January 13, 2011 -
When I am home with the girls I start each morning the same way. Go downstairs at 7 am, make Kye a bottle of milk, check my sugar level, take my pill, collect the newspaper from the doormat, go back upstairs, give Kye her milk and then take the newspaper into the bathroom, sit down and enjoy 20 minutes of absolute total peace and quiet………minus the odd splash.
This morning the newspaper featured the terrible floods in Australia, President Obama riding the wave of emotion in Arizona and news of a nutter who threatened to blow himself up in the centre of London……and that was just on the front page. So I turned to page three to look at Jennifer age 22 from Birmingham who has decided to bare all and just beneath her was a story about rumpy pumpy. The story showed two different polls, one by the University of Edinburgh and one by our National Health Service or the NHS as we call it here in the UK. Both were conflicting….. which I guess was the story………..because one suggested people are having bugger all rumpy pumpy and the one from the Health Service stated we were having more rumpy pumpy ………….I mean ……….I know which category I fall into but which poll is correct?
The university poll said that the over 40’s are too tired for rumpy pumpy. Hardly surprising, is it, what with working until we are 93, caring for kids and elderly parents, Facebooking, Blogging, conference calls with beards, flying, and thinking up new jokes all of which are undertaken while shoving a broom up my arse because Heidi wanted the driveway swept? I’m too tired to fart let alone bounce up and down for three minutes. But, here’s a weird thing. The other study claims the over 40’s are fuelling a rise in rumpy pumpy transmitted diseases, owing to an increase in middle aged swinging.
Hold on a minute here. So here I am going to bed at 10 pm because I am exhausted and lying next to me is Heidi dressed in a top to toe dressing gown and hairnet doing a Sudoku while most over 40’s are throwing their car keys into a hat and getting “attended to” by Mr Gallagher, the accountant from next door. Both can’t be right. Most polls are bollocks though aren’t they? How do you stop someone from voting for themselves over and over again and in this case you have to ask where the heck did they get their information from. What kind of person admits “Yeah, I picked up a cougar last night. She gave me herpes……… and you can quote me on that!”
Anyway, this all leads me to ask you a question………….don’t panic here ………..I’m not going to get personal………………..well not too much. My question here is does your partner get more romantic on a cruise than he or she or both does at home?
I am going to suggest to Heidi that if she is too tired for rumpy pumpy we should get a Nanny……………….preferably from Latvia. I will let you know how that goes.
Time for today’s Q and A……………….here we go.
Pat Morales Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY
I have a question, since royal Caribbean is going to increase the recommended gratuities to 19% and now the cruise critic boards are saying carnival is doing the same from January 1st can I remove the housekeeping tip by putting the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door and not having housekeeping service? No way am I paying anymore for someone to make a bed.
Hello Pat Morales
Well first of all let me apologise that I have taken so long to answer your question because as you know January 1 has come and gone and Carnival has not increased the gratuities. On Carnival, guests have the option of decreasing or increasing their gratuities and I will say that the stateroom stewards do far more than make a bed and for many people their stateroom steward is often one of the highlights of the cruise.
Paul W and Seth C Asked:
John Put This On Your Blog!
We are sailing on the Dream on 5th Feb 2011 and we are looking to meet other LGBT people who will be on board so we want you to advertise this on your blog. This is the second time we have asked but so far you have not done as we asked. Are you homophobic?
Hello Paul W and Seth C
Sorry I missed this the first time but here you go, it is so advertised on the blog thingy. There will be daily Friends of Dorothy meetings on the ship and these will be advertised in your daily Fun times program. Have a great cruise
Best wishes to you both
(please reply if you find anything interesting)
I just got off the Carnival Imagination and it was wonderful to see a smaller vessel and how she was updated to be more modern. (My partner continually commented she didn’t seem some 15 years old). This was like my 7th or 8th Carnival Cruise (COME ON PLATINUM!) and it was my second one getting to be around some of the crew. This cruise the lead male singer was one of my buddies from college and it was SO great to run into him after 8 years. It was surprising how quickly the entire entertainment staff took me in as part of their own. “Oh we are going here, oh please come there tonight, we are here ___ in port” I have to say, you guys have a great entertainment staff and I am SO happy that you continue to have live bands and live entertainment and Vegas style shows. You guys do make it truly fun to spend a vacation with. Tory, our CD, was AMAZING! (talk about energy, find a way to bottle it) She grabbed my partner, who is usually extremely reserved and would rather die than be in front of a crowd of people) and slapped him on stage next to what I can only call, comical characters. Since the entire exchange was video tapped (and he outed me to the ENTIRE vessel in one fail swoop – dinner was FUN, let me tell you, rolls eyes) he became as my friend put it – instant celebri-gay. He can’t stop talking about how much fun he had and how much he enjoyed himself. He also got to meet new and interesting people, which I truly enjoyed watching. On a different note, I am very glad that the Welcome Aboard show is going to get changed up, it truly needs it. Even the dancers show it on their faces (all of them, and every ship I sail on). While they have a pleasant smile, you can tell they are not “into it” as they are the Vegas Shows. PLEASE HELP THEM HELP US! Change up the show!!!!! I’m very willing for Carnival to put me on a cruise and I’ll gladly critique. Perhaps a suggestion, ask the dancers/singers what would be great for them to do during a welcome aboard show (sleep doesn’t count!) – You might get some amazing suggestions!
