June 17, 2010 -
Good morning everyone. This is Heidi here writing to you on this lovely Thursday morning here in the UK. Before I continue I should mention that I am not sitting here in my underpants or Johns underpants for that matter. I am fully clothed and happy to have the chance to start John’s blog for him today. That’s because early this morning John and I had a little bit of an argument you could say. Kye woke up at 6:30 am which is early for her and normally I have a routine of going down stairs, making her a bottle of milk, changing her nappy or diaper as you call them and then bring her back into our bed to feed her. This morning though I was really snug under the covers and had been having a dream about Rafael Nadal’s bottom. Not really but I told John I had because he gets on my nerves all the time talking about Megan Fox and her skinny bottom.
I asked John to go and do this but he said he was tired and he had a long hard day of blogging ahead so off I went as usual. When I came back with Kye John was on his Blackberry e-mailing PA 007 to try and get information on the new ship Carnival Magic and didn’t even say good morning to Kye.
To John his Blackberry or Raspberry as he calls it is the biggest thing since the invention of fire if he were to lose it he would think it was like losing his mouth or his ears.
I am sure most of you bloggers know what a BlackBerry is but if there are those like my Mum in Holland who think a BlackBerry is a fruit, let me explain. It’s a cell phone that can also receive and send e-mails. This means that no matter where John is on the planet someone can always get hold of him. I am not joking when I tell you that he used to take a newspaper to the toilet and now he takes his BlackBerry.
But this is not its biggest fault. Have you ever been out for a drink with someone who has one? Sure, they’re in constant contact with the office, which is great for them, but they’re not in contact with you. Every time I am in the middle of an important conversation with him his BlackBerry chirps and I can see he is not listening any more. I can see that John is willing me to hurry up and finish talking so they can whip it out and see if PA 007 has written or one of his Stephanies needs him.
Go out with someone who has a BlackBerry and you’ll not get a single word out of them. Because it will be chirping or whining or playing the theme music from The West Wing as John’s does.
Because he has a BlackBerry John may be physically out with friends but mentally he is at work. This means he can never have fun. He can never relax. I have there decided to use one of John’s favourite sayings and “insert it up his bottom.” The West Wing theme may be a little bit muffled.
So why am I writing to you. Well to make a long blog short John said blogging was as hard as looking after Kye. I told him it wasn’t so we had a bet. So I am sitting here with a cup of coffee writing to you while John is up to his neck in dirty diapers and will soon be spoon feeding her yogurt and bread before playing the “I will throw something on the floor and you pick it up game” over and over and over and over again.
This also gives me a chance to say hello to you and thank you for all your lovely thoughts you send to me and Kye.
I better hand over to John as I have just seen the way John has put her diaper on and it’s upside down and back to front. As John would say……….looking after a baby is easy — my arse.
Yep, John here and I have waved the white flag in surrender……just call me Jean Claude …. and I guess I had better take over the blogging and Heidi can put Kye’s diaper on which I must say….is as difficult as learning Mongolian. …………..so let’s crack on with some Q and A ……..off we go.
John R Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)
I would like to start out by thanking you for your continued help as well as being a good and decent person. Am I buttering you up, probably! You also continue to entertain with your thingy – blog thingy – please continue!
I know that on some of the Conquest class ships the aft pools and spa tubs are designated as adult only. regardless of whether those ships have gotten Serenity (which does not have a swimming pool)
The adult only swimming pool is something that we always enjoy so much. It’s nice to be able to relax in the swimming pool. It would be nice to see consistency with this policy within the classes.
Since all the Conquest class ships do have 3 swimming pools, there should be no problem in designating the aft pools and spas adults only.
Perhaps you will be able to follow up with the beards.
Hello John R
It is a very interesting subject this one because I know that many readers will agree with you here that the aft pools should be for adults only. The problem is that there are just as many that will disagree and those people will be the ones with children. Certainly it would be difficult to have these pools as adults only when there are high counts of children onboard as there are this summer. Still, I can also see that an adult only pool would be something that would offer a retreat for some. Obviously we have the Serenity decks which are certainly a step forward and is a very popular area on all our ships that have them.
