BLEEP…………BLEEP………..BLEEP

April 25, 2008 -

John Heald

I decided to sit down and write a blog due to the fact that maybe I will find doing so calming………..that’s because I just spent the last 20 minutes shouting, swearing and eventually physically assaulting…………..the dishwasher.

During the last few days I have gradually filled Mr. Bosh with various mugs, plates, knives and forks. Now, Heidi had taken me through the whole process of how to use this machine and I do believe I followed her instructions completely. So, why then does the thing keep beeping? It has finished washing the stuff; I know that because it makes more noise than a group of students from Kentucky and now the washing noise is finally over it keeps beeping. I was nodding off by the fire after a hard morning of having breakfast with Alan (more on that later) when the German beeping machine woke me up…….I ignored it at first but it just kept beeping………and it may have been my imagination but it was now beeping……..in German.

So, realizing that Herr Bosh was never going to let me return to my dream about George Hamilton and I having fun at the Playboy Mansion I pulled myself out of my recliner and goose-stepped over to the dishwasher.

I opened it and was immediately hit by red-hot steam which left my eyes watering and my nose hairs smoldering. It was, as I was swearing at the German dishwasher from hell and splashing cold water on my eyes that I realised that the beeping was still going on and the fact that my face looked like a melted slab off butter had been for nothing.

Everything beeps these days……….the microwave beeps, the cooker beeps, the car beeps if you don’t have your seat belt on and as I explored the kitchen looking for the source of this beep and bits of skin started peeling off my burnt face I realised the beeping was coming from the ceiling and the smoke detector.

Living in an old barn as we do the ceilings are a little higher than in other houses which meant that there was no way that I could reach the cover of the beeping smoke detector………even standing on a chair I cannot reach …………I mean………..that brain surgeon thought of putting the thing where only Shaq can reach it and he could only do that by standing on Dennis Rodman’s shoulders.

So, here I sit in my little office………the door is closed…………I have Deep Purple playing on my CD player yet all I can I hear is the constant beep telling me the battery needs replacing and to hurry up and hire a helicopter so I can do it.

Anyway, my Dad is on his way over with an extended step ladder so, I will try and ignore the beeping and talk to you all instead.

Good Afternoon from a bright and sunny but cold England. This morning I met Alan for our weekly traditional bacon and eggs at the Arches. Alan is doing very well and sends his best to everyone. After breakfast I went once again to the shops and bought provisions. This was done at my local Supermarket where a nasty surprise was waiting for me. It appears that while I was away a turtle suffocated on a beach in the Seychelles and it was my fault………therefore this supermarket no longer supplies bags for you to put your toothpaste, toilet paper and hemorrhoid cream in. You have two choices said the check out lady……….go over there and take a cardboard box or purchase these biodegradable bags.

Let’s start with the boxes……..the lady had said over there ……however over there was the other side of the store where I could just make out loads of people in a rugby scrum looking for a box as though there was buried treasure hidden under the pile…….so that was an easy choice then………however what Mrs. Check Out had not told me was that the bags were 50 pence each ($1) and that they were so small that after I had put the Hemorrhoid cream and toothpaste in one there was no room for bugger all else….so I was forced to buy a dozen of these bags which proudly told me that I was “green” and just to make sure everyone knew there was also a picture of a smiling turtle relaxing on the beach this time with a pina colada and a gorgeous female turtle with her shell off by his side.

I guess the idea of these bags are that you bring them back every time which of course neither I or anyone else will remember to do leaving all of us forced to buy more bags so that the owner of the supermarket can go to the Seychelles on vacation and lay on the same beach as the turtle.

I am trying to listen to Deep Purple who are now playing Beep On The Water …………. ahhhhhhhh.

Let’s do the news.

You will see that yesterday it was announced that the Carnival Dream will home port in Port Canaveral, Florida. Details of the islands it will visit have yet to be announced ……… we like teasing you …………but it will be soon. PA 007 told me that there may be some exciting news about what the ship is doing before it gets to Port Canaveral and the superspy will let me know as soon as they hear anything.

I also see from your comments that a lot of you were intrigued by the dogs that were sailing on the Queen Mary 2 as noted in my blog and from the photo I slapped on.

I see that some of you having seen this are considering booking a cruise and bringing your dog with you and that you require further details. I really don’t know too much however I am going to ask someone at Cunard to send me the information on where they stay, eat and poop ……………..stand by for that and I will get back to you all ASAP.

Let’s send big congratulations to the newest vessel in AIDA Cruises fleet the AIDAbella. I am sure many of you enjoyed Captain Josef Husmann’s interview last week and here are a few photos of the Captain and his “wunderbar boat.”

So, yesterday was a very interesting day. I went on a train………….and then spent the day interviewing for new Entertainment Staff.

Now, Big Ed wrote a great comment about Carnival Corporation scheduling cruises so that you could complete a trans-Atlantic cruise and then board another Corporation vessel and then come back on another TA. Certainly, for those who like me hate flying but love cruising this makes perfect sense. I asked someone about this today and they told me that Cunard has always tried to coordinate trans-Atlantic voyages with other Southampton and New York voyages and that discussions have taken place before to try and match them up with Carnival cruises or indeed Princess, Costa, Holland America etc. Unfortunately this is harder than it sounds as deployment decisions are made at different times.

However, I think that for the future that this could be looked at again and your posting has brought this idea back to the table………..thanks mate.

