June 24, 2014 -
So it’s Tuesday, June 24, 2014, and I am sitting here in my underpants while the ship is docked in Victoria, BC, writing to you. Those underpants are quite baggy now because, yesterday, I finally reached the mark I have been working so hard on for the last seven months. Yep, I lost two pounds………..OK, two pounds plus another 50 pounds. Yep, I have, as of today’s weight check, lost 52 pounds! Yipeee! Only another 50 to go. Oh FFS.
While I have had lots of congratulations from guests who cruised with me when I was a huge fat bastard and are now cruising with me again when I am not such a huge fat bastard but still definitely a fat bastard, there is one big problem……….my clothes are too big for me. I mean, really too big for me, to the point that I look like a clown. The guests are saying it, the staff is saying it, Heidi is seeing my pictures and seeing it and so I guess something has to be done. And so I will have to suck it up and get off in Seattle and go shopping. Now I may have lost 52 pounds but I am not ready to shop at JC Macy’s, so I will be asking Uncle Google to find me a Fat Bastards Clothing Emporium. I hate, hate, hate going into those shops. If I go to a normal clothing shop 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 it’s still suitable only for a hamster.
I was in Miami in November last year arranging the Bloggers Cruise and I went to a shop in Las Dolphin Mall, which is in Venezuela. I found a casual shirt that had the right number of X’s on the label. Now had my assistant, Dee, not been with me, I would have purchased it right there and then but she was with me and had received instructions from my wife, Heidi, which meant I had to try it on. So I headed to the changing room which was the size of one of our cabin mini bars. 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 four” written down the side like most of my clothes, I had bought it from a normal store and not from Big Bubbas, yet the only person who could wear this shirt would have been that Mr. Stretch chap from the Fantastic Four. But after losing 50 pounds, it’s not T-shirts I need – it’s suits. Anyone who has seen photos of me here on Carnival Miracle will notice I am wearing the same two suits I was wearing when we brought out the Carnival Magic in……….ummm………….well, years ago. They look huge on me now, especially the pants which could be used to hold a wedding reception in. I hate 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 elegant in sweat pants and an Aston Villa Football 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 person’s shop, I have sod all chance of buying a suit from there and so I will have to go to a big man’s shop. Maybe in another 50 pounds that won’t be the case but, for now, it bloody well is. I want to get my clothes shopping done at the speed of light, but this is not possible at all when you are buying a suit. First of all, the man in the shop will want to measure every single part of my body and I will have to stand my fat arse in front of a full length mirror being fondled by a man who will spend far too much time measuring my “inside leg” while talking about Cher.
Yep, I need new clothes and although I would rather dip my dangly bits into a bag of scorpions than go shopping for clothes, I am very proud of myself for losing 50 pounds. I have a feeling though that the next 50 pounds will be a lot harder.
Time for our Q and A – here we go
Carlos Marquez asks:
John sorry to bother you but could you please confirm who the CD is going to be on the Carnival Sunshine sailing of July 5? Thanks!
P.S. FYI we are trying to work a deal between Carnival and our hotels so next time you come to Miami hopefully you will be staying at our hotel. We are the new owner/operators of the Hyatt Miami at The Blue. Cannot wait to have you as our guest!!!!
Hello Carlos Marquez
The CD will be George Roberts. This is a new change has Jamie Dee has taken some personal time but will be back soon. Thanks for the hotel offer – I might just have to take you up on that the next time I’m in Miami! I wish you a wonderful cruise and please let me know if you have any questions. Best wishes.
Myssie Hanna asks:
Hi John: Please let me know the main differences between Carnival Liberty and Carnival Sunshine. Our family wants to do a five-day cruise and I’ve really wanted to go on Carnival Sunshine, but not sure the dates are ones we can make. So I was looking at the Carnival Liberty next. I really want to be sure the water slides are awesome on the Carnival Liberty as I have two teenage boys. I saw Carnival Sunshine looks like they have them, but just cannot tell. Any input to help me make a better decision would be great. Thanks.
Hello Myssie Hanna
Carnival Liberty had lots of 2.0 upgrades that you will all enjoy so much. The main difference between the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Sunshine is that the Carnival Liberty does not have the WaterWorks but one single Twister slide instead. I have no doubts though that you and the family will have a brilliant time and, after the kids have enjoyed the slide it will be time for a Guy’s burger. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.
Lindsey Kranz asks:
Message: HEY!! WHO ARE THE COMEDIANS ON THE JULY 20 CRUISE?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope you are looking forward to your cruise and laughing out loud at the Punchliner comedians Carl Faulkenberry, Al Romas, Dwight Slade and Chris Wiles. Have a brilliant time and please shout if you have any other questions. Best wishes.
