Friday the 13th – Minus 8

March 13, 2009 -

John Heald

I’m feeling a little guilty today. There I was in yesterday’s blog talking about how families can have fun galore shooting each other in our Laser Tag game and then two total nutters go and shoot a total of 25 totally innocent men, women and in the Germany massacre……….children. And it’s the same in the UK. It used to be car alarms that kept urban Britain awake at night. Now it’s the distinctive ratatat of AK-47s and MAC-10s. Then all of sudden it’s all going off in Ireland as well with the shooting of two soldiers and a police officer.

Now, while I am sure it’s not difficult for the Irish dissidents and the bastard from Alabama to get hold of a gun how did the kid from Germany get one? And where are these schoolchildren who go to lessons every day with a Colt automatic under their blazers? And how are they getting hold of guns and paying for them when they spend all their money on texting? I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse, but if I were charged with the task of buying a machinegun, I really wouldn’t have a clue where to start. So, before I start today’s blog please forgive my gun blog thingy yesterday. The timing could not have been worse and my thoughts are with the families whose loved ones were taken from them by two very troubled and now thank goodness…. very dead men.

So, good morning everyone from Grand Cayman where we arrived this morning minus eight guests…….yep………eight, which I think maybe a Caribbean record. It will be no surprise that they are all in their twenties and surprisingly they are all girls ……….sorry ladies……..OK…….girls. We waited…….we paged them over the PA system …….and after waiting 25 minutes past our sailing time……..we buggered off, leaving the octet of spring breakers happy and content somewhere downing another Margarita not knowing that eventually when they stagger down the pier they will be welcomed by …….well…….nothing…..which is hard for the brain to compute under normal conditions let alone when its floating in a sea of tequila.

About an hour after sailing all eight missing guests arrived at the pier and as their marinated brains tried to make sense of why the Carnival Valor had shrunk, one ship’s agent shoved them up the gangway of the Carnival Inspiration where right about now they will have sobered up and realized that they on their way to a fun day at sea ……….. and then debarkation in Tampa.

Anyway, this was not the only incident of the day which started with a call from the chief security at 8:05 am. A husband (married only six months) had not seen his wife since midnight and had now reported her as missing. Now, under the current climate of ……… well ………you know, the stuff we talked about on the blog the other day………..I made an announcement through the ship’s emergency system asking for the lady to please make contact with either her husband or the Guest Services Desk………..and after a tense 10 minutes, she walked into her cabin safe and well. I can’t comment on where she had been but I can say that her actions had me waking up the entire ship and had all of us very worried indeed. I am sure she now has some explaining to do.

Oh………..and there was this.

So, overall an interesting day and apart from these two incidents and a full emergency drill rehearsal for the crew it was a normal day in Cozumel where we were joined by the Carnival Inspiration and the Fakeemails of the Seas.

And then there was tonight where a few minutes before the start of the Talent Show some of the guests were a little exuberant and started the Mexican wave which by the way is a historic misconception and never intended to be a good-natured, mass participation event. It was the result of large numbers of people suddenly standing up to rush for the lavatories, having recently eaten Mexican food for lunch.

Here are today’s photos form Geo as we look at Half Moon Cay through his camera lens



Let’s push on with more of your comments that need answering……… we go

Susan V Asked:
Hi John:
Please reply:
I was just selected as a host for the Carnival Sunday Fun Day on March 29 and wanted to know if you would like to come join us? We would love to have you if you feel like visiting Gator Country! My question is, if we have friends at our party that want to book a cruise, should we give them our PVP info or will Carnival have a special group set up for those that went to the parties. We love Carnival and are looking forward to sharing our love for cruising with all of our friends. I hope my house is large enough! Any information you have would be highly appreciated.
BTW, I was disappointed that you are going to be on the Freedom when you return after the Thingy is born. I read awhile back you were going to be on the Glory, which we had already booked and were thrilled that we might actually get to sail with you. If you get bored on the Freedom, hop over to the Glory for our sailing on 9/5!
I want an aquarium here in Gainesville too! Hey, would you send me one for the party? Doesn’t hurt to ask…
Hope you have a wonderful week on board!

