Space Invaders, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, Hemorrhoids……these were the games last time I played in an arcade. ………..Oh, good morning by the way, it’s just after midnight here and we had a beautiful day in Dubrovnik. More about that later but back to the subject of arcade games………..here is why.

Guest: ________
Cabin: _____

Arcade Games

Mr. ________ came to the desk wanting to speak to the person in charge of the Arcade Games and the Cruise Director. Guest was very upset and raising his voice and said he would not leave until he spoke to the Cruise Director. Purser called John but he was on the bridge with the tender services but said he would call the guest after sailing. Cruise Director pointed out that the Casino Manager was in charge of the arcade and if a machine was broken to call him. Purser told guest this and Mr ____ said it was not about a machine being broken and he would speak to me later. Guest left the desk. Comments sent to Cruise Director.

OK, so I called the guest. I am not going to put his name up here because it does involve his 12-year-old son. I called the guest thinking it would have been one of these reasons that he was so upset.

1. The games were busy all the time…………………this is the case with 700 kids onboard even though it is open 24 hours.

2. Maybe his child had put money in and the machine had not worked.

3. Maybe he thought the games were too expensive………….not that I had any clue how much they were.

Now, at this point, I should explain that I have been in the arcade once when I walked the ship for the first time back in February in the shipyard. Since then I have never had reason to go there. I should also explain that the Play Station and F-Box thingies have passed me by. I have never been interested in these games……….boring is I am I prefer movies, books, talking to people, Turkish baths etc………..therefore I hoped he wasn’t going to ask me about why we didn’t have the latest game or why after three rounds his space ship got blown up by a race of huge aliens armed with rubber tubes called the Fatimarons.

Anyway, my point is I know nothing about these games and was hoping, to be honest I hoped that I could pass this off to the casino manager who is responsible for the arcade.

So, I called the guest, we will call him Pac Man just for reference sake and before I had finished with my usual good evening etc, Pac Man launched into what I can only describe as a rage……boy was he angry. So, I listened to him for at least five minutes during which he told me what a bad person I was and that the cruise line should be embarrassed and that I would not be going to heaven………….yep, apparently Pac Man has heard this from the big boss and I am heading for the basement……..oh, along with all the other people on the ship and Paris Hilton……………..OK, he didn’t say Paris Hilton but if I am going then I might as well take someone with me.

Anyway, after he unleashed all his torpedoes on me I thanked him for his comments and explained that I really had no idea if what he was saying was correct but that I would investigate and get back to him before the end of the day.

Now, some of the Sherlock Holmes amongst you will have figured out what Pac Man was so upset about……………oh, talking of Sherlock Holmes the world’s greatest detective (except Kojak – I loved Kojak) here is my favorite Sherlock Holmes joke.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went camping and pitched their tent under the stars.

During the night, Holmes awoke his friend and asked: “Watson, when you look up and see the stars, what do you deduce?”

Watson slowly awakens and after a pause, responds: “That even if a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely there are planets like Earth. And if there are a few planets like Earth, there might also be life.”

“Watson you idiot,” says Holmes. “It means that somebody has stolen our tent.”

OK, back to Mr Pac Man and for those of you who have reached this conclusion you are to be congratulated. Pac Man was so very upset that we would have such violent games in our arcade and he felt that his son was now traumatized because he had seen the games. I wanted to have all the facts before we spoke again so after the show, I went down to the arcade to have a look at the games we offer. Now, amongst the driving and racing games and the one where you bash a plastic disc around with…….well a basher thing and score goals………I have no idea what that is called I was surprised to see some games where the titles themselves do seem …..well….violent.

We have:

TARGET TERROR

EXTREME HUNTING

TIME CRISIS 4

HOUSE OF THE DEAD

BIG BUCK HUNTER

TURKISH BATH TERROR

OK, I made the last one up…….but it was terr…..never mind. I played each game and I have to say I was surprised. Most involve killing things from a simple deer in Extreme Hunting and Buck Hunter to killing evil monsters in Time Crisis and of course in House Of The Dead you get to kill Zombie like creatures which were obviously modeled on the girls Alan Adkins and I used to date. You get to kill these things with guns, axes, flame throwers and if you hit the creatures in the head it explodes, oozes blood and puss and eventually falls off and David Beckham runs on a scores a goal with it……….OK, I made the last bit up.

