Giving Up Is Hard to Do……And Boring

January 6, 2009 -

John Heald

I love being at home with Heidi but I must admit…….I think I am a little bored now and that probably means……..I have become boring to others and that’s not good. I have been deeply concerned that my blogs may have become boring, as well.

There’s a man I know who I talk to a lot at work either on the phone or in person— I shouldn’t say who in case he’s reading this — and never, not once, in the many years I have known him has he been able to make a single story interesting. Even if he’d just been mugged by a gang of dwarf Hells Angels or walked into his house to find Cameron Diaz dressed as a naughty nurse he’d still fail to bring the tale alive. And pretty soon you’d be wishing you were a horse………. So you could fall asleep standing up.

Unfortunately, he never has never had Cameron Diaz take his temperature or administer a bed bath or been attacked by tiny leather-clad bikers. All that happened in his life last week was a new delivery of paperclips. And staggeringly, he believed that this was interesting enough to bring up in conversation. Honestly, after a few minutes I gave serious thought to stabbing him in the eye with the sharp end of one of his beloved paper clips…

I believe that one of the greatest gifts bestowed on a human being is not beauty, intelligence or wealth. It’s the ability to make a story live. To take a tale and know instinctively what to leave in, what to leave out and when to add a bit of flavoring.

Of course, it helps if you do actually lead an interesting life. I mean, if Rannulf Fiennes, the explorer had been a carpet salesmen or an IT consultant he probably wouldn’t be much fun down at dinner parties. But when he tells you about sawing off his own fingers while trapped on the south face of Mount Everest – well, it’s kind of hard to mess that up.

I’d rather have dinner on my own than dinner with a dullard. I know people are anxiously waiting for me to get back onboard so I can write about life onboard and the wonderful guests I meet each and every week. And until I do and if this blog and I have become boring…..well, someone please tell me and I will shut up. I love practical jokes and later in this blog I will be telling you about one from the past that I had played on me

But first, commiserations this week to the man from Arkansas, who, having made use of a public toilet, found that he was super glued to the seat. The anonymous prankster had done such a thorough job that the man, 35, had to be carried out by fire-fighters still sitting on the stainless steel pan, pants lowered, and taken to hospital where strong chemicals were required to unstick his buttocks.

“He was somewhat embarrassed,” said an ambulance spokesman said, unnecessarily.

There was no news of whether he had managed to flush. Still, at least the unlucky sod can take solace from this episode. He has learned a valuable lesson that no good will ever come of sitting down on a public toilet seat. (What was he thinking? Women have been perfecting “the hover” for decades.) But he didn’t come out of it looking quite as dumb as my favorite prank victim of 2008…………….Sarah Palin.

In case didn’t hear about this incident, let me refresh your memory. A few days before Election Day, a French-Canadian comedian, Marc-Antoine Audette, telephoned Ms. Palin pretending to be Nicolas Sarkozy. For six excruciating minutes, she spoke to a man using a comedy French accent not unlike Peter Seller’s Inspector Clousseau who enthused over Carla Bruni’s sexual performance and, at one point, broke into song, yet she suspected nothing fishy, possibly thinking that zis is how all ze Frenchies are in zair ‘ome country of Finland. It was fist-chewingly awful and Palin emerged looking as clueless as an Amish Guy playing Grand Theft Auto……….although……………I actually miss her.

When I was on the Holiday as a very junior assistant bar manager, my so-called friends once emptied my cabin of absolutely everything including the bed, chairs and all my clothes. My instinctive reaction was to cry, call “security” then demand that they put my Gabriella Sabitini posters back exactly as they found them, please. But I knew that, in this split second, I’d be forever judged as a bastard if I said what I really thought, so I threw back my head and shrieked with fake laughter, all the time worrying what they’d done with my underpants.

I don’t know how Sarah Palin reacted to her prank, though if I was the idiot in her office who had let the call through, I wouldn’t expect an invite to the moose-hunting parties any time soon. Anyway……….let’s get on with answering some of your questions and comments. First of all, some of you may have seen this comment that I posted yesterday.