Whenever a blogger posts something like this I will always make sure the right people get to read them and maybe we could suggest that these pools become adult only after or before a certain time so as to make both groups of people happy. What do you think about that idea?
This is one of those subjects where as always I encourage others to chime in please. Thanks for the kind words about the blog and hope to hear from you again soon.
Austin Carroll Asked:
John, PLEASE REPLY
We are platinum cruisers and was shocked to hear that our dining preference, EARLY, was wait listed. I thought platinum guests were guaranteed dining preference? None the less, we are going to try YTD so that we can be guaranteed to eat before 8PM (not fans of late dining).
My question is this:
One of the things that we like about set dining (table/time) is that we know our gratuities go directly to the wait staff. When eating at the YTD, how are the gratuities handled if we have different staff each night? It is my understanding that the gratuities go into a pool and then split among all of the servers. If that is the case, would our outstanding servers suffer from another server that might have less than at par service? Would it be inappropriate to tip cash each night?
Just a little nervous at change. We have sailed 12 times with early and 1 time with late dining. We still enjoy entertainment at dinner and hear that we may have none with YTD.
Another question, we are sailing on the Pride out of Baltimore on June 20, 2010. Do you know what time (on average) the ship arrives back in port for debarkation? We have read not to schedule flights until after 2pm. I’ve also read similar statements regarding Florida ports, but we (on average) arrive by 7am at those ports.
This is the 2nd cruise that we are little uneasy about due to the unfamiliarity, unfamiliarity, not being sure how things are going to go. (Obviously our first cruise was the first uneasy time, but everything went great).
Hello Austin Carroll
I am sure the wait list information you received was incorrect and my apologies for that. Change is never easy and I can totally understand how, after so many times at an assigned sitting that you are somewhat nervous about trying Your Time Dining.
However, I promise that you will not regret it and the flexibility of dining when you want will be something you will definitely appreciate and enjoy. The tipping is simple. The pre-paid gratuities you place onto your Sail & Sign card will be pooled between all the waiters on the team as you will probably have a different server each night. You are so kind to think of paying each one in cash but honestly that is not necessary as the entire team are looked after fairly and equally.
Carnival Pride is scheduled to arrive back into Baltimore at 9 am however I understand that the ship is usually able to start debarkation right at 9 am as often the captain will get the ship back into port by 8:30am. Once permission has been given by Customs and Border Protection, guests using the self assist system will be allowed ashore starting with Platinum guests with all their own bags.
If you can manage your own luggage then you will be the first ashore and if not I am told you should be able to debark around 10:30am. Certainly, the more time you can give yourself at the airport the better. But please do not be nervous. The Carnival Pride is a great ship and her team will make sure you have the very best of cruises.
Why not drop me a line when you get home and tell me all about your YTD experience.
Thanks so much for your loyalty and have a brilliant cruise
The Cruzin2some asked:
If your paint IT with glow stick green I will have to come up with a new name for you other than Johnny Sparkles. Let’s see. Johnny Glowworm. Yeah that will work. This may be a good idea for those nightly visits to the loo. You will not have to turn on the lights and it will provide a better water show than the Oasis of the seas.
John Please reply to this part,
We are thinking about a cruise that has the same itinerary that you are currently on and I was wondering about the Grand Turk Shore Excursions. What do you recommend?
Thanks for the help!