John Says:
Hello Susan
Congratulations on being selected to host one of the parties for our carnival Funday Sunday event on March 29. If by the way there are bloggers who have applied to host and have not heard anything yet please do not despair…………you should expect to hear soon.
OK, thanks for the very kind invitation to what I am sure would be a great party at your house. I wish it was possible to go to all the parties I have received invitations to but unless Carnival gives me a private jet and a Buggati Veryon (fastest car in the world) I don’t think that’s going to be possible. I do hope your invited guests want to book a Carnival cruise after the party and as for how………..well………I would suggest you give them a choice of contacting their travel agent or if they don’t have one they can indeed call your PVP. They’re always welcome to visit or call 1-800-CARNIVAL of course.
As for the Carnival Glory I will still be sailing for a week to visit Butch before I join Carnival Freedom although the way my schedule is going I could pop up anywhere
Have fun at the party and I am sure it will be a brilliant event


Mark Brass Asked:
John, I have Sleep Apnea and use a CPAP machine (be good now John – I know this could lead to some jocularity!) and have been told on our first cruise and now for our back to back cruise on Carnival Freedom by our PVP checked with Guest Access Services (OK G.A.S. – Carnival is the fun ship isn’t it!), that I will have to bring my own distilled water. Carnival’s sister lines HAL and Princess apparently provide distilled water…at least I have read this on and that they provide distilled water. I don’t mind paying for the water, but the thought of trying to find a store or drugstore to buy 4-6 liters of distilled water to last 14 days on the day prior to our sailing, is not insurmountable, but just a bit of a hassle. Last cruise I used the bottle water available in the stateroom. But due to the mineral content of the water, the humidifier on my CPAP starting to get mineral deposits and I ended up with up a cold (the cold probably did not have anything to do with not using distilled water).
John, I understand that HAL and Princess operate totally separately from Carnival, but I am bit curious why distilled water could not be provided – even at a cost from the ships Medical centre? I am sure that from time to time, the medical staff may need to use distilled water for treatment.
I know this sounds like such a lame concern, but when I was prescribed a CPAP, the Respiratory Technologist said to only use distilled water as I could more easily get respiratory infections.
Insert Public Service Announcement here: More and more folks are being diagnosed as having sleep apnea, which exacerbates and increases the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, and depression. On the upside, when treated insulin levels tend to moderate, blood pressure moderates, and bed partners can sleep better as patients snoring is largely curtailed! Although rumpy pumpy must be commenced prior to putting on your CPAP mask!

Thanks John!

John Says:
Hello Mark
This is an excellent posting and having friends with sleep apnea I know that it is certainly no laughing matter. I am sorry to say that you have been given wrong information and let me start by saying that I apologize for that. All the ships have distilled water onboard and it will be available to you as and when requested through room service and via the ship’s medical center. The charge is $3.45 per gallon. We will work with Guest Access Services desk in making sure they have this information but now at least you can sleep easy ……… pardon the pun ………in the knowledge that all will be well. Please let me know if you have any other concerns and I will be here to assist you

Alex Asked:
Dear John,
Please reply…
I have visited Cozumel before and while it is one of my favorite ports in the Caribbean, it does not offer the same amenities and ease-of-access to other tourist destinations as Cancun.
Cozumel is great for beaches and snorkeling, but doesn’t have much else to offer. As you mentioned, it has long been a staple on Western Caribbean itineraries, but for those of us who have cruised those itineraries before, a little variety would be nice.
While Cozumel is a little more relaxed, Cancun is a more built up tourist destination, similar to Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta, and as such, offers a wider variety of activities and amenities that cater to a broad range of lifestyles.
A few unique things that Cancun offers include:
-Casa Cenote (cave snorkeling/diving)
-Plaza del Toros (Traditional Mexican Bullfight)
-Ballet Folklorico Nacional de Mexico-Aztlan (Folkloric Ballet)
-10 Championship Golf Courses
-Two Mayan Ruins sites in Cancun and easy access (no ferry required) to Tulum and Chichen Itza
-Xcaret National Eco-archaeological park (this is a HUGE attraction to Cancun)
-Wet ‘n Wild Cancun Water Park
-Nohoch Jungle ATV/4×4 tours
Cancun also has a much bigger culinary and nightlife scene and I would argue that the beaches and waterfront facilities (pools, bars, restaurants, etc.) far exceed those that are offered on Cozumel.
I’m not suggesting that Carnival should replace Cozumel or offer Cancun on every Western Caribbean itinerary, but it would provide a little more variety for your loyal passengers who have already sailed the three basic Western Caribbean itineraries that Carnival currently offers. Even if it were only offered on one ship from South Florida or one of the Gulf ports, it would provide your loyal Carnival guests an additional choice of itineraries and experiences.
I hope that Carnival will at least consider a “trial run” of the port, perhaps as part of a special voyage itinerary so you can see that your loyal guests do have an interest in visiting Cancun on a future Carnival vacation.
Warmest Regards,

John Says:
Hello Alex
I want to thanks you do very much for the detailed information you posted on Cancun. I was not aware that it was so different to other Mexican ports and you are correct of course to mention the easy access to both Tulum and Chichen Itza. Maybe one day then we will send our ships their on a regular basis as we are always looking for new and exciting destinations. Regardless I want to thank you once again for sharing this with all of us and I send my best wishes to you and the family

Darryl Asked:
John, (please reply)
My wife and I have been on seven carnival cruises, and on the first four we truly enjoyed the guest talent show. It was the most anticipated show of the cruise for everyone in our party. The last three cruises (Miracle ‘07, Glory ‘08, Liberty ‘09) have not had the talent shows. It seems it has been replaced by the Legends Show, which we like but not as much. We were just wondering why it has gone away, is it up to each CD? Or are the other factors. We are booked on the Dream on Dec 3 and hope there will be a talent show then. Thanks for your time.

