Zippitti Doo Da

July 24, 2008 -

John Heald

“Can you unzip me please?”……….These are words I never thought I would have to say to anyone…………but……….once every 12 days I have to ask one of the dancers to unzip my dress and do it slowly so they don’t take any of the hairs with it…………something me and Dolly probably have in common.

For 35 years or more I have raised and lowered the zip in my trousers without getting it caught in the fabric (or anything else) once. However, my hatred for zips comes from the one time I went camping.
In the world of tenting, every single zip gets stuck all the time. So there you are outside in the freezing cold, jiggling the damn thing backwards and forwards, knowing that with each tug, and each muttered expletive, more and more of the tent is being swallowed by the fastener.

Eventually, and often with the help of a knife, you get through what tentists laughably call the door – it’s a cat flap – and you are presented with your sleeping bag, into which you must climb as quickly as possible because its so cold parts of your body will start to fall off……….still, at least I would have had a spare tent peg!!

So, you dive into your sleeping bag, yank the zip and instantly the entire bag disappears into it. And you can’t fish it out because your fingers are numb from the cold.

To warm them up, you must light the stove. Simple, you might think. In the civilized world there are many burners that light at the touch of a button, or with the merest hint of a match. But this is tenting, so the stove you’ve been given is designed to not light at all for two hours, and then when it does it blows up in your face.

The thing is that some people find these aspects of tenting stimulating and the harsher and more uncomfortable the better. ………….it puts you in touch with nature say people who wear sandals and have beards………….well I can be in touch with nature from my hotel suite when without having to unzip anything I can call room service and be in touch with nature by ordering a huge steak.
Still, regardless of my dislike of zips and pure unadulterated hatred of wearing a dress and massive fake pendulous bosoms the guests howled with laughter as I minced around the stage. The worst thing is coming back to the cabin and finding yourself covered in glitter…………there are little signs that it may be time to move on ……and picking bits of glitter from your chest hairs may be one of them.

So, good morning everyone from Amsterdam where the weather is a balmy 82 degrees and sunny and after another complicated maneuver the Captain has us docked at the new cruise terminal. The entrance to Amsterdam is very impressive and I recommend to guests that they be outside by 8 am to witness the ship heading through the locks. At one point the Captain has only 7 meters clearance on either side of the vessel.

Just as we arrived we were told by the authorities that upon returning to the ship each guest would be required to pass through a full Dutch Immigration check in the terminal building……………..so I jumped on the PA system and made sure that everyone new that they needed to have the right documentation with them. I think the ship’s agent who we pay to manage and communicate situations like this could have told us earlier though.

The gangway is on deck 2 again although unlike last call on the eight-day cruise where everyone exited from the one gangway, this voyage I obtained special permission for the guests on a carnival tour to have a private gangway straight to the coaches leaving from deck 0…………………..so overall, it was a good operation and with the sun shinning bright I am sure everyone will have a great time in Holland.

Heidi has her Mum visiting today and I hopefully will be getting off for a walk to my favorite cigar shop and to buy a British newspaper. I only touched dry land once in the last 12 days in Germany and the wife insists I take a walk and get some fresh air…………..so I will.

Well, here I am back again and I just suffered 30 minutes of abuse…………all of it deserved. As I mentioned just now Dutch Immigration had requested to see everyone on their return to the vessel……….that’s fine…………but they sent two ……… TWO ……….inspectors.

The lines were embarrassing and even rivaled St.Petersburg. It took me 30 minutes to get back onboard and during this time I was shouted and screamed at, as was Lui the Chief Purser and Duncan the Hotel Director. We tried to explain that this was beyond our control but where as many understood…..many did not. It’s the older people I feel sorry for having to stand for such a long time. The problem is that everyone loves Amsterdam and therefore everyone on a short stay in port returns at the same time…this does not help.

