January 28, 2009 -

John Heald

The worry I have had about the impending arrival of the Thingy was firmly put into context yesterday. How can I worry about sleepless nights when in Bellflower, California, a mother is now running between eight cribs in her pajamas?

Not only has she had all her babies in five minutes, she didn’t even know she was having the last one, it just slipped out. Now she has decided to breast-feed her six boys and two girls, A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H. All those competitive mothers might as well stop here. No one is going to be able to keep up with the new mother whom doctors describe as “very strong”………….which surely is a huge understatement.

Of course, it will be tricky for the first few months when the 48 hospital staff has disappeared. Now, I imagine that each baby craps itself eight times a day. That’s eight nappies a day for eight children comes to 1,792 nappies a month ………..that’s a mountain of poo ……Poo Mountain………….surely she has to call one of the babies Winnie. Then there will be eight bottles to sterilize every two hours when she realizes that she isn’t a milking cow, four cots (if they go head-to-toe) three triple push chair buggy things and bugger all sleep. With her litter, she will get more meaningful advice from pig farmers than other mothers.

Meanwhile over at the White House. Barack Obama has almost decided what kind of puppy he’s getting…………….. aaah, cute. He’s whittled his choices down to either a Portuguese something or other or a labradoodle – both are dead ringers for the Queen guitarist Brian May and one looks just like Richard Simmons – and soon we’ll be treated to a photocall on the White House lawn as he ruffles its head in a gesture that says: “Look, I’m just a regular guy like you, except that I have 12 bodyguards here who can kill with their bare hands and sell you to Mr. Wok, the Korean restaurant owner.”

The only problem now is this: he won’t have any time left to run the US. I do not exaggerate. When Obama said choosing the dog “has been tougher than finding a Commerce Secretary,” he clearly had no idea that getting a dog is the easy bit. At 11 pm when the Mr. and Mrs. Obama have walked it, fed it, gathered up armfuls of dog turds, comforted their daughters whose dolls have mangled heads and put their chewed-up DVD collection in the bin, the President might be able to turn his attention to other stuff such as the economy or the Middle East.

But that’s the point at which the puppy will start howling and so, because he seems a nice man, he will take a duvet and go downstairs and spend the rest of the night cuddling a small, whimpering thing which keeps covering him in piss……Oh, and since he reportedly favors a male dog he’ll have to get used to it humping his leg when he’s talking about nuclear weapons with President Putin.

OK, onwards and upwards …..let’s start answering as many of your outstanding questions as I can…………….here we go.

Susanne Asked:
John please answer.
With the open seating versus assigned seating will our group of nine be able to sit together? Thanks and looking forward to seeing you on the cruise.

John Says:
We do have some round tables for ten in the dining room or you may decide to have two tables of six close together. Regardless we will all be together and enjoy great food and terrific company. I will see you very soon.

Cheryl Donofrio Asked:

Hello John,
I haven’t written for a while, I wanted to say how nice the video of Heidi was. Maybe I’m getting old, but I don’t know if I heard her correctly. Did she say you put together that beautiful crib? I thought you said you weren’t handy! Heidi looks terrific. You’ll be back home before you know it, awaiting the birth of the “thingy.” I was surprised to read about the spa appointments. I thought you already could book them online. I never tried, because every time I go into the spa, I leave with $100-200 worth of “product.” I’ve decided the best thing for me is not to even go in there. Just say “no.” I loved the new commercial. I think it really conveys the essence of the Carnival experience. I don’t know if it will attract any new senior citizens. My older customers might be turned off if they had never cruised, or never been on Carnival. But I really like the “Fun for All” concept.

John Says:
Hello Cheryl
Oh how I wish I was capable of putting anything made from wood together. I am embarrassed to say that it was Heidi who did it with help from her Mum. I am to DIY what Paris Hilton is to the teachings of applied physics. I am glad you liked the new commercials and when you see the next one I think you will see ones that will make you laugh and will truly show that indeed we do have All for Fun and Fun for All.
It’s always great hearing from you and I hope all the family are well

Cheryl Asked:
John – urgent – please reply,
I signed up for the 2/7/09 Blogger’s cruise the day the reservations opened up last year. I made sure (three times since) that the Blogger’s code was in CCL’s system for my reservation. I didn’t know about the dining, so I asked for late seating like I always do when I booked. Everything still says late seating. Does that mean I won’t be with everyone at dinner? Do I have to call and change this? If so, what specifically should I ask for? We’re not with a group, and there are only two of us. We’d like to be seated with other bloggers, in “our” dining room. Please reply. Thank you for you help. The activities sound wonderful. My husband can’t go, so I’m trying to get a friend to go with me. I should know soon whether I’ll be alone or not. Trying to think positively!
Looking forward to meeting you all,
Cheryl D.

