Dive?…..My Arse

March 11, 2010 -

John Heald

I was speaking to bloggers Sharon and Marcus this week who told me that they went on a Beginners Scuba Tour in Cozumel this cruise……..and oh boy did that bring back some memories.

I’ve always hated the thought about diving. To me, it’s up there with bungee jumping, cage fighting with Mike Tyson in the bollocks or having rumpy pumpy with Paris Hilton ……….. in a hammock…..the sensible part of you really doesn’t want to, but the dangerous bit of you would like to see what it is like.

It seems to be the law that cruise ship crew all want to learn how to dive. All my friends I have made over the years have and the youngsters that make up the crew of today seem to be carrying on that tradition…….but not me. It involves being underwater, where years of evolution have decided that human beings are not supposed to be, so I have for the most part been a “above the surface” kind of guy.

Many of you diving people will think that I am a big girls blouse but that’s not true because I’ve seen Finding Nemo and because back when I was slightly less sinkable I did try a Beginning Scuba Excursion…….in Cozumel…..and I hated every bloody minute of it.

I remember it began in a pool. The problem was that I’m not even a particularly strong swimmer, so why I agreed to do this, I have no idea…….I think it was because a dancer called Tracy was going and she had two huge flotation devices.

Anyway, my swimming style is not exactly graceful and while I desperately try and keep the water of my face the rest of me is thrashing around like someone has just thrown a television in there. In short, I naturally take to water like a Judge Judy at a beauty pageant, yet there I was at the Blue Angel dive resort, a young 25-year-old CD surrounded by fit men called Jose and Jose B, loads of strange looking diving thingies and Tracy’s humongous flotation devices.

I remember the first thing he made us all do was float unaided for 10 minutes and while we were doing this a rubber shark drifted by. This is apparently diving humour. Then they gave us a big book to study, which is full of important information about how not to die, then you undertake a series of dives in a pool, to get you used to both the notion of being underwater and the rubber shark. Then there’s an exam, to prove you’ve learned the theory of how not to die, and then we were off for the open water part of the excursion, where the sharks are no longer rubber and the pool is 3,000 miles long and 17,890 feet deep………….or the Caribbean Sea as this big pool is often called.

On the boat they show me how to kit up by attaching twisty thingies to tubey thingies. I looked around me and many of my colleagues and the passengers from (the Ecstasy I think) had dive watches and their own snorkel, mask and fins. All I had was a mild case of the runs.

I remember trying to play for time by adjusting my metal thingies and twisty thingies over and over again while as I minced around my mates all jumped off the back of the boat into the water and disappeared. Then I jump in with Tracy and panic sets in.

“What are you DOING,” I think to myself.  “You’re underwater! Get out! Get OUT! Get back upstairs immediately.”  I tried to grab Tracy’s flotation devices but all that got me was a fin in the bollocks as she dove into the depths.

Jose and the crew had dropped a rope line from the boat which I clung onto as though my life depends on it, which, frankly in my mind it bloody well did. Jose B meanwhile is shouting instructions to me in Mexicaglish “put your masko backo ono and clearo it of watero using your noseo.”

I then got confused even more…….was I supposed to take the breathey thing out of my mouth and then put it and what do I do now and is that a shark and I don’t want to die and those bubbles are not from my respirator they are from my arse.

The problem is you can’t speak with a mask on so all divers communicate by hand signals and as I thrashed around in the water I looked like I was trying to play a demented game of charades. Then Jose started to point to my nose and then my ears and I remembered the lesson by the pool about doing something called “equalizing my ears”……. because, if you forget to do that, then the pressure makes your ears hurt even more than if you were listening to Lady Ga Ga.

I had dreamed of swimming graciously through jaw-dropping multi-coloured shoals of fish and discovering treasure on an old ship wreck. But…….I hated it. I would rather put my thingy in the mouth of a lion that hasn’t eaten for three weeks than ever go diving again. My eyes were stinging, my breathing sounded like an asthmatic hamster, my ears ached and I had ruined a pair of underwear and left a brown trail in the Caribbean that probably would have pissed off the environmentalists if they had been invented back then. The things us men will do…………………… for breasts!

Time for today’s questions……….off we go.

Cheryl K Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY when you can.

I’ve been reading daily but haven’t posted in awhile. It was great to hear from Jaime yesterday too. She mentioned South America and I was thinking about it this week myself since it was a year ago we all sailed on that great adventure. They had a segment on Nightline this week about the penguins in Punta Tombo, Argentina and that was the excursion we did in Puerta Madryn. It was so awesome to walk with 250,000 penguins! But the whole cruise was spectacular and the crew like family after 31 days together.

I do hope that Heidi and Kye arrive safely. I’m sure they will both be exhausted and a bit off their schedules for a few days so be patient. I did love your story about the trip to Wal-Mart.

The Aida ship is lovely but I have to say that I am most excited about my coming cruise on the Carnival Dream 4/3/2010. I will be traveling with my daughter and her husband and my grandchildren and my best friend is also going. I don’t know if Ken will be back yet, but we would love to be in his dining room if you could please request this for me. I am most excited about this cruise because after 85 days at sea with Carnival I will finally make Platinum and I can’t wait for that card with my name on it! I have created future cruisers with the grandchildren as now every time they have a holiday from school they think Grandma should be taking them on a Carnival cruise. I know that you will be getting off the ship the day we get on but if at all possible, I would love to meet you to say hello (Heidi and Kye too but I think you indicated they were only going to be with you a month). We will be embarking early since we are coming to Florida a day early this trip.

Thank you John for brightening my days with smiles and laughter with your blog. Oh, and will Al Ernst be on our cruise? Too many questions I know.