Imagine……….a Queen Mary 2 Cruise from the Big Apple to Southampton……..a Carnival Splendor Baltic cruise and then the Queen Mary 2 back home…………wow……..make that a HUGE WOW………………let us see what happens.

Let’s start with the train. I may have mentioned this before but the UK has probably the worst train service in Europe and while the Swiss and the Germans train service is as regular as clockwork the British train service is as regular as someone who has eaten nothing but cheese fondue for an entire week.

So there I was standing on the platform at 7:30 am waiting for the 7:10 am train to come along and when it did the station announcer …………and I kid you not…………..told us that the train had been delayed due to “a cow on the line at Chelmsford.” Laughter erupted from the city types who were standing with me……………a cow on the line…………..what was a cow stood motionless on a train track for?…………I know this is the countryside but why was it standing there…………..maybe Daisy the Cow wanted to end her life ……… maybe her friend Barry the Bull had choked on one of my plastic bags…………maybe Daisy was jealous of Timmy the Turtle and she was protesting that cows had the same right to be on the side of a biodegradable bag……………..maybe Daisy was suffering from Mad Cow disease and thought she was a train………..who knows……..whatever the reason I was now running late for the interviews.

I took my seat admiring the graffiti that told me that if I wanted a good time I should call “Lorraine” who had been charming enough to leave me her number which she had scrawled on the window. All around me were the city types……………some listening to their Eye Pods…………some reading the Financial Times trying to look important and who probably had the Sun in their briefcases along with their cheese sandwiches Mum had made for them. Most did what I used to do…………………sleep.
I did this sort of journey into London for two years and had the sleeping thing down perfectly. I could board the train, be asleep within 5 minutes and wake up just before the train arrived into Fenchurch Street station in London………………..and that’s what most were doing……………and like I used to some would arrive at their desks with drool marks on their shirt collar…………….I really do not miss those days.

So, I arrived right on time at the Best Western hotel where we had hired a conference room for the interviews.

I was joined by Chris Unstead from Carnival HQ in Miami. Chris is a wonderful person who has been with us for 20 years. He started life as a dancer and then became a dance captain before moving into a shoreside position as a dancer supervisor. Eventually he became Manager of Entertainment Staff and is respected by all the people who work for him.

So, what do we look for when hiring Entertainment Staff………well hopefully they will be the Cruise Directors of the future and therefore we want people whose personalities will continue to make sure Carnival has the best CD’s at sea.

We had placed an advert in the trade paper called the Stage which is an audition paper for everything Entertainment and the response was incredible with a full three days of interviews planned. Chris had asked for my help and as the weekend is going to be very busy for me I agreed to help him for just one day.

So, they came…………all ages…………all sizes…………some with loads of experience some with none at all and each and everyone with the dream of working on a cruise ship and entertaining our guests and it was so hard not to offer each and everyone of them a job.

Take this one young lady who had traveled all the way from Scotland…………she was working in a day care centre for special needs children…………she was a lovely lady but had never been on stage or entertained and was actually quite shy…………she told me about the job she did and how rewarding it was but she wanted to travel, entertain and see the world………………..I wanted to hire……………but I couldn’t.

Then there was a chap in his late forties…………….he arrived 10 minutes late for his interview and was nearly in tears because the train was late………….he had some entertainment experience in British Holiday Camps but wanted me to know that he could only work on a ship out of the UK because he needed to be near his Mother………….I felt for him………..I wanted to hire him…………..but I couldn’t.

Then there was the young lady who was from Kenya…………she had just come to the UK……..she was beautiful…………spoke perfect English but unfortunately had never had any entertainment experience…………….I wanted to hire …………but I couldn’t…………she cried when I told her…………….I felt like crap.

My favorite though was a lady who …………..umm……….was larger than life in many ways. She also had no experience and I think halfway through the interview she realised she was not going to get the job so she informed me that “I am also a professional welder………if I don’t get the job as Entertainment Staff…………..I can come as a Welder…………I have all my certificates”………….and with that she pulled some engineering certificates out of her bag…………….I nearly laughed but considering she was the same size as a Bison I decided not to………………I didn’t hire her as Entertainment Staff but she starts as Chief Engineer of the Carnival Splendor next week.

I did hire six fantastic young people. Some have worked on ships before and some have land based entertainment experience……………..all though had one thing in common ……… a smile as wide as the Welder and eyes that sang forth a passion for people…………..they all had one other thing in common…………when I told them they would be joining the best entertainment department at sea ……………they jumped for joy…………some even cried tears of happiness.

That felt good but on the way home I could only think about the ones who didn’t get the job and I wondered what I would be doing now if 20 years ago Carnival had not given a skinny young thing from Essex a chance.

So, the smoke detector is still beeping and until my Dad arrives it will continue to drive me mad. ……………by the way…………..if the batteries are dead how is it managing to keep beeping?

I get a day of rest tomorrow and then it’s off on Sunday to Los Angeles for the USA filming thingy. Remember, when I return I can start answering your comments once again.

Time for tea………….I am cooking myself tonight……………I am having roast beef which does not come from the shop with the designer bio degradable turtle bags but instead comes fresh from the local railway tracks…………………poor Daisy.

Goodnight
Your friends
John and Heidi

ps – PA 007 tells me that they may have breaking news on the Carnival Splendor Godmother very soon.

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.