John Says:
Hello Cheryl
Please don’t worry. When you arrive just pop over and see the maitre d in the afternoon and I will make sure he knows to change your dining seating. The times he will be there will be listed in the Carnival Capers and I assure you it will be no problem. I am looking forward to seeing you there and don’t forget we have a hospitality room as well so please make sure you stop by just in case you have any other concerns or just to say hello.
Cheers and see you soon

Beth Asked:

I liked the new commercial, better then the beach ball & piñata ones. I have a question. What ships have the Mongolian Grill? Get different answers when asked on cruise critic. Thanks Beth

John Says:
Hello Beth.
I am glad you liked our new commercial and don’t forget the next one will feature on the blog next week so please stop by and let me know what you think of it. The Mongolian Grill has become a firm favorite with many of our guests. The choice of meats and vegetables and sauces all mixed together and prepared in those special Wok thingies can now be found on all the Destiny and Conquest class ships as well as the ships that have gone through the Evolution of Fun upgrades such as Carnival Imagination, Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Elation. I encourage all of you to try this yummy food …….it’s brilliant. Please let me know if there is anything else you need and as always thanks for taking the time to read the blog thingy

Leroy & Pat Asked:
John Please Reply:
Unfortunately I couldn’t view the new commercial as it is a blocked site at my work. I’ll have to try from home. We will be on the Valor on March 29 and looking forward to sailing with you again. We will miss Heidi. Did you get a chance to try the Rhubarb wine? What did you think of it? Shall we bring another one? Take care & say Hi to Heidi for us. Leroy & Pat

John Says:
Hello Leroy and Pat
The wine was enjoyed by all and I think you should go into mass production. I am looking forward to seeing you on the Carnival Valor and I of course wish Heidi could be with us as well See you soon and my best to you both

Carol Asked:
Please reply
I love the new commercial. The part where you just see the foot sticking up over the side of the slide with the background laugh is great. I love my pvp her name is Laura Hall and she is the best. She always returns my calls and if she doesn’t know the answer to a question she will find out and let me know.
Hubby and I will be sailing on the Legend in March. This is for my birthday (56) and just to have some fun since the passing of my parents. I can’t wait.
Now to my question after we returned from the Glory in July last year I couldn’t think of much else. So we decided to book a cruise on the Glory again. On 8/17/2008
I booked a balcony room on the Glory again it was for 9/5/09 the best rate at that time was the military rate which at the time I was glass to get. I paid for cruise gratuities vacation protection on 9/24/08.I called my PVP to let her know that the cruise was a lot cheaper now .After speaking to someone she called me back to tell me that I would have to cancel that cruise and rebook to get the new rate the problem I paid 258.00 for the insurance and it would probably not be refunded by the insurance company. We need this because my mother in law is under Hospice care.
All I wanted or hoped for was an onboard credit for the cruise price difference. The new early saver rate is 184.00 less than what I paid almost six months ago. Early??
And yet still a little over six month until cruise time.
I do not blame my PVP she tries to help me get the best rates she can. I just thought Carnival would give me the cheaper rate as an onboard credit.
Oh by the way my sister and her husband booked when I did for this cruise only they don’t qualify for the military rate and they don’t purchase the insurance so her PVP cancelled their cruise and they were able to get the new rate and the free room upgrade.
Just want to hear your thoughts on this.
Sorry this is so long.
I am still looking forward to the Legend in March and the Glory in Sept.

John Says:Hello Carol
Firstly let me tell you that I was so happy the new commercial made you smile. That is of course the whole point as Fun is something we all need more of these days don’t we.
Thanks for the information on your cruise details and we will indeed look into this. I will pass this to someone to check what we can do and I will be back to you as soon as I can. Your commitment to Carnival is obvious and I will do all I can to help you. My deepest sympathies to you and your family at the loss of your parents. I will reply again very soon
Until then I send you my best regards

Eva Bartolo Asked:
Hi John
Definitely this commercial is much better. It shows the FUN we have on Carnival, that’s what it’s all about right…..
John I wanted to write to ask you a question on behalf of my daughter Danielle. I did write on the Facebook email but realised this week that you mentioned that you don’t read it as you have no time. I should have thought about that.
Anyway the question she wanted to ask was whether Carnival hires university students for the summer period. She has a Canadian and EU passport, has worked as a Music Camp Counselor, Swimming instructor, etc. and is a people oriented individual. How should I tell her to go about checking this out? Is there anything you can suggest? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks John. Just 4 days and we’ll be on the Splendor around SA…. Yeah!! Have a great Blogger’s cruise.
Heidi you look terrific and just blossoming. Take care of yourself and enjoy your pregnancy.