Cheryl

John Says:
Hello Cheryl

I have had so many people tell me what stunning scenery they witnessed during the Carnival Splendor‘s South American voyage and I wish I had been there to share it with you. Heidi and Kye have been and gone which shows yet again how far behind I am with the questions that need answering. You will soon be here on your Carnival DreamDre and I know you will have a great time. Ken will not be here as he will be joining the Carnival Legend. You will though meet the two Maitre D’s here Ante and Klaudio who are both brilliant and I will ask them to make sure you are all seated together. The Platinum card will look and feel so special and I hope you enjoy all the benefits it brings. Unfortunately I will be leaving on March 20 now and heading for the Carnival Conquest so we won’t be able to meet. The good news is that our 344th best comedian Al Ernst is indeed scheduled to perform at the Carnival Comedy club so you are promised some great fun with him. I am so glad you enjoy the blog and I wish you and the family a wonderful cruise

Best wishes
John

Shalaine Rostomily Asked:
Hello John,

First of all I have to say you made our 1/30-2/6 Carnival Dream cruise an amazing experience. Your honest and hilarious humor was a lot of what we told our family and friends about. On a separate note (and the reason for my message) I need to ask you assistance with something because I have no idea how else to go about getting an answer. I was Gloria Estefan in the Carnival Legends show on Friday, February 5. I got home and went to watch my complimentary DVD (thanks by the way) and was very disappointed. I couldn’t hear any of the performances because the sound was distorted and horrible. I don’t know if it was just the DVD dubbing or an actual recording issue but was hoping I could attempt to get a new DVD sent to me. It was a wonderful memory and I was hoping to be able to watch it down the road. I appreciate any response or direction that you may have for me. We can’t wait for our next cruise!

Thanks,
Shalaine

John Says:
Hello Shalaine

I am so sorry about this and I will send this to our head office and see if we can get you another copy. That is such a shame and I will do all I can to try and replace this. Thanks for the kind words and thanks for being part of our Carnival Legends show. I will be in touch soon

Best wishes
John

musingsofjustjon Asked:
John – PLEASE REPLY

Actually, I am more a fan of Rome, Florence, sea day, sea day, Malaga, sea day, Funchal, then seven sea days, but hey, we can’t have every cruise be the Carnival Splendor’s transatlantic crossing.

Right now, we are in the middle of our second major snow storm in a week – we got 22 inches over the weekend (Feb 5/6) and have gotten another 18 inches or so yesterday and today.

Can I please have a free cruise to anywhere south of Charleston SC? Please – I will even pick up your underwear in return (with proper hazmat gear, of course).

Give our regards to Heidi and kiss Kye for me.

Best regards,
MissingthesmokefreeparadisebutlookingforwardtothenearlysmokefreeCarnivalDream

John Says:
Hello MissingthesmokefreeparadisebutlookingforwardtothenearlysmokefreeCarnivalDream

(used copy and paste……sorry)

I can only imagine the weather you have been through these last weeks and once again a skeptic may be forced to climb to the top of the funnel and shout “global warming my arse.”

I hope that you and Mrs. MissingthesmokefreeparadisebutlookingforwardtothenearlysmokefreeCarnivalDream  have thawed out a bit and that it won’t be long before you are basking in the Caribbean car sunshine on one of our fun for all ships.

Best wishes to you both
John

Vanessa C Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply =)

I have been a long time reader of the blog thingy and I enjoy every single one! Especially when I go on vacation and have lots of reading to do when I get home! =)

I don’t normally leave comments on blog – I just like to see what everyone else has to say – but I thought I would give you my two cents. This is in regards to people asking for stuff. When bloggers like Sandi send something like she was requesting, or when an active reader asks for a favor, that does not bother me at all. What does get under my skin are the people whose request say something along the lines of “John, I read somewhere that you take requests. I want XYZ my booking info is 123. Thanks” and then they never continue reading.

I personally hate asking for stuff – even when it’s being offered to me – that’s just the way I was raised… Thanks for all that you do for everyone John! I know that we all appreciate it! =)

Hugs to your girls!
Vanessa C.

John Says:
Hello Vanessa C

I know that for the most part the people who ask me for help do so in a pleasant and respectful way. I also know that there are going to be a few who ask in the ways you described in your posting. I take it all on the chin and hopefully these folks will appreciate what I do for them. Rudeness is something I cannot abide but it is unfortunately part of the world we live in. Now, on a happier note thanks for taking the time to post and you are most welcome to do so as often as you like. It is great to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.

Best wishes
John

Marty Paul Asked:
Hi John (reply, if you have time),

Just a quick note…I was sitting on my back patio smoking a type of cigar that starts with “C” and ends in an “N”…that’s right, a Caribbean cigar, anyway another idea popped in my head. Just wanted to share it with you and if you feel it worthy, please pass on to the mean with beards in Miami.

O.K., someday Carnival decides to build a U.S. flag cruise ship (like the Pride of America, except not as butt-ugly). Ship is built at NASSCO in San Diego (more than capable yard). After being built, Carnival can now base the ship out of Honolulu and run 7, 8, 9 day Hawaiian cruises, without leaving the islands. Here’s a “twist” to the idea- intermittently, Carnival repositions the ship to SF *of course, sailing w/passengers on the repositioning cruises), and then sails out of SF for awhile, both northbound (Portland, Seattle) and southbound (LA, SD). Then, returns the ship back to Honolulu again.

I had previously submitted another Hawaiian idea involving moving the Carnival Legend. Anyway, I recommend that the new ship based out of Honolulu be named the Carnival L’ale’ai (“L’ale’ai” being the Hawaiian word for fun).

