Pain In The Ash

April 16, 2010 -

John Heald

Yesterday Iceland farted on the UK.

And as ash spewed from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. This caused the men and women with beards to put on their high visibility jackets and shut down the skies. Al Gore blamed global warming. The Mayan Indians said it was the end of the world and the tofu-eating greens want to tax the volcano because it produces more carbon dioxide than my Range Rover.

My mate Alan wrote me this e mail “John, this is a terrorist attack, not an act of God. The terrorists are going to use this ‘smokescreen’ to attack us…….we’re all doomed” …. silly bugger.

However, it doesn’t look like the planes are going anywhere this morning either and Heidi said that the skies are clear and there are no signs of ash……..or planes and I wonder how it is that the Lovely Lisa my favourite weather person back home usually gets tomorrow’s forecast totally wrong, that she or any other weather chappy will be able to tell when the volcano will stop farting …………….and the as disapissatates (spelt correctly.)

Heidi and I and some of the blogging faithful have been to Iceland on the Carnival Legend in 2002 and we offered excursions to the blue grotto which I remember had views of the volcano which has currently kept Ryanair and their mates on the ground.

Iceland is beautiful and, yet, not of this earth. The people are all amazingly good looking but  spend all winter being frozen to death and all summer realizing that they live in one of the most jaw droppingly awesome places on earth…. Travel outside of the capital Reykjavík and you will have no reminders of the civilization you left behind…..it is not surprising that Neil Armstrong was sent here to train for his moonwalk.

The countryside is beautiful yet weird, the people are mad, the weather defies belief and some of their laws and customs leave you scratching your head.

Recently the country of Iceland was declared virtually bankrupt and I am not surprised. Heidi and I have clear and vivid memories of the dinner we had with the Entertainment Staff that night the Carnival Legend was there. You pay $80 for a bottle of house wine to accompany your plate of moose, reindeer or elk, which will be served to you by a lady who has completely see through skin. However, you will not be bothered by any of this because you will be too baffled that unlike the rest of the world…………..night does not follow day.

As true as we all know that I adore Megan Fox’s bottom we also know that without fail the sun will set and day will become night. But in Iceland, from the end of April to the middle of September night is like turning your living room dimmer switch down a wee bit……and in the month of June it doesn’t happen at all. It’s the most bizarre feeling to have it as bright at 4 am in the morning as it was at 4 pm that afternoon. Then, in the winter …well….blink and you will miss daylight which lasts just two hours.

In the summer months, people from Iceland rarely sleep and on Friday and Saturday nights ….. they do bugger all. They leave work, go home, have a few drinks, get showered, have a few drinks, change, have a few drinks, and then around 10 pm they all go out….I mean ………….. they ALL go out.

This can be quite a shock if you are not from Iceland but from Earth. I remember Heidi and I going out to dinner as I said. It was a Friday night and we left the ship rather late……it was 9 pm. I remember thinking “Bugger, I bet we are too late to get a table.”

But the streets and the restaurants were deserted and, as I sat with my plate of freshly murdered reindeer and potatoes, I noticed that as the night wore on the restaurant became busier and busier.

By 11:30 pm there were lines outside the restaurant we were in and outside every other one as well. So, I asked for the bill, which was so expensive it would have made Donald Trump go “Bloody hell.”

When we left Heidi and I and the staff entered a world like nothing else. It was a huge street party……. they were celebrating something special…….Friday night. I had seen nothing like it. If Latvian women had been handing out free rumpy pumpy and Tiger Woods was standing there holding a sign that said “get it here” and the Queen Mary 2 had arrived……. all at the same time, it would be nothing like Friday night in Iceland.

To put it mildly……..everyone was totally and utterly smashed, soused, hammered, blotto, out of their faces drunk. Their motto seemed to be that it was no use drinking the odd glass of beer now and then, it was too expensive and a waste of time……..So why not wait until the weekend and drink 30 beers and two bottles of vodka?……and that is exactly what they do.

The Icelanders are very much the same as the Finnish and in particular the same as the shipyard workers who built the beautiful Spirit-class ships. Their work was faultless, the men and women who built the hull and welded the decks were the nicest most professional people in the world, and they built stunning vessels …… but come the weekend they turned into binge drinking nutters who would fill Coke bottles up with nine parts vodka and one part Coke……and that was to drink on the bicycle ride home…….some were so pissed (that’s the British pissed) that they rode home on their bikes…….backwards.

The Friday night gathering in Iceland lasts until late Sunday night where people go straight from the bar to work. It’s amazing….the people of Iceland and Finland seem to have developed the sleeping patterns of a turtle…….your awake for four months and then…………….you’re not.

If any country is thinking of invading Iceland, I would suggest they do so between November and February because no bugger is awake……….although you could also invade in June as well because everyone will be too drunk to care.

Iceland has no crime which is easy to understand as it’s either too light to steal anything and in the winter it’s too cold……even now you can find men frozen to the spot with a stolen TV in their arms.

I remember Iceland as a beautiful, barren, place with days of no daylight and nights with no night. At the weekends the people will fall over mid-sentence because they are so drunk and they welcome visitors from around the world with open and loving arms. The place is absolutely crazy and now they have a farting volcano as well. I hope one day we cruise there again.

Time for a spot of Q and A….off we go.

Karen (not a techmom anymore) Asked:
John (Please reply via blog or email)

We too are on the Spirit on May 11th with John & Patty and have booked our excursions already. It took awhile for the them to be available but we are all set.

