Bugger…………………….James Bugger.

February 26, 2009 -

John Heald

From: VALOR GUEST SERVICES
Sent: THURSDAY, February 26, 2009 9:44 AM
To: VALOR ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR; VALOR CRUISE DIRECTOR;
Subject: BIG SCREEN COMPLAINT

Good Morning John.
I just met with a guest who insists on talking to you regarding the movie on the big screen last night. She felt it was unsuitable for family viewing. Can you call her please and let me know what happens?
Thank you and kind regards,
Olav
GSA – Guest Services


And so I started my day in St. Maarten with a chat with a guest who thought the showing of the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace was not appropriate for her 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. Now, I will say she was very calm and very polite and her opinions were very interesting. Just before I share them with you let me tell you that the movie was shown on the big screen at 10:30 pm last night and that the 7:45 pm movie was The Chronicles of Harry Narnia Potter or something like that.
Anyway, I met with the guest at the coffee shop this morning as we arrived into St. Maarten and guess what…….she’s British. She lives in Canada now but I recognized her Northern British accent immediately. Anyway, as I said, her views on Bond were interesting.

She started by saying that Bond movies promote drinking, smoking and having rumpy pumpy. And when you think about it I guess she is right and our super spy is no more heroic than Mick Jagger or the basketball player who I seem to remember wrote a book about having rumpy pumpy with 700 women……..I think his name was Wilt Chamberlin although having rumpy pumpy with 700 women and being called Wilt really doesn’t seem right some how. Anyway, I digress……….so back to the conversation with Mrs. Britanada.

Now, I am going to try and write what I think her next point was although I gave up the will to live in the middle of the conversation……….anyway, let’s see if I can remember.

She said every time a Bond film comes out we are told that it contains a new kind of “feminist” Bond girl but each time she says they are exploited for their…. ummmmm ……. breasts and that’s sexist.

Well, that was that and I apologized and didn’t bother asking what a 10- and 12-year-old were doing up at 10:30 pm and promised her that I would take her suggestions to heart, which I have. However, I am afraid that I disagree. Firstly, it was on at 10:30 pm and Quantum of Solace had less action in it than the Harry Narnia movie that was on earlier that night. In Quantum of Solace, I was left utterly bewildered by what on earth he was up to half the time.

Even the car chase was impossible to follow. It was designed to be the longest, and best, in all of movie history, but what we actually saw in the cinema was a savagely edited facsimile. Why was it cut down? Presumably so they could shoehorn in more shots of Daniel Craig smoldering. And deeper insights into his inner being.

In the olden days, Bond would get some orders from M and then embark on a series of fights, interspersed with some rumpy pumpy, until eventually the baddie and his entire operation exploded. ……………..I miss Roger Moore.

The whole big screen movie selection is always difficult because we have to find movies that are current and that look awesome on a giant screen. We can’t show anything that contains too much adult content and if they do we always put a parental guidance in the Carnival Capers…………something which, in my defense, Mrs. Britanada ignored.

Other movies we are showing this cruise include Indian Jones and the Crystal of Boredom, Made of Honor (starring my mate Kevin) and Ironman.

So, as you can see we have a broad selection of titles which along with the morning shows, concerts and events seem to me to provide a good quality choice. They are certainly very popular this voyage and the movies especially have been watched by at least 200 each sitting. However, with yesterday’s comment about not showing President Obama’s speech and today’s Bond girl not being happy, it appears the subject of the big screen is still worthy of discussion.

The guests are in a great mood and why shouldn’t they be. The weather yesterday in St. Thomas was perfect as it is here in St. Maarten today. In a way you get two islands for the price of one: St. Maarten happens to be the smallest island on the planet that’s shared by two countries. Two-thirds is called Saint Martin and is in the French Caribbean — all sophistication, fine dining, fashion boutiques and gingerbread houses; and one-third is called Sint Maarten, in the Dutch Antilles — with faster food, noisier nightlife and swanky casinos. On the Dutch side people are wonderfully friendly while on the French side the people are……ummmm…….French.

