ANYONE who’s ever watched Dragon’s Den on BBC America knows the world is full of people with ridiculous ideas for making money. “Yes, Duncan. I’ve invented a pair of underpants which, at the touch of a button, can be turned into a food blender.”

Next . . .

“Thank you, Duncan. I need a million dollars to market a special tape which can tell whether the peanuts on a bar counter have too much urine on them because people touch them without washing their hands.”

Next . . .

Things are even madder if you delve into the patent office to see what the world’s inventors are up to these days.

But by far and away the stupidest idea for making money in the whole of human history is not in the patent office or on Dragon’s Den. It’s on the Web and it’s called Skype.

I would dearly have loved to have been in the bank manager’s office when the inventors strolled in and asked for a loan to get their idea off the ground.

“Yes. Our idea is that you download a program from the internet, which costs customers nothing, and then they can make completely free video phone calls to anywhere in the entire world. How brilliant is that?!!!”
Right. So it doesn’t cost anything to buy. And the calls cost nothing either.

I bet the bank manager exploded from laughing so much.

But I bet he’s not laughing now because Skype was sold to eBay in 2005, netting the inventors $8.2 million. I still don’t understand how it makes money but I do know it’s brilliant……….and when you are away from the one you love it’s a great way to communicate. Unfortunately it does not work from the ships so Heidi and I have to make do with a good old fashioned telephone call.

But I have it on my lap top dancer computer and sometimes, just for the hell of it, I ring up people in Paris just to laugh at them for living in Paris ………….sometimes I just make a Skype video call to Mr. Frenchy and say nothing……..I just hold a bar of soap in front of the camera and watch the look of bewilderment spread across their face.

And here’s the really good bit. You can have a conference call. This means you could have a dinner party, for all your closest friends. And not bother cooking anything. Or even inviting them.

The only drawback is the video bit. The idea that you can see the person you’re talking to but when you are being watched, it is very difficult to lie. On a normal phone, it’s very easy to say you are working hard. You only need to get your voice right. But when you have to get your face right as well, that’s tricky.

Especially when the caller can see that Bob isn’t actually working from home checking the company accounts but, is actually, prancing around the room wearing stockings and suspenders.

Despite this, there’s no getting away from the fact that the calls, Skype to Skype at least, cost nothing.
And that’s just epic…..I only wish someone could invent a way to make it work from the ship……..I miss seeing Heidi very much.

Let’s get on with answering some of the latest comments that have been marked for my reply………… we go.

mmcbride Asked:

My fiancée and I are booked on the Conquest Feb 8. The last time I was on the Conquest they did a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Can I look forward to that again? We routinely attend a showing of it in our home town and it would be great to show her what it is like on the Conquest.
Best wishes to you, Heidi, and Thingy.

John Says:

Hello McBride.
I checked with Wee Jimmy, the cruise director, about this but unfortunately we are no longer showing this movie. However………..he has replaced it with………..well you know what, I am not going to spoil the surprise but I know you will love what he has chosen and I know you will love Wee Jimmy as your cruise director. Have a wonderful cruise and my best regards to you and the family and thanks so much for the kind wishes

Pete Kelly Asked:

I was wondering how you can obtain a job as a social host onboard one of your ships. I frequently check Carnival’s web site for job postings but never see the social host position on there. Thank you.

John Says:

Hello Pete
Thanks for asking about employment as a social host or entertainment staff as the position is now known. May I direct you to which has all the information on this and other positions and how to apply for them? Have a read and if you have any questions please let me know via the blog.
Good luck mate

Tom & Jane Asked:

great to see Captain Queirolo,
We sailed on the TSS Festivale at least 7 times, and we had stateroom U66, 4 years in a row. We loved that ship, she was some SWEET LADY. we had the same waiter 5 times….his name was JUDE STEWART….we heard he still works for Carnival he was from Grenada, once when he was in port in Miami… he took a bus trip to visit us in St. Petersburg, sure would love to see him again. He is one reason we sail Carnival, a real nice caring guy. HEY JOHN can you check with Carnival in Miami and see if
he is still working for CARNIVAL, and what ship he is on. Thanking you in advance
Tom & Jane
the TSS Festivale sails on in our hearts & memory

John Says:

Hello Tom and Jane
Ahhhh, the Festivale, a ship that holds so many memories for so many people and being in the same cabin four times really must have felt like coming home. Jude does indeed still work for Carnival and is currently on vacation but rejoins the Carnival Elation in March. I will make sure he sees a copy of your comment which I am sure he will be thrilled to read. I hope our new fleet of ships will bring you as many happy memories as the Festivale did.
My best to you both

CruisinSue Asked:

Hi John (Please respond)
It has been a while since I have written, partly because of me being super busy getting ready for the Blogger cruise next week!! I was just looking at the CD schedule and I didn’t see Michael on the list. I am not sure of his last name, but he was on the Pride about a year or so past. His wife is named Jenny and she was a dancer onboard. Is he still with Carnival? Also, are you definitely going to be our CD on the Valor March 29? We booked along with Carolyn and Don specifically for you to be our CD.
Heidi looks wonderful. She has that certain glow that all pregnant women have. And she did a great job putting the crib together. Give her my best and tell thank you for the card. We received it a few days ago.
Also, it is possible to get a schedule for Eddie Capone’s ship performances? He is absolutely one of my favorite comedians. I have seen him on several ships and had a private performance and visit at the airport in Tampa. I truly hope to get to see him again soon.
Give my best to Heidi and the family. I will see you next week. I will be bearing a couple of gifts for you that will probably make Bubba very jealous!! My best to all, and Hi and thank you to Stephanie.
Gloria aka Sue

John Says:

Hello Sue
I am sure you are getting excited about the bloggers cruise, I know I am. Michael and Jenny Mullane trained with me back in 2003 on the Carnival Triumph. Michael then went on to be a great cruise director. He left us two years or so ago and now works for our sister company P&O where he currently is serving as cruise director on the Oriana. Eddie Capone……the Godfather of Comedy……..well, he works exclusively on all of our ships as he is so popular so giving you as schedule ahead of time really is difficult. In the month of February for example I see he is on six different vessels. He is a really funny man and someone who has taught me a lot over the years. I truly hope to be your CD in March and if there is any change I will make sure I tell you ahead of time. I don’t want to miss a chance of us being together.
Your kind words mean so much to us both and as always I send my best regards to you and your family

Deborah Asked:

Hi John,
Please reply:
We are traveling on the Pride, May 10. I want to know which night will be formal night or lobster dinner night…. I want to make reservations at the Supper Club for me and my parents as we will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. And my birthday. But we don’t want to miss formal night – thanks! I would like to ask for one small gift – I hate doing this…but here goes. Is there anyway possible to have two of those fabulous “ship on a stick” sent to our room for their anniversary present and my birthday present…it doesn’t take much to please us
We are in cabin ### – thanks much
Love to you Heidi and Thingy to be

John Says:

Hello Deborah
The Carnival Pride will have her elegant night where the lobster is served on day 2 of the cruise. Wow……….60 years, that is truly extraordinary and I wish I could be there in the Supper Club with you to help celebrate this amazing milestone. Of course I will send a trophy to their room……….and I am sure that wont be all. Please can you remind me the week before the cruise starts and I will make it so.
All the best to Mum and Dad and all the family

Susan V Asked:

All I can say is WOW John! That was a very heart tugging story! See even the toughest looking person can be a big teddy bear too! I think it’s a lesson so many of us could take from this. Don’t judge people by what they wear or look like, get to know them and then you may find some real jewels there!
Thank you for the wonderful interview with the Captain. We look forward to his adventures with the Dream.
Have a wonderful time in NO!
Susan & Scott
*** Please respond when you have time****
I heard a while back that they are changing the menus in the supper clubs. Has this been done and do you know what they changed? I personally haven’t dined in there because to be honest, the appetizers were mainly seafood to which I am allergic to. I would love to see maybe some new choices. I am not asking for caviar (yuck!) but a few more items that may appeal to a broader group of people also.
Thanks again,
Susan & Scott

John Says:

Hello Susan and Scott.
I am glad you enjoyed reading the story about my flight to New Orleans. I felt such an idiot and I wish there was some way I could find out how the lady is doing. The Supper Club menu has some new items on it and you can expect some additions this year as we look to offer more choice. Have you ever tried the French Onion Soup?……OK, sorry ……….have you ever tried the Onion Soup?………it is simply delicious and that’s always what I have to start. We are very proud of our Supper Clubs. You know, I was talking the other day to a food critic who has sailed on virtually every ship in the industry. He told me that the three best private dining restaurants in the industry are:
Sabatini’s on Princess Cruise Lines Grand Class
Tamarind Pan Asian on Holland America’s Eurodam
Carnival’s Supper Clubs.
I was very proud when he told me this and I am sure that we will continue to make what ever changes are needed to keep us in first place………..and by the way……….I think we should offer a few more meaty appetizers.
Hope that helps and don’t forget the Porterhouse steak