John Says:

Hello Eva
I am so sorry that I don’t read my Facebookspace thingy as much I should. A friend of mine recently suggested that I should have someone manage it and he of course is right. Now, as for your daughter Danielle it sounds like she may be interested in working within our Camp Carnival and youth programs. If this is the case please drop me a line and I will advise you further.

For now may I suggest she reads our www.carnivalentertainment.com site ……….here is the link http://www.carnival.com/CMS/Static_Templates/ClubO2.aspx
Thanks so much for all the kind words you have written and if there is anything else I can do for you please let me know
My regards to you and the family

Jeanette Asked:
John, I was on the Valor a few weeks back and I found the decor to be really tacky. I should also say that I am Canadian and most Canadians are patriotic, just not to the point of making others annoyed because we don’t want to upset others…
I did have a good time and Chris was a great CD. Danny and Matt were awesome… Danny is from Montreal (Quebec)…..
I’ve been on the Conquest and it is lovely ship-the mural opposite the glass elevator was amazing!!!!
I have a question for you. I am looking to find out what ship a crewmember is on. He was the maitre’d on the Liberty (Sept 08), but he is not there anymore. His name is Aleksander Kazakov and I’d love to know what ship that fine specimen of manhood is on (he is very handsome and what charisma!)…..
Thanks John!!!!
PS if you can pick the ships you’ll be the CD on let it be the Glory for January 2010……

John Says:Hello Jeanette
Funny isn’t it, how opinions differ about style and décor? I was just on the Carnival Valor Sunday with a group of bloggers and actually found it very pleasing to the eye so go figure. The crewmember you are referring to is currently serving on the Carnival Triumph. I don’t think we have ever worked together as I don’t recognize his name but it certainly sounds like he is someone who made a fantastic impression on you. I hope we will meet one day soon and who knows, it maybe on the Carnival Glory. Please keep reading the blog and my best to you and all my Canadian friends

Nancy & Doug – Columbus, GA Asked:
Hi John (with special hellos to Heidi & Lil Thingy!) Please reply when you can!
Great blog today! Always enjoy reading it, whether you are on a ship or not, it’s always interesting & funny! We have a question for you – who at Carnival would be the best person to address a letter to concerning our recent cruise on the Liberty? All in all, it was a great cruise, but our dining experience was, to say the least, one of the most horrendous we have ever experienced on ANY cruise, including Overpricedfortheseas!
We’d just like to know the best person to address our thoughts to. Your help would be most appreciated!
Warmest wishes to Heidi and Thingy!

John Says:Hello Nancy and Doug
Thanks firstly for your kind words and I am so glad you continue to be big supporters of the blog thingy. I’m sorry to hear that your dining experience didn’t meet your expectations. Please, if you feel comfortable doing so, send me all the details and let me deliver the message to the right people including those on the ship. You can also send it directly to our Guest Relations department here in Miami. Either way, please let me know so I can help you. Thanks and kind regards.

Catrin Asked:
Hi John,
(please reply)
I was amazed to find out that you had no been on the ships you listed! When I think of new ships – I think of John Heald… and really thought that you had the opportunity to be the first CD on them!
We were with you on the Triumph in 2004 – and yes, Miami has certainly changed. I sure hope it is even better in April, as we have not been there since 2007.
The commercial is terrific. My husband Steve heard me watch it from the other room… and was saying “Buckle up Buttercup!” from the other room for about 15 minutes! It did cause a problem, however…. because he started directing that comment to Kyle, our son who turned 14 today. Nothing like a teenage boy being called Buttercup! I love it!
I do have a question and hope you can answer…
We will be sailing on the Carnival Pride in April – and our first day at sea is actually Easter Sunday. Do you know if they will have any gatherings for those who will want to recognize the Easter Sunday?
Thanks for all you do!


John Says:Hello Catrin
Thanks for the wonderful comment. You are right, it seems strange that I have not been on some of the fleet but back in the 1990s and early 2000s the ships were coming out thick and fast so some new deliveries did pass me by. I was happy to read that you enjoyed the new commercial and I hope you will enjoy the new ones that will feature on the blog in the coming weeks.

Now, as far as a chaplin at Easter on the Carnival Pride is concerned I am embarrassed to tell you that we don’t have one ……..in fact I am very embarrassed to tell you that we won’t have one on any of our ships. Among the challenges involved in this is finding priests which can be difficult, not just for Carnival but for other cruise lines as well. This is just my opinion but I truly believe we should have a priest available for Christian high holidays just as we should a Rabbi for the important dates in the Jewish calendar as well. At the very least we should offer an interdenominational service. So, please except my apologies and know that I will work hard to improve our program in the future. Meanwhile, I will encourage all of the cruise directors to advertise in the Carnival Capers for guests to volunteer to conduct the service. I will keep you all informed on this very important subject
Kind Regards

msqpon – Jo Myerly Asked:
John, Please finish the Destiny/Boston story. Did the passengers get off the ship right away? Did they get refunds on their airfare? A free cruise? I hate it when you let me hanging? What a nightmare.

