Just Another Manic Monday

December 8, 2008 -

John Heald

Last night I was watching the Cops program on TV………not the American version where people living in houses with wheels on them have beaten their brother over the head with a ham…..nope, this was the UK version. A young man had been apprehended after he was seen driving erratically and he was, not to put too fine a point on it, incapable of either coherent thought or coherent speech or to give his condition its proper British scientific name……..he was totally sloshed (www.urbandictionary.com) and he had drunk so much beer…. If he had been asked to give blood……….it would have had a head on it.

When the policeman asked if the car was his, he looked like he’d been asked to explain the atomic properties of sulphuric acid. He had the IQ of a tulip, the conversational ability of a frying pan, and the intelligence of his mother who, at the time, was standing outside the police car shouting “Fu%* You!” over and over again.

And yet because this man and his mother had no previous criminal record and wasn’t in the armed forces or a priest, he could be selected for jury service. Yup, this man, and the woman with Dung Beetle eggs in her forehead, are deemed bright enough to determine the outcome of what might well be a multi-million-pound fraud trial.

As have I………..yep…………I received a letter today requesting I attend jury duty in January. Now, obviously, I can’t as I will back in America and sailing on the Carnival Destiny……and I have to be honest………I am glad.

Now you may not have noticed, but in between the end of the last parliament and the Queen’s speech, when everyone was focused on the big issue of foundation hospitals and university funding, the government was struggling to shove through its new criminal justice bill.

The held view is that trial by jury is the cornerstone of British democracy and if you take it away the whole building will come crashing down because in my humble opinion ……………. the jury system is a farce.

How can you let a woman who thinks she has insects in her head decide whether it’s legal to move a pension fund through the Cayman Islands? And it’s not just fraud either. Back in the olden days, when a man was accused of stealing a goat, you listened to people who’d seen him do it and made up your mind. But now you have to have a basic grasp of forensic science.

A jury is supposed to be made up of your peers, and peers means someone who is equal in standing or rank. Well, I’m sorry, but on that basis the man with the allegedly stolen car on television the other night could only be trusted to try plants.

At the moment a jury trial has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with sheer blind luck. But what do we replace it with? The judge? Ooh, no. Professional jurors? What sort of person’s going to sign up for that? It wouldn’t even work, I fear, if we tested the heads of those called. Because all the bright, intelligent people would pretend to be stupid so they could go home. I think you may be worried where this is going to end. ………………….. With TV cameras already allowed in court rooms how long will it be before the viewers at home are asked to “call this number” and vote?

Good evening from the UK……..let’s get on with answering the latest comments asking me to reply……….please note, there is a copy of the new cruise director schedule posted along with one of the answers. I will answer as many as I can and there will be more tomorrow.

Here we go:

John & Susan from Frisco, Tx Asked:
Great story John! I remember that I was once in a giant hall attending a company meeting. There were at least 1,200 people in the audience and each of the speakers wore wireless microphones. At the end of one of the presentations the speaker immediately headed out of the hall but, forgot to turn off his mic! The next thing we heard over the speaker system of the hall was a lot of ahhs, and water splashing! That was followed by a large gas release and a flush! You can only imagine how quiet the hall got as this got started. This was by the way one of the VP’s that was just about as straight arrow as they come! The meeting was adjourned for a break because the laughter would not stop! Just thought I would share!
Please Reply—I don’t know if Susan and I missed it but we are wondering what shore activities we should sign up for on the bloggers cruise in Feb. Can’t wait to see you again! Please give Heidi and thingy our best!
John and Susan from Frisco, TX.

John Says:

Hello John and Susan
I am glad you are enjoying the blog so much and it is always great to read your stories. Wireless microphones can be dangerous. The shore excursion for the Bloggers Cruise will have the final details ready soon. We will have a sign up through the blog or you can do so on board. I can tell you it will be a great tour which will involve sun, sand and me in a g-string.
Cheers, John