Rick H. Asked:

PLEASE REPLY if you get a chance.
As the father of three (including twins), I can’t imagine how much work it would be to raise eight children all the same age!
I understand your thoughts about trying to find family time on a daily basis. FYI: Our Wii thingy gives us opportunities for this! To help balance it out, we go on our annual Carnival vacation. (All 3 kids are anxious to join mom & dad as Platinum status. Only 2 more to go for them to get there…)
Here is my question: I know the Miracle is going into drydock before our March 29th cruise. Is there any chance it’s getting the Mongolian Grill during this time? We’ve never sailed the Spirit class before, and this immediately became one of our favorite features as soon as we encountered it!
I second the request for a video of the BC v.2 Bedtime Story! You were our CD for our first 2 cruises (honeymoon on Ecstasy in ‘93 and Sensation in ‘94), and the Bedtime Stories still stand out as highlight events. I guess that means you’re at least partially responsible for our addiction to Carnival cruising!
Missing the BC, but looking forward to the Miracle 2 months from today.
Rick H.

John Says:

Hello Rick
Thanks so much for the kind words and congratulations on raising your kids so well and………….for enveloping them in the world of Carnival cruising. I am grateful to you for mentioning the Bedtime Story. I guess it has become my signature piece and even though the premise is the same it is different every cruise because of the characters I choose………….you never know what’s going to happen.
Now, as for the Mongolian on the Carnival Miracle. Well…..I am not sure but I will find out on Monday for you mate and will let you know. I hope they are adding this to the lido fare as it has become so very popular.
I hope we get to sail together very soon and my kindest regards to you and the family

msqpon – Jo Myerly Asked:

Hi John, I need some information about Montevideo, Uruguay. We are going to be there February 19 on the South America cruise. We hope to spend the day with our friend and his family who are from there. Can you find out which pier the Splendor will dock at and what time we will be getting off the ship? Where would be a good place to meet him? Any help you can give us will be appreciated. Hope you are enjoying sunny FL. It is still cold and snowy in NJ.
Thanks for your help,

John Says:

Hello Jo
I will find out for you and let you know ASAP. Stand by and I will write soon

LisaK Asked:

Please reply….
I am so excited to hear you have some events planned for the Pride in Baltimore. Will these be open to the public or will they be for sailing passengers. We are so excited to have Carnival back in our hometown and surely want to participate in as many events as we can to celebrate Carnival’s arrival.
Be sure to wear your “I’m crabby” ball cap I gave you at the Piñata event in Philadelphia.
See you next week in NOLA.
The Kilmartins

John Says:

Hello Lisa
I often wear the cap you gave me in fact Heidi once got out of bed to fetch it and make me wear it in bed. I am so glad that you are excited that Carnival is returning to Baltimore. We in turn are very excited and we will be celebrating the event in style. I can’t publish anymore information just yet but of course it will be something I hope to invite all the bloggers to. More information will be forthcoming soon and until then I send you my best regards

cindy56 Asked:

Can you tell me if it’s possible to get water that has been previously boiled on Carnival ships? I am sailing on 3/15 on the Sensation and need it for medicinal purposes, otherwise, I have to bring a small kettle which is a pain in the behind……LOL
There is a family in Pennsylvania who have a set of twin girls 8 1/2 and had sextuplets almost 5 years ago. They have their own show called Jon & Kate Plus 8 and if you ever get a chance, it’s only daily on The Learning Channel. It’s a wonderful, realistic show of the joys and struggles to raise 2 sets of multiples.
You’ll be glad that you and Heidi are only having one baby…….

John Says:

Hello Cindy
We will be able to take care of this for you onboard. It will be easy to do and I should mention that we don’t allow kettles in the cabins for safety reasons. Please let your stateroom steward know and remember there is always hot water available 24 hours from room service and on Lido Deck. If you have any other concerns please make sure you let me know so we can look after you.
I cannot imagine eight kids and as it turns out she already has six children…….I think her name is Mrs. Rabbit.
Thank you for writing and remember I am here should you need anything

OK, that’s all I have time for today but the outstanding seven comments marked for reply will be so tomorrow starting with a question from “Timmer.” Please bear with me the next few days on the questions and I will get to all of them as soon as I can I promise.