Jeanne Polanco asks:
Carnival must consider adopting what Celebrity Cruise Line does and have a special VIP gangplank in port. Just off the Carnival Liberty and saw in Cozumel and Costa Maya that there was a special gangway for the workers that had no line which could be used for VIPs. The lines to get back were horrendous so this could be the solution to getting VIPs back on the ships and not standing in line with everyone else.
Hello Jeanne Polanco
I hope you had a wonderful time on the cruise and enjoyed the fun and the service and the ports. Unfortunately, the crew line involves walking through a busy area we call the marshaling area and it’s full of provisions and it would not be an environment we would want our guests to pass through. Plus there are no elevators from there to guest decks. Thank you for your loyalty and I do hope that we will see you again very soon. Best wishes.
Shore excursion tickets – until the last two cruises on the last sea day you have been able to get a copy of your shore excursions tickets for scrapbooking – I was surprised when I was told that you no longer do that because people were getting them then asking for a refund saying that they did not go (unbelievable) – for those of us who like to scrapbook or just want a souvenir of their trip there is an answer. Get a rubber stamp for each ship and stamp the back of the ticket that says “TICKET COPY of your Shore Excursion – Souvenir Only – NO Monetary Value.”
Yes, what a shame that, for accounting purposes, we have had to stop this. However, if you would like a copy please do ask and they will give you a ticket copy that has a stamp on it that says USED. I just spoke with someone who said this is definitely something we can do. Please remind me the next time you cruise and I will arrange this ahead of time if you wish. Thanks for telling me this and hope we see you soon. Best wishes.
Miguel Navarro asks:
John, my wife and I are both platinum cruisers. We just got off the Carnival Breeze (May 24 sailing) and have been enjoying our new VIFP coffee mugs each morning at home. Until a few days ago we noticed two problems: 1) the coffee liquid leaks from around the edges onto the table (we hand wash them and they were never dropped). 2) The logo on the cup has faded (not sure it is from the heat of the hot coffee or what). Can you pass this along to Carnival so they
can notify the cup vendor. My VIFP number is 5158364421. Thanks.
Hello Miguel Navarro
I am very sorry to read this and I will get new ones sent to you. Please accept my apologies and thank you also for your wonderful loyalty. I hope we see you soon and I remain here at your service. Best wishes.
Bruce McDonald asks:
John, love your blog. Has Carnival considered a cruise that overnights in Port Canaveral (Disney World) then to the Bahamas? I would enjoy something like that from Galveston. Thanks
Hello Bruce McDonald
While we always look to stay late in some ports, we rarely overnight (outside of a few calls in Nassau and on select Mexican Riviera cruises). Overnights stop us from opening shops and casinos and some ports even have restrictions on bars and alcohol service. Also, an overnight port would mean one less port in the itinerary as you need the night passage to reach the next destination. I hope that helps explain and if you have any other questions, please do let me know. Thanks for the kind words. Best wishes.
Jade Joie asks:
John: Why doesn’t Carnival do Europe? We will have to go to Royal next year We just got off the Breeze and loved it…so many wonderful things to say about it!
Hello Jadie Joie
I am so glad you had such a wonderful time on Carnival Breeze. With air fares from North America to Europe expensive at the moment, we are keeping the ships closer to home. However, we hope that this changes in the future as the feedback we receive on our European cruises is incredible. I do hope we see you again soon. Best wishes.
Denis K asks:
Regular reader, first time writing to you. I need you to fix me up with a tour of the engine room and a sit down with your head/chief engineer. I am a senior logistics engineer at the Big Bend nuclear power station. I foresee that we both would benefit from a sit down and a discussion. We (my wife and two daughters) are in Alaska with you on Miracle July 8 under booking ref ****** It is also going to be my wife’s birthday July 12 in Juneau so can you do something special for her. My wife is a dietitian so she would be willing to sit with you and offer advice and guidance.
Hello Denis K.
You will soon be here ready to explore Alaska and I will, of course, send your wife a little something to wish her a very happy birthday. I will also ask the chief engineer if his schedule permits you to have a chat with him, he is a very nice man, so I am sure he will find time if you have questions. I am afraid though that the only engine spaces we allow guests to see is the engine control room and the only way for you to see it is to take the Behind the Fun tour. This is available for purchase on board and features the bridge and photos and Q&A with the captain, the galley, backstage, many other crew-only areas with, of course, the chief engineer hosting the tour of the engine control room. I hope you get a chance to do this and I look forward to seeing you all very soon. Best wishes.
That’s all for today and my thanks to everyone who took the time to post comments and questions. This past cruise was an excellent one full of fun and memorable moments. We had rain in Skagway and, unfortunately, all of the helicopter flights to the glacier were cancelled. My naked water aerobics class in the main pool was also canceled. The guests have rain and a mixture of sun and cloud plus a bumpy sea day but it was an Alaskan experience the guests seemed to truly appreciate.
Let’s have a look at who is sailing with us today as we start another wonderful voyage.
