A tale of two Howies

May 7, 2008 -

John Heald

Summer has come to England and we know this because we have had three straight days of sunshine and temperatures in the eighties.

When summer arrives the country goes mad. Men can be seen wandering the streets in their shorts with white milk bottle legs while the good news is that the ladies are also wearing very little. However there is a problem because finding a house or hotel in the UK with air conditioning is as difficult as finding a photo of a Jehovah’s Witness INSIDE a house……..no disrespect.

Our hotel proudly displays five stars outside it and those stars are well deserved for the food, service and although the rooms are luxurious they have no air conditioning.

They do have a window which I had open last night to allow more of the warm air to come flooding in and that was me lying naked on top of the bed…………meanwhile Heidi the Lizard was under the covers and although it was hotter than penguin in a sauna if someone had offered her a hot water bottle she would have said yes……I really do think she has reptile blood you know.

Global warming …………that’s what the waiter told us at breakfast this morning when I asked why such a hotel was not air-conditioned. Xavier is from Spain and is the headwaiter here. I asked him about air conditioning and I obviously pressed a button because he stopped serving my poached eggs on toast and turned into Al Gore Junior. He said he had lived in England for 18 years and had worked for the hotel for 15 of those years and until a few years ago the temperatures were never like this.

He then went on and on about its the fault of mankind and especially people who leave something he called “a carbon footprint”……….now as he said that I hoped he wouldn’t see the footprints that led to my Range Rover polar bear iceberg melting Xavier mad making killing machine.

The other footprints I wanted to see were his getting my breakfast as not even global warming could warm my eggs and toast up.

I had brought this situation up to Xavier in the hope that maybe he would say that the hotel had portable air conditioning machines but instead I got a bollocking about having carbon on my shoe and my breakfast was cold.

It looks though as if I will have another naked on top of the covers night although having seen the news I have no right to complain.

The people of Burma (Myanmar) have suffered beyond belief and as 20,000 have been killed with those figures likely to rise dramatically it is crazy that the aid agencies cannot get to where they need to be ……..because they need a visa. You probably don’t know anyone who has been affected by this disaster………well……..not personally but you will have met one I am sure as the Corporation has quite a few crew members from Myanmar who judging by the size of the cyclone and flooding will I am sure have e family who have e been affected………..let’s think of them tonight and let’s hope the military junta who are usually are completely bonkers realize they need help and let the people who can help to provide it.

So, last night we ate at the George and Dragon Pub. Even though I don’t drink I love pubs and the atmosphere that comes with them. Dinner was superb and my Dover Sole was historic while Heidi loved her scallop risotto. However, the highlight of the evening was our waitress Magda from Poland.

Now, I should point out that since joining the European Union the UK has had a lot of Polish folks come to the UK to work. They have taken up jobs in the service industry as in the case of Magda.

Anyway, she was very friendly, her English was excellent and as always Heidi and I took the time to get to know who was looking after us. It was while she was serving Heidi her strawberry soufflé and my selection of non-French cheeses that I asked her how long she had worked here. She told us she had worked at the Pub for just a few months and before that she had worked on a cruise ship.

I asked what was that was like as I have never been on a cruise ship. ……………..her answer was…….well……….let’s just say she was not the best spokesperson for cruising and in particular for a specific cruise line that out of respect I will not mention by name as the Norwegians may get a little upset……..no more hints…….that would be rude…….anyway Magda didn’t like Freestyle service and said that unless you “knew the Dining Room Manager” you would never earn any money. I decided to change the subject but not before Magda also told us that she did get to see wonderful places.

Since I have met Magda I have been thinking about the huge challenge that faces the industry we all love. With borders disappearing and the so-called “poorer countries” now able to find work within land based service areas finding crew for the ships will become more difficult. This is already the case and therefore I hope the industry realizes that they must invest in the crew to insure that we get the best young people to work onboard …………it’s going to be a challenge that’s for sure.

I wanted to say thanks for all the comments. Writing a blog thingy on my raspberry takes about two hours and I feel so guilty about not answering your comments. I promise faithfully that this so important part of the blog will return very soon.

