Penthouse and Politics

October 6, 2008 -

John Heald

Last cruise our 124 Russian guests were brilliant. They danced, they laughed and they had a wonderful time and we all enjoyed having them onboard. This week we only have 23 and 22 seem very nice as well……….one though………..well………have a read.

Guest: Mr. _________ Ref: 002805137A
Cabin: _____ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 10/05/08 – 10/05/08


Mr. ___________ stopped by the information desk and informed Purser that he had just been to his cabin and was not happy with the fact that we had no expensive body lotion placed in the cabin for him to use. Mr. ________ told purser that he spent a large amount of money to pay for this type of cabin and that being told that we do not provide any body lotion was not satisfactory. Guest also said he was disappointed that after winning a large some of money at the casino he only received a bottle of wine at dinner last night but Mr._________ stated that the wine was only worth $60 and he should have had the most expensive bottle on the menu.

Guest also stated that his stateroom steward did not speak Russian and he wanted him changed immediately. Then guest said that the dinner last night was not good and he wanted lobster and filet mignon served every night. Mr _____ also stated that he should be allowed to smoke his cigar anywhere he wants to as he is in the penthouse and has paid the most money and was told he could not smoke at the casino tables. Guest said he wanted to speak now to the hotel director and also the spa manager as he wanted personal massage service in his cabin

Purser apologized to the guest and said that his comments would be documented and that the chief purser and the hotel director would be informed.

Note – guest is from Russia and speaks very little English so I will need to be with them at meeting the guest.

Cigars, personal massages in the cabin, winning money in the casino, lobster and steak at dinner every night………..he is either a James Bond Villain or ex-KGB. This is one guest that I think I will leave Duncan our hotel director to deal with………….I have already told Duncan that if he sees the guest coming toward him with the tip of an umbrella pointing toward him……….. to run away.

Goodness me, the ship was quiet last night. We have a new aft lounge band called “Garden Party” who came onboard yesterday so I went to listen to them. This would have been at around 10 pm and I walked from my cabin to the back of the ship along the Promenade Deck and maybe…….just maybe…….I saw 50 people. That includes the casino, all the lounges and the disco………………everyone was in bed. I new this would be the case because the guests are older this cruise with our manifest saying the average age is 63…………..that’s very unusual………and we only have 18 children. Seeing that the audience is much older I am already changing the activity schedule.

Gone will be the Hairy Chest contest, etc. and replaced with more subtle activities. Games and tomorrow’s sea day will be the best indication as to what these guests will enjoy.

Today, though, we are in Messina, Sicily. We arrived at noon and from 8 am we were blessed by sunshine and a Mediterranean sea as flat as Kate Moss. At 8 am, we passed Stromboli. Normally we see this at night but this morning we got a new perspective of this volcanic island as you will see from these beautiful photos taken this morning.

Now, as promised, here is the video from yesterday’s welcome aboard travel talk. You will meet some interesting characters and my friend John who I talked about in yesterday’s blog

As I mentioned. John is a great guy and has a heart as big as the ship……….I just need to make sure he doesn’t get too excited and try to come on stage during the shows as he has often done. He is a good lad, though.

If I were to see someone indulging in antisocial behavior onboard, such as swinging naked from the chandelier in the Spectacular Theatre, or urinating into a Fun Ship Special glass, I would roll my eyes and quietly tut. If it were something more serious, such as trying to kidnap Ketut the stateroom steward by stuffing him into a Samsonite to take home to with you, I might even say something.

However, as I wrote about a few months ago on a blog thingy, when I see someone dropping litter, I am overcome with a sometimes uncontrollable need to perform medical experiments on their head and sentence them to three years washing Judge Judy’s underwear ………by hand.

Well, it happened again this morning. I was sitting at the coffee bar on Promenade Deck when I saw two ladies walk past. One was carrying a mug of coffee and, for whatever reason, she dropped the whole thing over the floor…………OK, I thought she will probably feel distressed and find a crewmember to clean it up. And that’s exactly what she did. She looked distraught and close to tears and just as I was about to walk over the wonderful Carnival team sprang into action. The young ladies, Katia and Anna, who run the Coffee Shop and one deck hand who was changing a light bulb, all ran over and told the lady not to worry and that they would clean the coffee, etc………….and listen to this.

Katia asked the guest what she had been drinking and, even though the guest had taken the complimentary coffee from the Lido restaurant, Katia made her one of her special cappuccinos. I checked the guest was OK and she still looked like she had committed a terrible crime and after reassuring her that all was well and, after she had said sorry and thank you a thousand times, she and her friend walked away. I went back to my coffee and the two guests I had been chatting to feeling content and happy. The crew had been amazing, as always, the spill had been cleaned and all was well in the world.

Not five minutes later a man walked past. He had obviously just bought a disposable camera from the photo gallery and was in the process of taking the cellophane wrapper off…………..he did…………….he then scrunched it into a ball……………and without a thought just dropped it on the floor.