Cheryl K Asked:
John Please Reply
First I must say a big thank you for the lovely (and well eaten) fruit basket that I know was sent by you since I know Goose had no idea who I was (I did write him a thank you note though)–you are a very thoughtful person. I also got to meet Jaime and took her a little chocolate brownie gift as you suggested and she sent me the coveted “ship on a stick” which is now in a place of honor in my home and a wonderful note and photo of the ship.
I don’t even know what to say to begin to tell you what a great cruise this was. The crew is the finest of any ship I have ever sailed! All of us bloggers hear you speak of how good Carnival crews are and I have found good personnel on every Carnival ship but I don’t think I have been on a ship where the crew seemed to work together as a unit as well as they seemed to do on the Splendor.
We were in the Black Pearl dining room with hostess Sonja first of all connecting with my grandson Christopher age 5 and our waiter at table 157 was “Romie” knew everyone’s name by the next night when we entered the dining room–I don’t think that has ever happened before and he was so good and thoughtful with the children’s wants and needs–absolutely extraordinary experience which allowed my daughter and I to enjoy dinner and champagne or wine each night. Sonja would come by the table each night to check on us and Christopher would be so embarrassed that he would dive under the table and not come out until she was gone. It was so funny the entire table couldn’t stop laughing about it!
The photographers were great and plentiful so nobody had to wait too long and we (I) spent more on photos on this cruise than I have ever done–mainly because they took such cute pictures of the kids–my only suggestion there was that they missed a big opportunity to take photos of the kids with “Freddy” in Camp Carnival after their search to find him that day.
Our cabin steward was awesome as well and went out of his way ripping the cabin apart helping me find my cell phone–weren’t you talking about that in this blog? Bugger, couldn’t find it and he said to check lost and found at Purser’s desk and it was there! I am not used to traveling with kids and I was definitely more disorganized than usual. We had used the phone to call home from St. Thomas and when I had to find one of their drink cards in my purse, it must have fallen out on the seat in the lounge.
The shows were all great but Vroom was spectacular and even Christopher was belting out Queen’s “We are the Champions” when we were walking out which everyone thought was quite funny.
All the bar staff we encountered were courteous and prompt and I’m telling you all these details because I never got to fill out the review form–they need to send them before the last night. I just didn’t have time. We were off the ship easily and probably the most organized I’ve seen in a few cruises, we found a porter right away and our luggage and were on our way to the airport 20 minutes after they called our number luggage tag–far better than Miami.
San Juan we didn’t get off–not really anything to do there with children on a Sunday night everything is closed and the weather wasn’t the best so the kids swam and I watched. St. Thomas we did our own thing and did the Catalina Island excursion in La Romana which was great–my only suggestion is that it needs to be longer–we were in port all day and the excursion was 8:15 AM and they brought us back to the ship at 12:30–it was about a 30 minute tender ride to the island so it would have been nice to have more time since it was very nice there and enjoyable. Grand Turk was packed when we got there the Ventura had been there since early morning so no lawn chairs on the beach or around the pool. Once their pax started returning to the ship it was much better and it was great fun there. The DJ at Margaritaville had everyone up dancing including the kids and the pool being shallow is a nice touch for the kids as well–overall nice experience but better with only one ship. Nassau we arranged for our own trip to Atlantis since it never showed as an excursion prior to embarkation and it worked out great–no problems.

Only issue I had for the whole cruise experience was embarkation–worst I have experienced in 17 cruises and with the kids it was horrible. We got to the pier at 11:45 AM and people were in a line around the outside of the building and into the area were the forklifts were loading luggage which was really dangerous. At 1:45 PM we had finally entered the door to the security maze inside the terminal. I can tell you that everyone with kids was thin in the patience area after the 1st hour in line with the kids cleaning up the concrete outside the terminal with their cruise clothes. At 2:20 we finally crossed the gangway to the ship. There were many that came later than we did that waited over 3 hours. In my opinion (for what its worth) that is unacceptable. It was I’m sure a full cruise over a holiday which means more than the average number of kids and elderly so you staff for that in advance. It appeared that there were plenty of people staffing the desks so I don’t exactly know what the issue was, but its a credit to the crew to make up for that kind of start!
Ok, that’s it except to tell you that after reading the blog today and catching up on a few back including Mrs. S Nob which I do remember well, I did miss being able to read the blog and have a good laugh each night. I had no spare time cruising with the kids but have to say I wouldn’t have traded it for the world–it was amazing watching them have such a good time. Paige age 5 said that she always wants to go on Carnival because its the “bestest cruise ever” (and also her first but its nice to have a satisfied grandmother don’t you think?) I would send you a link to the pictures but I don’t know how to put the photo of them in here.
Please tell Stephanie I will keep her in my prayers and wish a speedy recovery and lots of well-deserved rest!
Again, thank you for making us bloggers feel so special when we cruise. I can’t wait for 1-31-09 now to get back on the Splendor for 31 days this time. I’ve written a review blog and all for one question–how do request a waiter for the next cruise? Do we do it in the dining room when we get on? I’ve never done it before but want to have Romie next time too if possible.
Ok, sorry about the driving ticket too but the cameras are everywhere here too. My partner got one in the mail and when I opened it I told him it was a great picture of his car! It happens…bugger.
Thanks again…
Cheryl Killian

John Says:

Hello Cheryl,

It was wonderful to read about all the fantastic people who made your Carnival cruise so special and I have passed it to the hotel director on board. I salute them all. I am so glad you enjoyed the shows, we believe Carnival shows are the best at sea. I am glad debarkation went well for you and it seems we are improving there which is something that needed to happen. It’s a work in progress and we will get better. Next time you sail, hopefully I can arrange for you to have the same waiter. All your comments were well written and please accept my apologies for the areas that you felt a little frustrated with. I have passed these to Carnival management and it is becoming obvious that this blog is a wonderful tool for great ideas to be forwarded and acted upon. Thank you for all your kind words and hope to see you soon. My best to you and the family.
John

