Sex and the Splendor

September 23, 2008 -

News From Steph

Good Morning from Civitavecchia. It’s 5:45 am and we are just getting ready to start our debarkation process………….so while I wait for permission to start from the authorities, let’s talk about sex. Last night I had two hours worth of it and it was absolutely mind numbingly dreadful…………..and it’s all Heidi’s fault.

Now, before you start to panic and think I am about to describe my rumpy pumpy sessions……think again. First of there was a clue that this was not going to be the case …………and that clue were the words “two hours”………the only thing I can manage to do for two hours is eat, watch TV and blog.

Nope, my two hours of sex was a punishment for not paying enough attention to my wife and that she said I needed to step away from the computer ………………and watch a movie. “OK,” I said…………we haven’t watched one in months and as I took my place I had visions of explosions, car chases and an all action movie where the entire cast dies ……….. and so does the cameraman………yep, a Steven Van Damm Segal Stallonenegger movie would do me good.

So, I settled down as Heidi put her “surprise movie” on ………..oh, bugger…………it was Sex and the City…..the Movie.

The film needs double doses of Viagra to keep it up till the end. I imagine the make-up and wardrobe operatives who lurk just off screen must have quadrupled since these four friends sat down for their first lo-cal breakfast. ………..the blond one that has rumpy pumpy with everything that breathes now looks like Joan Rivers.

Anyway, I sat through the movie bored and trying to work out why they were all having rumpy pumpy with only their bras on? Is this because American men have lost interest in bosoms or are allergic to plastic?

So, I wasted two hours of my life last night and here I am in the wee small hours of the morning……..which, by the way, is the title of my favourite Frank Sinatra song ……….. disembarking 3,000 people. It’s nice to be back here as the debarkation process is as smooth as a George Hamilton pick-up line. The weather is bright and sunny but cold. I just went outside to the terminal and it was great to see Perry and his staff who run this great operation.

There are now many concerns about Italy’s national air carrier Alitalia. It seems that, as I write, they have 24 hours in which to find a buyer or they are going to be grounded. I will keep you informed about this and, of course, we will look after those guests who have booked through Carnival with replacement flights. Before we talk about this coming cruise, let me show one last comment from this voyage.

Guest: Mrs. F Ref: 002804934A
Cabin: _______ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 09/22/08 – 09/22/08

PRAISE FOR STAFF

Mrs. F came to the desk and wanted to say that as a wheelchair guest she has been treated very well. She said that she had been on five cruises on another cruise line and this was her first Carnival cruise. Guest said that her waiter Savio and her stateroom steward I Made have been the best and everywhere she goes crew offer to assist and help her. Guest did say that her only problem was when a group of guests pushed her chair forward a few feet so that they could get past her at the buffet line on Lido deck. Purser thanked Mrs. F for her comment.

There is good news and there is bad news in that comment. It’s great that our staff is so accommodating especially as she is a wheelchair. There is no doubt that the specialist training we give the crew about the correct and proper way to assist with guests with special needs has paid off. Kudos to our Senior Vice President Roberta Jacoby and Vice President J.C. Trueba for setting these programs into motion. The training is given by our dedicated staff are provided with information on how to provide the best possible service to guests in wheelchairs, as well as those who are hearing- and sight-impaired ………… sometimes it takes guests with these challenges to tell us ways we can improve and that information is priceless.

As for the guests who pushed the guest out of the way so they could get to the food in front of her……..well……..I hope they get hemorrhoids just before the long flight home.

And so to this voyage. We have 3,035 guests, 22 of which are under 21…………yep, just 22. Here is the international breakdown.
Algeria
Argentina
Australia 203
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados 1
Belgium 6
Belorussia
Bermuda
Belize
Brazil 6
Bulgaria 3
Canada 732
Cayman Islands
Czech Republic 2
Chile
China
Costa Rica
Cuba
Cyprus
Denmark 2
Dominica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Ecuador
Egypt
Estonia
Finland
France 1
Germany 1
Gibraltar
Greece 1
Guatemala
Guyana
Haiti
Hong Kong 12
Hungary
Iceland
India 1
Indonesia
Iran
Ireland 2
Israel 14
Italy 6
Jamaica
Japan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Korea
Latvia 4
Lebanon
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia 1
Malta 4
Mauritania
Mexico 11
Netherlands 10
Netherlands Ant
New Zealand 37
Nigeria
Norway 2
Panama
Peru
Philippines 5
Poland
Portugal 1
Puerto Rico
Romania
Russia 201
Saint Kitts
Saudi Arabia
Serbia 1
Singapore
Sri Lanka
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa 10
Spain 2
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan 10
Thailand 16
Trinidad and Tobago 1
Turkey 4
United Arab Emirate
United Kingdom 88
Ukraine 7
Uruguay
Venezuela
Vietnam
Virgin Islands