So, Mr Pac Man was correct, the games are indeed violent. They do carry ratings on the machines but none, surprisingly are adult rated. I also discovered that these games are played by millions of kids worldwide on their Play Stations and Z-box thingies.

Pac Man is a devout Christian and I can understand where his concerns come from although blaming me is a bit much and hopefully the good Lord will see that I did not invent these games and send me to …well, the place that House Of The Dead seems to be based on. Tomorrow morning I will have a chat with Pac Man, I will apologize and I will have to agree with him and suggest that his child not go into the arcade. It is also obvious that no other parent has had concerns with this or have chosen never to mention it as this is the first time I have heard of such a complaint.

I say bring back the old games and lets shoot harmless space ships from Mars, move a triangle around and shoot lumpy things that were supposed to be Asteroids and if we most shoot evil creatures then make them more realistic………………small women holding Mahjong board for instance. I would be interested to know your thoughts on this subject.

Are we wrong to offer these games?

Here are today’s photos from Dubrovnik.

1. The old town taken from the mountain road above.

1. The old town taken from the mountain road above.

2. The Country House on the Konavle Tour

2. The Country House on the Konavle Tour

3. The old town again – a bit closer

2. The Country House on the Konavle Tour

4. The main street in Old Town Dubrovnik

4. The main street in Old Town Dubrovnik

5. Over the roof tops

5. Over the roof tops

Here then is today’s photo from the Embarrass John section. This is me and Michael Andrew and the wonderful Captain Gavino taken in 1993.

Embarrass John

Here are today’s letters and a drawing from Kids Corner.

Letter

LetterLetter
Letter

Letter

Letter

With regard to the last one from Skippy to Squishy, I read this out on the Morning Show and called the guest. Obviously I thought Squishy was a woman but she was a he and so was skippy……………….opps a daisy.

So, the Q and A………..I am not sure where to start because I seem to be a bit behind so please bare with me and I will start with those from the blog featuring Paul Santley and then the one entitled The Love of Boats. I will answer as many of them as I can………..here we go.

