November 8, 2013 -
News from the Hyattintercontinenalmarriott where I am staying here in Miami and where it seems they change the bed sheets twice very seven days. No, not just mine, everyone’s. I know this because I asked someone. I asked the maid first and she smiled and said “Si, si” which is Spanish of course for “I have no idea what this fat gringo is saying to me.” So I asked the front desk and they said they changed the sheets twice a week. Now I asked this not because I had left vast amounts of pubic shrubbery on them but because I had just broken in some new sheets which had become soft and comforting and yet last night I was again sleeping between two brand new sheets which were as stiff as Tiger Woods at the Playboy Mansion.
Thinking about this I have realised that I have never, ever changed a bed sheet. My Mum did it for me, various Ketuts have done it for me on the ships and Heidi, of course, now does this for me. And I bet many men rewarding this would probably if left up to them ever change the sheets either. You see, ladies love nothing more than nice fresh lavender-smelling bed sheets which is why, in a marriage they do all the sodding sheet changing. I realise that if it were left up to me then I would leave it until the bed bugs are holding their noses shouting “It stinks down here fat boy, for God’s sake change the sheets.”
I am now realising that the one period of time when I didn’t have a Ketut or Heidi when I was living as a young bachelor that I got bugger all rumpy pumpy. I was 19 and had my tiny flat (apartment) and maybe it was because I never ever changed the sheets that when I brought a girl back to my place and showed the “bedroom” that nothing happened. Yep, dirty sheets may have been the answer………..that and the fact that at 19 I had a David Hasselhoff and Knight Rider duvet and 12 copies of Big Jugs magazine on the bedside table.
Time for today’s Q and A………………….off we go.
Richard Neefe asks:
Hi again, John: I don’t mean to bug you, but I’m trying to identify which ship “Blood Power” may be performing on during this coming New Year’s holiday. Hopefully, they remain aboard or have returned to Carnival Paradise, but any Florida-based ship will do. If you happen to have an e-mail address for one of the members, Bong perhaps, that would be great. Otherwise, any suggestion you might have as to how to track them down would be appreciated. Thanks! Cheers and Happy Sailing!
Hello Richard Neefe,
You are never bugging me and thanks again for writing. Blood Power is currently entertaining our guests on the Carnival Paradise and will remain there until 4/15/14. I am afraid I am unable to pass out crew members contact information though. I hope this helps and I hope also you get to enjoy them very soon. Best wishes.
Jeremy Christiansen asks:
John, I asked you to send my brother and his new wife something to help celebrate their honeymoon and you did just that and so I am writing to say thank you. I also have the sad news of telling you that currently my brother Frankie is in hospital suffering from deep vein thrombosis which he got on their flight back from Puerto Rico. He was in a serious condition for many weeks and hopefully he will be allowed home soon. He still talks about the cruise and all that happened and I had to tell you that thank you for the gifts you sent.
Hello Jeremy Christiansen,
I am so very sorry to read about Frankie and I hope by the time you read this that he is out of the hospital and home again with his family. Please send him my best wishes and I hope we see you all again very soon on another cruise. Best wishes.
Alison Camus asks:
I have been designated the group leader of our Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle for the 12/08 cruise on Carnival Magic and need your help organizing some important things. I need a private room for us to meet in on the Monday, which is the day at sea, at 2:30pm – 4:00pm. There will be 50 – 60 members in attendance so a designated bartender just for us will be needed maybe two bartenders as it is such a big group. One of our members has put together a movie of the last cruise many of us were on together on Norwegian Dawn and we will need a big screen or television and DVD to show this on set up for us. I did contact your groups department about this and they told me there would be a $50 charge for this. This is outrageous and has already put a sour taste in our group before this cruise gets going so I hope you will do the right thing and wave this stupid fee. My booking number is ****** in cabin 1392 so can you send the goodies that you send Cruise Critic groups there for me. We are all excited about this cruise, which for some is a first Carnival experience which is why I hope you will do the right thing.
Hello Alison Camus,
Thanks so much for writing and I am sure you must all be very excited for your cruise with us on Carnival Magic. I will be arranging a lounge for you as per the times you requested and will make sure that there is bar service for you so you can all purchase drinks using your individual sail and sign cards. This lounge will be listed as CC meet and greet in the Fun Times so you all know where to go. I am afraid as in all group requests like this we do charge for the setup of the audio visual equipment and the time for the technician to do so and I am sorry but I am unable to waive the $50 fee. Please let me know then if you still me need to arrange this or indeed you can do so through our groups department. I wish you all a great time.
