Here we go again.

Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 12:35 AM
Subject: 9272 – Meeting with John request

Good morning, John.

Please be aware that I had a gentlemen at the desk who was very upset that he could not “just call and speak with John,” He used to be a captain and he wanted to make a surprise for his wife, but he refused to tell what exactly was the point of his meeting with you… so if it will be possible to give him a call during the day? Thanks a lot and my best regards,

Natalya Mitko

Well, it’s another cruise and it took just one day to find another colorful character. As you will see from the e-mail above “Mr. I Used To Be A Captain” came to the information desk after midnight and was surprised and upset that Natalya the purser would not call me. ……………good job because I was fast asleep, having a wonderful dream about Catherine Zeta Jones who was wearing a Panama Jack hat…………that’s all she was wearing by the way.

So, I called the captain this morning at 9:10 am and guess what? ……. I woke him up…………oops……….and when I apologized he barked “Call me back after 11 am” and hung up the phone ………… I was stunned.

Well, the problem now was that at 9:30 am I had my Morning Show and then the Travel and Adventure talk for Warnemunde and Tallinn. This meant that I would probably miss him when I called next …………. and that would only make him even grumpier…………..however, I didn’t need to worry because he found me.

Following on from my travel talk I host a Q & A. This, as you may know, is done in the style of an open microphone session so everyone can hear the questions and answers. Usually people ask about tours, how to get places on your own, etc., and things were going very well until half way through when I met the captain.

Stephanie the assistant cruise director gave him the microphone and this is how the conversation went…………Oh by the way, I always ask people to say their name and where they are from…………anyway, word for word, here is the conversation.

CAPTAIN I am captain _______ and I am from the United States of America.

JOHN Which state, captain?

CAPTAIN That is none of your concern

JOHN Oh, OK, were you a ship captain?

CAPTAIN No, I am a retired airline captain and I tried to speak to you last night but the lady at the desk refused to put me through to you.

JOHN My apologies sir but with respect it was after midnight

CAPTAIN I expect you to be available to me 25 hours a day — that is your job.

AUDIENCE MEMBER Ask a question or sit down!

Now, at this point I had to decide quickly what to do because Captain Rude was now starting to upset the other 200 plus in the room. So…

JOHN Indeed sir, my apologies would you like to have a chat with me after the Q&A has finished in 20 minutes.

CAPTAIN RUDE No, I can tell you that my wife and I are having our anniversary of 42 years and last year on the Royal Caribbean ship the cruise director arranged for us to eat at the Captain’s table and I want the same to happen here.


JOHN OK, sir, just allow me to answer the other guests questions and I will come and chat with you.

I am sure he would have liked to have said more but luckily Stephanie was ahead of the game and grabbed the microphone from Captain Rude’s hand.

I carried on with Q & A answering questions about Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate but doing so on full automatic mode because all I could think about was how after one day Captain Rude could be so…….well………rude. No, please, no thank you, publicly advertising another cruise line and doing so in the most abrupt manner.

So, after the Q & A I went and sat next to him in the Spectacular Lounge. I explained that Captain Pagano does not always host a table and when he does that the guests chosen to sit with him are ones pre-ordained by our Miami office ……………. oooops ……………. shouldn’t have said that as I was now given a wonderful close up of Captain Rude’s index finger which was now wagging like a rabid dog’s tail in front of my face.

I just sat there………….watched his finger………..listened to him go on about how the cruise director of the RCI ship was better than me and how Carnival should honor his many years as an airline captain.

Eventually he stopped to take a breath and that was my chance …….. I grabbed the nearest object I could find which was my microphone and I beat him over the head with it while singing “happy days are here again”…………………………Except, it was just a dream and instead of using the microphone as a weapon I apologized again and promised him that I would do everything I could to make his anniversary a special one.

I asked him when exactly it was…………answer: September 28 ………. umm….in three week’s time…….bloody hell, it wasn’t even this cruise.

I offered him my hand but bizarrely he refused to shake it and walked off…………..talking to himself.

Oh Joy.

And so later today I will deliver a fruit basket and champagne to the guest’s cabin with a note from the captain wishing them a happy anniversary………’s all I can do for now as the captain’s table is already full……….I have a feeling it won’t be good enough though and I will hear more from Captain Rude in the days ahead.

He has been an exception, though, and I have met so many people who were with me on the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom and, of course, there are many bloggers here with me, as well.

We have Dave and Jo Myerly whose name you will all recognize from the blog. They have also cruised many, many times and are proudly wearing their 2008 Bloggers Cruise T-shirts. It is wonderful to have them on board and once again I am amazed that they have booked not only this cruise but also the following 12-day Med cruise, as well. Dave and Jo brought me a beautiful card from Ray McTeague who sailed with us recently……Ray, thank you so very much for all the kind words.