John Says:
Hello Jo
I guess I did leave you all hanging there because as usual I waffled onto another subject. So, just in case anyone does not know what Jo is referring to, here is the story so far.
I remember back in 1997 on the Carnival Destiny that I made an “unreserved apology.”

Here’s the beginning to the story again:

The ship was due to call at Boston for seven-day cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Unfortunately on the way up the engines ummmm…….broke……….and we eventually arrived at midnight. The guests had been waiting at the embarkation area since 1 pm and as you can imagine some were a wee bit upset. They had very little to do except wait, however, Carnival’s 344th best comedian Al Ernst was also waiting to join the ship and actually stood on the embarkation ticket counter and did a 30-minute comedy show …….using a bull horn. Anyway, we eventually started embarkation at 1 am. I remember standing on the gangway with Heidi and the staff welcoming everyone onboard and you know what……….most people seemed OK and understood.
Now, maybe this was because we had all the bars and lounges open with music, dancing and oh yes…….open bar ……and even though it was 1 am, the thought of free drinks really seemed to cheer people up. However their joy was short lived as just one hour later we had to close the bars down………because we had not applied for a liquor license while we were alongside and we were told that until the paperwork for a “night time” license was completed we could only serve beer and wine……..no spirits. Anyway, a few hours later we were all in bed and the guests were looking forward to a six-day — not a seven-day — cruise. They were awoken though a few hours later by yours truly giving an “unreserved apology” because the engines had indeed not been able to be repaired and we were going nowhere…………the cruise was over after just one night alongside.

So, the story concludes with 3,000 very sad guests disembarking. Yes they received full refunds and a future cruise discount but of course their vacation had come to an end quickly. Most were understanding. I do remember one or two calling me a few choice names but most understood. Engines on cars, motorbikes, submarines, food blenders and cruise ships break down……….such is life. Anyway, our engineers made repairs to the engines which if I remember took two days. Of course, the crew enjoyed this time ashore and it was my first real taste of the beautiful city that Boston is as well as my first taste of real New England clam chowder. The End. Hope that helps Jo and sorry I forgot to conclude the story

Kathy Wagner Asked:
Help! I just tried to order up a birthday greeting with shipboard credit for my nephew who will be celebrating on the Liberty next week. “She” stated that she could not do it over the phone and we had to fax the front and back of our credit card and drivers license . . . . . . A note from my mother and the okay to go ahead from Obama . . . Is this really the only way to do this? Wagz from Ed’s very Evil Krewe

John Says:
Hello Kathy
I believe there’s a different way to do this. Stand by, let me check tomorrow with Carol at Bon Voyage and I will get back to you ASAP………..loved the Obama reference by the way.
I will write soon

Brent Asked:
Hi John
I found your blog through a Google search, and have to say it makes fascinating reading!
I don’t know if you can help me, I’ve been a nightclub DJ for 18 years, and have done a stint on The Fairstar as cruise DJ some years back in Australia. I’m now moving back to the UK, but would really love to get a regular DJ position on a cruise ship, can you suggest who I speak to?

John Says:
Hello Brent
Wow, the Fairstar. That must have been quite an experience. Please have a look at www.carnivalentertainment.com and have a read about what our DJs are required to do. If you are still interested please let me know and I will pass your details along to the right person. I am glad you found the blog thingy and hope you will continue to have a read now and then

Chris Asked:K9Tac@Aol.Com
Geri & Jack
Hi John,
Our son and his new wife ran the ING Miami Marathon today, were just married last week in Lima, Peru and best of all they are honeymooning on the Valor today which sailed from Miami at 4pm. We are sooo proud of them and went to their wedding. We just came off the Splendor, now on Freedom Feb. 8 and Dream this Nov.
Would you possibly be able to send them a little congrats to this special couple? Patricia and Douglas Scott ###.
Thank you if you can and thank you for all you do. Sorry if this is repeated. I am a newbie here.
belated happy birthday and many happy more!

John Says:
Hello Geri and Jack
Consider this done. I know they will have a fantastic honeymoon. Please invite me to run the next marathon with you

Darlene Asked:
John (please reply)
I love reading about the all the events planned for the Blogger’s cruise! When I booked this cruise, I also booked a cabin for our son, daughter-in-law, and precious grandbaby (otherwise known as PGB), who is 4. As part of the surprises, do you think you could surprise her with something from Funship Freddie? She is a huge fan. This will be her 4th Carnival cruise! I’m getting very anxious — won’t be long. Also, will you feel funny when I greet you as a long lost friend, even though you won’t have a clue as to who I may be? Through your wonderful ability to share your daily activities, I feel like we have been friends for years.

