Cruising with Simon

June 10, 2008 -

John Heald

Yesterday, while I was visiting the shipyard I did something which looked ridiculous……….I tried to drive………………a Smart Car.

Now I don’t know if you have seen these things in North America yet but here in Europe they are the must have accessory and in Italy they are all the rage. And, not just with the women but with the men as well which considering Italian men have egos the size of a Smart Elephant……………that’s surprising.
However, the First Officer Angelo had one and I couldn’t resist a drive ………so………here is the blog thingy’s first ever car review.

First things first. It is beyond small…………It is so small, in fact, that anyone over the age of seven will find their left knee is jammed behind the windscreen washer switch, causing it to spray the windscreen constantly as you drive along.

There are two seats in the back, but God has not yet designed a creature that could fit in them, and it’s pretty much the same story in the trunk, which is the size of a baby kangaroo’s pouch.
Speed…………..ummm…………it doesn’t have any………. In fact, this is the first car I’ve driven that seems to have no top speed at all. It’s like walking, only with your legs around your ears and having every person you drive past laugh and point……….. I might as well have walked around Genoa in pants and a T-shirt………….size extra small……….I looked ridiculous and with my legs in the position they were I looked as though I was doing my number two’s……………….I couldn’t wait to get back to the yard and when I did it took two strong men and a crane to get me out.

Well, I guess I need to keep dieting before I can be a Smart car driver. It’s going OK but I know once onboard the ship I will be able to control what and just as importantly, when I eat.

Someone suggested to me today that I should become a vegetarian as it will help my diet and prolong my life………………cheeky sod………….and I hardly knew him. I did think about it and after about 3 seconds I decided that short of pumping gas into the crack of my bottom there is nothing I would hate more.

Anyway, this morning I had a meeting with loads of people who spent loads of time waving their hands about wanting to be seen and heard more than the person next to them.

I have to tell you…………..I hate meetings and we seem to live in a world where they are called just for the sake of it.

Meetings are where good ideas get watered down and bad ideas are forced along because no one ever has the courage to stand up and say: “What the bloody hell are we doing here?” …………….let’s shut up talking and just do it. Anyway, that’s how I felt today and after spending 2 hours doing something that could have been done over a quick cup of tea I buggered off back to the hotel where I can work in peace and not be bothered …………… certainly not by the staff anyway. Despite the two-hour meeting in which I fell asleep twice and learnt the Italian word for someone who is trying to impress the boss —  “Ruffiano” — the ship looks fantastic and I hope you enjoyed the photos and of course there will be many more to follow.

Yesterday alone there were 14 huge trucks arriving with supplies as diverse as trashcans to uniforms. The operation is continuous and the next phase is to prepare the ship for 1,200 crew to live aboard whom in turn will then prepare the ship for 3,000 guests. On the 14th, 800 of those 1,200 crew will board the vessel and begin the hard but rewarding work ready for the first function on 28 June …………….the handover ceremony.

Once onboard I will be able to give you daily updates on what is happening however sitting here in the lobby of Fawlty Towers I admit to feeling a little detached from what’s going on.

Don’t forget that while we prepare the Carnival Splendor our friends from Holland America are doing the same with their beautiful new flagship, the Eurodam. Things there seem to be going very well and I urge you to pop over to their blog which I think is brilliantly written and gives a real insight to their preparation to sail…………..the link thingy is on the right of the blog.

The comments from the various blogs are wonderful to read from that beautiful letter from Don thanking the staff of the Carnival Ecstasy for looking after them so well and making the transition into the difficult months ahead for his wife a little easier. We will be thinking of you both.

Did you see the comment about the Carnival Pride and Baltimore?……That was wonderful to read.
Bill – Zydecocruiser has reminded me that I promised a Bloggers meeting on the first Baltic cruise and more importantly…………….with food. I have not forgotten and will be making sure it is so arranged.

Please keep the comments coming and as always I remain at your service if you need anything…………just mark your comment “John, Urgent, Please Reply”

Now, before we move on lets talk about Heidi. Some of you seem to have used a mathematical formula borrowed from NASA and have calculated that if Heidi is leaving in October it must be because she has a bun in the oven……….well…….as much as I wish that were true………I promise you it is not…….if she is……… will be the first to know.

One thing that is for certain is that as soon as Heidi gets home she is buying a dog. She had dogs while she was growing up…………….so did I ………….but mine mostly had two legs…….but that was all my mate Alan’s fault.

Anyway, Heidi wants a dog and living in the countryside as we do I think that’s actually not a bad idea. I am not sure what next year will bring for me but you can bet I will be traveling a lot and when Heidi is home alone…………I would like her to have something with razor sharp teeth looking after her.