We have my old friends Robert and Suzann Schenider sailing on their 42nd Carnival Cruise. They have sailed with me 31 times and for the last 10 years have planned their vacation around which ship I am on. Robert lost his father this year and many of you sent condolences through the blog for which he wanted me to say thank you. It’s great to see them both here once again and I am humbled by the fact that they choose to sail with me so often.

Suzann and Robert brought Heidi and I a T-shirt made especially for this voyage.

Next up we go to Australia and proof positive that the blog thingy has people reading it from all over the world. First we have Mal and Alexis who are also on back-to-back cruises and brought me a sketch of ………..well, have a look.

So, Heidi has now taken great pleasure in calling me the Blogfather all day and the sketch will be framed and hung at home. I loved the sugar-free jelly beans and the key to the doghouse……….brilliant.

Staying in Australia, we have two lovely ladies and blog fans, Suzanne and Lisa, who brought us two little fluffy thingies from Down Under. Heidi of course has been ooooing and ahhhhhing all day. How wonderful of them to think of us and carry them from the other side of the world.

Last year we met Joe and Peggy on the Carnival Freedom while they were celebrating their honeymoon. They became great fans of the blog thingy and decided to come back again and see us on the Carnival Splendor even though they have been to all the ports before on a Holland America cruise.

They just wanted to sail with me again and words cannot explain how brilliant that makes me feel.

They also brought me some sugar-free treats from Buffalo, New York including mustard, wing sauce and syrup……………..yummy.

Then we have Sharon Tieman who completely ignored me and brought a gift for Heidi………….a hoodie thingy. It’s beautiful and comes from Alaska where she is from. Here is a very happy Heidi holding her gift.

These gifts are staggering and even more so is the fact that the people have flown with them. Then, of course, there is the fact that they have spent time and money and have come back to see us yet again…..I will send them gifts and thanks for making our day brighter.

Here are some amazing photos taken by Heidi as we went through the locks in Amsterdam last voyage.

Just before I slap on today’s cruise director interview I need to apologize to George Solano. Some how the message I wrote after the interview went missing and I just realized. So, I want to say that George is one of the funniest men I have ever met and nobody — and I mean nobody — cares more about the guests than George. He is a great chap and as George would say……..” I lowe you mon.”

Here is someone else I love as do many of you, Miss Shawn Bussey. She and I go way back to the time she was a youth director onboard. Now, she is one of our most senior cruise directors and someone I am proud to call a friend. Here she is

1. Can you tell us which ship you currently are on and when you are due to leave?

I am on the Legend until September 7. Tina Noble will be taking my place when I leave for vacation and then I’ll be back on the Legend on November 2.

2. Carnival cruise directors come from very diverse backgrounds. Some have entertainment experience, some, like me, have none. Can you tell us about your background and how you ended up with the best job in the world?

I sailed on the Carnival Sensation for spring break of my senior year of college back in 1994 (Florida State University). I thought this life looked like a blast so I applied to work onboard during the summer in Camp Carnival. I fell in love with cruise ship life. I finished my master’s degree in special education in May 1995 and in June 1995 I was back onboard … and never left. Fourteen years later I am still happily doing the truly best job in the world!

3. Before we talk about some of your favorite parts of the job, lets talk about the areas behind the scenes……….the things guests never see. Tell us about what a cruise director does when he or she is not on the stage but keeps you just as busy.

We simply do not stop. The wonderful thing about ship’s life is that it is fun and always changing. There is a never-ending line of surprises that arise each day. Whether it is a change in the Capers and show line up (weather changes or a fly-on missing the ship) or a behind-the-scenes entertainment department issue (staff member ill, etc.), there is always something. I love that about our job. We never, literally, have a dull moment!

4. A cruise director is happiest when performing or being with guests. Can you tell us two activities or events that you would call your signature items………events that make you stand out from the crowd

I do not believe that I have two signature items that I can call all my own. I would say my signature is more my energy and happiness during the events I get involved in. I feel so alive when I get to be in front of the crowds – whether answering their questions during up close and personal – or hearing them laugh when I do something silly. It is so very true what you say – we are happiest when we are performing. I could be sick as a dog behind the scenes, but once the show lights come on, I feel no pain! :O)

5. What has been your most challenging moment as cruise director so far?

When we have a challenge in itinerary or in the world (9/11 or Hurricane Katrina). Keeping a smiling face with the guests and measuring how to keep them happy is a very lonely feeling at times.

6. And, your most rewarding

When it works and they give you a hug of thanks.

7. On your current ship can you tell us about your itinerary and can you recommend one must do excursion from each port of call

We go to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan.