If the idea is used, no payment necessary, except for a suite on the inaugural sailing with Megan Fox as my suite-mate. And based on her Super Bowl commercial, please ensure the suite has a bathtub…

Aloha,
Marty Paul

John Says:
Hello Marty Paul

I want some of what you have been smoking. Any idea that involves Megan Fox and a bath tub is an excellent one and thanks for sharing it. I have sent your thoughts (minus the smoking the palm tree bit) to Terry our SVP who decides where we sail to and from. I know you are passionate about Hawaii and therefore keep the ideas coming because ………….you never know.

Best wishes……………mon.
John

Paul Asked:
Hi John, (please reply)

First of all, congrats on the new addition to the family. My wife and I had our first son in July. Well my wife had him, my job was done 10 months prior. Being a Dad is something incredible isn’t it?

Anyways, that leads me to my question, my wife and son and I are sailing on the Liberty on May 8 for our first family cruise, I am wondering… will the stewards have a pack n play in the room knowing his age (10 months) and the same for the dining room and high chairs? Or do we need to make arrangements. We’re also debating whether or not to bring our own for a comfort level. We’ll see.

Another question, I’ve read conflicting reports about how we pack water bottles / soda, whether it be carry on or checked. See, my issue arises from our ‘reasonable amount’ would be more than most since we would be making our formula with bottled water (like we have since his birth) so a few bottles won’t last the 7 days, and well carrying a case or 2 on might be quite the work out. I sure hope this will be OK, is there away (if not) to notify somebody?

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks again John.

John Says:
Hello Paul

Thanks for the kind words and many congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your son. As you said, being a Dad is incredible and I am loving every moment of it……… apart from now when she is so far away from me.

The ship will see that you have a young one sailing and your stateroom steward will have a cot ready to go which they will fold up during the day for you. I will make sure the ship has this ready just to make sure plus I will ask the dining room to have a high chair for you. Now you can buy bottled water on board. The brand we use is called Crystal Geyser which has no sodium and that’s what Heidi used as well for Kye when she was here. You can bring your own for the baby. Just an FYI on that, the security may open a few to make sure it is water…….and not Smirnoff! Seriously though, if you don’t mind carrying this with you it is fine. Don’t forget that you can get boiled water 24 hours a day from Lido Deck10 or from room service.

I hope this helps and please let me know if you need anything else before you sail.

Best wishes to you all
John

hostmach Asked:
John, if you ever catch up… please respond.

After seeing the beautiful AIDAblu today I was reminded of any number of threads on Cruise Critic about the next generation of Carnival cruise ships. As you well know, a great many folks love the ’smaller’ ships the size of the Fantasy Class and the Spirit Class has a HUGE following. Many have asked if Carnival would consider smaller ships again. Good question. My response is most often the ‘economy of scales’ thing… bigger holds more, produces more revenue for just little more investment and operating expense than smaller. Still, it’s an excellent question.

What’s the latest word about the 2010 Blogger’s Cruise… hummmmmmmm?
:D

All the best, my friend!!!

Ciao!
Host Mach

John Says:
Hello Host Mach

I think that as always Mach you have hit the nail on the head. I don’t see us building smaller ships right now for all the reasons you mentioned above. That’s why Carnival has invested millions in the rejuvenation of the Fantasy-class ships and with the superb quality of the Spirit class ships they to still offer so very much and it’s no surprise to hear that they are a favourite with many. Maybe the Spirit-class will eventually benefit from upgrades as the Fantasy class did, you never know.

Best wishes to you and Stitch
John

Monica B. Asked:
Hi John (PLEASE REPLY)

I have been a blog “lurker” since it first started (huge CCL fan) but I haven’t felt compelled to comment until today. I just got off the Imagination for my Bachelorette cruise (2/5/10 sailing). It was my 11th CCL cruise and I will be sailing on 3/7/10 on the Victory out of San Juan for my HONEYMOON!! Now, while I had a BLAST this past weekend… I must say things were SO different onboard.

“Elegant” Night is definitely NOT the same as Formal Night. While some people hate dressing up, I for one love it because it gives us the chance to get all dolled up when we normally do not have a chance to do so. It is a special night and it’s a shame that it went from being “formal” with men in tuxes and women in beautiful gala gowns to just “elegant” which really means short dresses you can wear to the pool. To me formal night is one of the most special things about cruising. Please tell the “beards” to give us back our *FORMAL* NIGHTS!

Like I said, I have been sailing with CCL since 1999 and back then cruises were VERY different. As long as I’m writing, I would like to share with you some other observations that I’m just saddened by. Captain’s Night. It’s no longer a cocktail reception; in fact there was no mention of it at all. No free drinks, no hors d’ouvres, no captain. This is terrible. Another great “cruise” thing to look forward to that is now just a memory.

Yet another thing missing– past guest receptions. Not what they used to be. It went from an awesome cocktail party in the evening with drinks and food to just some reception awkwardly placed in the middle of the afternoon when most people were too busy at the pool to attend. (Guessing this was done on purpose). Dinner is not what it used to be either, I remember having filet mignon and beef tenderloin as options even on the shorter cruises, nowadays not so much. But there is “mac n’ cheese” available on the menu as a side dish– which really belongs at a fast food restaurant– no matter how delicious it is, it takes away from the elegance of dining in the nice restaurant. Also, the drinks were just all re-priced and the daily specials for example which used to be available for $6.95 are now $7.50. I understand it is all about cutting costs but please realize that the only thing you are doing by cutting all the fancy extras and jacking up drink prices is alienating the guests who have sailed for so long and look forward to the same amazing CCL experience every time. I understand that cruise prices are less expensive than other lines, and only by reducing “extras” and charging more for drinks can CCL offer such low cruise prices… but think of the crowds you are attracting with “low, low pricing.” Even the crowd of guests has shifted… the overall feeling of elegant and refined cruising is gone. It feels as if everything has been “dumbed” down. Even the commercials shown today are not up to par with what CCL used to be.