SNOOPY – OK, it was a dumb question that I asked. I just thought maybe it was a nickname because you had droopy ears or barked like a dog during a full moon. Now though I understand why you are called Snoopy. Thanks for sending the link to my Dad and he will I know be very happy. My best to you, Charlie Brown and of course Deb.
SUSAN B – Tell Mr Cheap that I will do my best to be as funny as I can when you are onboard and it may help if you tell him there is no charge for the jokes. I am so glad that you are enjoying the blogs and that they make you laugh. Sometimes, they are a little sad, sometimes they are just about life but as often as I can I will try and share as much laughter with you as I can. Best to you both.
MEDIUMCRUISER – Hey mate………welcome home and that is the funniest Alitalia story I have ever heard. I am sure it was not funny at the time but goodness me is it any surprise that they are having such problems. How are Mum and Dad? Are they OK, that must have been quite an experience for them. I did get your letter mate and it was very funny and now I think I can say “Forgedaboutit” with the best of them. I have sent your posting to a few “friends” at Carnival as I really want them to see yet another astonishing story from this airline. Personally, and this is just my opinion……….if any one says ” would you like to fly with Alitalia…….my answer “forgetaboutdit “……………..It was an honour to have you on board.
SHARON AND JEFF – It will be interesting how much luggage you arrive with and how much you leave with after spending 49 days onboard………maybe we should make that into a contest ….”guess how much luggage Sharon has and win a prize.” Yes indeed, the Maitre’D I was talking about…Ken was the same Ken who sang to you on your last cruise. He will I am sure be on the Carnival Splendor and I am sure we can arrange for you to be in his dining room. So, 49 days onboard……….I am sure you will have lots of questions before this BTBTB cruise and I will be here to help as and when you need me. My best to you both.
ADIAS.ANGEL – You are welcome…………..anytime.
KELLIE O’LEARY – My sympathies are with you Kellie. To have your Dad taken from you at such a young age must have been and such a terrible ordeal. Having to tell Heidi her beloved Father had passed away was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and a terrible day I will never forget. Happier things now………..yes, as you have booked five balcony cabins in a row you can indeed open all the dividers and you just need to ask your State Room Steward who will be happy to help. This will make the longest balcony on the ship and a great place to watch the Ocean from. So, please be happy but now that Heidi and I sympathize with your terrible loss.
LISA AND ELAINE – Alan’s reaction to my joke………..well, let’s just say that he was not a happy man and has promised revenge so I am walking around with my eyes wide open as you never know where he is going to strike. You do meet so many wonderful people on a ship but occasional, as you said, there are people who take advantage of the system and that’s what happened I think with Mr Angry in the Supper Club………….I am a great believer in what goes around comes around and I have made sure that his name is documented in the system……what a shame. I hope you are both well and as always I thank you for taking the time to read the blog thingy.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – Whose CD’s you sent me I was listening to this afternoon as I was getting ready for the show. I wish I could have snuck in some jelly Beans for Mr Angry’s dinner. You know a friend of mine who used to be a air hostess told me that if passengers were rude she used to put Optrex (eye drops) on their dinner…………..they then spent a lot of time getting to know just how small an airplane toilet really is. Thanks again for the wonderful music…………..I am a true convert.
THE BEARS, CARL AND BARB – a wonderful commercial for Alaska from the bears and something for us all to think about in the future…………maybe even a Bloggers Cruise as I am sure it would be an amazing experience for us all. However, there are lots of things to consider with this so we shall see. I trust you are both well and you continue to be great supporters of the blog for which I am so thankful.
MARIJ VAN DINTER – Thank you so much or in Dutch…..Danke Weil, jai bint mi frinkyer. Groter kunuffles fur jou from us both. Dooooeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
BIG ED – I thought you were on my side and now I see you siding with your best friend Alan Adkins. He actually cannot wait to meet you and I am sure on the Bloggers Cruise you will be inseparable which has me very nervous indeed.
MAURO MOSCARDINO – Thanks for reading the blog thingy and let me answer your questions. I can indeed make a reservation for you at the Supper Club. Have a look at the side of this page and you will see a Supper Club reservation form. Please complete this and I will make the reservation as requested and send you a confirmation. You also asked if you can collect your own luggage at the airport and indeed you can. If you have Carnival-arranged transportation it will go on the same bus as you so all will be well. I look forward to meeting you and we can chat about Aston’s and Ferraris and life in general. Hope to hear from you soon and I will look out for your Supper Club reservation.
LFTTNSFCF – You are right Jon, (don’t usually call you by your name do I?) that Jeff Bronson was indeed the CD on the Paradise for some time and I am sure you will have enjoyed him there. You know, I have never actually asked you if it was just the smoke free status of the ship that you and Mrs. MTSFP enjoyed or, was it the decor or both or more……..anyway, when you have time, please let us all know. There is nothing in the rules (as I make them up as I go along) to stop you being a judge for Halloween so we will make it so. My best to you both and lets chat about the Paradise on your next posting.
KEVIN – Great joke mate and I am sure it was a hit. Thank you for saying the things you said in that posting. I am sure I will never have an Aston Martin but the fact that so many people wish I did have one is nearly good enough…………not quite…………but nearly. Now onto PA007…………there is indeed still much talk about who he or she is. That is one of the reasons why I have kept PA 007 the grey man for the last few weeks because people were getting too close and the last thing I want is for him or her to lose his or her job. I do know that PA 007 has been enjoying some bowling and recently he/she went to a German Beer festival at EPCOT and got very tipsy………..PA007 does not handle alcohol well and if drunk can be found break dancing ion the middle of the street or doing impressions of Captain Kirk. I am sure though that PA007 will have breaking news for us very soon. I will need to talk to you about working onboard soon so stand by for that………..by the way………do you have any preference for Carnival or would a small yacht style company like Seabourn interest you? Thanks mate, you are a great friend……….with an Aston.
MANUEL – I am glad I was able to preempt some of your questions about what ships do during the Hurricane season. I will be talking more about that in a moment. You also asked about the tours for the Carnival Splendor and are they set up yet. The answer is no, not yet. I will be checking them out some time early next year and as soon as I do I will make myself available to answer as many questions as you have before you decide what to purchase. There are going to be some great ones though….it is an exciting program. I look forward to receiving what you sent me and I will let you know when it gets here…………my sincere thanks in advance. Cheers mate.
CRUISINSUE – It won’t be long before you are in the Med and onboard the Carnival Freedom. Are you excited? I am glad you liked the interview with Paul Santley and yes, the CD’s are like family and we always try and make sure that we make you, the guest, part of the family as well. You asked about my mate Corey Schmidt, arguably one of the best CD’s Carnival ever had. He left in 2004 and now works in Lake Tahoe. We all miss him here. I will see you in October and I will do my best to make sure you feel at home and part of the family.
SUSAN B – I would love to hear from your 16-year-old and what her ideas are. Please ask her to slap a posting on the blog and let’s have a chat.
ALICE – You are welcome Alice.
JENNIFER HAMMOND – Thank you for your prayers and thoughts, we may need to do a lot of that this Hurricane season.
MISSING YOU – I am making enquiries within the bar department for information on your long lost love but so far I am sorry to report I have not been successful. Please give me more time and hopefully love will bring you two together.
KICIASKI – Hello Linda and hello George…….how are you both. It looks like the Hurricane could go to category 5 and I will give you an update as and when I hear any news. Congratulations on getting your Carnival Splendor tickets and let me answer your question about where to stay in Amsterdam. There are many good hotels in Amsterdam and here are three to choose from:
RADISSON SAS
THE HOTEL D’EUROPE’
THE JOLLY CARLTON HOTEL
All of these are in the center of Amsterdam and are within walking distance of the Flower market, The Dam square and a short tram ride to the museum district. I hope indeed we can meet up in Florida and nearer the time we must arrange this. If you have any further questions on Amsterdam, please let us know. Wish you were here.
DIVETRASH – I am glad you got message and I am sorry I did not give you my name………how rude of me. It seems that everyone is willing you to come and cruise and being single, as you can see, will not be a problem. You can share a room with Kevin, Big Ed or Alan or just have a room on your own and hang out with all of us. Regardless, I will see you soon and tell your boyfriend I wish he was coming as well…….I would even have made eggs and bacon English style for him. Cheers.
DWA76 – You are too kind with your words about me on the beach. The haircut was a disaster and was done so to impress a beautiful lady called Sarah who worked in the Beauty salon…………sssssssshhhhhhhh don’t tell the Mrs. I am glad you liked the interview with Paul and I am sure you will also like the one today with another great friend of mine. All the best mate.
DAVE SOREFF – I am so happy that you saw the photo. I looked everywhere for one of me and you and Doug but that is the only one I could find. Let me know what he says, I will be interested to hear if he remembers being as ugly as that 🙂 I miss you both.