John Says:
Hello Darryl
It’s strange that you and I are one of the few that seem to enjoy the talent show while I think the majority prefer Carnival Legends which is a very popular show. I always do both as I feel that we should give people a chance to sing or entertain what they wish to and of course it gives me the chance to do my bedtime story. There is no escaping though just how popular the Carnival Legends show is although I would like to see an updated version with maybe a few character and song changes. I am not sure if Todd, the CD of the Carnival Dream, will host a talent show and nearer the time I will ask him and see what he says. I believe I am one of only a few who still do have one which in my humble opinion is a shame.
Best Wishes to you and the family

Joe Lentivech Asked:
John; I read your blog daily and really enjoy it… As part of a Submarine crew reunion 14 of us, so far, have signed up to take the May 3 cruise on the Conquest. Do you have any suggestions on how we can arrange dining so we can all enjoy sea stories with everyone? Table rotation of seating or what have you seen done.
Thanks Joe Lentivech

John Says:
Hello Joe
I want to start by saluting you and your colleagues from The Silent Service. Please send me the names and cabin numbers for your party in mid-April and I will see if we can get two tables of seven close to each other. The biggest table we have is one of 10 so let’s see what we can do. I will look forward to hearing from you and I am glad you enjoy the blog thingy

Sara Asked:
I have been hearing from people that it is incredibly hard to get a private table in the dining room… We are on the Valor the week of the 15th (so sad to hear that you are leaving that one halfway thru — was so excited to have you there!), and our TA put in the request for a private table — but people are telling me that doesn’t mean anything… How likely are we to get a private table for the three of us?

Sara Asked:
Can you send me the names and cabin number and I will see what I can do. Sorry I won’t be the cruise director but I will be onboard watching Charlie (I will explain later) so please if you see me do say hello
See you soon

Phil & Liz Asked:
Hi John, Steph and Heidi,
Please reply, thanks.
Firstly, to address the children out fighting whilst the parents are asleep.
This is an example of the common complaint many cruisers have of children left unattended and being problematic. In the States the parents would be charged with child endangerment. It’s a wonder there have been no children OB’d (overboard) all these years with this carelessness.
Next, regarding the Alaska sailing from Seattle. We say Hooray! We found the experience going thru airport Customs at Vancouver very taxing. It would be so nice to not have to deal with that on our next Alaska cruise. One issue we do have is does this then mean there will not be a sailing into Glacier Bay? Can the Excursions department make a visit to Buchart Gardens as a choice while in Victoria?
We are leaving in 5 days on Ecstasy (Cabin#)
and we read that ACD Kirk from our sailing with Bubba on Carnival Spirit will be our CD! We have booked the CruiseMates January 2010 sailing on Carnival Conquest, which, unless we sail again between April and December, will be our 10th. Yeah Platinum!
Phil & Liz

John Says:
Hello Phil and Liz
While the vast majority of the younger people onboard are well-behaved kids, there is a tiny minority that are allowed to run wild and that of course is as you said the fault of the parents. On a lighter note I am so glad you are excited about your Alaskan cruise and I have immediately sent your excursion request to my friends at Miami HQ. Maybe they can indeed add this to our brilliant list of Alaskan excursions. You will indeed be seeing Kirk so please pass on my regards and have a fun voyage as you head ever nearer that fantastic Platinum card
My best to you both

Deborah Asked:
Hi John,
Stephanie can just send an email to response.
I will be on the 5/10/09 sailing of the Pride. I made super club reservations for Saturday, the last night at sea. Was that a good idea? Typically we make our super club reservation for the middle of the cruise, buy my Dad wants to end the cruise with a nice dinner…and we love the lobster. Please let me know if you think dinning in the club the last night at sea is a problem and since it is the last night at sea, have they ever run out of the fabulous lobster?
Also, this will be my parents 60th w/a cruise we will be in cabin ## – Could we surprise them with something fun? Either at dinner or in the stateroom?
..One more question do you know yet if Ron (piano man) will be on the TA Dream 10/27?
Thanks for your help and suggestions –
All my best to you, Heidi and Thingy,