We are traveling with another couple and they just celebrated their 25th anniversary. Now when the husband booked he booked a suite-boat is pretty full-but thought it would make the trip special. Last night he asked me how to have nice champagne and chocolate covered strawberries in their room upon arrival and I know the Formalities shop handles it but was unsure what to do prior to the ship sailing. That is my question-how can I help him arrange?

Now my husband was standing there as we talked about this and let me tell you he is in REALLY, REALLY big trouble. Bryon (my son) was Sr. Entertainment Tech on the Conquest during my 25th anniversary. We cruised that week with another couple. Do you think my husband or my son thought to have us renew our vows or do anything to celebrate-NO! So he will be in deep poo for the next 25 years! Husbands-take note.

Enjoy the Conquest-we sailed twice on her and loved it.
Karen

John Says:
Hello Karen (not a techmom anymore)

Before we start, please send my best regards to your son, I hope he is well and happy. It is always nice when people want to enhance a celebration like an anniversary by doing something special for their partner. Please direct your friends to the link thingy here which is our Bon Voyage site where he can order some special goodies:

http://www.carnival.com/BonVoyage/Default.aspx

Your husband may have forgotten and your son but if you send me your cabin number…….I won’t.

Have a great cruise and best wishes to all.
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply.

I feel so bad about telling you about missed cruise critic meeting, but I thought you should know. I do know that it has happened more the twice because when I posted it on Cruise Critic that I had written to you about setting the meeting up, I go quite a few emails that said, “Don’t count on the meeting being set up.” I will say that not one of them blamed you at all, they blamed the CD who was on the ship. I will say this though John, if the meeting had taken place, I think you know me by now that I would have sent you the biggest THANK YOU anyone would have seen.

About the noise coming from the Lido Deck I have read on Cruise Critic many times people have complained about the noise coming from the bands, dance floors or the bars, have heard many many complaints about the dragging of the chairs, so I put a question on Cruise Critic that asked about what locations to avoid when choosing my cabin and it surprised me that most said to stay away from decks that are under the public areas. It would seem to me that when they designed the ship they could put extra insulation between the cabin and the floor above them. This is not a new problem that has come up with the new ships, all of Carnival ships are like that as well as other cruise lines.

Please give my love to Heidi and Kye.
Kathy M.

P.S. How is the mole problem? Please update.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

The moles seem to have buggered off for now but I am sure they will be back…..the little sods. We realize that there are staterooms where the dragging of deck chairs can be heard and we are currently on a drive to train our crew not to drag them and to put rubber stoppers on the legs where possible. I am positive that we will continue to see good results here and less comments from guests. My apologies to anyone who has been in a cabin where this noise has disturbed them. We will do better.

As for the CC meetings. Well, for the most part these all go without a hitch and I encourage everyone who wants one to nominate one person to contact me as often, as happened on the Carnival Miracle last month, I had two different requests for a meet and greet for the same group which meant we had two lounges reserved. I will always do my best to help with these arrangements though and remain at the service of all my friends on Cruise Critic.

Best wishes
John

retirementman Asked:
PLEASE REPLY JOHN

I only have two questions to have you answer. Since you have a love for the larger ships, do you ever think that you would be a CD on a ship like the Carnival Miracle? (I’ll be on the Carnival Miracle next January 22) and have they decided what port the Carnival Magic will start at (ex: Miami, Ft. Lauderdale or Port Canaveral) and what will be the itineraries for the Carnival Magic?

Just to mention something, the Carnival Dream is a very great ship for everyone. I would recommend to take any cruise on the Carnival Dream. My wife and I still discuss all the fantastic things that took place while on the carnival Dream. I’ve recommend it to all of my friend and I plan on going back to my Carnival Dream. Thank you everything John.

Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul.F Pietrangelo

I have wonderful memories of our time together with Southern Dreams and Charlie on your Carnival Dream. The Carnival Miracle is on the list for the 2011 bloggers cruise and I hope to have more information on that soon. I love the Spirit class and had the most wonderful month last year on the Carnival Legend one of my favourite ships. The home port for the Carnival Magic should be announced soon I would think and I have our Super Spy PA 007 on that case as we speak. Hopefully he/she will be able to let me know what lucky place will be able to call itself the home port of Carnival’s flagship. Regardless of where and when I hope we get to sail together again very soon.

Best wishes to you and the family.
John

Angela Guptill Asked:
Please reply:

Hi John. Can’t stop thinking and dreaming about our Dream Feb.13th. Already have the next cruise plotted out for next year. RE: the Serenity Decks, I absolutely love them but it was a tough go finding a spot. Only actually got to be there once on a cool/semi rainy day but the sun came out for me as I sat wrapped up in my Carnival robe reading my book. This is just one of those suggestions but could you pass it on to “the beards” that the Serenity decks might be a bit bigger or at least try and squeeze in a few more of the cabana style seating thingies. Thanks again for all the wonderful things you and the crew at Carnival do for us. Cheers, Angela :-) Guptill

John Says:
Hello Angela

The Serenity decks on your Carnival Dream were as you mentioned a huge success. This adults only slice of heaven is spaced over two decks and unfortunately we won’t have any more space to add a third area on Carnival Magic and on the Carnival Thingy.

I will see if we can indeed add any more cabanas and chairs to the area but from what I remember space was already at a premium. It is a beautiful area and part I am sure of many wonderful memories of your Carnival Dream cruise.