John Says:
Hello Darlene
We have been friends for years and I can’t wait to renew our friendship on the Carnival Fantasy. Please remind myself or Stephanie onboard about Fun ship Freddy and I will be happy to make her dreams come true
See you soon

Mr Derek Asked:
Dear John,
PLEASE REPLY if Necessary.
I sent the following note to Alistair on Queen Victoria thru his blog, but I’m not sure that was the best way to get a response. I know it’s not your usual thing, but if you could help direct me to the correct person at Cunard I would appreciate it.
I am a travel agent and I have some gay clients sailing on QV in July. They will be celebrating their wedding anniversary on board and have heard that there is an anniversary celebration that is given to couples sailing within 2 months of their anniversary. This is supposed to include a bottle of champagne, a signed note from the Captain and a photo, all gratis!
If this is correct, is there something that I need to do to get this for my clients. It would mean a lot to them. I have a copy of their marriage certificate.
Thanks John for all you do.

John Says:
Mr. Derek
Thanks for letting me know about your clients. I will make sure this note reaches Alistair without fail and thank you for taking the time to write. Please wish your clients a wonderful voyage and if there is anything else I can ever do for you please let me know

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
The five families? What do we have going on – the Carnival Mafioso?
(Name redacted due to enrollment in the federal witness program)

John Says:
Dear Jon
Cruise Gotti
Cruise Luciano
Big Ed’s Canoli
The Carnival Sopranos
John Corleone
See you soon or you will be swimming with the fishes

Cheri Bolchoz Asked:
Please reply
Hope this finds you & Heidi doing well. Do not know if you got my last response.
We have not gotten the ornaments yet, they truly have been lost somewhere in Cyber-space
Wish we could join you on the blogger cruise, but I can’t get the time off from work. Maybe another one.
We truly loved our 2 weeks on the Carnival Freedom. We are planning a B2B on the Dream in 2010. We will also do some shorter 4 days soon.
Have a good Day
Cheri & Michael
PS: if you didn’t get my last response: Thank you again for our special gift on the Freedom

John Says:
Hello Cheri
They are sitting here on the desk and I guess if you want something mailed you have to mail it yourself which I am doing today. I am so sorry they didn’t reach you by Xmas 2008 but they at least will be ready for Xmas 2009. I truly hope you will be joining me on the Carnival Dream
See you soon and let me know when the mail arrives

Anonymous Asked:
John Please Reply
I wanted to really thank you for having such a great blog to read! I am from Bahrain and am fascinated by all things cruising. I have been planning my July vacation for a while and so far have got two transatlantic booked on the QM2 to take me to the USA. However, after a month long tour of some states I have a choice of either doing an Alaska cruise or a short 4-5 day cruise from wherever to wherever or a 7 day Hawaii cruise and a land based Hawaii 3 day thingy. I have been torn. First I booked the *&#$( $#$%^*#($ International on the &&**^**^*(( of the Seas out of Miami but decided against it. I then booked a similar cruise on NCL before deciding against it. Instead I choose the NCL Pride of America Hawaii cruise as I always wanted to see Hawaii.
However- since I’ve started cruising I’ve never used Carnival and really want to. Its just the home porting idea doesn’t work when you live 10,000 miles from the USA. But now that I will be in the USA it’s my chance to try it. However my only question is- what will you recommend? I know the cruises but have not tried any. I did a 14 night Caribbean cruise about 9 years ago. But that’s all iv done in the Americas.
Now as the greatest CD to have ever taken a breath of the Caribbean air I wanted to ask which of the 4-5 dayers would you really (or have really enjoyed?) Also the shortest cruise iv ever taken is 11 days so how will 4 days play out? Just for a vacation from the vacation.
Also some of the cruises which overnight in the Bahamas are very attractive however everyone tells me there is nothing other Atlantis to do in the Bahamas (and there is an Atlantis in Dubai about 40 mins flying from Bahrain).
So sorry for the long rant…. anyway please help
and thank you for this fantastic legendary blog

John Says:
Hello my friend and a warm welcome to you all the way there in Bahrain. Thanks for the great comments and I am very excited you have found the blog thingy and have become a regular reader. I am also excited that you have decided to try a Carnival cruise. The four and five-day cruises are a wonderful way to get a feel for what we do and we pack everything that a seven-day longer cruise has into a four- or five-day cruise vacation.
Now, I have decided to recommend the Carnival Destiny complete with her recent upgrades that include a huge TV and movie screen on the Lido Deck. Have a look at this and then if you have any questions I will be here to answer them for you.

