Getting Lost…..Around the World

July 26, 2008 -

John Heald

Good Morning………..hope this Saturday morning finds you all well……………..what shall we chat about today?………………I know, lets start with this.

Guest: Mrs. ________ Ref: 002801710A Owner: (KAAC) Kamilla Camilo
Cabin: ____ Booking#: _________ Added-Changed: 07/25/08 – 07/26/08

_____ – CANNOT FIND THEIR WAY AROUND SHIP

Mrs. came to the desk stating that she had been trying to find the Black Pearl dining room for the last hour and she still could not find it. Guest stated that she and her husband had asked lots of crew and they had sent them in wrong directions. Guest started shouting saying that the passengers should be given guides to walk them around as they do on other cruise lines.

Purser asked guest if she attended the ships tour earlier in the afternoon but guest said she wanted a guide now. Purser left the desk and escorted Mrs.________ and her husband across the lobby to the dining room. Guest demanded that Purser collect them after dinner to show them where the casino is as they could not find it either. Purser arranged for a deck plan to be given to guests but said she was busy and could not stay with the guests but would ask someone from the dining room staff to assist. Guest said that the service onboard was dreadful and also complained the ship was too bright.

Dining Room notified and Purser to follow up.

Certainly the ship is large and the first days can be a little confusing, however, I am not sure what cruise line offers a personal guide to be with you the entire voyage. …………..and not to say the guest is telling porky pies (lies) but they asked “lots of crew” and nobody knew where the dining room was……………..unlikely. However, maybe her husband told his wife that he had asked when in fact he hadn’t.

Asking for directions is something that as a man I hate to do. Having to stop the car and ask someone implies that they are smarter than me which of course they are not because I am in my nice warm car while they are getting soaked from the rain. However, there have been times when I have to swallow my immense pride and ask someone for help. Usually this happens in foreign countries or in Miami where some of the roads and highways and one way systems seem to have been designed by a 12 year old.

Over the years I have made up my own set of rules for this………………if you ask where somewhere is to a member of the careless or in Miami the Carlos…..public…………and they start with the word “err”……….bugger off immediately………..just drive away…………because they don’t know and if you listen to them past the word “err” or “mummy” you will spend the next 5 hours driving around in circles ending up in some shanty town where you will be attacked by the local gang for driving through their turf.

The problem is that if you do find someone who does indeed know where you need to go and starts describing the route you are still buggered. This is because it is (as Heidi will tell you) a medically proven fact that when asking for directions men cannot hear anything past……….”you turn left at the Taco bell”…………..and then our brain just shuts down………………we can’t take in the information because we are thick and to proud to admit that we had to ask some careless person where to go.

One of the reasons that Hitler never invaded the UK was not just the brave allied troops but because the German troops got lost……..”Wo is ze England”………….”Ich weissers nicht, ich bin lossen”………………..they couldn’t ask the French because they were all hiding. If there had been women generals at the front line then armies would be able to stop, ask for directions and have someone who could absorb the directions.

The subject of getting lost and refusing to ask for directions segues nicely into the subject of instruction books. I recently, as I think I told you, bought a new lap top dancer computer. I had gone to one of the big computer stores where a 17 year boy told me everything about Windows and Virus protection and……………..then I lost interest.

Now, what I should have done is hit him over the head with an external hard drive and walked away but I was too polite so I stood there and pretended to listen to him while in fact I was thinking about getting the computer home to see how fast the internet connection was and if there was a way for me to look at girls from Thailand without Heidi knowing.

The obvious consequence of this was last night. I wanted to “burn a DVD” of last week’s bedtime story. Now I am not so thick that I think this means I have to douse it in petrol and set fire to it but short of that I had no bloody clue what to do. Now, at this point I should have got the instruction book out but being a man this is illegal. If I had been a woman I would of course have done so. Even the most manly women do this………..I am sure even Martina Navratilova has laid on the living room floor with the instruction booklet for a new DVD recorder making sure when she comes home from playing with Jodie Foster (tennis that is) that she has taped Ultimate Cage Fighting and not Ellen.