Grand Cayman – you must swim with the stingrays. It will knock your socks off!

Cozumel – 1. Mayan Ruins of Tulum (breathtaking) or 2. Swimming with the dolphins

Belize – Cave Tubing – hands down the most extraordinary excursion

Isla Roatan – 1. Pirates, Birds, & Monkeys (you get to hold monkeys!) or 2. Dolphin Tour – from the beach or 3. Tabyana Beach – great snorkeling!

8. Why, in your opinion is Carnival…………..the world’s most popular cruise line

We have something for everyone! I love seeing generation families coming to sail with the kids and the grand parents all having a great time. We have games, shows, and fun planned for every interest and personality at every moment of the day! Everyone can run around doing their favorite things and then get together at dinner to laugh and bond over what they did.

9. Is there a ship in the fleet you would love to be cruise director of that you have yet to be so and what port of call would you like to visit that you have not so far in your career

I have to say I am happy where I am right now on the Legend. A port that I would like to visit would be Spain.

10. Every CD has a story to tell from their time onboard. What’s your most recent funny, sad or inspirational story you can share with us

My favorite story actually happened when I was a wee social host on the Sensation. I was standing at the Captain’s Cocktail Party door and an elderly man was lingering in the doorway. I asked him if he was waiting for someone, and he told me that his wife had recently passed away. They had already booked this cruise so he decided to come in honor of her, and now felt so lost without her. He walked away with the most heartbreaking look. I was crushed. I had his cabin number and went into the gift shops where we had these teddy bears that sang songs when you pressed their hand. I bought one and had it delivered to his cabin that night with a note saying “so you won’t be alone.” I never saw him again for the rest of the cruise. YEARS later I was standing on the Lido Deck hosting deck party when this man in a wheelchair came up to me … he said “I have been cruising and looking for you for years to thank you for my teddy bear!” He had a present for me that he carried on every cruise – a watch so I would remember our time. I was over the moon!

11. Finally………….pick a Cruise Director table …………… are hosting a table at dinner onboard the carnival Dream………what’s for dinner .…..and who do you invite.

Cheese Fondue

Fondue with meats and vegetables

Chocolate fondue with fruit and cake

David Fee

My dad – he’s one of those gifted individuals that will make a person fluff with laughter!

Carol Burnett

Sean Connery – I mean YUMMMM! I was named after him, great for a girl! Haha.


Walt Disney

Thanks Shawn and if anyone is sailing with her soon remember she has a huge fish tank in her cabin so if you want to make her happy, bring her a goldfish.

The hardest part of the day was talking tow Mr. and Mrs. La Seaux and Mr. and Mrs. Cole from New Orleans. Both couples are desperate to go home but the airport is, of course, closed and the city is being evacuated. I sat with them this afternoon and then arranged for them to have free phone calls to make sure their families are safe and their homes secure.

Mr. and Mrs. Cole have a son who cannot leave because he is a police officer and they are very worried about him. Both families lost their homes during Katrina…………………both families have rebuilt them………….both fear they will lose them again.

There is little to say to someone when they are 3,000 miles away from home. I tried to comfort them, I tried to reassure them but both couples have already decided that they will once again be homeless in a few days time. They explained to me about how New Orleans is shaped like a bowl and that the even with the new defenses only a certain amount of water can be pumped out……………….again, all I could do is promise our support. I gave them my ship’s phone number so they can call me at anytime…..I only wish I could do more.

Here is the latest news affecting our ships.

We are closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna. All of Carnival’s ships will continue to operate at a safe distance from this storm at all times. Our number one priority is the safety of our guests and crew.

We have made some itinerary changes for several departures this week in order to provide our guests with an enjoyable shore experience, while operating the ships in the safest and most comfortable conditions possible. These are listed below:

Carnival Ecstasy Thur., 8/28 departure from Galveston: The ship will visit Progreso, Yucatan (Sat)

Carnival Fantasy Thur., 8/28 departure from Mobile: The ship will visit Progreso, Yucatan (Sat)

Carnival Miracle Fri., 8/29 departure from New York: The ship will change her itinerary to visit the ports of call: Port Canaveral (Mon), Nassau (Tue) and Freeport (Wed)

Carnival Inspiration Sat., 8/30 departure from Tampa: The ship will visit Cozumel (Tue)

Carnival Glory Sat., 8/30 departure from Pt. Canaveral: The ship will cancel her call to Nassau (Sun) and visit the scheduled ports of call: St. Thomas (Tue), St. Maarten (Wed)

Carnival Liberty Sat., 8/30 departure from Miami: The ship will visit the ports of call in reverse order Ocho Rios (Mon), Grand Cayman (Tue), Cozumel (Thur)

