Russian Jeans

July 20, 2008 -

John Heald

I miss Steve Irwin……………I loved his zaniness and his devil-may-care attitude to danger he showed as “The Crocodile Hunter.” I also loved his catch phrases especially when he had a huge snake by the tail and the thing would be trying to bite him Steve would say “who’s a little grumpy then.”………….well, I used that phrase this morning…………..not to a snake………………but to 1,600 guests gathered for the second day of their Grand Tour of St.Petersburg. They waited in the lounge and as I greeted them I could feel their grumpiness……………it was 7 am, they wanted to see St. Petersburg but at the same time they wanted to go back to bed. It didn’t help that unlike yesterday where we were blessed with beautiful sunshine, today it’s cold and damp. Anyway, they will be fine once they get going and they all loved the city and yesterday’s tours were magnificent they said.

However, I also think that after the warmth and friendliness they were shown in Warnemunde, Germany I think they were all surprised about the ……….. ummmm ……….for want of a better word………..”cold” reception they were given here. There was no music, no greeting and as we left a few minutes ago the only person to say goodbye to us were two police officers standing by their tired looking DAF car, puffing on a cigarette. Don’t get me wrong…………..St. Petersburg is stunning and will be for many their favorite port……………..I just would have thought that having ships like Carnival Splendor and Eurodam calling for the first time would have promoted something more of a celebration………………….oh well.

As I said, most of the guests are saying though how amazing their tours were. the only negative on the tours was the fact that places like the Hermitage Museum are not air conditioned and can ………with lots of visitors inside ………..get quite warm. I must remember to mention this the next time I talk about the tours. As I mentioned just now though unlike yesterday’s temperatures of 80 degrees plus today should be much better at 67 degrees………….it’s still raining though.

Here are some photos taken by the Entertainment Staff who visited some of the sites yesterday and today.


Eurodam


Eurodam 2


The Hermitage


Beautiful Ceiling


Da Vinci’s Mother and Child


The Gold Room


Flute Player in beautiful Room


Amber Room

I want to thank you for your continuing comments. I replied to over 20 comments marked JOHN PLEASE REPLY URGENT yesterday and I will continue to be here for you should you need anything. I was very interested to read your continuing thoughts about the cigar bar and its possible demise. I guess one day soon the industry will have to rethink its policy on smoking. Most of the modern world now has a complete ban on smoking inside public areas and I am sure one day that will be the case on ships as well. One line which will have nothing to worry about is AIDA. Their ships have the Anytime Bar which is a great place to listen and dance to music but with huge doors which open directly to the open deck. This gives the inside/outside option and is a great place for smokers and non smokers to come together……………that’s the way to go. Please keep your comments coming they are so important to the blog thingy.

Now, talking of comments, let’s have a read of one or two.

Guest: Ms _______ Ref: 002801367A Owner: (EMAK) Emelyn Adina Karacsony
Cabin: _______ Booking#: _________ Added-Changed: 07/19/08 – 07/19/08

_________ – LOST SHOPPING BAG IN TOUR BUS

[7/19/2008 12:40:49 AM EMAK]
Mrs ____ came to the Purser’s Desk and reported to Purser that she went on a tour called Porvoo Steam Train& Helsinki, with the bus number #2 where she had left a t-shirt and a reindeer doll in a plastic white bag. Guest was very upset that this had not been returned to her by the bus driver and is demanding compensation of items she left totaling 14 euros.

item: shopping bag with t-shirt and reindeer doll
[7/19/2008 12:43:22 AM EMAK]
Tasked to Shore Excursions.

…and this one

Guest: Mr ________ Ref: 002801417A Owner: (CAUS) Carla Suarez Medizabal
Cabin: ________ Booking#: _______ Added-Changed: 07/19/08 – 07/19/08

____ – CARNIVAL CARES CARD

Mr. _______ came to the desk and gave to purser the following Carnival Cares Card:

“Winfred Gerose at the pizzeria did a great job on taking care of customers despite being screamed at a guest who was demanding 12 Pizzas for his group. The man was obviously drunk and used bad language but your crew did a great job and was very professional.

Thanks for your comments letter send to the cabin., F & B Manager informed.

How nice of this guest to take the time to report that a crew member had done something wonderful.

Too often it’s the other way around. I sent the guest a little something to say thanks.

