A Pirate Copy of the Blog

January 13, 2009 -

John Heald

Pirates used to be fun with their wooden legs and shoulder-based parrots and cries of “shiver me timbers.” Say the word “pirate” and you and I see a salty sea dog with gunpowder smoldering in his beard. They would all wear long black or red coats and have a patch over one eye ……unless of course they were really stupid pirates and have patches over both eyes …… sorry ………. old cruise ship joke.

Red Beard, Black Beard, Johnny Deppbeard were all pirates who, despite the plundering and pillaging that was forced upon thousands of innocent victims, have been portrayed as warm and cuddly and about as dangerous as a Florida retiree armed with a stick of celery. On board the ships of Carnival we have our photo team dress up as the pirates of yesterday complete with hooked hand and our guests have their picture taken ………….. although this may be fine for the Caribbean I never quite understood why we did this in Finland during our Baltic cruises.

However, during the last few months we have come to learn of a new type of pirate …one armed not with a rusty sword but with rocket propelled grenades and machine guns.

So, I was asked by a blogger my opinion as to whether should piracy be taken seriously in the cruise ship world. German cruise company Hapag-Lloyd certainly thinks so. It recently evacuated its 246 passengers and most of its crew on a round-the-world cruise in the port town of Hodeida in Yemen, and has flown them to Dubai. And all that to avoid the risk of encountering pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

A skeleton staff navigated the ship on the three-day trip to Dubai, while the passengers wait to rejoin it in a five-star hotel. The cost of this operation has not been disclosed, but I imagine it to be damn expensive.

In fairness, Hapag-Lloyd is reacting to a warning issued by the German government following the surge in the number of attacks by pirates on ships. A few weeks ago, for example, the American ship Nautica was attacked by pirates, but the ship managed to outrun them……..or out sail them or whatever the correct nautical term was.
Other cruise lines, however, are continuing to travel through the region. And they’re quite right. Events such as the Nautica attack need to be taken in context. The threat of piracy is very minimal. Plus, cruise ships have decks which are too high for the small vessels used by pirates to access and they sail at faster speeds.

There are other things that I believe passengers should worry about before being attacked by pirates…..and at number one has to be ……..being seated at dinner next to some people from France.

Here is the next batch of questions that I have been asked to reply to.

Here we go.

Sergio Medina Asked:

PLEASE REPLY: Dear John, My wife and I were on the Carnival Valor 7-day cruise to the W Caribbean this past November 9 and were extremely pleased with our experience. She was called last week regarding your latest promotion and at the time turned down the offers as the economy is tight. However, it piqued my interest and decided to browse the website to see what kind of deals you had. I saw the Elation 3 day cruise sailing on February 12 to Ensenada from San Diego at $159 pp for an Ocean View and booked it as I figured it was an excellent way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I was reading in the Carnival News Section that this is a new itinerary for Carnival and it is modeled after the three day cruises from Los Angeles. I have only been on 7 day cruises and was wondering what in your opinion is the biggest difference between a 7 day and a 3 day (with the exception that it is shorter), Also, do you know who the CD will be and if there are any special activities planned for that weekend, being that it is Valentines Day. Thanks
Sergio and Irma Medina
-Elation February 12-15 2009

John Says:

Hello Sergio and Irma
What a great question. What is the difference between a 7- and a 3-day cruise. Well, actually…………not a lot. You see, Carnival practically invented the short cruise some years ago and the idea was of course to get people “pregnant” on cruising. And it works. We do this by packing most of what you would experience on a 7-day cruise into a 3-day voyage. You will have an elegant night, deck party, three fantastic shows, music, dancing, karaoke and many of the activities and events that are normally spread over 7 days. Now, should you decide to book this Valentine romantic trip on the Carnival Elation your cruise director will be Stuart Dunn from Australia who, as many will tell you, is one of our very best. Many people often say to me “I have never cruised on Carnival before and I want to try it, what voyage should I take?” In answer to this I often recommend the shorter cruise which I know they will have a brilliant time on and will have them begging for more…………which, of course, is exactly what we want them to do.
So, go and have fun and enjoy three romantic and fun nights together.
Best to you both

Vinny Asked:

John Please Reply:
A little off topic. I am very eager to book a cruise for the summer of 2010. Do you know when Carnival will be releasing the new itineraries?

