I met a man today who was not very nice and not very pleasant. He has been beyond demanding since day one and has been extremely rude and nasty to the waiters and service staff.

He is staying in one of our top suites and after continuing to be not very nice and not very pleasant he told me that he just paid $35,000 for one week in a hotel in Barbados…………I fainted.

When I came to he told me that for paying what he had paid for this cruise he expected to be treated as a “first class” guest and to have everything else complimentary…..Supper Club, Drinks, Casino Chips, Driving the Ship, 12 Latvian ladies and all the gold he could eat.

I explained that while we appreciated his patronage Carnival has no “class system” and that every guest is special. Anyway, we have since showered him with gifts although from what I understand he still wants more and actually threatened our staff to call the President of Carnival Gerry Cahill if he didn’t get what he wanted……..we said we would be happy to pay for that call………..he, of course, didn’t call him.

While I understand that when you pay lots of money for the best of everything you expect the best of everything but to demand things for free…………well, it’s a little tacky to say the least. I

During my conversation with him he kept on and on about this hotel and all I could think was who the heck is going to pay $35,000 for clean sheets and a bagel anyway………………….apparently this chap does as he told me about 35,000 times during our conversation…………the thing is, I know the hotel he allegedly just stayed at and had my own “experience” there.

There is a very famous hotel in Barbados. It’s called ………..well……..I had better not say……….but it’s where all the rich and tanned stay when they are on the island. It is supposedly one of the most prestigious hotels in the world and recently after getting off the Emerald Princess in Barbados and before our flight back to the UK……………

Heidi and I decided to treat ourselves to lunch there. Now, although I am not a jet set traveler I certainly new I couldn’t just turn up and say “Hello mate, table for two please”……this certainly wasn’t The Waffle Hut Mon ………so I called ahead and was told that I needed to give a credit card number from which would be deducted $100 if I didn’t turn up………bloody hell…….$100 just for not showing up!

When we arrived we were shown by a security guard to a man who showed us to a woman who showed us to another man. This sounds great but unfortunately were still in the taxi. Obviously they were all very confused that someone had shown up in a cab rather than a stretch limo, a helicopter or someone so rich they had walked…..on water.

Eventually a huge man with the word security blazoned across his yellow polo shirt bent down to the window and said …………”yes”……………He had one of those pieces of wire hanging from his ear and he probably thought it made him look like he was in the Secret Service when actually it just made him look deaf….so I shouted “MR AND MRS. HEALD……….WE HAVE A BOOKING FOR LUNCH”…………………

He seemed quite taken aback that I had screamed at him and was probably deciding whether to rip my arms off and use them to rake up the leaves……… but eventually after speaking to his wrist……………… the gates opened and we were in.

I had told Heidi that we would probably see famous people ……….supermodels………..actors who have played Bond ……….Simon Bowell……..Ryan Seacrap or even George Hamilton. Imagine my disappointment therefore that the restaurant was not exactly full and the tables that were occupied were taken by……..well……….people who were not stars.

At one table was a lottery winner………this may seem cruel but he looked like a fish out of water. He was dressed in a British soccer shirt and baggy shorts and had a large tattoo of a snake on his arm. His wife had a T-Shirt with no sleeves called a tank top which was the write thing for her to wear considering she was indeed…………. the size of a tank.

They looked bewildered a the vast array of cutlery on the table and in the end Mr Tank gave up deciding which knife and fork to eat his shrimp cocktail with and just used his fingers.

At the table next to him was a man who may not have been Sean, Roger, or Pierce but obviously thought he was James Bond as he was dressed in white pants and white jacket with a white shirt and of course ……white shoes. Now, he was talking on a mobile phone and was talking so loudly that he didn’t actually need to call as I am sure the man in New York he was talking to could hear him.

He was shouting about sending something to his suite and buy this and sell that………he kept looking up at us and the Lottery Winner as if to make sure we were listening……….it was then that I looked at my cell phone which said………..”no service”………none of the 20 plus people in the restaurant were on their phones and unless this man had some top secret device built into his Nokia………..he was talking to no bugger at all.

Heidi and I were having a laugh at this when the menus arrived………..we new it would be expensive but had no idea how much……..and we still didn’t as the menu had no prices on it…………maybe it was free.

I remember to this day what I ordered. The starter was beef Carpaccio which when it arrived looked like a someone had used a pencil sharpener on a cows hoof …….it was supermodel thin. I tried to eat it with a knife……..then a fork…………and eventually gave up and……….I am not kidding here………….I picked the plate up and licked it off………what did it taste like ………… ummm ………… meat………..but only for a second.

We asked for a bottle of water and expected the usual “still or with gas “routine. ………..not here……….we got a menu……….a water menu. Feeling brave I ordered one I had never heard of before and when the waiter brought it to the table it looked like something out of …….well………..a Bond movie…………something that would need defusing. And so the waiter went through a routine of disarming the water bottle and then poured about a quarter of an inch worth into my glass…….. and then he stopped……..he looked at me………….and I looked at him………….silence…………..he just stared at me…………..was he in love?…………..had my Bells Palsy returned?