Best wishes to all
John

Pinkbarbie Asked:

Welcome to Texas.

Hope you have fun and enjoy your time on the Conquest. Get it ready for us. I’ll look forward to seeing you in 5 weeks (April 25).

I am trying to find out if a certain employee is still on the ship when we get there. On our last trip, there was a fabulous hostess named Aysu in the Dining Room that my two daughters, Kaylin and Hannah, fell in love with. IF she is still there, they would like to send her a gift. (Strange request I know, but we do strange things for our kiddos).

Thanks
Christy Richardson

John Says:
Hello Pinkbarbie – Christy Richardson

It will not be too long before you are here. As you may have gathered I am having a terrific time here on the Carnival Conquest as I know you will too. Aysu is currently on the Carnival Liberty and if you want to send her a gift here is the address.

CARNIVAL LIBERTY
P.O. BOX #025351
MIAMI, FL 33102-5351

Thank you for your kindness

Best wishes to you and the family.
John

Laura from UT Asked:
Dear John (please reply),

First, I’m sorry that you are now going to have to edit each and every letter written to you (like you don’t already have enough to do!) before reading them aloud to make sure their aren’t any words that might “offend” somebody (curse words I can understand but slave? Really? I think most of us understood what the little girl meant by the context of her letter.)

Second, though I am not a smoker, I just wanted to check out the list of all the Carnival ships and their smoking policies. The ship I will be sailing on in May, the Carnival Paradise, seems to have the least amount of areas in which people can smoke. Is this because the Carnival Paradise was once smoke free? Who sets the policy as to which areas allow smoking? I’m really just curious so don’t worry about being in a big hurry to answer this question.

Laura

John Says:
Hello Laura

As I think you may have read in yesterday’s blog, you never know what you might say that will upset someone and I continue to do my best to make sure it does not happen. A few weeks ago we posted the smoking policies for the entire fleet and in case you missed it, here it is again.

http://johnheald.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/onboard-smoking.pdf

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best wishes
John

The Groves Asked:
Please respond

Our first Carnival cruise experience will be on the Valor on May 2nd. I notice that you make table reservations and want a table for my family of five in a prominent position in the dining room and not tucked away somewhere as I read on Cruise Critic happens many times to first time cruisers.

John Says:
Hello the Groves

I would be happy to try and arrange a table for you but will need your full name and cabin number please and as soon as possible. I hope you and your family have a wonderful cruise.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Best wishes
John

Jill Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)

I am booked on the Carnival Dream to sail in just over a month now on what should be my Platinum cruise. Just booked today! However, my first Carnival cruise seems to have been lost. In what we think was 1986, I sailed aboard the Carnival Holiday with my grandparents (both now deceased) when we think I was 7. Unfortunately after talking to guest services it appears because I have no way of proving my butt was on that ship they are unable to add it to my past cruise records. I am sailing with a newbie friend, I am trying to addict her to cruising (especially with Carnival and not Stuck up of the Seas) is there any way of getting us VIP boarding? Thanks in advance!

PS. Your girls are beautiful and lucky to have you!

John Says:
Hello Jill

I know how excited you are to be so close to your platinum benefits so let’s see if we can help you. Do you have any record of the Holiday cruise? A photo, a ticket receipt, anything? If you do that may stand as evidence and we can add that to your cruise count. Meanwhile I will be contacting the CARE Team to see if there is anything they can do for you. Please let me know when you can.

Best wishes to all
John

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

I know many of you have a Facebook page as does Carnival Cruise Lines. In fact their page has been listed in the top 40 most slapped on pages. Have a read of this:

http://blog.thekbuzz.com/2010/04/the-top-40-fan-pages-on-facebook-revealed.html

Congratulations to the 343 Stephanies and those with beards who have made sure that Carnival’s internet marketing is the absolute best in the cruise industry. I was surprised that Svetlana my Latvian friends page didn’t make the top 40……….I am on her Facebook page every day.

I have met so many amazing people this cruise. People like the Wordleys who have cruised 14 times with Carnival………9 times on the Carnival Conquest. This shows yet again the loyalty that people feel to the ships based out of Galveston.

Remember the couple who were swearing at each other on elegant night and then apologized the following night to me? Well, even though I told them that was not necessary they went ashore today and bought me a rum cake and left if the Pursers Office with…….oh bugger …….. bugger ……….the Guest Services Desk with a beautiful card once again saying how sorry they both were.

How wonderful and even though I could not enjoy the rum cake (full of sugar, I gave it to the staff) the fact that they are living in peace and harmony and having fun together is the best reward. I sent them some champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and a note for a continuing happy life together.

The only sad note is the lady who was upset at my “fattest” jokes. I have tried to call her again but she refuses to speak to me and her Mother also seems to feel the same way about me as well because she let me have both barrels. This is left me feeling so sad. I just did a tummy bump ….. and being extra medium myself I am so surprised at this reaction.

But everyone else has I think had the best of times and even with the bad weather in Grand Cayman the smiles, laughter and friendliness are abundant ………it’s what fun for all cruising is all about. And it’s raining hard again today in Cozumel and I do feel so sorry for the guests here and on the Carnival Valor which is docked next to us. I just finished my 9 am Morning Show and even though the guests could see that the sun was not shining they were still so happy and ready to have fun..…..in the liquid sunshine of the day.