Heidi once told me that folklore taught at Dutch schools has the bickering clog wearers and the garlic lovers divvying up the island with a walking race. A Frenchman and a Dutchman left from the same spot at the same time, one clockwise, the other counter clockwise — the border would be the straight line from where they started to where they met up on the other side. But one spiked the other’s drink, and the resulting handover by hangover saw France score the lion’s share.

There are no hard feelings, though, nor any border guards or formalities at all, for that matter — this is cohabitation Caribbean-style. One moment you’re buying a baguette for breakfast, the next having a Dutch pancake (called a pofiture) for lunch. You can tell when you have left the Dutch side and entered the French part of the island………..that is ……… if you have a keen sense of smell.

The French side has the most stunning beach though…………Orient Beach is an awesome two-kilometer-long stretch of sand. Be warned though………..clothing is optional and it isn’t just footprints that you will see in the sand.

The pretty French capital of Marigot has top-end boutiques and is a must see while you are there while the Dutch side has all the top recommended jewelry and electronic stores plus a fantastic art gallery/shop owned by the chap who designed and made Joda from Star Wars. Yep, it’s a great island and the most popular excursions here are:

THE GOLDEN EAGLE CATAMARAN
THE BEST OF THE DUTCH AND FRENCH EXPERIENCE
THE EXPLORER TOUR
THE RHINO RIDER SELF DRIVE POWER BOATS
THE BEACH AND FOUR WHEEL DRIVE ADVENTURE

Now, we also have a fantastic horseback riding tour along the beach in St. Maarten. This is a firm favorite with many guests but as you can see here the horses can sometimes be a little grumpy.

From: VALOR SHORE EXCURSION MANAGER
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 2:48 PM
To: VALOR CRUISE DIRECTOR
Subject: Accident Notification – Carib Resort Inc – St Maarten

Good Afternoon,

Tour Name :Horseback with Ocean Ride & Beach Break
Port of Call :St Maarten
Name :Mr __________
Cabin :______

Incident: Tour operator reported that Mr _____ had been kicked on the leg by a horse called Thunder. His shin got bruised and swollen. Guest received first aid from the tour guides and completed the excursion. Mr. ______ has been contacted and offered medical assistance on board. Guest said he was resting and putting ice on his leg and might go and see the infirmary later.

The accident report will be sent once all details and waivers are received.

Regards,

Judit Molnar
Carnival Cruise Lines | Assistant Shore Excursion Manager |

Now, the fact that he was on a Carnival excursion means that he received immediate attention and that once back onboard we can continue the care. That’s one of the many reasons we suggest these days that you take a Carnival excursion. As for the horse …….. well, poor old Thunder is being shipped to the French side of the island where he will be served in a white wine sauce.

If you have any questions on anything St. Maarten please let me know by marking your comments………John, please reply.

I actually have had a busy morning which including a meeting with an executive from the DuPont company. Did you know that DuPont are world leaders when it comes to safety in the workplace? And as its Carnival’s ultimate goal to provide the safest environment, as well as the most fun in the cruise industry, we have struck a partnership with DuPont.

I met with Tom from DuPont this morning and he has asked me to make a video which will highlight some of the areas where we can advise guests about how to avoid accidents onboard. Now, we are not talking about the lifeboat drill but other safety tips when vacationing aboard a moving ship. Anyway, I will be shooting the film soon and will of course make sure that I include clips here on the blog thingy.

Back in the world of fun, I want to thank all of you who signed up to host the Carnival Sunday Fun day party events. There is still time to do so and if you have no idea what I am talking about or would like a refresher on what will be a brilliant national event, here once again are the details.

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Jaime had a very interesting day yesterday as you are about to see.