James and Nancy Enslow
Hello James and Nancy Cruizin2some
You won’t need much paint…….that’s all I had better say on that subject. As for Grand Turk, well I love that port. The shopping is right next to where we dock as is Margaritaville which is loads of fun. The excursions are superb and here are two of our most popular;
AQUA BOAT AND SNORKELING ADVENTURE
Take command as Captain or First Mate of a 2-person 12-foot min-boat for an incredible adrenaline rush! Your adventure begins at the cruise terminal where you’ll be greeted by the crew and taken to the launching area. Here, you’ll receive thorough instructions from your trained guides about the safety and operation of your aqua boat. Then, board your mini-boat and cruise along the turquoise waters on the west coast of Grand Turk. Travel along the famous 7,000-foot coral reef wall drop-off that attracts divers from all over the world. Your first stop will be a pristine snorkelling spot at Amphitheatre Reef. In approximately 10-15 feet of water, you will encounter an abundance of tropical fish and a variety of corals. After snorkelling, climb back into your aqua boat and head to Pillory Beach, a beautiful secluded beach with sparkling white sand. Enjoy a swim, snorkel, or just relax on the beach. From there, you will head back to the launching area, enjoying views of historic Cockburn Town and your cruise ship.
CAPTAIN EXPLORER OUT ISLAND AND SNORKEL EXPIDITION
Experience an exhilarating boat ride and world class snorkelling; then explore an uninhabited island, accessible only by boat – All in this action-packed expedition!
On this thrilling excursion you will:
- Begin your adventure with a fast-paced ride to Hidden Bay aboard a 38 foot boat.
- Listen to a safety briefing then don your snorkel gear and enter the turquoise water.
- Notice that Hidden Bay is surrounded by healthy coral reefs inhabited by an abundance of tropical fish.
- Explore the marine life then swim ashore for a hike.
- Explore the old ruins on the island and the natural pools carved into the rocks along the shoreline.
- Head off for another thrill ride as you cruise by Penniston Cay to view the rock formation of the island and the elusive nesting birds before heading up Grand Turk’s coast for views of the island.
- Enjoy refreshing beverages which will be served during your expedition
DISCOVER GRAND TURK AND BEACH DAY
Enjoy island sightseeing and then escape to Grand Turk’s famous Governor’s Beach for a relaxing day of sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling!
On this excursion you will:
- Listen as your guide provides cultural and historical commentary as you drive through the small island of Grand Turk.
- Ride past St. Thomas Parish Church and the salt pans, evidence of the island’s salt-raking past.
- Continue along the quaint Duke Street, lined with historic homes, and arrive at Front Street in the heart of the capital.
- Stroll along Front Street while your guide points out the Anglican Church, the Victoria Library, and other historical buildings.
- Reboard your bus for the ride to Governor’s Beach, a protected area within the Columbus Landfall National Park.
- Arrive and be greeted by the friendly staff who will provide your snorkel gear and instruction on its proper use.
- Enjoy snorkelling, swimming, or simply relax on your complimentary lounge chair.
So there you have 3 very diverse excursions and all of them have been top rated by guests who have been on them before you. If you have any questions please let me know
Best wishes to you both
Ade’ U. Asked:
Dearest Mr. Heald-Please reply =)
How are you doing today? Lovely, I hope. I have a bit of dilemma. I’m a VERY young 20 something who usually travels with my parents alone being an only child. I find the easiest way for me to meet people around my age is at dinner. In the past years I’ve had some AMAZING table mates and met some great friends that I still talk to years later, but on my past two cruises, it’s been a booth for the 3 of us. We would love to sit at a much larger table where I can meet more people. If you could do anything at all to help I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you in advance for anything you may be able to do. I also had a blast with you last year on the Carnival Freedom. Looking forward to sailing with you again soon!
Thanks for letting me know about your dining request and your description of being a “young 20 something.” To me, 20 is young regardless so enjoy every moment of 20s as they are some of the best years of your life. I have sent a note to the Maitre D on your Carnival Dream who I know will do his best to help you with your request. Have a brilliant cruise
Best wishes to all
Julie Anne Husbands Asked:
John or Stephanie (please reply),
I have twice posted a long cruise review asking for a reply, and both times it showed “awaiting moderation” for a week or so, then that disappears and I get no reply on the blog. One post was in December or January, the other in April, it was the same review of an October 2009 Freedom cruise.
