Caller I.D.

February 14, 2009 -

John Heald

Today…………it’s all about the telephone.

My mate Alan called me this morning ……….at 6:15am Miami time ……bastard …………… anyway, once I heard why he had called I sat up in bed, shocked and ready to help my best mate because he was really in poo street ………… because ……….. He had forgotten Valentine’s Day. His wife had come home from shopping this morning and given him a card and stood there waiting for hers……….and he had nothing to give.  Now, as the dreadful realization dawned, he had to take decisive action. What should he do?

“Emigrate,” I said thoughtfully “and then take an axe and chop of your thingy as you will obviously never need it again”……. Alan didn’t seem to appreciate this advice very much so I apologized and suggested an axe was too big and that he would need a more precision instrument such as a small Swiss Army Knife to perform the surgery with……. he didn’t appreciate that advice either.

I then suggested that dishonesty is the best policy and then I then gave him my three-point plan is:

1) Don’t say you’ve forgotten.
2) Hint that there’s a very big surprise you have arranged, but that it’s a secret you cannot reveal for the time being.
3) Frantically arrange that very big surprise.

You see, thanks to Mr. Hallmark there is so much pressure on us men to remember everything from birthdays and anniversaries to first dates and first rumpy pumpys. Heidi is one who loves cards and celebrations and dates and I knew if I ever forgot one of our  “anniversaries” then I would be where Alan is today……….in the doghouse with no thingy. So, I came up with a cunning plan to avoid the pain.

I told her that I’m hopeless at choosing presents, and I’d much rather she bought what she really wanted, but that I would still like to wrap it up and give it to her on the day. So she buys it, and says, ‘This is my anniversary present for Wednesday,” I remember the date, she gets the present she wants, and everyone’s happy.

So what do women think men should do if they forget an all-important date?  I imagine women would want to hear something like. “You are constantly in my thoughts – every day with you is special and filled with my love for you.”  This probably works only if the man looks away from the basketball game long enough for her to see the passion in his eyes. Red roses definitely help – one for each year you’ve been together – but don’t, whatever you do, grab a cellophaned bunch of mixed carnations from the Citgo station. The language of flowers on that occasion is, “You mean as much to me as getting gas.'”

And so Alan is as we speak in the High Street where he lives. He is buying flowers, a card, chocolates and as per my suggestion he is going to rent a movie he would never ever rent to watch with his wife tonight. I suggested “The Lorraina Bobbitt Story” ……and you won’t believe what happened next…………he hung up on me…………the ungrateful git.

Heidi and I don’t celebrate Valentines Day anymore. It was unfortunately the evening when her beloved Dad and my friend Joop passed away suddenly. And so instead of celebrating our love for each other because Hallmark says it’s the law, instead we celebrate the life of her father whom we all miss very, very much.

I was scared of him the first time we met. Heidi and I had met in Amsterdam in a restaurant. I was with a friend and fellow Cruise Director Greg Saunders. He was a brilliant young man and someone I had trained to be the best CD ever. He was tall, good looking in a classic David Niven way. The ladies would gather around him like flies around a big pile of yak poo and he loved every minute of it. He went on to be a cruise director and all was going well until he threw it all away.

I can’t go into details but he was let go by Carnival in 1998. He could have been the best…….I lost touch with him after that and I hope he is OK. Maybe he is reading this now and if you are mate please get in touch so that I can give you a massive kick in the bollocks for throwing your career away and then a big hug and a handshake to tell you how much I miss you and to see if there is anything I can do for you old friend.

Anyway, back to Amsterdam. Greg and I were there for very different reasons. Yes, we were both looking forward to some fun but while I wanted to see Anne Frank’s house and the Rijksmuseum Museum, Greg wanted to see the famous Sex Museum and smoke a palm tree at the famous mellow Yellow Bar. And so during the day we separated and while I was admiring the Rembrandt’s Night Watch Gregg was admiring the agricultural products of Jamaica. We met later that night and surprisingly he had the munchies so me and Michael Phelps went out to dinner. That’s where we met Heidi and her friends Susanne and Marjolein……and the rest is history as they say.