Another way to tell how well the cruise is going is by the results at the Cruise and Loyalty desk. As you know this is a desk on the Promenade Deck where guests can talk to someone about future cruise bargains and of course the simply brilliant future cruise certificate. This means that if you have any consideration of cruising with Carnival again within the next five years you must visit the desk. All you need to do is give them $100 as a deposit for that future cruise and they will give you a certificate that assures you of a minimum of $100 onboard credit the next time you sail.

You don’t have to give a date or a ship and……..it is fully refundable. This option is already on over half the fleet and the intention is to have it on all the ships soon. I will let you know when this will be happening soon. This cruise the desk has been very busy. People are grabbing the certificates like hot Krispy Krème doughnuts and making bookings. Next week I have decided to host a 30 minute get together about my experiences in the Grand Med and show some slides and of course…………..talk about the Carnival Magic.

Hopefully this will excite guests into joining me. I am waiting for permission to do this from the beards and hopefully I can as I said start this next week. By the way, please take the time to read the blog I posted earlier today about “excursion pirates.” It is a stark reminder that whether you are in Naples or Nassau, Civitavecchia or Cozumel…..take an excursion from the ship you are sailing on. Let me know your thoughts.

And talking of new things I returned an old one to the program on Tuesday night. Now, I used to host this when I was a both a social host and a young, thin and dark haired CD and always enjoyed it as did the audience. I don’t know what made me do this but I thought “Bugger, let’s give it a try.” And so I did and even though the last time I did it was probably 1995/6 it was a huge hit and so very funny. I am talking of course about the Men’s Knobby Knees Contest.

There is no finer site on the ship than 10 men with their pants rolled up or in one case because their jeans were too tight, around their ankles. I choose a different lady to judge each pair and describe how they feel and then before the audience make their minds up and applaud for the overall winner…………..it’s time for a bit of River Dance as we line the guess up to do some Michael Flatley. It was very funny and even though it had been so many years since I had done this it all came flooding back, the jokes, the timing………everything. The audience laughed out loud and at I began considering bringing back the Male Nightgown Contest…………..my arse!

So, all in all a great week and I am already sorry that I only have two left here. I see that many of you seem happy that I am heading west next contract and thanks to all who are planning to come and see me. I am sure we will have some splendid fun together.

Kye was 11 months old yesterday and on the 28th of April Heidi will be ** years old. I will miss her birthday as I will my beautiful daughters. I considered flying them out to the Fantasy but the business class ticket is nearly $3,000 and I just paid that for her to be here on our Carnival Dream. And so I will miss Heidi’s and Kye’s birthday and missing Kye’s already has me feeling sad, angry and guilty. I just can’t think about it.

Anyway, I will see you bright and early in my underpants on Monday morning as we continue our adventures together here on the Carnival Conquest. Until then………..for those who like to find out what my girls have been up to………………here they are.

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while so a little update was due I think as Kye will be 11 months in a few days.

Since we came home from the ship it took a little time to get back to normal. Kye had her first real cold with sickness and fever which was really horrible. It took her a good 10 days to get back to her happy self. It doesn’t matter what the doctor says, you worry and you feel so helpless as all you can do is cuddle her. For me, it was getting back to normal as well. I kept looking around our house but on none of the floors did I find a buffet with friendly staff and delicious food, certainly not the pasta bar….ohhhh, I miss that!

Kye has been developing rapidly the last few days. On April 4th she decided she didn’t have to hold on to things all the time anymore when standing up which was amazing to see. It looks like she is on a surf board, standing with her arms wide, riding the waves. Then there is the clapping, which, she most of all, finds very amusing! On the talking front we haven’t come any further than DADA yet, which is just not fair.

There is an advert here in the UK in one of the Mother and Baby magazines that goes like this:

You lose your figure, you lose your job, you lose your sleep and the first thing they say is DADA…..

Oh well.

We are having a spell of nice weather here at the moment so we are off for a walk on the seafront this afternoon. Mum is visiting us for a few weeks and she loves the English seaside………..I have to say, I prefer the beaches and seaside towns in Holland but as Tony Soprano would say: “Wadda you gonna do?”

Talking about Holland. John and I have decided for different reasons that I won’t fly out to the ship for Kye’s birthday.  Therefore, Kye and I are boarding a different ship to sail to Holland for her birthday and celebrate her special day with her Dutch family.  My Dad will smile from above to his little granddaughter who shares his birthday with him.

She will actually have more celebrations than most birthday babies. First she will have a “shared birthday party” with all the babies from the antenatal group, then her party in Holland and we will celebrate again with Grandma and Grandpa when John gets home.

When we come home from Holland it won’t be long before John will be home…….the 3 weeks on board went waaaaay to quick and next time we will sail we will stay a lot longer! Thanks so much to all of you for the beautiful things you say all the time about Kye and a special thank you to Pat and Ed and Carolyn and Don who came on the ship to see Kye.

I am so looking forward to a nice summer together and Holland winning the World Cup.

Bye bye for now,
Heidi and Kye

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55 Responses to Pain In The Ash

  1. Elaine says:

    Absolutely gorgeous… Kye not you John!!! Just keep skyping her every night.. She knows her DADA!!!

    Sorry Heidi, I know that feeling… both of my girls said Dada before Mommy, but when she finally does say it, you will absolutely melt… Its well worth the wait…

    Thnx for the pictures and have a nice weekend

  2. slickabrina says:

    Hi John ~
    Thank you for sharing Kye with us! Pretty soon, you’ll be chasing her all over the Lido Deck.