Here is today’s Bio featuring one of the young men who keeps us safe as we travel the world. Bridge Officer Alessandro Mariucci


NAME ALESSANDRO MARIUCCI

DEPARTMENT AND POSITION – DECK – 2nd NAVIGATING OFFICER

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES – 5 YEARS

WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE:
– BRIDGE WATCH OFFICER

– PREPARE AND UPDATE THE SHIP’S PASSAGE PLANS

– IN CHARGE FOR TEST AND MAINTENANCE OF ALL BRIDGE INSTRUMENTATION, ALL NAVIGATION EQUIPMENTS AND ALL RADIOS AND SATELLITE APPARATUS

– KEEP UP TO DATE ALL NAUTICAL CHARTS AND PUBLICATIONS ON BOARD

WHERE ARE YOU FROM – ITALY, ROME

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB –

NAVIGATE THE SHIP IN THE SAFEST WAY, ALWAYS KEEPING IN MIND THAT THE LIFE OF THOUSANDS PEOPLE IS IN MY HANDS WHEN I’M ON WATCH ON THE BRIDGE.
BEING ON A SHIP I’VE CHANCE TO VISIT THE WORLD AND MEET ALWAYS NEW FRIENDS.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY BACK HOME – I’VE A SISTER “DEBORA” 1 AND HALF YEAR OLDER THAN ME WORKING FOR UNICREDIT BANK, MY FATHER RETIRED THIS YEAR AFTER 35 YEARS WORKING FOR ALITALIA FLIGHT COMPANY AND MY MOTHER HOUSEWIFE….. I’VE ALSO A BEAUFIFUL DOG “LUNA’, JUST 6 MONTHS OLD

WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT BEING IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY APART FROM FAMILY
EAT THE FOOD THAT MY MOTHER LIKES TO PREPARE FOR ME !!!!!

FAVORITE THINGS SCUBA DIVING

MOVIE – NOT THE GODFATHER !

MUSIC – ALL

FOOD – PASTA

IF YOU COULD MEET ANY FAMOUS PERSON IN THE WORLD WHO WOULD IT BE
QUEEN ELIZABETH

IF YOU HAD TO DO ANOTHER JOB ON THE SHIP WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO AND WHY
I’VE STUDIED TO BE A BRIDGE OFFICER AND MY ONLY DREAM IS TO BECAME CAPTAIN ONE DAY, OTHERWISE I’LL NEVER BE ON A SHIP ON A DIFFERENT POSITION.

On we go changing subjects again today with a report from Mr. Peter Shanks. Peter has become a very well known name here on the blog thingy and how grateful I am that we have someone as important as Peter as our roving Carnival UK reporter. Here is his latest report from the wonderful world that is……….Cunard.

Hello John and hello Bloggers

Thanks for putting the pictures of Queen Mary 2 and her Fan Club in Cherbourg up on your blog – it was another awesome Cunard moment with 25,000 people coming down to see the ship. I saw your video of the lone firework that went off in Warnemunde – we really should teach you thing about how to do things in more style. Many congratulations though on the Splendor launch event in Dover – it was a wonderful event. For me the highlight was – again – how you managed to involve some of the people who work so hard on the ship in the ceremony.

So – the reason for writing – I am afraid I have to admit I had a ‘John Heald Moment’ on Friday. Queen Victoria was in Southampton and I went down to see the team. Service levels have been really improving and the ship is really get into her stride with excellent guest feedback. My mission was to say thanks to the Food and Beverage Team who have put in a huge amount of work. I was rather surprised when they ignored my thanks – told me they had ambitions to be even better – and then took me on a two hour tour of the galleys to show me where we need to make further adjustments and improvements. No question – it was the most productive and rewarding two hours of my week. There is nothing better than meeting our expert staff and letting them show me where we need to be investing more in the operation.

We need a second oven in the bakery, we need some additional preparation tables in the galley to speed up room service; we need to improve the waiter stations to make life easier for our waiting staff; and we need to improve the lighting over some of the food areas in the Lido. Now to most of our guests, and to any observer, Queen Victoria is already delivering a fabulous experience. But our Food and Beverage Team are never satisfied.

The changes they would like to make are affordable and make sense – and I will set about approving and implementing them first thing Monday. As I went round the galleys I could not help noticing all the Cunard ‘White Star’ Pins and badges our staff so proudly wear. I was wearing mine as well – and I never thought a pin or badge could make such a difference, make such a connection – and then I remembered – We are Cunard!

So – now to my ‘John Heald Moment.’ I bounced off the ship – full of pride, more convinced than ever before that Queen Victoria is the most beautiful ship I have seen delivered in the past year, keen to get back to the office to start implementing the changes the ship needs, walked across to my car in the car park, took off my jacket, put it in the boot – shut the boot – only to realize I had locked the car keys in the boot. Great – so now I am a plonker. (British term for idiot).
First thought was to call my 18 year old daughter and ask if she could drive down to meet me with a spare set of keys. ‘Dad – get a life , I am shopping’ was the response. Next thought was to call the office and ask if somebody could come and collect me – too embarrassing. Anyway – I decided to call the assistance company and two hours later I was rescued. There is a major upside to this story. Spending two hours in the car park – I realized just how many of our guests are using valet car parking in Southampton. I watched car after car being driven into the car park.

I realized that this must be a very profitable operation. I then realized I have not seen this profit coming though in any of the reports I have been shown. So returning to the office I had two missions – help the Food and Beverage Team with their needed changes for guests, and find out who has been keeping hold of our Cunard Valet
Parking revenue and not telling me how much money they are making.

