A Quick Birthday Blog

November 6, 2008 -

John Heald

Birthdays are crap.

Mine no longer tend to herald exciting parties and the greedy shredding of wrapping paper. They are now just mileposts that point the way toward the inexorable arrival of old age and incontinence.

Because I’m an increasingly maudlin fellow, I tend to treat other people’s “special days” in the same vein. And so it was that before the basketball game, which I shall refer to later, I went to a birthday party. The fiesta was for the daughter of a friend of mine who works for Princess Cruises and I went to help celebrate the birthday of his Princess who we all call “Cup Cake.”

I arrived to find everyone wearing funny little pointed hats and as I entered I was handed one to wear by a very pretty lady from Sweden……….at least I think she was Swedish ……..normally, I would have spoken to her to find out by trying the only Swedish I know which is “Jai Elsca Feesch” which means you smell of fish……….but I didn’t ……….. because I was too traumatized at the small pointed goblin like hat I had been given to wear. OK……..

I think Princess Cup Cake is a wonderful person, beautiful, intelligent and someone whom I hope my Thingy grows up to be…………..however my admiration for Cup Cake didn’t stretch as far as being forced to wear this hat………….personally, I would have rather sneak up on a sleeping lion and insert my finger it’s bottom than wear a goblin hat………..but as everyone else was………….so did I…………bugger.

It reminded me of old Christmas parties when I used to work in the UK. Then we were forced to wear stupid hats and drink cheap wine………….and it was the cheap wine that always got me in trouble. You sit opposite the ugly girl for 48 weeks and it never once occurs to you that she is interesting. So how come, after one warm wine, she only needs to put on a stupid party hat to become Jessica Simpson and before you know it you are having rumpy pumpy in the supply closet.

Now, I should also point out that Princess Cup Cake had a table full of presents ………. none of which were from me as I had been told about the party the same day. I was going to stop on the way to buy her something as I needed to go to Walgreens. However as I searched the isles I couldn’t find anything except some hemorrhoid cream or a neck brace and, since she is a young lady and therefore I am sure she is a pain in the arse and the neck, I was going to buy her both………….but I decided Bugger All may be the best gift ………..so that’s what I got her………………………..Happy Birthday Cup Cake.

And so ………the Miami Heat won. And it looked like they were having fun, as well. These chaps are extraordinary athletes and even from my reasonably priced seat I could see why players like Dwyane Wade are paid the big bucks. Dwyane has the most extraordinary demeanor on the court. He wanders around looking like he is thinking about his Mum’s recipe for Baked Alaska and couldn’t give a bugger about the game……and then suddenly he explodes like a sleeping lion who has just been poked in the bottom and he devours the opposition with speed and aggression….it’s a sight to see.

Then the Miami Heat has a very young group of players all of whom are being paid millions of dollars. It must be so hard for them to suddenly find themselves rolling in huge dollops of cash and even harder to concentrate on the game and not think about which Bentley you are going to buy and how you can completely ruin the car by putting chrome spinners on it.

Sport is as much about mental attitude as talent, and it’s hard to get your head in gear and listen to the coach tell you he wants a picking and rolling thingy when you are faced with a sea of beautiful Miami Heat dancers. Anyway, last night they had fun and played like they weren’t going to be paid unless they won………I had a brilliant time.

Here is a quick update from Jaime as they begin their five sea days before reaching St. Martin.

November 5, 2008

Dear John,

This is it! Today was the last morning that we had in our European tour season. It was a long and challenging itinerary but our ship, our staff, and our guests have been so fortunate to see so many history filled, architecturally enriching, and simply stunning ports. Over the past 5 months, I have done more traveling than some do in a lifetime, visiting over 40 different ports of call.

For our last day in Europe, we visited the wonderful island of Madeira. On the pier we were greeted with traditional Portuguese dancing and music, by men with colorful and certainly distinctive hats. These hats were hunter green in color and I could not decide if they looked more like Peter Pan or Papa Smurf, in the end I decided that these dancers definitely could have been related to any one of the Teletubbies.