Please John, share these points of view with the men and women “upstairs”…while many may not be on my same page and may suggest that “if I want elegance I should look to another line” I have sailed one other line before. One cruise. Never again. CCL is my favorite and I don’t see why I should give up my favorite cruise line which USED to be everything I looked for.

I don’t want to end this on a negative note, I must say the CREW is as FABULOUS as ALWAYS! We were treated like queens the entire trip. Our waiter and cabin steward were two of the most wonderful people we have ever sailed with. A huge kudos to the staff of the Imagination which was absolutely AMAZING!

I love the blog John… keep up the hard work and don’t worry too much about having the girls with you on board, I’m sure it will go over wonderfully! Thank you for taking the time out to listen to me (and all of us who come to you with our daily rants!)

Monica

John Says:
Hello Monica

Thanks so much for your honest review and I hope you had a great bachelorette party. I now that we have made some changes to the Elegant Night that have been unpopular with some. I know I should defend it and while we have taken the free drinks and moved them to the last sea day I have to admit that I have seen attendance fall somewhat. I will certainly bring this up to the people at the top and in my opinion……..and remember …… this is just my opinion……I think we need to re-think this event and do what we can to make it better. I don’t think though it’s about the free drinks, it certainly shouldn’t be. What it should be about is an unforgettable evening that gives the people the choice to dress up……or not. So we need to look at locations and structure and certainly without exception the captain should be there to greet his guests.

Thanks for your thoughts on this and I will certainly go to bat for you and the many other people who agree with what you wrote.

Best wishes and thanks for your loyalty to carnival. Oh yes……make sure you remind me one month before you sail on your Honeymoon cruise.

John

Shenika M. Asked:
Dear John (Please Reply),

I live about 30-45 minutes away from Baltimore and of course that means I’m in the area that experienced the “Snowmageddon” with 25 inches of snow this past weekend. As I type it’s actually snowing again (just what we need more snow on top of snow) and all this snow has resulted in one thing. My friends and I have decided that we will be booking my Carnival Dream for the 12/11/10 sailing as a celebration for my 27th Birthday which falls on the first sea day. We will be visiting Isla Roatan this time around and I have a question regarding reservations of the cabanas in Mahogany Bay. Is there any way to reserve a cabana prior to your sail date or must it be done once on board? Thank you in advance and I love the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you, Heidi and Kye
Shenika

John Says:
Hello Shenika

I hope by now that the snow has melted and that the anticipation for your Carnival Dream cruise is building. The cabanas at Mahogany Bay are gorgeous and you can indeed reserve one on line at carnival.com Here is the link thingy.

http://www.carnival.com/ShoreExcursionDetails.aspx?region=CW&portcode=RTN&excursionname=Beach+Cabana+Rental&excursioncode=518048

Please let me know if you need anything else and thanks for all the kind words.

Best wishes
John

Geri & Jack Asked:
Hello John (Please reply)

We have just returned from the C Liberty and what a wonderful cruise we had. It was our first cruise as Platinum and Carnival treated us so well with all the perks that Platinum guests get. We were thrilled beyond belief. Well worth getting that 9th trip in.

C Liberty was our choice for our Platinum. We have been on the Splendor 3x, Dream 2x, Freedom 3x and Valor 1x. The C Liberty is a grand ship and has a fine crew.

Question: Will the C Magic becoming to NYC or the USA at all after the Med trips next year? We sure hope so. When will you know?

Thank you and enjoy your cruise with your family. You all deserve it. Love your blog.
Cheers!

John Says:
Hello Gerri and Jack

I am so glad you enjoyed your Carnival Liberty cruise and those tremendous Platinum perks. The Carnival Magic is as you know spending the season in Europe and she will then for sure return to the States. Where……nobody knows or if they do they are not telling me. I will send an SOS message out to our super spy PA 007 who will keep his or her eyes and ears open to see what he (or she) can find out. Keep checking the blog thingy and hopefully I will be able to tell you all soon.

Best wishes to you both
John

That’s all for today and there will be more Q and A tomorrow.

Just before I continue here for all of you who love the Piano Bar entertainers (hi Laura) is the updated schedule with the dates these great performers leave their respective vessels.

SP Peter Brenner 03/11/10

VI Josh Tuckman 03/14/10

IM Robert Stiel 04/09/10

VA Larry Maconaghy 04/18/10

FS Bruce McGhie 05/01/10

FD Greg Gallello 05/02/10

EC Lorraine Ingle 05/10/10

FA Richard Canter 05/15/10

LE Milburn Dumas 05/30/10

SL Steve Brisley 05/30/10

MI Duane Lewis 05/31/10

TI Peter Rossetti 05/31/10

IS Colin Kadey 06/05/10

GL Jason Davis 06/05/10

PR Roger Concepcion 06/13/10

PA Jordan Heppner 06/14/10

LI Brad Alexander 06/19/10

SE Tom Riccio 06/20/10

DR Barry Miller 06/26/10

EL Michael Lee Smith 07/03/10

CQ Jason Martin 07/18/10

DE Bill Barclay TBA

Once again my thanks to all of the above who give our guests so much fun and enjoyment each and every day.

Well Belize was hot and sunny but with 6 ships at anchor including the Carnival Miracle and Carnival Glory it was a busy one tender wise. We had a gap of about 25 minutes when we had no tenders at all and overall it required the guests on all ships to have a huge dollop of patience.