    I made a trip to Iceland about 5 years ago and I just want to say yes to Carnival making a return trip there! It is definitely a place like no other and I hope to return one day. However, I still refuse to ever eat hakarl. No thank you. LOL

    We set sail on the Carnival Victory this weekend and I will come back with a full report.

    Cheers~
    Colleen

  3. Aly says:

    Heidi and Kye just wanted to wish both of you a very Happy Birthday. It is too bad John will not be able to be with you. Kye is beautiful.

    Aly

  4. Big Ed says:

    Groves,

    I “want” maybe I would PLEASE LIKE would sound better. Maybe a thank you might help too. You people that come here after reading something on one of those boards and on your very first visit to John’s blog you post your ‘I WANTS” . If I was John I’d make sure your got a good table. One right by the galley door with all the waitstaff carring trays full of plates over your head all night.

    BIG ED

    • stefani says:

      I was thinking the same thing when I read that

    • techmom says:

      Have been on five cruises and always took the luck of the draw. Never had an issue with where we sat or our wait staff. I am with you!
      Karen

      • Princess Susan says:

        Me too, I have never had a bad place to eat. And when you get such good food…who cares? LOL Never have I asked to change or demand a certain table, I’m just happy to be there!

    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      AMEN….preach on !!!

      Linda (Mom of DJ)

      • We always take the luck of the draw also. The only time we asked to be moved was on the BC3 when we got the table for 2 that we did not ask for. We were supposed to get a table with the Evil Krewe. Ken took care of us and got us moved.
        If people want to be anti social and sit alone they can always get room service and stay in their room. But to come on here for the first time to only ask for favors …irks me.
        Carolyn

  5. elizabeth says:

    Doesn’t the Queen of England celebrate a birthday other than the day she was born? Perhaps Heidi and Kye could do the same?

  6. FrequentFloater says:

    Hi John (PLEASE REPLY)

    I never have any complaints about any of my cruises that I go on with Carnival. The entertainment is top notch! I have a 25 year old son who does technical stuff for theatres around our town and he is interested in applying as a tech for Carnival. What is the age group range in the fleet for techs? WHo is the oldest one? What is the youngest age that you guys have currently employed? These as you might say are the “Unsung Heros” of the shows as many might say. Terrific techs and terrific shows!!!

    -Becka

  7. oh it was great to hear from heidi again! i know how sad you are about the birthday, prince charlie was in the military for 26 years and missed so many of them. we just celebrated more when he got home! but seriously, i do understand only i was on the heidi side of it…

    smiles, bonnie and prince charlie

  8. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    We got a “taste” of the weirdness of such LONG days when we sailed on the Spirit in Alaska. It was so weird to walk out at midnight to.. day light…..

    but it was cool at the same time. I hope the volcano in Iceland improves its manners very soon and the wonderful people can get back to normal.

    Ria B. (Club O2 director that was so wonderful to DJ on the Victory) is getting married tomorrow and we are hoping that the farting volcano does not interfere with the folks’ plans to fly in.

    Lovely to hear from Heidi and precious pictures of Kye… best of all…you will all be together SOON!!!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  9. Peggy Lindsay-Brousseau says:

    First of all thank you to Heidi for the letter and pictures,,,just wonderful!
    John I was browsing the smoking policy and didn’t see the Carnival Dream…
    Having sailed with you on the Blogger’s Cruise, which I have so many fond memories of…(except as you may remember my fall on Grand Turk) I do remember most of the limitations, but others may need to see it…
    My young friend, who thinks you and “boats” are the best of all there is in the world, she still watches the pictures from the Carnival Dream on my computer at work, is doing fine. Your ‘boat ‘, as she signs it, still has the place of honor in her room.
    Love to you and your girls!

  10. Denise Young says:

    A very Happy Birthday to Kye next month and Heidi later this month! I know John will be sad not being there, but I also know that Heidi and Kye know how much they are loved!

    Best Wishes,

    denise

  11. Owen says:

    John,

    Awesome blog! My wife and I are avid and loyal carnival platinum cruisers. What upgrades will the Valor be getting during its next 2 week drydock in Jan. 2011? Flat screens, waterworks, serenity, etc.?

    Owen

  12. Roxianne & Lon says:

    John (Please Reply),

    This will be our third cruise on a Carnival ship during the second week in May (our 5th cruise total, the other two were April and December). We have now made this week our traditional time to go for multiple reasons. 1) It’s after spring break so there aren’t as many children on board 2) It’s not over 100 degrees yet and 3) It’s to celebrate each year that I am cancer free (I’m a Leukemia SURVIVOR). This year it will be 14 years on May 17th!

    We have been trying to plan a cruise with you as our CD but so far no luck. Maybe I can talk Lon into going on the Carnival Splendor in November.

    Now I have to ask for a favor; I asked our PPV to do this, but he couldn’t guarantee it. Could you please get a message to the Matre’ D on the Carnival Victory and arrange for us to have an inside table (late seating)? I have severe motion sickness, I wear a Transderm patch, but I have found that I cannot enjoy my dinner sitting by a window. We will be sailing on May 9th (I hope this message gets to you in time) and our cabin number is 6265.