Did I say something offensive? Is that why it disappeared? I certainly didn’t mean to, and if someone would tell me why it’s being deleted, I’ll try to fix it as I really wanted it to be posted.
Hello Julie Anne Husbands
I clearly remember replying to you some weeks ago. Sometimes it shows awaiting moderation just because of the sheer number of comments that are waiting to be posted and put that with the 3 weeks I am behind, then sometimes the wait is longer than perhaps it should be. Did you get my reply? Please let me know and if not please accept my apologies if I haven’t replied and if that is the case please post again and I will reply immediately. I am sure that everything you wrote was not offensive……………..unless you called me French.
Mary Smith Asked:
ATTN Stephanie 1-343:
John Heald has requested that I write to you regarding his response to my above listed request. We will be sailing on the Liberty on 6/26/10. John asked that I please forward you my parent’s names and cabin number so that he can send them a letter of congratulations for their 50th wedding anniversary. Their names are John and Joanne Wilcox and they will be staying in cabin #7352. Should you require any additional information, please contact me at the email address that I have provided. Thank you in advance for your prompt response in this matter.
Hello Mary Smith
Just to let you know I received your details and I will send your parents a little something on this their 50th wedding anniversary cruise. I am sure they will have the best of times.
Best wishes to you all
John, a quick question and comment to pass along to the bearded folk at head office….Why not do a better job promoting Carnival and the other cruise lines in Canada. Surely they realize we have a very long and very cold winter, why not try to get more Canadians to cruise, especially in winter when we can be in lockdown in our own home cuz it is so damn cold out……
And for a spelling lesson–PVR is spelled PUERTO VALLARTA……….
I’m officially on the bloggers cruise, so WooHoo, now if you could get that HAL ship to change it schedule and move the Glory to HMC instead of Nassau everyone would be happy….
I am very excited that you have booked BC4 which I intend to make the best one yet. I want you to know that we are working very hard to please our Canadian guests who are very important to us and maybe you could be more specific by telling me exactly where you think we could do a better job. The problem with sailing from Canada is you are limited to where you can go. However, I love having Canadian guests onboard as they are so much fun so if you have any specific ideas please tell me so I can pass them along. Best wishes and thanks for showing me the correct spelling of Peurto Valaartta (spelt correctly.)
Best wishes and see you in February
Talktalk Bonnie Asked:
This will be my 4th cruise and my second with Carnival. I see that on Cruise Critic you are the person who books tables for dinner. I would need a table for 5 on the Valor as we are a very private family and don’t want to sit with other people who will not be the same as us. How do I do this and how much does it cost.
All I need you to do is send me another posting with your sailing date, and cabin number and last name please and I will then ask the maitre d to help with your request. Let’s see how much it will cost:
7 day cruise x $40 per day per person x 5 = $1,400.
Please make cheques payable to John S Heald or I give $50 discount for cash…….. kidding. There is no charge for this service. I am here to help.
John, PLEASE REPLY.
John, for every person out there like Corvette Lady, there must be at least a hundred of us that really like you and think you are very funny and appreciate all that you do. And we just love your blog and all the comments you make. I don’t know about anyone else, but I look forward to hearing about Heidi and Kye. I think what makes your blog so enjoyable is that you don’t hold back and hide your emotions or feelings or thoughts, so we feel we can honestly get to know you as a friend. So, please don’t change a thing about the blog or about you. And don’t stress over those with other opinions. There’s plenty of us here who do think of you as a good person and a friend. I personally read your blog every day and look forward to the next day’s blog.
I wanted to ask if there was an update on a question that was asked on May 11 by “Emily” in regard to any type of non-alcoholic Sparkling Cider being added to Bon Voyage or if there is a place to buy some onboard. Hubby and I are sailing on Carnival Freedom in January 2011 for our anniversary and we prefer Sparkling Cider. Has there been any hint of something like that coming to Carnival yet?
Thanks, John. Have a pleasant day. And remember, less stress is best for us diabetics.