John Says:

Hello Vinny
I know many people are waiting for the 2010 ship deployments and itineraries…….I am one of them. I promise that as soon as I get confirmation I will post all the news right here. It shouldn’t be long now mate.

C Morrison Asked:

Please reply if possible.
Hi John,
Love your blog and I am hooked on it and also on Crusin’. July 2008 was the first cruise for my Hubby and I. Sailed on Glory with Butch (he is great). I don’t have not one complaint about our cruise. My father had passed away Dec. 19, 2007 so my sister and I have had to care for our legally blind mother. She was hopping to get to go on a cruise with us but she had has cancer last year and it returned to make a long sad story short she passed away the well before Thanksgiving 2008. She was ready to go home to the Lord so we were thankful for that. This is just background on where I am coming from. I read the post by Tim Kriebel and was very put off at his attitude. High and mighty to put it nicely. He doesn’t want to associate with the people who are not Platinum members because he doesn’t feel special. If I had read his comment before we went on Glory we would probably not have gone. That is just the attitude I thought cruises would have. However I know that most cruisers are great fun loving people. I just felt special going on a cruise. We are already booked on Glory Sept 05 .Time is passing slowly reading your blog makes me feel a part even when not cruising. I am sorry if this is to long and everyone is entitled to their opinion but I never feel that you act high and mighty or uppity. You come across as a great guy and CD. I hope we get the honor of cruising with you sometime.
Please give my best to Heidi and Thingy.
I would never want to hurt any ones feelings so please do not post this on the blog or if you do please don’t put his name in it.
I just felt I wanted to get this off my mind.
If you have time I would appreciate a reply on this and if you think I am out of line please let me know.
Love the Glory!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Says:

Thanks for the beautiful comment and my sincere sympathies regarding your dear mother. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. How correct you are when you state that the majority of people who cruise with us are indeed spirited and fun and one of the great pleasures about cruising is of course the chance to meet and become friends with people from all over the world. I know all of us here at the blog are thinking of you and I hope one day that we will be on a ship together. Please write soon

Tom & Jane Asked:

hello john
how about this RETRO TEE SHIRTS
Mardi Gras….
S.S. Festivale….
S.S. Carnivale….
three sweet ladies, almost brings a tear to my eyes,
and it just did…. wow
we sailed on all three….many times
god were old…
Teary eyed in Tampa
Tom & Jane

John Says:

Hello Tom and Jane
How are you?
You know many of my colleagues still have original Mardi Gras, Carnivale and Festivale shirts and I wish I did, as well. It’s a great idea to have some retro stock in our onboard gift shops and its one I will certainly pass along. Those three ships set the tone for where Carnival is today and it would be brilliant to see their names festooned on clothing items one more time.
See you soon

The Bears – Barb & Carl Asked:

Hi John (please reply),
Hope you and Heidi had a good time at the charity event. I’m sure Heidi looked lovely and was the envy of all the other women there. And just think you were the lucky man to escort her and the wee Thingy.
While Carl and I will be enjoying ourselves on the Bloggers Cruise my parents are going to be leaving Miami on the Carnival Miracle. Can you tell me who the CD will be? They will be taking a back to back and are really looking forward to it. It’s been a few years since they have cruised.
Thanks John!
Princess Barb the quiet one of Big Ed’s Evil Krewe

John Says:

Hello My Bear Friends. I hope you are both well.
It won’t be long until we are all together and having some blogger fun. Meanwhile your parents will be onboard the good ship Carnival Miracle and will have the one and only Brent who will be there until Feb 25 when Malcolm In The Middle takes over.
They will have wonderful back to back cruises I promise
See you soon

timothy bohman Asked:

Hi john. Jenny and I were wondering if you will be the cruise director on the dream in April of 2010. We won’t book that one unless you are our cruise director.

