Raspberry Blog

December 15, 2008 -

News From Steph

I already had told myself that my Easy Jet flight from London to Venice was never going to take off on time. There was more chance of Royal Caribbean calling me saying “Hey John, thanks for all the kind words about our ships, as a reward we want to offer you a job as CD at $50,000 a day, an Aston Martin and Jessica Simpson in a big bowl of Jell-O.”…………However, when I arrived and saw the delayed notice next to my flight number …….I said a very loud “bugger.”

“What’s the problem this time?” I inquired with the world-weary resignedess (yes, that is a word) of someone who has heard it all before. Technical problems? Sheep on the runway? …..”No,” said the 14-year-old behind the check in desk, “The captain got stuck in traffic on the motorway.” I see. Because the hopeless bugger did not set off on his journey on time, I now have to spend god knows how long in an overheated, under staffed departure gate………oh joy.

I had woken this morning at 3:30 am, scraped the ice off my polar bear killing machine and drove the 90 miles to Gatwick….and now because Captain Slow turned over had had a few more minutes under the duvet, my flight was going to be delayed for who knows how long.

I don’t know who you are captain, but I seriously hope you have a fetish for dressing in women’s underwear and your colleagues all find out. I am not a vindictive chap but I hope all your itches are forever unreachable.

So, to keep us happy as we sit here at 6.30 am in the sauna we were all provided with refreshments………well……..refreshments may be an overstatement. We were served a Styrofoam cup of………ummmmm……….hot. I’m not sure what it is…..could be tea, coffee or liquefied yak poo. To accompany this drink we were given breakfast which was a sandwich filled with a piece of ………ummmmm……pink which was thinner than a supermodel’s ear lobe.

Every five minutes an Irish voice comes over the PA system telling us that smoking is strictly forbidden. To my left is an Italian man who looks like every ship bosun I have ever met. Five foot nothing, knarled by years of working outside, and, as I write, he is drilling for gold by inserting his finger so far up his nose that the tip of his whole finger has disappeared. Now, as I sit here bored out of mine a team of cleaners have woken up and decided the floor needs a damn good polish and have broken out the machines which are as I write sucking up bits of paper and, of course, my Italian friend’s boogers.

I am so bored. I have a newspaper but if I read it now I will have bugger all to read on the plane. I am contemplating starting a food fight but with the free sandwiches but the bread was so hard it could have easily taken someone’s head off. OK, the news is that Captain Slow has arrived and we will be taking off in 25 minutes……1 hour and 15 minutes late…….so, time to switch off the raspberry and I will write more from the plane.

Well, here I am on the plane and we have yet to take off. We have been sitting here now for 20 minutes, no announcement and no service. What is staggering is the patience of my fellow passengers. They quietly sat at the airport eating their mystery meat sandwiches, sweating in the sauna like temperatures. They said nothing when they discovered that the reason we hadn’t taken off was that Captain Slow had overslept and now as we sit here and wait for someone to tell us what the hell is going on…..nobody is complaining.

I am sorry to say that we expect the airlines to be late and we expect to receive bad service from them just as we would except to be flogged for having rumpy pumpy in a public area in Dubai.

So, answer me this. Why is it that on ships…..any ship……passengers complain constantly about service that quite honestly most airlines can only dream about providing? OK, no announcement of apology but we have been to told to switch off all electronic thingies……talk to you soon.

Why are so many people flying to Venice, in December, at 6:30 am? The plane is packed. I mean, surely nobody goes to Venice in December for a romantic break…..take a ride in a gondola in December, men, and your pole will freeze.

Traveling with me today is my friend Danny. We met sometime ago and, since our meeting, he has become a great friend and a Platinum Carnival guest. He is also a Carnival shareholder and owns a successful security company providing ex-service personnel to companies all over the world. He is a self-made man, funny and very, very ugly.

I thought it might be nice for him to see the ships while still in the building process.
Anyway, I want to mention something which has been on my mind. I had an e-mail from a cruise director whom for obvious reasons I shall not name. In the email he told me how distraught he was about some comments he had read about him on the Cruise Critic boards.

Now, let me say straight away that I am a huge fan of Cruise Critic because amongst other things, it is, like this blog, a site where personal opinions can openly discuss…… may that never change. Anyway, this string of comments included some quite horrific personal attacks, including one person who upon seeing the CD schedule I recently posted wrote that they were going to cancel their cruise so as not to have this person as their cruise director. Yet, on the same string of comments were guests who loved this CD and thought him to be one of the very best.

And that’s what I told him to concentrate on. You can never please all the people all of the time. I am humbled when people tell me I am their favorite CD yet I know there are many who would rather put a flock of scorpions in their underwear than sail with me.
That’s the business we are in. When you throw yourself into the public eye you must expect to be judged and sometimes criticized. However, you can imagine how reading these personal attacks can be quite distressing. Anyway, I have hopefully put his mind at rest and he can continue doing the brilliant job he does.

It’s hard to write as the plane is going through turbulence and we are up and down like Paris Hilton on a Saturday night. The Easyjet staff are mincing up and down the isle offering us more plastic cups full of hot ……ummmmm……stuff…….and more bread with pink. Only this time……..we have to pay…….it seems they aren’t selling bugger all…….I wonder why…….$8 for a cup of hot seems fair!

I am going to switch off now and will write more later tonight.

One last thing before I go. Last night was the final of our version of American Idol. It’s called The X Factor. During the show Simon Bowel told one finalist that “This program had saved her from performing on cruise ships like all washed out entertainers and mediocre performers.”

Mediocre……..I wish one day he would drag his cruel, money-grabbing arse up our gangways to see one of our shows featuring washed out performers and mediocre entertainers……..and after he has apologized to every cruise ship performer I will take him for a tour of the propellers.

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.