The hairs on my back stood to attention and I wanted to run after him and have his new camera take 25 exposures of the inside of his bottom. But, there were too many witnesses around who no doubt would not have understood why their cruise director was inserting a Kodak camera into a guest while screaming, “You’ll need to turn the flash on to take photos up here you littering sod.” Instead…..I just excused myself and picked up the wrapper.

Oh well.

Anyway, this whole incident happened as I sat next to Phil and Martine Bundock who came to say hello as I sipped my monkey tea and Heidi her warm milk……..apparently, the thingy likes warm milk…………oh, and last night the thingy wanted some pizza so that was me………..John Dominos….and off to Lido I went.

Anyway, Phil and Martine are from Calgary, Canada and they ………. bugger …………. sorry…………I am not supposed to write Canada………why do I do this? Anyway, they are from beautiful Calgary and this is their first cruise with Carnival and even though the voyage is only one day old they are already upset……..very upset…………that they have not cruised with us before.

They have been on Princess, NCL and RCI but never Carnival …………. why? ……………Well, as they said in their own words “We were told Carnival was for party people and that the food was terrible.”…………and after just one night they wanted me to know that last night dinner was as good — if not better – than anything they have had on the other lines and that their cabin is much more spacious.

I was curious to know who had given them a false impression of our brand. It turns out it was all hearsay and nobody who gave an opinion had actually ever cruised with us. Anyway, that was in the past — and the present has Phil and Martine hooked already. Hopefully, the fruit basket they will receive tonight will underline the obvious ……………. the Carnival brand of today is simply brilliant.

And here is the penaultament……penaltemet…………penultimaet………..there’s only one more after this………blog from Chris “Bubba” Roberts who is onboard the good ship Carnival Spirit.

The Hawaii Reposition – Hilo

Well, this morning we are in Hilo and there is lots of joy in my inbox….

Apparently there is a very upset guest with the whole cruise and my problem yesterday with the formal night. You see at the beginning of the cruise I had said that the second formal night was going to be Hilo, then last night’s Caper said “suggested attire for the evening, Cruise Casual…..tonight is your second elegant night.”

I know it was a mistake, but I made about 10 announcements during the day that last night was going to be the elegant night. So why they were unsure I don’t know….but alas, they want my head on a platter because of it. Well, not necessarily my head because they don’t know that I do the Capers, but they pretty much said whoever does the Capers should be fired, so I guess I better pack my bags. I HATE making Caper mistakes. I know it’s a huge inconvenience to everyone. I try my best to make the right, but when the ship repositions like this, it’s hard to get everything exactly right. I think I did pretty good for this 12-day cruise…only 3 mistakes:

1. I had the wrong day of the week on the caper in Nawiliwili…the date was right, but
the day of the week was wrong.
2. The formal night fiasco.
3. In today’s Caper, it says next to the departure information when we sail from Hilo
today, we will be going to Honolulu, when in reality we will be going to Kona. I made a
joke of it and said we will be going to Honolulu, with a stop in Kona. Oh, well.

The other-not-so good e-mail this morning was from security. Apparently there was an accident yesterday. One of the guests tripped and fell over our “bean bag toss boards.” If you have cruised with Carnival before, you know what I am talking about. While in port, we leave these boards out on the Lido deck for folks to play with while we are in port. These boards are about three or feet long, about a foot or so wide, and come off the deck by about six to seven inches. They are painted with a natural wood stain and a huge red stripe down the middle. They are kept on an area of the deck that does not have too much traffic, and yet somehow, someone walked into this thing and fell over. So just like the other day, I have a bunch of paperwork to fill out trying to figure out how we could have avoided this accident.

This morning I was up early and out the door as I was very excited to go on the “land of frozen fire” tour. This tour features visiting some areas of Hilo where lava once has flowed and in the past. Myself and my assistant cruise director went on this tour. My ACD here is Kirk Benning who is a former cruise director for Carnival Cruise Lines. He left Carnival about 10 years ago and has recently returned. He has spent the last two contracts getting familiar with the way things have changed, and will be taking over for me when I leave here in November.

Our first stop was Lava Tree National Park. Many years ago a large lava flow came through this area very quickly and engulfed these trees. Then the lava outside cooled while the inside completely burned the trees away, and now all that is left are these hollow tubes made from lava rock which are called lava trees. Every time we’d say “lava trees” I would giggle cause I kept thinking about using the can.

Next we went to a volcanically heated natural pool where we were invited to swim, but I only stuck my feet in. Sure felt nice. Then after we made a brief stop at the blowholes and the black sand beaches that were just down the road. Matilda, mine and Julie’s pet rubber chicken, also made the trip with us and got some sun on the beach.

The final stop, which was the best stop, was the huge lava flow fields. Look at some of these pics.

The smoke coming up in this picture is where the actual “liquid hot magma” was pouring into the ocean. Of course to get this close we had to get up to no good….