I am sure you will read about this on the message boards and they will be blame the ship, blame Carnival etc………..well, I admit beforehand it was awful and we will use all our powers to do something about it next week…………all I can say is …………….. sorry …………..and nobody is more embarrassed and upset than Heidi………her government let her and 3,000 people down today and they are the ones who should be embarrassed.

On a more positive note everyone said that they loved the port and the tours and how they wish they could have stayed longer. It’s a brilliant destination and we will sort this problem out ……………Gregg…………can you post this section mate for me on the boards?………….I made a public apology but I want everyone to know that it really was not our fault. Thanks mate.

Here are a few photos of our transit through the canals.

Heidi and her brother Piet

Have you seen our new Carnival Fun Shop? It has become an instant hit and you can decorate your home with all your favorite Carnival onboard items. There’s music, towels, and so much more and I think it’s time we put some blog items on there. And in the next few weeks I hope to put the blog items on it. You can browse through all the items here: www.carnivalfunshops.com.  

OK, let’s carry on with today’s bio featuring our Gift Shop Manager Justine who has some pretty great stuff in the gift shops for this season including some stunning Russian Dolls and Faberge eggs…………remind me to take some photos of those. Anyway, here is her bio.

NAME

Justine Dykes

DEPARTMENT AND POSITION Gift shop – manager

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
10 years

WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE
Overseeing the tax and duty free shops, managing staff, driving sales, training staff.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM
England

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB
Visiting places, meeting new friends, meeting old friends

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY BACK HOME
Mum and dad retired. Sister worked on Holland America, married a Dutch officer, now lives in Holland with 2 beautiful girls.

WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT BEING IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY APART FROM FAMILY
Food and friends, going to the movies, and driving a car!!

FAVORITE THINGS

MOVIE – Great Train Robbery

MUSIC – Beatles

FOOD – Chicken Korma – Indian is my favorite

IF YOU COULD MEET ANY FAMOUS PERSON IN THE WORLD WHO WOULD IT BE
Errr.. hello! George Clooney

IF YOU HAD TO DO ANOTHER JOB ON THE SHIP WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO AND WHY
Super shopper – only works a few hours a day, gets to go shopping in every port. And doesn’t have to lift heavy boxes!!

Here are the International counts for next week …looks like the English breakfast will be very popular.

Argentina 10
Australia 39
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas 5
Belgium
Belorussia
Bermuda 6
Brazil 11
Bulgaria
Canada 398
Czech Republic
Chile 5
China 2
Colombia
Costa Rica
Cuba
Cyprus
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic 21
Egypt 1
Finland
France 5
Germany 9
Greece 6
Guatemala
Guyana
Honk Hong 4
Iceland 3
India 5
Indonesia 11
Iran 4
Ireland 14
Israel 94
Italy 3
Jamaica
Japan 2
Korea 12
Lebanon 1
Luxembourg 2
Malaysia 13
Malta 26
Mauritania
Mexico 44
Netherlands 17
Netherlands Ant
Peru
New Zealand 6
Nigeria
Norway
Philippines
Poland
Portugal 8
Puerto Rico 13
Russia 6
Saudi Arabia 5
Slovenia
South Africa 2
Spain 18
Sweden 1
Switzerland
Taiwan 2
Thailand 3
Turkey 2
United Arab Emirate 2
United Kingdom 659
Ukraine
Trinidad and Tobago 3
Venezuela 10
Vietnam 1

TOTAL PASSENGERS 1514

Now, let’s have a look at some letters………………..in their own words.

(click to enlarge)

Modern history is littered with glorious technical failures. .

You may, for instance, remember the laser disc. It was a 1-foot-wide silver record which, said the geeks, would replace the videocassette. I nearly bought one, at vast expense, even though there were a few drawbacks. Like you couldn’t record anything on it, and any fast-moving image always “ghosted,” which was a bit of a problem because the only film originally available on laser disc was the very fast-moving Top Gun.