Carnival Conquest Sun. 8/31 departure from Galveston: The ship will cancel her call to Montego Bay (Wed) and visit Progreso, Yucatan (Tue), Cozumel (Wed), and Grand Cayman (Thur)

Carnival Triumph Sun. 8/31 departure from Miami: The ship will cancel her call to Half Moon Cay (Mon) and visit the scheduled ports of call of St. Thomas (Wed), San Juan (Thur) and Grand Turk (Fri)

Carnival Legend Sun. 8/31 departure from Tampa: The ship will cancel her call to Grand Cayman (Tue) and visit Key West (Mon) and then call on the scheduled ports of call of Cozumel (Wed), Belize (Thur) and Isla Roatan (Fri)


Carnival Fantasy: Mon. 9/1 departure from Mobile: We will be forced to change the five-day Carnival Fantasy cruise scheduled to depart on Monday, September 1, 2008 to a four-day cruise departing on Wednesday, September 3, 2008 returning on Sunday, September 7, 2008. The four-day cruise will depart from Mobile at 4:00 PM on Wednesday and visit Cozumel on Friday (arrive 8:00 PM; depart 5:00 PM).

Guests that sail on the new four-day cruise will receive a 25% refund of the cruise fare paid. In addition, guests will receive a 25% discount of a future three- to five-day Carnival Cruise departing prior to December 15, 2009. This discount applies to the cruise fare only. Please understand this offer is non-transferable.

If guests elect to cancel the cruise, we ask that guests contact us right away to cancel the booking. Guests will receive a full refund and refunds will be processed in less than two weeks.

And here is an example of the letters we will distribute to our guests

August 30, 2008

Dear Carnival Guest:

We want to thank you for choosing Carnival for your vacation. We have an exciting cruise planned for you aboard the Carnival Liberty. We also want to provide you with some information about our itinerary for this cruise.

There is Hurricane Gustav, which is brewing in the Western Caribbean… Due to Gustav’s forecasted track, we will reverse the order of the ports of call. We will, therefore, call on Ocho Rios on Monday (arrive 9:00 AM; depart 5:00 PM); Grand Cayman on Tuesday (arrive 8:00 AM; depart 4:30 PM) and Cozumel on Thursday (arrive 8:00 AM; depart 10:00 PM).

We are sorry for having to reverse the itinerary for this cruise; however, these changes enable us to navigate the ship in the safest and most comfortable conditions. Rest assured, my number one priority is the safety of our guests and crew.

Our shore excursions staff will be able to assist you with any shore excursion questions.

Most importantly, we are looking forward to having you sail with us this cruise. The Captain, officers, staff and crew are dedicated to providing you with a great cruise vacation.


Ruben Rodriguez
Executive Vice President – Marketing and Guest Experience

The most important fact is that Carnival executives are manning the command center in Miami and nothing — nothing — is more important than the safety of the guests, the crew and the ship itself. I will let you know more information as soon as I receive it.

Breaking news
Here are the latest news items for Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Ecstasy:

CARNIVAL ECSTASY – 8/28/08 DEPARTURE (Four-day cruise from Galveston)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/28 – Galveston 8/28 – Galveston
8/29 – At Sea 8/29 – At Sea
8/30 – Progreso (8 a.m. – 6 p.m.) 8/30 – Cozumel (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
8/31 – At Sea 8/31 – At Sea
9/01 – At Sea 9/01 – Galveston
9/2 – At Sea
9/3 – Galveston

CARNIVAL ECSTASY – 9/1/08 DEPARTURE (Five-day cruise from Galveston)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
9/3 – Galveston 9/1 – Galveston
9/4 – At Sea 9/2 – At Sea
9/5 – At Sea 9/3 – Progreso
9/6 – Galveston 9/4 – Cozumel
9/5 – At Sea
9/6 – Galveston

CARNIVAL FANTASY – 8/28/08 DEPARTURE (Four-day cruise from Mobile)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/28 – Mobile 8/28 – Mobile
8/29 – At Sea 8/29 – At Sea
8/30 – Progreso (8 a.m. – 6 p.m.) 8/30 – Cozumel (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
8/31 – At Sea 8/31 – At Sea
9/01 – At Sea 9/01 – At Sea
9/02 – At Sea
9/03 – At Sea

CARNIVAL FANTASY – 9/1/08 DEPARTURE (Five-day cruise from Mobile)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
9/3 – Mobile 9/1 – Mobile
9/4 – At Sea 9/2 – At Sea
9/5 – Cozumel 9/3 – Progreso
9/6 – At Sea 9/4 – Cozumel
9/7 – Mobile 9/5 – At Sea
9/6 – Mobile