February 25, 2009

Dear John,

While conducting his incredibly informative and organized technology seminar, Mickey, one of our guests that is sailing with us for the full 49-day voyage, explained to the crowd that since they had exceeded the midway point of their vacation, guests see themselves as if they are no longer on holiday, rather they are becoming part of the crew. He is saying this because he is now used to seeing familiar faces on a regular basis, he is ready to host/co-host so of the sea day events and seminars, and the food in the dining room is still delicious, yet slightly predictable. It is evident that Mickey has loved every moment of his vacation this far mostly because he feels like part of the Carnival Splendor family… which he most certainly is.

At first, I did not agree with Mickey. He did not know what it was like to be a crewmember! Yes, maybe he could “share a smile” (one of our crew mottos), or even help by picking up a dropped napkin in the corridor. BUT, he was still being waited on hand and foot, and spending a ridiculous amount of money on doo dads in the gift shop! Today, a week after this “crewmember” claim was made; I must concede and agree with Mickey that he may now have a slight insight as to what life working on board is like.

Let me explain: Due to high winds and unfit weather conditions, we were forced to leave the port of Ushuaia around midnight – approximately eight hours after our regularly scheduled departure time. Therefore, we arrived near Puerto Arenas around 2 pm the next day, rather than 6 am. We could see the port; we were fixated in our tendering location. We had to disembark and embark some customs and immigration officials. We pulled all the way up, and unfortunately guests and crew alike were not allowed off because of clearance issues and time constraints. Now I can say I agree with Mickey because he has experienced one of the most difficult parts of being a crewmember – port manning.

Port manning is a system we have on board where a certain amount of the crew must stay on the ship in case of an emergency. It seems as though everyone else gets to go outside and have time to explore when you have to stay and ensure the safety of the vessel. I smile because especially when we visit a port only once, these days are especially difficult to enjoy. I understand that many guests, and myself included were disappointed we were not able to go off and experience Puerto Arenas, but at least we can still say the Splendor did visit it… because I have the photos to prove it!

Rather than disembarking guests in this port of call, our Captain scheduled scenic viewing of beautiful glaciers and rocks during day light hours. Our naturalist Dirk’s narration through the straights of Magellan made this missed port day still extremely educational, beautiful and pleasant.

Cruise Director Goose and Assistant Cruise Director Brad worked diligently all night to re-plan this day at sea with activities, seminars and special scenic cruising highlights. In the morning when we began to sail through the picturesque surroundings I stood on deck 9 aft watching the glaciers on each side of the ship. I overheard a lady calling with a complaint to the Guest Services Desk; here is the conversation I overheard:

Lady: “Excuse me, it is extremely rude of you to play this type of music on deck while we are trying to enjoy the scenery.”

Guest Services Operator: “I apologize for the inconvenience ma’am, would you please explain to me where you are so we can contact the proper parties to have the music changed for you.”

Lady: “Do not apologize to me! This is lack of planning and we should experience calming, soothing music as we are trying to enjoy the beautiful sites. I am Lido deck, in the back of the ship. You must send someone immediately!”

Guest Services Operator: “Will do, someone is on their way.”

Another Guest Standing By: “Hey lady, the music is extremely appropriate! We SHOULD be hearing rock music… we are looking at rocks!”

I smiled, and went on to begin my day….

We have two more sea days until our next port of Puerto Montt.
This is flying by so fast!

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Scenic Cruising in the Straight of Magellan

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The Carnival Splendor in Puerto Arenas… See! We really did go!

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Glaciers from this Morning… more to come!

Have a wonderful day!
=) Jaime

It seems the Cruise Director Goose and his staff is doing a tremendous job in keeping everyone happy as the Carnival Splendor continues her journey. I knew he would be the right man for this difficult task and I am proud of him and the entertainment staff of Jaime, Lauren, Brad, Owen and Scouser. Thanks again Jaime, your a star………a single star………….but a star nevertheless.