Ship: Carnival Destiny

Departs: Miami, FL ,Saturday

Itinerary: Western Caribbean: Miami, FL ; Fun Day At Sea ; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands ; Ocho Rios, Jamaica ; Fun Day At Sea ; Miami, FL


Ship: Carnival Destiny

Departs: Miami, FL ,Thursday

Itinerary: Western Caribbean: Miami, FL ; Key West, FL ; Cozumel, Mexico ; Fun Day At Sea ; Miami, FL

I like these cruises because they feature ports with so much do and see as you requested.
My best regards to you and your family and I remain at your service

cruzn buckeye Asked:
Hi John and Heidi! please reply
Heidi looks so good, so does Thingy! Thanks for posting about the cruise events! We are really getting excited about this one! Also, is the welcome aboard party a separate welcome aboard party that the one that will include all guests on the ship? I just want to make sure that I don’t miss your bedtime story. It has been a long time since I saw that. And I think that our two new cruisers with my daughter and me will have such a fun time, this is a special treat for them. First cruise and John Heald’s bedtime story…can’t get much better than that for cruise virgins!
Sea ya soon!
cruzn buckeye

John, I have a question concerning Platinum status. I have read on cruise critic by some members that Platinum guests’ cabins are actually ready at 10:30 and you can have access to them as soon as you board. Is this true? If so, is it official or just a secret perk? Thanks !
Sea ya soon!
cruzn buckeye

John Says:
Hello Cruzn Buckeye
I am glad you liked the video from Heidi. I have asked her to do another one very soon. The welcome party is just for the 400 bloggers exclusively so we will have some fun all together. As far as the rooms are concerned I am sorry to say that the reports on Cruise Critic are not correct. Although we give priority to our Platinum guests to go to their cabins, 10:30 am is always going to be a difficult goal to reach. It’s actually quite impossible to give a specific time for embarkation ton start because so much depends on what happens during debarkation. However, we always try to have the staterooms ready as soon as possible thanks to the brilliant hard work of our stateroom stewards. I hope time allows me to do the bedtime story and if not I have lots of other treats in store for you and the family.
See you soon…..not long now

Brenda R Asked:
John Please Reply
I had posted a question several days ago and I haven’t received a response. I don’t know if it got lost or what, so I will try again. Is there a way we can verify we are on the bloggers cruise? We had signed up for the cruise using our Carnival sea miles, and they were supposed to make sure we were signed up as bloggers. I thought they were going to send information stating that we had been, but so far we have not received anything.
We just want to be sure we are “officially” signed up…since we leave in a couple of weeks!
Thank you for any help you can provide.
Paul and Brenda Riffle

John Says:
Hello Paul and Brenda
I am sorry it’s taken me a bit longer to answer questions than usual. Please know I checked with the manifest and indeed your cabin E4 has been listed as a Bloggers Cabin. So, see you soon and I promise you a brilliant and fun time.

Ed Milan Asked:
John please reply
how do we go about getting a meeting room on the Miracle on Feb 18th , there are about 50 of us from Cruise Critic sailing, we have tried to contact Carnival but no reply
Thank You
Ed Milan

John Says:
Hello Ed
We can organize this for you. Please let me know what time and I will talk to the ship. It sounds like you will have a great group to enjoy the Carnival Miracle with.

mickeyspal Asked:
Please Reply
Hey, John!
Love your take on local news…ain’t it the truth!!! And as for those “911 goofballs” these folks get to vote! Can you believe it? Explains a lot about the recent election…gimmee, gimmee.
Looked up your movie question and discovered the answer is “Arthur” starring the inimitable Dudley Moore, although several others beat me to it. Did you see in the “news” today that some scientists have worked out the solution for the ending of “The Italian Job” (1969? version) with Michael Caine? The guys escape WITH the gold!
Sooo…if you’re ever reeeeaaaallly lonely on a weekend, you could drive to Orlando and hang out with us (we have an extra bed). We could probably round up some local bloggers for a Saturday night get together. Seriously, let us entertain you. You (or Stephanie) have my email address.
Looking forward to the Heidi/Thingy Desk video tomorrow. Best wishes to all of you.
Your Pal, Myra

John Says:Hello Myra
Just wanted to say thanks for the heads up on the Michael Caine thing. I had not seen that and having read it now I really am glad you told me about it. I am thankful for you also for being such a great supporter of the blog thingy and I hope you keep reading for a long time to come. Please let me know if there is anything I can ever do for you

Bill & Linda Asked:
We are booked on the Valor 03/08/09. This will be our 13th Carnival cruise. It will be the fourth with you as CD. I am having trouble booking shore tours on line. Costa Maya shows only four tours three are scuba tours. Other ports are missing many tours. Please let us know what is going on. JOHN PLEASE REPLY

John Says:Hello Bill and Linda
I just spoke to my friends at shore excursion who have told me that the tours in Costa Maya are limited at the moment however they will have new ones posted this week. Please have a read of what’s there and should you have any questions I will be there to answer them for you. I am so sorry you have to put up with me again……….you must be sick of the sight of me as CD. I had better write some new jokes.

