December 3, 2007 -

John Heald

So, there I was at the checkout thingy with Heidi at our local supermarket with me tasked to my usual job of taking the stuff out of the trolley and putting it on the counter. It should be noted that I am no longer allowed to pack the stuff into bags as I apparently am not aware of the scientific process of not putting certain objects in the same bag incase they cause an explosion………………..and you can bet your bottom that the words “be careful with the eggs” will be muttered every time by the wife. It’s a good thing she says that because otherwise I may start juggling with them.

Anyway, as I unpacked the bacon, the eggs, the toilet paper (luxury by the way) and various other household and food items my sixth sense took over.

Now, I do not have super powers although I wish I could be invisible………….I mean , I was invisible when I was a teenager…………certainly any girl I ever spoke to certainly thought I was……………but I have sometimes wished I was, really invisible.  If I was, there are certain places I would to be invisible in. For example, Buckingham Palace to find out what the “Family” are like eating breakfast, watching TV, etc…………does The Queen eat ribs with her hands, does she ever enjoy a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken? …………. does she read my blog?

Then there is the White House Situation Room…………..just to see if it is anything like the one shown on my favorite program The West Wing. It would be amazing to see how emergency situations are dealt with……………..does President Bush read my blog………it would be great to see. I would also like to be invisible at the Playboy Mansion ………and it wouldn’t be to see if the girls read my blog.

Anyway, back to the supermarket and that sixth sense I was mentioning. In this case the sixth sense is being able to tell that someone is looking at me and talking about me which is something I have developed over the years and it was this “feeling” that washed over me as I removed the milk and hemorrhoid cream from the shopping cart. I heard my name from the checkout to my right ………….it was only a whisper but I had definitely heard my name mentioned by a female voice talking to someone else. Now, at the time two possibilities came to mind.

1. It was an ex girlfriend………………….that thought was over very quickly due to the fact that I had asked every girl in my home town out on a date and as none had even acknowledged me (see, I was invisible.)

2. Then of course there was the possibility that someone new me from the ship. I know of one wonderful family who live very near me and are regular blog readers but if it was them I know they would have just come over and said a big hello……………Hello by the way to my friends in Thorpe Bay ……………obviously it was not you.

So who was it? Well as I finished unpacking the cart I looked over to see two ladies waving and grinning at me as though they had just seen Brad Pitt…………….naked.

I did that thing where I look behind me thinking that their admirations were meant for someone else but of course I knew I had been “recognized.”

Now, what I am about to say I mean with the greatest respect but British people are a little more reserved than my friends from North America and if I had been in a Publix in Ohio these two ladies would have hurdled the counter, thrown me to the floor, ravished my body and then said ” hello.” Being British though all I was getting from these two middle-aged ladies were girly giggles and a polite wave. Heidi by the way was oblivious to all this as she made sure the sausages and dish washer fluid were not packed in the same bag incase they caused a nuclear reaction.

Realizing that the ladies were indeed waving at me as they packed their bags of shopping I decided to hasten this along a little by saying “hello ladies, how are you?” I was told they were both fine and then the obvious statement………..”We cruised with you twice on the Carnival Liberty and we read your blog everyday” ……………….now it should be noted that this statement was made by one of the ladies whose whisper before could hardly be heard in a big powerful voice which alerted Heidi, the check out cashiers at both aisles and other shoppers waiting their turn behind us.

The lady then continued, “We have booked a cruise in September on the Carnival Splendor with our families……….we are so excited.”

I returned her kindness with words of thanks and then the ladies turned their affection to Heidi and shouted across best wishes to her as well which Heidi returned. Then came the request………………………”can we have a photo with you, we think you are the funniest person we have ever met “………………..very un-Brit like……….yes of course I replied and I walked a few paces to stand next to them. Nowadays every mobile phone has a camera on it and the ladies took it in turns to stand next to me as they took photos and then one of Heidi and me together. As this was happening various shoppers and employees were looking at the “ugly bloke in jeans and a Miami Heat hat” trying to work out why he was having his photo taken.

So, after the photos came the goodbyes and the ladies left looking with huge smiles on their faces and I returned to the job of reloading the bags back into the trolley and paying for the items.