OK. I have to stop there because it is very, very late………….1:31am to be exact. We are in Venice tomorrow and I have something very special to do which I will of course share with you all soon. I know I am way behind on the questions and I promise to catch up tomorrow……………promise.

Here is today’s interview. After the huge success of interviewing the President of Princess Cruises (thanks again Alan) it is back to another cruise director. This young man was an Assistant with me back on the Carnival Destiny and I knew straight away that he was going to be a great CD………….and for once, I was right. Here is Mark Price and the beautiful Carnival Conquest.

Mark Price

Mark Price

Mark Price

1. Please can you tell us about your career with Carnival so far? How did you start and when?

My first ship was Carnival’s Holiday sailing out of San Pedro, CA. in 1996. I took flight from my home country England and flew to join Carnival Cruise Lines after appearing on a British Television show “England’s Most Wanted.” After averting autographs and fingerprints and telling my mother I was off to college, I made it on board as a Social Host. A job I thought would be fun for a year or two. Two years to the very day of joining Carnival Cruise Lines and after being subjected to parties, games, spectacular shows and enduring hours and hours of fun and merriment, I found myself being hoisted up the rigging ranks and promoted to Cruise Director. On this journey to the big chair I had the pleasure of working with Mr. John Heald. We had a ton of fun on the Carnival Destiny when it first came out and then again on the Imagination. Between working these ships I had my first experience as Cruise Director filling in on the Holiday for a short while. This was an eye-opening and educational experience into the world of a Carnival Cruise Lines’ Cruise Director and what amazing impact they have bringing the fun to our guests. With this new insight I found the job I knew I would enjoy so I decided to stay for a while longer. In 1998 my first ship as full time CD was the Carnival Ecstasy and throughout the years I have worked many of the ships in the fleet and at present I am on board the Carnival Conquest. This is probably one of the nicest decorated ships I have worked on and the team here is fantastic.

