December 7, 2011 -
I have a friend who works for Carnival on the ships who is very short. He’s not a little person but he often bangs his head on coffee tables and has to sit on the front row of the cinema so he can see the film. Being short he obviously has a bad temper as that’s the law and he cannot play basketball very well. If you’re small, it doesn’t matter whether you’re rich, poor, British, American or French, you will be consumed with a sense that people aren’t just physically looking down on you, but mentally as well. This will make you permanently angry, and equipped with a chip so large you could be mistaken for a bag of family sized Doritos.
However there is something worse than being short and that’s being fat, like me. And the time that being fat is the worst apart from seeing yourself naked in the mirror is when I have to go shopping. It’s an awful experience, it really is. Now in America you have lots of clothing shops designed for the big chaps and they have great names like Rochester Big and Tall. But we don’t have these shops in the UK and if we do they have names like High and Mighty or Fat Larry’s Clothing Emporium and I hate, hate, hate going into those shops. So I go to normal clothing shops and find something I like, a T-shirt or a pair of jeans and then I go through the piles to see if there is one in my size. And even if by some miracle there is an XXXL, it’s still suitable only for a hamster. So there I was in the shop and I found a casual shirt that had the right number of Xs on the label. Now had Heidi not been with me I would have bought it right there and then but she was with me which meant I had to try it on. So I left Heidi and Kye and headed to the changing room which made one of those tiny NCL single cabins look huge.
Anyway, I tried on the shirt and surprisingly the buttons didn’t explode as I expanded my stomach. Hooray, it fit. Booo…….it didn’t. That’s because the designer of this shirt had thought that people with ample stomachs must have ridiculously long arms. My arms are, well, normal length and certainly guests do not point at me and make baboon noises when I walk out on stage. I was so pissed off. The shirt fit over my stomach, it didn’t have “sleeps three” written down the side like most of my clothes, I had bought it from a normal store and not from Captain Chunks, yet the only person who could wear this shirt would have been that Mr. Stretch chap from the Fantastic Four.
I am not alone in this. There is a lady who many of you know who also works for Carnival who while normally proportioned elsewhere has ridiculously large feet and she can’t get her shoes from Payless or her local mall. She has only two choices — become a hippie and walk around the Carnival office in bare feet or buy her shoes from a shop that caters to Shaquille O Neal.
So now to the main point of me writing this. I have lost some weight. I am still very much a “chubby wubby tub tub” which thanks to a Peppa Pig episode Kye now calls me but I need a new suit. I have three suits and two are striped ones that I have received comments here on the blog about as being far too big for me now. And so between that and a bollocking from Heidi it is time for me to buy a new one. Bugger!
As you probably know, I don’t like wearing suits. It is fine if you are trying to get a job or if you are Micky Arison addressing the board of directors, but I do not see why the world thinks you are being respectful just because your pants match your jacket. It’s bonkers in my opinion. But the world does think this way and as we still have elegant night and because Carnival doesn’t want its brand ambassador turning up for a press thingy in sweat pants and a Miami Heat T-shirt then I have to wear one now and then.
Now whereas I may, just may be able to find a T-shirt or casual shirt from a normal size persons shop I have sod all chance of buying a suit from there and so I have two choices. Go to buy one from a shop called Large And In Charge or have one made to measure. After much debate I decided to go and see a local tailor and get one made to measure and that was a huge sodding mistake. I just returned this morning from my first “fitting” and all I could think about was how much blog material these 45 minutes spent standing in front of this mirror would give me.
Like all males who are reading this ( except Calvyn, obviously) , I want to get my clothes shopping done at the speed of light, but this is not possible at all when you are having something tailored. First of all, the man in the shop will want to measure every single part of your body and I’m afraid his tape measure is made by the people who make bathroom scales and. I don’t care what it says, bollocks do not have a 48 inch waist. After I had been humiliated and fondled by a man who spent far too much time measuring my “inside leg” I was given a huge book full of bits of material. And to me it all looked exactly the same. The tailor did his best to tell me the differences but at the end of the day I simply said “Can I have a blue one please?”
He then asked me about buttons and cut and single or double breasted or three height and the cuffs and where the pants should hit my show. Bloody hell, this wasn’t Saville Row or New York this was a small tailor shop in Southend On Sea, Essex. All these questions were getting on my nerves and probably because I was being asked questions on a subject I knew nothing about.
Eventually after an hour and 10 minutes I was done and I left the shop and here I am back in my underpants writing to you. But it’s not over yet as I have to come back for the fitting. I envy normal sized people. They can walk into a shop and select a suit that fits just fine and getting out again in 10 minutes. I have been there for what feels like days, and now a further day is needed for a fitting. Just because I am fat. It’s discrimination. That’s what it is.
