Michael……My Man

January 9, 2009 -

John Heald

In this age of uncertainties you may wonder to what level a man may admire another man. While it is ok to say “I love the way Dwayne Wade can wander around the court looking bored before exploding to life and scoring 30 points in one quarter “it is apparently wrong to say” I love the way Dwayne Wade wears his suits, he can pull of any look efforlessly and in a pair of tight jeans he looks fantastic.”

You see, I am talking about a taboo subject…………………………man crushes………………….the way you express admiration for other men. I think a man crush starts when you project the things that your man crush subject can do that you can’t.

I started thinking about this last night while I was waiting for British Telecom’s man in India to fix my internet problem. As I waited, there on the TV was the classic show Happy Days and watching Ritchie, Ralph and ummmm……..Thingy…………look up to the Fonz got me thinking. There they were, three nerds adrift in a sea of teenage problems always knowing that they could go to their hero for help. The Fonz rode motorcycles, was as hard as nails and was damn good looking. He was also an unemployed mechanic who lived in a garage and liked to hang out with teenage boys………..but we will ignore that bit shall we. The nerds looked up to Fonzie and always wanted to be with him.

So, here’s a question for you male bloggers. Given the chance, would you want to hang out with other men or women. Let’s make this a bit more selective shall we. Just imagine you had to choose between going on a date with a supermodel or hanging around with George Clooney on his private yacht. Conversation about what’s hot on the cat walk or playing poker and smoking cigars with George? Pretending to be interested in the fact that she has ordered a small salad and a glass of air for dinner or listening to George Clooney tell you about the time he and Brad Pitt went to a lap dancing club. ………….if you voted for George – there my friends……………you have a man crush.

And so it is that I have a confession to make by telling you about my very own Man Crush…………………it is…………………….Michael Caine. I find myself in awe of his incredible acting abilities and his brilliant sense of humour. I actually have a recurring dream about Michael. We are sitting in cafe on South Beach. He is wearing a V neck sweater, immaculate pants and smoking a Cuban cigar. Everyone is laughing at our jokes and jealous of our blokey banter. Everyone wants to buy us drinks and wants to be me………..the chap hanging out with Michael.

Suddenly, Micahel turns to me and says “you know John, you are my best mate, lets get out of here and go and watch Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat and then you can come back to my place and help me polish my Oscar.”

Yep…………Michael Caine……………..my man crush.

Good evening everyone and I am so sorry about the late posting and the content of yesterday’s blog. I didn’t get to finish it until just before midnight UK time and it was, as you could see, rather rushed. We have had lots of problems here with internet connection living in the countryside as we do – and short of building a reception tower in my back yard, I guess I will have to live with these days of bugger all service.

Anyway, let me get on with answering the latest batch of questions marked John please reply.
here we go.

Official Celebrity Chef Of the Blog Kevin
I think I hate airports about as much as you and the rest of the planet do today I had the pleasure of going to the TSA screener before the inspection area handing over my paperwork and ID for inspection he look at it me and then said have a nice trip so i put the stuff away. Got on the line for the x-ray machine took off my shoes belt watch jacket sweater and dumped it all in a bucket that if a x-ray machine could tell if i had a bomb of a cheese sandwich would be impressive to walk through the x-ray machine and have another tsa person ask to see all the crap the first one looked at only 3 minutes ago. I produced the documents again. Walked passed and went to wait for my bags to come out from the machine. Then a shoe popped out, then my belt half way then my jacket then a bucket of stuff from my pockets. Problem where was the other shoe? Yep the machine ate it. in the course of 30 seconds it ate my nike air. I waited and waited and then asked the person sitting on her stool that was affixed to her butt with crazy glue. umm my other shoe never came out. and to this she responds “Sir please don’t talk to me, speak to someone on the line.” So i wait and ask the person on line very politely i might say ” Mame, my other shoe did not appear, is it stuck in the machine?” To this I get ” Ask her she runs the machine not me.” Back to Mrs. Stoolupherbummachinelady, ” Mame she said to ask you to look for it” To this I get ” Male for hand inspection!” And a man walking over to me saying right this way sir. So i say to him sure as soon as my other shoe is produced you my violate my person with your latex covered hand. And he says well sir are you sure you had two shoes and not one? Now because i know exploding in a bararge of curse words will only get my no lube for the anal probe I say yes i put them in the box together and everything came out in pieces. And so he walks around the back of the machine and asks Mrs. Stoolupherbummachinelady if there is a shoe in the machine still. Her response was priceless ” Do i look like i would know if there is a shoe in there?? I just watch the screen that’s all i get paid to do. And so off we went one shoe missing probably about to be disposed of because it was a nike left alone. So off we went behind the smoked screen where he checked everything i owned like he couldn’t tell it was right guard and not C-4 with a fresh scent. Once he and his latex hands were satisfied that I didn’t have a thermal nuclear bomb up my butt next to my WOMD hand book. I asked so my other shoe any idea, and with that back we went to Mrs. Stoolupherbummachinelady . Who was now eatting a Mc-Lard Sandwich with one hand and staring at people’s stuff with her eyes. To have her say oh yes we had a shoe turn up we turned it over to security to be disposed of. So then 15 pages of paperwork about this to get either my shoe or the money to replace it when i turn 80 years old back. Nike I will miss you because i know right now Mrs. Stoolupherbummachinelady’s kid is wearing you. So John Why do you need to arrive 2 hrs early so they can steal your shoes and then check your bum for WOMD. Best to Heidi and the Thingie.