TOTAL PASSENGERS 1408

As you can see, we have 203 from Australia………..that’s fantastic. Whoever is selling Carnival down under is doing a great job. We also have 201 guests from Russia ……………….. oh joy.

Let’s pause for some photos. These are from Barcelona and, in particular, our Montserrat tour. The 185 monks who worship and pray here depend on tourism to support them. The cathedral is stunning and houses the famous Black Madonna to which pilgrims for all over the world come to see. While walking around the cathedral you may be lucky enough to hear the famous Montserrat Boys Choir rehearsing and that is indeed something very, very special.

Anyway, these photos can describe Montserrat far better than I can……………enjoy.

How about this for a brilliant itinerary?

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES TO OFFER NEW QUEBEC VOYAGES ABOARD 102,000-TON CARNIVAL TRIUMPH IN 2009

New Nine-Day ‘Quebec – After the Glaciers’ Cruises Feature Breathtaking Wildlife and Scenery, Extended Visits to Three Historic Cities Along St. Lawrence River

MIAMI (September 23, 2008 ) – For guests seeking a unique cruise alternative with opportunities to view magnificent scenery and wildlife and visit three charming cities along the historic St. Lawrence River, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate a series of nine-day voyages to Quebec aboard the 102,000-ton Carnival Triumph in summer 2009.

The cruises – Carnival’s first of its kind in the region – will operate round-trip from New York on June 25, July 23 and August 20, 2009.

In addition to visits to the fascinating cities of Quebec City, Baie-Comeau, and Havre St. Pierre, the new nine-day “Quebec – After the Glaciers” voyages include an unforgettable daylong cruise along the scenic St. Lawrence River, home to numerous whales and other marine life, along with awe-inspiring landscapes carved out of glaciers.

Guests can also visit Quebec’s breathtaking nature and wildlife preserves where they can get an “up close and personal look” at the Canadian wilderness and view unique rock formations and native plant, sea and animal life.

The new nine-day Quebec departures are the latest additions to Carnival’s popular New York cruise schedule, which also includes four- and five-day eastern Canada voyages and seven-day fall foliage cruises aboard the Carnival Triumph June-August, and eight-day Caribbean sailings aboard the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle, operating April-October.

“Carnival is always seeking exciting new itinerary choices and these new nine-day sailings provide guests of all ages an opportunity to experience and explore the natural wonders of Quebec, one of North America’s most historic and fascinating cruising regions,” Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “And when combined with a departure from New York – a convenient homeport and an exciting destination unto itself – these voyages are even more attractive,” Cahill added.

He noted that this new program is ideal for multi-generational travel, offering an opportunity for families to experience and explore a truly unique and historic region that is unlike anywhere else in the world.

Exciting Nine-Day Quebec Cruises
Carnival Triumph’s nine-day Quebec voyages are highlighted by an extended 16-hour port call to Quebec City, which includes an optional shore excursion to Montreal, a cosmopolitan city of two million that is home to world-class museums and excellent restaurants and shopping. Guests can also visit breathtaking Saguenay Fjord, home to no less than five different species of whales.

The adventure continues with an eight-hour call at Baie Comeau where guests can visit Boreal Park –home to numerous former glacier fields — tour the Glacier Interpretation Center, and partake in a variety of exciting outdoor adventure activities.

During the eight-hour stop in Havre St. Pierre, guests can visit Parks Canada Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, which encompasses 93 square miles and includes 900 limestone islands and islets featuring 450 species of plants, over 200 species of birds and a wide variety of sea life. Here, guests can witness the power of the glaciers that have been carved out of stone gigantic monoliths, spectacular cliffs and arches, creating a beautiful natural art form.

I had the pleasure of sailing to Quebec on the Carnival Legend in 2002 and it was remarkable. This is a cruise that will sell very quickly I am sure and continuing proof of Carnival’s commitment to finding new and exciting destinations to tantalize your vacation desires.