John Says:

Hello Tim and Jenny
How kind of you to ask. I am not sure of my 2010 schedule yet but there is a chance I may be CD on the Carnival Dream sometime next year. I hope it is when you are due to sail and thank you so much for asking. The Carnival Dream will be our biggest and best ship yet and it is no wonder that it is selling faster than photos of me……naked. Seriously, it is proving massively popular so book your state room soon and hopefully we will be able to enjoy this ship together

Melissa Jurgensen Asked:

John pleases reply.
Cancelled the cruise I had originally scheduled with RCL in April and I am happy to say that I am coming back to Carnival. There more I thought about it I didn’t want to pay for my steak dinner, my sandwich at 1 a.m. OR see the need for a rock climbing wall or an ice skating rink.
Anyway, sailing on the Valor’s 4/16 and 4/26 Western Caribbean sailings on a back to back cruise for my mom’s birthday. Do you have any idea which night the past guest party will be? We don’t want to schedule an excursion that gets us back to the ship later in the day and have to go to the cocktail party all sweaty and hot from our beach excursion. Ha, ha!
LOVE the cocktail parties and I never miss them.
The itinerary is:
Sea Day
Grand Cayman
Roatan Island
Sea Day

John Says:

Hello Melissa……….and YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ……. If you could see me now you would find me doing an Irish jig dressed only in my underpants. I am proud to welcome you home. The past guest party will be after sailing from Roatan Island and starts after the ship sails so you will not miss out on anything. Please remind me a week before you sail if you can.
You will have the most fun cruise ever……………I promise. See you soon.

Brenda R Asked:

John please reply:
Did I understand that the bloggers excursion Juan’s Mexican Bash is clothing optional?
If so, why isn’t this mentioned in the description of the excursion? I agree with the lady above. How do I get my money back, if this is the case? I think something this important should be listed in the description of the excursion. Also why would this be selected for a bloggers exclusive get together?

John Says:

Hello Brenda
I once again apologize for any confusion that my poor attempt at humor may have caused. I think when originally describing this excursion mentioned that Big Ed and I would be naked but that of course was a BIG joke albeit not very funny. The tour will be fantastic and anyone found taking their clothes off will be thrown into a pit of iguanas. See you soon and my apologies for any confusion.

Jeanne Asked:

John Please Reply
Dear John, (LOL)
I last saw you were on the Jan. 31, 2003 sailing on the Triumph. You made my 2nd cruise with Carnival fun. The trip was with friends (30+) and we had a great time watching you around the ship. I am set to sail on Feb. 17th 2009 with my BF (of 3 yrs and we are very happy) on the Carnival Miracle. We picked this ship because it was scheduled to go to Panama. After working with a travel agent here in MN and paying for the cruise/airfare/add’l night at hotel in FL (to make sure that we are there on time, you can never guess with the winter weather here in MN) We find out that the Miracle is not going to Panama but making two stops in Mexico. While I enjoy Mexico I have been there several times and wanted to go somewhere I have never been before. I guess what I would like to know is why the change? I have heard several reasons and not sure if any of them are correct. We will make the most of our Mexican stops but would like more of an explanation as to why the change and why out Travel Agent was not notified of the change (she says she did not know about it till I brought it to her attention) I found out about it when I went on line to complete my Fun Pass. Thanks for your help John and best wishes to you and Heidi on your bundle of joy.
Jeanne & Jim

John Says:
Hello Jeanne
First of all please except my sincere apologies for the change to your scheduled itinerary. I know that when we make changes like this it disrupts people’s hard earned vacation plans so please know that we don’t make this changes unless we really have to. I will get back to you in 48 hours with the official explanation which I will now ask Miami to give me. You will enjoy the Mexican ports for sure and if you have any questions on the sights you should see please let me know here on the blog thingy.
Once again, my apologies and I will return with the official answer very soon.
Best Regards

cruzn buckeye Asked:

John, please reply
Just wanted you to know that we are booked at Juans Mexican Fiesta! What fun this will be! You know, when I read the name of this excursion, it brought back great memories of a cruise with you as the cd. We were on the western route going to Mexico. You were so funny on that cruise! You definitely helped feed my addiction to cruising! The part of this that brought back the memory was your calling this “Juan’s fiesta!” You said at your show that you would like to be called “Julio” pronounced Hulio! I also remember that our capers at the end of the cruise was signed, Julio! I also remember that during dining, you had a Mexican band serenading all tables! Wow, what a fun cruise that was!
I have a question. You replied to my dining question but not sure I understood. Yes, we are booked with the bloggers cruise code. We booked with the Cruise Critic group! You said that we will be seated together with my daughter and her bf. Just wondering, will there be assigned seating in the dining room?
Also, regarding the gift shops, I mentioned before about the t-shirts and how us ladies would like to see more of the ones with the designs that are on the men’s, only in ladies sizes, not long and narrow. I also like to collect coffee mugs. I like the ones with the ship and ports of call. Sometimes, there are only the real fat ones. I would like to see
more selection of sizes and styles of mugs.
Thanks for all you do, take care of Heidi and Thingy! Looking forward to our cruise with you in FOUR WEEKS!!! WOOOOHOOOO!!!!

John Says:

Hello Cruzn Buckeye
Oh, my goodness. You were on the Julio cruise. I remember that one very well as I think by the end of the seven days everyone including the captain was calling me Julio. That was one fun week. I think others may be a little confused about the dining question on the bloggers cruise so I thought I would ask the lovely Stephanie to explain here exactly what is happening.
HI! I can’t give you the final details just yet, but will be able to give everyone an update after the 20th. But, we will have a blogger’s only dining room. So anyone booked with the farecode will be seated in the same dining room. Details on the seating arrangements/”assignments” will be posted next week. Thanks! Stephanie
There you go and hopefully this arrangement will make everyone happy. I will be wandering table to table as well and as I won’t have time to eat will be nibbling from everyone’s plate….especially Host Mac’s.
See you soon and call me Julio will you when you see me.

Beth T. Asked:

John, Please Reply…
Dear John,
I really enjoy your blog–thank you! I hope all is well with you and Heidi and Thingy!
My husband and I are departing on our first cruise on Jan. 25 on the Triumph! We can’t wait!
First, I wanted to thank Carnival, and especially Jason Vega with Guest Access Services–I have a very specific food allergy diet and was a little nervous about how to deal with it on the cruise, but Jason was great about explaining what Carnival would do to help me, and what I would need to do to ensure I was taken care of. I was completely amazed when Jason started listing the many specialized food options that I would have. I’ll certainly have a lot more options than I do at home! All I can say is, “Wow!”
Second, I would like some advice on how I can help make this cruise amazing for my husband. Although I will be celebrating my birthday on the cruise (the Big 4-0–AIGGHH!) I really want this cruise to be about him. He’s an amazing husband and father (although the kids are staying at home!). He works in a very high stress job putting his life on the line to protect everyone else, and the rest of his time is spent as a volunteer helping the youth of our community. He deserves some real fun, so I’d love to hear your suggestions.
Thank you so much, and take care,

John Says:

Hello Beth.
Thank you for the kind words especially toward Jason Vega who you mentioned has taken care of your food allergy requests. I can assure you that once onboard that service will continue as the dining staff and chefs make sure you only receive what you have requested. It sounds like your husband is in much need of some rest and relaxation and loads of fun. Can you send me his name please and your cabin number and I will ask one of the staff to surprise him. Please send this to Stephanie and I ASAP.
Have a wonderful cruise and my best to you both