Total Guests 2,443
United States 2,100
French Canada 9
Guest Under 18 392
Ladies called Susan 11
Diamond Guests 3
Platinum Guests 121
One of the places many of our guests will be enjoying will be the piano bar with our young British entertainer, Adam, who really does a great job. Our piano bars continue to provide our guests with fun, music and great memories and, with that in mind, here is their schedule for the coming months:
6/15/2014 8/16/2014 Jordan Heppner
8/16/2014 11/16/2014 Adam Sayer
11/16/2014 12/20/2014 Open
12/20/2014 4/12/2015 Ben Gentry
6/15/2014 6/22/2014 Bradley Dean Alexander
6/22/2014 6/29/2014 Elizabeth Setzer
6/29/2014 10/26/2014 Open
10/26/2014 2/23/2015 Open
6/15/2014 9/14/2014 Kimberly Krohn
9/14/2014 12/14/2014 Barry Meijer
12/14/2014 4/12/2015 Open
7/14/2014 10/10/2014 Elizabeth Setzer
10/24/2014 2/16/2015 Open
6/19/2014 7/26/2014 Open
7/26/2014 9/25/2014 Zdrazko Spassov
9/25/2014 12/13/2014 John Melnick
12/13/2014 1/15/2015 Open
5/14/2014 6/27/2014 Jeremy Ray Borders
6/27/2014 8/18/2014 Peter Zwerver
8/18/2014 12/12/2014 Roger Concepcion
12/12/2014 2/7/2015 Open
4/24/2014 9/18/2014 Jonathan Thompson
9/18/2014 11/13/2014 Hailey Morgan Wiebe
11/13/2014 3/14/2015 Open
5/3/2014 8/3/2014 William Seth Gibson
8/3/2014 1/18/2015 Open
6/14/2014 9/13/2014 Kyle Bronsdon
9/13/2014 12/13/2014 Edmond Holz
7/10/2014 11/13/2014 Daniel Satterberg
11/13/2014 1/15/2015 Jafar Curry
5/5/2014 8/29/2014 Christine Hetfield
8/29/2014 11/17/2014 Open
11/17/2014 1/12/2015 Open
2/16/2014 8/17/2014 Todd Fugate
8/17/2014 9/24/2014 William Seth Gibson
9/24/2014 12/16/2014 Gary Pickus
12/16/2014 1/15/2015 Open
4/12/2014 7/27/2014 Barry Meijer
7/27/2014 10/18/2014 Milburn Dumas
10/18/2014 1/11/2015 Open
6/8/2014 9/14/2014 Robert Berhalter
9/14/2014 12/7/2014 Ben Gentry
12/7/2014 2/8/2015 Martin Lucas Vince
3/1/2014 7/1/2014 Adam Sayer
7/1/2014 11/2/2014 Bistra Mileva
11/2/2014 2/1/2015 Todd Fugate
3/31/2014 8/18/2014 Tom Grable
8/18/2014 9/15/2014 Steve Burks
9/15/2014 11/15/2014 Gustavo Garcia
11/15/2014 3/15/2015 Open
3/30/2014 8/17/2014 Roger Concepcion
8/17/2014 11/16/2014 Reynold Senn
11/16/2014 3/1/2015 Open
4/3/2014 7/13/2014 Milburn Dumas
7/13/2014 7/27/2014 Bradley Dean Alexander
7/27/2014 10/9/2014 Jeremy Ray Borders
10/9/2014 12/11/2014 Tom Grable
5/18/2014 6/25/2014 Natalie Carboni
6/25/2014 7/23/2014 Timothy Mitchell
7/23/2014 9/28/2014 Karin Muiznieks
8/29/2014 10/25/2014 Karin Muiznieks
9/28/2014 11/2/2014 Geoffrey Davies
11/2/2014 12/18/2014 Natalie Carboni
3/17/2014 10/16/2014 Dana Honey
10/16/2014 1/11/2015 Agustin Villarin
4/9/2014 8/16/2014 Sophia Robbemont
8/16/2014 11/15/2014 Daniel David
2/1/2014 8/16/2014 Agustin Villarin
8/16/2014 10/16/2014 Alan Sheppard
10/16/2014 2/5/2015 Robert Berhalter
5/11/2014 6/22/2014 Greg Alcock
6/22/2014 9/7/2014 Edmond Holz
9/7/2014 12/14/2014 Greg Alcock
12/14/2014 3/22/2015 Open
4/14/2014 9/25/2014 Robert Crucilla
9/25/2014 12/8/2014 Jordan Peterson
12/8/2014 3/21/2015 Jeremy Ray Borders
There you go, I hope you enjoy them all and, as always, I appreciate you telling me who your favourites are and also I would like to thank Laura, AKA Divetrash, for looking after them on their Facebook page.