John Says:Hello Chef
I wanted to thank you for sharing that brilliant story with us. While you and I and everyone here understand how important security is I think we also all agree that it has in some cases become totally and utterly bonkers. The people manning the security machines have an important and tough job and many do it with pride and with good manners.

However, you do get those as you experienced who just make you want to cry………..or vomit. Anyway, hopefully the world will become normal once more and we can all look forward to flying without the ulcer inducing experiences that come with it……………but somehow, I doubt it. Glad to hear from you mate and see you soon

Sarah Jones Asked:
Good evening!
My family just got of the Inspiration. We had a great time, but we did have one MAJOR problem that I need to talk with someone about.
Can you direct me to someone??? Thanks!

John Says:
Hello Sarah
I am glad you had such a wonderful time on the Carnival Inspiration. Why not post your concerns here to me on the blog thingy and I will pass them on to the right people and help you as much as I can.
Look forward to hearing from you
Kind regards

Pam M Asked:
John-please reply.
I asked you a few weeks ago for suggestions on what I could do for my daughter and son-in-law’s cruise on the Fantasy January 15. I decided to have their cabin decorated. Thanks for the suggestions. You also told me to get back in touch with you a week before their cruise so I am doing that! Their names are Julie & Chris Carroll and they are in cabin M###.
I will be taking my 18th cruise on Carnival also on the Fantasy on March 30. It is because of people like you that I keep coming back to Carnival!
Thanks John for all you do!

John Says:
Hello Pam
Thanks for reminding me Pam and I hope they have a wonderful time.
Let me know how things went after they return
My best to you and all the family

margo Asked:
John , was wondering who is cruise director on Liberty this month / parents may be going on a cruise and They are looking at sailing on the Liberty.

John Says:
Hello Margo
Thanks for writing to me. The Cruise Director on your Carnival Liberty Cruise will be the brilliant Steve Knisley, you are therefore assured of a fun time and if there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.

Gail Asked:
What is the blogger cruise on the Dream on 12/03/09 about? Have been on 15 cruises & never heard about this. What do we get for $85 pp?

John Says:
Hello Gail,
Thanks for writing, it appears you have done nearly as many cruises as I have. The Bloggers cruises are mostly about people who read this blog and who love life and cruising getting together. For example, in a few weeks time on the Carnival Fantasy, 400 people will join me for fun, private activities and special events and a chance to renew friendships and make new ones. They will also receive in cabin gifts during the voyage. I hope you consider joining us for the next one on the Carnival Dream and maybe I can ask my friends who have been on the last Bloggers cruise to tell you why they enjoyed it so much.
Kind regards, hope to see you soon, John

Bonnie Asked:
Hi John:
Please reply
I don’t know if you remember me? My sister and friend and I were on the Freedom last year with you. My sister wrote to you, we are both widows, she has the wonderful gift of words and you read her letter. You were just diagnosis with belles palsy. I hope you have recovered fully? And congratulations to you and your wife on your up coming bundle of joy. Anyway, I will be turning 50 on February 17 and will be celebrating on the Valor with 4 girl friends. I just read that you will be going to the Valor and was hoping you will be the CD the week we will be there? Three of the ladies have never been on a cruise, and this is only my second. Since you are the best, I want them to experience the best cruise director there is. If you are not scheduled on the Valor that leaves Miami on the 15th of February, WILL YOU ? I could bring you a hat or key ring?? Cubs or Sox’s?
Best wishes,
Bonnie from Illinois

