenti per il blog molto interessante!
    I read often about cruising and the enthusiasm of the people who spend their holidays on a cruise ship!
    I find it very interesting!
    Buon pomerigio!
    ivana

  46. Rick H. says:

    John:

    Happy second anniversary for the Blog Thingy! To borrow one of your favorite expressions, it is fantastic that you can share your thoughts, humor and perspective with us and we can add our thoughts as well. I know that the blog adds to your daily workload, but I think I speak for most of the readers in saying that it (and you) mean a great deal to us!

    I won’t be able to attend the Dream’s inaugural (school calendars and finances are in the way…), but I can’t wait to see the streaming video and pictures of you (in a short skirt) and Catherine Zeta Jones on the podium!

    Jaime: What an opportunity! I’m so glad for you that you’ll be able to experience Machu Picchu, and thaty you’ll be able to share that experience with us!

    And I enjoyed your latest dance performance – maybe your next career move will find you as a backup dancer for a (c)rap musician!!

    Regards to Heidi, Thingy, and Stephanie.

    Rick H.

  47. lou-anne says:

    two years wow , thats awesome , very pleased you started this blog . Carnival is pleased , you have made them the topic of conversation with many people around the world. Well john enjoy the book -it is filled with information that may be useful but really only creates a lot of worry and in the end you have to figure it all out by yourself . it really is like talking to other women before going into labour-They tell you all the things that happened to them and you really do not need to hear them . The one thing you need to know is you end up getting every horror story and in the end when it finally happens and your wife grabs you by the neck and tells you how much she hates you , wants the labour to stop you are thinking why didn’t the book say on the front page ignore all of the instructions in this book and remember to stand two arm lengths away from your wife during the height of contractions and just keep repeating I am sorry honey I do not understand your pain and yes dear I will never touch you again and will bring flowers home every week for the rest of our lives .the book should say you are never going to have rumpy pumpy and the water bed is your permanent bed until your wife gets over her lack of sleep , finds her body is back to normal and the baby is being cared for by both of you . the book is really titled well cause they sucked yet another Dummy into buying it . I am sure it seems like a good idea at the time , but really you should just call your mother and ask her and really listen to her advice in what not to do and what to do .

    By the way you will be ok . I think it will be lovely to read how the parent hood goes . we are in teenage years and that is really a lot more challenging than the sleep deprived years of old .
    best wishes and have a great weekend .

  48. Wes and Liz ,Manchester England says:

    Hi John,

    Not posted for a few weeks but have been reading regularly.
    Congrats on the two years of the Blog and hope you keep it up for a long while yet (the Blog Thingy!!!)
    I remember stumbling across it in 2007 just before our Freedom cruise. When we met you on board you were able to sort our supper club booking out which hadnt been conformed before we sailed and there was no record of it when we got onboard.
    You were really helpful and have been doing the same for so many other people since.
    keep up the good work mate. You were the first CD that made any sort of impact on us whilst cruising.
    Just over 200 days left to our Dream inaugural, cant wait.

    Best wishes.

    Wes and Liz

  49. mickeyspal says:

    Hi, John,

    If you get a chance read the article about Obama and the bust of Churchill at:

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0309/west030609.php3

    Congratulations on two years!!! Hope to still be reading for at least that much longer!

    Oh, don’t worry about Thingy getting too much travel, etc. at a young age and thus be jaded later in life. Remember? You have no money left. And you’ll probably have even less before long. Without money Thingy will have to stay home and read National Geographic. Well, except if you are still with Carnival…Thingy wil,l of course, travel.

    Rosie the Riveter pic is cool…lose the motto.

    Best to Heidi and Thingy.

    Your Pal, Myra

  50. Miguel says:

    You go John,
    Those dance moves were brilliant!!!
    When you going to come teach the restaurant waiters this dance?
    I think it’ll be the highlight of the dining experience!!
    C – ya soon

  51. Rus Franklin says:

    As in the last blog, John, I wish you a most happy congratulations for 2 years as a part of our family. We are blessed to call you our friend.

    Much love to Heidi and Thingy, and of course–to you.