John Says:
Hello Deborah
I promise we will not run out of that brilliant supper club lobster and I think eating there on the last sea day night brings wonderful closure to what I hope will be a super voyage. The piano bar position for the Carnival Dream has yet to be filled and once Rob King and Laura make that choice I will let you all know. I can tell you that Ron will certainly be very high on the list as he is brilliant.
If you contact the Bon Voyage department at Carnival you can arrange to have your cabin decorated and have a special cake made. Also, please send me a reminder the week before you sail and I will also have a little something delivered to wish them many congratulations on this amazing milestone of 60 years of love
My best to you all

Rositer11-Carnival lifer Asked:
Hey John please reply.
I hear about these blog families all the time. My question is this how does one join one of the families? Did they form on their own or did someone start them?

John Says:
Hello Rositer
Great question and why don’t I ask Host Mach and Big Ed to contact you about this ……. guys ….take it away. I should also say that I hope everyone who reads the blog feels like a family and that you all know that if there is anything we can ever do to help that we shall
Cheers mate

Donna Druckenmiller Asked:
Hi John,
Please reply to this comment. I have been reading a Princess Catalog and noticed that they did some days with crafts onboard. I think this may have been popular during “The Love Boat” shows. I think there might be an interest again in making some crafts and taking a class while onboard. As a frequent cruiser, I am now tired of the tour of the: bridge, galley, napkin folding and towel animals etc.
I love Carnival with Princess being my second choice, but only if I can’t get to the port via Carnival. However something new to pass the sea days would be welcome to us “older cruisers who actually don’t get off at every (Been there done that) port.
I enjoy your blog and hope to see it continue for many years

John Says:
Hello Donna
Hello Donna and thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Arts and crafts lessons are as you said a very popular event and I have seen this first hand on our longer cruises in Europe, trans-Atlantic crossings and Panama Canal voyages. We actually work very closely with a company who supplies us with trained experts and as I said………..their classes are very popular. We are working to put these instructors on as many of our ships as we can when we can. You may have noticed that we have also started scrapbooking classes across the entire fleet and these too have become a big hit. So, hopefully on your next cruise you will see arts and crafts and scrapbooking classes which I truly hope you enjoy
Thank you for the kind words about the blog and I hope you continue to enjoy it
My best to you and your family

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
Now that the Netherlands are a force to be reckoned with in the World Baseball Classic, having knocked off the favored Dominican Republic not once, but twice, when can we expect Thingy Heald to be a member of the Netherlands baseball team?
Seriously, I am rooting for the Netherlands to continue their march through baseball’s best.
PS – John, I have no need for an autographed picture of Dolly Heald. Of course, I could use it to scare criminals straight I suppose.

John Says:
Hello Jon
Here is a quote from Heidi.
“Hello MTSFP. – My country has gone baseball crazy with all the kids buying uniforms and playing in the park. John told me to say that maybe now you can have a real World Series with other countries taking part………not sure what he means by that. All the best and Schlit Op Nederlanders.”

Fraser Asked:
Please respond if you can
Just recently discovered your Blog and now I read it every day, helps to lesson my withdrawal between cruises. I have never cruised with you but I hope out paths cross sometime in the future. I have been on three cruises so far, Imagination, Triumph and Legend and have loved all three. Currently booked on my 4th the Freedom on 9/26
I love cruising on Carnival – have never been on any other line and don’t think I ever will, I love Carnival so much that I would love to work for Carnival as an IS Officer, can you put me in touch with or have any advice me to apply to work aboard ship or on land in the IT department, do you know if it would be passable to meet the IS officer when I am aboard the Freedom in September
Thank You

John Says:
Hello Fraser
I am glad that you are enjoying the blog and I can see that you are a true Carnival fan. The IS Officer position onboard is an excellent one to think about doing. Firstly I suggest you read all about the position and life onboard by going to the page and having a good read. It will also tell you how and where to apply to and I certainly wish you much success. Please let me know if I can help further

JenJen Asked:
John Please Reply,
First off, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading the blog-it makes the waiting for my next cruise more tolerable.
On to my question-my sis and I are sailing on Carnival Victory 4-26-09. We’ve been trying to book our shore excursions online since we hit the magic “120 days until” day. I’ve ended up calling the shore excursions department 3 times and was told three different answers as to if and when shore excursions are going to get posted. Is there any way you can help me? My sis and I don’t want to miss out on anything that we’ve planned!
Thanks a bunch!