Ray Czenszak Asked:

Hi John (Please reply)
Here I thought a cruise this year was not going to happen because of me being unemployed. Then Jeanne surprised me New Years morning and said you have taken me on six Carnival Cruises and last night we went to bed before the ball dropped. I’m taking you on a cruise for next New Years and we will be dancing at midnight. She is booking Carnival Miracle for next New Years Eve. I was wondering though is Carnival Dropping the Fuel Surcharge at this time, like the other lines. Because we received a note of the charges from our travel agent today including the fuel Surcharge.
My Jeanne is the best. Best of luck with the Bloggers Cruise wish we could have joined you.

John Says:

Hello Ray
Great to hear from you.
I was sorry to hear about your unemployment concerns but I am sure that this year will bring you much luck and happiness. It seems the end of 2009 will be marked in a very special way thanks to your beautiful wife and celebrating New Years Eve onboard is something everyone should try at least once. Can you check with your TA again as Carnival did indeed cancel the fuel surcharges some weeks ago. Please let me know if you need help with this further.
My best to you both and happy New Year

Bob and Donna Asked:

John please reply –
We are really getting excited about celebrating our 30th anniversary on the Carnival Legend departing in two weeks on January 25th. This will be our first Carnival cruise and it’s because of your blog thingy. We’ve been daily readers for over a year now and had to give Carnival a try (we’ve cruised with Princess before). Sorry you will not be onboard with us as previously scheduled. We’ll have to catch up with you another time.
One question — I sent an online reservation request for the Supper Club for Tuesday night of our cruise (1/27/09) to celebrate our anniversary in style — I’ve heard nothing back (cabin #7). Will this be confirmed when we get onboard or will I have to check on my own? It would be nice to know that the request was received.
Best of everything to you, Heidi and the Thingy in the New Year.
Bob & Donna

John Says:

Hello Bob and Donna
When someone says that they are taking their first ever Carnival cruise because of the blog thingy I feel so very humbled. I know you will have a great time and I will confirm your supper club reservation has been made so you have no worries there. An invitation will be sent to your stateroom once onboard. I hope you will write to me via the blog when you return and let me and the bloggers know all about your experiences. Have fun and thank you so much for all the kind words and support of the blog thingy.

Jim Eakins Asked:

Greetings John,
We are Canadian “Colonials” and will understand if you would prefer not to answer our request.
We are also rather new to the cruise game, with only two cruises under our belts as it were. We are, however, doing our level best to remedy this shortcoming and are booked on Splendor’s South American oddesey and on the Dream’s second Mediterranean cruise.
We very much enjoy dressing for dinner in the main dining room. We enjoy the conversation with our fellow cruises, great table service, ambience (with a view if at all possible) and, of course, great food and wine. On our first cruise we said not a word and were assigned a super table with wonderful servers. Our second cruise put us right beside the main entrance to the dining room: cold, drafty and noisy. The Maitre Di, however, was most accommodating and moved our party into an anti-room, with a fantastic window view, for the second and subsequent evenings.
My question then: “what is the best way to secure desired seating in the main dining rooms for we humbled masses who do not yet hold that special Platinum reservation perk?” I have been told it is best to head immediately to the main dining room upon boarding; check the seating plan and then “beg, whine and snivel” to secure a more desirable table. Not being particularly comfortable begging, I wonder if there is, perchance, a better and more civilized approach?

John Says:

Hello Jim
You have no reason to feel uncomfortable asking and I am glad you did. I have forwarded this to my friend Ken Byrne whom you will love and who is quite simply the best maitre d in the industry. I know he will make sure you have a great table and if you need any wine recommendations or have any dining questions he will be the man to look after you. Enjoy the brilliance of the South American voyage and enjoy your time in the dining room mate.

Carmen Asked:

John, I am really enjoying this blog. All my cruises have been on Carnival, but since you don’t sail to Northern Europe, I decided to try the Emerald Princess. This is very helpful information. One question my husband wanted me to ask – is there a Lido deck like on Carnival ships with a buffet? Thank you and enjoy your cruise.