Last night was cruise elegant night. There have been lots of conversations here on the blog thingy and more so on the cruise boards about dress code on these nights. I myself was very interested to see how many of the 2,600 guests on this four day cruise would in fact wear elegant clothing. Well, I have to say I was surprised because I would say that at least 80% did indeed look elegant.

Both cocktail parties were well attended. There were some who decided to remain in their relaxed clothing but in the dining room everyone honored the dress code. That’s the great thing about this policy of ours. ….choice. If you want to dress elegantly than the dining room awaits. If you prefer to stay in a T-shirt and jeans………..then we have a wonderful selection of casual fare on Lido Deck.

I went to the dining room of course and enjoyed the following from our menu.

Appetizer – Rolled Proscuitto with Zucchini
Salad – Caesar Salad
Main Course – Prime Rib – end cut, served well done – I told the baked potato to bugger off
Dessert – Sugar-Free Banana Gateau

The guests really enjoyed the singing of O Sole Mio my the dining room staff and then we all went to see surely on of the best received shows on the seven seas ………..Ticket To Ride. I love this tribute to John, Paul, George and Ringo………hey talking of Ringo Starr, did you see that You Tube Video he posted?………if not, here is the link thingy that someone sent me yesterday.

The first time anyone asked for my autograph, I clung on to her leg for hours thanking her profusely and even offered to write her a poem in my own blood to thank her. As I stood there in my blue blazer, sobbing and quietly wetting myself, I vowed that I’d never refuse to sign an autograph for anyone. It seems though that Ringo has become stricken with Howiemandelitus. He’s had enough. He’s got writer’s cramp and, after 50 years, is giving up autographs for good.

It seems autograph hunters are the bane of his life and he respond to all requests with either a fierce growl or a muted threat of extreme violence using power tools, big dogs and a false leg that Ringo found the last time he was at Paul’s house. It just takes patience I guess.

Now, I wouldn’t dream of even suggesting that I am even close to being on the same Plateau as Ringo. If he is an A list celebrity I am one who is Z minus 300. But, when I am on a ship people do ask for photos and regardless if you are in a hurry, tired or desperate for a poo……you can never say no……and anyone who does is an idiot. OK, it’s not always easy when guests want a photo for example. You can spend a lot of time standing around while little old ladies rummage around in their pursers for pens that never work, or grinning while someone trawls through the instruction manual for their cell phone to see how to take a picture on it . . . . . . before handing it over to a passer-by who wastes another 15 minutes pressing the wrong buttons until eventually he takes a photo of his own nose. So, Ringo (Peace and Love) will never sign another autograph ……. or …….. maybe he will because I have a feeling that he had no idea what he was saying on that video having just smoked a palm tree……allegedly.

Well, the Carnival Fantasy arrived in Cozumel Mexico today. I was amazed to see that the pier that was destroyed by Hurricane Bastard has been completely rebuilt in record time and today the Carnival Fantasy docked there alongside her sister ship the Carnival Ecstasy. The last time I would have docked here on this ship would have been in 1990 when there were just a few shops and restaurants. Now, as most of you know, that has changed a wee bit…………and to be honest…….I miss the old Cozumel.

Why is Cozumel so popular with everyone, you wonder?…..It’s an affordable part of the Caribbean. The island is small, it feels safe, there’s little traffic and it is easy to get around. It’s a natural paradise, with modern amenities and friendly locals. The snorkeling tours we offer are just brilliant. Cozumel is on the second-largest coral reef in the world. I love the white, sandy beaches, as it never fails to have the guests enthralled and in a wonderful mood when they return to the ship. I won’t be disembarking because I am here writing to you but the guests are and as always the most popular tours according to our shore excursion manager are the Jeep tours, all the snorkeling and of course swimming with the dolphins. Yep…………..I may miss the old Cozumel when a lobster dinner cost $10……….but there is no doubt that for today’s cruise ship guest it remains one of the most popular ports in the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, some of today’s tours were canceled because it’s as windy as my bottom after eating a vindaloo curry. But, Big Tex’s announcement was wonderfully clear as he listed the tours that had been canceled and the ones that they could change to. He then explained how they are automatically refunded to the guests’ Sail & Sign account……..I am very impressed with Big Tex and he deserves his promotion to the be the Carnival Valor’s permanent cruise director………but not before I get to have my three weeks on there, of course.