There are so many options of excursions and fun-filled adventures to undertake in this beautiful port. Such choices include tobogganing down the road with little men pushing you (hopefully wearing the hats!), taking a cable car up the side of the mountain, and even a helicopter ride to see an overview of the island. With all of these fabulous possibilities for exploration, I decided on the most reasonable method of investigation: to take a walk around and take pictures to share with bloggers! This port reminds me of Dubrovnik, the orange roofs and mountainous terrain was beautiful.

Upon first inspection of this breathtaking port, I realized that this Portuguese area offered the traditional meals served at the exotic locations — all contained within Pizza Hut and McDonalds. Also, today was the last chance to see the European clothing styles at Zara and Mango. It was slightly disorienting that the clothing stores were selling winter wear, yet this November day was sunny and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Michigan seems slightly less appealing after having such beautiful weather all day!

Walking around with Lawrence and his Obama hat, many of the locals commented and cheered as he passed by, many acted as if they were in support of the newly elected American president. One person approached us and tried to express that they had been following the election. But unfortunately, her English wasn’t their first language so I wasn’t sure exactly what they were saying. All of the local magazines and newspapers covered this worldwide story. It is interesting just how many foreigners stay updated on the American political system.

As we begin our trans-Atlantic journey, the team is planning and scheduling activities and events for the five consecutive sea days that face us. Goose and the team have several new ideas for evening activities and fun events to keep everyone in good spirits during the days to come.

I am working on talking to many department heads about just what they have been doing to plan for all of the consecutive sea days. So look for that in the days to come.


The Coast Line in Madeira

Have a wonderful day =)
Smooth sailing,

I was talking with a mate yesterday about the continuing gloom and doom that the media tell us about during our breakfast of toast, orange juice and credit crunch. And honestly …….I think they are over stating this just a bit. This isn’t some disaster movie about a virus spread by monkey poo. It’s a little dollop of recession, a downturn, a correction of a kind and it does not require that we all go around under looking for ways to kill ourselves.

It does not mean we have to cancel all parties and talk in hushed credit-crunch tones. It doesn’t mean we have to line our rooms with newspaper, get in the fetal position and live on barbecued dog. In fact, it means the opposite.

I am not suggesting that those in debt should add to their problems by trying to double up on their credit cards and taking loans from a man called Gino “The Bull” Gravano who will break your legs with a baseball bat if you don’t pay the interest back on time.

I am thinking more of the people out there who still have money. There are quite a few. There are the hedge fund boys who have made a mint by shorting the banks, and then there are all the knuckle-cracking receivers who will do well from the coming bankruptcies. There are the oilmen, still awash with profits after the recent price spikes.

Whom does it help if they keep it in their Luxembourg bank accounts?…………..nobody. So get your arse in gear and book yourself on the Seabourn Odyssey or the Queen Mary 2 ……….doing this will show the doom mongers at CNBC that all is well.

And then there are people like me and you………….who are probably all exhausted from watching Oprah Winfrey weep as she welcomes the next president. The election process is over…………..who knows what the future holds? Has there ever been a better time to experience fun? Do you know that 52 million people in the United States did not use up all their vacation days in 2007………….that’s over 1 million vacation days unused. Are these people nuts? Was it you?

Well, all I can say is this: Call Carnival or your travel agent and lets celebrate the start of a new era of government with a cruise……………there really has never been a better time to experience the fun that Carnival brings to us all.

Sorry to make this a short blog but I have to run (well, walk quickly) and head off to the Ruby Princess. Unfortunately, my plans to sail have been changed as I have to come back for more meetings on Friday and Saturday…………bugger.

However, I will be spending a few hours onboard and taking my camera with me so look out for a Ruby princess blog tomorrow. By the way, during the game last night they showed our Carnival towel animal puppet movies………have you seen them yet………if not have a look at www.carnival.com/funville

Please excuse me as I have to get going…by the way. I was just thinking about the Miami Heat dancers again and that reminded me…..are air bags in the car dangerous for the Thingy ?

Your friend

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.