Here are two brilliant photos from Claire including one taken through the porthole in her cabin.

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OK, talking of photos I wanted to share this nightmarish photo with you. It’s of me ……..dancing. OK, let me explain. As many of you know I would rather eat a yak poo sandwich then dance. This is because when I do try and dance I look like someone has stuck a cattle prod up my bottom. However, back in 1994 on the Carnival Ecstasy I did dance and in the show no less.

It was a show called Pure Ecstasy which as you will gather was performed on the Sensation ……….kidding…………..it was performed on what is now the Carnival Ecstasy. It was my last week on the ship and the dance captain Kerry Stables, whom many of you know is now our director of production entertainment and one heck of a choreographer, asked me to take part in one of the numbers.

And so after much persuasion and a bottle of Jack Daniels, I did indeed perform a number called Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson. It involved me wearing a silly hat and doing dance moves called a Running Roger and Jazz Squares…………the audience seemed to enjoy it………and afterwards I promised myself I would never dance again. So here is a very skinny me dancing in the Pure Ecstasy show in 1994………….it’s not pretty.

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Here is a drawing of the ship by little Spencer whose photos I posted earlier in the week. He drew this for me and I wanted to share it with you.

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And here are three letters for today’s “In Their Own Words” section

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I have received about 20 – 30 letters a day so far this cruise. I enjoy sharing these with you and how right that lady is. I must always remember to acknowledge firefighters and I am glad she took the time to remind me.

Blogger Carolyn T asked me for a cruise director schedule which I have here. It’s updated to May and always and as I know so well………….it may change. But for now, here is the latest CD schedule and thanks to Chris Prideaux for sharing it with us

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This coming March the Carnival Miracle and the Carnival Spirit will enter their dry dock periods and both will come out shiny and new with Circle C areas for the 12- to 14-year-olds and both ships will also be fitted with bow to stern wireless Internet access. It has been a long time since I have been on a Spirit-class ship. The last time was 2002 on the Carnival Legend and I think it’s been too long so I hope I can fix that this year.

I see many of you enjoyed seeing the renditions of the Carnival Dream and I will be visiting the ship in April to see how she is progressing.

Heidi is doing well and her visit to the midwife went very well. The Thingy is very healthy and the only problem is Heidi has something called carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrist which she says is very painful. The doctor gave her splint to wear and some cream. Apparently this is very common in pregnant women and even though she tells me not to worry……….I do. …..and on that note I am going to take a break…………..back soon.

Here am and this evening I will perform the Bedtime Story at the Talent Show. It’s been a long time since I have done this so I hope it all goes well. Maybe I will include a video clip of it tomorrow if you would like.

So, I took a break from writing today’s blog. As I said earlier we are in St. Maarten which is Heidi’s favorite Caribbean port of call. We used to love going for a walk together and eating Dutch food. However, it is no fun doing this on your own so I stayed onboard.

So, taking a lunch break I ordered a Caesar salad with chicken from room service and decided to watch ……..a Bond movie. I carry a big selection of movies with me and I knew I had a selection of Bond movies. Feeling a little nostalgic after writing today’s Bond blog I decided to watch For Your Eyes Only, the 1981 Bond film starring Roger Moore, and I was excited to do so.

For those of us in the throes of middle age, it was cheering to watch the elderly Roger Moore as he creaked around the set while younger, fitter women flung themselves at his wobbly loins. And then as I watched I realized that Mrs.Britanada was wrong because by today’s action movie standards it was about as harmful to children and adults as a drunk Teletubby.

There was no swearing; the violence was so soft as to be completely undisturbing. As for rumpy pumpy, the only racy scene involved Bond and the girl taking off their bathrobes, so that you saw their undraped knees – in the case of Roger Moore, a very wrinkly knee. Maybe I was wrong as well because after watching Daniel Craig I am sorry to say that Roger Moore……….. looked like a slightly eccentric hairdresser.

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.