2. What ship are you currently on and what is its itinerary?

The Conquest has a great run visiting 3 very different ports of call, Montego Bay, Jamaica / Grand Cayman / Cozumel, Mexico.

3. Please can you pick two excursions from each port and tell us why you recommend them so much?

Jamaica

Dunn’s River Falls: Without a doubt, a trip to Jamaica is not complete without visiting the 600 ft Dunn River Falls cascading down onto the beach and out into the big blue. Walking the falls is a must! Remember the scene from the Movie “Cocktail” where Tom Cruise and Elisabeth Shue made out? Yep that was right there at Dunn River Falls. Ooh the romance!

Canopy Tour: Swinging through the treetops on Zip lines is amazing fun. The Canopy Tour has 6 zip lines giving you a view only you and the birds can share. The last of the 6 zip lines will fly you through the air for over 1,000 feet (This is longer than the Carnival Conquest ship). This is soooo much fun and the only way I would recommend getting high in Jamaica!

Grand Cayman

Stingray & Island: Interacting with the Stingrays is an incredible experience and the Island has its hidden treasures you don’t want to miss. Combination Tours are by far the best way to go, saving you time and money. Both island tours and stingray tours are excellent and worth doing but if you can get the combo…. do so!

Cozumel

Mayan Ruins of Tulum

If you are taking the time to go to Mexico then you should immerse yourself in its history and culture. You might be surprised how many of today’s everyday things we take for granted were developed or discovered by the Mayans. A visit to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum will transport you back in time and give you a great feeling of being in Mexico.

4. What are your favorite activities or events that you host and why?

A difficult questions this one John because there are so many. I’ll pick 3 to make this easier.

The Welcome Aboard Show is probably my favorite as this sets the tone of the cruise. It’s like one big party and as the show progresses you can feel everyone relax and also unit as a big family. A collective realization that it’s OK to let your hair down and have fun. There is something special about being a part of the Carnival Family and the Welcome Aboard show is where this all starts.

The Mardi Gras, Carnival Colors Team Challenge and Deck Party. I love to throw big parties and this is the biggest event of the entire cruise. We don’t just hold one party on board the Conquest we throw 3 at the same time. You have to live it to believe it! This is what cruising is all about. It’s an amazing interaction of games, competitions, team camaraderie, dancing, singing and fun that flows from lounge to lounge on Promenade Deck to the Lido Aft deck to the main pool deck. It’s huge!

The Newlywed not so Newlywed Game Show has to be mentioned. This show is always different and always funny. Improvisation is the name of the game here and the answers from the guests are mind blowing, funny, surprising and sometimes quite shocking. Whatever happens, it is always an enjoyable event and everyone has fun.

5. Fill in the blank please……………..People should sail on the (CONQUEST) because…………………………….. it’s FUN! Remember every cruise vacation is different if you want it to be and every Carnival ship has its own uniqueness. The rule when going on vacation is never try reliving the same experience twice. A vacation is a time to create and make new memories. An opportunity to try things you have not experienced before. Of course we have the classic games and events which make Carnival so popular but there are always new things to discover and new things to do. People should sail on the Conquest because it is another chance to have more fun and we will be waiting to make and share new memories with you.

6. What do you enjoy most about being a Cruise Director?

First and foremost making people happy! Vacations are for escaping reality, even if it’s only for a short time, and that is what vacations are about. I see a lot of people who find it hard to switch off or feel guilty about having fun. I love watching these barriers quickly break down and see the real people come to life while on a fun ship cruise. Most of our guests end up doing things they would never dream of doing back home. It is great watching adults from all walks of life running around wearing face paint, dancing and singing without a care in the world. Watching their friends and family member snapping away with their cameras knowing they have the ultimate black mail material when they get home.