CARNIVAL INSPIRATION– 8/30/08 DEPARTURE (Five-day cruise from Tampa)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/30 – Tampa 8/30 – Tampa
8/31 – Key West 8/31 – At Sea
9/1 – At Sea 9/1 – Grand Cayman
9/2 – Cozumel (9 a.m. – 7 p.m.) 9/2 – Cozumel (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
9/3 – At Sea 9/3 – At Sea
9/4 – Tampa 9/4 – Tampa

CARNIVAL LIBERTY – 8/30/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Miami)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/30 – Miami 8/30 – Miami
8/31 – At Sea 8/31 – At Sea
9/01 – Ocho Rios (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) 9/01 – Cozumel (8 a.m. – 10 p.m.)
9/02 – Grand Cayman (8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) 9/02 – At Sea
9/03 – At Sea 9/03 – Grand Cayman (7:30 am. – 4:30 p.m.)
9/04 – Cozumel (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) 9/04 – Ocho Rios (8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
9/05 – At Sea 9/05 – At Sea
9/06 – Miami 9/06 – Miami

CARNIVAL CONQUEST – 8/31/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from
Revised Itinerary
8/31 – Galveston
9/1 – At Sea
9/2 – Progreso
9/3 – Cozumel
9/4 – Grand Cayman
9/5 – At Sea
9/6 – At Sea
9/7 – Galveston

Original Itinerary
8/31 – Galveston
9/1 – At Sea
9/2 – At Sea
9/3 – Montego Bay
9/4 – Grand Cayman
9/5 – Cozumel
9/6 – At Sea
9/7 – Galveston


CARNIVAL MIRACLE (8/29/08 DEPARTURE (Eight-day cruise from NY)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/29 – New York 8/29 – New York
8/30 – At Sea 8/30 – At Sea
8/31 – At Sea 8/31 – At Sea
9/1 – Port Canaveral 9/1 – San Juan
9/2 – Nassau 9/2 – St. Thomas/St. John
9/3 – Freeport 9/3 – Grand Turk
9/4 – At Sea 9/4 – At Sea
9/5 – At Sea 9/5 – At Sea
9/6 – New York 9/6 – New York

CARNIVAL GLORY (8/30/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Pt.Canaveral)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/30 – Port Canaveral 8/30 – Port Canaveral
8/31 – At Sea 8/31 – Nassau
9/1 – At Sea 9/1 – At Sea
9/2 – St. Thomas/St. John 9/2 – St. Thomas/St. John
9/3 – St. Maarten 9/3 – St. Maarten
9/4 – At Sea 9/4 – At Sea
9/5 – At Sea 9/5 – At Sea
9/6 – Port Canaveral 9/6 – Port Canaveral

CARNIVAL TRIUMPH – 8/31/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Miami)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/31 – Miami 8/31 – Miami
9/1 – At Sea 9/1 – At Sea
9/2 – At Sea 9/2 – Cozumel
9/3 – St. Thomas/St. John 9/3 – At Sea
9/4 – At Sea 9/4 – Grand Cayman (7:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m.)
9/5 – San Juan 9/5 – Ocho Rios (8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
9/6 – Grand Turk 9/6 – At Sea
9/7 – Miami 9/7 – Miami

CARNIVAL LEGEND – 8/31/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Tampa)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/31 – Tampa 8/31 – Tampa
9/1 – Key West 9/1 – At Sea
9/2 – At Sea 9/2 – Grand Cayman
9/3 – Cozumel 9/3 – Cozumel
9/4 – Belize 9/4 – Belize
9/5 – Isla Roatan 9/5 – Isla Roatan
9/6 – At Sea 9/6 – At Sea
9/7 – Tampa 9/7 – Tampa

Updated: August 31, 2008 – 10 a.m. (EDT)

Due to the path of Hurricane Gustav, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that the current five-day voyage of the Carnival Fantasy scheduled to end in Mobile on Monday, Sept. 1, will now end in Mobile on Wednesday, Sept. 3. The ship will remain at sea at a safe distance away from the storm.

Additionally, the Carnival Fantasy’s next voyage – originally a five-day cruise – has been modified and will now operate as a four-day cruise departing Wednesday, Sept. 3 and returning Sunday, Sept. 7, with a call in Cozumel on Friday, Sept. 5.

Guests sailing on this departure will receive a 25 percent refund of their cruise fare and a 25 percent discount on a future three- to five-day Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

Carnival sincerely apologizes for this disruption of our guests’ vacation plans but this itinerary change was made in the interest of the safety and security of our guests and crew – our number one priority.