    Roxianne

  13. Ben Brajcki says:

    Howdy there John,

    Let me start by saying I look forward to reading your blog thingy every day. It really makes the wait for the next Carnival Cruise shorter and more enjoyable. Oh, and sometimes I learn something.

    My Sister and I, both young and single (20′s and 30′s) most recently cruised on the Carnival Freedom and had a wonderful time. On my comment card I noted that Ralph “Wee-Jimmy” and his staff put on the best entertainment of any of my previous 4 cruises. Not to mention, my sister won the “win-a-cruise” bingo. Woo-hoo. With her winnings we are booked on our Carnival Dream on July 3rd of this year.

    I feel selfish for asking, but would like to make a simple request. Because my sis and I have the same last name we are usually seated at a table for 2 or four (they must think we are a married couple). I remember my first ever cruise, I was seated at a table of singles, and to this date I have lasting friendships frommy tablemates. I wonder if it is possible to arrange a seating at a large table with “young” singles?

    Thx, Ben

    We are sailing the Carnival Dream on 7/3/10

  14. Sarah (so excited about our upcoming cruise!!!) says:

    Hi John,
    Your blog inspired my husband and I to book our next Carnival cruise! It’s my 5th cruise, and my husband’s second. Last year, we went on a cruise for our honeymoon. It was at the height of the H1N1 breakout, and our cruise was re-routed. We had such a fabulous time, and my husband has talked non-stop about taking another cruise!
    We have booked on the Destiny, and are visiting Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, & Nassau. Right now, we’re torn between snorkeling at Half Moon Cay and Nassau. What would you recommend? Any other suggestions of things we shouldn’t miss on this trip? We’ll be celebrating our 1 year anniversary and want to do something special…
    Thanks!

  15. Julie Seever says:

    Hello John, I recently sailed on the Canival Dream (3/6) and had the most wonderful time. It was my first cruise and you made it so enjoyable. I thought I fell in love with you, not knowing of course that you had a beautiful wife and daughter! Congratulations and I’ll keep looking!!! Hope to see you again on my next cruise. Thanks for the memories. Julie Seever

  16. John Karczewski says:

    What a doll….John, I don’t know how you are able to spend so much time away from them.

    Hopefully they will also be on the Splendor this fall when we cruise as I would love meet them.

  17. Lynn Narraway says:

    Hi John
    i was driving from Guildford yesterday to go and see my colleague Peter Shanks in Southampton and got stuck on the A3 behind a Furniture Removal van…….called ASH Removals ….mad me smile anyway!!

    Lynn N

  18. John R says:

    John,

    Just a point of clarification on the OBC amount pertaining to the future cruise certificates. I believe the OBC is up to $200 and can be $50 for a short cruise and $100 for a 7 day cruise and $200 for a 10 day or longer cruise.

  19. John R says:

    John,

    I know that you feel sad about the “tummy tuck” lady, but please know that you have already gone above and beyond to try and appease her. Please don’t feel guilty about any of your actions including, most importantly, the big person’s greeting which was meant in great fun and received well by all but one.

    Thanks again for such a great blog! :)

    John R

  20. Sharon Dover says:

    John

    Yes we were with on the Legend baco in ’02 and hope to be cruisin with you in in ’11 are you and the family going to be on the June 3 sailing of the Magic?

    Hope to you and yours

    Larry and Sharon Dover

  21. Maribeth Kring says:

    Dear Heidi,

    She is sooooo adorable, Heidi! Remember the bright side of her saying DADA……..if she wakes up in the night when John is home, you can stay comfortably in bed as you tell John, “honey, Kye is calling for you”

    Hugs to both of you,
    Maribeth Kring
    BELC

  22. Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    Great Pictures of Heidi and Kye! Wow it has been a year already. The time will start to fly by for you now that you have a new measuring stick. It seemed like it took forever to find Nancy (28 Years) and once we were married and had our first child together it seemed my life went into overdrive. I am now 58 and the kids are grown and one has kids of her own. I now look into the mirror and wonder who that old fart staring back at me. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were looking into each others eyes and saying our vows. We then renewed them twenty five years later on the Carnival Spirit and that is when we got addicted to cruising.
    All the Best to you Heidi and the little darling Kye.
    The Cruzin2some
    James & Nancy Enslow

  23. Zabnee says:

    Dear John
    Please Reply

    So, here I find myself again, sending you another message this week! I’ve found myself taking on the job of arranging a meet & Greet for our Cruise Critic group on our Carnival Dream sailing June 5, 2010. There are already at LEAST 25 CC members that have come along to say hi, a few of which have rather large groups booked with them!

    We’d like to have a meet & greet set up, and I’m sure that many of us would be thrilled if you could pass it along to Todd as well, so he might be able to come and visit us when we’re all together. We’re all looking so greatly forward to this trip, and the ability to meet and put faces to the names of those we have been talking with over the course of time on CC.

    What would be the best way to get this set up for us? None have really been to picky over a place, the entire ship looks like it’ll be beautiful for our time! (Though one of our cruisers has already been on the ship twice already.. she’s been a wealth of knowledge for us!)

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and we know that you’ll be with us in spirit, and I’m sure glad you have this blog Thingy.

    Sincerely,
    Zabnee, aka Kim G.

    (Hubby and I were just talking about our cruise with you and Wee Jimmy in January of 2004 last night, actually!)