It was after about 50 minutes of us just staring at each other that I realised that he wanted me to taste the water as one would do wine…………..to prove this theory correct I asked “Do you want me to taste it?”……….to which the waiter replied” I need to make sure it’s fine for sir”…………..I replied………..”Well, unless you just got it out of the President of France’s bath tub I am sure its fine “……………he ignored me and continued to pour more water.

Drinking water is though easier than getting rid of it. The bathroom was manned by someone dressed in a full dinner jacket and tie who offers you a choice of toilet paper and various bottles of smelly stuff………..I had seen this before in various establishments and while I had been getting rid of the sliver of beef I had fished out a dollar. it was while I was washing my hands and drying them on the towel which tuxedo man had given me that I noticed his tip bowl was full of $10 and $20 bills……….there wasn’t a dollar bill insight………….saying no thanks to an offer of Chanel perfume for men I laid a dollar bill in the pot and walked away……….half expecting a bottle of Channel to come flying past my ear.

And then the check came……….which was just to funny for words……………it came to $277…………three numbers forever etched on my memory………..the lobster salad Heidi had ordered was ………….$88………………$88……..for that money I wanted the lobster to get up off the plate and do Jimmy Cagney impressions………….$88……..it hadn’t and had instead just sat there in a middle of a bed of lettuce … dead……………..$88!

I am sure that people like the man in our suite this week have no problem paying that kind of money just for lunch……….imagine what the rooms must cost. However, places like this hotel are brilliant……..because they act like a big black hole and suck in all the rude and obnoxious people in the world………..we know where they are……..and that means we can go somewhere else…………..like on a cruise where everybody is treated like a 1st class guest whether they are staying in the smallest inside cabin or a penthouse.

I want to show you the last of the Norwegian photos taken by Mrs. Bentley. These include a shot of the largest Oil Rig in the world under construction……….P&O’s beautiful ship Oceania sailing through some of the most stunning areas of this most stunning of countries. Thank you again Mr and Mrs. Bentley and we wish you a safe journey home to Idaho and the potato farm.


World’s Largest Oil Drilling Platform Under Construction


Flor & Fjaere Botanical Gardens


Flor & Fjaere Botanical Gardens


Flor & Fjaere Botanical Gardens


The Family Owners of the Flor & Fjaere Botanical Gardens

Let’s have a look at some letters as we present…………………IN THEIR OWN WORDS.

As you can see, the topic of not having a chapel and or a priest onboard has come up again. I am trying to arrange something in one of the ports of call but regardless I think that on these longer voyages this is something we may need to investigate doing. I know it will make a lot of people happy especially if we could include an interdenominational service as well as a Catholic mass. I will see what we can do.

I would like you to meet very special gentlemen. There are only a very few names that when mentioned earn immediate and utter respect in the cruise industry. People like Ted Arison, Micky Arison, Julie McCoy and John Heald……….OK……….I am kidding of course – forget Julie.

Seriously though, one such name that demands that respect is the name Mr. Meshulam Zonis. Mr. Zonis started with carnival from day one and for many years was our Senior Vice President of…well…..everything to do with the ships and the operation of the fleet.

The fact that everyone still calls him Mr. Zonis and not by his first name………..which most of us don’t know…………shows you the total respect that everyone has for him. Well, Mr. Zonis is retired now and his legacy lives on. This week he sailing with his wife………..ummm……..Mrs. Zonis………and today we had a special dinner to celebrate his birthday. Here is Mr. Zonis with Captain Pagano…………happy birthday Mr Zonis and on behalf of everyone at Carnival Cruise Lines…………..we say a big thank you to you for all you have done.

Well, the beer festival went well and everyone seems happy. Apart from the 44 people who are missing luggage everyone dressed up for the cruise elegant night and as I walked the decks and talked to people at the parties everyone seemed happy. I encouraged the 44 people to come to the party………I made a special announcement as I always do to make sure they know that they should not stay in their cabin but come to the festivities………..and they did…..and that was nice to see. I hope they all get their luggage very soon.

SOMEONE SENT ME THIS TODAY FROM ONE OF THE BOARDS.

Private Russian tours- The BS from Carnival continued right through the cruise and if you do not have the nerve to “rock the boat” you will be left in the rear. They really push hard to sell their tours but the threat of being left on board, or leaving quite late, is a bit over the top IMO. If you, or others in your group, are uncomfortable with not following “orders” I would strongly suggest you take the ship’s tours. Otherwise you have to make your way to Deck 0 once they announce the first Carnival tours, we used the elevator from deck 3, at that point insinuate yourselves into the mass of people and totally disregard the immigration signs that refer to Carnival tours as the authorities do not care in the least whether you are, or are not, with Carnival. Some in our group were not happy with this arrangement and would have started the 7:30 tour two hours late but we drub them along. Be advised this is not easy for everyone.