After a long walk on the lava we headed for some treats and went back to the ship.

mmmm… and ice cream…

Once back on board it was back to work. Capers, e-mails, and more. The show tonight was the Singing with the Big Band show. Then afterwards I met up with Dirk, our naturalist, to get ready for when we pass by the lava flow. Mother Nature was not putting on much of a show as we passed. In fact you could barely see it. Dirk gave some great commentary about the volcano, the lava flow and the goddess Pele.

Tomorrow we will be in Kona. Our last stop before Honolulu. We will have to tender tomorrow, so I hope things will go well. Tomorrow night will also be the debarkation talk. So I will check in again with you then. Tomorrow, I am not planning on going out as I have some meetings to go to. However, my other half Julie is going out, so perhaps I can write about some of her adventures. Mahalo & Aloha.

Thanks again, mate. You and the crew of the Carnival Spirit are doing a wonderful job. We shall look forward to the final chapter tomorrow. Cheers for now.

Well, it’s getting near the time when we say goodbye to the lady that started it all. The lady who set the tone that everyone else has followed. …………..The Queen Elizabeth 2. She has traveled more than 5.6 million nautical miles, carried more than 2.5 million passengers and crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times

Soon, she will be at her resting place in Dubai but before that she is saying goodbye to people and places that mean so much to her and the people of Cunard.

Yesterday, she sailed up the River Clyde to say thank you to the people who built her. She was launched from the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank in 1967. Can you imagine how the now retired shipyard workers who laid the steel and welded the decks must have felt?

This special day was witnessed by a blogger called Dave………….here is his first hand report.

John, Please Reply
Hi John,

It’s Dave from Scotland. I have a story to share with you. I live in Inverclyde on the River Clyde, the home of the QE2. She made her final call today, what a day this town had. Arriving at noon, she was escorted upriver by around 300 small boats, including six military ships, including aircraft carrier Arc Royal. After docking, public access to the quayside was available, and a daylong event held for both passengers and visitors, with tons of stalls and activities going on. The day finished off as the ships horn marked the start of a 20-minute firework display (predominantly red and white fireworks!) as she pulled from the dock. Heading downriver, I have never seen anything like it. Cars continually honking their horns, houses setting off fireworks, all acknowledged by the Queen’s horn! There was one point where she passed quite close to the shore, and the cars suddenly came to a stop in both directions. Engines/lights off as people left their car, to stand outside one last time. 11 pm and unable to hear the person next to you due to the car horns, ships horns and fireworks. All this being an hour after she departed, and 15 miles downriver from the dock!

It really was one of those “cruise” moments. I never thought one could be experienced without being on it! Amazing. It would have made the perfect “We are Cunard” video.

I’d love to share some photos with you, just not to sure where to send them!

All the best,

Dave, thanks for sharing your “day of days” and as you said it must have been one of those unforgettable “cruise” moments. If you could send your photos to us that would be brilliant.
Stephanie will be providing you with the address. If anyone else has photos of the Queen Elizabeth they would like to share, then I would be glad to share them with everyone as we say thank you and……say goodbye.

It’s getting quite embarrassing. I am in the doghouse with Heidi because of my new lust interest. I have said goodbye to Angelina and forgotten about Catherine Zeta Jones …….. Jessica who?…..nope…they are long forgotten…There is only one woman for me and this morning Heidi found me at the computer and gave me a huge bollocking ….. “I don’t know what you find so interesting about Sarah Palin but it’s got to stop – she kills animals.”

I try to quickly click off the latest news reports and photos about her but it’s too late ……… I have been caught and I feel like Heidi has just found me on a web cam thingy looking at a Latvian woman called Babushka who is wearing only a smile.

The problem is that I am in the grip of a terrible obsession with the US VP CANDIDATE. I can remember when I first saw her – all white teeth and sexy glasses and hair scrunched up in a bun ………..she looked like my old choir conductor Mrs. Evans.

Now, I am not making a political statement here and certainly not choosing sides, but as an outsider is very interesting and quite fun to look at what is happening.

It’s just that she is so… in charge… and so… sure of herself.

She is also very funny with her I am “good” with foreign policy because I can “see Russia from my house.” McCain is a quite old, should he win, she’ll probably be President by Valentine’s Day and at war with Switzerland by the spring. I know all of this and yet, I think I love her… there, I’ve said it, and it’s out there.

I can’t get enough of her. I spend hours surfing the Internet late into the night to find some pundit talking about her or somebody showing footage of her looking rather sexy while shaking hands with a crowd.

I love Obama as well – he is exciting and new – he is our Kennedy.

The one thing that everyone right now has in common is that we are already ignoring McCain. It’s a straight fight between Obama and Palin and I wouldn’t want to call the outcome. Whatever happens, it’s going to be very exciting.

The latest news says that Sarah Palin’s daughter who is pregnant is indeed getting married. Apparently the father of the child has decided he loves her very much and wants to do the right thing…………or ….he saw a photo of Mrs. Palin with an assault rifle in one hand and a Moose’s head in the other……………..bugger that he thought ……..and was on bended knee within seconds.

Your friends
John and Heidi and the thingy

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.