D.Conway Asked:
John PLEASE REPLY
I have just got off the line with Carnival cruise planner. and as of now it dose not look like I will be part of the BC#4 I will still be sailing on the Dec 3 2009 sailing but from I understand it would cost me a higher price. And I cannot use the code given to us by Stephanie (PBL) it seams they don’t offer the code for those in an 8E category stateroom. if I were to move to a C4 Category and this I don’t under stand 1st and 2nd the cost is $$ per person the 3rd and 4th person it cost $$$ per person and that is for a inside cabin ?
For a suite the cost would be $$$ per person 1st and 2nd passenger and $$ for the third and fourth person in the suite. And at this point no balcony room is part of the blogger cruise. I talked to three different people there at carnival vacation planner number a Scott Greesone a floor survisor and a gentleman named Larry Beauregard. And they could not help me. And as Stephanie is going into the hospital tomorrow and it may had slipped her mind. as to my last request. as of now I am booked for the Dream Dec 3 2009. Category 8E room ## the booking number is #### and I am sure I will be able to see you on broad but as it stands now I will not be allow to attend any blogger events. I again post my cell phone in hope some one can help me the number is . Give our best to Stephanie and we play for her a speedy recovery. If you have a number I may cal to work this out it would help so much as well.

I am sorry to bother you with this and understand if nothing can be done. IM just confuses about the time it took to get the booking code and then it not work for my stateroom
Give our best to your lovely wife and the thingy
You’re Friends
Dconway
aka
Daivd and Diana

John Says:

Hello David and Diana,

I have passed your e-mail to our VP of Reservations. I am not promising that anything will change but I certainly will make sure I give it my best shot as I would love to see you both on the Bloggers Cruise. I will be back to you as soon as I can.
Your friend,
John

cjs cruiser Asked:
John, please reply,
Love reading your blog and look forward to it every evening.
On my last cruise on the Liberty last Jan., I was lucky and won a stick on a ship. It is my pride and joy.
My granddaughter also loves it. Every time she comes to visit, I notice that she takes it off the shelf in my room, and moves it into the room that she uses for a playroom. I know I should be a great grandma and give her my coveted ship on a stick, but I have worked hard to get it.
We are going to be cruising on the Splendor in Jan. as a family, and I was wondering if there was anyway that I could purchase a ship on a stick and have it delivered to her room. She would be so thrilled. Let me know who I could contact about getting one delivered for her.
Love to you, Heidi and desk.
cjs

John Says:
Hello CJS,
Your granddaughter’s wish is my command. Can you send me an e-mail via the blog a week before you sail and I shall make sure there is something made of pure gold waiting for you?
Cheers,
John

Amor & Lou Asked:
John,
A while back, I asked why there is no Carnival ship sailing out of Seattle. Have you checked as promised?
Regards to Heidi and the thingy. May you all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, ACLU lawyers included?
Amor

John Says:
Hello Amor,
I did check and it seems that Seattle is not in Carnival’s immediate future as a homeport. The only reason for this is that it offers limited ports of call on three-, four-, five- or seven-day cruises. I know it is a beautiful city and I wish we could use it more. Who knows, maybe one day? Sorry I don’t have any good news but I hope you are able to enjoy a future Carnival cruise from one of our many other home ports.
Cheers mate, John

Bill Russell Asked:
John,
Just returned from an 8-day cruise on the Freedom. Great trip but never again over Thanksgiving, 900 kids onboard. Todd is as good a CD as you said he was, we enjoyed him very much. Would rather had John Heald but Todd filled in well. Disappointed that past guests didn’t get any little token of appreciation like past cruises. We used to get a beach towel or hat or something in a bag left on the last night. Looking forward to next Nov 4 on the Miracle.

John Says:

Hello Bill,

I am glad you enjoyed Todd. He is a great guy. 900 kids….wow! When you say that as a past guest you did not get an appreciation gift, what did you mean? The beach towel, hat, tote bag etc. are for Platinum guests. Are you a Platinum guest? If so, and you did not receive a gift, please let me know and I will rectify that immediately. Hope to sail with you soon.
Cheers, John

Peanuts Asked:
Good Morning John,
You naughty, naughty boy!!! Speeding, I am absolutely astounded ;O You and Jack are in the same club. It seems that the “Windy City” (Chicago) has the same thing. Jack was caught twice in the same week at the same intersection by a camera. Needless he had to pay a “little” fine. You are not alone.
Cell phones are great for staying in touch but ours stay in our cabin when we cruise. It drives me crazy (short drive really) when people talk on them in dining rooms, theaters, etc. I think it’s rude and I would love to place that darling little phone, somewhere on that person, where the sun never shines! As far as the walkie-talkies, we take them when we are in a group but they are turned off at dinner and shows. If I had been that poor lady in the potty I know what I would have done. I’m sure I would have discovered what the floor above the potty looked like from the underside, not to mention having to go back to the cabin to change my dainties!!
Please let Stephanie know I will be thinking about her and praying for her to have a fast and successful recovery.
Take care and give Heidi a hug for us
Joan

John Says:

Hello Joan,
Yep, me and Jack are in the same club. Are you married to Jack Bauer? Heidi thanks you for her hug and we return one to you as well.
Cheers, John

