Sorry Al

July 21, 2008 -

John Heald

Obviously I live in a crew cabin. Yes, it’s bigger than most but its still a cabin and not furnished to the luxurious standards of our guest staterooms and suites. I remember the days when there were no amenities in the cabin………nothing………..it was a bed, a TV that had two channels, a bathroom and that was that. Nowadays the Carnival fleet all have amenity baskets, hairdryers, flat screen TVs are a feature on many of the ships and all are fitted out to be of the highest standard. We never get anything but praise for our cabins…………….always ……………well, except this one.

Guest: Mrs _______ Ref: 002801422A Owner: (LAEP) Laszlo Pergel
Cabin: _____ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 07/20/08 – 07/20/08

________ – CABIN TOO SMALL

Guest called the Pursers Office to say her cabin was too small. Guest stated that for the same price on her Celebrity cruise she had a cabin twice the size and that the decor was like a cheap business hotel. Guest wanted to speak to John Cruise Director. Purser explained that the Cruise Director was not in charge of the cabins but guest insisted on speaking to him. Tasked to cruise Director.
Guest is in 3C inside cabin.

Well, far be it for me to disagree with a guest but on this occasion I have to say ………..what a load of bollocks. I spoke with the guest and she insists the standard inside cabin on the Celebrity Millennium is twice as big as ours……….twice as big would put her in a suite or more likely……….in the land of the fairies. She also reiterated that the cabin was a cheap impression of a cheap business hotel…………………oh, she did admit that her stateroom steward was the best she ever had.

I have never heard a complaint about the size or standard of our cabins before which I think are some of the best in the industry and value for money wise they ARE the best in the industry. As for her comment about the business hotel…………….well.

We all know what businessmen’s hotels are like. There’s a priority check-in section where you wait behind some rope, on a bit of carpet. There are staff in shiny suits who say things like “If there’s anything else at all for yourself at all.” And you are given a credit card key that makes lots of whirring noises when you put it in the lock but will not, no matter what you do, open the door.

After you’ve kicked it down, you have the room. There’s no obvious button to turn off the air-conditioning, which sounds like a F16 jet. The light switch by the bed turns all the lights off, except one. Which means you have to get out of bed and walk to the other side of the room which is about three paces away while you fiddle about for the switch witch you can never find. You then realize the only way you will be able to turn the light off is to unplug it so you do this and the room is then plunged into darkness and you end up banging your knee on the IKEA table which is next to the TV.

The plug you need to charge your mobile is always behind the mini bar, and the “tea and coffee making facilities” are designed to ensure you can’t make either.

No, really: the kettle lead is never more than a foot long and the brown powder they put in the packets is way closer on the periodic table to nitric acid than it is to coffee.

The restaurant, furnished in beige, is overseen by a woman who says: “Can I get any bread items for yourself at all, sir?” and then hands you over to a young inexperienced server.

Your fellow diners are chomping their way through their suppers, some reading books, some newspapers, and there’s always one who’s reading the drinks special leaflet over and over again. Just killing time till they can go to their room and watch the pornography on the room TV.

Businessmen’s hotels, I think, are the most miserable, soul destroying, soulless, energy sapping, embarrassing, badly run and badly organized edifices in the entire world. I’d rather stay in cardboard box under a bridge…………… And that’s before we get to the food.

The menus are always written in a massively squiggly, curly-whirly typeface. And there’s much talk of jus and things being drizzled onto other things. But you know the chef is not from Paris or Rome. He’s from Bolivia where he used to be a cook at the El Casa De Waffle.

We also know whatever the sign says outside that none will have the warmth, friendliness and fun of a Carnival ship……………… and……….your toilet will be more than 3 inches off the ground. So, the next time you happen to be in one of these cookie cutter hotels …….just think…….you could be in one of our cabins……..I know where I would rather be.

This guest was a minority and although people are very tired after two long days in St. Petersburg moving the clocks one hour back last night seems to have rejuvenated them and ready for today’s adventures in Tallinn, Estonia. When I was aboard the Carnival Legend in 2002 the one port that stuck in my mind was beautiful Tallinn. It still has that medieval charm and even though the country was occupied by the Nazis in World War II and then suffered the iron fist of Communism the old town has not changed that much. Estonia gained her independence in August 1991 and since then their economy has been booming. They are part of the European Union although like Denmark and the UK they still have their own currency although most shops here except Euros.

