Stockings and Hangovers

March 16, 2008 -

John Heald

I am in the doghouse…………it’s Saturday and it’s only 6:35am and I am there with the door slammed shut behind me………..why………..because I dared to mention Heidi’s socks.

Let’s back up a bit first shall well. The sound of the 5:45am alarm was as welcoming as a scorpion in your underpants and after portraying a one eyed Dolly Parton last night it was the last thing I wanted to hear. Anyway, Heidi who is in charge of the debarkation process sat bolt upright switched the alarm off and then an ejector seat propelled her from the bed into the bathroom for the ritual of getting ready.

Now getting dressed in the morning should take no more than 20 minutes during which time you can shower, dress, poo, pee, pick your nose and still have time for a coffee and three bacon sandwiches while enjoying Wolf Blister on CNN.

For Heidi however the getting ready in the morning thing takes an hour. A lot of this time is spent doing her hair……..not once………but two or three times so that every single hair is exactly where it should be. To achieve this perfection she uses a hair dryer that has more power than an Aston Martin Vanquish and costs about the same as well. It also generates more heat than Jessica Simpson in a pair of leather pants so by the time her hair is finished the cabin is so hot you could grow Orchids in there.

However, this morning it was not her hair that got me in trouble it was her socks……………as Heidi was putting her suit on I noticed she was wearing a pair of…………….things…………….I had never seen them before “what are they” I asked………..”pop socks” she replied……………..”pop socks, I haven’t seen anything like that since I visited my Great Aunt Maureen.”………….Now I should explain that my great Aunt Maureen is 2000 years old and is a wonderful kind person. However, she tends to wear clothes that are ummmmm a little………..dated.

Therefore, saying that Heidi was wearing something Great Aunt Maureen would wear was not received very well and after I was told that they were comfortable and sensible with heels etc that was me back in the doghouse.

Comfortable………….sensible………………who cares……………they look like something the Golden Girls would wear and are about as sexy as a boil.

Now I know that as I continue I am heading for dangerous waters but I mean this with the greatest respect. I want my young wife to do what they do in the movies…………….the lady wakes up…………..stretches a long hairless leg onto the side of the bed and puts on a pair of stockings and suspenders ……………………..is that too much to ask?

Heidi and her pop socks have just left and I am sitting here having just completed another 20 minutes of facial exercises which so far have been of bugger all help. Heidi and the Doctor say my eye is getting better and actually I can close it now …….it takes an hour to do it but it does close and that, they say is a good sign.

I still have French mouth (no taste) and I still speak with a lisp. Mr. Bell it seems likes it here and is now going on his third cruise and heading for Platinum status.

So, I had acupuncture last night before the show. It was a very strange experience and I have the follow up treatment tomorrow. A young man from the Spa called Ryan did the treatment and he started by massaging the area around my neck and head. Now, I have to tell you that I hate massages………I have never liked them……….that’s just me but as he started to massage the neck area I didn’t care …..I just wanted Mr. Bell to say “au revoir” and return to Jean Claude and his friends in Paris.

After the massage I was relaxed and a little sleepy……….Ryan was about to insert the needles when in my state of near coma I heard him say “You are going to sense a few small pricks”…………….I was going to tell Ryan that I had already done so earlier that night when I met the some of the rude guys from the University of Kentucky but I didn’t because that would have been rude.

Anyway, I had the treatment and lets hope that it’s the start of the recovery process.

Debarkation is underway and once again it is not going very fast. It is now 10:43am and I just returned from the lobby. We still have about 300 guests left onboard and the system has to be better. I have been here for 5 weeks and out of those 5 weeks only two were weeks where I was proud of the system. The rest of the time I have been anything but proud. I know this is a concern for every line and we will all continue to work hard with our friends from CBP to find a better way. Can you imagine 5000 guests disembarking in the Port Of Miami from one ship?

It’s 5:30pm now and here are the demographics.

TOTAL GUESTS – 3515
NUMBER OF GUESTS AGED 18 – 25 = 221
NUMBER OF CHILDREN AGED 18 AND UNDER – 896
NUMBER OF NON US/CANADIAN GUESTS – 186
MOST REPRESENTED = 36 = U.K.

OK, here are today’s random photos.

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The bridge officers

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The ship’s chart of the port of Miami

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The Captain’s Chair

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The ship’s wheel

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Captain D’Aita and Staff Captain Luigi

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A “thing”

And now the last letters from last weeks In Their Own Words Section.