John Says:
Hello Bonnie,
I do indeed remember you both and I remember marveling at your spirit considering the terrible loss you both suffered. Well, there is good news and bad news. I will be on the Carnival Valor on the 15th of February however, I will only be visiting for that one week and do not start as Cruise Director to the following voyage, however, the good news is that I will be able to meet you and make sure you and your friends have a fantastic time. Thank you for all the kind words and I look forward to seeing you all soon.
Cheers, John

Mort13ers Asked:
John, Please reply
Well I am finally back from the dark side (RCCL) (just made my final payment for the Freedom) Can i get the shore excursions desk for the freedom email’s address. I am want to book a dolphins swim, but i am looking for a specific time, so i can catch up with some friends that have moved back to Jamaica, just want to fit everything in.

John Says:
Hello Mort,
Welcome back and I hope you enjoyed your cruise. It will be interesting to read what you enjoyed and did not enjoy about your experience. Please post your requests for the Jamaican Dolphin Cove experience and I will forward them to the team on the Carnival Freedom. I am sure you understand I can’t give ship’s direct e-mail addresses. I look forward to hearing from you and we will be able to help you.
Cheers, John

Rick H. Asked:
Thanks as always for the laughs!
PLEASE REPLY – We are sailing on the Miracle 3/29/09 (St. Martin, St. Lucia & St. Kitts). The Carnival web site will not let us pull up the shore excursions available for our trip. Can you please help me track this information down? It’s nice to be able to plan some of this in advance, as our travel party includes 5 kids ranging from age 6 to 12.
Thank you, and best to Heidi, Thingy, and the Carnival crew who keep the blog thingy going!

John Says:
Hello Rick,
I just checked and the website is working. However, it wasn’t for some time and I apologize for this. Have a read of the descriptions and if you have any questions about what you think is best for you and your family, I am at your service.
My best to you and all the family,

Danny Asked:
Please reply
Hi John
I need to know what size T-shirt Goose wheres and if he has a color preference?

John Says:
Hello Danny,
Thanks for thinking of the CD, how kind of you. Goos will wear XL and I know he likes bright colors such as red, pink or blue. Have a brilliant time and please pass on my regards to him. Look forward to hearing from you when you return. Cheers, John

lou-anne Asked:
Dear John , I am going to tell you about our cruise experiences . A few years ago we went on a cruise and it was a last minute thing . Our sister in law got us an interior cabin on the Liberty as she had booked over 40 people for her big 50th bday bash. She called us and all we needed to do was get our flights . See we have three kids (MONEY) and an old home and live in Canada (long way from the Dock in Florida) So I hunted high and low for the deal of a lifetime on pane tickets (major surfing of the net and we only have dialup ) UGG … So then we got tickets only catch we had to drive to Boston – which was cheeper (cause we have kids) . So we got to take the cruise , trip of a lifetime . mind you we could not go on any excursions and we could only do what was included in the cruise . We missed out on a lot of things but all in all you made our cruise cause it was the trip where you found big al and we still laugh and joke about it . So when we got home we were still in awe , for the intire year all we thougt of was getting to to go again – not easy with a family – so we decided to start saving. We saved as much as we could and finally got the chance a year ago to go again – best deal was the liberty again , but we were happy , we had to take another interior cabin but thats fine we just wanted to go . So we dodged a major storm , made our connections from Canada and landed in Florida , to find out all our luggage was gone – we had our bathing suits and a carry on with a few items and the winter as well as one change of clothes for the cruise . You see we had never planned a trip and this was one we hoped we would really have as our special trip I had never expected to loose the luggage and there really was not much we could do . The Carnival members were excellent and we were treated so well , we were so impressed by the pursers and the help they gave us , the over 50 calls made to Air Canada (horrible service ) and we just kept washing our clothes . the only thing that we missed out on was the picture taking on formal nights , the fancy dinners and the captains night , We did not have formal wear .The clothes eventually showed up – on our last night on the ship we got back from the bahamas stop and there it was – a little to late , I think it was just sent from Miami to the Bahamas. Our trip back say major delays and we had the worst ever service again from all the people in Air canada – worst experience ever was the Montreal airport minus 25 and we were the ones in summer wear on a freezing side walk waiting for a shuttle to take us to the hotel from hell – we got a package deal through carnival ( they partner with aircanada ) The trip was instantly brought down . i caught a cold and ended up with pnumonia – so it was a trip I like to think of as wonderful while on board the Liberty , with a few things that caused upset . So we did get ship board credit – which we will likely not use . We have been entering all contests in regards to getting a cruise or travel money and have not won yet .My biggest dissapointment was filling out the porthole contest and coming up with a major plan for being you for the day to only find out that I was not able to enter cause its only for people who live in The USA . Us canadians have to do it the old fashioned way – save and go . So we are saving for the next one , we hope to reach our down payment goal next winter and then we will have to save and pay down on it and hope to be able to set sail in january of 2011. The ship board credit will likely not be valid , can you check it out .
When we look back on our trip , we do have fond memories , me I did not really want to wash clothes – but did, have no fancey pictures it was my 40th birthday present , and the honeymoon we never had , and it was not what we thought would happen – Air canada never did a thing for us – they put us in a hotel , where we had to sleep on the bed covers cause the sheets were beyond horrible, and we still refer to that stop as dropping into the bowels of hell – no one would speak english to us , help us out , or even give us food vouchers – but we got through it and looking back we realize the cruise was 100% better . Our only other thing was you were not on board and we really wished to see you again , but thats ok we read your blog and there were a few funny moments on the lIberty and there were some great entertainers . I wanted to share this with you as I know you maybe do get o put a few cents in with the people who matter and we would like to maybe use the ship board credit if and when we go and the limit for the credit is only valid for two years from last january and we will not get to go next january . please check into it for me our email address is above . please email us . and let us know if you find anything out . , And if you know of any contests I am always filling them out – ones I qualify for .
ps good luck with your appointment , we are keeping all of you in our prayers and will certainly be happy when Thingy gets a name .
lou-anne and Calvin