Updated: August 31, 2008 – 12:30 P.m. (EDT)

Due to the path of Hurricane Gustav, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that the current five-day voyage of the Carnival Ecstasy scheduled to end in Galveston, Texas, on Monday, Sept. 1, will now end in Galveston, on Wednesday, Sept. 3. The ship will remain at sea at a safe distance away from the storm.

Additionally, the Carnival Ecstasy next voyage – originally a five-day cruise – has been modified and will now operate as a three-day cruise departing Wednesday, Sept. 3 and returning Saturday, Sept. 6.

Guests sailing on this departure will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare and a 50 percent discount on a future three- to five-day Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

Carnival sincerely apologizes for this disruption of our guests’ vacation plans but this itinerary change was made in the interest of the safety and security of our guests and crew – our number one priority.

Well, it looks like the government are going to be busy again and talking of that I have been reading a little about Governor Palin ……………now, don’t worry, I am not going to get all political and tell you that one party is better than the other.

It’s just that I find this lady fascinating. It seems that she is a member of the NRA which apparently stands for the Armed Republican Army and has something to do with Charlton Heston and a cold hand. I also see that see is working with the British Government to…………and I am not making this up……… re-introduce the wolf to the highlands and mountains of bonnie Scotland.

Apparently with devastating and quiet savagery, the countryside is being destroyed by a million-strong herd of marauding deer. Surveys have shown their numbers are spiraling out of control and that they’re now tearing through crops and woodland like a pack of starving locusts.

Worse still, deer were responsible last year for 4,000 road accidents in Scotland alone. Ten people died, pinned to their headrests by those antlers after the animal came through the windscreen. Not a nice way to go.

On one stretch of road near Ben Nevis a deer is apparently hit once every three days. He must be getting awfully fed up with it by now.

As a result, the UK government is going to great lengths to point out that the deer is a fine animal, and must not be viewed as a pest or a nuisance. But that hundreds of thousands must, nevertheless, be shot in the face.

However, that apparently is cruel and unusual so they contacted Governor Palin to ask her help in repopulating the Alaskan wolf to Scotland. There’s no doubt that a pack of wolves gallivanting around the Highlands would keep deer numbers down, and this would save the trees and crops. But I can’t help wondering what else Mr. Wolf might eat.

In the alpine region of France a pack of just 50 wolves does its level best to keep lamb off the menu in most local restaurants, and we see a similar problem in Sweden, where wolves, tired of eating deer, are helping themselves to pretty well anything that moves.

Humans apparently have nothing to worry about because in the last hundred years there hasn’t been a single recorded case of a person, or even a part of a person, anywhere in Europe or Alaska, being eaten by a wolf.

Governor Palin allegedly stated that in Alaska humans and wolves live happily together. True, but that’s because in Alaska Governor Palin and her citizens are armed with a .44 magnum. In the UK, however, we’re not allowed to walk around with more dangerous than a pointed stick, so I suspect the reintroduction of wolves would mean the odd rambler would probably be devoured.

Anyway, I think we should repopulate the wolf back into the British countryside because everyone wins. The government keeps deer numbers down, we will be able to drive faster on the roads without wondering if Bambi is about to come flying through my windshield, and people with beards and open-toe sandals who spend the weekend driving 20 miles an hour to get to the countryside and who are the same people who throw eggs at my Range Rover because it kills Polar Bears will go rambling and get eaten by a wolf………..see it’s a win win.

Your friends
John and Heidi

Home From Home……And My Mate Dunno

August 30, 2008 -

John Heald

I was born with a body that renders me quite incapable of doing anything very well.

I’m rubbish at everything. Tennis? I’m so spectacularly bad, I can only just beat my nephew Luke and he’s 7.

DIY and home improvement? For me this is simply impossible. Even if I attempt something simple, such as hanging a picture, I end up in the ER, the painting ends up ruined and the wall ends up in the garden.

It was the same when I played golf for the first time – I knew there would never be a second. There would be no point. Even if I played every day for 3,000 years, the ball would still never travel more than six inches.


John's Replies

August 29, 2008 -

News From Steph

lookingforwardtothenearlysmokefreecarnivalfreedom asked:
John –
I am most concerned that my question was not replied to:
To restate, please explain when you saw the boil on the butt of a baboon.
He who is known as Troublemaker

John Says:
Where did I see a boil on a baboon’s bottom. Well, if I am honest……never. It’s just that I have a natural hatred for baboons. I once went to a place called Windsor Safari park in the UK. the idea is you drive your car around the park and lions and things come up to your car. Well, one of those baboons with the red bottom took a huge poo on the roof of my shiny new Audi and I drove around with it for hours before I realized……….don’t like baboons…….or boils.
Hope you and your lovely lady are well and hope we see you both soon. Thanks for all the support mate

Robin in New York Asked:

John–I’m using your please reply answer blog for PLEASE REPLY questions:
1) Did you ever receive (after my multiple messed-up attempts) the photo I sent you of you, me and Heidi when you were on Imagination in January? I do hope so…..the nice, soft American toilet paper gift I bought for you is still in my possession, leading to possibly–

2) I noted from your schedule a few blogs back that you will be arriving via ship in NYC on April 14 and leaving via airplane on April 15. May I be the first New Yorker to welcome you here then, and possibly meet you for a chat, a drink or a bite to eat? If you are flying out of JFK airport, I only live 15 minutes away, and it is very easy for me to take the train into NYC.