John Says:

Hello Carmen
I am sorry that we are not sailing to the Baltic this year but am though very happy that you decided to sail with Princess to see these magical places. Their Grand Class of ships has a massive range of Lido delicacies and of course you must try my personal favorite one night …………Sabatini’s. This Italian restaurant serves food just like mama used to make. Not my Mama, of course, but if you the want the best Italian food served family style………..then Sabatini’s is not to be missed. Enjoy a movie under the stars and the great lido food served at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Have a great cruise and thanks so much for reading the blog thingy

Ronda Long Asked:

**please reply John. Thank you. **
Hi John,
Love your blog – first time I’ve posted although I’m a dedicated reader.
My husband & I cruised with you as the CD 3 times, 1st time was a family cruise on Fascination back in 1995. Then we followed you (stalked? ha-ha) and did Carnival Destiny and Triumph cruise because you’re such a blast as CD. We are getting ready to take our 8th and 9th cruises. Going on the Carnival Splendor on 1/17/09 and then on the Carnival Freedom on 1/25/09. My husband surprised me and changed our Freedom booking to a suite. I’m wondering if you’d mind letting me know a little bit about VIP status. I think Mike (the husband) expects a marching band to greet us (ha-ha) but I can’t really find any details about VIP except express embarkation and debarkation. Do we have someone to do our laundry every day? Oh wait, is that me? Doing 2 cruises back to back is a challenge packing-wise because I believe it’s just about at the point where the airline charges you a million dollars if you actually dare to go over 50 lb per bag, or bring an extra one (if you haven’t figured out by now, I’m a bit of a wise-donkey’s butt).
Also, we are going on the Dream on 2/6/2010. Will you be the CD on that sailing? We’d love to see you again. You’re the best! Not that the other CD’s are bad; you’re just awesome!
Please tell Heidi I loved her post. She said she feels like there’s another woman in your lives, the Raspberry. I have the same problem only it’s called sports on television (American football, NASCAR, Celtics basketball, Red Sox, paint drying contest ha-ha).
I wish you both the best of luck with the amniocentesis. It will be fine. My husband & I had a little daughter born 3/8/03, Rachel Michelle. We stopped cruising for a while because she was born with a very rare terminal genetic disorder, COFS Syndrome. She died almost 2 years ago on 1/15/07. I say this only to let you know that yes, no matter what the test shows, or what baby Thingy turns out to be, you will love that baby unlike anything you’ve ever loved before. It is the greatest thing in the world, to become a parent.
Sorry for the long post. But since my last name is LONG, guess it would have to be – lol.
Best wishes to you, Heidi, and baby Thingy.
Ronda (here in freezing cold Maine!)

John Says:

Hello Rhonda
Let me start by saying thank you for taking the time to write and then say how deeply sorry I am at the loss of your daughter at such a young age. Words cannot express how truly saddened I was when I read your e-mail and I am sure she must have given you many wonderful memories to treasure forever. Heidi and I have been blessed with our Thingy. We never thought we would be so indeed we are counting our blessings.
How fantastic that your husband has bought you a suite for your forthcoming cruise. While you can still do the laundry why not let your state room steward take care of that for you. You will enjoy special embarkation and debarkation as well as a surprise or two. The suites are fantastic and will make this already superb cruise that extra bit special.
Please keep reading the blog and let me know if there is anything else I can do for you
You are in our thoughts tonight

While I am on the sad subject of bereavement I was informed today by my mate Host Mac that one of our regular readers, Stitch, lost his mother unexpectedly yesterday. Stich was due to join us on the bloggers cruise and I would ask that you think of him and the family today. Our deepest sympathies go to them all.

Thank you so much for your input regarding the art auction. Once again your opinions have been well noted and will help to shape your future cruising experiences. …………….. let’s move away from the art and go onto something else today.

