Oscar, James, Nico, Claire and Aussie

February 21, 2009 -

John Heald

“Oh Bugger,” I said this morning as I was finalizing the schedule of events for my first day back in the CD saddle…………….”It’s the Oscars.” knowing I would have to show them on the Seaside Theatre big screen.

I hate the Oscars. Every year, I stay up to watch it, and every year, the same warm, sticky magic descends on me. I’m swept up in the glamour, the glitter, the gorgeous-ness, and ten hours later I’m wrung out and gasping the annual question: how in God’s name is it possible for the largest, richest entertainment industry ever conceived, with access to every big star in the world, every technician and special-effects wizard and hairdresser, and an international audience of billions make a show that looks like something we were producing on the Mardi Gras in 1989?

At least last year we had the substitute teacher look-a-like Ellen De Generate as host and she was OK. This year we have top comedian………ummm……..Hugh Jackman who is Australian and therefore as funny as finding out you have hemorrhoids………on your feet.

The only redeeming feature of the Oscar epic is the back-stage “thank-you cam,” where winners on an adrenaline high who felt they hadn’t spread their good fortune thinly enough got another go at the list without time pressure or an audience. It’s always fun to see was Halle Winslet and Kate Berry say. “Did I thank God already?” “Well, thank you, God,” they cry before buggering off to Elton John’s party to get drunk and have rumpy pumpy with Justin Trousersnake.

I know that many of the blog thingies lady readers will disagree (including Heidi) and will tell me that they love looking at the dresses and the beautiful jewelry and of course Hugh Jackman’s arse. Look at the film stars who melt the hearts of womankind these days: Johnny Depp, Judy Law, and Orlando Bloom. Oh how we miss Paul Newman and Robert Redford who were much loved as they trotted around Wyoming on their horses shooting people.

How about Steve McQueen with his smoldering sexuality, the sort of man who could punch a horse to the ground while driving a Mustang sideways through the streets of San Francisco. He even managed to get Faye Dunaway’s knickers off just by playing chess ………he sort of reminds me of………well……….me. I am sure Heidi will say my attitude is macho and she’s right. It is. It might not be very attractive in this day and age. But that’s because I’m a man. I know this because I much prefer Jessica Simpson, who’s all woman, to Kate Moss, who, from behind, could well be a boy.

Yep, the guests will have a choice this Sunday night. Watch my welcome aboard show or watch a bunch of beautiful people cry like babies………oh by the way…….I hope Slumdog Millionaire wins everything.

Well, it’s nearly time to be a CD again and honestly………..I can’t wait. Being honest, I have really missed being on stage and tomorrow for the first time since the end of October 2008 I get to go on stage and attempt to be funny. Joining me tomorrow will be Tim Cabral from the office and a special team who will be implementing a new activity onboard called laser tag. Now, I don’t know much about this yet but I do know it involves shooting your fellow guests with a laser for just $5. For an extra $10 you can dismember them with a chainsaw…………..kidding. Seriously, this sounds like a brilliant addition to our activity lineup and I will be posting photos of the inflatable arena and the game in action during the next few days.

If it is OK with you I will be taking tomorrow off from blogging. I have to move cabin and prepare for the day ahead. I will be back on Monday.

I have to say that the Carnival Valor is a brilliant ship with an outstanding crew. Next week (my first cruise as CD) will be her last trip to the Eastern Caribbean and the ports of Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. She will then continue her exotic Western Caribbean on a weekly basis calling at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. Those four ports back to back are quiet intensive but talking to many guests this week who read the blog they are ports that everyone loves with Roatan being very popular. I can’t wait to explore it next time.

Yep, I am privileged to be here for a few short weeks and I look forward to inviting you along for the journey. The blog will have close to 200,000 readers in February and I hope that being CD again will encourage more people to join our family community. Got your passport? Good………….because we are about to go on a journey

Let’s go Down Under to Australia where the people go to work in shorts and that’s a good enough reason to be jealous of them. Also, they have cookers in their kitchens but choose to cook their prawns in the garden. And the only invention to have come out of Australia, ever, is the rotary washing line. However, these blokes and sheilas all love a good cruise ship arrival and have a look at this fabulous photo of P&O’s Arcadia arriving in Sydney.