  52. cruisehappy08 says:

    Hi John,

    Two things happened this week that led me to 1. post my first comment on cruise critic boards. & 2. leave my first comment on your blog.
    My first cruise critic post was due to someone starting a thread asking “what is the warm melthing chocolate cake?”….which I felt highly obligated to answer with simply the word “amazing”.
    And now this brings me to my first comment on your blog which by the way I have been reading for quite some time…that video of you dancing to the “crap” song was too funny for words and I literally “lol” at my desk!
    Thank you so much for keeping me entertained while at work! I look forward to reading your blog everyday!
    Thanks!
    Jenn

  53. Nancy says:

    John,
    I’ve been reading your blog (and watching your video posts) for the past few weeks now, after my sister Patty, who’s been following it for a long, long time, told me about it. I’ll tell you…YOU sir, have a helluva sense of humour !!
    My sister, mum and I are booked on the Valor this Sunday, the 8th and are looking forward to meeting you. It’s our 3rd Carnival cruise together and we can’t wait !!
    Nancy

  54. KathyG says:

    John,
    Congratulations on 2 years! Your blog is the first thing I read when I get on the computer. I always need a laugh , especially now..some of my funds are in AIG also :(
    As for the S&S cards..as long as I can get on the ship and into my cabin, I don’t care what they look like. =)
    KathyG

  55. retirementman says:

    CONGRATULATIONS JOHN.
    Two years ago was exactly when I began reading your blog and got so interested in it. I have changed to much since that initial time. I’ve been on three cruises, I’ve met Empress Bee, her fantatsic Sarge, Linda and Mike Hernacki, talked to Nanni from Puerto Rico and most important you, John Heald. my congratulations to all those fantastic individuals who have assisted you, Roberto way back and now Stephanie, Vince and the rest. I’m a changed man knowing more about cruising and people. I even have my own blog. Thank you John and Carnival but most important to all is Heidi who has put up with the all of us. Thank you.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  56. Happy anniversary John! Here’s to many more years of your blog thingy.

    Great dance moves by the way! Ha, ha.

    Melissa

  57. valor88 says:

    I’ve just come across your blog and I kinda envy you for all the traveling you get to do. I didn’t even know there was a cruise ship named Valor, it’s funny since my user name on wordpress is valor88. So thanks for posting these pix, maybe you can show more?

  58. Ivana says:

    Happy Second Blogoversary, Johny!!!!!! May there be many many more :o)
    (I had my first a few months ago)
    P.S.: Your dancing video is priceless ;o)

  59. Leroy & Pat says:

    John please reply:
    Reading the blog today is says you are flyiing out of Belize March 19th. I thought you were on the Valor the month of March. We were bringing something special for you & Heidi and the Thingy. We will be on the March 29th sailing and we were really looking forward to sailing with you for the week. Does this mean you won’t be on the ship that week? We are still bringing the Rhubarb wine.
    Leroy & Pat

  60. Frank Rist says:

    Hello John,
    John Please Respond,

    I just am in love with your website, I allways know I’ll get a good laugh when I read your posts. I had two questions for you. First of all I read in your most recent post about belize and the new tender ticket program. Does that apply to all Carnival Ships that go to belize now or just the one your on? We are going there next month on the miracle and were worried about getting ashore in time for Major tom and the cave Tubing. Also is carnival still doing the booking on-board or not? We are ready to book a cruise on the Inspiration for 2010 and were going to wait to do it on the miracle for a better rate and lower deposit? But yet we can seem to find out if that is still avaliable

    Thanks, John

  61. Stephen Smith says:

    Please Reply
    John,
    I read the posting a few days ago about the terminally ill child who needed to be in the first seating due to his stamina. I must admit I was dismayed to find the problem had to get to you to get solved. I have written on occasion offering suggestions to CCL on what I believe would make make them a better cruise line (not an easy task as Carnival does a great job!) So here goes.