John Says:
Hello Lou-Anne and Calvin,
What a story. I feel so bad for you and the family and for anyone whose vacation is disrupted by lost luggage. I want to firstly thank you for taking the time to praise our Pursers or Guest Service Dept. as they are now known. I will make sure I pass your remarks on to them. I have been flying frequently for the last 20 years and I can honestly say that I have seen a huge drop in service standards regardless of which airline I have flown on. On board our ships, we are constantly improving our friendliness and service which the airlines should copy. I appreciate so very much that saving money in the current climate is not easy and the fact that you and your family are saving so you can experience another Carnival cruise is very humbling. I will check with our head office in Miami about your on board credit, however, I give you my personal promise that regardless of when you sail that this credit will be there waiting for you, ready to spend on a Pina Colada by the pool or an excursion to snorkel in the blue waters of the Caribbean. Thank you for taking the time to write…………..and to write from the heart.
My best to you and the family, John

Hayden Asked:
Dear Jhon
How do you become a cruise director for Carnival? I want to know!

John Says:
Hello Hayden,
To be a Cruise Director, we ask that you have a degree from the University of FUN. In other words, a love of life. I suggest you get as much public speaking and entertainment experiences as you can and for much more information have a look at www.carnivalentertainment.com
If you have any specific questions, I will be here to help you and wish you much luck.
Cheers, John

kiciaski Asked:
Hello John,
Your blogs are not boring. They’re different than when you’re on a ship but still good. Don’t stop writing them.
Glad to hear you’re giving up smoking and will make good on your promise to lose weight. Those things will make a big difference so you can have a lot of years with Heidi and “Thingy”.
I have a question about your schedule. You mentioned from June through September you might be cruise director on the Glory. If so, what happens to Butch? I know he’s going home in a few days for vacation but then he was going back to the Glory. Would you both be on the Glory for a while?
Have a magical day!
Linda & George

John Says:
Hello Linda and George,
It is always great to hear from you both and thank you for your kind words of support. There is a possibility that I may cover for a few weeks on the Carnival Glory for when Butch takes his next vacation at the end of the summer. However, this is not set in stone and I will promise to let you know as soon as I do. Hope that’s ok and I am really looking forward to seeing you both again soon.
Cheers, John

Amy Asked:
(Reply, only if you wish)
Bless you and your blog! I previously posted and have since found the answer to my questions. Guess it was a good thing I didn’t add to reply. Please wish our mutual friend only the best and much happiness. Believe I met you a very long time ago, didn’t we?
Hope you have a great 2009.

