Finally……….some sun. Good Afternoon from a now sunny Baltic and the sight of the sun has had meant that the sun cream has been applied and the Speedos are on, the roof is open and the sun worshippers are laying before the golden ball in the sky. The Lido deck is being entertained by Steve our great guitarist and vocalist and meanwhile on the big screen the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics is being shown.

We actually have this with no volume so people can watch the ceremony and enjoy the live music………….and because we can only get the feed from German television and the commentary is in German. …………nobody seems to mind though and it does seem very popular not just on the big screen but in the sports bar and on the dance club screens as well.

It’s strange to think that in 2012 the Olympics will be held in London and some events just a few miles from where we live namely the sailing and rowing competitions. The Chinese allegedly spent $80 million on the opening ceremony and as I watch Das Wunderbar Olympica (it’s in German remember) I read in the news that London is anxious that they will not have the money to come close to the extravagant ceremony being seen all over the world.

What a load of old bollocks. The U.K. is the fourth richest country in the world. If the Greeks and the Chinese can organize a fortnight of running and jumping, then for God’s sake why can’t the Brits? However watching the Chinese flaunt all this money and I have to say see this jaw droppingly amazing show with a cast of 15,000 performers I fear the British equivalent in four years time will not be quite as grand.

Knowing the political landscape it will be a perfect ethnic blend of London schoolchildren prancing about in the nearly finished stadium wearing hard hats and protective goggles lest they are exposed in some way to the Olympic flame. But no swimming pool because health and safety thought it was a “drowning hazard.”
What’s worrying me most of all are the next six years as we struggle under the global spotlight to get the stadiums built.

To me, making the stadium the best in the world ever should be the biggest consideration. But I’m not in charge, health and safety will be. And they’re going to spend every waking moment fighting with those who want all the seating to face east, to keep certain religions happy, those who have found a rare fruit bat nesting in the rafters of some old barn that lies in the middle of where the stadium will be built.

So, what’s to be done to avoid this cataclysmically expensive fiasco? Well, we could hand the whole job over to Paris who came second and that’s never going to happen. But since, on balance, I want the Olympics to come to London …how’s this for a plan?

We take the Olympics back to its roots and host the whole thing on board the ships. No, really, I was walking across the Lido Deck today and honestly I think we can do it.

We have simultaneous events going on at the same time already… There’s a pool for the swimming events and the rowing can be done in the sea………we can even let the teams use our lifeboats instead of canoes. We have a jogging track which is perfect apart from the fact that the 10,000 meters may take 300 or so laps. The weightlifting, judo, and gymnastics can be done in the main theatre…….see, we can do this.

Anything missing to make the ship a complete Olympic venue would involve nothing more than an enlargement of Camp Carnival kid’s sandpit. Manuel the joiner will do that, with no danger to his workforce, and no impact on global warming…. All for a case of Budweiser.

This then is my vision: not to host the safest, least offensive, most globally cooling Games of all time. But the smallest. And then we could spend the savings we make — about $10 billion — on the most important part of the Olympic ceremony. The fireworks.

I can’t quite remember how we left Hannibal Lecter in the last “Silence of the Sheep” film. As I recall, he’d sawn the top off Ray Liotta’s head, lost his hand and was on a plane, offering brain pate on toast to the unfortunate chap in the seat next him.

Or was he being eaten by a pig? Or was he setting fire to a man in a wheelchair?

The fact is that Lecter creator Thomas Harris only ever gave Hannibal a very small role in his first book on the subject of mass murder, but since the movie boys moved in, he’s been turned into one of the biggest baddies in cinema history.

But even so, I understand there’s a new Lecter film in which we see the cannibal as a young man, growing up in Eastern Europe. I have not seen it but I would not be surprised to find out that the plot involves him killing his mother with a stapler and cooking her in a white wine sauce and for dessert his brother will be souffled and become a melting cake with raspberry sauce ………which should have the directors inducing gallons of vomit from the cinema audience.

Why am I writing about this I hear you ask……………..here is why?

Guest: MR…………………Ref: 002802486A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: ______ Added-Changed: 08/07/08 – 08/07/08

_______ – INFORMATION ON ESTONIA
MR ____________ called the desk from his cabin asking to speak to the cruise director. Purser asked if she could help and guest said he would like information on an area of Tallinn that he did not mention. Mr_______ wants to visit the town where a movie was shot and guest said he was very disappointed that this was not mentioned and would like to speak to the cruise director. Purser advised she would pass his request to the cruise director.

So I called Mr ________ and sure enough he is a huge Thomas Harris fan and apparently there is a town in Estonia where the latest film was shot. I found out via the ship’s Estonian agent where it was and the guest is now very happy and will be touring the town of Tartu. This is 180 kilometers from Tallinn and I cannot imagine how much the taxi we have ordered for him will cost………….but he is going ……………and is obviously a huge Hannibal Lecter fan…………..if I see him walk off the ship with a nice bottle of Chianti…………I am calling the police.

Talking of films, last night was the perfect night to watch a movie on our Seaside Theatre Big Screen. The roof was closed, people were cocooned in one of our blankets, their legs stretched out on a sunbed watching Casino Royale. I lingered for a while myself after watching the show and the guests were enthralled by the atmosphere and by the movie itself…

I’m the biggest fan of 007 and know most of the films off by heart. But even I will admit that while Moonraker produced the best Bond villain of them all – Michael Lonsdale – it was such a stupid story that the only way to go afterwards was backwards.