So, let me say as promised on the blog a big hello to Brenda and Samantha and family and thanks for the fun we had in the supermarket.

As I handed over my charge card ……………………you know what, let me return to the conclusion of this story in a moment.

First, lets congratulate Cunard who yesterday took official delivery of the Queen Victoria……..here is the press release for you to read.

Now, when you officially take delivery of a ship it’s a bit like renting or buying a car. You don’t sign for it and handover the money until you have had a good walk around the vehicle looking for any scratches, dents or bad workmanship. Now of course I am not suggesting that Mr. Arison and Ms. Marlow walk around the ship looking for scratches rand dents but each area of the ship, each stateroom, each entertainment area, every inch of the vessel is inspected by the Cunard and Carnival Corporation team before the keys are handed over. Once satisfied a special ceremony takes palace as the shipyard official delivers the vessel to her owners.

The Queen Victoria will shortly begin her journey to across to Southampton to prepare to meet her Royal Godmother and begin her historic life as one of the most famous and special ships in the world. I will join the ship for two nights on December 9 and you are all invited as my laptop and camera will be coming along so I can share with you all just what a special day her naming ceremony will be.

Let me answer a few questions from the blog called “Does This Dress me Me Look Fat.” I do not have time today to answer all 60 but have chosen ones that do have specific requests. To skip Q&A, click here.

BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – Hello mate and yes of course I can do as you requested. As you mentioned the Carnival Pride is going into dry dock soon and I will make sure we interview someone onboard for that period so we can see for ourselves what work is carried out. Hope you are enjoying your cookies and crumpets and it is great to hear from you.
SHARON DOVER – Hello Sharon. You asked about the excursions for the Carnival Splendor. The shore excursion program will be ready very soon and as soon as it is I will of course post the highlights and then answer any questions you may have. I can tell you that the program is the most ambitious we have ever undertaken and some of the tours we are planning are going to be the best ever. Hope you are getting excited now and see you next year.
ROBERT – hello mate. I doubt I will be staying in a Penthouse cabin, more probably I will get a hammock in the engine room. You are correct, the Carnival Splendor will be here before you know it and before that I will see you and Suzann on the Bloggers Cruise…..can’t wait.
HEIDI, BETH AND KEVIN – hello you three, it’s great to hear from you all. How right you that that booking a cruise and the steps leading up to it are very exciting and I am sure you all will be feeling that excitement as you start to plan your next Carnival adventure. Congratulations on making your own clothes, you must be very excited. Can you make me a G String? A silk one please, gold in colour, I would be honoured to wear something from HB and K fashions. Hope you are all well and thanks for reading the blog.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – I apologize Carol for the many gaps in posting the blogs but I am under strict orders from the Mrs. and from my friends at Carnival to relax a little hench the infrequency of the blogs. Normal service has been resumed though and please tell George a big hello from me and use his nickname which is Boogeraron.Have a wonderful time and I wish I could have been with you. Write when you get home and have fun.
KEVIN – How is the new car mate. I saw one yesterday and it looked great. Hope all is well and by the way had a wonderful dinner at a Gordon Ramsey hotel last week and it was amazing. Have you heard of him? Hope all is well mate.
PAUL P. PIETRANGELO – Hello Mr.Pietrangelo and as always a sense of friendship quivers at the end of my two typing fingers as I write your name. I hope you are having fun decorating the family mansion and you also asked about suggestions for your next cruise in 2009. I would hope you will consider a 2009 cruise with the bloggers which I am working on as I write. Also, how about a visit to the old country and see Italy and the other wonderful European ports. Just a few random thoughts there mate and of course I remain at your service should you wish my help. My best wishes to you and the family.
TERESA AND PAUL B – I also laughed at your Peacock reference and now have this image of Heidi strutting around like one. I do honestly do hate shopping in all its forms but as a duty bound husband I trot along like a faithful little puppy dog and wait for my next command. I hope you and Paul have many happy shopping trips together in the future and thanks as always for taking the time to read the blog thingy.
BIG ED – I have requested the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL bathrobes mate and I promise they will be ready for the bloggers cruise. I totally agree with your comments about smoking and freedom of choice is of course very important. I do think that we may have to look at the Internet cafe location on the Destiny and Conquest ships as I don’t think it’s correct that guests should have to walk through a smoking bar to get there. Just my opinion but one based on talking to so many guests about this over the years. Anyway, not long now and we shall shake hands for the first time and have fun in the sun. If it rains we can just invite the bloggers to (all 1,000 of them) to shelter under our bathrobes.
LINDA (THE MOUSE) – hello Linda, how are you. I will make sure I take lots of photos of Heidi and of course the dress on the Queen Victoria and will slap them on a special blog thingy. My Miami Heat beat the Cavs but we lost last night against Larry Bird and the Celtics……….it is already an up and down season and we will get our own back on the Magic. The hard thing is we don’t get live games here in England so I have to listen online or watch the highlights. Hope things are well with you and thanks for the parcel which I am so looking forward to receiving. My best to you and the family.
BLANCHE AND DAVE – What a wonderful posting and I thank you for your honest opinions. I know losing luggage is one of the worst feelings the world of vacations can offer but I hope there were some happier times onboard. As I just wrote smoking is indeed a choice and you are to be complimented that as a non smoker you also support the right of choice onboard. There are many non smoking areas and a few smoking areas on our ships and mostly I think we have it about right. Your comments on rude people being allowed to be………….well……….rude and nobody wishes more than me that I could change this fact but of course I cannot.
The most important note from your posting however is your wish to spend a wonderful family vacation together on one of our ships especially with your son returning from his service in Iraq………….nobody will deserve a vacation more than him. I therefore hope you do call and book a Carnival Freedom or Carnival Splendor cruise and we will once again be together and I can shake the hand of the son you must be so very proud of.
ANNE CAMPBELL – Hello Anne. It is so wonderful to hear from you and many congratulations on your blog – www.shipcriticblog.com. We are all looking forward to spending time with you on the Bloggers cruise and enjoying your  insights to the cruising world we all love so much. One subject we will not be covering in our Q and A’s is shopping…..personally I would rather be stuck in a small room with a skunk than go shopping. Hope you are well and once again congratulations.