Time for today’s Q and A………………off we go.
Marcus Allie asked:
I asked you a few weeks ago for suggestions on what I could do for my son and daughter in law for their honeymoon cruise on the Carnival Liberty in January. I decided to get their cabin decorated but can’t find the decorations on the web site. Their names are Neil and Patricia and their booking number is ****** and cabin number is 1359 and they are sailing on the Carnival Liberty 1/7/12 and I hope you can send them some things to make them feel special!
Hello Marcus Allie,
We have some ordering issues with the decorations but I understand that things are back to normal now and that for the most part you can now order these on line. Please try again as it’s been a month since you posted this and I think you should be OK to get this done now. I will also send them something. I wish them a very happy life together and a wonderful cruise.
Let me start by saying this. Just over one year ago, I found out that I have allergies to dairy and to gluten, along with onions and mint. In February, my husband and I took a cruise on Carnival Elation. At that time, the list of foods that I was allowed to eat was quite limited. Once I boarded the ship, I was told that if I ate all meals in the dining room, the chefs would be able to accommodate my needs. The entire dining room staff, including the chefs was quite happy to work with me. In fact, they did a fantastic job, and I was always given a meal that both tasted good and that I could eat. Not only that, the Carnival Elation had a stir-fry area for lunch on the pool deck. The chefs there were also happy to accommodate me and cook up something that I could eat. Furthermore, on that ship, the hamburgers and French fries were gluten free. (The chef checked and verified that for me.) Therefore, on a day when we were in a port, I was able to come back onto the ship and have a quick late afternoon snack that was allergy friendly. (We had a later dinner seating so a snack was necessary.)
My experience on the Carnival Triumph was the worst. Let me start by saying that I am now allowed to eat a huge variety of foods. My list of allowable foods is MUCH longer than it was when I cruised in February on NCL. First, Asta, who worked in the dining room, tried her best, but the chefs didn’t seem to be motivated to make any food that tasted good, or that was properly prepared. Almost every meal that I ate in the dining room took 2-3 times as long because our waiter would bring something out that tasted awful and didn’t resemble real food, or it would contain something that I couldn’t eat. Mealtimes were very stressful and frustrating for me, and I’m sure that our friends who were cruising with us didn’t appreciate it when dinner would take an extra hour because my food was always wrong.
I kept asking for chocolate, and kept being told they couldn’t do anything for me. I knew better though because my mother-in-law and sister-in-law had just taken a Carnival cruise and the chef made them gluten free flourless chocolate cake each night. Finally, on the third night, our waiter brought out a gluten free/dairy free flourless chocolate, which was fabulous. I did have this dessert for the three nights that the chef made it for me. In fact, it was the only food item that I looked forward to eating on those days. Just wish it had been available to me starting on night one.
Carnival gets enough guests with food allergies that the chefs should prepare a gluten free flourless cake every night, just like they offer the chocolate melting cake each night. It should just be a part of their daily dessert menu. After all, they always offer sugar free desserts. Diabetics have it easy compared to me. Furthermore, I found out that there was nothing except for lettuce, tomato, carrots, and mushrooms that I could eat from the buffet on the Lido deck. It turns out that on this cruise unlike NCL, the burgers and fries were not gluten free, and there was also no stir-fry station on the pool deck where I could have a quick gluten free meal.
There are so many companies who make gluten free/dairy free French fries, cookies, breads, etc… I don’t understand why Carnival doesn’t provide a gluten free area on its buffet. Carnival provides sugar free alternatives. They really need to start providing gluten/dairy free alternatives as well! They do have soy milk, but they don’t provide it in the buffet area, only in the dining room. Actually, there is now a better alternative to soy milk, and that is coconut milk. It’s made by a company called So Coconut. There is even a coconut creamer by that company. Carnival should offer both alternatives in the buffet area. I’m highly disappointed that Carnival makes no effort to accommodate guests with food allergies outside of the dining room. Carnival doesn’t care and the crew of the Carnival Triumph proved that.
I have to say that this took me by surprise because I normally hear nothing but great things about our gluten free offerings and special dietary needs. May I ask you if you contacted our special needs desk ahead of time? If not I highly suggest that next time that you do so that we can pre- arrange special meals for you. I am diabetic and can sort of understand how difficult it must be for you and one thing I can promise and assure you is that our crew does care. It is though difficult for a galley that is preparing food for 3,000 people to suddenly be asked to prepare individual dishes that they may or may not have the ingredients ready for. You see unlike a normal sized restaurant that will have all the ingredients on hand the galley of a cruise ship has no stores there. The provisions are brought up from the vast storage rooms on deck 0 to the galley and this along with preparation takes time. I see that the crew did their best and I think it’s a little harsh of you to say they don’t care but yet I understand your frustration. Please let me know when you cruise again and I will coordinate with our special needs desk and try and make this next cruise a far better experience when it comes to your eating options. I do hope that you had fun though.