Then there are the uplifting stories, I hear about the way we at Carnival touch people’s lives. Things we would never realize unless we are told. As a cruise director I often get guests come up to me at the end of the cruise and let me know how much fun they have had and share their special stories with me. Examples are from guests who rejoice in how our on board team exceeded their expectations which meant so much to them because they were cancer survivors. Through their treatment their dream was taking a cruise, a motivation that helped them and their families through difficult times. Acknowledgment that we indeed helped make a dream come true is unbelievably rewarding especially when you realize its importance to those individuals. Recently I had a gentleman come up to me with glazed eyes and told me that his elderly mother and father were cruising with their family and that his father had been dealing with some ill heath. It took much convincing from all the family to get him to sail and that they were very concerned about his state of mind. During the cruise this couple joined me on stage and won the hearts of their fellow guests. As I said before there is something special about being a part of the Carnival family because instantly they became celebrities. The power of laughter is immeasurable and the kind words of strangers have a power we often don’t realize. The son of this very memorable couple told me that this experience opened his father up like nothing he had ever seen, a rejuvenation turning his mental condition around 180 degrees. Before the end of their cruise his father was already planning another cruise vacation for the family. Now it’s stories like this that make a Cruise Director’s job so rewarding.

7. Share your favorite story with us that involve our guests and your job?

Well as this is John’s Blog, why not a story about the man himself. As I recently shared with my fellow cruise Directors to celebrate Johns 20th Anniversary I do recall this….

The ship: The Carnival Destiny.

Day: Last day on board before John’s vacation after his first contract on the Destiny.

It was the last Debarkation Talk John had to host and the lounge was full. He had delighted the audience with his wit and humor. At the end of his talk when he would normally say goodbye he was wrestled to the ground by a fellow colleague then I came out dressed in a bird costume from one of his favorite stories and danced around him. You had to be there! Then from the back of the lounge 2 Security officers and the Doctor ran through the crowd with a stretcher and a straight jacket. Bundled him up and carried him off the stage. The last thing the audience ever saw of John was his foot waving goodbye. What a good sport! Ooh how we laughed backstage…. after he stopped beating me with his microphone!

8. List your three favorite ports you have visited?

Tough question!

Boston, probably due to Historical connections in my family tree! Some of my ancestors got to the USA before me. At least I arrived on a nicer ship!

Eastern Caribbean islands are great. They all have their merits so it’s hard to choose just one.

The Hawaiian Islands. This trip was for pleasure. And you thought Cruise Director’s didn’t take cruises for their vacations!

9. Name three ports you would really like to see that you have never been to?

Alaska is one area I would like to visit.

Honk Kong would be cool

Madagascar. I’ve seen the movie and would like to meet a talking Zebra!

10. Finally, if you could introduce on stage any star, alive or not who would it be and why?

Aaaaaaaagh, the choices. OK, John I will have to cheat on this one as I can’t decide on just one!

OK, for musical entertainment.

U2, Phil Collins, Robbie Williams, Tony Bennett, Billy Joel, Elton John

Why? Because they are all really talented!

For Comedy

Eddy Izzard, Robin Williams, and someone who glued me to the TV growing up the very talented Danny Kaye.

Why? I enjoy animated comedians. They are all very clever and unique and they are visually funny too.

OK, Thanks John for the chance to chat with you….. you can now take your hand off my knee!

What a fantastic interview and like all the other CD’s a shiny example of why Carnival has the best Cruise Director’s in the industry.

It looks like Jamaica was spared a direct hit as was Cayman but now we must be concerned for the ports of Belize, Cozumel, Cancun and Costa Maya…….the latter having little or no defense from a direct hit. Please continue to have all the people of the Yucatan in your thoughts.

OK, it’s very late and I feel a bit stressed and therefore I am going for a late night Jacuzzi. So, its off to the bath and relax………….ooohhh, very posh I hear you cry, John has a jaccuzzi bath…………….actually I don’t…………..I have a bath……………….and a bag of sugar free jelly beans…………..instant bubbles.

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.