LINDA – MUM OF DJ – I received an e mail from PA 007 last week reiterating your comments Linda that I was spending too much time answering complaints. You are both correct of course and I guess I was trying to find some good in the comments……….I hate reading comments like “I will never cruise Carnival again”  etc, etc and felt like I needed to champion the cause of getting them to rethink such comments. However, I am now back on course and thanks to PA and people like you that course is one of fun. Hope DJ is well and see you both very soon.
LISA AND ELAINE – OK, as requested here is the recipe from the archives for my famous British Bomber. Navy Rum, Baileys topped with 150 proof Rum and set on fire, served in a shot glass and within running distance of a toilet. Hope you have fun drinking that ………………..cheers.
RUS FRANKLIN – I was not sure how to respond to such a wonderful posting so all I am going to say is this. Your words of praise and admiration for Carnival and its employees have been forwarded by me to the very top and I have also sent them around the fleet to post on the crew boards. So on behalf of all of us we thank you and your family for all those brilliant words and I hope we can continue to provide you with more everlasting memories.
PEANUTS – Hello and once again sorry for the delay in sending a blog along. I do promise to post photos of the Queen Victoria ceremony which we are so proud to have been invited to. My best regards to you and Mr. Peanuts.
MARSHA BREEN – I am sorry I cannot be with you on the Carnival Miracle but I promise your Cruise Director Brent will host a very memorable week for you. I am so glad you are enjoying the blog thingy and I hope you have a fantastic vacation.
KATHIE – Lord Flatbottom………..very funny and Heidi is indeed now calling me that…………..thanks.
Look out for a full blog on the Queen Victoria and my best to you and the family.
BRIAN – Great posting Brian and welcome to the Carnival family. I remember that Carnival Liberty cruise so very well. The ship lost power and the lights went off all over the vessel. I was on the bridge and was making an announcement around the vessel explaining that there had been a technical fault and there was nothing to worry about at all when suddenly a very loud alarm went off on the bridge and was clearly heard around the vessel. Of course, once power was restored and I walked around the ship the fact that I had said there was nothing to worry about and then alarms sounded provided many moments of ridicule and merriment. So, you have left Coca Cola and are working for us, may I ask in what department? Welcome aboard and I wish you happiness and success.
MYRA BUSHNELL – The letters and packages everyone has sent to Chris Prideaux for me has been mailed and is on its way to me here in the UK. Thank you so much for whatever it is you have sent me and I am very excited to be receiving it. I am trying to rest and still find time to blog as much as possible. Thank you so much for all your kind words of support and I will keep writing as much as possible.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – Good questions. Due to the popularity of the Carnival Splendor we have added a cruise from the shipyard in Genoa to Dover, a three night cruise to Amsterdam and then the official Inaugural cruise on the 13th. If you are there we can discover so many wonderful fish and chip shops together mate as well as great food in Amsterdam. Have you booked?
CATMAMA0044 – Thanks to you and so many others for your continuing best wishes for Alan. I think your prayers and positive thoughts have helped because he continues to do so well and continues his treatments. His own positive outlook on life is helping him through the treatment and I know he is so thankful that so many people are thinking of him. Heidi will look the queen of the Queen Victoria I am sure but the process of shopping for the right dress and accessories is pure hell………….I would rather have hemorrhoids than go shopping. Anyway, thanks for all the kind words and please keep reading the blog thingy.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – Hello Bonnie…………..hope all is well with you and Charlie. Seeing how much Charlie cares for you and loves you…well…….lets just say you are both wonderful role models.
IVANA – I was so sorry to read about the accident and please send your husband our kindest wishes from everyone here on the blog thingy for a speedy recovery. It must have been a shock but hopefully he is on the road to fitness again. Once again my thoughts are with you both.
DWA 76 – Yep, I see have brothers in arms when it comes to shopping. I normally refuse to go with Heidi but as this was a special dress I had to go. I would rather have a tattoo of Britney Spears on my bottom than go shopping. Thanks as always mate for your comments and hope we see each other soon.
JENNIFER HAMMOND – Sorry to worry you with my gap in posting but here I am and all is well. I hope all is well with you and I will do my best to post more often. Cheers.
NANI – Heidi and I send our sincerest wishes to you and the family and especially Dad who I hope is feeling better and home with you son. Muchos hugos para everyone and a special Hugo for you .
GREG BALDASARRI – Heidi has decided to go without the hat and I was hoping that would save me some money but the dress was as expensive as a hundred hats…………………….bugger.
I will be posting information on the 2009 bloggers cruise ASAP but you will be glad to hear that the Carnival Inspiration is looking favorite at the moment. I have not heard anything about Freestyle but I will keep mine and PA 007’s ears to the ground and we will let  you know if we hear anything. I will keep posting as much as I can mate so please keep reading. I will also let you have the 2008 CD schedule as well. Cheers
JERI GREEN – I remember our brief encounter in Portugal so very well. Thank you so much by choosing to book your cruise with Heidi and I on the carnival Imagination and we will be honoured to help celebrate your special 51st anniversary with you. The champagne is on me. See you soon.
MARK – You are correct of course mate. the Carnival Sensation and Carnival Fantasy did swap home ports, many thanks for pointing out my mistake. I hope all is well and thanks again for your support of my thingy.