Raymond Krygier
January 3rd, 2009 at 5:33 pm

1. YOUR FAVORITE CARNIVAL SHIP ……………..AND WHY – The Carnival Paradise when it was a smoke-free ship.

2. THE WORST CARNIVAL CREW MEMBER AWARD – Every member of the bar staff on the Carnival Destiny’s April 6, 2008, cruise that was assigned to work the captain’s welcome aboard party and/or the past passenger party. During both the parties I asked six different people for a pop to drink. Everyone who I asked refused to serve pop during the parties.

3. THE WORST CARNIVAL SHORESIDE EMPLOYEE AWARD – This is a tie between John Heald and the so called guest relations department. On November 13, 2007 I sent a letter to Carnival Cruise Lines. When I had not received any type of reply by the middle of February 2008 I posted a message on John’s blog. In his blog dated February 20, 2008, John said he was to contact somebody about not receiving a reply to the letter. I waited and waited for a reply that never came. On November 9, 2008 I posted another message on John’s blog. On November 11, 2008 I received an e-mail from John saying that he was contacting the director of guest relations. To this day I still have not received any type of reply from guest relations.

4. THE BEST CARIBBEAN PORT OF CALL – St. Thomas, USVI

5. THE BEST NON-CARIBBEAN PORT OF CALL – Hilo, Hawaii

6. THE BEST ONBOARD SHOW FEATURING THE DANCERS AND SINGERS

7. THE BEST CARNIVAL SHIPBOARD ENTERTAINER AWARD – Christopher Alan Graves in the “Swingin’ with the band” show.

8. YOUR FAVORITE ONBOARD DINNER MENU ITEM – New York strip steak with peppercorn sauce.

9. YOUR FAVORITE ONBOARD DESSERT – Warm melted chocolate cake.

10. THE BEST BLOG GUEST INTERVIEW AWARD – who, out of the year’s captains, corporate executives and special guests I interviewed, did you find to be the most captivating? – Joe Farcus

I wanted to thank Raymond for his award nominations although I don’t remember asking anyone to vote on the worst Carnival crew member. Anyway……Raymond. I have once again forwarded your comments to our guest relations department for their immediate follow up and thank you for taking the time to write. I did reply to you mate and I apologize that you have not heard back. I will continue to try to assist you.

Can I also say hello to some Brit friends of mine Wes and Liz from Manchester. Hello guys……how are you? I know you never actually ask for questions to be answered but I wanted to say hello to you and hope you are not freezing too much up there in Manchester.

OK, on we go.

Rodney (Cruising Crazees) Asked:
John Please Reply
Hello it is good to see that you are trying out this resolution thing it never works for me either but just as you have a thingy coming I had one in September and I am a little younger than you but not much so I as well would like to see her grow up. I was wondering have you had a chance to check into whether or not you could do anything about whether or not I can take my daughter on the bloggers cruise in Feb. I saw you replied and stated you were going to make a few phone calls and see but I do not know if I missed anything since. Please respond to the email attached to this comment and let me know. Thanks

John Says:
Hello Rodney
My apologies for the delay in answering you. I did ask our loss prevention folks and I am sorry to say that even with one of your family being a nurse, etc they cannot bend the rules. I understand where they are coming from and I also understand how disappointed you must be at this news. I am so sorry I could not help you and if you can think of anything else that I may be able to do for you please let me know.
My best regards to you and your family
John

Joyce g Asked:
John,
There are about 1,500 passengers booked on the Splendor SA cruise doing all 3 legs. I have a question & hope you can check with corporate about it. Is it possible to make an exception and allow us to carry our unused internet minutes from one leg to the next? I know this is not Carnival policy, but this is not your usual cruise. And there are at least 1500 of us involved. My friends on Cruise Critic & I would like to know what you can do to help us out.
Thanks,
Joyce

John Says:

Hello Joyce
What a great idea. The South America voyage will not be a conventional cruise so we need to think differently. Let me check today and pass this idea up the line and I will let you and all the lucky people who are sailing on this voyage know ASAP. Someone (I forget the name, my apologies) had asked me about currency exchange onboard during the cruises. I heard today that we will offer this and the final details are being put together as we speak and again I will let you all know about them very soon.
Thaks for the idea and I hope I get a positive response
Cheers
John

Marcel Asked:

Hi John,
First, my best to you and Heidi. I found a reference to your blog in the newest edition of Currents I received yesterday. I’m pretty new at this blog stuff and I was hoping to find info about excursions. I noted a question from Semper Fi on December 10 about a trip they are planning to Limon, Costa Rica and Colon, Panama. However, I have not seen an answer. Maybe it goes directly to them – I don’t know. Anyway, my wife and I are sailing on the Carnival Freedom on January 17 and will be traveling to Cozumel, Limon, Costa Rica and Colon, Panama and have the same question(s). I have searched the World (wide web) and find it difficult to get much information. Seems like this blog system might be a way to get some good feedback about the excursions. Any info is better than no info. And there seem to be a lot of very nice people that provide input to this blog. Anyway, we are truly looking forward to our sailing in 2 weeks and will enjoy the trip even if we can’t find much info about the excursions. Best wishes to you and your family.

John Says:

Hello Marcel
Welcome to the blog thingy. I am glad you stopped by and I hope you continue to read as much as you can. Congratulations on booking the cruise on the Carnival Freedom and especially the voyage to Limon and Panama. You mentioned the excursions and I would be happy to give you my personal recommendations. Firstly have a look at these links.

http://www.carnival.com/ShoreExcursionsSearchResults.aspx?portname=Limon%2c+Costa+Rica&portcode=LMO&region=CW

http://www.carnival.com/ShoreExcursionsSearchResults.aspx?portname=Cozumel%2c+Mexico&portcode=CZM&region=CW

http://www.carnival.com/ShoreExcursionsSearchResults.aspx?portname=Colon%2c+Panama&portcode=CLN&region=CW

As you can see we have a huge variety of excursions and after you have read about them please send me your questions and I will be glad to tell you which ones I recommend for you……maybe you could include your age and things you are most interested in doing.
I look forward to hearing from you
Cheers
John

jschne1013 Asked:

Hi John,
Tell Heidi not to worry about the needle. I’m an OB nurse and it’s a very fine needle and doesn’t hurt at all. My question for you is that I see that Carnival has two cruises to Europe in Oct 09. I was blessed to have sailed with you on the Splendor. It was the most amazing cruise. You left the ship the end of our cruise. I was wondering if Carnival was going to add any additional itineraries. I would love to see Russia and England. I understand the cutbacks because of the economy but am hoping that carnival will consider additional ports of call in the future.
Happy New Year to you, Heidi and the thingy!

John Says:

Hello and thanks for writing in.
Let’s start with Europe. The Carnival Dream will have as you said two Grand Med cruises this year and they are as always proving to be very popular especially as they will be on our largest and most extravagant vessel. We just completed a highly successful Baltic season on the Carnival Splendor and fully intended to continue European cruising this year. However, with the economy as it is it seemed prudent to bring the vessels closer to home? Hopefully we have not seen the last of the Carnival smokestack in Europe and lets see what 2010 will bring and beyond. I personally hope we get back to Europe soon and would love to be a CD on a ship sailing the shores of the UK. As soon as I know I will let you all know here, of course. Can I also say thanks to you for your kind words for Heidi and I know that the support that all the bloggers are giving her is so important to her.
My best to you and the family
John

Amor & Lou Asked:
Dear John,
We hope we are the first one to offer you our home for your pre and post respite when you cruise to Alaska. As you know, we live in Seattle and if Carnival does not include Seattle as one of the homeports, Vancouver, BC is just 3 hours drive north and the sceneries are fantastic. We don’t have a Land Rover but another British brand car is just sitting in our garage (hope it’s still with us when you decide to come). In other words, you three (you, Heidi and the thingy) may stay with us before and after your cruise as an alternative to a hotel stay. Seattle International Airport is just 15 minutes away. We have three extra bedrooms in our little house.
Lou & I are both retired and have all the time to drive you around as you wish.
Please respond.
Amor & Lou

John Says:

Hello Amor and Lou
OH WOW……….I promise one day we will take you up on this fantastic offer. I think now Heidi and I could drive through America and Canada stopping off at every state and province and find a blogger to share some time with. You live in a truly beautiful part of the world and I hope to see it with you both someday.
Kindest regards
John

retirementman Asked:

I got an idea John. Why don’t you go on the Valor on 25 January where you, Empress Bee, Linda Hernacki, and myself get to meet and sit and talk for some time, probably a small time but at least I could finally meet you. Oh by the way, last night’s blog were you dealing with me since I enjoy ending all my comments with Ciao and I guess that really bothers you. Also, today’s blog you mentioned about tattoos. Well John, I happen to have two of them on my arms and both have large roses. I happened to love roses. I hope that won’t affect the chance of meeting you because 1. I say Ciao and 2. I have two beautiful tattoos. See you some day (Ciao). LOL
Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul
As always it’s wonderful to hear from you mate. You are Italian and a friend so please never stop saying Ciao. Oh, how I wish I could be on the Carnival Valor with you mate and see your lovely roses for myself. Maybe…….just maybe……..I can drive to the port on the 25th and visit the ship and meet you all for lunch. What do you think?
Ciao mate
John

bless1045 Asked:

John and Heidi,
I was 38 when I had my only child. At that time, I wasn’t really given an option and had an amnio. I was about 8 weeks pregnant and sorry to say, it hurt like —. The results came back in the second trimester and was normal. Question is, if the test comes back abnormal, what will you do about it? If mine had come back abnormal, I would not have had an abortion and would have loved the baby as much as if it was normal. So why did I put myself through such a thing to begin with? Would never have if I could do it again.
Regardless whether you have the test or not, you will love that little thingy more than you can even imagine.
John, I didn’t get my votes in, but if I had we would have had the same answers. There is nothing like the Splendor’s retractable roof!! Ken, Stephanie and Ticket to Ride are the cream of the crop.
Love to you three,
Sharon

John Says:

Hello Sharon
Heidi is preparing herself for this test but I know she will be fine if I am there holding her hand. We will love our Thingy regardless of that there is no doubt and even if it has 12 heads and a tail I will give it all the love in the world. Thank you for your nominations and you agree with many on mentioning Ken yet again.
Thank you for all the support and my best to you all
John

Chris Brito Asked:

John, Congrats on the great news, I had a great time years ago when you were working as CD on the first sailing of the Triumph out of Miami. I wish you and your wife the best in the future and hope to catch you soon on our next vacation. Have you ever worked as a CD out on the west coast? Would love to see you when the Carnival Splendor comes to long beach. Best wishes to you and your wife and thank you for making so many peoples vacation the best!
-Chris
Long Beach, California

John Says:

Hello Chris
I am glad to hear from you here on the blog thingy and I am very happy to hear that you have such great memories of our time together on the Carnival Triumph. I also hope we get to sail with each other soon and until then I hope you will stay in touch here on the blog thingy.
Cheers
John

Roger Tollerud Asked:

John
Should the opportunity present itself we would love to have you interview Captain Roberto Volpi. We have sailed with him many times and he is our absolute favorite—Also he gives the best noonday update from the bridge we have heard. Always full of good information and many times very funny.
Thanks and regards.
Roger T

John Says:

Hello Roger
Your wish is my command. I will write to Captain Volpi and ask if he would do an interview for the blog thingy. He is indeed a great captain and I am sure he would love to do this. I will let you know very soon.
Cheers
John

John Friedman Asked:

John – Momma Mia is fantastic. Lighten up!!! Heidi needs your positive spirit. You think things are tough now??!?? Wait until the “thingy” poops in your hand or pees on you. Momma Mia will look pretty interesting.
John – please reply
Jaime looks like she is fun. Will she be on the Pride when it does the Panama Canal cruise? Would love to meet her then.
Our best wishes to you, Heidi and “thingy” for a joyous and blessed New Year!!!

John Says:

Hello John
You sound like my wife and my friend Mr Bentley both of who is in, love with this movie. There was a lack of car chases and explosions for my liking and I would rather kiss a camel’s bottom then have to listen to Meryl and Pierce howl their way through that duet. Thanks so much for recognizing Jaime. She is on the Carnival Pride for just one more week before heading back to the Carnival Splendor for her South American voyages. I hope you have a fantastic time on the ship and please let me know if I can help in anyway.
Cheers
John

Bob Morris Asked:

Hi John
Thank you for your website blog in describing the wonderful life of Commodore Romano
I wonder if you are in communication with him to ask any personal questions. I am going on the Dawn Princess to New Zealand on 19 January 2009 and on exploring the background of Princess Cruises was delighted to see that they had bought out the Sitmar line. I was wondering if Commodore Romano was an office to Commodore Jorge Petrescue “Captain Jorge” was a personal friend to my father when my father was a Chaplain on the Fairsky back in the early 60’s because of their friendship “Captain Jorge” offered cruises to my family so that he could have some real sea time with my father. Captain Jorge fell victim at early age to cancer. My family has wonderful memories of Captain Jorge and I just wanted to know if the Commodore Romano ever actually served with Jorge Petrescu
with thanks
Bob Morris

John Says:

Hello Bob
I will be more than happy to pass this information on to Captain Romano along with your e-mail address. He is a terrific person and his interview here on the blog has been one of our most popular. I wish you success in finding the information you were looking for. Please let me know if you are successful.
Cheers
John

NICK SIRAGUSA Asked:

JOHN, I FINALLY FOUND YOU. IN NOV 2006 I SET SAIL ON THE CARNIVAL LIBERTY FROM ROME.(YES THE SHIP THAT GOT SICK) ANYWAY I WANTED TO SAY THAT , THAT WAS MY FIRST CARNIVAL CRUISE(ALSO MY HONEYMOON) YOU WERE JUST AWESOME AND I TELL EVERYBODY IN MY FAMILY HOW FUN YOU MADE THE CRUISE. SOMETHING I WILL NEVER FORGET.
THANKS
NICK

John Says:

Hello Nick
I am so glad you found me and thanks for the wonderful words. That crossing as you mentioned was difficult to say the least. I was so proud of the staff that cruise and also of the guests most of who were absolutely brilliant. I hope you will become a regular reader of the blog and as I return to being a cruise director in a few weeks that our paths will cross again.
Cheers
John

louanna bender (lou) Asked:
Dear John,
First I have a question I hope you will take a second to answer… Are you by any chance going to be the cruise director on the Triumph the week of Valentines Day this year? My husband John and I were one the one with you last year and you make it a wonderful time… It was our 5th carnival cruise and our 40 anniversary… John and I have 2 grown children and we loved the cruise so much that for Christmas this year we got our son Shon his wife Christy and our daughter Shannon and her husband Mike and of course John and I tickets to hopefully cruise with you again.. Please let me know this will be our kid’s first cruise and I think I am more excited for them than me… If you are please wish them a Merry Christmas for us and thank you again for making our last cruise so special and oh yea thanks for the Champagne. Hope to see you in 6 weeks. Lou

John Says:

Hello Lou.
It is wonderful to hear from you and oh how I wish I could be with you on the Carnival Triumph for your special cruise. Unfortunately, I will be on the Carnival Valor and that means I will miss you. It sounds like a brilliant way to get the family together and if I could be there with you I would be for sure. All I can do is to wish you a fun voyage and hopefully the next time the family sail together I will be the cruise director.
Have a fantastic time and my best to all the family
John

gammy3 Asked:

Dear John,
My DH and I just returned off of the Valor and found the disembarking process very frustrating! We waited almost three hrs before our # was called (it happened on the Miracle too!) because of all the people who carried off 3-7 (yep!) bags of luggage. They were rolling the bags over others feet; others were hitting fellow passengers as they struggled to move all their bags; and yet others were holding up the lines because they could only move a few pieces at a time! Those of us who were watching this debacle were angry because we knew it would take us a lot longer to get off the ship. I don’t mind if a person is in a hurry due to an early airline flight (carnival does let them go first!) but why so many bags allowed to hold up the whole process? Can’t carnival change their policy somewhat and at least ‘limit’ the amount of carry-off bags? (Carry on all they want but only a couple of large ones and a shoulder bag…? per person) I just would like to get off the ship without being so frustrated with those people who don’t seem to mind holding everyone else up! Thank you and happy new year to you and Heidi!