I just wanted to say a big thank you for taking the time to write those very kind words which mean so much. Writing my blog and giving my opinions leaves me open for attack which I have learnt for the most part to accept but words like yours make that much easier. I asked for the sparkling non-alcoholic wine to be put on Bon Voyage so let me follow up on this now and I will let you know. It is a great idea.
I hope your sugar levels are good and thanks again for everything.
And that’s all for today.
I often talk about the wonders of Cunard here and occasionally add a dollop of Holland America. One branch of the Carnival family tree that I hardly mention is Costa Cruises. And that’s a shame because they are very special indeed and their ships are just beautiful. I also think they have some of the best names in the industry as well. They have the Fortuna, the Luminosa, and the Romantica.
Everything about Costa oozes Italian class and Italian style, even the people who work in the office. While Carnival executives are happy to wear a pair of chinos and a polo shirt it is not unusual to see Costa executives dress fabulously. When I was invited to the naming ceremony of the Costa Luminosa and Cost Pacifica I saw someone very high Costa 40-something man wearing a bottle green, jacket with a black sweater, light shirt, yellow jeans, black shoes and – as a finishing touch – an ivory silk scarf. It sounds stomach churning…. but, as an ensemble, worked perfectly because he was Italian. If I had been dressed like that I would have looked like Elton John’s love child.
It is often forgotten that Carnival’s interior designer Joe Farcus also does wonderful work for Costa Cruises and as you will see now from this video, his contemporary Italian designs have made the Costa Deliziosa a stunningly beautiful ship. The film is shot on a steady cam so it actually feels like you are touring the ship. Highlights you must see are the chocolate bar, the Formula 1 race car simulator, 4D cinema, food selection and of course that sumptuous and luxurious Joe Farcus-designed interior. So, join me for a slice of Dolce Vita as we visit the Costa Deliziosa.
I love that video and it’s also the little details like the sound of the ocean that’s included when you see shots of the ship at sea. You know, soccer, opera, Ferrari, engineering, Catholicism, gelato ice cream and rumpy pumpy are some of the favourite things to your everyday Italian and Costa sits very easily on that list.
Let’s move from Italy to Tampa, Florida and visit today’s ship………the Carnival Legend. Let’s see where she sails to.
TAMPA, FL 4:00pm
FUN DAY AT SEA
GRAND CAYMAN – 7:00am 4:00pm
ISLA ROATAN -11:00pm – 6:00pm
BELIZE – 8:00am 5:00pm
FUN DAY AT SEA 10:00am – 6:00pm
TAMPA, FL – 8:00am
Oh and just before we have a look at who is onboard and see some great photos of the ship…….. how about this for a brilliant Christmas cruise.
Friday, Dec 23
TAMPA, FL 4:00pm
Saturday, Dec 24 KEY WEST, FL 10:00am 5:00pm
Sunday, Dec 25 FUN DAY AT SEA
Monday, Dec 26 GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS 7:00am 4:00pm
Tuesday, Dec 27 COZUMEL, MEXICO 10:00am 6:00pm
Wednesday, Dec 28 COSTA MAYA, MEXICO 8:00am 5:00pm
Thursday, Dec 29 BELIZE 8:00am 6:00pm Friday,
Friday, Dec 30 ISLA ROATAN 8:00am 7:00pm
Saturday, Dec 31 FUN DAY AT SEA AND NEW YEARS EVE PARTY
Sunday, Jan 01 TAMPA, FL 8:00am
That’s a nine day cruise to some great ports and a brilliant chance to celebrate both the holidays and New Years Eve all on one cruise.
So, let’s have a look at some photos featuring the interior of the ship and Captain Vito Giacalone, Hotel Director Mr. Guna and the irrepressible CD Weeeeeeeeeeee Jimmy.
Here is one of the 344 Stephanies superb slide shows.
I loved my time on the Carnival Legend and I know that wee Jimmy and Mr. Guna and his team have the ship at the top of the guest satisfaction chart. She is in my top three favourite ships in the Carnival fleet and if you haven’t sailed on her ……………you really should.