Also, thank you for the pictures from the concentration camp. As chilling as they are, we must NEVER FORGET what happened there. As a woman of the Jewish faith, especially emotional were the pictures of all the stones on the grave and the yahrtzeit candles all spread out in the shape of a star. I appreciate your sharing all of your world travels with us–you are truly appreciated and a gem of a man–or, as we would say in Yiddish, a real mensch.

John Says:
Robin, I did not get the photo. Is there any chance I can ask you to send it again please. I remember talking about it when we met while you were in the dining room. i would love to see it.

This would be fabulous. There actually a few other NY bloggers so I was thinking we should have a little get together – what do you think

Thanks for those words. I was a little nervous that putting these photos on the blog may be disturbing to many people. Visiting Sacsenhausen was something that will live with me forever…….thanks for the support Robin and I hope we meet again soon

Marsha Asked:
John – please reply:
I know you won’t be the cruise director on the blogger’s cruise in February, but are you considering doing your bedtime story that cruise? I’ve been on 13 cruises with Carnival and have yet to have the priviledge to see this. Please…please…..pretty please……..????

John Says:
I will indeed have a special bloggers version of this ready for you all to enjoy.
Hope you are well and see you in February

Jeff Asked:

John, urgent, please respond!
Hey John, it’s me, you’re longtime blogging pal Jeff. So I want to join you on the Liberty next May 9th for the Baltic cruise, but the problem is I’m now single, and I’m sure that single occupancy costs twice as much. Do you know of any solutions?

John Says:
Hello Jeff
I am so sorry to hear about your new ” single ” life. I hope you are happy though and enjoying life. The single supplement is a tough one and unfortunately there really is no way round it. However, I do suggest you call a Carnival Vacation Planner who will give you the best possible assistance. Please let me know how you get on by reply.
My best regards to you and hope we can find a solution

Joe Kyle husband to Polecat Asked:

Please respond
Three (3) things –
1. Is there an official hotel in New Orleans prior to the bloggers Cruise? This is only a couple of weekends prior to Mardi Gras and hotels are filling up on weekends already and I need to make plans.

2. Who will be the Cruise Director on Carnival Ecstasy leaving Galveston this Nov 1st.?

3. Any other Bloggers going to be on this ship at the Ecstasy Nov 1st. besides me?

John Says:
Hello Joe,

Please see my answers below and my best to you and the Polecat.

We have contracted a hotel for the pre-cruise celebrations and Stephanie will be releasing information on this in the days ahead.

The Cruise Director will be a young man named Steve Cassle. He is our longest serving Cruise Director, a brilliant juggler and violinist.
You will love him.

No idea, Bloggers? Anyone sailing with Joe and the Polecat?

Best Regards,

Rupak Asked:

I am booked to sail on August 30th from Mobile, Alabama on your Holiday cruiseline. My question relates to the hurricane circumstance that we are in now. When I called the cruiseline, they are saying that everything is OK for travel. By the way, I am driving with my wife and two small kids from Atlanta to Mobile and am parking my car at the port.
My questions:
1. What happens if the Mobile port is hit by the hurricane before/after the ship sails?
2. Why don’t you have a policy for cancellation based on such severe weather conditions?
3. It is easy for you to say that we will steer clear of bad weather, change the itenirary, take you somewhere, maybe you have to sit indoors (while it rains on the deck), enjoy the food – but don’t you think it is fair to let the customer decide that?
4. I do not want my money back in this case of cancellation but a chance to just enjoy my cruise at a later time when the weather is back to normal. I am ok if you give me a 6-month period within which I have to honor the trip. Do you think that this is an unfair demand?

John Says:
Hi Rupak,

Carnival cruise Lines has a special command center that monitors all the latest satellite center from the National Hurricane center as well as information from other respected sources. If there was a chance that the home port would be effected then alternative plans will be put into effect. You will be notified of this by your travel agent plus I highly recommend you monitor the carnival website for the latest news. rest assured that we would never put our guests or the ship in danger.

2-Your own personal insurance may cover this and if in the unlikely event that a cruise was canceled because no alternative and safe itinerary could be found then a full refund would of course be given.