Thanks again for all!
Thank you for the brilliant review and you should write more because you tell a great story. I am glad also that you took the time to write about Tory because she doesn’t get the recognition she deserves sometimes and I am happy therefore that you mentioned her energy and fun. She is retiring soon and we will miss her.
You are right and I couldn’t agree more that the welcome aboard show must be changed and it will be soon and knowing Kerry our director of production entertainment as I do, you can expect something special from her to replace it.
I will make sure that the ship sees just how much fun you had and of course most importantly it was brilliant to read just how impressed you were with the ship’s upgrades. The Fantasy class has definitely been reborn. Thanks again for the great post.
Best wishes to all
Dear John, Please reply when you have an opportunity. Thank you for all the time you put into blogging and posting on FB. I have recently discovered your blog/FB, and appreciate all of your musings.
We will be cruising this next March on the Ecstasy to celebrate a triple graduation. (My two daughters from high school, and myself from college.) I would really like to treat them to some pampering in the spa, but am reading some things that make me leery – that the price is too high for what you get, too much pushing for purchasing product, etc. I want this to be enjoyable. Can you shed any light on the spa services available?
First of all congratulations on your daughter’s graduation, you must be very proud. And secondly many congratulations on your own graduation and how brilliant that you are going to celebrate on the Carnival Ecstasy. The Carnival spas, like the majority of spas at sea, are operated by Steiner of London and they are simply the best in the business. They have a huge range of massages and hair and beauty treatments which your daughters will enjoy so very much. Now it would be wrong of me not to mention that at the end of the treatment the ladies will suggest various creams and ummmmm…….stuff…………that they can take home with them and use to continue to look wonderful. As you can see I know very little about these treatments except that everyone I speak to that has one leaves feeling absolutely relaxed and rejuvenated. So yes, I can highly recommend these treatments and may I also say that you may want to take advantage of the port day specials when prices are lowered somewhat. Here is the link to our wonderful world of Spa Carnival.
I hope you all have a brilliant cruise and thanks for all the kind words about the blog.
Best wishes to all
Dear John, (please reply)
I have been reading your blog and posts about the Carnival Splendor, and have really appreciated your wit. I am hoping to be able to travel on Carnival in 2011, with my husband, and I hope that you will be the cruise director when we do cruise.
Unfortunately, we are unable to book a cruise at this time, as my husband of 5 months is having some pretty major health issues. He is 41 and a diabetic (he has had diabetes for almost 30 years). He is currently in the hospital after having had a quad bypass, due to complications from kidney disease and dialysis. He is also on the waiting list for a kidney/pancreas transplant. So, after he recovers from the bypass surgery (which the recovery hasn’t been pretty for either of us!), hopefully he will be able to get a new/used kidney and pancreas within the next few months.
Right now, thinking and dreaming about a cruise, is the only thing that is getting me through each day. We had cruised on RCCL last February and it wasn’t a good experience! If/when we are able to cruise on Carnival, is there something special that we can do or can be done to recognize our surviving the past year?
Any suggestions on helping me survive the next few months?!
If we do happen to be on a cruise, where you are the director, I would love to meet you, have lunch and hear more about your girls.
By the way, I see from your posts that you are a diabetic. After seeing (and living with) the complications of diabetes, I would strongly encourage you to take care of yourself! I would hate to see what has happened to my husband, happen to you or anyone else!
Thanks for your posts and blog – you have been able to make some tough days a little bit better for me.
Hello Tracy Fraedrich.