  24. terry and danielle says:

    fellow bloggers:
    i have just offered one of my john heald bobbleheads on ebay so if you have always desired to own a souvenir of john’s “thingy”, please have a look. search carnival cruise lines or john heald bobblehead for the listing. several people in past blogs have expressed an interest in getting one and as we have two i thought that i would give others the opportunity to obtain this rare and elusive item. good luck!

  25. Big Ed says:

    Heidi,

    Thanks for the update. It was nice seeing you and Kye on the cruise. We would love to see a video of Kye “riding the waves” walking. Sorry that John will not be with you for both of the birthdays. I can read it in John’s words how much this is hurting him.

    Hugs and Kisses to you and Kye.

    Pat and Big Ed Konefe

  26. DEAR John, Heidi and Kye
    Even though Iceland “fafted” on Europe” I still have wonderful memories of Iceland and our cruise on the CARNIVAL LEGEND. The Blue Lagoon was wonderful! Thanks for bringing up those memories again.
    Great to have a blog from Heidi, I am sure John is thrilled that Kye’s frist word is DADA and not MAMA. :(…
    Sounds like Kye will have some special celebrations.
    Hopefully we can see a birthday picture or two….
    Take Care
    HUGS to ALL
    The Tuckers in Florida
    Elizabeth & Arnold

  27. JUDY SHARUM says:

    JOHN PLEASE REPLY!!!!
    I wanted to read what you wrote about EXCURSION PIRATES but could not locate it????/ Check several of your writing and nothing about it-can you tell me where it is to read it?????

  28. julie mendenhall says:

    Hi John, Heidi and Kye

    Thanks so much for the update on Kye.She is one special little girl with 2 very special parents!

  29. Cheryl Killian says:

    Awe, what a cutie! I miss having a little one around now. Enjoy it John and Heidi as the baby and toddler days are over before you know it! I’m hoping maybe to see you on the Carnival Splendor but if it doesn’t work out there is always the Carnival Magic!

    Cheryl

  30. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    Grand Cayman FINALLY heard you….LOL

    http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2010/04/16/Cruise-berth-deal-signed/

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  31. tom & jane says:

    hi heidi & kye

    with all this ash,,,,,we are grounded

    no more air port greeting,,,,

    the pics are so cute,,,,

    hug kye for us

    tom & jane

  32. Mike & Lori says:

    John,

    I know you do so many nice things for us bloggers and for that I want to say a big thanks! I was wondering if there is any way you might could send us a personal note or something for our 25th anniversary on the Spirit? We are sailing on May 11 and our cabin number is 1166 Rivera deck. It would mean alot. When we got married everyone said it wouldn’t last but here we are 25 yrs. later and as much in love as the day we married. Thank you John. You’re the best!

  33. Kaperino says:

    Forgot Kye shared your Dad”s birthday! Why I don”t know. Just the age factor, I imagine. Well, it brought a tear and I am sure your heart is very full. Happy Birthday to Kye, and I am sure your Dad will be watching her with a special smile…

    You guys look great.
    Love,
    Kap

  34. Jeremy Snawder says:

    John please reply,

    My wife and I are going to be on the Freedom 5/30/10 celebrating our one year anniversary (6/1/10)! We are very excited it’s her first cruise so I decided to spoil her with a suite (Cabin 7283). I’ve got a couples massage and dinner at the Steakhouse planned for our anniversary day.

    I loved reading about your time on the Freedom on the blog thing, she sounds like a great ship and I’m sure you have fond memories of her. I’ve been on the Glory before her renovations and I can’t wait to see how the Freedom is different.

    I do have a request and a comment.

    Can you pass a note to the Freedom Maître d’ for a table for two? (Late Dining) I think it will be a bit more romantic with it just being two of us.

    In picking out our room I found it very frustrating trying to find room photos and room layout details on Carnival’s website. I know with today’s technology it cannot be hard to take multiple medium/high resolutions photos for the all of the cabin types. Not every room, just a representative for each cabin class. I think you are missing a great opportunity to connect with the customer.

    All the best to you, Heidi, and Kye!,
    Jeremy

  35. FYI, John,

    I think Palin in the Ash might have also been a good title! :-)

    bill

  36. Denise Norris says:

    Hiya John! I am sooo depressed. I want you to be my C. D on the Freedom 7-25-10. ( I found you through Cruise Critic!!) My mom is taking 8 of us on what will be a once in a lifetime trip..5 adults, 4 grandkids. Years ago my hubby and I sailed The ECSTASY and our CD sucked to put it bluntly. I had visions of Julie from Love Boat and got Lovie from Gilligan’s Island ..and of course there is no record of my cruise (yet when I call Carnival they have me in their computers at the address I lived in when I cruised..BLAH! ) . Anyway, I am just pouting that I am not on one of your cruises and that my butt is two ( or possibly three ) of Megan Fox’s. ARGHHHH!!!! Love your blog and your sense of humor!

  37. Oleg Kostromin says:

    Dear John! We managed to buy tickets. I hope we’ll come to our cruise!

  38. stefani says:

    Please Reply….

    I think this is your best blog yet… I love your description of Iceland… made me laugh all the way through.

    I am getting into planning mode… only 5 more months until I finally get to see the new Carnival Dream. We are sailing on the September 18th sailing… not sure if you have mentioned it somewhere, but is Ken (the singing Maitre D) still on it then? I got to be in his section on the Carnival Splendor and just loved him.

    Keep blogging… i read it every day.