John Says:
Hello JenJen
I can sense that you are very excited about your forthcoming cruise and I am sorry about the technical problems we are having with our pre booking system for shore excursions. Please do not worry though as I am told that by March 28 your tours will be ready to order and if you have any questions I will be here to answer them for you. Until then I do hope you continue to read the blog
My best wishes

Trayton Asked:
John Please reply.
I was thinking about becoming a part of Carnival’s entertainment staff, and I would like some insight first hand on how it is. The two jobs that interest me the most are the production singer (male) and social host jobs. Also if it’s not too much may I get a list of all the production shows and what ship they are on. Thank you so much Mr. John, and after traveling on carnival and the bigplainwallclimbingnotsogoodshows of the seas
carnival cruise is by far the best.
Thanks and Fun for all, all for fun!!!

John Says:
Hello Trayton
OK, let’s start with the position of cruise staff and or production singer. Have you visited yet? This comprehensive site will tell you everything you need to know about the job as well as life on board. You will find clips of our shows and entertainment and can see exactly what it is we do. Then you can follow the links which will tell you how to audition and interview. What a great idea about the shows and the list is coming. I wish you good luck in whatever career path you decide to follow

HO Shout and X-treme Country
FA Ticket To Ride and Nightclub Express
EC Dream Voyage and X-Treme Country
SE Curves and Far From Over – ‘The 80’s’
FS Fiesta Latina and Far From Over – ‘The 80’s’
IM Living In America and Shout
IS Shout and Fiesta Latina
EL Spin and Rhythm
PA Shout and Xtreme Country (to be installed in June 09)
DE Formidable and Nightclub Express
TI Wonderful World and The Big Easy
VI Living In America and Vroom
CQ Formidable and Point and Click
GL Living In America and Just Rock
VA Far From Over – “The 80’s” & Nightclub Express
LI Just Rock and Wonderful World
SP Jazz Hot and The Big Easy (to be installed in March 09)
PR Vroom and Wonderful World
LE Jazz Hot and The Big Easy (to be installed in May 09)
MI Ticket to Ride and Generations
FR Ticket to Ride and The Big Easy Jump Jive and Wail
SP Vroom and The Beat Fiesta Latina

Remember that some ships also have Christopher Alan Grave’s starring in Singing with the Big Band and others have the magic shows both of which also feature the cast.

Jordan Asked:
John, please reply if at all possible: I’m a college student at the University of Central Oklahoma, and I just have to make a comment about your post about when your dad would get your college report card… Well I must let you know that at my college they are real cheap and send your grades via email. Yes, email. Not to my parents email, who pay for my college (thanks mom and dad!). But to my email. Want to request a transcript? You must request it through email. I think it’s safe to say that the internet is taking over the world. Well, school is actually where I am asking for your help. I’m in a class called Global Protocol and Diversity, and I have a project where I have to interview somebody from outside the country. It’s an interview about traditions, customs, and pop culture, and I was wondering if I could do a brief interview with you via email or while I’m on board the Valor March 15 through the 22nd. My family and I are very excited to go on this cruise, especially my fiancé, because it is his first! My parents decided to go back to Carnival after sailing a couple of RCI, as they felt like the value and staff on board were less than par. We had so much fun on the Elation ten years ago, when I was just a little girl, ten years ago. We are counting down the hours! Thank you for your time, my email is —–, or my cabin number next week is ###. Warm regards to you, Heidi, and the thing!

John Says:
Hello Jordan
Great post and I was amazed that college grades are now sent by e-mail. You are quite correct the world is being over taken by e-mail and the web. I am so glad your family is Carnival fans and we will all do our best to make sure you all continue to have affordable value and brilliant fun. I would be happy to help you with an interview so please e-mail me the questions and I will answer them as soon as I can. I hope to shake your hand next week mate.
Cheers and my best to all the family

Amor & Lou Asked:
Dear John (Please reply),
It was only the other day when I wrote you about Carnival Spirit. When she comes to Seattle, who will be the CD if & when Chris call it quits after his and Julie’s wedding in October?
The Thingy should be about a year old by then when the Spirit repositions in Seattle. What I’m trying to tell you is that our offer to the three of you still stands. If you cannot take a vacation, maybe a few hours here and there during the ship’s turn around will suffice if you fill in for a vacationing CD of the Carnival Spirit. If you happen to sign on/off here in Seattle, that will work too.
How about Jaime? She survived being the fill in CD on Carnival Pride. I think she can fill in on the Spirit as well. Who knows, the luck of Chris & Julie might rub off on her here in Seattle.
Good luck Jaime. May you find your “Mr. Right” soon.