For many people — especially men — a spa conjures up images where well-heeled ladies in fluffy dressing gowns while away the hours replete with mudpacks and cucumber slices over their eyes. I must admit that I am not a big fan of all that massage stuff and considering the last time I had one I farted on the massage table I don’t think I will ever have one again…………….much to the delight of the young lady who was in the firing line.

However, over the years I have had the full pamper treatment, including a seaweed bath, hot stone massage, reflexology, etc. There is no doubt that our spas are some of the best at sea with the Cloud Nine Spa on Carnival Splendor and Carnival Dream at the top of the list. So, I ask you. What do you like at the spas onboard? What are your favorite treatments? What can we do to improve? Once again………the floor is yours and I look forward to your opinions.

So, as I mentioned, the other night I dressed as a waiter and went to a posh hotel in London where I sat eating an overpriced and undercooked dinner………..all in the name of charity. While I had no problems in paying £125 for a steak drizzled in some kind of pepper sauce knowing that this money went to help sick children in Africa………..the charity auction on the other hand was another matter.

I am sure many of you will have been to the sort of evening where you’re expected to buy raffle tickets at $20 a time and then, throughout dinner, girls in charity T-shirts arrive just before every one of your mouthfuls of steak to put $50 notes in one of their buckets. And then, with the auction, they start on your credit card.

All these auctions are pretty much the same. Someone makes a heartfelt, tear-jerking appeal on behalf of the charity, and then up pops some sweaty, half-cut minor-league celebrity who’s a mate of someone on the committee. For our event it was some lady with humungous breasts who apparently was a soap star actress here in the UK.

The first item for sale, which was a weekend for two at some golfing hotel and country club, went for an incredible £3,000. This was bought by someone desperately trying to impress everyone on his table with how much money he’s got, hoping that if he spends enough money he will get to have rumpy pumpy with the big-breasted soap star.

Of course, as you sit there with your slimmed-down wallet, empty after paying £250 for a bit of meat from Publix, you begin to feel so poor and hungry that you wonder if you shouldn’t be on the receiving end of some aid. But you forgive the vulgarity because, of course, the money’s going to help a very worthwhile cause.

Is it, though? Or is the money going to the waiters, and the people who cooked the horrible food, and the people who printed the invitations, and the florist and the band, and the owners of the house hotel where the event is being staged. If I am asked to attend one of these events again, I won’t ask which soap star is going to do the auction and what sort of peacock will be used to garnish the roast swan, I only want to know how much of the proceeds will actually be going to charity.

On another note may I take this opportunity to apologize to you all on behalf of the entire United Kingdom for the despicable behavior of Kate Winslett at the Golden Globes last night? She was shaking her head, clutching at her chest, and repeating: “Oh my God, oh my God” in a shaky whisper, all while trying to claw her way across a crowded room to a microphone, where she finally cast a teary glance at the assembled stars, actresses, actors and Tom Cruise.

When she started speaking I expected some kind of extraordinary revelation. “After hundreds years, I can confirm that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is over,” she might have said, through her sobs. Or: “I’ve been informed that Dow Jones is up 500 per cent, Bernie Madoff has found his missing $50 billion, and everyone has their jobs and savings back…….oh and I actually saw someone using the climbing wall.”

I know she was proud to win the globe thingy but her speech was nearly as bad as Gwyneth Paltrow’s snot-infested Oscar speech of a few years ago. …..Kate’s behavior was definitely not British and watching her proves that there is just not enough vomit in the world.

Well, tomorrow Heidi will be going for her test and at this point I don’t know who is more nervous, me or her. Amazingly, she is being very brave and was actually able to find some humor in the situation. This morning we were talking about the procedure and I held her hand over the breakfast table and told her that when she is on the doctor’s table that she should close her eyes and not worry because she would just feel a little prick …… to which she replied “Oh good…….that’s what I am used to.” ………… bugger.

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.