That must have been a very difficult post to write and I hope that by now your husband has fully recovered from his surgery and is on the road to health and happiness. I am working very hard to stay well and healthy and I know just how difficult living with diabetes is. It was my own stupid bloody fault that I got this and now it is up to me to make sure I do all I can to keep it under control.
I will be on the Carnival Freedom for three weeks in February before going onto the Carnival Glory on the 27th of February for the Bloggers Cruise. Then it’s off to Italy to prepare your Carnival Magic and someway, somehow I hope that you and your husband will be able to join me. If not and you cruise with us on another ship please make sure you let me know so I can send your husband a sugar free treat. I am sure it has not been easy for you these past few months and I hope that the blog has given you the occasional giggle. All of us here wish your husband well and I would ask that when you have the time you let us know how he is doing.
Best wishes to you both and hope to see you soon
Alice H Asked:
Hi John (Please Reply when you get a chance)
I love your blog thingy and read it all the time you make me laugh. I have 2 questions
I was reading an old Blog from June 15th where a question was asked about the “Luggage Express.” This is the 1st time I heard about this. Will it be available on the Carnival Magic in Barcelona? I did notice on the bottom of the flyer you posted about it, it said International Flights do not apply. I was wondering if it has been updated to include Europe, since this posting was in June.
My husband and I are so excited about Our Magic cruise on Aug. 14th and have been sifting thru all the shore excursions trying to find the perfect ones, due to the fact he has degenerative arthritis in his back he can’t do much walking for long periods of time. If you have any suggestions please let me know.
We also want to book the Chef’s Table and I know that it is too early for that. When should I request this?
Looking forward to cruising with you and hopefully with Heidi and Kye also.
Keep up the good work your friend,
Hello Alice H
I am glad you are enjoying the blog so much and hope that this continues. The luggage express will not apply to the debark procedures in Barcelona but the system there is excellent. You see there are no customs and immigration procedures so disembarking is very quick and very simple indeed. Closer to the time I will explain exactly how it works here on the blog thingy.
I will be opening bookings for The Chef’s Table on April 1 so if you can send me your requests then I will be able to take care of it for you. I wonder if I can pause here and ask other Carnival Magic cruisers to take note of this date. I know I have been up and down with this but now have the date set and I would also ask that Host Mach also post this on the boards.
The shore excursions in Europe are superb and we categorise them by walking difficulty. May I suggest that you have a look on carnival.com and when you see a sign with just “one man” you will know that there is very little walking involved. Have a look at what we offer and then tell me which ones you are interested in and I will let you know what I think. I am also very excited about this new ship and to be back in Europe again and I look forward to seeing you both there.
Your staff, specifically the cabin boys need to speak English. Ordering was made virtually impossible on the Spirit because all the crew were foreigners. My cabin boy didn’t understand any of my orders and this got very frustrating. The ship carries Americans so why can’t you hire servers who can understand the customer. I would be interested to see your response.
I was very surprised to read this because my experience tells me that all our service personnel speak English. For most it is not their first language but certainly we make sure that if we put them in a guest area that their English speaking skills should be sufficient. This is a rare comment indeed and I wondered if you could to please write back to me and let me know your sailing date and cabin number so I can address this issue with the hotel director onboard.
I hope you had a fun time despite your concerns.
Kathy M. Asked:
On November 28th you answered a letter from IndyMichelle in which she was talking about cruising as a single. You mentioned that most of the single doings is for the 18 – 20 singles and that is the reason you do a second doing for the thirty somethings. John, it seems to me you are leaving out other age groups that travel single, like the 40 year old group, the 50 year old group, the 60 year old group and others. Single cruisers make up a good amount of cruisers, but we are left out of so many of the activities for singles. You would think for the money we have to pay to cruise as a single (200% which is not a cheap for us) you would be doing more for singles. I have a suggestion for you, how about a Meet and Greet just for single cruisers of all ages, that way people of different age groups could meet one another. Just a thought
Please give my love to Heidi and Kye,
from your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan
Hello Kathy M
You are correct of course and I will remind my colleagues that we must look after all the single guests regardless of age. I realise that cruising as a single is not cheap these days and so we must do more to make life onboard even more fun for you. I will address this with Chris in the Miami office and suggest that the first hour the piano bar is open on the first night of the cruise is a single sing a long for the 40 plus guests. What do you think of that Kathy? Please let me know
Rick from Orange County Asked:
Please reply immediately John
I was disturbed to read that Felipe will be the cruise director on the Splendor. Most of the knowledgeable Cruise Critic members who have sailed with him have written how shocked they are that he has been chosen to be the cruise director. They rate him as rude and not funny and said that he was too busy with his girlfriend than to entertain them. I am going on the Splendor for my honeymoon and having cruised with Big Tex who I loved I don’t want a boring cruise director. Can you help settle my nerves? I also want a table for 2 for my new bride and I. We are in cabin 7412 and going on March 12th
Look forward to your reply
Hello Rick from Orange County
I have not seen the comments on Cruise Critic about Felipe but I can tell you that we at Carnival know just how important the Carnival Splendor will be when she sails and just how much she will be in the public eye. This is why we chose Felipe to be there as we have a lot of faith in him. I am not going to comment on what others have written because they are absolutely entitled to their opinion. I can promise you that he is energetic and really cares about the guests. I also know that there will be some bloggers here who will give their own honest opinion of him which I kindly ask them to do.