John says:
Hello Amy,
Can you remember which ship we met on? Thank you for your kind words and I hope you continue to read the blog.
Cheers, John

Rodney Asked:
John or Stephanie please reply
Thanks John for the reply and trying to get my thingy on the cruise. I myself could stand to lose a few pounds and eat better and blah blah blah…..I am really going to try once we get back from the Bloggers cruise in February…I am glad that everything went well at the doctors and that you kicked the cigar habit.
I also wanted to know exactly what the excursion isn’t one on the Carnival site that says Play Mia-Juans mexican fiesta, there is one that says Playa Mia Beach break deluxe…is this the one.
Thansks again for the effort.
See you in February

John Says:
Hello Rodney,
I wish you much success in losing weight, however, I am glad you are doing it after the Bloggers cruise because we will have lots of great food for you to enjoy. I will ask Stephanie now to put the correct link to the Bloggers excursion which I will hope you will join us on. See you soon mate, John

Hi Rodney,

Click here for the link to the excursion
. Please note that you need to be logged in to carnival.com. Shore excursions can be booked by going to the “My Cruise/My Reservation” section of the site.

Erin W. Asked:
Dear John (Please Reply),
First off thanks for answering my last letter about the port of Boston – though I am not sure why you called me cruising grandma since I told you I was only turning 30 on the April 18th Glory sailing?! Anyway my question is about smoking on the ships – I have been on the Glory twice in 2008 and both times heard the announcement about where you can and cant smoke – yet people smoked just about where ever they pleased with no corrective action. At times they were even given ashtrays to put next to the no smoking table sign! While I don’t mind if people want to smoke, I would like not to have to smell it in all the public areas.
Thanks John and good luck to you and Heidi!,
Erin W.

John Says:
Hello Erin,

Firstly, let me apologize for calling you grandma at age 30. I think my questions got pasted together, so sorry for that. We are very strict about which areas are smoke free and I was very shocked and surprised that people were smoking in places they should not be. If this happens please contact a uniformed member of staff, however, I do not expect it will again as we are now very strict on where you can and cannot smoke.
I hope this answers your question and if you like any more information or have any other concerns, I will be here to help you.
Kind regards, John

lizzielady Asked:
Quiting is so-o-o difficult!
John, please reply!
In just a few weeks my sister and I will be off for a cruise of a lifetime—around SA from Port Everglades to San Francisco on your new Carnival Splendor. One of the important aspects of cruising is meeting new people, especially at dinnertime. Could you possibly arrange the following for us for the first segment?
Early seating
Round Table for 8 (Helps in hearing conversations, rectangular is difficult)
Mixed/varied group—married couples, young and old (Twice at a table for 10—all single. HORRIBLE!)
You are very kind to extend help to your bloggers.
Thanks so much, Carolyn
Next up–Dream!!!!

John Says:
Hello Carolyn,
I have forwarded this information to my friend Ken, the Maitre ‘D, who I know will do his very best to assist you and make sure you have a brilliant dining experience. I wish I could join you for this voyage of a lifetime. Please let me know about your experiences when you return. Best regards to all, John

Hi John, I have a huge favor to ask. When we did the two Baltic cruises this fall we really appreciated reading the blogs in the library. We were on the Splendor this and November the blogs weren’t in the library. Is there any chance the blogs could be in the library on the South American cruises? We are going to be on the Splendor for the 14 day middle segment. It would be great to be able to read the blog. Thanks, Jo

John Says:
Hello Jo and Dave,
Of course. I will make sure Stephanie and the staff will do this for you. I wish I could be with you. Stay in touch. Best to you both. John

Cheri Bolchoz Asked:
Please reply
No we have not gotten the ornaments.
I just got finished going thru all of our pictures & video from the cruise. The Legends show was really something this time. We got great pics of the surprize guest star. Can’t give it away for those that have not seen the show.
Hope everything is going great for you & Heidi & the Thingy
Cheri & Michael

John Says:
Hello Cheri and Michael,
It seems that many of the bloggers are getting their mail now which Heidi and I sent well before Christmas. I am hoping you will have yours soon. I am glad you enjoyed the Carnival Legends show so much, although performing in it, I must admit, is not my favorite thing to do. It’s always great to hear from you and I hope to do so again soon. Cheers, John

cruzn buckeye Asked:
John, please reply
I enjoyed the interview with Jim. I did like the beach ball commercial better than the pinata. At least it had something to do with water! I am looking forward to the new commercials though!
Good for you! That coat should keep you from freezing your arse off! You won’t be needing it soon though, when you are with us on the Fantasy on the blogger cruise!!!
I have two cabins booked. One for myself and my bf and one for my daughter and her bf. We would love a table for ten but we also want to make sure that we are seated together. Is there anyway to get our dining reservations linked so that we are at the same table??
Thanks again for everything you do!
Also, after reading that the excursion is going to be on Passion Island, I have also been reading that several people are considering not going because of the clothing optional thing. My daughter said let me know if you are going naked Mom, because if you are, I am not going! Well…she doesn’t have to worry about that! I am also considering going to a different beach. But, really hate to miss the Bloggers party!