Linda (Mom of DJ) Asked:
Joy:
We had the same experience on the Freedom.
John:
Please note that ships now using the Deck 0 for self-assist need to develop a new plan for VIP Self Assist. There was no VIP Self Assist on the Freedom. They had us wait in the Victoria Lounge at 6:30am and then Melissa (the Entertainment Staff assigned this task) abandoned us.
We finally heard Todd on the Intercom call all Platinum, VIP Self Assist, Deck 1 self assist and “anyone who has an early flight or wants to get off really early”…. head for Deck 0 now.
Of course, anyone who wanted to self-assist simply filled up the elevators from all the decks above Deck 3 where Carnival had VIPs waiting.
Since we had a 16 1/2 hour drive ahead of us, we did the VIP Self Assist to get off early. We ended up hauling 8 pieces of luggage down three flights of stairs. It was obvious there were not going to be any elevators available.
The solution would have been for the Entertainment Staff in care to simply escort VIP Self Assist to the Deck 3 location so that we could get off as promised. (No elevators required…since we all had our luggage with us in the Victoria Lounge on Deck 3).
Elderly Platinum guests were also trying to haul their luggage down three flights of stairs.
Once Melissa herded us all into the Victoria Lounge, she was never seen again.
We had a great cruise….and it was sad to see a wonderful cruise end on such a sour note. VIP Self Assist and Regular Debarkation are supposed to be a benefit for your loyal customers.
I think Self Assist on Deck O is a wonderful idea to help speed up the process since so many folks use it. However, Carnival needs another plan for VIP Self Assist. They should be taken off on Deck 3.

John Says:

Hello Linda,
First of all, I want to take a moment to say thank you for posting a comment on the blog each and every day. Your kindness is simply amazing. Your comments about debarkation are well taken and have been echoed by many others here on the blog. As I mentioned earlier, debarkation is a work in progress and progress we must. Gone are the days of a quick and easy debark and patience is the first order of the day. We must work closely with the Miami Customs and Border Patrol officers. However, we must also make sure that we are organized on board and if guests have to wait, they do so in comfort. I would like to know other bloggers’ comments on debarkation during recent cruises, so please tell me the good, the bad and if there is some ugly…..well, that as well. Your comments will be most helpful.
Linda, I have passed your thoughts to everyone concerned and I will do my best, once on board, to make things better. Please send our best to DJ and the rest of the family.
Cheers, John

Wes Asked:
Hey John,
I am new to your blog and the whole blogger’s scene so I hope this is in the right place.
I am planning a cruise for February ‘09 and was wondering if you have a list of where all the cruise directors will be during that time. I really enjoyed “Karl with a K” on the Paradise back in May and was hoping to have him again in Feb. I had read on Cruise Critic that he is on the Imagination but wanted to verify that. If there is not a published list of which ships the Cruise Directors are on I think that would be a great idea.
Thanks for you help and keeping me entertained between sailings with your blog.
Wes

John Says:
Hello Wes,
For your enjoyment and for many others as well, here is the “current” cruise director schedule. It is a work in progress and things may change, however, you will see where Karl with a K is and I am glad you enjoyed him so much the last time.
Welcome to the blog.
Your friend, John

cd-schedule-october-2008-april-2009

Jeri R Green Asked:
Stephanie, Hope the surgery went well and that you are getting lots of rest. We’re all thinking of you and hope you are up and about soon. Jeri and Larry
John, Please reply.
Do cell phones work, when at sea, from one person to another or must one use the walkie-talkies (with great care regarding where the walkie-talkie is located!)? Jeri

John Says:
Hello Jeri and Larry,
Thank you for the kind words for Stephanie who is now back at work following her successful surgery.
Carnival proudly has cell phone service on every ship so you will be able to call as you wish. A full explanation of charges is available in your cabin. Let me know if you need anything else.
Cheers, John

Mary Lou Asked:

Hi John and Stephanie: Sure hope your surgery went well and you will be back with us soon. John, I have a question about the Dec. 3 bloggers cruise. Please reply:
How come there are no balcony rooms available? Could it be that this cruise is sold out of balcony rooms a year in advance? Anyhow, that is what was told to me, so had to book a suite (only two of those were left also). This seems very strange or is it because I used the fare code given by Stephanie? Could it be Carnival only wants so many bloggers aboard? PLEASE REPLY. Thanks
Best to you and Heidi, hope you are enjoying your vacation.
Mary Lou

John Says:

Hello Mary Lou,
I had no idea all the balcony cabins were sold out for the Bloggers Cruise on the Carnival Dream. Please allow me some time to check into this. I know many Bloggers have already booked and I am so happy that you booked a beautiful suite. Did you try booking one of the deck 2 cove balconies? Are they sold out? I wouldn’t be surprised if these were, as they are the “must have” cabins. I will be back to you shortly with news on this.
Best Regards, John
David Timmis Asked:
Hello John I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. What has happened to the European cruises? We went on a cruise with you the freedom ship which we visited Italy, turkey and Greece. Completely amazing time. Now I was looking at the Baltic cruise since my mother was Russian and I have never been. Now I see it doesn’t exist anymore what happened please thank you.David from Montréal, Canada

John Says:
Hello David,
Well, unfortunately, due to the economy and other issues such as the cost of air travel to Europe, Carnival has decided not to deploy Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor to Europe in 2009. The Caribbean is our bread and butter and allows us to provide the best value for money at the most affordable ticket prices.
Our new ship, the magnificent Carnival Dream will however undertake two European voyages around the Grand Med before returning to North America. Hopefully things will change and we’ll be able to return to Europe. Like you, I miss European cruising very much.
Hope you are well.
Cheers, John.