If it were me, I would have been happy in the knowledge that it may tape the right program but even if it didn’t I would have been content that I didn’t break the man law …………………………and ask for help.

Let’s have a look at some photos from Mr. and Mrs. Bentley who are on their final leg of their tour of the Norwegian Fjords. These simple potato farmers are regular bloggers and I hope they will be coming on the bloggers cruise.

Have a look at these

Mrs. Bentley is an expert fisher person and she would probably not have approved about my fishing blog yesterday. ………….she won the South Carolina Ladies Championship this year catching something called a Big Mouth Bass………..Hopefully we will get a few more photos later. Please join me in thanking them for allowing all of us to share in their adventures.

Thanks also to Bill Zydecocruiser who has spent hours posting photos from his recent Carnival Splendor cruise. It was an honour to meet you Bill and we thank you for your loyal support, mate.

Let’s have a look at today’s bio featuring another unsung hero. Kat is part of the I/S team who without………….well…………lets just say that Kat may as well sleep in my cabin as I call her in a panic so much every time my computer decides to piss me off……….which is every day that ends in a Y. Here is her Bio which I know you will enjoy.

NAME
Katharina Jauch

DEPARTMENT AND POSITION
Information Systems, Senior Information Systems Manager

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
For almost five years

WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE

In a nutshell: Maintaining the onboard computer systems. For techies: Hard- and software maintenance, upgrades and updates, general user support, bow-to-stern WiFi, ship’s VoIP cell phones, satellite connectivity, network administration, user administration, Point-of-Sales systems in bars / gift shop / restaurants, specialized applications in all shipboard departments, antivirus protection, liaison between users and technicians / developers / programmers at HQ, overseeing technical aspects of embarkation and gangway security, printing the guests’ Sail & Sign cards 2 days prior to embarkation.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM
Germany

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB

The variety of issues to deal with; to work with shipboard users; to help others being able to do their job

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY BACK HOME
My parents, a younger brother and a younger sister – a fun bunch of people.

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

Fast internet, real chocolate

FAVORITE THINGS
Road trips, photography, cooking

MOVIE
Eurotrip

MUSIC
Wide variety – from Sting to Nickelback, from Rammstein to Bach

FOOD

All sorts of fresh fruits, especially berries

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

Sting

IF YOU HAD TO DO ANOTHER JOB ON THE SHIP WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO AND WHY
I’d be a Crew Welfare Officer –great potential for a very rewarding job but that position doesn’t exist (yet) at Carnival.

Thanks Kat and what an interesting thought………… a crew welfare officer ……………. mmmmm………..something to think about there. Anyway, I am sure the computer people enjoyed the interview and if you have any computerist questions please let me know and I will send them on to Kat.

It’s strange hearing English as the dominant language onboard………..I don’t mean English as spoken by most of you…………I mean……….well English………..spoken by people from the UK. There are actually over 1,000 onboard and all the British regions are represented……..we have Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Scouse (Liverpool), Northern, London Cockney, Geordie (Newcastle), the Midlands, the South West and Bombay.

As expected the English breakfast is very popular and not just with the Brits. I spoke to a Mr. Harold Robinson today who is a Brit but has lived in Virginia for the last 30 years. He was beside himself with happiness that he could once again have a full and proper English breakfast.

Another activity that was so popular last cruise was Tea Time. This used to be held in one of the smaller lounges but is so popular we now use the dining room. This includes Tea, pastries and finger sandwiches……..a little bit of Tea Time Trivia questions and some beautiful classical music. It is immensely popular with 200 – 300 guests attending …… the atmosphere is superb and one can only imagine what it must be like held in The Queens Room onboard the Queen Mary 2, The Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth 2.

I went along today and said hello to everyone and next time I must take my camera with me and send you some photos………..remind me please. It seems the British are fascinated by the Americans and the Americans equally so about us Brits………………and what’s hilarious is when we try and talk like each other.

As you know, it is impossible to speak French because everything over there has a sex. Carrots. Motorbikes. Laxatives. Seaweed. Everything is either a boy or a girl and the French snicker when you get it wrong. Because of this nobody can be bothered to try but when it comes to Brits trying to speak American and American’s trying to speak English………well it is pure comedy.