Here are some of the tour highlights we offer.

(Click image to enlarge)

Hope you are finding these brief tour suggestions useful.

I wanted to clarify a few things about St.Petersburg. Certainly the burocacy that lives on like a Tom Clancy novel is annoying to us onboard………but outside of the guests having to stand in line as you would at an airport to go through Immigration……well St.Pertersburg is worth that wait and so much more.

I saw a few comment’s about “ why does carnival go there “ and that is a reasonable question………the answer……..it’s simply one of the most amazing cities on earth….it’s a must see and having to wait a few minutes to show Mr and Mrs Frying Pan head your passport……..is a small price to pay.

Now, for today’s photos we are in fact not going to Estonia……I will post some tomorrow ……….but for today I wanted to share some beautiful photos with you from another cruise destination. These photos are courtesy of some friends of mine Emma and George Bentley. They have just finished a voyage on the new Holland America ship Eurodam and now are on a smaller ship sailing through the Norwegian Fjords. When I saw their photos I knew I had to share them with you as they are simply stunning. Holland America, AIDA, Princess and Cunard are some of the family ships who offer cruises through this stunning part of the world. So, here are some photos that will have all of you who love cruising and spectacular destinations salivating.

Thanks to Emma and George for those wonderful photos………..you may have seen the Bentley’s daughter writing some comments under the name Princess…….she missed out the R…………it should be Princess R……………and she mentioned potatoes in one of her posts. This is because George (her dad) is a potato farmer in Idaho and grows some HUGE mutant size potatoes which I have to say……….are the best I have ever eaten. I know George spends many hours a day tending the fields and I am glad he is taking some well-deserved vacation with Emma. Thanks for photos and I think all of us now want to cruise the Fjords…………and try one of George’s potatoes.

Someone else I need to mention is Big Ed who as many of you know has been with us here at the thingy from the start. Will you join me in thinking of Ed and his wife Pat whose brother in-law suddenly passed away a few days ago…………we are thinking of you mate.

Hello also Mima………..Mima is friends of Dawn and Jane who are here now on the cruise. Mima was due to come as well but he is bravely fighting cancer at the moment………………..Mima…………..we all send our support it won’t be long I am sure until you are here with us. I know there are many Cancer survivors who read the blog and I know they especially will be there for you.

OK, let’s have a look at today’s bio featuring someone very important…………..the Staff Captain. He is the official second in command of the vessel and thus the Captain’s right arm. Please meet our Staff Captain…………Alessandro Lemmi.

NAME Alessandri Lemmi

DEPARTMENT AND POSITION Staff Captain, Bridge

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES

I joined Carnival Cruise Line On Nov. 2000 as 2nd Officer on the Victory, after 15 years spent at sea serving as Deck officer on Liquefied Petroleum Gas Tankers

WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE

Second in command of the ship, in charge of the vessel, in the Master’s absence and/or incapacitation

Oversees ship’s security and crew discipline, including concessionaires and guests
In charge of all aspects of Safety, Health and Environmental policies and procedures
Participate to Arrival and Departure maneuvers as established by the Master
Maintains and update the Deck Department inventory, Deck equipment status, ship’s records and Logs
Compilation of Deck requisitions
Compilation of requisitions for items related to Hotel Department maintenance
Supervision of Ballast operations
Tank structure and coating evaluation
Vessel’s general upkeep
Coordination of Class surveys
Supervision of Tanks inspection and cleaning
Supervision of Chief Security Officer and complaint investigation
Supervision of Crew cabins inspections
Evaluation and Supervision of all Deck repair works during normal operations and during scheduled repair periods
Supervision all aspects of the Waste Management Systems including the designation of suitable waste storage and handling areas for all garbage, hazardous and non hazardous wastes.
Ensuring that aspects of the Waste Management System are duly carried out as specified by the following Environmental Responsibilities’ section

The Staff Captain is responsible for security onboard the vessel, including the enforcement of all rules and regulations. He is responsible for the security and safety of everyone aboard the vessel.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM

I born on 04/15/64 in Montecchio Emilia a small town between Milan, and Bologna in the North part of Italy

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB

Ship’s handling during docking and undocking operation.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY BACK HOME

I’ve got married in April 2000 with the love of my life Elisbetta, she is a Pharmacist and is working in her mother Pharmacy, in 2002 my little daughter Giulia born and this September she will start the elementary school.