Anyway, some weeks later I realized that Heidi was the one for me. I knew this because she was a girl, she liked me and hadn’t vomited when I suggested we see each other again. And so it was that we drove to her parents’ house located in a little village about half an hour outside Amsterdam.  It’s a typical Dutch village full of people on bikes, windmills, clogs and the shopping center has 27 different cheese shops. I was very nervous when I arrived at the house and I already knew that this was a pair of underwear which would not survive the day. Now, it also happened to be Heidi’s father’s birthday and so I had arrived with a gift of cigars, cognac and a card. And there he stood, handsome and dignified in pressed dress pants, jacket and tie. And there I stood in ……… ummmmmmmmmm……jeans and an old Imagination polo shirt………..bugger.

Well, to cut a long story short we became great friends that day and later that year he would accompany Heidi on a two-week cruise on the Fascination before allowing her to stay with me for another three. A few years later I asked his permission to marry his daughter and after making me promise I would always look after her he said “ja.”

Telling Heidi that her father had passed away was the most distressing and difficult day of my life and I feel so guilty that I cannot be with Heidi today. But, today we celebrate a family man who I smoked cigars with and laughed with and watched soccer with and who taught me how to say “chocoladevlokkenlecherlongerlecher.”

OK, let’s turn things over to Jaime

February 12, 2009

Dear John,

Our Brazilian adventure continues with today’s port of call, which is none other than the culturally enriching, thriving metropolis of Salvador. As guests returned from their days on land I took surveys of how they enjoyed the port. I heard a variety of answers ranging from “experienced some strange smells” (Now you must take into consideration that the lady with response numero dos was legally blind — nevertheless, I am sure she had a fabulous time!) all the way to “it was the most interesting piece of land I have ever set eyes upon.”

The general consensus was that this was a great port. There was a huge elevator ride in the middle of the city that you could take up, up and away to get a simply breathtaking picturesque view. I know this because… well I saw the pictures, thanks to my SeaMiles buddy Ginell!

Looking at the port area from the ship, it seem that we were in the middle of an actual city and downtown area! Within walking distance there was a bank, some industrial type buildings, and an interesting looking residential area. For those guests that chose to take the organized tour of this area they were fortunate enough to observe the multiple churches in the historic district. I also learned that similar to most industrialized countries, there was an incredible contrast between the wealthy and poor in Salvador.

As far as dining options to consider, many of my peers were fortunate enough to experience a taste of the Salvadorian culture. They told me that they were lucky to find a full spread of incredible food that charged a mere $5! When I asked about the quality of the food, their eyes lit up as they explained the smorgasbord (I never thought I would use that word) of fruits, appetizers, soups, salads, meets, breads the list goes on and on and then on some more after that. They loved the food, and it is rumor that Rio will have an even better selection.

If you ever are fortunate to visit Salvador, I am sure you will absolutely love it. Whichever way you choose to experience the city it is important to BRING LOTS OF SUNSCREEN! It was very hot and even leaving port at 4 pm many guests were in desperate need of aloe vera upon returning to the ship. Most Americans have never felt sun like this.

As far on board events and news: we are all adjusting to a different demographic than our typical Carnival Guests. For next cruise we will welcome our new bridge instructors, our massive influx of crotcheting materials of course a huge increase in our library inventory. Spirits are high here on the Carnival Splendor, looking forward to visiting Rio, rounding the Cape and eventually returning to the USA.

For anyone joining the ship in Buenos Aires: My lovely roommate Shelley Anne would be eternally grateful if you turned up with some Gap Dream body spray. She claims she needs a “day scent,” and frankly I am sick of smelling her night scent all day and night!

I do not need to find love, but I do need to find some Gap Dream to make Shelley happy!