To us Brits Americans either speak like a Texan or one of the characters from The Dukes of Hazard. This means that the North, the Midwest and in fact the entire country …………in the mind of the average British person ……..speaks and probably looks like a cross between Roscoe P Coltrane or JR Ewing. Then, get a box of tissues ready as someone from a small village in Yorkshire tries to speak in an American accent……….. “Hello You All……yee ha” will be about as far as they get before realizing they sound ridiculous and they burry head in a warm pint of beer and a plate of spotted dick.

We all know how bad Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood was …………he started out trying to be a cockney, after thirty minutes he sounded Canadian and just before he arrived back in Sherwood Forrest he said “bugger this” and gave up completely returning Robin Hood to his native Iowa.

For me, though are the Americans I work with onboard and in the office who, having interacted with British crew for a while, they can start talking English. There is one man who will remain nameless who holds a very senior position at Carnival’s shore side offices who every time we speak calls me “mate”………..and when he does I’m filled with a sudden desire to kick him hard and fast in the Albert Halls.

Americans cannot say “mate” any more than Germans can say “squirrel.”

However, we do have a word in the UK which we must stop using and hope our American friends never start to pick up. In hospitals our ER units used to be called casualty ……..now we are getting more American and they are called Accident and Emergency rooms and I am sure it wont be long before we here “Dr. Carter, please report to the ER” at a hospital in Liverpool. You see, Americans do this well……….all the medical terms make sense…………ours do not…..especially the word “comfortable.”

I remember the first time my mate Alan went in for surgery. I was worried sick and called the hospital pretending to be his brother. When I asked for his condition after 8 hours of surgery I was told he was “comfortable.”

Comfortable……………… Someone laying the deck of a cruise ship sipping on a Pina Colada before dining at the Pinnacle Steak house is “comfortable”. Someone lying in a hospital with half his head missing and tubes sticking into and out of every orifice is not comfortable.

Still, despite our language differences there is no doubt that as in the areas around the world where our troops stand shoulder to shoulder so friendships are forged here onboard……………..something that just doesn’t happen in hotels and as I walk around the ship I hear guests meeting for the first time………..”Hey, y’all from England?”. …………” Yes indeed old chap”………….”Well that’s just awesome”…………”yes Sir”…….”Shall we partake in a cocktail?”……..”Well, shoot spit, y’all don’t need to ask twice — lead on mate”

The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day at sea. My morning show went well as did the travel talk with people snapping up tours for all the ports with Berlin as per usual the favorite destination. This afternoon as I sat working I looked out of my window to see a Seabourn ship sailing the other way. It was a bit too far for me to see which one it was but there was no doubting it was one of the beautiful yachts who will have a sister next year in the new Seabourn Odyssey.

Anyway, I saw the Seabourn ship and for a minute I was a little blazai ……… blarzay ……….. blarsay………….I was a little nonchalant………..”Oh, it’s a Seabourn ship.”………..I said to myself and carried on working. Then, I stopped …………..and sat back to think…………..here I am in the middle of the North Sea heading to Denmark and I just saw one of our sister companies sailing the other way. …………..wow…………..think about it. ………look at the Bentley’s photos and you will see a P & O ship sailing the Norwegian Fjords…………now. Go back 20 years to when I first started working and when some of you first started cruising. Even being in a Caribbean port with another ship was a big deal………….now………….it is virtually unheard off to be in port anywhere in the world on your own.

You see, such is the success of this industry and in particular such is the success of Carnival Corp that as I write this blog thingy we have ships in the Baltic, The Caribbean, Asia, Australia, The Med, Alaska, The Middle East, The Americas and beyond. This is something to stop and think about…….is there anywhere in the world that during one year our ships don’t visit?………….not many……………I could only think of Southend on Sea, Somalia and Ohio

Seriously, how far we have come in such a short time ……………it’s amazing and there are still new and exciting ports of call for Carnival Corporation to dock their ships at…………………..there has never been a better time to cruise

Where will your next voyage take you?

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.