John Says:
Hello Cruzn,
Great to hear from you. Let’s start with the excursion which is to Playa Mia, where clothing definitely is not an option. Although the sight of me in a pair of Speedos maybe scary for some. It is going to be a great day at the beach and I can’t wait to see you all there. As far as the dining is concerned. If you booked with the Bloggers cruise fare code, you will be in the dining room with all of us, so you will be able to sit all together. It will be great and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers, John

glendora spinks Asked:
This will be the second cruise that my family have went on carnival together. There will be more of us traveling this time around 42 people so far. I must say it has not been as smooth sailing. Last march when we planned to go to Mexico everything went much better. We have encounter so many problems this time am afraid to go on the ship. Maybe we should have followed my first insitinct and went on Royal Caribbean the one I wanted to sail on. My sister insistent that we sail carnival. The customer service have not been the best, and there are still lots of unanswer questions. You can’t get return phone calls from espicially from supervisor. Everytime I see this commercial I wonder just how well our cruise is going to be. Our sailing is on march 8, 2009 I surely hope this isn’t the last time.

John Says:
Hello Glendora,
Obviously, I am very glad you did not decide to sail with RCI but with us. Your group of 42 will have a fantastic time, I promise. Please let me know what your specific concerns are and what help you need and I will make sure I do my very best for you and your family. Let me know what ship you are sailing on and what you need help with, as soon as possible.
Best Wishes, John

Tim Kriebel, MCPO, USN Retired Asked:
John: (Please Reply if you see fit).
Since the Carnival Loyalty Program is beginning to surface as a topic and will be under review I’d like to offer a few suggestions. Wife and I have cruised 20 times on Carnival, out of four Ports of call, Port Canaveral, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa, so we are loyal to the brand. Here are my suggestions for improvement in order of our priorities:
1. Priority Debarkation – This is sometimes handled well, but for the most part it doesn’t live up to the benefit as stated in Carnival’s literature. In too many cases, Platinum folks must wait until all self assist depart the ship. That is unsatisfactory. Carnival needs to look at Port Canaveral as the Model for this, in particular the Glory. On Glory, all Platinum gather in the lobby at 7:15 AM, the CD or assistant leads them FIRST off of the vessel. Have cruised Glory 6 times and every time the debarkation is excellent. Miami, which used to be the worst has improved. Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale are miserable. I’ve even been in a situation where we were told to meet in a certain place, where a Carnival Rep would meet us and lead us off the ship only to have no Carnival Rep show up. Too many times I hear the excuse that Customs & Immigration is the problem. I frankly don’t believe it. Why has Miami improved and Port Canaveral been consistently outstanding? Seems to me Carnival could fix this by working closely with all who are involved.
2. Carnival provides a nice gift for each Platinum cruiser in the cabin. Thanks, it is appreciated, but consider rotating the gift at least quarterly. Some of your loyal passengers cruise 4 times a year…so it would make sense to vary/rotate the appreciated gift. By the way, we have ten Tote Bags and ten Thermos’s….interested in buying some???
3. Suggest a separate past guest party for Platinum guests. Platinum Sign & Sail card required for entry. This should be easy to provide since there are probably an average of 40 such folks on a cruise….and would be more intimate than the traditional past guest party which has to be held in the main showroom on most cruises. It would also be a great opportunity to provide info and get direct feedback from your more loyal guests. Could also be a special occasion to celebrate some member’s 25 th Cruise, 50th, etc. Good PR I would say. We don’t generally attend the current past guest party because they don’t really make us feel very special.
Other than these things we really appreciate the Platinum status and the benefits provided.
Tim Kriebel, MCPO, USN Retired.