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Ton find out more about this and the continuing adventures of the ship’s Executive Chief Purser James Cusick, I invite you to pop on over to www.bestblogsatsea.com to enjoy more great photos and commentary.

And:

“Way up north behind the dikes something spectacular is going on this weekend: the Ems passage of our new AIDAluna! I will keep my fingers crossed for my AIDA workmates and the colleagues at the shipyard Meyer Werft in Papenburg. Hopefully, weather god St. Peter plays along on Saturday. It is up to him whether or not the spectacle goes according to plan.”
That was an extract from the master of the newest addition to the spectacular fleet of AIDA ships Captain Nico Berg of the AIDAAluna. …………..here she is.

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Du mussen go zwei www.bestblogsatsea.com und looken um das grossen blog von Herr Kapitan Berg………………..das est wunderbar.

And from Australia to Germany to South America we go. I thought you might like to see these photos from the dance captain of the Carnival Splendor Claire Northern who shot these amazing photos of ……….well………have a look for yourself.

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Thanks Claire…………..Heidi and I miss you lots and my best to the brilliant cast.

Here’s Jaime’s Dear John letter for the day from Uruguay. Take it away Jaime.

February 21, 2009

Dear John,

Today we visit our only port of call that is located in Uruguay; it is none other than the lovely downtown area of Montevideo. I was only vaguely familiar with this location before visiting this port of call, and after researching the city and actually walking its grounds, I still know little about it. I can tell you that the pier is only about a mile from the center of town and Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America. Also, the majority of people I have spoken to misspell U-R-U-G-U-A-Y by adding additional A’s; they must be Canadian! Perhaps the map officials should make this location a bigger dot so more people know about its existence, because it is quite a nice area.

This day was another time that it was my turn to stay on board, and entertain those guests who chose not to get off the ship. Later in the afternoon, I was quite fortunate because other staff members returned to the ship early so that I still had the opportunity to go out and explore. Until I was able to survey the city, I just looked over the edge of the ship like a puppy or small child longing to go play outside. When I finally got word I would have the opportunity to explore myself my heart leapt with delight (if the pursuit of a man can’t make me happy at this time, I must appreciate small pleasures, like getting to set foot on solid ground.) I ran into Emma, from our shore excursion staff and we went for our walk around the town. Thankfully, Emma is from Brazil, but she also speaks Spanish, so she was able to communicate with people that could point us in the right direction. Although she may have been able to talk to the officials (well, she claimed to, I really had no idea what they were saying), we still ended up lost!

When Emma and I got outside we realized it was hot. Well, hot does not exactly describe this feeling, all I can tell you is it was a sweaty morning on board in the open decks, a perspiring afternoon walk, and a slightly moist evening too. Many crewmembers and guests alike were unfamiliar of this feeling of intense heat and humidity that is exceptionally apparent when you are visiting places that are within such close proximity to the equator.

We found the downtown marketplace, which is really the highlight of this location. Most vendors were selling jewelry, local crafts and leather goods. We must have seen 30 different stores selling leather coats, which in the intense 100+ degree heat, did not exactly sound like my idea of a necessary accessory! On our walk we passed many 18th century buildings one of which The Musea Historico Nacional that is located within the Old Town, also several churches and Government structures were picture-worthy along our self guided tour. The two of us managed to stray away from the parameters of our map, BUT we did make it back to el barco eventually!

Up next we are visiting Puerto Madryn – the home of over 500,000 penguins. It will be well worth the two hour visit to see their home. I wonder what sound a penguin makes. We can find out together in our next port of call.

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The Streets of Montevideo

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The Uruguay flag, and the Carnival Splendor docked in Montevideo

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View from the ship

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In the center of town

Thanks for listening… er reading rather!
=) Jaime

Thanks, Jaime, you really have traveled the world sine you came to Carnival. All those amazing countries and all those men…..who said no? Aaaaahhh. See you on Monday and many thanks.

Amazing isn’t it. Carnival Corporation ships spread all over the world from Australia to Aruba and from Brazil to the Baltic each and every passenger is enjoying the wonders of cruising………..why would anyone vacation any other way?