This is the one port more than any where I suggest guests take an excursion as quite honestly downtown Belize City is…….ummmm…….well……it’s not oozing charm ……….. let’s just say that many of the guests listened to my advice and close to 2,000 went to the Ultan Xa ruins, cave tubing, cruising down the River Wallace and enjoyed remarkable snorkeling over the barrier reef that surrounds the island.

It seemed to me that following the missed call in Roatan on Tuesday that the guests were really anxious to get ashore and despite the patience needed for the tendering operation they all had a great time. I wonder what the other guests do though. Some have a private excursion but what do the rest do. Well, I checked the security pass system at 1 pm and it showed that 1,377 guests were onboard so I guess that answers that question. I know many like the ship when most guests are ashore and I can understand why. Of course ……… free food has nothing to do with it……….does it?

And today we are in Costa Maya……hallelujah……we are in Costa Maya. As I mentioned in a previous blog this port has a very exposed pier and windy conditions will guarantee that you won’t dock. So, this morning at 6:30 am I was on the bridge watching Captain Marino use all the mighty power of the ship’s thrusters to push against the 20 knots of wind and get us alongside. It was touch and go but we made it and after missing Roatan I am very happy to be here………if not……..I would had to have walked around the ship wearing a cup for the rest of the cruise.

But here we are and here are some random photos of the view from deck 5 forward which with blogs to write, 107 e-mails in my in my CD e mail thingy and 51 on my other account………. is the closest thing I am going to get to seeing Costa Maya.

I am not looking forward to tomorrow at all………as I have to let a member of my staff go. Now obviously I cannot go into details but I can tell you that this person has had plenty of chances, probably more than they deserved but I wanted to, I was determined to change this person……but I failed. When you relieve a person from a job on land, they pack a box, call a cab and go home. On a ship it’s very different. You have to pack not a box but one or two suitcases and you don’t hop in a cab……..you have to fly home ………  sometimes and in this case………a flight which will last this person 8 hours. That’s a long time to reflect on what you have done.

I shall be doing this face to face of course, taking my time to explain why and making sure I have one of my supervisors there as a witness……..just in case. I read recently how a company in Pennsylvania fired all 75 of their employees by e-mail! There have also been “techno-dumping” of partners as well……..remember the lady from last cruise who received a text telling her that her boyfriend of 7 months never wanted to see her again? Phil Collins once famously let his second wife, know about the end of their marriage by fax, while Britney Spears made him look positively romantic by dumping Kevin Federthingy………… by text message.

OK, you may be too scared to face the wrath of a woman who you have been having rumpy pumpy with ……..hence the text…………but surely ……is it ever OK to fire someone by e-mail? I guess there is the simple but important difference that it is much harder to fire someone than to dump someone. I hate the way in which The Apprentice presents an unrealistic picture of how easy it is to fire someone as he and that hair point that finger and say “You’re fired.” In real life…………it isn’t anything like that.

In the real world, unless someone has tied themselves naked to the smokestack or attempted to snort cocaine off the captain’s forehead, it is virtually impossible to fire people without first proffering a series of verbal and written warnings and the ships are no different.

This is because people are not generally recruited and managed by electronic means and should therefore not be fired that way but a large amount of seduction and flirtation does now happen over computers and phones.

Indeed, e-mail relationship terminations are becoming commonplace: according to a survey, 15 percent of Britons say they have been dumped by text or e-mail. Furthermore, it was recently decided in Malaysia that a man could divorce his wife with a text message. The Government’s adviser on religious affairs argued that, provided the message was unambiguous, it was valid under Sharia because texting was just another type of writing.

I could never fire anyone by e-mail and I would hope that when Carnival finally realizes that I am an idiot and decides to fire me that someone would do it in person…..not by e-mail. And I shall extend that courtesy to this 24 year old tomorrow who I have to send home. The person in question is a non-United States citizen which means they has to be escorted to the airport and will receive their passports only when they get to the airport. I tried helping this person……but as I said I failed and amongst all the fun and laughter of our last day at sea tomorrow there will be a 24-year-old who probably won’t be smiling and will probably spend the rest of their life hating me and the company I work for.

Now that’s really weird……as I am writing this blog to you I have www.grooveshark.com playing random songs. This is a fabulous site that has millions of songs for free. Now I think you are supposed to down up or sideways load them to your Eye Pod but as I don’t know how to do that I just listen to the music.

Playing as I write today’s bollocks is a selection of 80′s pop tunes and what memories they bring back. Music is great for that…..bringing back memories……. I remember what was playing during my first kiss, my first car crash and my first kiss that caused a car crash, but there is only one song that reminds me of my mate Alan and me putting make up on each other……..Karma Karma Karma Chameleon.  We had made our excursion into the netherworld of lipsticks, powders and paints in honour of Boy George and Culture Club. We were going to a party and thought that looking like Boy George would get us some girls. We were wrong. I mean of course we were wrong. We had skimmed over the fact that Boy George himself didn’t like girls and moved onto the fact that we were being brave and fun and girls liked fun…….no they didn’t………they thought we were gay!

Remember “Stinking Creek” the 78 year old man called Willard from the welcome aboard show? Well, he has turned into something of a cult hero here and has been signing autographs and taking photos and his stardom reached new heights last night when I choose him to be part of the bedtime story. He is some images taken from the TV camera (apologies for the quality) of him, Mary and Dastardly………it was a fun night.

I have been hiding the words “Stinking Creek” in the Capers each day so that guests can try…..BUGGER……sodding Fun Times John…..Fun Times ! Anyway, I have been hiding the words “Stinking Creek” in the FT’s as we are all calling them and guests have had fun trying to find where I had written them. They have been subtle……up until tomorrow.