Bettye Rolle asks:
Hi John: Booked my first back to back cruise for Jan 11 and Jan 18 2014, on Carnival Liberty. The main reason I booked was based on sailing with Karl with a K again. Checked the 2013 CD listing which had him listed so I booked. Checked your 2014 listing and he is nowhere to be found! Is he leaving Carnival as booked the trip with him in mind. Don’t want to travel without him. Can I cancel the second part of cruise without penalty? Help! We really wanted to sail again with him!
Hello Bettye Rolle,
I am afraid that Karl is no longer working with Carnival and has taken retirement. He will be thrilled though that he has such a fan in you and as I have his e-mail address I will make sure I send this to him. Please check with your agent or Carnival if you can cancel without penalty as there may be certain circumstances that allow or disallow this. I hope you still get to sail and enjoy the CD there next year who for the most part will be the wonderful James Dunn. Best wishes.
Tammy Hooker asks:
John – on one of your new Carnival Sunshine videos you said that the Carnival Sunshine MDR is for my time dining and the smaller dining room was for the scheduled dining. Is this going to be the case for all Carnival Sunshine cruises or just the one sailing now? We are booked on the 12/8 Carnival Sunshine and looked forward to the MDR but we are scheduled for the 6 pm seating.
Hello Tammy Hooker,
Yes indeed, due to the ever growing popularity of your time dining the aft dining room which is the biggest will remain the YTD dining room and the forward dining room will be for assigned seating. Thanks for writing and please let me know if you need anything before you sail. Have a great time. Best wishes.
Rhonda Brewer asks:
Do you know who will be the cruise director on the Carnival Sunshine sailing Nov. 18, 2013? The information is not on the cruise director schedule. Thank you!
Hello Rhonda Brewer,
Yes indeed, the CD for this inaugural cruise from New Orleans will be the very talented Jaime Dee. Have a brilliant time and let me know if you need anything. Best wishes.
Jay Brensford asks:
Heald, can I bring my Gerber Tool on the ship? I use it for a corkscrew in the cabin. We were allowed to bring it on our Royal Caribbean cruise!!!!!
Hello Jay Brensford,
If it is a small version of the tool, one that easily fits in the palm of your hand then this may be OK. If it’s the larger version then no, I am afraid not. Either way I suggest you have in your carry-on luggage so that when you pass through security they can see if it’s OK or not. Have a great cruise. Best wishes.
Christine & Gary Moss asks:
Hi John: Just got off the Carnival Legend 11-day New York to Tampa cruise on October 21. Just wanted to tell you about an outstanding Carnival employee — Nevenka, the pools and decks supervisor. We thought there was more than one of her; she was everywhere on the decks. She seemed to be working 24 hours a day; we even stopped her to ask if she got any sleep. She was constantly on the move, making sure the decks and pools were clean, neat and tidy. We watched her pick up garbage, plates, cups, arrange deck chairs, check garbage containers, take wrapping off new deck chairs, and solve the “yellow slime” issue in the Serenity pool. From watching her (and again it was hard not to she was everywhere) she seems like a very good supervisor and clearly leads by example; she was doing the work right alongside her team members. We know all Carnival employees work very hard and they all do a great job, but Nevenka really stood out. I would also like to give a big thank you to Miroslav, Milos, and Joy who took good care of us
in the dining room (early seating table 206).
Hello Christine & Gary Moss,
This is brilliant. Thanks so very much for telling me about Nevenka who is truly one of the unsung crew members who is never usually in the spotlight so thank you so much for putting her there. I will make sure she gets the praise she deserves and again it’s because of you that she will. I hope you had a brilliant cruise and that we see you soon. Best wishes.
Hello John. We are on the Carnival Breeze this week and noticed that there is no Carnival Legends show??? Has this been cancelled on all ships or is this just on the Carnival Breeze? Thank you.
We have stopped Carnival Legends on some of the ships now although it remains on others. We are looking at updating the show as well and I will have more information on that as and when it happens. I do hope you had a great time and that we see you soon. Best wishes.
That’s all for today.