John Says:
Hello Tim,
I want to thank you so much for taking the time to write to me with these great suggestions. I want you to know that I will pass this on directly to Jim, our Chief Marketing Officer. Our Loyalty programme is very important and needs to be something that is given a new lease of life and Jim is the man to do that. I happen to agree with many of suggestions, especially a bigger selection of in cabin gifts and a special Platinum Guests party. I promise you I will give this my fullest attention. Expect to hear more about this very soon.
Cheers, john

Jeff Asked:
For John – please reply….
Since I’m going to be on the Splendor next Saturday (the 17th), I was thinking of blogging about the cruise and supplying photos (being an actual photographer). I wouldn’t actually post the blogs until the following week, since I wouldn’t be able to download the photos from my camera, and I really don’t feel like paying the internet rates on the ship. What are your thoughts on that? I thought you might find it interesting from a vacationer’s (holidayer’s?) point of view. If not, no problem.

John Says:
Hello Jeff,
It will be fantastic to see your photos and read about your experiences. Please feel free to post your comments and pictures when you return and I will gladly put them here on the blog. Have a wonderful cruise and look forward to seeing your photos soon.
Cheers, John

Spencer Cooper Asked:
John Please Reply!
I have a few questions about the Dream.
I know before when they first brought out the information about the Dream it said the Dream was going to have a two level mini golf course. I was wondering if that is out of the picture now.
Also I was also wondering if the Dream had one of the retractable roofs.
Thank You

John Says:
Hello Spencer,
The Carnival Dream is going to be a fantastic ship. I can tell you that she will not have a deck 9 forward retractable roof like the Carnival Splendor, however, she will have a huge waterpark which will be breathtaking. The mini golf course is also going to be our best ever and I will pass on more information about this as soon as the plans are finalized. I hope to see you on board. Cheers, John

Zach Asked:
Hey John!
My family and I stopped cruising with a certan line with a big blue anchor, because they had a cerfew for geusts 17 and under. We did not know this untill we were on the ship and reading the daily anouncement sheet. The way i look at it, i pay just as much for my 15 year old son as i do my 21 year old daughter. My children are on vacation, and i dont think the cruise line shoul put a “bed time” on them. They enjoy late night snacks and early morning strols, and as we all know there is nothing more magical then a ship at night all light up in her glory. Please tell me as Carnival grows, they will not decide to do this. Please Reply =)
-thanks, Zach

John Says:
Hello Zach,
Although, I may joke about our competitors, I am always careful not to be too critical and never to be unprofessional with my comments…………although sometimes, I probably do step over the line. However, in this case I must say that this law of a curfew is, in my humble opinion, terribly wrong. Yes, there are a few teenagers who can get a little out of control but the majority of kids that age are well behaved and have every right to enjoy unlimited time with the family and unlimited time to enjoy the guest facilities. Carnival has no plans for this. We believe in family vacations and we also believe in the strength of our Club O2 facility which provides entertainment and fun for the 15 – 17 year olds. I hope you and your family experience a Carnival Fun for All cruise very soon.
Cheers, John

Judi G Asked:
I need rather quick help. I apologize if you’ve addressed this question, but I’m new to blogging! We are taking the Legend out of Tampa this Sunday and there seems to be rain predicted in every port (e.g. 60% chance in Cozumel and Belize) Do you have suggestions for what to do in these ports in crummy weather? We’ve been lucky in all the other cruises we’ve taken. Thanks in advance!.

John Says:
Hello Judi,
I hope you get to read this before you depart. I am sure the weather forecast will improve. All of our excursions are superb and I think it’s best that I forward this to the Carnival Legend Cruise Director and ask her to get in contact with you at the start of the voyage so she can answer any of your questions. So, expect a phone call from someone once you are on board and my personal suggestion would be to take the island tours if the weather is not too good. I hope the sun shines for you, have fun!
Cheers, John

Bob Says:
Hi John
Thankyou 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 becaues 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 have 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
Please see your answer from the incomparable Captain Romano.
Hope you are well
Best Regards

Dear Bob,

I never had the pleasure of meeting or sailing with Captain George Petrescu.

I joined Sitmar Cruises in 1977.

Unfortunately Captain Petrescu passed away in 1967.

I have heard a lot about him and can tell you he was a really liked and very respected Captain.

Commodore Cesare Ditel served as a Deck Officer under his command and he has some great memories of Captain Petrescu.

I hope you will have a great time sailing on board the beautiful Dawn Princess and I am sure you will enjoy meeting Captain Dino Sagani.

Best regards,

Commodore Giuseppe Romano
Master – M/V Emerald Princess

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to post your comments and if you need an answer I will be happy to reply to those who ask me to do so.