Canuck Cruiser Asked:
Hi John, Heidi and the soon to be Heald child,
Please reply :
John and Heidi…………did you receive a package from the Miami office that contained some SIGVARIS products? I had it sent from our head office in Peach Tree City GA. Just curious. The products were to help Heidi during her pregnancy and some were for you John for when you’re standing a lot in your job. Please advise if you received them.
Only 66 more days until the MIRACLE cruise to celebrate my DW’s 50th. She has worked so hard this past year opening our new business and really deserves some time off from the store and to celebrate in the best way we know…………….cruising with CARNIVAL…..number 8 for me and 7 for her. Can’t wait to get away from the snow and cold and kick back for 8 days in Feb. 2009. Thanks again for helping make our dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day in the supper club. Should be a special night.
We trust you are enjoying your time off and will plan the perfect family vacation with Heidi and Thingy.
Thanks for all of the great laughs on the Blog John.
All the best from the frozen land we call Canada.
B&D
Soon to be in Cabin 5115 on the Miracle. Yahoo……….keep smiling!

John Says:

Hello Canuck Cruiser,
I am so glad you wrote. Yes, we did receive the support socks in fact Heidi now won’t wear anything else. Unfortunately, they came with lots of other mail and we had no idea who they were from. Please can you return an e-mail with your address so that we can send you a personal thank you?
Also, when are you sailing on the Miracle? Please let me know as soon as possible. Enjoy the sun and thank you again for your wonderful kindness.
Your friend, John

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
John – PLEASE REPLY
Did I understand correctly that you will be on the Dream’s transatlantic crossing? Promise?
I have been looking at the Dec 3 bloggers cruise, but the idea of another Atlantic crossing does certainly interest me.
Jon

John Says:
Hello Jon,

Yep, I promise, you too?
John

Bill Russell Asked:
Please Reply,
Just finished an 8 day on the Freedom. Todd is great, though not you.
Any chance you will be on the Dream next Dec 3 in Port Canaveral? If you are we want to book it.
Thanks,
Bill and Joan

John Says:
Hello Bill and Joan,
The December 3 cruise on the Carnival Dream is the Bloggers Cruise. Although I will not be there as cruise director, I will be sailing and hosting lots and lots of events for the Bloggers. If you would like to register, STEPHANIE will add the fare code etc. It would be wonderful to see you there. I am so glad you enjoyed Todd and the crew of the Carnival Freedom. Hope to see you in 2009.
John

Bill Russell Asked:
The Fantasy, why not bring the Mardi Gras back.
Should be using at least a ship that is much newer, and one with balconies.

John Says:
Hello Bill,
Bill, I am not sure if you have seen the recent additions to the Carnival Fantasy. She has received her Evolutions of Fun upgrades which have cost millions of dollars and, like her Fantasy class sisters, she now is as good as new, if not better. Come and see for yourself mate. I hope you and Joan are well and hope to hear from your soon.
Cheers, John
Dianne Asked:
Hi John,
I just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how much joy you brought us during our first cruise! We went with our dearest friends and you were the highlight of our week! We booked several more over the years and my DH and I will be going on the Valor in less than 2 weeks. Sadly my best friend passed away from cancer a couple of years ago but we were so blessed to have the time onboard Carnival for many years. And it all started because of you and your sincerity that each person was as special to you as the next! Thank you so much!! One quick question: this will be my first time in a wheelchair due to a herniated disc… how hard is it to maneuver around especially in the theater? Any suggestions would be a blessing! Oh… congrats to you and Heidi on your ‘thingy’! He/she will be very blessed to have you for a father and Heidi for a mother! God bless!