My Parents and relatives are living in the same town were I born; they gave me everything: love, education and support, we are really close to each other and in full harmony I consider myself very lucky and honored to have such a wonderful family.

WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT BEING IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY APART FROM FAMILY

Riding motorbike on my Emilia’s roads

FAVORITE THINGS

MOVIE Thrillers

MUSIC Rock & Hard rock

FOOD Cappelletti in brodo which is a typical plate of my region, (prepared by my Mother)

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

Steven Tyler, Aerosmith’s vocalist

IF YOU HAD TO DO ANOTHER JOB ON THE SHIP WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO AND WHY

That’s an easy one….I would like to be the Captain… It’s my goal since I started my study at the nautical school

As you will see from his bio, he wants to be Captain…………and he will soon I am sure reach his goal.

So, as far as the cruise is going…………well, I think its going well. It’s our first and that means that it’s the first time in the ports of call……….can we do things better next time?…………yep………….for sure. For instance we now know not to fill our pools with the water around the St. Petersburg………we do this at least 12 miles outside of the port. Yet, when we filled the pools we noticed the water was umm……a bit ……….. ummm ……..yuchy. This was a shame because once in the harbour we certainly can’t use the water there………….not unless you want small fish and bits of old Soviet spies in the pool with you. On a serious note…………I am going on an all out effort to try and have the pools filled with fresh water………….I know this might not always be possible………….I know P&O do it………….and I think its time we did as well.

Here are today’s letters……………..in their own words.

 

 

Time for a blog apology to a blogger called Rikki…………who wrote.

“OK. I’ve lost patience. I can’t help it if you are as ignorant about the environment as Rush Limbaugh. But you shouldn’t talk about that which you know nothing.
Did it ever occur to you that doing things to reduce your carbon footprint were good regardless of any global warming risk? They can save dollars and improve your health.
Al Gore has championed the environment since his first days in the US Congress decades ago. I’ve had it with you dissing him.”

You have the right to do as you wish. And I have the right not to subject myself to it.

I am sorry mate but let me also say this………..I love arguing. I love filling my house with people who think differently to me so everyone can roll up their sleeves and have a damn good argument. That’s because I believe in freedom of speech…………..oh, and just in my defense……..I have studied a lot about the environment and listened to both sides of the arguments ….so yes, I do know a little on the subject.

I do not believe that man is responsible for global warming. There are many eminent scientists who would agree. And I believe that western governments are in the process of spending billions of pounds trying to stem something over which we have no control. I believe that this money could be used to make the world a fairer, more peaceful place. I would much rather bring clean drinking water to an impoverished village in Africa than bring a wind farm to the shores of California. You might not agree, but surely you can see it is a reasonable argument. I respect that argument. I respect Al Gore and the people who voted him into office. And I’d love to chat to him about it……..I just don’t agree with everything he says.

This blog is mostly about cruising and that’s what it has to be about. It is also a little bit about my life and with that comes a little bit of what I think and those thoughts are remember …….spiced with a little humor. Once again I apologize if I offended you and I wanted the entire blog to know that.

The most important part of today’s blog is this. Six months ago my mate Alan was not in a good way……………but yesterday…………..he had a scan…………and the results were simply amazing…………….the gammer stuff worked and the doctors say they are happy and content not to have to see him for a year…………it seems his positive and fun outlook on life and your thoughts and prayers have worked a miracle……………he sends his thanks to you all as do I………………..he is hoping to celebrate with a cruise in August and has now promised to join us on the Bloggers 2009 cruise….he may still be as ugly as bulldog’s bottom after its eaten a pound of prunes……but that……..is a small cross to bear.

Thanks again my friends………….you are simply…….the best.

And…….yesterday I met Callum……….who although burdened with more than any of us could ever imagine has to be one of the most special kids I have ever met…………and he is …………my hero.

Here is a picture he drew for me and a note from Mum.

Goodnight
Your Friends
John and Heidi and Callum Booker aged 8

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.