I am here should you need anything and I will see you soon
My best to you both

Coolieomom Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply
I hope you had a great birthday. I wanted to say thank you for helping us get to the wonderful and fantastic Greg Cole at Holland America. He was amazing and helped us get booked on the Eurodam sailing on July 10. One thing that will be different from Carnival is the shore excursions are not as kid friendly as they are on Carnival.
I have a question for you. We are staying in London for less then 24 hours before going to the ship in Dover. What are the one or two must see attractions you would recommend and do you know of a good tour company that would show us a quick tour London and take us to Dover the next day. We are also hoping to stop at the Leeds Castle and Canterbury on our way to Dover. I know Carnival had a trip there before our Liberty cruise but it is no longer online. Is this a good trip to take on the way to Dover or would you recommend something different? Thanks for all your help!!!
Terri aka coolieomom

John Says:Hello Coolieomom
I am so glad I was able to help you book your Holland America European cruise. I know you will have a fantastic time and I also hope that one day you will be able to see a Carnival ship in Europe once again. As for London……………well in the short time you are there I would recommend you see any and all of these attractions.
There are plenty of hop on and hop off buses but I am sure HAL have pre-cruise excursions available as well. Although Dover castle is amazing you may want to take into consideration how tired you will be after flying and touring London. However, if you have the energy a train from London’s Uston Station goes directly into Dover and it’s only a short cab ride from the station and from the ship. Please let me know what else I can do for you to help prepare you for your European vacation

Mr Bill from ZydecoCruiser.com Asked:
John, Please Answer
On the Carnival Splendor South American cruise, Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt are tender ports.
Will we use Carnival Splendor lifeboats as tenders or do the ports have tenders available?
If either port has tenders available, are they the large kind that can hold 200 or more passengers?
mr bill
John, Please Answer

John Says:Hello Bill
I checked with the ship and they informed me that they will use the port tenders and if needed a few of our own, as well. The tender rides are not long so debarkation in these ports should be fine. It’s always great to hear from you and we all look forward to seeing your photos

Elizabeth Gwin Asked:
Is it possible that you will someday be on the Conquest from Galveston???

John Says:Hello Elizabeth
Did you know that I have never been on the Carnival Conquest or visited Galveston …..so, I think its time I did both don’t you? See you soon ………..I hope

OK, its 4 pm and I have to stop now. I have a few more outstanding which I will answer tomorrow starting with ………….Brenda R. Please keep your questions and comments coming and remember to mark them for my reply should you wish me to do so.

Now, everyone is getting very excited about the Carnival Pride’s arrival to Baltimore in April. We have lots of exciting things………..top-secret things……….planned for this and I am planning on being there to host them. I can’t tell you anymore for a few weeks but I will soon I promise. For those who have never seen inside the ship………….here are a few photos of your……Carnival Pride.

David’s Supper Club

Ivory Piano Bar

Renaissance Grand Atrium & Bar

Venus Lido Pool

At 10 am I will be flying on American Airlines from Miami to New Orleans and joining the Carnival Fantasy. I will be preparing the ship ready for the bloggers cruise and blogging each of the five days with photos and videos of the Evolutions of Fun upgrades as well as reports on my onboard experiences……….I hope you will join me. Then, I have three days in the Big Easy to rest and blog ready for the 400-plus bloggers to join together on February 7……….I can’t wait.

Let’s go back to our friend and her eight babies……………it’s going to be a struggle for her now but imagine what it’s going to be like when they are old enough to walk and talk. How is she going to divide her time between all of them…..equally? She will probably just plonk them down in front of the TV which it seems is what many parents do with their kids these days. Frightening new research shows that pre-school children are spending up to three hours a day “glued to the television.”

Of course, it’s easy to see why this is happening. Now that we are not allowed to smack our children, parents have had to think of a new device for keeping control. Some have decided to glue their naughty offspring to the television set. I intend to glue our Thingy to the washing machine or the ironing board. Heidi and I feel it’s more of a punishment.

What’s even more frightening, however, is what modern children do when they’re not stuck to 54 inches of plasma. I am told by mothers here in the Miami office that their thingies sleep for 10 hours, go to nursery for three hours, play outside for one hour and have the undivided attention of their parents for less than two.

That leaves five hours a day unaccounted for. They’re too young to hang around shopping centers looking sullen, and their thumbs are not sufficiently well developed to be engaged on the PlayStationWiiXbox. They can’t read or write or do housework. So what are they doing?

