Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam….Wonderful Spam

May 9, 2008 -

John Heald

When I was at school I loved Spam. It was offered every day and on Friday things got really exciting as it was offered……………in batter. Spam was so popular Monty Python wrote a song about it which I used to sing while standing in line to order Spam for lunch………..Spam was part of my world and I embraced it with open arms.

Now I am older, I hate Spam and if someone put it in front of me just the smell would make me feel sick…………….I would rather eat a camel snot sandwich than eat Spam.

I guess my hatred for this mystery of meats must have been shared by some boffin who when the Internet was invented decided to call all the crap and unwanted e mails that nobody wants “Spam” and when I returned home from my holidays today my inbox was full of the bloody stuff.

Now, I am supposed to have a filter thingy for my Yahoo account but it filters bugger all and today when I checked my e-mail I had 56 slices of Spam.

This morning when I logged on to my computer, my inbox was stuffed to overflowing with messages, none of which ever has anything to do with work or messages from friends or George Hamilton. Most are from companies offering me Viagra and loans to pay for it. Then there are e-mails from someone I’ve never met telling me that they had sex last night with someone called Melissa.

I also was threatened with violence today by one of those awful e-mails that states that if you don’t forward it on to at least ten people you will get the bubonic plague…………and die. Today’s such threat came in the form of a beautiful waterfall and beneath it a poem about love for your fellow mankind and how we must all embrace our fellow man ……… then in small print at the bottom were some words telling me that if I didn’t forward this  e-mail than I was a complete and utter scum with no more right to live on God’s green earth than a dung beetle…………………who writes these things?

So, here we are, home again and while Heidi unpacks I thought I would drop you a line or two. The journey home was good except that the Range Rover drinks more than Paris and Britney at an open bar and with the price of petrol more expensive than diamonds it was an expensive trip. However, we are both relaxed and have a nice relaxing weekend to look forward to. On Saturday we will go to Alan’s house for a barbecue which means two things…….a photo of Alan as promised and …………food poisoning from an undercooked sausage ………bugger.

Now, as we are talking about food let’s have a serious chat.

I have seen that another cruise line has announced that they are going to start flexible or anytime dining and it was met by mixed reaction on some of the cruise Web pages. Now, as it turns out, I have just learned from PA 007 that indeed Carnival has been planning for some time to try this option on one of our ships and will commence the testing beginning next month. Thanks, PA, for sniffing out this story. 

Here is what will happen. The test ship will be the Carnival Legend beginning with the June 29 departure and the most important fact here is that the flexible dining option is to complement…………..not replace …………..the assigned dining times.

So, guests will have the option of arriving at one level of the dining room within specific times ………5:30 pm – 9:30 pm….. and request a table. Meanwhile, if guests prefer the classic assigned seating and being served by the same staff each night……..well that option is still there too.

Now, to me……….this is like having your Chocolate Melting Cake and eating it too because, unlike some other lines, we are still giving you the option of either open or assigned seating. 

I know that some will stick with what they know and keep the assigned dining option …………however…………….we realize that times change and we more than others are ready to change with it. Some like the flexibility of eating ……………. well…………….when they are hungry and that’s when the anytime dining comes into play. To me, it’s the best of both worlds.

Again, this will start soon on the Carnival Legend only and at the time of writing there are no other plans to include other ships just yet…………….however……………if this is popular then I hope we will make this available on other ships in the fleet.

I need your feedback and I will answer your comments and questions on this subject so please …………as many of you as you can…………….even first-time posters………………just write me a few words ………just say YES to this option or NO……..I prefer assigned seating and if you want tell us why you prefer what you do.

This blog thingy is your voice and I promise you that it is read each and every day by all the top folks at Carnival…………..some of whom will probably be quite upset that I am releasing this information early to my blogging friends………not to worry though………….. so, please…………..speak up…………..let’s hear what you have to say…………….it’s your blog, your dinner………….and your cruise line.

I read a comment from Tim Kriebel MCPO who has just retired from serving 23 years in the United States Navy and who after protecting our freedom for all those years …… well………..all he wants is……….a solid gold plastic trophy.

Well, Tim…………….when you cruise on the Carnival Valor a trophy will be waiting for you and it is awarded to you not just by me but by all the thousands of readers who applaud your service and wish you a happy retirement.

Here is the last installment for a while from Bubba and his trip to Hawaii.

Luau is Hawaiian – For YUMMY!

Well it’s not really, but that was what I was thinking the whole day thinking about going to this, and I was glad to say I was not disappointed when I got there. This was a definite highlight of my entire time out here. Luaus are held for celebrations!