John Says:
Hello Dianne,
Thank you so very much for the kind words and please accept my deepest sympathies at the loss of your friend. I hope you have many happy memories of your cruise together. Please don’t worry about the wheelchair. The theatre has special areas reserved for guests in wheelchairs and our friendly staff will take wonderful care of you. Please do not hesitate to ask for help from anyone on board who will gladly assist you. If you have any specific concerns, I will be here for you. Thank you for your kind thoughts for Heidi.
Kind Regards, John

Jo Ann Asked:
URGENT TO STEPHANIE: Hi Stephanie — Please do not post this. I have a huge favor to ask. I’ve tried to contact John Heald via Facebook and I know both he and you are terribly busy. Below is what I posted on Facebook:
Hi John. I was wondering if you could do me the HUGEST favor of all time. I read your blog all the time (and love it, by the way) and have seen a couple of others make this request to you and you said you would do it for them. We have a group of 8 (four cabins) sailing on Carnival Splendor on January 17. The past 4 cruises, although we have requested to have a nice round table for 8 in the center of the dining room, they have stuck us back in the corner each and every time. I have requested via my personal vacation planner at Carnival each time, but the maitre d never gets the request. Is there any way you could contact whoever would be the maitre d on our cruise (on the 17th of January) and ask if our group could possibly get a really nice table for 8 in the center of the dining room? Would you need our booking numbers or just names? Let me know what you need and if you are willing. You are the greatest and we are hoping. Thanks in advance. P.S. Way to go with THINGY!!!
Stephanie, I don’t know if there is any way you can help me on this. Thanks in advance. Please let me know.

John Says:

Hello Jo Ann,

I am sorry; I do not have the time to monitor my Facebook thingy. So I am glad you contacted me here. I have forwarded this to the Maitre D on the Carnival Splendor who will, I am sure, look after you as requested. Please send Stephanie your names and cabin numbers ASAP. I am glad you are enjoying the blog and look forwarded to hearing from you soon. Cheers, John

DC IN SD Asked:
John, please reply. Do you know what happened to the Carnival Tropicale? We sailed on her in 1984…always wondered if she sails under another brand now or if she has gone the way of the Carnivale? Great memories of that trip with 3 other friends. Thanks John, best to Heidi and the Thingy!

John Says:

Hello DC in SD,

I just heard from PA 007 who tells me that the Tropicale was purchased by Pulmantur who are owned by RCI. I loved the Tropicale and she really did set the tone for the industry. I am glad you have great memories of the ship. Please keep reading the blog thingy.
Cheers, John

Jeff Asked:
Hey John,
Great news! I just booked the Carnival Splendor for January 17th out of Fort Lauderdale. Can you tell me who the cruise director is and any other recommendations? I hope he’s half as good as you. (I booked this cruise in spite of the fact that you aren’t the cruise director, as January in New Hampshire is a pretty good reason to go to the Caribbean!)
Thanks for the laughs as always.
Jeff

John Says:

Hello Jeff,
Congratulations on booking the Carnival Splendor in January. The cruise director will be the brilliant “Goose” who, along with his staff, will make sure you has a fantastic time. I am sure you will enjoy the sun and fun and I wish I could be there with you.
Cheers, John

retirementman Asked:
PLEASE REPLY
Oh you are funny John. Congratulations to the listening of the heart of Thingy. Wait till you feel him (her) start kicking and you can feel the kick. Now that is amazing. I’m so happy that everyone is healthy including you my friend.
I have a question John about the Valor. As you know I’ll be in the Valor on the 25th of January. I read that there are some problems trying to go from the front t to the back of the ship on the 3rd and 4th decks. Could you explain to me what problems I would have trying to move from front to back of the ship on those decks? I’ve heard nothing about good words about this ship. A friend said it was one of the better ships he had been on. Last year on the Freedom was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the Freedom. I hope I’ll enjoy the Valor also. Ciao my friend and say hi to Heidi from me. Hey John, has Heidi shown that glow I said about pregnant women. It is the best thing to notice about your wife when she is with child. I saw it three times when my wife had our three children. Of course any pregnant woman I think has the glow of life. See you.
Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:

Hello Paul,
I am not quite sure about what problems you refer to. Decks 3 and 4 on the Carnival Valor have the same layout as you enjoyed on the Carnival Freedom. To get to the back of the ship using Deck 4, you must walk through the forward dining room and cigar bar. On both ships deck 3 is not accessible as the galley is in between the two dining rooms. Maybe I am being really thick here and missing the point and if that is the case, please let me know. I hope by now you received your Christmas card which we sent to you after we received your beautiful card at our P.O. Box. My best as always to you and your beautiful family. John

Tim and Diane Asked:
John Please reply.
John you’re becoming a dirty old man… Did I say becoming…? Sorry you always have spoken your mind. Di and I will be on Carnivals Freedom (notice I gave the whole name) in less that two weeks. Anything special you want us to tell the current CD on board? One more question have you seen Ruby Princess’s CD yet? (I’m terrible with names) He has a gift for you from us that we missed giving to you when we met you on the Ruby princess in November.
Tim and Di

John Says:

Hello Tim and Diane,
I haven’t seen James recently but he did say he had something special for me from you. The CD on the Carnival Freedom for your Christmas cruise will be my old friend Todd. Ask him what happened at the “Coyote Ugly” bar in Ft. Lauderdale two years ago…..Can you also send STEPHANIE your cabin number please? Have a wonderful time. I can’t wait to see my gift.
Miss you both, John

Cheryl Asked:
Hi John Please reply
First of all Congrats again on the baby I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU BOTH>It is an amazing time for sure. Now a question about the bloggers cruise. Do we have any information on what the bloggers will be doing in Cozumel for a bloggers excursion? Will there also be a bloggers excursion in Progresso, Mike is getting anxious and wanting to book excursions. Do we have a list of what the bloggers may be doing together on the cruise? Can you tell we are excited? Thanks John, Blessings to You, Heidi and baby thingy.