Always best to come clean John – so happy to share my ‘plonker-like’
behavior with you and your bloggers as it proves we are all human – and at the same time gives m a chance to remind your bloggers that Queen Victoria is not only one of ‘The most Famous Ocean Liners in the World’ – but she is also a most beautiful ocean liner with her most marvelous crew , and your Carnival Bloggers really ought to come and sail with us at some point – we would love to see them.

I hope all is well on Splendor – keep eating the Beetroot !

Best Regards from you Official British Reporter

Peter Shanks
Chief Commercial Officer
Carnival UK

Thanks Peter…………I see that anytime anyone does anything remotely “silly” it is referred to now as a ” John Heald Moment”……………..oh joy.

You know, having visited the Queen Victoria and the Queen Mary 2 I have a huge desire to experience a Cunard voyage for myself. I know we have talked about this before but let’s just say ……… hypothetically ……….if we could secure some great rates………anyone fancy experiencing the “We are Cunard” service for themselves……..with me……..what do you think?

Talking of Bloggers I must have met thirty or more this cruise ………oh before I forget……..Hello to George and Linda’s daughter who is busy looking after the Agency……..wish you were here.

Anyway, I will be having a champagne reception for them on the next sea day and will have to put a code in the blog….maybe Friends of the Thingy….I will let you know and take the video camera a long with me.

Oh, I have to apologize to the lovely Miss K Packer as apparently she read my blog about my number two in beetroot sauce as she was eating…….a salad……..oops……….apparently it grossed her out so all I can do is to say sorry …….and send her photos

Yesterday, Heidi and I had a discussion about how I dress. This came about because of photos in her Rumpy Pumpy Star Enquirer hello Goodbye magazine of handsome men wearing what Heidi says were the latest fashion. Fashion and I go together like the French and soap …….. never the two shall meet.

Anyway, it was strange that on Sky news this morning that theme sort of continued. It was announced this morning on the news that this year in the USA three pairs of jeans will be sold every second.

The reporter then interviewed some woman who was a fashion writer for Cosmovogue and Whose having Rumpy Pumpy with Who magazines who said that once you reach the age of 40 you should never, even if nobody’s looking, wear jeans. It was all right when you were 20 and at a Bruce Springsteen concert, but they do not sit well on a body swollen by age and one or two too many family size buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken……………… oh bugger off.

Now look. It’s all very well for women to say this kind of thing, because women have a great deal of choice when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. They can wear a long skirt, a short skirt, a shorter skirt, a skirt that looks like a belt, a dress, a pair of tracksuit bottoms, leggings, jeans, pants, shorts, capris, daisy dukes, – and as they do in my dreams a long coat with nothing on underneath.
Men, even if they care about how they look, do not have anything like that range of possibilities. A skirt is right out, unless you are Scottish or David Beckham. Bottom of Form 2

Shorts are only possible if you are an Australian or if on a cruise accompanied with the obligatory long black socks. Tracksuit bottoms are unsuitable unless you are a rapper, a professional sportsmen or hanging out with your house boys making sure nobody comes into your hood. And in the whole of human history, no man has ever thought for a moment that his wife will become aroused if he meets her for a cup of coffee wearing nothing but a raincoat and a pair of PVC boots.

Suits are largely for work but are disappearing as many companies adopt casual Monday to Friday, so if we are not allowed to wear jeans, that leaves us with trousers. But what sort?

Flat front? Pleated front? Corduroy? Cotton? Linen? The choice is plentiful, but how are we supposed to know what shop sells which. And how – even if by some miracle we happen upon a retail establishment that offers a wide range of differing styles and in my size – do we know what looks good without spending hours and hours in a cubicle trying the damn things on?

This – and I’ll take no argument on the matter – is the most miserable thing a man can do. Given the choice of trying on a pair of pants on in a shop, or being boiled alive and eaten by a tribe of Cannibals…………then spice me up and put me in the pot.

The first pair you try never fit. Not even close. You wheeze and you pant and you suck your stomach in until bits of it are pushing against your cerebral cortex and your eyes are 3 inches in front of your face, but it’s no good. So, in a space the size of the trunk on a SMART car, you take them off again, put your own pants back on and waddle across the shop in stocking feet to get a bigger pair. Which aren’t in stock. So you go bigger still and end up with something that has a waistline broadly similar in circumference to the American Airlines Arena.

Get this straight, ladies. This. Is. Not. Fun. Any man who tells you he enjoys trying on clothes – and you can trust me on this – is not the sort of man who finds you sexually attractive even if you are Jessica Simpson, but if shown a photo of Johnny Depp with long hair, his shirt open and a patch over his eye…….. will probably faint.

This is why I only wear jeans when I am off the ship. They’re easy to buy. You walk into a shop and say: “Can I have three pairs of 48 in 501s?” Two minutes later you walk out and your shopping for the year is done, which means you have more time to see films, watch TV, blog and generally have a fun time.

I don’t care how the jeans look because I can’t see them – they’re hidden from view beneath the veranda that is my stomach. And it doesn’t matter anyway because as I’ve said before, if people can’t see your thingy…………… you can consider yourself to be properly dressed.

The End.
Good Night.
Your friends,
John & 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.