The message from all this is clear: If I am not careful I am going to be a bad Dad living in a bad world.

It is now accepted that fathers spend less than 15 minutes a day with their children, which sounds terrible. In my case, what makes it worse is that I spend half an hour every morning reading magazines and newspapers on the lavatory. Ipso facto I love my bowels twice as much as I will love my Thingy.

What kind of world is this, for heaven’s sake? I’ll tell you what kind of world it is: a wonderful one. Despite what the doom-mongering surveys may tell us, every single generation is better off than the one before.

The message we’re given, all the time, is that us lot in the capitalist West are irresponsible parents. But in fact we’re more responsible and more caring now than at any time or place in the whole of human history.

Fathers in Dickensian times would have given their one tooth to spend 15 minutes a day away from the mines and with their children. Mothers in some poor countries almost certainly dream of teaching their daughters to draw and to ride bikes. But instead they have to spend their days walking 200 miles to fetch another pitcher of water.

Sure, you may point to our alarming number of divorces, but couples have split since the dawn of time. The difference today is that when a father leaves he is hunted down by the courts to make sure he pays the bills to support the kids he left behind when he had an affair with the Latvian nanny……..in my opinion they should all be hunted down that big bloke bounty hunter who looks like Paris Hilton on steroids who then castrates them with a blunt spoon.

You may also point an accusing finger at the working mums — but look at the money they bring home and the treats it buys. Children today have been further and seen more by the time they’re 10 than I had at 25.

Then there’s the business of television. When I was young the reason I watched so little is simple: it showed educational programs all day and shut down at midnight. Now satellites and optical fibers bring 20 children’s channels to the corner of our living rooms and I intend to let my Thingy watch as much as he/she wants. At worst children’s television is harmless and at best it’s educationally nutritional.

I have changed my mind recently over the last year or so about the PlayStationWiiXbox? When we were growing up we made space helmets from squeezy bottles. We were learning how to make stuff in an industrialized world. But it’s not industrialized any more. It’s World.com and kids are playing with computers. Why is that wrong? It’s not as if we’re sending them up chimneys or forcing them to sleep in sewers. They don’t come home with bubonic sores around their nostrils……..kids are different today and I as an older Dad will have to get used to this. You see, for those of us of a forty-ish disposition, we have to face the fact that today 11 is the new 17.

If I’d been left at home alone when I was 11, I’d have been dead of hunger or electrocution within the hour. Come to think of it, if I were left at home aged 42 there’d be the same result in the same sort of time frame. We might like to think of an 11-year-old as some newborn foal, all slimy and incapable with wobbly legs, but it’s not that long ago that 11-year-olds were skilled in the art of mining and pickpocketry. And nothing’s changed.

Today, most 11-year-olds know how to hot-wire a car, outrun the police, fight an entire army of aliens, drink a bottle of vodka without being sick and operate a digital satellite transceiver. So they should have no trouble at all with a microwave and a tin opener.

Certainly, most 11-year-olds are far better able to fend for themselves than most 80-year-olds. And the state has no qualms about leaving them all by themselves for week after interminable week with no pension and no reliable means of reaching the lavatory on time.

Can an 80-year-old program a television or understand packet food? Can an 80-year-old afford the heating bills? Not usually. Furthermore, you should put yourself in the shoes of the 11-year-old. At home. Alone. Over Christmas……….like Macaully Cokehead in that movie. For an 80-year-old this is hell on earth, but for an 11-year-old it’s about as close to heaven as you can get while your heart is still beating.

No smelly Aunties who want to kiss you on the mouth. No Brussels sprouts. No need to wait until Christmas morning to play with your new X-BoxPlaystation WiiWii game, and no need to worry that someone might want to watch television instead. No need to open presents which you know are sweaters and socks and books about how to pass your SATs.

And because you can eat what you want, where you want, with your fingers, while slouching, and with your elbows on the table, there will be no family rows and no volcanic explosions as, for the only time in a whole year, a family is forced to coexist in a small space for a long time.

So, as a parent to be I am going to stop looking to remote tribesmen for guidance? We’re forever being told that we should return to their simple ways. What simple ways would those be — dragging our sons away from Grand Theft Auto and making them stalk a deer when they are hungry? The time has come to lose this worry, this tofu-inspired guilt, this sense that because we have jobs and two cars and a choice of 35 sorts of cereal at the supermarket, we must beat ourselves to sleep with twigs.

Our children are having a great time and life for our grandchildren will be even better. God bless the lady with eight kids though…….I am not sure of her name but for the first few years and all those diaper changes………I think it’s safe to call her ……Mrs. Brown.

See you in New Orleans
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.