As you know we recently said goodbye to two cruise directors in Karl with a K and Jeremy “Tex.” This has meant a few changes in the CD schedule and I will post a new one soon. Meanwhile I can tell you that from January next year that James Dunn will be the permanent CD on Carnival Liberty and that Butch will now cover the Carnival Sunshine to cover Jaime Dee’s vacation in February which means Butch will be the CD for Bloggers Cruise 7. Meanwhile Pete Leibenberg will go back to Carnival Breeze on 1/18 until Butch returns to Carnival Breeze on 3/23. Those are the changes so far and as and when there are any more I will let you know. As you know I am on a diet, a strict no-carb diet and it’s working slowly but surely and I am starting to see things far more clearly……..if you know what I mean. So this diet basically means that I can only eat meat, fish, eggs and veggies, sod all else. Now that’s fine when I am choosing where I eat but its more challenging when I go out for dinner with others like last night.
You see one of the beards took me to what some people would describe as a “posh restaurant” and let me tell you what was on the menu. I started with duck, it was described as “crispy” on the menu which is just how I like it but– wait for it, it was embedded in an entire field of blackberries (the fruit, not the phone) and they had drizzled blackberry sauce all over the duck. The menu had declined to mention this and if you ever have duck with blackberry you will discover the two go together like the words Paris and hospitality.
I then ordered a steak and I told the waiter who will shall call Ernesto, because that’s what his name tag said, it was that I wanted the rib eye steak and that I would like it to be cooked well done and please let me explain why. I hate any redness in my meat and while Heidi is happy to have her steak waved in front of a candle for a few minutes and call it cooked ….. me……. well, I have to have mine burnt.
I know there are foodists out there who will tell me that this takes away the taste but they can …….. with respect………bugger off. I do not want my plate to look like the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan….eating should not be a blood sport. Unfortunately the well-done piece I had requested was, in fact, the opposite and I am sure as stabbed my knife and fork into it I heard it moo. I have never had to ask for a steak to be taken back and because the senior beard was paying and because I am British I reverted to being Hugh Grant when Ernesto asked if everything was OK and replied with, “Yes, absolutely, spiffing, cheers, wonderful.” I then spent the rest of the main course trying not to look down and the bits of curdled blood in my steak and instead stared directly into the eyes of the senior beard which must have made him very nervous indeed. Some people say that cooking steak requires no skill beyond what we were capable of a million years ago, when our knuckles still dragged on the floor and foreplay was a tap on the arse with a mammoth bone……..but they are wrong. Cooking the perfect steak is an art form and one that I am proud to say we have perfected in our Carnival Fahrenheit 555 steakhouses.
On Monday’s blog in the Q&A section a lady suggested that I would live longer if I became a vegan? Short of having my dangly bits blow torched, I can think of nothing I’d like less. Eating a plate of food that contains no animal product of any kind makes me ummm……a yak. I respect vegetarianists …..really I do……but eating only vegetables is like deciding to talk using only consonants. You need vowels or in this case…. steak. But being on this diet I have rediscovered my love of veggies. Cauliflower and peas, particularly. But these are an accompaniment to food, useful only for filling up the plate and absorbing the au jus. The idea of eating only a cauliflower, without even so much as a cheese sauce is unfathomable. There are wider implications, too. Let us imagine that the world decided today to abandon its appetite for sausages, prime rib and roast lamb. The fields would be full of millions of cows, sheep and pigs………..and unless we introduce a yearly case of mad cow and foot and mouth – or reintroduce wolves and lions to the fields of Texas – then surely, just as in Planet of the Apes, the bovine creatures of the planet would eventually take over the world and rule us all.
So, I guess I should explain about my food venting this morning…..and the answer is very simple. The food served on a Carnival ship is excellent and it will be getting even better as you will see in the days ahead. Change is never easy and not only takes time but also guts to do especially if what you already have is working so well. Let me try and explain and use TV in doing so. Yesterday on Facebook I spoke about my new favourite show Breaking Bad and how the character of Mr. White changes from a good bespectacled chemistry teacher into a murdering bastard of a drug dealer. This is unusual in TV, I mean the change aspect. Take some of America’s most famous sitcoms such as Friends and Sex and the City? These prove my point perfectly. Those characters were the same at the last ever episode as they were at the first ever episode. What made them popular was that the characters were still eating pizza and drinking coffee in the cafe and still having rumpy pumpy with someone called “Big.” This isn’t the case with Breaking Bad or The West Wing or, of course, The Sopranos and the much missed James Gandolfini’s brilliant performance of an ever-changing mob boss and family. So, if you want success the formula seems to be, don’t change a thing.
I remember back in the day “fine dining” and Carnival Cruise Lines were not words you usually heard together in conversation but thanks to the beards who are the architects of the brilliant food that you can all enjoy fleetwide we have come a long way and rather like in Breaking Bad …… wait until you see what happens next.