Yesterday, you saw a photo of the Carnival Splendor docked in Livorno……..well, look what took our place there today…………..it’s the Grand Celebration

The ship that was the Celebration has certainly been entitled to add the word “Grand” before her name. The changes our Spanish friends have made have been remarkable and it’s no wonder she is a huge success in the Spanish market. And, for the thousands of you who have many happy memories of your cruise on the Cele — as she was known — will no doubt like me be ecstatic that she has been able to continue providing enjoyment to her new passengers.

Well, I admit my diet has not gone well. I am being very careful what I eat……..apart from yesterday……….but I just do not have time to go to the gym. I am really mad at myself but will keep trying. It will actually be easier when I am at home as I can exercise and eat what I want……….and not after 7 pm which is hard to do here.

However, this morning’s news is rather conflicting and a little troubling.

Scientists with beards revealed recently that a child born in 2040 will live five years longer than a child born today. And, by the middle of this century, there will be more people drawing a pension than people going to work. This will have a catastrophic effect on the economy because simple arithmetic shows there won’t be enough money in the kitty to keep all us old people in chips and cat food.

But this morning came a report saying we won’t be living so long after all. Thanks to the efforts of Burger King and its whopping big Whopper and chips and McDonald’s with its McMeals, we’re all going to explode by the time we’re 62.

So what’s going on here? One minute we’re told that we’re all going to live to be 126 and that we’ll have to eat each other to survive. Then we’re told that actually it’d be best if we ate nothing at all.

Anyway, I am determined to keep trying.

I can’t stop thinking about something someone told me yesterday about a system to stop vibration on ships. It has something to do with the propellers being enveloped in a cushion of bubbles…………..and apparently it works miracles. I am not an engineer …………but I am fascinated with the workings of ships. Did you know there is a special paint that can be sprayed under the hull that stops drag and therefore saves on fuel? ………….remarkable.

OK, time for a break as I have to go and meet the shore excursion manager and chat about our Grand Med cruise. Debarkation has finished and that’s 3,000 guests off in 2 hours 25 minutes………….anyway, I will be back soon.

So, here I am back from the travel talk for Naples. I have not spoken about Naples since October last year and just like riding a bike, it all came back to me………however, as the burger that I ate yesterday has gone straight through me my bottom feels like I have been riding a bike with no saddle.

I will come back to the travel talk in a moment with some video.

The crowd looks a little older than last cruise but, as you will see from the video, they are in good spirits despite being jet lagged.

Right as I walked out on stage………..before I had even introduced myself, I was accosted by a lady called Joyce. As I walked out she bellowed……..and I mean ……. bellowed ….“don’t start, don’t start…….I can’t find my friends………announce them,” she demanded

I had held the microphone in front of her so everyone could hear and so I did ………… announce them…………but there was no answer…………..so I looked at her and she looked at me and on the microphone she said “Can you wait until they get here before you start?”

Mmmmmmm……..lets analyze this shall we. I have 1,600 people in the theatre who have been flying for hours and are jet-lagged and who want to know what to do in Naples ……but, according to Joyce I should make them wait until Harriet, Betty and Susan arrive.

Obviously, I said I couldn’t and made some joke about doing a private talk for them later and that it was on video so they could catch up…….and you know what ……Joyce, a 60-something lady looked at me and said “Well, that’s just ridiculous.”….and the whole audience heard it.

Now, this could have gone either way and I didn’t want to carry on and upset her but I had no choice……I had been on stage for five minutes and I hadn’t even mentioned my name yet.

So, I asked the lady to allow me to continue and she just gave me a look……….you know, like I have just eaten something very sour …….kind of look……………much to the amusement of the 1,600 guests.

And, so I continued with the talk and after a few minutes Joyce stood up, walked onto the stage so she could see if her friends were there…………..it was very, very funny. I could have spent more time with her but I needed to press on and I did, with these three interviews. Listen to what the chap from Arkansas says very carefully and you will also hear me make reference to Joyce.

Sorry about the opening few lines and the use of the word “sex “………..I hope I didn’t frighten any of you away. I would never talk about me having rumpy pumpy ………………. especially as Heidi once described the experience as a closet falling on top of her ……….. with the key still in the lock.

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.