OK, I hope you enjoyed the photos of the ship yesterday and here are some more featuring the massively popular Carnival WaterWorks and a Lido Deck that when I was here last served only burgers, hot dogs and fries……………but now has a variety of foods including Mongolian work, pizza, daily specials, the grille, a NY-style Deli and a rotisserie chicken……By the way , there is of course more than one chicken…….I mean there isn’t just one chicken serving 2,600 people………..that would be one big chicken …..maybe a Chernobyl chicken….anyway, you understand there is more than one chicken….don’t you?

OK, shut up John and just post today’s photos taken of the Lido, the WaterWorks and one of the newly refurbished cabins………..remember all the cabins have been upgraded and they look absolutely fabulous.















That’s the Carnival Ecstasy in with us by the way.

I told someone last night that I had been on the inaugural cruise of this ship back in 1990 and after pausing for a few moments he said “How old are you now……50?”

So after the beating I sat back and thought to myself……… I really look 50? People say life begins at 40, and that you become happy, contented and more popular than ever.

It all sounds very jolly but I’m afraid it’s bollocks, because when I reached 40 I got the distinct impression that I’d outlived my biological purpose, that I would never again do anything worth doing for the first time and that there was nothing to look forward to, except maybe the medical profession finding a permanent cure for hemorrhoids.

It may be true to say that middle-aged people stop being competitive and self-centered but that’s because, at some point in your 40s, you reach as high up the ladder of life as you are ever going to and then you realize there are no more worlds to conquer. So there’s no point stabbing colleagues in the back because it’s pointless. You know the only way is down.

The worst thing about becoming 40, though, is that your brain’s default setting changes from sex to death. We’re told that men in their twenties and thirties think about rumpy-pumpy every six minutes and never consider dying at all. At 40, the big picture of Angelina Jolie’s breasts is erased from your human screensaver and replaced by a shadowy figure with a cloak and a scythe.

I wonder all the time about how I might die and when it might happen. Every morning when I wake up, I’m surprised. And what’s more, I’ve talked to several of my friends, all of whom admit that when they’re not really thinking about anything in particular, they think about death.

That’s why you see so many old men playing golf. They’re not doing this to stay fit. They’re sacrificing their dignity in a desperate bid to make the screensaver go away.

However, since death is preferable to golf, I’m not really bothered by the “when.” I’m more concerned with the “how.” And I’ve decided I definitely don’t want to drown, or be murdered with an axe by someone who wants my watch. Most of all, though, I don’t want to meet the Reaper with a tube up my nose. I don’t want my last staging post on Earth to be a hospital ward full of old grey people. Because that would be boring.

And I’m not alone. One chap I spoke to said he didn’t care how he died so long as it was in a fireball of some kind. Another said he dreamed of dying while doing some good. Charging a machinegun nest perhaps, or rescuing a group of schoolchildren from a tiger. Me? Well I’d like it to be the basis of a damn good story and pop off to the sound of every bugger in the room laughing.

Perhaps this is why men my age buy Porsches. It has nothing to do with testosterone’s losing battle with an ever-expanding waistline. And everything to do with a need to die while doing 180mph.

So, I feel old and having been told that I look 50 years old today I feel pretty despondent as well. But then………. I remember I have the best job in the world, the best parents in the world, the best wife in the world and, in three months time, I will have the best Thingy in the world. So, the chap who said I looked like I had lived for half a century can bugger off……..I have everything to live for……and when life gets me down I always recite this little poem to myself.

Come on John, don’t feel down
Turn that frown upside down
Life is good if you give it a chance
It could be worse, you could live in France
So, tell that bad mood of yours to go to hell
Because you’re not French and you don’t smell
This bad mood of yours is just plain silly
Just because your big and you can’t see your willy
So it’s Fun For All and All For Fun
And forget about those hemorrhoids that live on your bum
So stop being down and stop being grumpy
And remember the times when you had rumpy pumpy
Its time to go and get out of this fog
By remembering your wife and thingy and your friends on the blog
Say bollocks to the credit crunch there’s nothing to loose
Because you are a cruise director……..born to cruise.

I do miss Heidi, though

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.