Home Sweet Home

October 29, 2007 -

John Heald

The name of the airline is Easy Jet and the only thing easy about them is that it is easy to get so frustrated that you would rather develop a hemorrhoid the size of one of their planes then ever fly them again. More of that in a moment but first of all…….where are my manners? I have not even said hello yet……….so…………hello.

I am sitting here at home writing my first ever blog from off the vessel which means for the first ever time I am writing a blog thingy without phones ringing, and with the constant need to check my watch to see how much longer I can write for without having to run off………….OK…….walk off somewhere else.

The last 48 hours onboard were very surreal. Sitting in the audience watching Todd the new cruise director host the Welcome Aboard talk was like walking into your bedroom and find someone else is wearing your underwear…………it felt really strange……….by the way……..the underwear thing……….you do realise that has never happened to me before ……….right?……….It was just a……never mind. Anyway, I sat there and watched Todd do a great job but boy……did that feel strange.

After the talk, Heidi and I hosted a welcome party for the 30 something guests who are bloggers and whom Heidi and I wanted to personally apologize to about not being onboard for them. We all had a great time and I hope also that the bloggers will make sure they have fun together during the 14 days they are onboard together.

Mr and Mrs. Missingthesmokefreeparadise arrived in costumes of the Paradise and they were the life and soul of the party. I also met many other wonderful people including Sue Grohol whose luggage had yet to arrive…………I hope it has by the time this thingy is posted.

Anyway, it was a fun time for all and I thank them so much for all the gifts………I can now officially open my own Old Spice shop! The other strange thing about last night was that Heidi and I stayed in a guest cabin, for me, that’s the first time I have ever had the privilege. There were many good things about this but also I was amazed and somewhat bemused at the amount of flyers and advertising from all the departments that were placed in the cabin in just one day. We have to try and stop this and design a in cruise directory…………I was a little embarrassed about the “in your face” advertising……….. we can do better.

However, the Carnival Comfort Bed was outstanding and it was nice to see how you all live when you cruise and experience the wonderful new in cabin amenities and experience the friendly stateroom stewards ourselves. Heidi and I hate fuss…….we really are not into big group functions and parties and therefore had decided to try and slip away quietly………however……we were not allowed this privilege and instead were treated to a wonderful send off by the Entertainment Staff……….they are great people and Todd is lucky to have such a super team.

So, at 7 am this morning we were supposed to be on a plane and heading for London from Rome. There can be no translation for the word “organisation” in Italian as proven from today’s fun and games at the airport. I can’t be asked to go into details but let’s just say that the people who work there are some of the rudest most uncaring people I have ever met and if there were Rude Olympics held every year then these people would win gold every time.

This was proven when at 7 am as 150 people plus lined up in three or four zig zagging lines as the time to board came………and went. Then at 7:10 am a bored-looking lady who for some reason was wearing sun glasses that would have done a oil rig welder proud got on the PA system and mumbled something in Italian……stood up…………and walked away. Now, I knew by the sudden increase of frantic hand gestures and shouts of “mama mia” that Senjorina Welder had not just told us that they would be serving free lobster during the flight. However, the mostly English speaking passengers were left with no bloody clue what was happening……luckily a English chap who for some reason had bothered to learn Italian told me and others that the flight ………….was canceled and that another plane would be here at 11:45am……He said that there had been no sorry………no……..oh, have something to eat on us……….nope……….the rough translation was……..the flight is canceled………..you’re buggered.

That was that then……….we sat in a terminal building with only vending machines offering refreshments which looked as appetizing as eating one of my socks……..on toast. Oh……..also……..150 passengers………30 chairs…………… At this point I have to tell you that I was tired, stressed and honestly……..really pi%^&D off.

Thank goodness for Heidi who can see something good in every situation. We sat and waited and I discovered that my mobile phone has three games on it ……… skateboarding ……..a driving thing and soemthing really annoying called Tetrus. The hours went by slower than a Turkish bath and eventually……after 3 hours and ten minutes of sitting on the floor……….we boarded the bright orange plane……..it looked like a lifeboat on steroids.

On these flights which are laughingly known as “budget airlines” there are no confirmed seats as everyone rushes on the plane as though a Rolex is hidden under one of the seats.

Eventually………we took off………tired and hungry. I needed to take my diabetic pill with food and as they brought the snack cart around I begrudgingly paid £5.50 for a sandwich.

The wrapper said cheese, ham and tomatoe…….well……..with respect I think the sandwich had been made by Stevie Wonder as someone had forgotten the cheese and the tomatoe and instead of ham had added the inside of a flip flop.

So, we landed………thank goodness the luggage had decided to take the same flight as us and we then went through customs and immigration. Then it was time to collect the rental car. Now, I have to admit that I have been living in the hope that some faithful blog reader would have an Aston Martin waiting for me………..and would say “Here you go John”……….that illusion was shattered when Avis handed me the keys for something called a Renault Megan…………it’s French…………you can tell………..it’s ugly…………hates corners and has hair under the wheel arches.

Mistakes happen….we make them…I make them………but my experience with Easy Jet reinforces my commitment that customer service delivered in a fun and caring way is the most important aspect of my job and I will make sure that I learn by my mistakes …………and theirs……..they made it Easy for me to never fly with them again.

I am typing this blog from home…………it feels weird being here after nine months onboard…..nothing has changed except I appear to have new neighbours…….more about them tomorrow. In a few minutes it will be off to Mum and Dad for a birthday dinner for Dad who is 74 today. I asked him where he wanted to go and he choose…………..an Italian restaurant………..oh joy………….we haven’t had Italian in ………one day.

Tomorrow I drive to London to visit Alan in hospital and spend the day by his bedside. I will pass on the many cards you have sent to me on his behalf and let you all know how he is doing. Then, pack again tomorrow for the flight on Wednesday morning to Miami for the meeting and then back for Alan’s surgery on Tuesday.

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.