Now I have asked the maitre d to assist you with your table request and I hope you have a wonderful honeymoon and wish you both many happy years together.
That’s all folks.
I see there was lots of excitement about the Carnival Spirit going to Australia, mostly from Aussies themselves who are thrilled to be getting their very own Carnival ship. I also read comments here and on Facebook from people in America, Canada and the UK all of whom said that they were now considering a trip down under. This is great news of course. There was also some sadness from our friends on the west coast who were disappointed that they were losing the ship. I can understand how but let’s see what the future holds.
Let’s pause and meet another one of our superb assistant cruise directors. Today we are off to the Carnival Valor to meet Gayve Kazak.
Gayve H. Kazak but guests call me by other names as well like Gabe, Gayvey, Gabrielle, The Guy From the Movie Ghost, Beatle Juice, Gallagher, Curly, The Sax player from the Muppets. there are so many I can go on and on.
I am currently on the Valor till January 16th then I will be heading off to the Sensation in March (17th to be exact)
I started to work for Carnival in 2004. I started off in the Casino as a Slot Attendant. And then one day I had a vision that’s right I saw it like I see myself in the mirror, it was beautiful, I can’t even remember the words that I used to describe it, I had tears in my eyes and when I finally held it, it was like holding a new born baby. It was my was first RED WHITE AND BLUE cruise staff shirt. I have enjoyed my ups and downs while working with Carnival. I have been ACD for about 2 years (was promoted on my birthday while cruising Europe thanks Todd). I have had the opportunity to learn from many great CD’s including yourself John. (We were on the Liberty together I was wee host then). This job has taught me many life lessons that I can take with me anywhere. There is so much about this job that is amazing there is not enough room to say everything, I even met my wife 5 years ago this year, on the Fascination, and we have been happily married for 3 years.
I have two favourite activities, one is the Men’s Hairy Chest Competition and the other is the Deck Party. To see all those guests listening to you or dancing with you is such a great feeling… for instance we do the song Shout during deck party and to see all the guest jumping up and down laughing and having a good time knowing you are the provider of that fun, wow what a feeling……
As for my dream, it’s to have a cabin with a window……..just kidding. I like the challenge we get from the day to day changes that happen, we learn to make changes and adapt to what we have to deal like a rainy day and/or a missed port day. Make you feel good to see even though it is not to nice outside, inside the ship is nothing but FUN FUN FUN.
I worked with Gayve on the Carnival Freedom and remember just how much the guests liked him. We have some great young people ready to move to the big chair and Gayve certainly is one of them
Small change to my own schedule I want to talk to mention. I will be flying to Cozumel on January 27th to join the Carnival Elation and will be sailing on her back to Mobile before then flying to join the Carnival Freedom. I am doing this because I have been asked to see the new show “Win” there which I hear is excellent. Has anyone seen this show? What did you think?
Here is an interesting question.
Mike Scilatchi Asked:
John – please reply
I have just found your blog and have been reading back issues. I am a writer for my college paper and am intrigued by your style. I am surprised Carnival Cruise Company allows you to write the way you do but I give them credit for doing so. The reason I am writing is that I wanted to ask you to tell me how you come up with what you write each day and ask your permission to publish your response in the Daily Gamecock which is the University of South Carolina’s newspaper. Thank you so much and I hope to receive a positive response from you.
Well first of all thanks for the kind words and I hope you continue to explore the world or writing. You know this blog is much easier to write when I am on a ship you know as so much happens and there is so much to tell. But when I am home it is rather different and there are far more distractions. I usually go to bed at night thinking already what I am going to write about the next morning.