We will look at more of the fleet starting next week with the Carnival Destiny.
I am hoping that I will be able to confirm where your Carnival Magic will be home porting and I will pass along this exciting news as soon as it’s available.
I wanted to ask for some feedback please and this is a request from the beards at Carnival HQ. As you know, we have recently changed our debarkation talks with some ships having them and some ships having none at all. As I also wrote last month the big comment card push has been totally stopped across the fleet. We still put the cards in the staterooms but the CD’s no longer mention them at all and the manipulation that quite honestly we all used when asking guests to complete them is no more. So, I wondered how those who have cruised since we made these changes have found it. So to put it plainly here are the questions that I have been asked to put to those who have been with us recently?
1. If you cruised with us and there was no debarkation talk, did you miss having this event?
2. If you cruised and there was no debarkation talk did you watch the video that has taken its place and now plays in your state rooms?
3. Did not having a debarkation talk effect the debarkation system itself. Did you fully understand how to disembark the ship?
Thanks to those who are able to answer these questions, we really appreciate it.
Well things here in the Heald household are OK and Heidi’s Mum has come to stay for a week or seven. I still can’t work this bloody coffee machine and I discovered why. Heidi bought something called a Nespresso coffee machine and when I told her it was a load of crap and asked her why she had bought it she told me it was because of George Clooney. I asked her if his Georgeness told her to fill her bottom with petrol would she have gone to the CITGO station immediately done so?……………..and that was me in the doghouse.
We’ve reached a point, in fact, where you probably couldn’t hope to sell anything unless it’s attached in some way to a celebrity. Seriously. If I was to develop a way of converting boogers into gold, unless I got William Shatner to say it works, the kits will sit on Wal-Mart’s shelves gathering dust.
Who for instance cares what Paris Hilton? Yep………here in the UK she is advertising a breakfast cereal. Is anyone really going to buy a box of Weetabix cereal because Paris says you should?
She’s a girl who carries dogs in her purse next to her hairbrush and wears T-shirts bearing her own name. I am sure that Paris Hilton has an Eye Phone and one that is probably covered in diamonds as well.
I know Heidi gave me a bollocking at the top of this blog about my obsessive use of my Raspberry but compared to people who have Eye Phones……my obsession pales into comparison.
I know this with absolute certainty because I have seen guests and crew cradle them like they are holding a new born baby.
But that’s nothing…………..have a read of this.
iPhone More Important Invention Than Flush Toilets?
By Charles Moore May. 24, 2010, 8:32am
Is the iPhone a more important invention than the humble water closet? As one who has lived for extended periods of time in houses and cottages without indoor plumbing, I would say not, but according to your typical British consumer, it is as the iPhone was voted a more important invention than washing machines or internal combustion engines. In the Tesco Mobile survey of 4,000 Britons aged between 18 and 65, the iPhone ranked eighth — ahead of the toilet, which finished ninth (toilet paper was 22nd), and also higher than the automobile, camera — even shoes.
Here is the link to the complete article
Oh what a load of bollocks. Let’s see how fabulous your Eye Phone thingy looks when you have to poo in a bucket!
Yep……….this confirms it….us Brits are totally bonkers but I am sure there are plenty of world wide Eye Phone lovers who would agree with their British counterparts. It gets worse. People also think that the Eye Phone is a more important than painkillers.
OK……. would every sodding idiot involved in this survey step forward to undergo haemorrhoid surgery without anaesthetic? You’ll have your precious apps to take your mind off the scalpel slitting through your arse. And if that thought scares you, remember, you won’t have a toilet to crap in after the surgery has finished so don’t forget your bucket.
And why do people get so lusty over their Eye Phones They’re just cell phones with silicone breasts and hair extensions…………….they are Paris Hilton.Then again………………if Megan Fox advertised Eye Phones wearing only stockings and suspenders…………………..I’d buy one!