And I want to leave you today with this comment from the incident report

Guest: Ms ……….Ref: 846008435A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: ____Added-Changed: 03/10/10 – 03/11/10

NEEDS TO CHANGE DINNER TABLES
Guest came to the GSD to say that she and her friend wanted a different dining assignment. Ms_____ said the people they were seated with were disgusting. GSA asked what she meant guest stated that they ate a lot of their food with their hands and licked their fingers. Guest also said they made loud noises when they ate and they felt sick. Tasked to Maitre D who will assign new table

Reading this my obvious thought was maybe they were from a culture where eating with hands was part of everyday life……..nope……..they were American……..in their forties ………from the mighty state of Ohio. They were just normal people.

I do sympathize with Ms. Disgusted though. Licking your fingers after sitting in an elegant restaurant and eating with your hands. Is this really necessary? That’s why God invented a napkin. Unless you’re at a Bar B Q, there’s no reason to lick your fingers. And even at a Bar-B-Q, if you’re over the age of ten, it’s questionable.

Maybe we need to add some of these rules to the bottom of the menu, just after the Spa healthy stuff.  On behalf of our President and CEO Mr. Gerry Cahill we kindly inform all guests that slurping, chomping, eating with hands, licking fingers, nose-picking, farting and French kissing is strictly forbidden while eating dinner…………and if Heidi were here she would add this to the list “Anyone found using their Blackberry during dinner will have a breadstick inserted in their bottom.”

Goodnight
Your friend
John

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32 Responses to Dive?…..My Arse

  1. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    David loves to scuba dive. I tried it…went through the classes (books and written work) …etc etc etc was doing very well….until they put a mask on me and I fainted. A clear indication that this is one sport that is not for me.

    I did want to comment on the new Captain’s Night.

    Personally, I love the new way. The old way meant long lines of waiting to shake a couple of hands before sitting down for a free drink.

    The new way gives every cruiser the opportunity to actually talk with the Captain, CD, ACD, Social Hosts for hours if they want to. And while these drinks are no longer free, the drinks at the Farewell Party (given at the same time of day 5PM that the Captain’s Party used to be given) are free and delicious.

    So nothing has been taken away. The discounted drinks were actually an addition.

    Of course, DJ LOVES the Repeater’s Party. He loves to sit and clap for all his ships. (of course he hides his eyes during the film when Funship Freddie is shown). He has seen the film so many times…he knows exactly when to look away!

    Thanks for the pictures of Costa Maya. We were there one week before Hurricane Dean messed everything up. We had just joined the “hole in the fence” gang by going to Chac Chi.

    Sorry to hear that you must send a co-worker home. That can’t ever be an easy thing. One can only hope the individual will use it as a way to grow up instead of growing bitter. It could very well be the best thing that ever happened to them, since they are clearly currently in a position that isn’t right for them. This way they can find what their true gifts are and the best way to use them.

    Linda (Mom of your friend ~ looking forward to sailing with you in less than 2 months~ DJ)

  2. Vicki says:

    Your scuba lesson memories are delightful!!!!!!!!!!! Back when I was trying to reason why any human would want to breath from a tank when there was an unending supply of gas just above the water line, I was held in place by the terror of having already spent a king’s ransom on personal diving gear. I wish I had known you then!

    Vicki

  3. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    Glad you made it to the dock today. The skill of the captain always amazes me.
    I disagree with you on the diving. It was so much fun at Grand Cayman and the dive spot was amazing. When a friend of mine took a diving class here in California his final was at Catalina Island and the water is considerable colder. He went into the water and like normal took a breath before entering the water. He said the water was so cold it felt like he couldn’t breath and he was about to panick when he realized he had full lungs and he had to exhale before he could inhale. Now that is cold water. Not at all like the Caribbean.
    I agree with Host Mach that the smaller ships are better. I vote for the Spirit Class ships getting the upgrades next. The Carnival Spirit is great without them but would be even better with them. Love that ship! Like your first girlfriend, your first kiss, and other first,s your first Cruise Ship is always special.
    The Cruzin2some
    James & Nancy Enslow

  4. Hi John,

    I don’t know how you eat BBQ Ribs, but many people use their hands and quite a few lick their fingers after. The food is too good and the napkins too small. And Carnival serves them a couple of times on a 7 day cruise in the main dining rooms, including the first night.

    If you are adding rules, I would add one about anyone wearing excess perfume will be immediately violated by the HAZMAT team.

    Regards,
    bill

    • Cynthia says:

      OMG! I so agree! The cig smoke from 3 balconies down is nothing compared to being trapped in an elevator with someone that thinks a half a bottle of turlet water is acceptable! IMO you should have to hug someone to smell them!

  5. Sandy Pickett says:

    Hello John My husband and I have been on one Carnival cruise .We took this in January 2009 on the Carnival Freedom.We had booked a cruise on the Eurodam and just wanted to get to Florida a few extra days ahead to enjoy some nice weather and realized going on another cruise was the least expensive way to enjoy some sunshine.We booked the six day cruise on the Carnival Freedom.We really didn’t know what to expect but we were very pleasantly surprised.It was a great cruise.We are hoping to book a back to back cruise next January on one of Carnival’s ships and I have one question.When the first cruise is over if we are booked in the same cabin for the second week do we have to pack all our stuff and leave the ship and then reboard?Also wanted to say I love reading your blog and enjoy your sense of humour.Thanks

  6. Kathy M. says:

    Hi John,

    Please reply,

    About eating with your fingers, if it is not allowed then why does the Queen have those little finger bowls that you put your fingers in to clean after you have eaten. I always thought that there are certain foods you have to eat with your fingers and those are Carnivals Baby Back Ribs (they are the best that I have ever had and I wish they served them everyday) and corn on the cob, so see there are certain foods you have to eat with your fingers.