    I have always believed in the concept of rules and guidelines in regards to company policies (I now own my own company and prior to that had been in senior management for a Fortune 500 firm) Allow me to explain. A rule would be along the lines you can’t hit a coworker no matter how much they irritate you or what they say about you. A guideline would be Carnival doesn’t confirm seating requests until sailing. However in situations where common sense would tell you to do otherwise as in the case of the ill child’s need for first sitting we would allow the customer service rep to make the obvious call. The concept is quite simple. We don’t want our employees to be held hostage by a rule that in certain situations doesn’t make sense. When we implemented this strategy the impact was fantastic. The employees morale went up and turnover went down. I also might mention we had fewer customer complaints. Yes, there were rare occassions a bad decision was made or the power was abused. When that happened we coached the employee and if that didn’t solve the issue they were offered career counciling as they left the building. We taught our staff to use the “common sense” measuring stick when contemplating going outside company guidelines. That is to say, does it make common sense to do what the client is asking and is it in the best interest of all parties (the customer and the company) to grant the request. In the case of the terminally ill younster the answer is obvious. I look forward to your thoughts.

    John, you do a great job and I salute Carnival for seeing your value by making you Brand Ambassador for the line. A Carnival cruise might not be perfect for everyone. However, what Carnival promotes is exactly what they deliver and I believe that simple concept is why your employer is as successful as it is. Great job!

    Stephen Smith

  62. rocknrollgal says:

    John: I have never laughed so hard in my life after seeing your “dancin’ video” maybe you should go on Dancing With The Stars? I hear that 2 spots have just opened up! By the way like the new ss cards for the Valor. Congrats on a wonderful 2 years of blog thingy’s…YOU ARE by far the craziest, most loveable Carnival Cruise Director in the fleet! Go John Go!

  63. Mike & Lori Drew says:

    John,

    Wish we could say we’ve been with you the whole two years but we can say that we have enjoyed your blog so much and we have laughed ’till we cried. Thanks so much for the laughter! Keep the blog going and maybe one day we will have the great fortune of sailing with you! Our best to Heidi and Thingy. It won’t be long now!

    Mike & Lori

  64. Maria says:

    Hi John i was wondering if you could tell me who will be the CD on the Liberty the 28th of March my family and I will be taking our 6th cruise.

    Thank You
    Maria

  65. AJ Eckert says:

    John,

    First I must say happy 2 year anniversary. Then I must comment on the amazing dancing skills that you have aquired!!!! WOW!

    I leave next Saturday for a week in Ireland with my high school band. We have been invited to march in the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin. Mom is going too. I know how very lucky I am to be going and thank my parents often. The cost was over $2000.00 per person. I did do some fund raising to help out, but if it werent for mom and dad I would not be going. Kids should be thankful to their parents for any trip they get to go on. I have been on 5 cruises and I feel very blessed to have done so. Many of my friends have never been on one. I know how fortunate I am. I have the best parents ever…and the best cruise director!!

    Your friend
    Squire AJ of Big Ed’s Evil Krewe

  66. THE BEARS CARL & BARB says:

    HAPPY BLOG ANNIVERSARY 2 years and running

  67. cllod says:

    Congratulations!!!

  68. Karen Edmonson says:

    Hi John

    Happy 2nd anniversary, I can say I have been reading since your first blog. You helped me thru my 12 day Mediterranean/ Greek Isle cruise and I have had alot of fun since. Hope we are all still here in another 2 years, but then again you’ll be a papa then and actually have a toddleer, hee hee hee. Much love and hello’s to heidi, she is great and I know , or we all know, you miss her.

  69. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  70. The Bears - Barb & Carl says:

    Hi John,
    Happy 2nd Blogeversary!!! It seems like only yesterday we were on the Freedom and you were telling the audience about the blog. Carl and I both agreed that we needed to check it out as soon as we got home. We did…. and you have kept on entertained since! But, as much as I love the blog…. seeing you in person is so much better! You are truley the best CD out there!

    And thank you again for all the time you, Hiedi, Stephanie L., Stephanie M. Tom, Tony and all of the other people who make this blog possible give to the blog and your blogging family!

    Big Hugs!
    Princess Barb

    PS…. and you told us you don’t dance! LOL

  71. Cheryl K says:

    Congrats on the anniversary!