John Says:
Hello Amor and Lou
Heidi and I promised ourselves that we would sail to Alaska as we have never enjoyed exploring the Last Frontier. I expect our Thingy will become an International Thingy and I hope that includes a trip to Alaska. As for Jaime……………I see nothing but huge success for her…………….in the job front of course……………not the man front.
My best to you both

Hector Hernandez Asked:
Dear John,
Please respond;
I was wondering what kind of lens Geo used to take the shots, of the Destiny.
Those by the way are excellent and I love the black and white one.
Thank you

John Says:
Hello Hector
As a brilliant photographer yourself I am sure Geo will be thrilled to read this. Geo tells me he uses a Cannon with a 35 – 135 ummmmm something. Give him a call and oh yes………..thanks for reading the blog mate, I didn’t know you did

Michael Asked:
Good morning John.
Thanks again for a wonderful time on the Blogger’s Cruise. I hope Sallie and I will be fortunate enough to sail again with you during your duties away from your “Duties”. No vacation time left to do either of the BC’s for 2009. Every effort short of quitting my job will be made to see you in April for the Pride’s arrival. That brings me to my question. I have tried to get info on the p/t positions filled by folks my age, mature, for embark/debark in port. It’s been like looking for a needle in a haystack. I doubt if I’m even on the right farm. Are they Carnival jobs or port authority jobs? This was a question I had posed in the resume section when I filled out the Fun Jobs form. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Michael…one of your X-dressers in black lace.

John Says:
Hello Michael
I am so glad you enjoyed the Bloggers Cruise and my memories of those great days are still very fresh. Let me see if I can help with your employment wishes and I certainly know you would be all we are looking for. I will make a few enquires and get back to you.
Until then I send my best to you and Sallie

Summer Asked:

Hello John,
I just recently found your blog and love it. I read it everyday at work which must tell you I haven’t been busy lately. I am currently book for the Inspiration sailing November 30 along with my husband and sister. I cannot wait…..sailing in 263 days. I am really writing about one of my coworkers. Last August she and her fiancé got engaged on one of your ships. Well as would be expected they started making plans for a big wedding. Then a thingy came along. So, they cancelled the wedding to be set on September 26 (which is her due date) and went to the courthouse to get married. They are booked for a cruise to set sail March 28 on the Destiny for a quick honeymoon. I was going to get them a bottle of wine but since she is pregnant I can’t. I was wandering if you could do something nice for them since things took a pleasant but unexpected turn for them. Their room number is ##.
Thanks summer

John Says:
Hello Summer
It will be my pleasure. Please keep reading the blog and it won’t be long before you are on the Carnival Inspiration having a fun cruise.

Garett (AKA Bob) Asked:
Please reply.
Remember me, we met at the Dallas commercial filming. I drew one of the names for the cruise Carnival gave away and the lady who won kissed me (yuck).
I read your blog about sailing on Carnival Spirit this summer. Please, Please, Please, make it on the June 24.
I’m going with my Nana, my aunt and uncle, and cousin. It is my third cruise to Alaska and I could be your guide! I went on Princess when I was seven with my great-grandmother, and when I was 10 with my Nana. I think you would be more fun than they were.
Garett (AKA Bob)

John Says:
Hello Bob
Of course I remember you. I thought you enjoyed that strange lady kissing you! Maybe I will see you on the Carnival Spirit and you can show me around. Please say hello to all your family and thanks so much for all the help you gave me in Dallas. You are a star.
Cheers mate

Andrea Asked:
Hi John!
I’m getting excited, only 45 days until we get to go onboard the Splendor for our wedding! Too bad you won’t be there for the April 26 sailing!
Please reply when you have the time!
Just a question about the Alaska cruises. In the notice above it said
“Port calls on these voyages include the popular Alaskan destinations of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, as well as Victoria Island, British Columbia , and cruising Tracy Arm Fjord.”
Did they mean Victoria our capital city? Or Vancouver Island in general? I’m pretty sure that they meant Victoria the city (I’ve watched the cruise ships dock at Ogden Point many times!) Just wanted to point out that Vancouver Island is quite large and Victoria is the city! And a beautiful city it is! I love visiting my family there and there’s always something to do. The Royal BC Museum, the Wax Museum, the parliament buildings, Buchart Gardens, Center Of The Universe Observatory, The Maritime Museum, Bastion Square, Ross Bay Cemetery and so much more! Alright, I’ll stop with the glowing recommendation now!
One other question before I bugger off and get back to work! I saw from Christy’s post that Carnival can accommodate a Celiac (gluten/wheat free) diet! This is awesome news as two of the people that are sailing with us for our wedding cruise are both Celiacs! I asked our group planner about it last year when we booked and they said it was not a problem. Then a couple months ago I received an email and was asked to fill out a form for each one of them. I faxed the medical request form to the appropriate office and a couple weeks after someone from Carnival called the two people and informed them that there’s pretty much nothing that can be done for them, other than gluten free bread and pasta! That definitely helps but I’m worried for them with sauces and such at dinner. Is there someone in particular I should talk to make sure that the kitchen is aware of their requirements? Thank you so much for your help John! You are a lifesaver!
All the best to Heidi and The thingy!