    Please give my love to Heidi and Kye.
    From your #1 Bloggy Thinggy Fan
    Kathy M.

  7. SCarlow says:

    John (please reply)

    John, I am glad that you were able to spend a couple of weeks with Heidi and Kye. I have a question and I am wondering if you can explain something to me.

    I always pre-purchase drink tickets. I purchase these over time to help reduce my sign and sail card balance at the end of the cruise. I always order the same drink (Kiss on the Lips) but during the last two cruises I was on, some locations on the ship, I had to pay additional monies to. It was not much more but I became somewhat confused. The drinks were the same size in these locations so I am unsure why the difference.

    Thank you for your time.

  8. Hi John,

    I reviewed one of my pictures of a serving of the ribs on Carnival, (delicious, by the way). How in the heck does one eat corn on the cob on a skewer? Yes, you could slice the kernels off the cob and eat them with a fork, but if that is how we are supposed to eat it, why the heck doesn’t Carnival take care of that detail for us?

    http://www.zydecocruiser.com/carnivaldream/GrandMed/12Livorno/liv2/P1050220.JPG

    Cheers,
    bill

  9. Mia Wei says:

    Yet I am a girl from China,my English is not that good.To read the whole article out is a tough job to me,but i have tried! I hope i will have a chance to work with you in the future ! I will do my best !

  10. Beth Flynn says:

    Dang, guilty!! I’m a finger licker. Sorry :)

    • Beth,

      When you have the BBQ ribs on the Carnival Dream you have to lick your fingers. The meat may fall off the bones but you still have to eat BBQ ribs with your hands. That’s the only way to eat ribs. Just be sure to ask for extra napkins, LOL.

      Big Ed

      • Beth Flynn says:

        hmmm….how about the chocolate melting cake? Is it frowned upon to eat THAT with your fingers? But if I were to eat it with my fingers (not that I have…maybe) I would definitely have to lick afterwards……I’m just saying. :)

    • The Cruzin2some says:

      Dear Beth,
      Being a finger licker is OK as long as they are your own fingers. But when you start licking the Bar-B-Q sauce off a complete strangers fingers. Now that is some seriously good Bar-B-Q.
      WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      The Cruzin2some
      James & Nancy Enslow

  11. April M says:

    I just wanted to take a minute and let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I have been reading it for years and love to keep up with what is going on the ships while I am trapped in an office wishing I was on one of the ships. My husband and I are sail on the Sensation on 4/22 and are very excited to see the renovations, it has been about 4 years since we have sailed on this ship. He is even more excited because we have booked a balcony room which we have never been able to afford in the past. It will be our 6th time sailing with Carnival and it would be great if you could send a small gift to our room since we will be leaving the kid and home and relaxing on our own on the ship.
    It will be the first time we have done the new dining option as well – and just for the record we LOVE elegant night – my husband loves dressing up like 007 and making his casino rounds.

  12. April M says:

    Please reply Johnboy….
    I just wanted to take a minute and let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I have been reading it for years and love to keep up with what is going on the ships while I am trapped in an office wishing I was on one of the ships. My husband and I are sail on the Sensation on 4/22 and are very excited to see the renovations, it has been about 4 years since we have sailed on this ship. He is even more excited because we have booked a balcony room which we have never been able to afford in the past. It will be our 6th time sailing with Carnival and it would be great if you could send a small gift to our room since we will be leaving the kid and home and relaxing on our own on the ship.
    It will be the first time we have done the new dining option as well – and just for the record we LOVE elegant night – my husband loves dressing up like 007 and making his casino rounds.

  13. Lise says:

    Morning John,
    Long time reader, first post. My friend and I sailed on the Carnival Inspiration last month and had a great time. It was my first platinum cruise which made it even better. We do have one request. The weather tended to be unpredictable and even though we were in an OV cabin it didn’t help. All we could get was Denver weather on the tv and the web cams didn’t help when planning what to wear to diembark in Tampa. Having the weather chanel available would be a big help.
    Hope to meet you some day.
    Lise

  14. Cindy Wagner says:

    Hi John,

    LOL I love were you put the “Stinking Creek”.

    Glad that they were able to dock at Costa Maya. Sorry you weren’t able to get off the ship and enjoy it.

    Sorry to hear you are going to have to let someone go. It is never easy. I hope he knows what he did and takes it as a life lesson.

    Our best to you, Heidi and Kye.

    The Wagner Family

  15. Peggy Winge says:

    Please Reply
    Hi John
    I have enjoyed reading your blog and I love cruising with Carnival, I only wished I could do it more often. I’m planning our next one for June 18, 2011 aboad the Dream. We’re taking our daughter on our very first cruise, she will be 7 at the time. She’ll be celebrating her birthay right before we leave and for her party I want to do a theme party. So my question to you,is it possible to purchase any party supplies from Canvial, balloons, etc, etc,
    Thanks for your help.
    Happy Sailing
    Peggy
    15 months and 6 days until my next one…….

  16. Cindy H. says:

    I’m with the rest of you guys, you just can’t knife-and-fork ribs! And finger-lickin’ is just part of rib-eatin’… I’m licking my own fingers, for Pete’s sake, not someone else’s…

  17. kadeycat says:

    The most disgusting thing seen in a cruise dining room was a guy who wore a tank top (wife-beater) to dinner every nite. Not only did he slouch as if he was falling out of the chair but continually kept his hands wrapped behind his head. We got to see fuzzy armpits the entire dinner. YUUMMMMEE!!!

  18. divetrash says:

    John,

    The very first time I tried diving, I hated it. I felt like I had no control on where I was going and what i was doing. I hopped back on the boat and vowed never to dive again. The next time I was at the dive lodge at Small Hope Bay on Andros Island in the Bahamas, I was drinking with the owner’s wife and she got me to agree to try again with just her around the dock. I did and she showed me a few tricks. After that they could not get me out of the water (hence the screen name, “divetrash”) . Sometimes you just need the right teacher.