John Says:

Hello to you both.
I am so sorry that the disembarking procedure was so troublesome for you and the fact that you had to wait for three hours is just not unacceptable. As I have written recently here in the blog, we have a huge way to go on some ships to provide a better debarkation service. While some of the delay is due to the strict procedures enforced on the cruise industry by United States Customs and Border Patrol the blame is ours and ours alone if the debarkation process is not a smooth one. I will pass this to the people concerned and I promise and assure you and all the readers that this subject is a high priority this year and we will improve. Thanks so much for your kind words for Heidi and I and I hope that apart from the debark process your cruise was lots of fun.
My best to you all
John

golfnfire Asked:

**** John please reply******
We are going ton the Victory Mar 1 out of San Juan. Who will be the cruise director? We like to bring/ take the CD a little something special. Can you tell us what the CD of the Victory likes? Is there some must see, must not miss places in the ports on the southern Caribbean run? Your personal opinion really matters and has always proven to be right on. We went on the Glory Oct 18 with Butch and had a great time. He even spent some time with us. He is everything you said and more as a CD.
Thank You.
Lee & Terrie Rayburn

John Says:

Hello Lee and Terrie
How nice of you to think of taking the cruise director a gift when you sail on the Carnival Victory later this year. I wish indeed it was me who was going to be there. Not for the gift you understand but to meet you……..OK, a little bit because of the gift. If you want to take the CD something may I suggest you make it a gift representing the place where you are from. Maybe a key ring or a hat, etc……that would be just wonderful. You will have a fantastic time and if you have a look at the CD schedule which is posted on the right hand side of the blog you can see who the lucky person is going to be.
Have fun and thanks again for being so thoughtful
Cheers
John

David Davison Asked:

Hi John,
My fiancé and I booked our honeymoon cruise on the Dream for its first sailing out of Port Canaveral (Dec 3, 2009). I have recently noticed that it is now going to be a “Bloggers Cruise.” How would we go about getting in on all the bloggers activities since we are already booked with a different code? I read your blog all the time and don’t want to miss any of the fun.
Looking forward to a response!
Thanks,
David

John Says:

Hello David
Wow……how brilliant that I will get to share your honeymoon with you on the Carnival Dream. Yes, it will be a Bloggers Cruise and Stephanie will now provide you with the fare code, etc. and what to do. Not that you will be spending too much time out of the cabin but I do hope to see you at a few of the bloggers events.
Cheers
John

Hi David,
Simply add the blogger’s cruise fare code to your sailing. The code is PBL. Ask your travel agent or Carnival representative to add it for you.
Stephanie

Sandra Asked:

John please reply
How come the website price for balcony is cheaper on Carnival site than the advertised door buster specials for past cruisers in the New Currents Magazine, price quoted in magazine… $799 4 balcony 4 Valor Sept/09 on line on Carnival site regular price is $749? What’s up with that? That’s kind of false advertising for a special isn’t it?-Sandra
NB Canada

John Says:

Sandra
I am afraid I have little to do with pricing but I know someone who does so let me forward this to them and someone will let me know what is correct and I will pass that on to you. I am sorry if there appears to be some miscommunication on the fares but I am sure there is a simple explanation. I will be back to you soon
Best Regards
John

cruisingrandma Asked:

John please reply.
The reply that you gave CruisinGrandma is not even the question that I asked. The comments were from someone else. All I can figure is that you must have sneezed and got confused. Oh well, it doesn’t matter because by the time you answer I will be on the Fascination sailing away.
My original question on Dec 27 was:
I am taking a cruise on January 1 on the Fascination out of Jacksonville. Now I know that Trevor deserves a vacation but I don’t remember you talking about the replacement Jacques DeLange. What can you tell me about him and what other ships has he been on? Also has the Fascination had the Waterworks refit?
I guess I will find out tomorrow.
I will not be able to read again until Monday.
Love to you, Heidi and Thingy
CruisinGrandma
CarolAnn

John Says:

Hello Carol Ann (is it Carolynn or Carol Ann?)
I am so sorry about sending you the answer to someone else’s question. I could blame the computer but it’s probably due to the fact that I am as thick as a brick when it comes to typing and lap top dancer computers. Let’s try again shall we. The Fascination has had a refit but not the waterworks yet. We have the new dining rooms, sushi bar, lobby bar and all the guest cabins have been upgraded as well as the ship receiving a host of new features which I know you will love. Trevor will be on vacation and his replacement Jacques is already proving to be one to watch. I have never met him myself but his reputation of being an energetic and fun ACD is well known at Carnival. I am sure he will do a great job and I would be grateful for your feedback. Have a wonderful cruise and I am sorry again for the confusion
Cheers
John