John Says:
Hello Andrea
Firstly I wish I could be with you to share your special cruise and getting married onboard the Carnival Splendor will be a magnificent experience even though I doubt you will see much apart from your cabin for the first 24 hours!
I am going to ask Chris “Bubba” Roberts to answer the first part of your question as I have never been to Alaska and I want you to get the best information and nobody can provide that better than Bubba.
We can indeed help you with your diet requests and the first thing is to have your group planner call the Guest Access Services desk at Carnival. Now, if for some reason you have more questions please let me know and I will be glad to help. I also always recommend that before sitting down to dinner that first night that you speak to the maitre d who just to make sure all is ready. Once again, please let me know if you have any difficulties with anything. I hope you have the best wedding ever and my best to you and your husband to be

Bill (Zydecocruiser) Asked:
Please respond John.
Hi John,
When is Carnival going to include a port stop in Costa Maya on a ship leaving from NEW ORLEANS?
I was forced to sail on a competitor’s line out of New Orleans in order to get there.
Also, if the Berlin Wall could come down, surely the wall between the Costa Maya port and Chac-Chi should be removed.
Here are way too many pictures from the Costa Maya visit in Dec 2008:

John Says:
Hello Bill
How are you mate?
Thanks for all the simply brilliant photos you have been posting over the last few weeks and we have all enjoyed sharing in your adventure. As you will have read the Carnival Valor and myself stopped in Costa Maya for the first time since the hurricane destroyed so much of this beautiful port. I have to say that they have done a magnificent job to get it back to where it was and also make it even better. I can see why you would want to go there from the Big Easy and I hope that one day this will happen. I have passed your request up the line and maybe we can also get that wall down as well. Best to you and Elizabeth

Jeanette Williams Asked:
My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on the Spirit on Oct 27, 2008. Our kids ordered us a cake and a few other things. Upon our return home the kids asked how we liked our gifts. We informed them that we didn’t get our cake and some other things they sent to our cabin. Yes it was a disappointment. They had to prove that they ordered the cake. They did and their money was refunded. I realize people make mistakes. Guess where we will celebrate our 36th anniversary, on the Splendor on Oct 11, 2009 with our kids, grandkids and family and friends. Thanks for letting me vent. Congrats on the little thingy.

John Says:
Hello Jeanette
I can only imagine how disappointed you were and I would like to apologize for our glaring mistake. Please would you let me know when you are sailing a week before you do and lets see if we can make it up to you.
My best to you and the family

Deborah Asked:
Hi John,
I do hope Carnival offers the S. American cruise again soon – I would have loved to have been part of that experience.
Please Replay –
I love Carnival’s food, especially their pasta salads, soups (love the strawberry), chocolate melting cake and the lobster served in the Super Club – yummm. I had a very good pasta salad on the Conquest back in 2003 and then again on the Valor in 2007 – it is Penne pasta with pears & prosciutto in a wonderful dressing. With Easter coming, I would love to make that salad to go with the traditional ham. Is there anyway of getting the recipe?
All my best to you Heidi and Thingy

John Says:
Hello Deborah
Our South America voyage has been a huge success and I wouldn’t be surprised if we do it again one day. I am sitting here writing to you and now I feel hungry having read the menu of your favorite things. I asked the chef here who kindly changed the recipe to allow for two people rather than 3,000. Here it is
14 oz. penne pasta
1 T. olive oil
salt and black pepper
2 T. butter
about 4-5 oz. lean prosciutto, cut into strips
2 Fresh and ripe Pears
1/4 pint heavy cream
grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta with oil and a little salt in boiling water until tender. Meanwhile, melt the butter and gently cook the prosciutto and peas for at least 5 minutes. Warm the cream. Drain the pasta and place in a large, heated bowl. Stir in the prosciutto and peas. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pour the cream over the mixture. Toss well and season with black pepper.
Bon appetitio

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
Will you be present for the Baltimore arrival of the Carnival Pride?

John Says:
Hello Mate
As long as the Thingy does not make a very early appearance, I shall be there
Will you?

Stephen Smith Asked:
Please Reply
In response to your request for any additional ideas for the safety video, I have one. Given the large number of kids on board, how about a reminder of no running other than on the track. I have witnessed highly energized children take both themselves as well as innocent bystanders out in the name of who can get to the ice cream machine first. I realize the number of kids watching the video will be limited. However it might help the parent remind their child to be careful and respectful of other guests.
Stephen Smith

John Says:
Hello Stephen
Great idea and you will now see this added to the video not just here but across the fleet. Running on a moving ship is a hazard and you are very correct to point this out.
I therefore dub you Blog Safety Officer
Thanks for the brilliant suggestion.