It’s my opinion then, as a result, all Bond movies after Moonraker aren’t really Bond films at all. In the early days, we had long scene-setting sequences – the carnival in Rio and the funeral in New Orleans, for instance.

Now we can go to Venice on any number of Carnival family of ships or on a cheap no frills flight… We can see the carnival in Rio on a web cam……..or visit it on the Carnival Splendor. James Bond, thanks to Carnival Corp, Easyjet and the internet, lost his glamour.

And now, in Casino Royale, he’s lost his gadgets too…………..and Q is nowhere to be seen except when I stand naked in front of a mirror. Where is the invisible Aston Martin, the pen that can blow up a tank? My favorite gadget and the one I always wanted was the Rolex watch that could unzip a dress.

So what are we left with? A bloke who looks good coming out of the ocean with fruit shoved down the front of his shorts ………..well judging by the reactions to the guests on Lido Deck last night I am in a minority…..they were loving it. Of course, very soon, all the Destiny and Conquest class ships will have the big screens and they are certainly massive assets to the guest program………………..oh by the way…………….who was the Best bond?……………and who would you like to have seen play him?

For me, Roger Moore was brilliant and I loved Pierce as well but nobody beat Sean ……… he was Bond. I would have liked to have seen Michael Caine play him just to give it some cockney swagger…………what do you think?

I see many of you were quite annoyed at Mrs. S. Nob and her comments about guests not dressing to “her standard”……….some even asked for a photo of her and obviously as much as I wish I could plaster her face on the internet I obviously cannot. However, the story continues as I much expected it to…………the poor sod dealing with her this time is our old friend Ken Byrne our Senior Maitre D……………….here’s his report.

Guest: Mrs Ref: 002802465A Owner:
Cabin: ______ Booking#: _______ Added-Changed: 08/07/08 – 08/07/08

Cabin__________

During dinner this evening in the Gold Pearl Dining Room guest Mrs_________ from table ___ Late Sitting asked to see me. I approached the table and was met by an angry lady who with her voice raised stated the following

1. She expected the Maitre D to serve and pour her wine at the table
2. She wanted the passengers from a nearby moved because they were too loud and were laughing all the time
3. She stated that she had to return her steak three times as it was not cooked Medium as requested
The guest made many references to her past cruises on Crystal, Cunard and others and that she always got personal service from the Maitre D.
I explained that I would come to the table as often as I could but the waiter would be serving the wine.

NOTE: The guest is very demanding and has also upset others at the table who has requested to be moved due to her comments about other guests.

Blimey……Its one thing to say that every other guests do not meet her usual standard and that they are all as ugly as a moose, but to complain because someone else is having fun and laughing………..well, that’s going to far…………………I am on the hunt for her tonight.

There are times when you meet people onboard who you know whatever happens and wherever the road of life will take you…………….you will never forget. I met such a person this morning. Her name is Susan Brock. Susan is a Platinum member and on her 70th cruise, 31 of which have been with Carnival. I remember her from previous cruises.

She has a wonderful smile and always…………I mean always ……makes sure she is at the shows and events early to get her usual front row seat. This cruise I saw her and I could tell she was not herself. Yes, she was in her usual position and yet she didn’t seem herself………….I was concerned that at the welcome aboard show I had said something to offend her. So, this morning I spoke to her after my Berlin travel talk and discovered why she was not the happy go lucky lady I remembered.

She was due to be sailing with her Mother………..as soon as she said that I remembered that yes……..on a previous cruise she had been with another lady.

Well, her Mother could not be with her because she had been………….and I should warn you that this is shocking………she had been killed in a robbery at her house in Fort Worth Texas………she tried to fight back and was shot………………Zee Drew was 89 years old.

There is little you can say to someone who should have been here celebrating a Baltic vacation with the Mother she buried in March. She is traveling alone and I have made it my mission to comfort her and look after her. We start tonight……………..I am watching the show with her and Heidi and I are having coffee with her in the morning ………………… she cried some tears and as I held her I was reminded that sometimes the world we live in is a bloody cruel one.

I also met a man called Dan. You may not know him but you may remember his wife. She was a regular blogger and mother of one of our Carnival dancers ……. Paulette ………….. in fact her screen name was “Paulette’s Mum.” I had found it strange that she had stopped posting comments………….and now I understand why………….she passed away suddenly from cancer…she was just 55…………………..Dan also shared some tears with me tonight during the Captain’s party and I was reminded yet again …………. sometimes the world we live in is a bloody cruel one.

Then I met Pam and Anthony who are again regular bloggers. Tonight they told Heidi and I a story we will never forget. Pam and Anthony have a severely disabled child. I won’t go into details here but I can tell you that the constant care and attention that their child needs would be enough to overwhelm anyone.

They have never cruised before………..in fact this is their first vacation in 12 years since the birth of their child…………they have never left their child with anyone else …………. ever.

Pam came across our blog thingy when she was dreaming………..and then it was just a dream……….about coming on a cruise. She has been reading it as has Anthony since February. Pam told me that laughter is not commonplace in their house because of the strains and stresses of looking of their child but said Pam “when I hear my husband laugh………..I know he is reading your blog.”……………….and so, they decided to leave their most precious possession at home………..for the first ever time…………..and here they are…………..missing their loved one beyond measure……..yet…………laughing and having fun and as Anthony said……..” living the dream.”

Sometimes the world is a bloody cruel one…………..and sometimes……………….you get to help make sure…………….even if just for a short time…………that its not.

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.