Adriana Ruiz asked:
This will be the fourth cruise that my family has gone on but first Carnival together. There will be more of us traveling this time around 24 people so far. It has not been as smooth sailing. In April when we planned to go to Vegas everything went well. We have encountered so many problems this time am afraid to go on the ship. Maybe we should have followed first instinct and gone on Celebrity boat the one I wanted to sail on. My husband insisted that we go Carnival. The customer service has not been anything, and there are still lots of problems. You can’t get return phone calls especially from a manager. I am angry and depressed.
Hello Adriana Ruiz,
I thank you for writing to me but am not sure exactly what the concern is. I have though sent your information to our guest services department and asked them to contact you. They tell me you are booked to sail on the Carnival Splendor in February so we have some time to try and sort out any concerns you have and I promise we will try hard to do just that. I wish you a wonderful cruise.
The Carnival Legend is a wonderful ship and our cabin steward Joel was so funny and so charming and always called us by our names which made us feel very special. The food was good and the dining room service also and God blessed us with calm seas and blue skies. But I do have a big complaint. All the comedy was based around sex and the humor from Wee Jimmy the same and there was no family entertainment. There was a chapel but no Priest and one day when George and I went in to pray we were disturbed by a crew member who asked us to leave as they were using it for a renewal of wedding vows. We asked to stay and participate but were told it was a private event. My point John is that Carnival advertises itself as a family cruise line but in many ways it isn’t. We did have a good time but were disappointed by the pushing of drinking, gambling and sexual comments and bad language by the comedians and the cruise director. The good book says “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” Thank you
First of all I am very glad to know you had a good cruise despite your reservations on the entertainment. I really do think we are a family cruise line and I could quote loads of figures about how we carry more children than any other cruise lines – 670,000 to be exact. However I won’t do that but I will say that I am sure that most of the shows were family based and I am wondering if you attended one of the uncensored comedy shows at night at the Punchliner Comedy Club. Those are definitely not family shows and I am sorry if you heard things from the comedians that offended you. I will speak to Ralph AKA Wee Jimmy your cruise director and let him know your feelings which knowing him as I do he will definitely take to heart. Now with regard to the chapel, we do have on all the Spirit class ships but I have to say that Carnival does not actively pursue a religious program on any of our ships and whether we should or should not is of course open to discussion. The renewal of vows we offer is a private event conducted by the captain and there is a cost for this memorable and private event but again I apologise that your prayer session was interrupted. I do though hope you had fun and I thank you so much for taking the time to write to me.
Best wishes to you both.
Sally Redfern asked:
First let me say that I love your blog. I also love reading the Currents magazine but I have not received a copy recently. I called my travel agent and she said she would take care of this for me but that was three months ago and I haven’t seen one yet. Can you help me please?
Hello Sally Redfern,
Thanks so much for the kind words. The sad news is that Currents Magazine was replaced with an on-line publication several years ago that from what I understand is quite popular with readers. I know many miss it though and thanks so much for the kind words and I hope we see you on one of our ships very soon.
Please would you do me a huge favor and thank someone for me as we just got off from the Carnival Fantasy. We did not get a comment card this time but want your beards to know about our room steward, Boharti. He was constantly cleaning and helping and made the cruise perfect for me and my family and friends. On arrival our cabin did smell like stale smoke, but Boharti brought in some type of machine that took the smell out fast. It would be nice to have non-smoking rooms. Also Manni and Helenea our waiters were outstanding. Thanks to you John and love this zany blog of yours.
Thanks for those kind words and I will make sure that the crew you mentioned see your words of praise. As of December 1 we no longer allow smoking in any cabin although I have to say those magic machines the stewards use really did get rid of the smell of smoking efficiently. I hope we will see you and the family again very soon and thanks again for the kind words.
Best wishes to all.
We are sailing on the Carnival Liberty on December 31 and for dining it says 6 pm “waitlisted” what does that mean?? My husband has to eat early for stomach issues and need you to get this changed. Our booking reference is ******. I was told this was the place to get this done.
That’s a lovely name by the way, Baileigh. I will ask the maitre d to arrange for your family to eat as requested and I wish you a wonderful cruise.