The luau is done on one of the late night ports and is a MUST do for the complete Hawaiian experience. We met around 5-ish to go over to the place. Once we got over there it took a few minutes to get check in and get our seat assignments. We went with the majority of the entertainment staff and their significant others. Think there were about 25 of us or more. They had our group in two different sections. There was regular seating with tables and chairs…then there was the traditional seating where you sat at a low table with a mat on the ground. The benefit of that is you are right in the front row for the show.

The doors opened at 5:45pm, and we were greeted with a Lei & a Mai Tai. The place was absolutely beautiful. There was a stage in the middle of the place surround by tiered levels of tables and chairs. Around the area there were lots of great places for photo ops and some of the staff of the luau doing demonstrations of games, hula and arts and crafts.

A very large Polynesian man handing out the Mai Tai’s on the way in.

Julie & I getting lei’ed

Great Hawaiian Band getting you in the mood for the party.

The stage in the middle there, with all of the tables around

One of the luau staff doing some arts and crafts. They had people doing wood carvings and making lots of things out of palm tree leaves.

I wandered around checking out the locals doing their thing, while helping myself to a couple more cocktails. Did I mention it’s an open bar???? Had a thing called the LAVA FLOW. Absolutely fantastic. The cocktail menu included….
Mai Tai, Pina Colada, Chi Chi, Lava Flow, Blue Hawaii, Green Passion, Hawaiian Sunset, Margarita, Honey Girl, Little Tita, Long Island, Long Beach, Nalu Special, Mellow Dramatic and beers, wine, sodas, juices….

So they make an announcement that they are about to take the pig out of the oven, so head over to the fire pit to check it out. So of course I do…cause I love BBQ. Spent some time with some Argentineans on one ship, they know how to Q, but the Hawaiians got a different way of doing things which I thought was fascinating. The cook the meat underground – in a firepit called an IMU.

So there’s a whole in the ground where they burn wood and then place a certain kind of rock found in the waters of Hawaii. They get those rocks really hot, then the place the meat over the rocks in the hole. Then they cover the whole thing with Banana leaves. Then they cover the leaves with a sheet, and then cover it with dirt. They basically steam the pig. And about 10 – 12 hours later, you got some good eatin.

So they make an announcement and these guys tell you how they do it as they start to remove the pig from the oven. Of course everyone goes and checks it out. It was amazing.

The foils around the pig are filled with a typical Hawaiian dish made from pork butt & spinach.

So they bring the pig out of the pit and then it’s time to eat! Here’s a look at the menu….

Kalua Pua’s – Roasted pig
Ahi Poke – Raw Tuna & Maui onions
Mahi Mahi
Lomi Lomi Salad – salmon & tomatoes
Taro Salad
Pohole Salad – made from fern shoots.
Crab Salad – AWESOME
Island Chicken
Pulehu Steak
Fried Rice & Veggies
And more!!!

Sunset as dinner was being served.

Luke – one of the social hosts with his mouth full of deliciousness. The drink in front of him is a Lava Flow.

So after a fantastic meal, the sunsets, and it’s show time. The was about an hour filled with Hawaiian & Polynesian Music. There were two Emcees who explained the different numbers that we saw. As I watched the show, all I kept hearing in my head was KC in the Sunshine Band’s “Shake Your Booty” because there was a lot of booty shakin’ in this show. But the costumes were great, the dancers were wonderful and the show was very entertaining.

The night was fantastic. It was tough to go back to the tender and get back to work. Today as I write this it is our last day in Hawaii. Tomorrow we will head across the pacific to Vancouver. But I think Hawaii wants us to remember we were here. Look at this beautiful view of the island from the ship….

I am excited to get over to Vancouver and start the Alaska season. However I must say again how much I enjoyed these islands. I will look forward to our return in the fall.

See you around the Pacific. Chris

Later tonight I will be sending some photos taken of the great English countryside which were highlights of our holiday.

I hope you will excuse me but I need to go and take care of some things including deleting all Spam from my in box most of which is from people I have never heard of.

Then, when you do recognize someone’s name on an e mail you open it to see the dreaded words “attachment” and “this is very funny,” which means they have sent you a joke…………………and so you sit there waiting 20 minutes while your computer downloads something that you hope will be very funny and cheer you up after trawling through all the Spam………… Only to find that yet again……’s a picture of a carrot ……………………. that looks like a willy.

I will write later tonight and please………………………….send me your thoughts short or long on the anytime dining scenario.

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.