A Passage to India

January 24, 2008 -

John Heald

Pierre the Frenchman went out last night, drunk three bottles of Chateau De Rude, ate a dozen frog legs with extra garlic. He then met his Russian friend and film star Georgy Hamiltonov and they both downed a dozen vodkas.
They are both now living in my head.

Well, that’s how I feel this morning as I sit here at 6:45 am waiting for our arrival in Grand Cayman so I can start the tender operation. Last night’s show starred my friend and top comedian Al Ernst. Al pretended to be a blogger and started the show walking through the audience in his own special and “southern ” way. We then did 15 minutes of material together which went down like a storm. I then introduced him for his midnight show……………which for those of you confused at what time that started ……….it was midnight.

Henceforth it was 1:30 am before my head hit the pillow whereupon I went straight to sleep and was dreaming of hiding for the rest of the cruise in Shaquille O’Neal’s shoe …………..when the alarm went off……….at 6 am.
So, here I sit, writing to you. Heidi is eating a croissant (her support of the French drives me mad) and I am nibbling on a bagel.

The Captain has just started to drop the anchor as I can I here it thundering toward the ocean depths………….I am sure this scares guests who reside at the forward part of the vessel and therefore I always put a little note on the Carnival Capers and mention this in my adventure talk so they don’t get scared and in turn the State room Stewards don’t have to change the bed sheets on 50 or so cabins.

It’s time to go……………….to organize tender operations……………………..don’t touch that dial.

I am back and I feel sick ……………….I had no time for breakfast this morning and on my way back from the bridge I passed by the office and saw one of the Entertainment Staff eating something on a cracker…………I asked for one………..and I am now paying the price. The staff member is from Australia and she offered me something called “Vegemite”………and within two seconds of it being in my mouth I knew it would take all my will power not to decorate the office with a coating of vomit.

I cannot describe the taste of this vegetable paste which truly tastes like it has been fermenting under a Frenchman’s armpit for a month………..if you are ever offered Vegemite……………say no………..run away…………I would rather eat  Hippopotamus droppings served in A Urine of Skunk sauce………… than ever eat Vegemite again.

Grand Cayman is busy again today with us sharing the port with the Costa Fortuna (I love that name) and two other ships, one with ugly big lumps of rock stuck to the deck and another vessel whose owners had allowed some hippies to colour the forward and stern sections of the ship just after they had smoked their own underwear.

Anyway, this meant that thousands of guests had to be ferried into port by tenders and no matter how organized we onboard the three ships are it still is guaranteed that with that number of people visiting………….plus the crew ……….. lines are inevitable. I wish they would build a pier.

Time to get something to eat and then paper work………..yippee…………….as Arnold would say “I’ll be back.”

It’s now 6 pm and I have just returned from the past guest party. We have 1,400 past guests which is a wonderful advertisement for this great company. I met Dennis Evans who was wearing a baseball cap with all the pins he had collected on his 44 cruises festooned on it. He told me he has another 20 booked for 2008 and 2009 including the entire 40 something days from Miami to California…………I asked him what he did for a living…………….he is ……… wait for it…………….a retired………….tanker Captain………….yep…………he spent 36 years at sea working for Shell, sailing tankers all over the world. He told me he had never got the sea out of his system……….he has never married ………..and still has a girl in every port……cruising is his life now.

It’s now 9 pm and Heidi and I just returned from a special dinner given in honour (spelt correctly) of the press. Guna our Hotel Director prepared a fantastic Indian dinner for us which we all enjoyed on the upper level of the Lido restaurant. We feasted on Lamb, Prawns and Chicken all in various stages of spiciness ranging from mild to aahhhhhhhhhhh!

Joining us for dinner was Roger Blum who flew into Grand Cayman and will leave tomorrow from Jamaica. It was interesting to listen to members of the press say that our Big Easy show they had viewed here had “taken cruise ship shows to another level” which of course Roger has so much to do with along with his great team. I highlighted Roger in a previous blog and he will be highlighted again soon as we celebrate a special anniversary. It was a wonderful dinner and I was proud to sit with my friends from the press who took their valuable time to sail with us…………….thank you all, I hope you had fun.

You know, sometimes when I sit here and type I know that as I do there are some subjects that I should not talk about here on the blog. There are some subjects that I should leave alone. Here is one such subject that maybe I should not tell you about but my fingers are on automatic.

Tonight, on my way to the dinner I was telling you about I passed across the Lido Deck with Roger and Heidi. I said hello to the many guests who were sitting and enjoying the movie on the big screen “Night at the Museum.” ………..anyway, all was well until a gentlemen gave me that finger wave …………you know….that index finger waggle that is in my opinion a very rude way of saying “Please come over here as I need you”……….I have never responded well to the finger waggle but like a good Cocker Spaniel I ran to my masters side.
The gentlemen had a very unusual complaint…..actually complaint is probably not the correct word………..let’s try comment…….nope…..that’s too weak…….he had a point to make and he did so in a very animated way. He was angry because he suffered from a serious illness……..I won’t say what one …………….. but it is a terrible illness to suffer from…………He was angry because I had highlighted Breast Cancer and asked guests to respond with their donations and I had not mentioned the illness that he and many others suffered from………….his point…………….it was unfair.

We spoke for some time and I am sure you can all work out what I said in my defense but I was unable to make him see my point and he turned and walked away telling me that he would not cruise with Carnival again because of this incident…………..it ruined my night……………why?…………………well, I now have a whole bag full of emotions to carry around.

1. A guest says he won’t cruise with us again…..never words you want to hear.
2. He is suffering from an awful illness and I was not able to help him
3. He will leave the ship with nothing but negative thoughts towards me and the company

And worse of all……………………I am thinking…………….is he right? …………….. Of course he is not………..we can’t support every charity there is but for some strange reason he really got to me and therefore I felt like I needed to put my thoughts on the blog…………thanks for listening.

Here are some photos

1. Filming 2 morning shows- johninstudio.jpg

2. Ken, our wonderful Maitre d’, singing his favorite Sinatra tunes to the lucky dining room guests – ken.jpg

3. A page from the magnificent scrapbook prepared as one of my birthday gifts from the Bloggers………note the old style Capers. – scrapbook.jpg

Now it’s time for the talent show and after eating a huge Indian dinner it’s the last thing I need. I ignored most of the mild dishes opting instead for the spicy aahhhhhhhhhhhh dishes. Tonight will be a busy time for the Chief Plumber as I have a feeling my toilet is in for a night of shock and awe.

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.