For the record I want to say once again the facts about Russia as stipulated by the Russian authorities.
Anyone can disembark and enjoy St.Petersburg if they have purchased a tour through the ship…………or have a private tour with proof of the booking………….or have a Russian visa. Everyone needs a Passport and one photocopy of the passport picture page
By the way, I have been enjoying reading about Holland America’s Captain Albert. He has been writing a blog about his adventures in Alaska. If you have not read it yet you really should. It gives a brilliant and exclusive “view from the bridge.” Here is the link thingy.

http://www.hollandamerica.com/main/Main.action  – Then click on Captain Albert’s blog. Enjoy.

Now, it always amazes me that people are surprised and angry that we promote our tours onboard…………why is this such a surprise?
We are a public company and therefore answerable to shareholders and ……….more importantly …………..we have a wonderful, exciting and safe excursion program not just in Europe but in all of our ports of call. I do not issue “orders” as this person states but yes………..and I make no apologies for this…………promote our tours. I am proud of our program.

As for Carnival guests getting off first………..well yes………that’s what we have set up with Immigration and if people have an early morning private tour then all they have to do is tell someone and we will arrange debarkation immediately for them. I am afraid this person is “rocking the boat” and getting all fired up………….for nothing.

I apologize if they felt angry or upset and wish they had spoken with me while onboard. It was our first time in St. Petersburg and lessons were learned. This cruise we have over 2,200 people on Carnival purchased tours in St.Petersburg and I know they will have a great time.
So, my cold is apparently and according to people in white coats and with letters after their name………….down to stress and exhaustion and my immune system being buggered. The Doctor told me today I needed lots of rest, vitamins and………….because I was tense………..a massage.

Let’s start with the lots of rest………ummm…….not that easy. “Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen, today there is bugger all going on as I am in bed…….have a nice day at sea”…………………

OK, so the vitamins……well, considering I already take three pills a day and that I sometimes forget to take those, asking me to take more pills is as pointless as asking Donald Trump if he watches Who Wants To be A Millionaire…….and then the massage……..OK, lets discuss that one.

I have seen Emmanuelle in Bangkok (9 times) and thinking it may be a pleasurable experience I gave in and decided to as the Doctor and Heidi had suggested…..I would go to the incredible Cloud 9 spa and have………….a massage.

My first disappointment was that unlike the movie there was only one masseuse and the second disappointment was that unlike the Tai or Japanese beauties you associate with back massages my young lady……………..was from Texas………..her name was Carla.

That’s when things started to go down hill. Carla asked me to get undressed and lie face down on a bed. with just an XXXXL towel rapped around me……….I felt sick.

Carla told me that I was tense which was no surprise considering this was the first time I had been near-naked in front of a woman apart from Heidi in 12 years…….that was with my then girlfriend Sara who was so disgusted with what she saw that she left me and moved in with her new partner…….Sally.

Anyway, Carla told me I was all knotted up and I wanted to say something but as she was currently using my back as a punching bag………..all I could manage was an “agghhhh”

I lay there being subjected to one hour of sheer pain and thinking this must be what’s its like to slide down a mountain while locked inside a refrigerator, it would be more relaxing to have hot needles inserted into your eyes while listening to Barry Manilow sing Copacabana over and over again.

But the humiliation was only just beginning. There are times when some of you out there in blog land probably think a lot of what I write is made up or sexed up as the political spin-doctors do.

However, I promise you that is never the case…it really isn’t…….OK, I may overstate a few things now and then but the facts of how my day has gone are always true. I say this so you know that what I am about to tell you is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me Heidi.

It was as Carla was massage my lower back and kneading me like a piece of dough that as she applied full pressure ………………….I farted.

It wasn’t one of those full on mess your hair up explosions that I am capable of……….it was just a little …………fluff…………a tssssssssshhhhhhh…followed by a short sharp staccato…….bwee!

She stopped massaging and I wanted to die……..I wanted the door to open a team of Delta Force commandos to burst in and shoot me behind the ear before feeding my body to the sharks.

I removed my mouth from the whole in the table and said “I am so sorry”…………Carla was an angel and in that southern accent she told me that this happens all the time and was quite normal. And that was that…..it was supposed to be an hour massage but after my gas leak the massage seemed to be over after in just 43 minutes. Carla left the room probably as embarrassed as I was and probably also due to the faint odor of my breakfast which now filled the room.

Before I left I tipped her a huge amount of money hoping my generosity would buy her silence. After my massage I had a Sauna in one of the private rooms which is amazing. You sit in a chair and when it gets too hot………you turn the cold-water shower on above you. Its no wonder the Cloud 9 Spa is getting amazing reviews……..it truly is the best Spa at sea.

Since my massage I have been wondering if Carla had told anyone about my “accident “……I was sure she would be professional and not say a word. About an hour ago I got in the elevator to go to the Promenade Deck. As the doors opened I discovered a group of Beauty Therapists all dressed in their white crisp uniforms. I said good evening and they were very polite and all said hello…..It was only as I got out of the elevator and as the doors were closing that I heard them all laugh hysterically as one made a farting noise ……….they knew…………oh joy………..they knew!

Goodnight
Your Friends
John, Heidi and Carla

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.