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On we go with some Q and A

RYAN’S MUM……………hello Mum. I am so sorry for saying that your son Ryan was from Canada. I have no idea why I wrote that so let’s correct it now. Your son is from Indiana and regardless as I said he is a great Cruise Director………just not Canadian. I was happy to know you read the blog thingy and you should know that I think your son has a huge future in front of him. Hope all is well in Indiana and Canada as well. Cheers.

J LONG………..Firstly let me say thank you for reading the blog for the last couple of weeks. Things will have changed here at carnival since your cruise on the Festivale and even since your short vacation on the Carnival Fantasy. I cannot find the words to say how humbled I am that you are going to come home to us because of the blog thingy. I know you must have enjoyed the last four cruises with whomever you sailed with and I will promise you that we will all make sure that you will not regret the decision. Please let me know if you need any help deciding when and where to cruise and until then I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy each and every day. Cheers.

RUTH JAMISON…………..I sometimes need reminding Ruth how important peoples vacation time is and how the simple photo of the Carnival smoke stack can bring the odd tear to your eye. I know how hard you and Mr. Jamison work and reading your posting gives me incentive to make sure that your Carnival Splendor cruise is the best one yet. My best to you both and see you soon.

KEVIN…………..I knew that mentioning celebrity chefs would get your taste buds flowing and all your suggestions have been passed along the line and up the line as well. I like the sound of the Anthony Bourdain chap maybe assisted by the young up and coming star Kevin McVeigh. Certainly it will be interesting to see if Carnival goes this way and I think that I should help decide who our Celebrity Chef is by having them all cook me Spotted Dick…………..the best recipe wins………….which means my Mum.

Anyway, I hope one day to be able to taste your culinary masterpieces for myself. Hope all is well mate and see you soon.

JAY WISE…………Thanks Jay and thank you also for saluting our WW2 hero Mr. Gaylord…………..we must never forget him. I hope you enjoy today’s blog and wish you and your family well. Cheers

KATHY KROLL…………….I hear Todd English’s restaurant at the Bellagio is amazing. I was given a special treat by eating at his place on the Queen Victoria last November and it was extraordinary. I will make it to Vegas one day and maybe you can give me some insights on what to see.

Thank you mostly for taking the time to salute the men and women of the armed forces including your Father.
My best to you and Paul.

BRUNO……..ahhhhhh yes…………Mr. Ramsey. He has quite the mouth on him does he not? However, he backs up what he says with his cooking skills and in late May I hope to take Heidi to his restaurant in London for a special treat. I owe a dinner to my friends the Packers who will be visiting the UK. They love food and although they are a ribs and wings type of couple I hope to treat them to am meal there when they visit.

I would love to have Mr. Ramsey sail with us and I am sure there are many more people like you who would feel the same and want to come on a themed cooking cruise. Let’s see what the future holds. Thanks Bruno and my best to you and your family.

JOHN D…………I am glad you enjoyed the sea day blog. The weather really was perfect last week. I also hope that in 09 we can cruise together and enjoy some sun and laughter. Thanks for taking the time to write and see you soon I hope.

BELLE907…………You asked about debarkation and embarkation times in Dover for the Carnival Splendor. I would think that boarding time will start as early as flights arrive in the UK and so that would mean I would think by 11:00am we will start seeing people. As far as debarkation is concerned although we have not set this up yet I imagine we will start this process as early as we can to allow for returning International flights…………so, maybe 6:00am as we did in Rome. I will clarify this later but for now this should give you a guideline. Let me know if you need further help. Cheers.

FREDDY BEACH…………..I am glad that you are singing the praises of the Supper Club which as you wrote have been a huge addition to our ships. We used to have theme nights many years ago in the dining rooms with Italian, French and Caribbean menus. I think we can bring such themed nights back as you said but in the Supper Club. We have the talent onboard to do this. Imagine an exotic Indian night or an eastern Rice table ……….maybe even a timpanyaki thingy…………..wouldn’t that be fantastic. These are all choices we are looking at let’s see what the future holds. I am happy you are still enjoying the blog thingy mate and I hope you do so for a long time to come.

CRUISIN BRIAN……………I checked with the Carnival valor and next Sunday for the Easter/Passover cruise you can expect 800 kids. I don’t have the breakdown just yet but certainly there will be many families sailing with you, which is great. I hope you have a wonderful cruise and pleas send my best to the Captain and crew. Cheers.