Most days I have an idea what the first and last sections are going to be about but last night I couldn’t think of anything and when morning broke I knew I would be staring at a blank screen. And so I spent most of my time this morning trying anything but to write a blog. But eventually I could run away no longer so I retired to my writing little office. I’ve got to have a “writing room.” Because it’s a blog read by thousands so in my mind I need a special place to withdraw from the world. All this is eventually done and I am ready to start my opus. I’d better make some coffee first, as it’s very early and my brain needs to be kick-started.
But I have no idea how to operate the coffee machine because I am not Mr sodding Spock so I utter the magic word “Heeeeeiiiiiiiiddddiii ” and few minutes later I have my coffee. I’m ready, but Kye is looking at me in a pleading way. I decide to spend a few minutes giving her cuddle and watching her favourite video on YouTube. Don’t ask me why she loves this video but a friend of Heidi’s sent it to her and now Kye can’t stop watching it and laughs hysterically every time. Here it is.
That was at 9 am and it’s now 10:30 am and I climb the stairs to the OFFICE. Halfway up I spot my Xboxstation thingy and decide to have a quick game of “Dawn of the Zombie.” I need to clear my mind before I start. I have never gotten past level 5 where the zombie comes out of the confessional box in the abandoned church accompanied by killer frog-like creatures that look a look like Judge Judy. I spend the next hour or so getting more and more frustrated as the slimy Judges eat me alive because I have run out of ammunition…. bugger.
This stresses me out and it’s nearly lunchtime, so I decide to make an early lunch and then really get stuck in afterwards on a full stomach. So, I prepare lunch ……. by shouting ……. ”HEEEEEIIIIIDDDDDIII”……..and 20 minutes later I am sitting in front of the TV watching a new show I had recorded called No Ordinary Family starring one of my favourite actors Michael Chiklis who I thought was brilliant in The Shield while munching on a very fine chicken salad sandwich followed by a Granny Smith apple and a big mug of monkey tea.
I feel a bit ill as I’ve eaten too much and decide to lie down in front of the telly while I digest the sandwich and fall asleep. It’s now 3 pm and thank goodness I am five hours ahead of Miami otherwise there would be no blog today. But once I actually sit down to write, Mike ……… the words seem to just flow, as they will for you I am sure.
Anyway, I send my best wishes to you and everyone at South Carolina University and I hope I see you all on a Carnival cruise.
I see no reason why you can’t publish this in the newspaper and unless my colleagues have any objection go ahead. I have always wanted to be associated with something called Gamecock.
Well as promised it’s time to tell you about the brilliant SportSquare on your Carnival Magic and here once again………..is our friend Vance.
It looks and sounds superb doesn’t it? I particularly like the foosball tables being out there. I know that’s only a small part of the action but its great family fun and I can see them being very popular indeed.
Now as for the rope course. Well I know that the adrenalin junkies will be salivating at the thought of swinging from rope to rope. Me though……….well I have mixed feelings. While as a CD I know that the guests will love this and that it’s a fantastic addition to our onboard activity program, I also know that somewhere right now, in Miami, a man called Gerry is planning something sinister.
I can see our president and CEO now, sitting at his desk plotting just how he is going to make my life a living hell. Yep, just as he made me race him down the slides on your Carnival Dream he is plotting something similar on this sodding rope course. I can imagine the conversation he is having right now with Carnival’s Executive Vice President of Ship Operations Ruben Rodriguez.
|RUBEN||WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TO CHRISTEN THE ROPE SWING COURSE?|
|GERRY||WELL I THINK WE SHOULD GET JOHN TO RACE ME AGAIN?|
|RUBEN||DO YOU THINK HE IS UP TO IT?|
|GERRY||YES, HE WILL BE FINE, WE WILL DRESS HIM IN LEPOARD-SKIN SPEEDOS, HE WILL LOOK LIKE TARZAN IN A FAT SUIT ….HA HA HA HA HA.|
|RUBEN||GREAT IDEA GERRY, LETS FILM IT AND PUT IT ON HIS BLOG AND ON YOUTUBE|
|GERRY||I LOVE MY JOB|
Looks like I am in the sh*t again and if you are one of those standing below me while I swing my arse on a rope………….you might be in the sh*t as well…………..literally.
I won’t be blogging tomorrow as I am going to spend the day with my Heidi and Kye. I have been in NY and then been sick so I owe them a day. Back on Monday but will be on FB all weekend if you need me.