I just want to go back to Australia for a moment and how I wish that one day a Carnival ship would sail past Sydney Opera House. I have been trying fact to get Heidi to visit Aussie with me for years but she just won’t go…………not because of the annoying way people say G’day or the fact that in the fashion world they have the color coordination of Stevie Wonder……….nope the reason she won’t visit one of the most amazingly diverse and stunningly beautiful places on God’s earth is they have too many animals that can kill you. Spiders, snakes, crocodiles — they have them all and although the chances of being killed by such an animal are about the same as seeing someone actually using the damn climbing wall………….she still won’t go.

And the chances haven’t gotten any better this week when a 19-year-old Australian surfer dude was eaten by two bloody massive huge gigantic great white sharks which, according to onlookers, tore his body in half and then spent a few minutes arguing over who’d get which bit. ………..a bit like my family at Christmas arguing over who gets the turkey legs.

I watched this coverage on the news and it was no surprise when various wildlife experts with beards were interviewed and they all said the sharks in question should be let off with a written warning, partly because they’re protected and partly because such attacks are extremely rare.

But to me, they’re not. In fact, not even a week had passed since another surfer had been eaten on exactly the same piece of coastline. Meanwhile, in California the surfing community has reported that shark attacks have tripled in recent years and it’s a similar story in South Africa.

So what’s going on? Well, some say the great white has developed a taste for humans because we’ve eaten all their usual prey — tuna, grouper, Pop Tarts and Taco Bell. Others argue that it’s because boards look like seals from underneath. Or it could be these shark attacks are simply God’s way of telling surfers to get a job.

But I think I’ve worked out exactly who’s to blame . . . and it’s the soppy sentimentality of the National Geographic channel with its Disney-style bollocks of “no animals were harmed in the making of this program.”

When David Attenborough of the BBC hosts the Living BlueLifeOnEarth Planet thingies, we see nature naked and unplugged. We see the little thing’s big dewy eyes and its wobbly legs when it’s born. We see it finding a mate, and relaxing in the sun after a hearty meal. And then we see it being eaten by a lion.

Who can forget the horror of that poor little penguin similar to the ones in Claire’s photos above in The Blue Planet? He’d gone off to find food for his girlfriend Patti and been attacked, in gory, close-up detail, by a leopard seal. Terribly wounded, he tried his hardest to make it home but the journey was too long, and the slope too steep. So he died, pitching beak first into the ice.
Now, had this been made by the NationalPlanetDisneyHallmark Channel, Mr Penguin would have found lots of food, all of it organic, successfully swum past the waiting leopard seals and made it back to the cliff where he and Patti would have had rumpy pumpy to a Phil Collins track and then waddled off to crap on a Range Rover.

I watched a wildlife show the other night which had been infected completely with the NationalPlanetDisneyHallmark Channel. None of the animals had any rumpy pumpy and none of them ever died. Not even the fish. The gannets dived into the water and came out again with bugger all in their mouths. Tigers chased deer just to see who was the quickest. And Freddie the Foxe just hung around looking cute.

Today, great white sharks are always called “magnificent” and now we have Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, saying he wished he’d never written the book because it gave everyone a sense that the great white was “a bad guy” when really it was “fragile.” One can only guess, of course, but I bet anyone who has been attacked by a shark didn’t think as those teeth sank into their bottoms that the shark was magnificent or fragile.

It’s the same story with the mosquito. But because it’s never been the subject of a soppy tree-hugging natural history show, even the biggest veg-head is at liberty to run around his bedroom at night with a rolled-up newspaper and a can of bug zap, shouting: “I’ll get you, you little bastard.”

A great white is no different. It’s a dangerous, ugly, killing machine that takes a chunk out of you and lets you bleed to death before coming back and deciding that actually it doesn’t like humans very much. It’s a 23foot aquatic mozzie, an underwater monster with razor wire teeth, and it should be treated as such.

We should therefore turn the tables round. Instead of letting the damn things cruise around eating us, we should start eating them. Of course, this would mean hunting them, which would cause all sorts of people to wave their arms around saying that we were changing the world. To which we could reply: “Absolutely. We’re making it better. And then we shall start on the French.”
Sorry the blog is a bit shorter than usual but I have a busy day ahead including trying to find someone to wash a weeks worth of my dirty underwear ……………… Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiddddddddddddiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
See you on Monday for reports on my first show and we shall return to your favorite ………… guest comments from the incident report!

Let the fun begin
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.