LINDA HERNACKI – I am worried about your eyesight Linda as you mentioned Todd was handsome…………….please have your eyes tested. Todd is though a brilliant Cruise Director whom I admire very much. I will promise to post many photos from our two nights on the Queen Victoria. You also asked where Heidi and I will be in April 2008 and May 2008. The answer will be that we will be preparing the shore excursions in April and then the Carnival Splendor before the first cruise. I am so happy you had such a great time on the Carnival Freedom and hopefully you and Mike will be able to be with us in 2009. Heidi and I send you our warmest regards.
JULIA BARNES – It seems you are so very excited about your first ever cruise which will be here before you know it. If I can be of any help or if you have any questions please let me know and I will be happy to help. One thing is for certain. Many people will tell you that their first cruise is their best and I know that the Carnival Freedom crew will make this a very special vacation for you and your family.
LOOKINGFORWARDTOTHESMOKEFREECARNIVALSPLENDOR –  hello Jon, how are you and Mrs. MTSFCP? You asked about the 8 day Carnival Splendor from Genoa to Dover. While I have not started preparation on specifics I can tell you that the ports are very special and it will be an honour to have you onboard. Heidi will be honoured as well to tell you all the great things that make her home town of Amsterdam so special.
Your thoughts on smoking are all correct and this is a conversation that will go on and on and it’s our job to try and find a happy medium to please everyone and we will carry on doing this I promise. It was great to see you and the thought of being with you for eight days is fantastic. let me know what you decide and best to you both.
RICH HUGHES – You asked about when the upgrades are due for Carnival Sensation. I am not sure as I write to you now but I will ask Roger Blum to let me know ASAP and then slap on the answer. She will be having the upgrades and as you have seen from the carnival Imagination and the carnival Inspiration they are stunning. Your comments on chairs for people who are “extra medium” are well noted and I will make sure we do something about this. You are correct that on the carnival imagination the arms in the dining room chairs have been removed and I will ask if we can do the same as you requested on Lido Deck. Thanks for this and I will keep you informed. Sorry about the bruises and leave this one with me. Cheers.
JTODINMAN – You have once again outdone yourself with this another fantastic poem about Heidi and her dress. I just read it to her and she was very happy to see that you dedicated a poem to her and the art of shopping. I know these poems take a lot of your time but please know we all enjoy them so very much. By the way, have a look at this photo of the rack my Dad built for the baseball bat.
Thanks for everything again and I hope you are very well. Cheers mate.
Carnival Bat
MIKE L – Thanks mate and I will send a full report about the naming ceremony. Cheers.
THE BEARS – CARL AND BARB – How wonderful to write your names again and I am sorry I have not been in touch recently. Heidi does indeed deserve the dress as she has worked very hard not just in her job but in looking after me as well. Have a wonderful time on the Carnival Glory and please tell my mate wee Jimmy a big hello ……………. you will love him. I will see you very soon and Heidi sends her warmest regards to you both as of course do I.
TERRI 910 – it is great to hear from you Terri and to read that someone else does not enjoying shopping means that I have some support and I hope Larry realizes how lucky he is. I am glad that you are enjoying the blog so much and it is always great to hear from my “regulars ” which you are certainly one of. My best to you both.
JIMNI – I will be on the crossing so don’t worry. Todd will be the CD but I will be there to help him on the crossing and the first of the European cruises. I actually join the ship in the first European port which I understand will be Malaga so we will indeed get to be together soon. I will be here should you have any other questions and see you soon.
UNCLE DOUG – Congratulations on booking your platinum cruise on the Carnival Elation. I think Goose is the CD on the ship but will check and get back to you before you sail. Wow, the Rodeo finals sound fantastic. We should get one of those bucking bulls on the ship although our health and safety people may have something to say about that. The raspberry is indeed causing some concern to Heidi but now I have it on vibrate so mostly she has no idea when it goes off. I am trying to rest as much as I can and all is well. have a wonderful cruise Uncle with the family and all the best.
SUSAN B – Heidi also has puppy dog eyes which can change without notice to Tasmanian devil eyes as well. Thanks for all your kind comments and thanks for your continuing thoughts for Alan. Hope all is well with you and please keep reading the blog thingy.


So the holiday season is nearly here and you can hear Perry Como dreaming of a White Christmas in all the shops. Carnival is also having a holiday sale as Roberto will now tell you.

 Hi Everyone, Roberto here. Today begins the 12 Fun Days of Christmas! Visit www.carnival.com/12days to see our daily offers and our extra special bonus offers of the day. Don’t forget to sign up to receive daily reminders. You can also send ecards to your friends from the site as well. Visit it today!
Carnival’s 12 Fun Days of Christmas

So, nearly time for scallops and I have to go. Before I do let us return to the supermarket where the scallops were purchased. I had my photo taken and obviously the check out lady wanted to know “are you famous …………..are you on the Tele?” she wanted to know. Now, Heidi was wanting to go and the man behind me could not have cared less if it was Tom Cruise standing there, he just wanted to pay for his Corn Flakes. So rather than explain why the ladies new me and wanted a photo I just said “I am a sex object.” The check out lady laughed and I left to load the shopping in the car.

Actually, when I was in my early twenties I was indeed a sex object………………..I asked many girls for sex……………………and they would object.


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.