John Says:

Hello Cheryl,

I am glad you are enjoying the blog so much and thank you for your congratulations on our Thingy. I will be releasing details on the Bloggers cruise excursion in Cozumel in the next few days. There will not be a Bloggers excursion in Progresso. I do recommend seeing Chituniza ………… Chittizunisa ………………. Chistusinza …………….. the Mayan Pyramids…..they are incredible.

I will let you know about Cozumel soon, thanks again for all your kind words, Your friend, John
Codfish Asked:
Please reply
First of all, I am pleased to hear Carnival is suspending the fuel supplement effective the 17th. This new policy is certainly a lot less confusing than the old one and will end a great deal of calculation, speculation, and arguments on the Cruise Critic boards. The only problem is I sail on the 14th. Oh well, That’s the way it goes. I guess Elias Nadeba Silva won’t be getting a donkey from me. I hope Carnival is happy! (I will be donating generously to my local Red Cross)
The real reason I am writing is to remind you that a few months ago I asked if it would be possible to get a fan for our stateroom. My girlfriend simply cannot sleep without one. You replied that it could be done and asked me to contact you shortly before we cruise. Well, it is 9 days, 22 hours, 47 minutes before we sail. (yes, I am literally counting the minutes)
We will be on the Legend sailing December 14 in Cabin , booking # (I know I don’t have to ask, but please don’t publish this bit on the blog thingy)
I am glad to hear Heidi and the thingy are doing well, Best wishes to Stephanie on her recovery, and thank you again for all the wonderful things you do for all of us. Merry Christmas. . . I mean. . . Happy holiday. . . Festivus. . . Winterval. . . whatever the politically correct are calling it these days.
Thanks again,
Codfish

John Says:

Hello Codfish,

Thanks for the reminder, I will remind the ship, so all will be well. Let me know if there is anything else you need. John

msqpon – Jo Myerly Asked:
Hi John, I wondered why the roof on the Splendor pool was always closed on our November cruises. Now I understand it isn’t working. Has it been fixed? Will it be open for the South America cruises?
Thanks,
Jo

John Says:

Jo,
I checked with the ship and the roof is working fine. It is a wonderful asset to be able to close it during the inclement weather. Did someone say it wasn’t working when you cruised or was it just closed because of bad weather?

I have one more comment to reply to.

A few people have asked during the last few weeks about Carnival’s Scholarship Program. Well, I am proud to show you the answer to this as written by Carnival Corporation’s Linda Coll.

Carnival Cruise Lines Scholarship Program.

Beginning in 2003, Carnival Foundation began to purchase 15 college scholarships per year from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation. To date, Carnival has purchased a total of 90 scholarships that will be awarded upon graduation to students who have participated in the HEAT Academy. The first of these scholarships will mature in 2010.

HEAT Academy is an after-school program that provides elementary school students (3rd-5th grade) extra exposure to academics, particularly math, reading and science. It is the flagship community initiative of the Miami HEAT. Carnival Cruise Lines is the Presenting Sponsor of the HEAT Academy program which has been implemented at three local inner city schools in a collaborative partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The HEAT Academy has been operating since the 1999-2000 season.

Through the Carnival Cruise Lines Scholarship Program, Carnival tracks the academic progress of each eligible student during their middle and high school years and will select the 15 top-performing students from each graduating class who have attained certain annual eligibility requirements. During their high school years, students are also participating in Carnival’s School to Work Mentoring Program. Through a collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami, 61 members of Carnival’s management team are serving as mentors to these high school students as part of this innovative mentoring-in-the-workplace program.

In January 2010, Carnival will announce its first 15 scholarship recipients from the graduating class of 2010. Thereafter, 15 scholarships will be awarded each consecutive year to each graduating class of former HEAT Academy students. Students selected will receive a four-year tuition scholarship to an accredited Florida college or university of their choice. The Florida Prepaid College Foundation has matched Carnival’s donation dollar-for-dollar to fund these scholarships. Since the inception of this program, Carnival has invested more than $400,000 towards these scholarships

Thank you Linda.

I am very proud that we offer such a wonderful program and the HEAT Academy is an institution I would love to visit some day and maybe get involved in myself. If you have any more questions about this, please let me know and my thanks again to Linda and congratulations to the Arison family and everyone at Carnival Corporation & plc for helping the kids of today reach for the stars.

Please keep the comments coming and as always I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Please stop by www.bestblogsatsea.com and have a read of the Eurodamnews blog. There is a brilliant tribute by Captain Mercer to Captain Jack van Coevorden. He has retired after an incomparable 45 years at sea. It’s a great read and maybe some of you will post a farewell vote of thanks on the Eurodam Blog thanking Captain Jack for his years of amazing service.