    Stefani (spelled correctly LOL)

  39. Richard Burns says:

    John,

    My wife and I just returned from our first cruise to the Bahamas on the Conquest. We loved it. We would like to take our son and his wife who are both hard working teachers on a cruise. The problem is the only time they have long enough off, the cruises cost three times as much. Christmas and during the summer months are just too expensive for us all of us to go. Can anything be done to lower the cost, or is it a lost cause?

    Richard Burns

  40. kelly says:

    Hi John, please share what happened with the couple that missed the ship in Grand Cayman! As I understand only one made it back onboard?

  41. Shenika M. says:

    Dear John,

    I know you are sad that you will miss Kye’s 1st Birthday but remember that youare working hard for her to have the best. One day she will thank you for it. It was nice to hear from Heidi and see pictures of both of your beautiful girls. As for the mens nightgown contest…….. that would be interesting!

  42. Larry Meador says:

    When my son was about 10-11 months, I was changing one of my son, Patrick’s many diapers one day when I thought I heard him say “dada”. I wasn’t really sure, because I am hearing impaired and I wear hearing aids. Because of this we had baby monitor receivers throughout the house, so I went into the living room and asked my wife if she heard. She said “you are imagining things”. Well, later that night (actually about 1:00 a.m.), through the baby monitor in our bedroom, we heard very plainly, “dada dada dada….” At this point, my wife elbows me in the ribs, and say’s “He’s calling you”. Therefore, I had to get up and take care of him. HOWEVER, it was so worth it!

    Enjoy your time, before you know it, they are growing up too fast………. (P.S. Patrick just finished his 6th Carnival Cruise on the Carnival Miracle!)

  43. Peg Dunbar says:

    How nice to hear from Heidi and Kye. She is getting so big, can not believe she will be one next month. I am sorry that you will not be able to spend that day with your girls, but it sounds like another celebration will be arranged for you. You sweet baby will not know it is her birthday, yes you will, but you can celebrate at another time.

    Keep smiling John; you truly are one of the good guys.

    My best to Heidi and Kye.

  44. Colin Ogg says:

    John,

    My wife, aunt and uncle and I just got back to San Antonio from our first cruise ever, and we got to spend it with you on the Carnival Conquest.

    I must say that your humor and dry wit made your shows the best I saw on the ship, and I enjoyed them so much that I watched the reruns on channel 17 day after day.

    I was sorry to leave the ship without being able to shake your hand, but you set a very high bar for the next bloke to meet on the next cruise we go on.

    Dick Little joined me at the poker table on Saturday, and his wife and mine were watching from the rail, and we had a great time laughing about the show where he got trousered…

    Thanks for making the onboard experience a fun one. I sincerely hope to be able to board a ship and find you on in as our cruise director. If there was ever a person that budding cruise director wannabe’s needed to emulate, it would be you.

    Thanks again for a wonderful time, and I wish you the best.

    Colin Ogg

  45. Jason says:

    John,
    (reply if you can)

    We just returned from our Honeymoon/Wedding cruise on the Carnival Legend April 11-18. You were kind enough to ask the Maitre’D to seat us at a table for two, which he did. It was on the second deck of the MDR, right by the railing. Thank you so much for that. It was also very close to Learoy’s (our waiter) station, so he was always ready to attend to whatever we needed. A few of the waiters even sang “Happy Honeymoon To You” on the 1st elegant night and gave us a dessert which was extra special.

    A quick review:
    We took the “Behind the Fun” tour, it was amazing…worth the price, and definitely not to be missed. It was so informative…and getting to tour the bridge, what a treat!
    We ate at the steakhouse, which was more than delicious food. The service was outstanding. This was more than just a special dinner, it was an experience. The only drawback was the rough seas that night towards the end of our meal, it made it difficult to enjoy the dinner, but, the waitress had our dessert delivered to our cabin which was very nice.
    We saw the stingrays in Grand Cayman and did the Cave Tubing in Belize. Both came highly recommended, and rightfully so.

    Finally, I’m convinced that Carnival has the friendliest and most attentive staff of any company on Earth. I wish I could line up everyone we came in contact this past week and personally tell them “Thank You”. From the Captain and his officers to the crew on decks A,B and C…everyone greeted us with a smile and friendly hello (even when we were obviously interrupting their busy day during our tour). We considered many other destinations when planning this vacation, and after choosing Carnival, we came home with so many happy memories…and no regrets.

  46. dwa76 says:

    Hi John!
    Love the picture of Kye. She’s so adorable!
    Congrats on another week passing and good luck this coming week.
    Looking forward to reading more.
    I hope the weather improves for you.
    Take care,
    David

  47. Princess Susan says:

    Hi John,
    You are sooo lucky Kye looks so much like Heidi!
    It’s always so good to hear from you Heidi.

  48. Alice H. says:

    Hi John,
    It was so nice to hear from Heidi, Tell them both a Happy Birthday from me. To bad you won’t be there for their day but I know you will make it special when you get home. Heidi I used to put my mouth on my daughters cheek and and keep saying MAMA MA MA to try to get her to say MAMA first. She didn’t but it was the next thing she said. Enjoy all the firsts they go by fast . My daughter is 19 and in her 2nd year of college now. Enjoy her she is beautiful .
    Alice H.

  49. Sandy B says:

    Birthday ‘season’ works for me, so extend the season and celebrate all the birthdays when you get home, John. That works just fine.

    Always good to hear from your girls. Hugs to all,

    Duchess Sandy B in GA
    BC1

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