All the best,

one-of-the-churches-in-the-historic-district
One of the churches in the historic district

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The downtown area in Salvador

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The view of the entire city of Salvador with the Splendor docked in the background

the-view-of-the-entire-city-of-salvador-with-the-splendor-docked-in-the-background
The view of the entire city of Salvador with the Splendor docked in the background

More from Rio soon!!
Jaime =)

I wonder if Carnival will ever have the opportunity to offer these cruises ever again. Maybe the other way round from California back to Florida? It certainly seems like a brilliant adventure and that everyone is having a great time. We know this thanks to Jaime who although on this Valentine’s Day wanders lonely as a cloud we applaud for sharing what’s happening onboard the Carnival Splendor.

Well, reading the comments it appears that everyone had a brilliant time on the bloggers cruise. I did read one comment from a guest who said that they felt left out because they were not with Cruise Critic, Cruise Mates or Big Ed’s group. That made me sad. We certainly didn’t give ant of those three groups any special privileges as everyone was invited to everything. Yes, the three groups had private cocktail parties arranged by them but everything else was the same for everyone. I am sorry if you felt let down and I hope you still managed to have fun.

One thing that everyone seems to agree on is just who brilliant the Carnival Fantasy looked after her Evolutions of Fun upgrades……..and…………drum roll please…………..it’s about time we showed you the Carnival Sensation who has just left dry dock……….have a look a these photos and tell me if you notice anything different.

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Yep…………balconies…………loads of them and what an absolute brilliant addition to this great ship. So, now you can book a Sensation cruise which are the best value short voyages in the industry and enjoy the extra treat of sitting on your balcony watching the Caribbean Sea go by…………….brilliant.

Tomorrow I will take a day off from blogging. That’s because I have to pack ……. again ……and head to the Carnival Valor. I shall more than likely be staying below as cabin space is at a premium so I will need the day to get sorted. I will be back on Monday with a review of the Carnival Valor and how the young CD David is doing. Then, on the 22nd I get to be CD again……and live in the CD cabin and more importantly live in the same place for a month.

Anyway……..I won’t be blogging tomorrow but I will be posting a fantastic interview with the entertainment director of the Queen Victoria Alistair Greener. He is on another famous Cunard world voyage and he shares in his experiences and introduces us to the ship’s executive chef. It’s a fascinating look at what happens onboard a grand voyage like this so please stop by tomorrow.

Over on www.bestblogsatsea.com we have James Cussick who is onboard P & O’s Arcadia which is also on a world cruise. The ship is currently down under in Australia so have a read of his blog today and enjoy his wonderful writing.

Now many of you are Princess Cruises fans and often ask me to try and get them involved in the world of blogging. Well, so far I have failed however it seems that they are heading in the right direction. Last November I was aboard the magnificent Ruby Princess for her inaugural celebrations and christening service. This was carried out by two people obviously very much in love and so it seems fitting that they have made this couple……………well…………….why don’t we let Princess Cruises explain.

Princess Cruises Celebrates Valentine’s Day by Naming Ruby Princess Godparents Trista and Ryan Sutter to Department of Romance

“Love Boat Line” Also Launches New Facebook Group as Online Community for All Princess Cruises Romantics

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 12, 2009) – Love is “exciting and new” at Princess Cruises in celebration of Valentine’s Day, as the line announced that the christeners of Ruby Princess, Trista and Ryan Sutter, will join its Department of Romance as its newest experts, and that a new online community for all Princess Cruises romantics has debuted on Facebook.

Trista and Ryan are known as one of the most romantic duos in recent broadcast history following their courtship and marriage on the popular TV series The Bachelorette, and this past November they marked their fifth wedding anniversary by christening Princess’ latest cruise ship, Ruby Princess. As part of their new role, the Sutters will offer their advice on love for Princess’ exclusive online home for all things romantic.

“We’re thrilled to join Princess’ Department of Romance and share our unique perspective on dating, falling in love, getting married and having a family,” said Trista Sutter. “After having the honor of christening Ruby Princess, we’ve seen firsthand the romantic ambiance of a Princess cruise and we look forward to offering our tips for helping couples reconnect and make romance a priority.”

Further celebrating romantic connections with its past passengers, the cruise line is also launching an “I’m a Princess Cruises Romantic” group on Facebook. This special group will let passengers share their memorable love stories and moments from their Princess cruise vacation. Group members are encouraged to post their personal stories, photos, videos and engage in discussions about romance-related topics.