Many of you have already entered the Porthole Magazine contest that could win you a free cruise with the bloggers on the Carnival Fantasy in February. If you have not yet done so please stop by their website and have a go……..you could win. Porthole Magazine is the number one glossy magazine that covers the industry we all love and I know many of you are regular readers. If your not………may I humbly suggest you buy a copy and see for yourself. It’s Editor In Chief President, Chairman, C.E.O., Managing Director, etc. etc. is my old mate Bill Panoff. You will have heard me talk about him before.

Among other things, Bill also is in charge of Carnival’s shopping ashore program. You should never buy anything ashore without checking with your destination and shopping specialist first as he or she will be able to get you the best deals and if you are buying jewelry ashore……they can recommend the best stores and help you get the optimum price.

Well, next week, Bill is hosting something I wish I could go to……….a Carnival reunion. This will be held in Florida and many of the “faces” that worked onboard during the time Bill was a cruise director will be there. People like…………well…………..there are far too many to name. Roger Blum and Bill have promised to send us lots of photos and a report of the fun that is bound to happen when this lot get together. I am hoping Bill will call me during the event……..put me on a speaker phone……………..and let me say hi to everyone.

In preparation for this……here are some photos ………….of the old days……………I hope you enjoy them……………..there are too many people to mention by name………….but do you recognize anyone?

carnivale1

carnivale2

carnivale5bill

carnivle4

festivale1

festivale2brad

mardigras1

Would also join me in congratulating the Carnival Splendor who achieved the very difficult 100 out of 100 score during last week’s United States Public Health Inspection. …………………..well done to everyone involved.

I read in the Sunday papers that women in the U.K. spend £260m a year on handbags and that there’s one particular brand that has a year-long waiting list even though it costs £8,000. ………….what a load of Fendi Bollocks.

What’s more, it’s said that on average women have up to 40 handbags each. To find out why, I spoke to Heidi. Apparently it has something to do with the seasons. She claims she couldn’t use her favorite bag in the winter because it’s made out of some cow and “would look all wrong.”

So what then? Should a summer bag be made? Judge Judy? The idea that a handbag has something to do with style was backed in this article up by a spokesman for Jimmy Choo, who said that if you have good shoes and a good bag you will look right.

Again………..bollocks. If you have been severely beaten with the ugly stick there’s no handbag in the world that will mask the problem, unless you wear it over your head. And I don’t recommend that because if you put your head in a handbag it would take two years to find it again.

On average, we’re told, the contents of a woman’s bag are worth $500. That sounds about right. Fifty thousand things worth one penny each. So, determined to find out if this was true I boldly went where no man has gone before………………..my wife’s purse.

So what does she have, then, that could possibly be worth $500? Well, there’s an iPod her raspberry. And a bag full of make-up made by someone called Mac that probably cost a hundred pound or so.

Then, I searched own below the crust, in the very depths, I found a pair of spectacles that she doesn’t need and three — that is not a misprint — three pairs of sunglasses. Which seems excessively optimistic, frankly, in the winter………in the U.K.

Why, I asked later, do you have a pair of spectacles in your handbag when your eyes are fine? “Well, I might need them at some point,” she said. So does that mean there’s a George Foreman Grill in there as well, and some incontinence pads?

Below the eyewear, in the upper mantle, there is some chewing gum, which she never eats, coins for countries that don’t exist any more and pills for things that cleared up 15 years ago. I did not dare to go further than this, into the inner core, for fear of finding Jimmy Hoffa.
And now, back to basketball.

For those of you who have been reading the blog thingy these past three days you will know I have been putting together my “Heald’s Heroes” basketball team made up of the greatest heroes the world has ever known.
To recap, we have:
WINSTON CHURCHILL – COACH
COLOMBO – POINT GUARD
THE GODFATHER – TEAM CAPTAIN AND CENTER

And now it’s time for our power forward……….and it is…………………MR. T

And that’s because Mr. T is one of the greatest men………..in the world. He is a walking, talking bad arse. Every basketball team needs a Dennis Rodman………a bad boy …………… and Mr. T is mine. He wasn’t just a huge dollop of muscle, you know………… he was an engineering genius………..with a beard.

Imagine if you will our team is up against the Boston Celtics who are getting beaten heavily by “Heald’s Heroes” and, therefore, at half time they decide to lock our team in their dressing room. Bugger……..how will our team get back onto the court in time? …….. up steps Mr. T.

He would gather together all the discarded Gatorade Bottles, pour the remains at the bottom of each bottle into the ice bath, ferment this into alcohol which he would then use to fuel the improvised armored car he had built out the lockers and of one of Shaq’s left over basketball shoes. He would then use this to smash down the door, drive onto the court shouting “Hey Fool” to Kevin Garnett before ripping his head off and dunking it over Ray Allen.

Mr. T was a hero. There is no “I” in “team”…….but there is one big “T”……and that’s why he is in my starting 5………..except……I just realized……….he doesn’t fly …….that means someone will have drug him for all the road games…………….bugger.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, 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.