    I have to agree with Dave and Jo Myerly although I don’t know them, we were obviously on the same tour from Valparaiso to Santiago if not the same bus. This truly was a great experience in debarking I have never seen before. The tour was awesome in itself and the Intercontinental was beautiful and everyone very nice and helpful. It was orderly–well except for that usual group of people that have to push their way to the front of every line on ship and off (you have spoken of them before) and the luggage on the trolley was amazing. Debbie and I were each missing one piece from the trolley and the porter immediately found them and helped us into the terminal. Too bad the flight attendants on our Delta flight weren’t trained by Carnival because they were the worst I have ever experienced on any flight I have ever taken. The treatment to some by two attendants in particular was the worst verbal abuse I have ever witnessed. I’m sure you aren’t surprised knowing your own experiences with airlines. Anyway, the cruise was absolutely awesome and that 31 days went by in a flash! All personnel are to be commended on a job well done.
    I went to places and saw things I never thought I would get to do. The Equator crossing alone was made such a special event and also made all of us passengers as described in our Shellback Certificates from Carnival as being “cooler than the other side of the pillow” just so much fun–better than any New Year’s Eve party ever! Seeing the Christ the Redeemer in person even in the rain in Rio, Penguins on our excursion in Puerta Madryn to Punta Tombo, the absolute pristine beauty of Ushuaia and of course transiting Cape Horn was so exciting and finally seeing my first glacier’s and “Burgie Bits” as they were called by Dirk our naturalist (who was awesome) which were little bits of calving that had ocurred in the Chilean fjords. So much to tell about this cruise it is hard to know where to start but I did miss being able to read the blog and get a good laugh from your writings. I was doing a blog daily for friends and family so they could keep up with what I was doing and where we were each day. I have to say that you win the prize–I never wrote as much and could barely keep up with it each day as we seemed to be busy all the time. I found myself writing late a night or trying to remember two days of activities at one sitting. It is not easy and certainly a committment and I only did it for 31 days and I was sad to get off the ship but relieved that as of today, I only need to give them the details of my travel home. I am now living vicariously through Jaime’s “Dear John” letters and I did so enjoy the time I got to spend with her. She is a delightful young lady and dedicated Carnival employee.

    BTW your dance was really funny…

    Hope all is well with Heidi and baby.

    Cheryl

  72. dwa76 says:

    Hi John!
    Greetings from Hampton, Virginia where 20000 music fans are here to see the reunion shows of the rock band Phish (similar to the Grateful Dead).
    Congrats on the milestone anniversary. I can’t believe how time flies!
    Great letter from Jaime and the trip to MacchuPichu sounds amazing.
    I am sorry for the lady on the tour. I don’t know how to handle it.
    Take care and have fun!
    David

  73. John & cindy says:

    hapy birthday bloggers.

  74. Gerri & Frank says:

    Hi John,
    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to tell Butch Begovich that we were on Carnival Glory last week. He even sent us some chocolate covered strawberries.

    He is a great CD and although we wanted to meet him and chat with him personally, we felt a bit strange just walking up to him and talking. It’s not that he would have made us uncomfortable, it’s just that I am kind of quiet.

    We loved the Glory and now are thinking about sailing Dream. I know we will have a great time on the Western Caribbean cruise.

    Thanks again for taking your time to do something for us. You certainly are quite the man.

  75. Alex G. says:

    John,

    Congrats on the blog! Can’t believe it’s been over two years already. We’ll hit 4 million before we know it. Thanks for all the great stories along with the great posts from Jaime and Bubba! A big thanks to Stephanie as well for taking care of this blog. This blog wouldn’t be where it’s at now without her! Heidi’s looking good. I look forward to more laughs and more great stories!

    Cheers,
    Alex G.

  76. Cheri says:

    John: I thought I wrote something to your blog- but can’t find it… Thanks again for the wonderful cruise on
    the VALOR 2/2209
    The tribute to my husband- who saved my life-
    thanks again..that was important- the most
    important thing of all.
    I can’t WAIT to go on another cruise.
    !!!
    Cheri

  77. Marlene Dovell says:

    Dear best CD John:

    Can’t believe it’s been two years since you started the blog thingy – time flies when you’re having such fun reading it. May you have many more blog years as it can really brighten one’s day/night.

    Also congratulations on the other thingy that will be here pretty soon.

    Love to Heidi, you and little thingy

Copyright 2011 John Heald. All Rights Reserved

css.php