Semper Fi Asked:

John please reply again LOL
Ok now that my laptop dancer had her lil fit ….
Ok back to my commercial comment
in both commercials the background news commentator says “A CRUISE LINE” IS GOING FOR A RECORD…. Why not identify the cruise line as Carnival????
Ok
Second request
I run and on line pool league run in pogo games. I would like to ask your permission to include a link on that page to the blog. I currently have 121 members in my league and they are always hearing me laugh when we are playing because I am usually reading the blog. (We actually talk live in yahoo chat while playing.) The addy for the league is http://www.myleague.com/rackemsmackem with you permission I would like to post a direct link to your blog so my members will stop asking me for the addy to it.
Again a very happy new year to you and Heidi

John Says:

Bill and Cindy
Sir…….it would be an honor to have a link for the blog placed on your Pool site. I hope I can provide your friends with some laughter and encourage them to come and try a Carnival cruise themselves. By the way, have you ever played snooker? I love snooker even though I am pretty bad at it. Thanks for the comments re the commercials and I know that each and every one made by a blogger is being read with care and interest by top CCL executives.
Thanks Bill and Cindy and I hope to hear from you soon
John

Joanie in south Florida Asked:

Hello John,
First let me say that I love your blog. So far I have been on seven Carnival cruises. I just came off of the Splendor two weeks ago and I have planned to have my wedding next year on the Freedom. This is my reason for writing. I actually have a question. I have attempted to accomplish this task via many avenues but have failed each time. Perhaps you can assist me. I am trying to obtain a few deck plans (the booklets you obtain from each ship near the pursers desk – not the online version) to the Carnival Freedom. I’d like to mail them to my (non-sailing) wedding guests in advance as they will be able to tour the ship prior to attending the ceremony. Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you in advance.

John Asked:

Hello Joanie
I am sure we can arrange this for you. ……let me ask Stephanie to please e-mail Todd on the Carnival Freedom whom if you can provide a mailing address will be happy to send you the deck plans. Congratulations on choosing the ship for your wedding and if you can think of any other way I can help please let me know
Cheers
John

So, my schedule has changed a little again ………well, the bit before I go to the Bloggers Cruise that is. I now have meetings in the office on the 20th – 25th which will include more videos for the blog thingy and a very…….very special blog exclusive. Then on the 26th I sail on the Carnival Imagination to interview random guests and write about the ship and the ports of Cozumel and Key West. Then of course it will be time to head to New Orleans and the Bloggers cruise before finally being a CD again on the Carnival Valor.

Talking of the bloggers cruise, last year one of the highlights was the Jamaican Beach Bash which was attended by many bloggers. This year we have a similar excursion in Cozumel. It’s called Juan’s Mexican Fiesta Thingy and here is the lovely Senorita Stephanie Leavitt to tell you all about it.

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re all excited as the first blogger’s cruise in 2009 is a month away! The shore excursion should be available for purchase tomorrow. Here are the details:

Playa Mia – Juan’s Mexican Fiesta
– Includes food and drink (including some alcohol)
– Transportation from pier with departure time at 10 am
– Transporation from Playa Mia with departure time at 2:30 pm
– Reserved private area including sun chairs and beach umbrellas
– Facility includes kayaks, paddle boats, water trampolines, floats, hobbie cats and more
– $69 per person

You should be able to book through your travel agent, Carnival rep or by carnival.com.

There is a limited amount of space, so please book before February to ensure you can join us!

See you soon 🙂
Stephanie

So, as you can see it’s going to be a fun day. As well as the complimentary food, drinks and all the other stuff that’s included I will be hosting some special bloggers activities and James will be teaching us a few beach dances. So grab your G Strings (Big Ed and I are sharing one) and I hope to see you soon. I am sorry that the tour is limited and I do suggest you book ASAP…….see you there.

Well I went to the doctor and got good news and a bollocking. The good news was that my cholesterol level was normal at 3.1……..don’t ask me what that is in US/Canadian scale but it’s good and because they didn’t find any bacon in my blood and urine I got a gold star. My sugar level was also good as was my blood pressure. They did it twice during the consultation. The first time it was 139/90 and then just before I left they did it again and it was 131 over 88. The bollocking came though about my weight as Doctor Ramitin told me I needed to lose 60 pounds which is about the same as a baby Yak. And so the battle begins and I know I have to win it…..and I will. Goodbye carbs, goodbye sauces, hello chicken and fish……..bugger.