We have been looking at web sites about dogs the past few weeks……….looking at shelters………pedigree breeders and how in parts of Korea, Spaniel on toast is what many start their day on.
However, it seems that in Western countries owning a family dog is not as popular as it used to be. If current trends continue, then at some point in 2009 more families in America will own a fish than will own a dog.

Experts suggest this is because of changing lifestyles: children prefer virtual dogs that you can take for a walk via your computer plus there are those robotic hounds from Japan that do everything a dog does except crap on your expensive carpet. While the kids seem to be happy with RoboDog the high flying career minded Mum’s and Dad’s don’t have time to look after Rex anymore but instead have bought a few fish to keep the kids happy and to show the rest of the neighborhood that they are “animal friendly.”

I wonder if they will regret this when they hear a noise in their house at 3am and instead of a huge saber toothed German shepherd all they have is a few carp. Whereas if you have a huge dog with big spiky teeth, you can roll over and go back to sleep safe in the knowledge that Bob the Burglar is running away with 300 pounds of dog hanging from his bottom.

Nevertheless, as reported on CNN yesterday between 1985 and 2007, dog ownership in America fell by 26% and now, fewer than one in five households has one.

However, as I said, I want Heidi to have a dog and providing she does not expect me to walk behind it with a poop a scoop………….I have no problems in her having one and we set about trying to find the perfect dog……….but then I had a shock………..have you seen how expensive a dog is!

Not long ago, you bought a dog for $10, taught it to sit and fed it a tin of sliced horse twice a day.
Not any more. Because now, in addition to the usual array of normal dogs, there are all sorts of Designer Chanel and Gucci things, usually with a Poodle in the mix somewhere. I don’t know why.  But anyway, you can have a Cockerpoo, a Pekeapoo, a Shitzupoo, a Germanpoo, or the one that Tiger Woods was advertising on a web site a Labradoodle and is now on the top of Heidi’s dog list.

Do you have any idea how much such a thing costs? Go on, take a guess. Nope: you’re miles off because the price of what is basically a mongrel is $1,750. And I’m sorry but how can something that was discovered by accident when a Labradoor and poodle went at it like rabbits one day be the same price as a Plasma TV. I mean, it was created by two different dogs humping….there was no romance involved……Larry the Labrador didn’t go out and buy Penny the Poodle flowers and a Piaget watch before giving her the good news … why and how has someone decided that this cross breed is worth nearly $2,000.

Of course, it looks as cute as cute could be but in the web site photos, but then you look at photos of it from about one year on and its the size of a baby elephant. This thing won’t chew your Air Jordan’s…………………………. it swallows them whole.

$2000 is just the price to drive the dog off the forecourt. Because if you’ve spent that much on a dog, then it’s wise to get it insured, and they will insist that in addition to the collar it has a microchip inserted in its skin, so it can be tracked by satellite and the star ship Enterprise. And this, it turns out cannot be inserted by an Eddie the Electrician the chap who fixes the Television…….apparently you’ve got to get a vet, which costs another million dollars

I haven’t finished yet. You’ve also got to factor in the fact that dogs like a Labradoodle probably will bite your hand of if you give it barbecued horse for dinner. They want designer food, which is made from puffin’s ears and for main course the lightly fried scrotum of a Gazelle. Heidi also told me that it will need a special bed, special vitamins and a yacht moored in Portofino.

That’s why the fish is about to overtake the dog as the world’s number one pet, because these days running a dog is more complicated and more expensive than the Queen Mary 2. And of course when a dog dies, you can’t really flush it down the toilet.

Finally, before the day’s work starts I need to have a moan…….a really good get it off my shoulders grumpy old moan.

The subject Simon Cowell.

I have nothing personally against the man……………except for one thing. Why does he keep saying on British and American versions of “America Britain Idol Pop Factor Got Talent” ……….”You are an awful, dreadful singer and you are so bad that you wouldn’t even get a job performing on a cruise ship .”
That makes my blood boil and is an insult to the brilliant and professional entertainer’s who entertain passengers each and every week.

Have you ever been on a cruise Mr. Cowell or are you talking out of your bottom…………?

So, I challenge you to come on a cruise…………..see our shows and then let’s hear your honest comments then. I know you always give your honest opinions to performers and that is never easy to do…………but you can’t keep saying such negative things about cruise ship entertainment when the only cruise you have ever taken is one on a mega yacht with the Spice Girls.

Come and sail Simon……….I am paying…………..and if in the end you don’t like what you see then I will shut up…………..but…………….I have a feeling the next time you have some one audition who sounds like they have just swallowed a bag of razor blades……… may have to say something else to describe how bad they are.

Bloggers…………if you agree……….let’s get the message to Mr.Cowell…….I know you will find away.

Your Friends
John and Heidi and Simon

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.