    Of course, I’m a worst case scenario diver, I always believe that there is something just out of my range of vision waiting to eat me. But I try not to think about that.

    Thanks for the piano bar list. I’m still campaigning for a list with future dates. But for anyone who is interested, here are a few future dates I have collected for my list (as always, they are subject to change):

    Victory: Angela Johnson 3/14/2010 – 8/??/2010
    Valor: Laurie Anne Gardner 4/18/2010 – 6/30/2010
    Splendor: Ron Pass 5/30/2010 – ???
    Fantasy: Rick Atha 05/15/10 – ???
    Dream: Ron Pass 04/24/2010- 05/01/2010 (1 cruise only!)

    I’m off on the Destiny next Thursday, whoo hoo! It’s got to be better weather than that 2 day on the Dream in November!

    Happy Cruising to all and to all a good day…

    Laura (aka divetrash, aka Princess Laura, the sweet and innocent

  19. JohnR says:

    Hi John,

    Please reply. Once again I must commend you on your blog thingy! Reading it is just so enjoyable and makes me want to cruise again soon! (I’m sure the beards like that!)

    No matter what you write about I can always count on a good laugh or more.

    Anyway, I have a thought about Fun Times – I am hoping that since they are in a new format that they are being created in some type of program that would easily allow the Fun Times to be posted somewhere on the internet as you have done a few times.

    Having access to actual current Fun Times helps so much in planning and getting excited for an upcoming cruise.

    Any chance daily Fun Times could be posted?

    I have another question regarding the 6 million people reading your blog – Are there 6 million different people or is it 6 million hits on the web page?

    Are there really just 6 people reading it a million times? LOL!

    Thanks for your blog and your time!

    John

  20. Celine Arseneault says:

    Hi John… Please reply :)

    It’s a shame that I haven’t been able to book onto a ship that you’re on… I’d really enjoy meeting you in person. But having said that, reading your daily blog thingy is pretty close to the real thing – sometimes it feels like we’re old friends and you’re writing to me while you’re working abroad… I’m just following along on-line until we see each other again sometime. :) I especially enjoy reading about your girls – it’s very obvious that they are the centre of your universe!!

    Back in the fall, I had written you asking a couple of questions: one was if you knew who would be the Club O2 director for the Carnival Valor for the week of April 4th… well if rumours are true, Ashley (the one who made a HUGE impression on my two teen sons last April on the Carnival Splendor) is currently sailing on the Carnival Dream, so that question is now answered :(

    However… I’d had a request at that time regarding table assignment as well, and you’d asked me to write you again a few weeks before sailing to remind you… here’s your reminder :)

    I hope you’re caught up enough on questions that this one will find you in time. I’m hoping that you could possibly arrange for my family to be assigned to a table for four for our early dinner seating (we’re booked in two adjoining rooms – one under Arseneault and one under Stelmack – for the week of April 4th on the Carnival Valor) “Family time” is very precious to all four of us, and we’re really looking forward to our evening dinners as a chance to connect each day. We enjoy the company of others too, but most nights at home our house is full of teenagers, so family time is hard to come by. We have to capitalize on every second we have with our boys and with each other when we’re left at the table when they bolt after the meal to join friends in Club O2 – we’re celebrating our anniversary on this trip and we really enjoy the intimacy of dining together… as you might imagine, we get so little of each other’s attention at home during meals. :)

    If you or one of the lovely Stephanie’s could fulfill our request, it would be deeply appreciated.

    Best wishes to you and your family… and keep up the fabulous job on the blog thingy!!

    Celine

  21. LadyJag (Laura) says:

    Hi, John!
    Gotta agree that it’s hard NOT to eat those yummy Carnival ribs with your hands! However, and I’m not trying to be prissy or prudish here, those “Fork Tender Ribs” that I had on my last Carnival cruise were just that – fork tender!

    Seriously, the meat just fell off the bone with just one touch of my fork…no hands required! However, if they hadn’t been so gosh-darned tender, it wouldn’t be beneath me to get a HANDle on them. LOL!

    Speaking of fork-tender baby back ribs, rumor has it that this delicious entree, may absolute FAVORITE (spelled correctly) entree Carnival offers, has been replace by a not-as-good Memphis-style ribs. Say it isn’t so! Please! I’ve been sooo looking forward to those baby backs on my cruise next month!

    Laura

  22. Deana Hammett says:

    John,
    I hope you remember me. I am the one who a few years ago wrote you a “Dear John” letter and then I called you and talked to you during your morning TV show on the Glory. My friend, Lori and I are cruising on the Dream in December 2010 and we can’t hardly wait! We hope you will be on this cruise too. Will you?

  23. Judy Beardslee says:

    I have never posted on a blog before and don’t know if this is where I am supposed to do it! We were just on the Dream last week and I sent you a note of thanks for being the BEST cruise director we have ever had!! I have NEVER seen my husband laugh so hard…….the whole week!! He is still talking about it……we will NEVER forget you. You mentioned about the new ship and taking names. I sent you 18 I believe it was and have come up with 2 more. How about the Illumination and Innovation??!! If they use my name, do I get a balcony or something?? Just kidding, but it would be nice!!

  24. Lori says:

    Good Morning
    I am thrilled to be cruising on the Carnival Freedom on June 5th with eight girlfriends. Is there a piano bar and if so, please say Peter Brenner is the piano man. I cruised on carnival 18 years ago and he was absolutely wonderful…..would love to hear him again.

    Thanks for your response

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