I’m actually loathe to write anything about “fitness” (“fatness” is more like). The moment you tackle any issue like this in print then you are deluged with assistance from the Herbal Life brigade offering you some of their teas which will help you lose weight and leave you with an arse that looks like a chewed orange.

However……I have started the diet and…….I have something else to tell you. I’ve now passed the seventh day, no cigar smoking barrier and really feel that I’ve kicked the filthy habit. I’ve tried to give up before but I always secretly knew that it would only be a matter of weeks before I was back on the Cubans again. The problem with giving up is that no one actually believes you as they’ve heard it all before so many times. I do actually have a strong reason for quitting this time.

Heidi will be I am sure something of an alarmist when it comes to our Thingy’s health. No, maybe that’s unfair; she will be more proactive when it comes to illness than I will be. For instance, if the Thingy gets a cough, Heidi will be up in the middle of the night ringing the doctor, steaming up a bathroom and opting to sleep on the floor beside the Thingy’s bed. I, meanwhile, will do the “relax, everything will be OK” approach favored by many lazy fathers.

Heidi feels that it’s best to prepare for the worst where illness is concerned and so it was Christmas morning, I innocently complained of a “burning feeling” on my tongue. Heidi investigated the offending orifice and announced that I had cigar cancer. I immediately collapsed into a heap of weeping jelly. It was only after about 10 minutes that she managed to calm me down and pronounce the word properly – she had, apparently, actually said “canker.”

I was so relieved I didn’t have cancer that I immediately went out into the garden and lit up a celebratory cigar. My happiness didn’t last long. Heidi told me I had several cankers on my tongue and that this was unusual. She headed straight for the dreaded internet to confirm her suspicions. If any of you have ever tried to self-diagnose using the internet, don’t. There is no good news available on it. Obviously, a site that tells you lots of cankers on your tongue could possibly be a sign of mouth cancer but is probably something more innocent would get sued by someone.

So, within seconds, Heidi was reading me my death sentence. “You have a 25 percent survival chance and a maximum of two years to live.” She almost seemed to be relishing the news. For someone so terrified of these events she has an almost unquenchable thirst for gory detail. By now I was lying on the sofa in a serious state of hypochondria. I was getting heart palpitations and would need a new pair of underpants.

“This is because of your cigar smoking and lazy lifestyle,” screamed my, non-smoking, non-drinking, no red meat eating, yoga-loving, pregnant wife. “You’ll never live to see the Thingy grow up. You’re a selfish bastard.” I was beginning to wonder whether this was a normal way of treating canker patients?

I gave up cigars there and then …….that was seven days ago. Today, during my diabetic session with Dr.Ramitin I told him……. “I have mouth cancer, sorry canker,” I said, trying to hold back my unmanly tears. “Let’s have a look,” he said. He poked around my mouth with that weird instrument that appears to be a rather unhygienic, used Popsicle stick.

After a couple of seconds, he told me that I was probably a little run-down and recommended an antiseptic mouthwash.

“So… I’m not going to die?” I asked him through misty eyes. “Not yet, no, now bugger off.” I left the surgery in a happy daze and got back into the car next to Heidi. “Well… how long have you got?” I could see she didn’t want it to last too long. “I’m going to live. It’s just cankers,” I replied. And I could swear that, for a fleeting moment, she looked disappointed. Then the moment passed. “I’m glad you’re not going to die,” she said. “Me too,” I replied. I reached down for my last Monte Cristo Number 2. I stroked it, I ran it through my fingers, I sniffed it from top to bottom ……… and then threw it out of the car window and we drove home.

Since then I have not had a cigar. I am going to try my very best not to have one ever again…….it’s going to be tough especially as I am giving up red meat, sauces, and anything that contain the bad sort of carbs. My bottom is already paying the price with the extra amount of green food I am eating. Today, I embarrassed Heidi because I accidentally farted as I bent down to tie my shoelace…..in the middle of the supermarket …..still as my Dad always says. “Better out than in”…..rather like Simon Cowell in a lifeboat.

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.