3-Hurricane season is a difficult time for everyone in the tourist industry and obviously it would be detrimental to offer guests a chance to cancel because of inclement weather…………it often rains out of hurricane season in the Caribbean. It is easy to say that the ship will steer clear of the hurricane because that is exactly what will happen. I have been through 18 years of hurricane seasons and I can assure you that at no time have I ever felt in danger.

4-No, I don’t think it’s unfair at all however at this time it is not one that any cruise line to my knowledge offers. My advice is this………lets see what happens and you have I am sure waited a long time for your cruise vacation and I hope you will stay positive and let Carnival and the crew of the Holiday give you the fun vacation you so deserve.

My best regards to you and the family

Raspberry Blog – Part 4

August 29, 2008 -

John Heald

It’s a strange old world. One minute you are in Amsterdam debarking guests and making last-minute preparations for Heidi to take charge and the next minute you are back at home in a pleasantly sunny UK.

I just returned from my doctor who gave me a bollocking for not losing enough weight but at the same time a nice pat on the back for maintaining a low sugar level with a six-month average of 5.9. That’s the British scale by the way. I have no idea what that is on the American scale but Doc was happy overall.


Raspberry Blog – Part 3

August 29, 2008 -

John Heald

I hate airplane food and having to pay for it is even worse.

In this case, I just paid $8 for lunch only because I have to take my diabetic pill.
For my money, I got on Styrofoam of ……….ummmmm…… Hot what I have no bloody clue. It could have been tea, coffee or beef soup.

My sandwich was two pieces of bread with on slice of ummmm…….pink in between. The pink was thinner than the paintwork on my old MG car.

Raspberry Blog Part 2

August 29, 2008 -

John Heald

Except that we didn’t take off. We sat at the gangway thingy and our take-off time went by without any communication from the cockpit. Eventually, 20 minutes after our departure time the Easy Jet Captain told us that we were waiting for four passengers …….

Why?……….Why were we waiting for them? Why didn’t they do what other airlines do, take off their luggage and take off?

Not Easy Jet……I decided to ask the 14-year-old in the orange polo shirt why we were waiting……..”They are VIP’s,” she said. Bloody hell, VIP’s……was it Tom Cruise?…..was a friend about to join the two saliva swappers next to me?…..had Micky Arison decided to fly Easy Jet?

Raspberry Blog- Part 1

August 29, 2008 -

John Heald

The best news of the day so far is that for the first time in 11 days the sun is shining here in Amsterdam and nobody deserves it more than the guests this voyage. They have endured rain, grey skies, rain, cold wind and rain but today its 74 degrees and sunny.

Well, here I sit at the check-in/waiting area having already had my bag searched.
“Can I see your bag, sir?” said the lady with the iron-on security patch.

I wanted to say “I hope you can see it because it’s right in front of you.”

But instead, I said, “Yes.”


Rules — there are lots of them in the world today.

You can’t land unless the tray table is up, you can’t smack your children, you can’t smoke in a pub, you can’t take shampoo on a plane, you can’t climb a ladder unless three other people are holding it, you can’t eat more than six grams of salt a day, you can’t talk on the phone or eat an apple while driving, you can’t sell food unless you explain on the packet precisely what’s in it and where it came from, you can’t go to work unless you have a highly visibility yellow jacket, you can’t bring a German WWII officer’s pistol or a dagger on board a cruise ship. Most people accept these rules and abide by them……………..some do not.

Ricky and George

August 27, 2008 -

John Heald

Well, here we are at sea today and again tomorrow.

I love these two days at sea. Here’s another thing I love nearly as much as Heidi and Jessica Simpson…………the retractable roof.

Today, it’s 56 degrees……….cold………..and miserable. Yet, with the roof closed, it’s like we are in the Caribbean. The pools and whirlpools are full, the big screen has a concert playing and, in an hour or so, our duo will have everyone dancing and singing on Lido Deck. Again, I admit that when I first saw it I wasn’t sure if I liked the new Lido mid-ship design. But now, I want to hug it and take it for a week in Barbados ……. here in the Baltic………….it has been a godsend.


Hedges, Guns and My Mate Tim

August 26, 2008 -

News From Steph

I had two choices………….have my haircut or spend the entire day in the doghouse …….so, that was me off to the Cloud 9 Spa………..and if I am really honest, not before time.

It’s been 5 months since I paid a fortune to someone to sit and cut my hair and yesterday Heidi said I looked like some character from the Back To The Future Movies……….can’t remember the name but he was apparently mad and had hair that looked like he had just stuck his finger in an electrical socket while at the same time looking at photos of Judge Judy naked.


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.