Before this, there was the saga of Betamax. Technically superior to the standard videocassette, it is still used by television companies as the medium on which programs are recorded. Many people bought Beta machines, but then the porn industry decided to go with the VHS and as a result anyone who had bought a Betamax machine was truly buggered.

Today, the world has leapt like a kangaroo on springs into the future and one of the most wonderful aspects of Tomorrow’s World now….is the virtual tour. It is now possible to see your hotel room, the inside of your new car or the inside of a Latvian girl’s bedroom all from the comfort of your computer. I see that my friends at Cunard have taken this technology onboard and are taking us on a tour of the one and only Queen Mary 2…………and your host…………is someone very special. So, everyone, lets take a tour together…………..go to www.cunard.com and click on New Queen Mary 2 Virtual Tour in the top left corner. It’s inspired me to do something special……………..enjoy the tour.
And now for something completely different.

Guest: ——————– Ref: 002801606A Owner: (AKAH) Akos Hanko
Cabin: ______ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 07/23/08 – 07/23/08

_______ – Disappointed that no Famous Stars are in the Shows

Mr —————— came to the desk to state how disappointed he was that no famous stars are in the shows on ship. Guest said that as it was Inaugural cruise he had expected to see famous people. He also said that on a Royal Caribbean cruise he had seen Bette Midler and on NCL had met someone called Rosie ODonald. Guest wanted to speak to cruise Director John about this. Purser said that John would contact the guest

[7/23/2008 11:32:33 PM AKAH]
Purser sent an email to Cruise Director

Bette Midler was on RCI?……………Rosie Donald…………well, I have no idea who that is ……………anyway I called the guest and indeed he said that he had expected the ship to be full of stars. Apparently Bette Midler was there and I think he meant Rosie the chat show lady was on NCL…………and his travel agent had assured him that the Carnival Splendor would be parading A list superstars on deck during this voyage. The guest did say he had enjoyed the shows but felt that Carnival had misled his travel agent by assuring them that we would have Tom Hanks hosting pool games and Russell Crowe singing on Promenade Deck.
We departed as friends but not before he told me that although he had had a wonderful cruise it was spoiled because he had not had chance to rub shoulders with the rich and tanned.

This once again brings home the fact that we live on the Planet Celebrity.

Every week the glossy supermarket magazines bring news of yet another celebrity who’s married a goat, drunk their own urine or thrown a telephone at some hapless hotel receptionist. Of course we all want to meet these people because we all think that are so different to any of us………….but are they?

All the famous people I’ve met are just like everyone else………………………. Howie Mandell has bad breath.
The people I’ve met, however, are the Toyotas and Hondas of the celebrity world. But what about the Bentleys and the Aston Martins? What about those whose names are etched on the consciousness of every living being on the planet?

Of course, the real way to tell if someone is really famous is look for an entourage. The really famous, really global stars walked around like comets, trailing a tail of “people” who had been employed to make sure nothing even remotely real got in their employer’s way.

Snoop Doggy Puppy Hound, or whatever he’s called, had an armada of bodyguards, each of whom is the size of a house. I can’t work out what they are protecting him from exactly. Brittney Spears, Aliens? Then there is Madonna who has a hundred bossy women with clipboards whose job, so far as I can tell, is to yell a lot and make sure nobody gets in Madge’s way. …………..can you imagine what would happen if Snoop Doggy Puppy Hounds entourage and Madonna’s get in each others way…..it could cause a five-mile traffic jam?

So, no celebrities onboard this week and this equates to one upset guest……………….oh well………………I wonder how he is this morning. I told him yesterday evening that we had a special guest star from the world of country music appearing in the Carnival Legends show…………….he got very excited and even said he would be there early to get the best seat. I am sure that he was there, expecting and hoping to see Lee Ann Rimes or Shania Twain and when I am sure much to his disappointment mixed with a hint of anger…………the country and western star was actually some fat bloke in a dress …………….maybe I should have asked if he wanted to unzip me.

Goodnight
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.