A few weeks ago I told you all that I would be needing your help and advice as we continue to keep Carnival at the top of the industry.

Your thoughts are going to be very important to us this year and over the next few weeks I will be talking to you about some of the areas we need your comments on. I want to talk to you over the next few days about some of the areas on the vessels where you…………..the guest……………spend your money.

Now, I would be a first class idiot if I tried to pretend that we don’t want you to spend your money onboard and that part of this subject is to find ways of getting you to spend more…………….we do………..we want you to spend loads of dosh (www.urbandictionary.com ) on board but…………….we also want to know where you want to spend it and on what. We want to improve and we want to have things available that you want to spend your money on and have fun doing so.

Therefore, over the next few days we will cover the following.


We may cover some other areas as well but for now…………those are the areas I need your honest thoughts on. Remember, the reason I am asking you this is because they are your ships and we want to have the best facilities possible. We could just boldly make changes without asking our guests’ opinions as most other cruise lines have done and will do or we could change absolutely nothing thinking everything in the garden is rosy. Not at Carnival…………………..this blog is one way for you to post your thoughts and suggestions knowing that each one will be read not just by me but by people very high up……………..some of whom have beards which means they will listen and act on what you say.

Therefore, today’s subject is:


We think our onboard shopping experience is brilliant. They have recently brought in a huge selection of jewelry and fine luxury items while keeping faith with the old faithfuls like Inch Of Gold and other daily specials.

So, with this in mind I wonder if you might take the time to write your thoughts about your onboard shopping experience. Now, I could ask specific questions but I don’t want this to be too regimented. Maybe you could tell us the sort of merchandise you always buy when you cruise. Do you think they have a good selection and do you have any suggestions on what you would like to see for sale in the shops the next time you cruise. We want your onboard shopping experience to be the best and we can continue to make sure this happens through your comments and suggestions……………………….so…………………..let’s see what you all have to say. Again, this will help us of course but ultimately it well help you all enjoy your onboard shopping experience that much more.
I look forward to reading your thoughts.

The news here in the UK as in North America continues to be one of gloom and despair and honestly…………..I am getting tired of it.

The fact is that millions will not lose their jobs. And for them (you), 2009 could well be the best year in the whole of human history.

Partly, this is because you will still have money in your pocket and that money is going to go a damn sight further than it did last year.

You’ll be able to buy a house for what a car used to cost and a car for the 2008 price of a cell phone.

What’s more, shops will be so desperate for your business they will offer you a night with their prettiest checkout girl if you even look like you might buy a new pair of underpants.

Mostly, though, 2009 will be a great year because, as the recession bites ever bigger chunks out of the economy, banks fold and cities fill with dead dogs, we’ll all stop worrying about things that really don’t matter. When the world was rich, the people in power had nothing much to do except feel guilty about all the money that was pouring in.

So, to make themselves feel better, they invented a problem with the climate and said no new roads could be built in case a family of armadillos got squashed by Mr and Mrs Smith’s new Lincoln Navigator.

And get this………….. They even insisted that vehicles being used by the troops in Afghanistan meet all the latest emission regulations.

And we let them get away with it because we were way too busy imagining that Paris Hilton was in some way important and which 15 year old to vote for on American Idol.

We’d all gone bonkers.

We sat around nibbling on our African, nuclear-free potato chips, worrying about whether our vegetables were organic and if OJ would be found guilty this time.

It was a load of frivolous nonsense and now it’s all going to stop because it’s hard to worry about whether Britney Spears is wearing knickers and whether they’d been made in a Thai sweatshop when your unemployed next-door neighbour is smashing his way through your sitting-room window to steal your last can of Campbell’s soup..

Similarly, when three million people are out of work, paying off $500,000 mortgages on houses that are worth $9 and eating their pet cat because things are so tight, no politician is going to stand up and say, “What about the polar bears?”

During times of proper trouble, people concentrate on what matters in life.

This is why I have such high hopes for 2009.

Because instead of making everyone wear high-visibility jackets and forcing us to go on six-week courses before being allowed to climb a ladder, Obama and Brown will be working non-stop seven days a week to prevent the world from disappearing under a mountain of dead dogs

You and I, meanwhile, will stop trying to help the polar bear and maybe do more to help our neighbours and friends instead.

I’ve already decided that, if things get tough, I’m going to try and do my bit for the world.

This means I shall eat Simon Cowell.

Your friends
John and Heidi.

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.