R and R Cruisers asked:
We are platinum VIPS and love the perks that come with this. Princess though offers FREE internet and yet Carnival doesn’t give its VIPS that privilege. Why?
Hello R and R Cruisers,
I am very glad that you enjoy the privileges that we offer our Platinum guests and indeed you will be even happier when you see the new program which will be launched next year. There won’t be free internet I’m told but I promise you will be very happy indeed. Thanks for your loyalty and I hope this will continue for a long time to come.
That’s all for today and I don’t know why but for some reason I found that to be a quite exhausting set of questions. Anyway, thanks to you all for the comments and questions and I am doing my best to get caught up on the ones here on the blog. OK, let’s crack on shall we and pay a visit to Mr. Radu as he shares with us more amazing photos from his current voyage on the Carnival Paradise.
Here he is:
Good evening John,
We have only one more sea day to reach the Panama Canal. Today we have been in Punta Arenas; I didn’t do much, just went around the port, walked on the beach and took some photos.
The photo contest is running, I will leave the photo manager to take care of this and let’s see what comes out. After tomorrow I have to do the aerial shots over Panama and I will overnight in Panama City. Next day I will join the Carnival Inspiration. Here are few images from today.
Have a good night and a big hello to all your blog readers from me Mr Radu.
I am running out of words to describe how brilliant his photography is and the next group of photos Radu will send me will feature the ship’s transit through the Panama Canal. I can’t wait to see those.
And now for today’s main event, the long awaited cruise director schedule. I know many of you have been waiting for this and it’s finally here. It took longer to post than expected for a few reasons including some last minute adjustments and some new names on the list as well as you will see.
And we welcome back Chris Roberts, or Bubba as he is known, who has come out of retirement and is ready to entertain the guests with his wonderful Blues Brothers show. Welcome back Bubba, we have missed you.
My schedule remains as advertised with me starting back on the Carnival Magic on the 29th of January and staying through to early April. I won’t be the CD for the Bloggers Cruise, James will do that and then Butch takes the Carnival Magic after I leave.
Matt Mitchum, Henni, Jaques and Jaime are just some of the names that are featured as well as our regular CD’s. Now things may change as situations develop and at some point next year there will be a cruise director conference as well although no specific date has been set for this yet. Let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions. I want to thank Chris Prideaux our director of entertainment for allowing me to post this.
As far as I know no other cruise line allows guests to see which CD is on what ship ahead of time…..… I may be wrong……but regardless I think it’s great that we allow our guests to see this schedule don’t you? I wish all the cruise directors the very best of luck. Be yourself, be on stage more than you are behind the computer……. have fun and remember….….you have the best job……in the world.
There are two cruise directors on that list that I have never met surprisingly. Matt Mitchum and Eric Brouman are two new CDs and are I am sure going to do a fantastic job. There are cruise directors on the schedule who I have known for years and some are good friends of mine although I can honestly say none of them could be considered a BFF. When I first heard this expression I thought BFF stood for Burger & French Fries but apparently it does not. It means Best Friend Forever and everyone it seems from dancers on the ship, to beards in the office, to people posting here and on Facebook is using BFF to describe a friendship with someone. I get it if your 17 years old, you can have a BFF. But if you’re a vice president of something then you can’t have a BFF, you sound bloody ridiculous and you are using it as an attempt to stave off getting old. BFF is the verbal equivalent of a pair of tight jeans or a sports car. It’s one of the many words I want banned from Carnival ships and from the Carnival offices and indeed from life. And trust me, there are many more words I want banned as well and I will be telling you what those words are over the next few weeks. My friend Calvyn said in an email yesterday that we were BFFs. We are not, we are friends and that’s that and suggesting we are anything else is stretching the word friend until it’s saggier than the elastic in the pair of underpants I am currently wearing.
Oh and please, please can we stop saying “Reach out.” Whatever happened to “I will call you” or “Let me speak to….” It’s a phrase used by people who want to suggest the efforts made to save the Euro with their own boring emails about meeting up for a coffee to discuss what kind of toilet paper we should put in the guest cabins.
And I swear the next time a beard says that I have to give 110% I will use that saggy elastic in my underpants to strangle them with. It happened again on a conference call yesterday when we were talking about a change to the current Platinum program, details of which I will write about on Facebook today. One of the beards said would give “110% to make sure this is done within a two week period.” OK. On the plus side, this does suggest that he is going to be trying really hard. On the minus, though, it also suggests that he is an innumerate sod who deserves to have the marketing book he read at college shoved right up his bottom and he can then give 110% to reaching out for help to pull it out.
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