GREG B……………….Indeed they were the greatest generation and thank you mate for reminding us about Mr. Gaylord and his band of brothers. I still have not heard from Maria but I remain positive that she came through her surgery and is resting. I hope to hear from her soon as I know you are all worried about her. Thanks for being …..well…..you and I send my best to your family as always. Cheers mate.

MORT13ERS…………..What a fantastic story and if only my friends from last week had your manners and your compassion. I salute you for being so special and I am sure everyone who read your story feels the same. You should be so proud. I hope to shake your hand one day and thank you again for the great story.

DALE EDWARDS……………It will be a pleasure helping you with this and I will make sure a room is reserved on 5/12/08. Please remind me 10 days before if you can and I will let you know which lounge we have reserved. It will also be in the Carnival Capers as well. Cheers Dale.

CAROL SCHOENBERGER……..I am sure that reading the story about Al Gaylord must have had you thinking of your Dad who served as you said in the Air Corps. Only 200 days to go before your next cruise and until then I will try to write is such a way that even if just for a little while you feel like you are onboard. It is always a pleasure to read your postings Carol and Heidi and I send you our very best.

LINDA HERNACKI………….Yep, this is the last time on the Carnival Freedom for a while until we rejoin her in Europe on May 5th. Heidi did not write a blog you are right and that’s because due to my affair with Mr. Bell she has been picking up all the slack and basically running the department. I will make sure she does one soon though once Mr. Bell divorces me. I hope all is well in the Hernacki household and please say a big hello to my mate Mike. Cheers Linda.

JIM ( JLEQ)……..Thanks mate, I hope so to.

CHERYL D………….A beautiful post Cheryl, which I thank you for sharing with everyone. Heidi will be very happy at the nomination of Renee Zellweger to play her as she is a huge fan of Bridget Jones Diary………I actually think she like sit because Mr. Darcy is in it. I enjoyed reading about your ideas for a celebrity Chef and it looks like choosing the right person (if we indeed decide to) will be more difficult that we imagined. Thanks again for all you wrote today and I hope you and the family are well. Cheers.

STACY THIBODEAU…………..I am so sorry Stacy but I will not be the Cruise Director when you sail. However you will be in the capable hands of Todd Wittmer who will make sure you have a great time. I hope we get to sail together very soon. Cheers.

DWA76…………Indeed mate………….maybe we don’t need a celebrity chef as you mentioned, lets see what the future holds. I truly appreciated your kind words about the crew. It was a tough week on many fronts and hopefully this week will be smooth sailing for us all. Certainly with people like you thinking of us it will be a great voyage. Thanks so much mate and as always it is great hearing from you. Cheers.

PRINCESS ELAINE…….You are my kind of Chef……..lets cook for each other………..you want fries with that? Cheers Princess and thanks for asking about Alan who continues to improve every day.

SUSAN………..Any friends of the three amigos Heidi, Beth and Kevin are friends of mine and welcome to the blog thingy. I will indeed be joining you in Europe so we get to say hello in person. I hope you read the blog thingy when time allows and you are most welcome here. See you in May.

CHAZON…………..That’s three votes for Anthony Bourdain and I now will have to go onto Google him to see what he is all about. Thanks for the get well wishes and I you are welcome in the kitchen anytime. See you in 167 days. Cheers.

LINDA – MOM OF MY MATE DJ………Please pass on our gratitude to your son who is already a Colonel at age 44. You must be very proud of him. Your salute to all service men and women both serving and retired was beautiful and I thank you for sharing them. I am also looking forward to sailing with DJ whom I intend to make a big fuss over………..hope you don’t mind. Thanks again for all your great words today and my best to your entire family.

DIVETRASH…………Another vote for Anthony with Kevin in second……….not bad Kevin. Hope dinner was OK, You would have been very proud of Ron last week. He did a great job with all the spring breakers and handled some difficult situations very well indeed. Cheers Laura and please write soon.

ED MILAN…….Your words of praise for Al Gaylord were just perfect and as long as there are people like you here they will never be forgotten. Thank you so much.

JANE…………….Thank you Jane. I am glad you are enjoying the blog and hope that is always the case. Cheers.

JAKE SILVERBERG………Thanks mate. Yep, not long now. Hope you are excited. Cheers.

WIL – DA – BEAST………..You are right. If you do have concerns about motion sickness then the middle of the vessel is the best. However I am sure she will be fine and there are now non drowsy over the counter things to help as well. If she really is worried have a chat with a Pharmacist who will help. Please send Aunty my best and I hope to see both of you very soon.