During my years as a cruise director, I have always had one big problem…..women. Last night, I had one banging like hell on my cabin door……finally, I had to let her out. OK, that’s not the problem I meant. The problem is that I have never been able to say “No” because I guess it’s not in my character. Of course, I have always thought that if I do say “No,” then not only will “they” not ask me again, but I will be in the deep and smelly brown stuff when I need some help.
One good turn and all that bollocks. Of course, some people and, indeed, some nationalities are much better at saying no than others. In France, hotel and restaurant staff says, “No” before you have even finished the sodding sentence! I would love to say “No” much more often, starting now, in fact.
“Can I have a trophy, please?” “No, go to trivia and win one, FFS!”
“Can you get me a table for two?” “No………no, no, no. Your husband finds you boring and doesn’t want to be romantic. Secretly, he is hoping he gets seated with a group of single ladies who will have huge knockers. So, no, you cannot. I am going to seat you with a bunch of cougars so your husband can consider being a cheetah.”
But, of course, I am not going to do that because I like helping people and, let’s face it, in life, saying “yes” is far easier than saying “no.” But that was the word I had to use when speaking to the guest who wanted to host a talk for guests about the “spirit world” and offer to contact people who had passed on. I said “no” despite the fact that she told me the different cruise lines that had allowed her to do it. I also said “no” to the guests who wanted $100 each because of our “bravo bravo” announcement. I am getting better at this “no” thing………but, most of the time, I just turn into Hugh Grant.
On Facebook last week, I explained that due to some very inappropriate behaviour by me some 20 years ago, I have not had an alcoholic drink since. Yep, it has been 20 something years now. For those that missed the story, here it is again in a bit more detail. I think we may have been celebrating someone’s birthday and I had drunk three or four cognacs …….large ones. Cognac was my favourite drink. I am not an aggressive drunk. I usually giggle a lot and tell jokes about nuns and yaks. Anyway, I remember going to bed around 2 am but then the phone rang at 4 am and I was told to come to the bridge.
There had been a report of a missing guest and I had to call a full muster. This meant getting on the PA system, waking every guest and crew member up and telling them that the stateroom stewards and department heads would be checking that every guest was accounted for. I was told this by a captain who I can’t name but who had a strong Italian accent.
This is what I remember.
“You zee”……the captain said……”Wake op de passengers and tell dem wea hava to check a them in de beds.”
“Ummmmm……….What?” I replied. It wasn’t just his thick accent that I was having trouble with…..it was my head and my stomach and ……I have no idea how I managed to get through that night. My speech sounded slurred and I couldn’t concentrate and, luckily, the guest was found and it turned out to be he was …… well ……..in worse shape than I was. I have no idea how I got through that night and how the guests understood me anymore than I understood the captain but since that night I have never drunk anything on board or indeed on land.
I will leave this section with my favourite story about what people do when they have had too much to drink. My best friend Alan was working in the city of London some years ago. It was Christmas time and he had been at the office party. Now this was back in the early 90s when times in the city were good especially amongst the bankers of which Alan was one. Anyway, the champagne had been guzzled all night and Alan somehow caught the last train back to Southend on Sea. There were a few people on the train and most were in the same comatose state as Alan was. The train ride from London Fenchurch Street to where we live is around 50 minutes and it was halfway through the journey with the train rattling and rolling along that the 17 glasses of champagne and the chicken vindaloo curry started to curdle and Alan woke up knowing he had seconds to act. He knew there would be a toilet on the next carriage but he also knew he would never make it. Now remember, this was the early 90s. There were no lap tops and Eyepads …… everyone carried around something called a “paper” and they did that in briefcases.
And so Alan knowing he was about to give up his dinner reached up above him, grabbed his brief case off the rail, put his head between his legs, and deposited champagne de vindaloo into his briefcase. The other few passengers were either pretending not to notice and had their eyes tight shut because they didn’t want to see the contents of Alan’s stomach or……..they were as I said before in a drunken coma. Anyway, Alan closed his eyes feeling pretty sorry for himself and some 30 minutes later he got off the train, collected his briefcase and walked the short distance to his home. Once home and knowing that he would be as welcomed in his bed where his wife was sleeping as Donald Sterling is welcomed as a LA Clippers cheerleader……he went to the spare room and went straight to sleep.
The next morning he woke up and, as he began to rise, he remembered what had happened on the train and looked down at the briefcase knowing what was inside. He took the briefcase into the bathroom and prepared himself for the hell that was about to greet him as he opened it up. One click……two clicks……it was open. But….there was nothing inside apart from his paperwork. He couldn’t understand. Had he dreamt the whole thing? He then realised he hadn’t dreamt it. He had projectile vomited last night on the train…..into someone else’s briefcase. And that someone was probably thinking, “What the hell did I do last night?” as he scraped bits of diced curried carrot off his spreadsheets.