Princess’ Department of Romance, a tribute to the company’s decades-long legacy as the setting for the iconic TV show The Love Boat, is made up of noted experts on a variety of romantic topics and includes actor Gavin MacLeod, The Love Boat’s “Captain Stubing;” Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the always-provocative couples therapist; and Lisa Light, destination wedding expert and author. Throughout 2009 the Department will feature a changing array of expert topics, advice and points of view on everything from reinvigorating romance to tips on planning a destination wedding.

“It was such an exciting moment when Trista and Ryan christened Ruby Princess this past fall,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “So they seemed a natural choice to become a more permanent part of our company’s romance story, especially on Valentine’s Day.”

Trista and Ryan, the first and only couple from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchises to have actually gotten married, met in 2002 when Trista was America’s first Bachelorette. The two shows were the first and still are the most popular reality dating shows in which one man or woman searches for their soul mate out of 25 potential suitors. Over the course of the show, the bachelorette bestows roses on those bachelors she wishes to continue dating. Trista presented Ryan with her final rose and he proposed on the show’s finale in November 2002. The couple wed on December 6, 2003 in an elaborate television ceremony watched by 26 million viewers, making it one of the most widely watched episodes in the history of reality TV and one of ABC’s top rated shows of the year. After their highly visible courtship, Trista and Ryan moved to Vail, Colo., where they currently reside with their son, Max, and are awaiting the birth of their second child, a daughter, this spring. In addition to frequent TV interviews and promotional appearances, he is a firefighter and she is a stay-at-home mom and designer for her eco-friendly diaper bag line, Trista Baby (www.tristababy.com). Ryan can be found on the web at http://ryansutter.com/blog/.

Princess has been offering romantic cruise vacations around the world for more than 40 years. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at www.princess.com.

I know all the ladies just went “aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh”………..anyway, hopefully we can get Princess to start a blog. Stephanie Leavitt and I are here to help them if they need it. I know many of their fans would love to go behind the crew only door and see what’s happening.

Well, I guess I mentioned what hotel I was staying at because I have had five phone calls from bloggers. ……One just a few minutes ago from Mary (Maria) Ponce …………. Hello Mary. She lives here in Miami and offered me chicken soup to make my cold go away and she even offered to be my translator should I decide to go to the Dolphin Mall today. What a wonderful lady you are Mary ……….Grasyarse as Nanni from Puerto Rico would say. Please post a comment today if you can with your e-mail address so I can send a personal thank you to you.

I also had calls from Robert and Kevin whose flights to New Jersey and New York were delayed by six hours after leaving the ship and a call from Frank and Nadine who are also from Miami and wanted to take me to dinner tonight. The fifth call was not so nice as it was from someone who refused to give their name but told me that my comments and jokes about the environment and my constant jokes towards RCI ships and my toilet humor was inappropriate.

The man refused to give his name and when I asked him if he had cruised with me or Carnival, he admitted he had not because he was a RCI fan and had never or would never cruise Carnival. Now, the fact that he had taken the time to work out which Intercontinental Hotel I was staying at proved he reads the blog and as I tried to explain that most of what I write is in jest and not meant to be taken seriously……….he said and I swear this is true……….”Fu%$ off” and slammed the phone down.

As I sit here telling you this I am still in shock. I also feel really bad that someone hates my writing enough to spend time looking up the number and then spending money on a phone call just to tell me that he hates me, hates the blog and because of this he won’t sail on a Carnival ship.

He is correct of course. I must stop making fun of his favorite cruise line, the environment and using toilet humor for cheap laughs. So ………..Sir………….if you are reading this…….please call back and let me apologize to you ……… OH…………if you can do after 4 pm today I would appreciate it because I have to get into my polar bear killing Lincoln Navigator Hertz Car, drive down to the port of Miami to take photos of the Carnival Triumph as she sails past the “The Dontcallmeinmyhotelswearatmeandthenhanguponmeyouignorantbugger Of The Seas ” before heading to Walgreens to buy a huge tube of hemorrhoid cream which when I apply ………….I will think of you.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.