JUSTJONWHOMISSESTHESMOKEFREEPARADISEANDWILLBEWITHUSONTHECARNIVALFANTASY2009BLOGGERSCRUISEANDWHOSEWIFEWILLHOPEFULLYPOSTAMESSAGESOON……………..Tell you what. Instead of the boat drill thing why don’t we arrange for John and Diane to be called to the Chief Security Office? We can say that a guest has made a complaint that they were rude or something and when they walk in you and the Mrs. can be there………..what do you think mate? Let me know. Cheers.

That’s all for today. I will start again tomorrow with Maria and Lamb Knuckles and a big thank you as always to you all for your kind comments.

So, off we go and I am hoping that this, my last cruise before we head off to the Emerald Princess and Europe is a fun one free of incident ………………as always I will share it all with you.

Having a face like someone with constant stomach cramps and a patch over one eye is proving useful and at least Mr. Bell has had my stay in the doghouse shortened. Heidi has allowed me out and by promising never to call her Great Aunt Maureen again I am for now in the clear.

This week the packing will begin and that is sure to start an international incident. This time we have to divide the packing in half. We need clothes for the Princess cruise and then everything else needs to be shipped to Italy ready for the Carnival Splendor. This will no doubt lead to various heated discussions and various household objects being flung at me.

Last night after I paraded myself as Dolly Parton with a patch I went to meet the Entertainment Staff in our crew bar. Now, I maybe visit the crew bar once a year. I do not particularly care for the loud music etc but the real reason I stay away is that I am sure the people I work with prefer it if the boss isn’t always there watching what they are doing.

The crew bar though is a great place for everyone to hang out. It’s a huge melting pot of people and walking in there is like visiting the United Nations. Some crew just talk, some play dominoes and many will just relax and watch the big screen TV on which they watch movies and videos etc. The bar prices are somewhat cheaper and most crew will use this area to unwind after a hard day.

So, last night I went downstairs to the crew bar to buy everyone a drink after a tough week. The dancers were there, the musicians and technicians as well and I stayed to have a diet coke. I didn’t stay long but apparently after I left it turned into a bit of a party.

Now, I am not saying here on this public domain thingy that my staff drank a lot last night but at the staff meeting I just returned from you could tell there were a few sore heads.

Individual pain such as toothache and constipation is a lonely affair but knowing that others around you also woke up this morning feeling like there is Frenchman living in their head seems to make the pain and suffering OK. It’s the same sort of thing when the ship moves a lot………….people seem to find comfort in meeting others who may have been sea sick and compare how many times, the colour and texture and whether they made it to the bathroom in time. It’s group suffering and that’s what I felt today when I met the staff………….they had all let their hair down………….except Ken Strutt the Saxophone player who doesn’t have any……….and even though they all felt dreadful today………….it was ok…………they felt dreadful together.

As many of you know for no other reason that my job sort of dictated I stop; I do not drink anymore. I haven’t in 12 years or more. I used to drink a lot …………no more than most but certainly enough to put me in a few embarrassing positions …………never though unfortunately were women involved.

I do miss a cold beer once in a while………………but not enough to start drinking again and being diabetic also means that pouring a dozen pints of liquid sugar down my throat isn’t such a good idea.

However, as much as I may miss the odd beer I certainly do not miss the hangovers. Looking at some of my staff this afternoon I realized I would rather be tied naked to a rock-climbing wall than have one of those hangovers.

One more important thing………….Here is a communiqué from PA 007.

Rick Pitino is a very famous basketball coach.
He had his greatest success as the coach of Kentucky. He later did some coaching in the NBA including a stint with the New York Knicks (short for Knickerbockers-((no idea why)). Then he returned to Kentucky, but to coach their arch rivals Louisville where he is presently coach.

So the chap who is getting me fired is a famous basketball coach called Rick Pitinio. ………..I thought the kid had said Partino………..although in my defense it was hard to understand a kid who had three pounds of steel welded into his top lip and whose every other word rhymed with luck.

So, Mr. Pitino…………I apologize that I may have written some unkind words about your God Son and I am sorry also that we could not show the game. I am also sorry that I didn’t have a staple gun with me so I could finish the job and close his mouth completely.

OK, time for the Welcome Aboard Show where once again I will have to explain to a new audience just why their Cruise director looks like a cross between a bull dog and the Elephant man with a patch over his eye.

It’s going to be a great cruise…………….and I look forward to sharing it with all of you.

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.