I see many of you enjoyed my sister’s blog and I have bribed her with the promise of a cruise if she will write another one soon.

Meanwhile, here is another brilliant entry from Bubba in Hawaii.

The only other day we managed to get out was when we arrived into Honolulu.  A must stop is the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.  Love connecting with history.  Then we went down to the famous, Waikiki Beach.

This cruise has been a great one…The guests really enjoyed themselves…Today they disembarked and we have a new batch of people and we will be doing the cruise in reverse only this time we will end up in Vancouver, Canada, instead of Ensenada, Mexico.  From there we will begin our Alaska season.



I have really enjoyed the time in Hawaii….I wish we could cruise out here more often.  Will check back in from time to time.

Be well all,


Thanks’ Bubba and we all hope you will keep writing.

I was hoping to tell you who the Carnival Splendor’s Godmother will be today but as yet it have yet to be confirmed. I will promise to tell you ASAP and PA 007 is now on the case.

Talking of famous people I was in the doghouse for a short time last night after Heidi read my blog. It turns out that Heidi loves Julio Iglesias and to make matters worse he is married to a Dutch woman…………….bugger.

I tried to explain that he even refused to shake hands with the Captain but I guess El Rudo is someone Heidi listens to and the fact that he is married to another clog wearer …….that was me in the doghouse.

Today’s superstar story concerns a boy band superstar. I have to tell you that my knowledge of boy bands is very limited and although they all have different names……..to me, they all look the same.

It seems to me the ingredients are take four good looking boys dress them in tight leather pants and put them in front of 50,000 screaming girls whose screams are so loud that they drown out the sound of the four leather pant wearing chaps which is a good thing as none of them can actually sing.

My experience as recorded in a Take That Blog a few months ago will have described the sheer hell of being trapped for three hours in an ocean of sentimental love songs with 50,000 screaming girls………not to mention the two men who stood next to me wearing sparkly pink Take That shirts and playing tonsil hockey all night.

Anyway, I am told that the band that started it all was The Backstreet Boys………..what about the Platters and The Four Tops?

Anyway, back in the late 90’s there was no doubt that The Backstreet Boys were the kings and one of them was about to sail with us on the Carnival Triumph. His name was Howie D, I hope I spelt that right. He sails with a large group of guests who had paid to interact with him…….and everywhere he went he was surrounded by women of every age.

However, at every special event he was courteous, friendly and amicable taking the time to speak to every single person who wanted to meet him. I spent some time with him and found him a friendly and sincere bloke and I enjoyed meeting him. He auctioned himself as a prize to have dinner with along with concert tickets and other prizes. The money raised at this event all went to the Lupus charity Howie D had founded as his young sister had passed away from this terrible disease.

He was so humble when speaking about his sister and even though he was a definite superstar and enjoying all the benefits that come with stardom when speaking about the loss of his sister he was just as human as the rest of us.

Howie D was a joy to meet unlike another Howie who sailed on the Carnival Freedom last year in Europe.

Howie Mandel sailed and after a few days it was obvious that any guest who approached him was met with a curt and flippant response to go away.

I fully understand that he was on vacation and didn’t want to be disturbed however there is a right way to do this. I met Mr. Mandel on Lido one day and just walked over to say hello and pay my respects. I offered my hand but he refused to shake it……..fine……..I asked him if he needed anything and he said “yes, tell the rest of the people on this boat to leave me in peace “………………….and with that he turned his back on me.
Once again I totally understand that he was on vacation and wanted some peace but with fame comes a cost and that is to be courteous and respectful to the people that made him famous….Mr. Mandel………there is no deal ……kindness costs nothing.

More famous people stories tomorrow.

Today Heidi and I are going to enjoy some of the activities that are available at the Hotel …….including archery and……clay pigeon shooting and I will tell you how that goes later.

It’s another hot day so time to put my Speedos on and go for a swim. I did that yesterday and as I stood poolside in my red Speedos one of the pool attendants, a young man from an Asian country, dropped to his knees in front of me and started chanting……………he was heartbroken when I told him I wasn’t Buddha.

I will write to say goodnight later

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.