Ken M Asked:
John, please reply. I plan on sailing the Valor on the 22nd and I’m worried that there’s not going be enough people around my age pal around with. I’m 25 from Cincinnati. Can you give me any incite on what to expect for my cruise?

John Says:
Hello Ken
Let me promise you that you have nothing to worry about. There will be many people your age and you will make lots of new friends. I will have the preliminary counts for the age groups next week and will post them here for you to see. You will have the best time for sure
Cheers mate

Cindy Billet (CindyInPA) Asked:
Hi John,
I haven’t written for a while since normal life has me running in circles again. Since we have come back from the bloggers cruise we have had so much going on. Cody had a 16th birthday on 2/28 (can’t believe he is 16) I had 84 people at my house for a huge party. I even put a message out to the Evil Krewe and so many of our extended family responded by sending Cody cards. He has 72 birthday cards in all. He was so excited everyday the mail came. It made me cry to see him so happy. If there is somewhere I can send you pictures let me know and I will be glad to do so.
A few days after his party I was notified that I was a finalist for the Carnival Home Party. What excitement and it has been building ever since. I am so excited by this and honored to host such a party. I have invited 26 people to date and I am sure the list will grow. My only question is… is there somewhere we can find out what all will be coming in the box that is shipped? I just want to be prepared and have enough for all and will buy whatever I need to accomplish this. Below is the link to my party site and I have lots more pictures to add.
Next, I have just booked our next cruise on the Dream sailing out of Port Canaveral on May 15 2010. I know we talked briefly on the Fantasy about forthcoming Bloggers Cruises so I wanted to let you know; maybe this could be Bloggers Cruise #5. I know that this is to early for you to decide at this time but please keep this in the back of your mind. Thanks!!!
I hope that all is well with Heidi and that the baby bump is growing and she isn’t too miserable. John I am sure that you are getting more excited with each passing day. I pray each day that you’re thingy will be healthy and born with no complications. You and Heidi both deserve this!
One more question… Are you coming to Baltimore at all for the party day before the arrival of the Pride? If so I might try to make it down since that is only an hour from our house.
Well I have rambled on long enough so I will go now. Hope to hear from you soon, (when you get time). Thanks again for being such a special part of our lives.
Cindy & Kevin Billet
York, PA

John Says:
Hello Cindy and Kevin
Let me start by saying a big hello to Cody and a very belated Happy Birthday and I hope you had fun reading all your cards.
Congratulations on being chosen to host one of the House Parties and it looks like you have a very special Carnival Sunday Funday planned. We are going to be posting a full description of what is in the box of goodies that we are sending you to help get this party started and I will do my best to get that done at the beginning of next week. Congratulations on booking the Carnival Dream and who knows, maybe we will get to have a 2010 Bloggers Cruise on there. I will hopefully be in Baltimore and if I am I hope I get to see you and Cody and you can show me all the photos of his special day.
My best to you all and thanks for all the kind words

That’s all for now……….please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
I spoke about families earlier and wanted to pass on my condolences to JetSkier whose father passed away suddenly this week. ………………we are thinking of you.

There will be a wonderful Dear John letter from Jaime Singleton tomorrow.

You know, over the last few days I have been joking about this Royal Champions thing but when you really look at it you sort of feel……..well……angry. Carnival has always taken criticism on the chin and done so many, many times. But, we have never stooped as low as to start flooding sites like Cruise Critic with fake reports and reviews. I am sure there are a few people in RCI’s marketing department who are currently wearing brown pants as the story is not going to bugger off anytime soon………’s the latest from wine expert and brilliant investigative reporter and friend Anita Dunham Potter

Let me know your thoughts.

Now, I mentioned a few blogs ago that that the new Cruise Director of the Carnival Valor as of this Sunday will be a fine chap called David Tancock…….well it isn’t him anymore ………..the new cruise director of the Carnival Valor for the rest of march and two weeks of April will be Charlie Davidson…………who is ummmmmmm……………David Tancock.

Let me explain. When those guests who arrive on the ship look at the Carnival Capers and see the name Charlie Davidson they will probably not know who that is. That is because the artist formally known as David Tancock has decided to give himself a stage name using Charlie – which is his middle name – and Davidson which is his mother’s maiden name……thus he is now Charlie Davidson. His reasoning for doing this was because his old name did lead to some ridicule and leg pulling……….I can understand …….. fancy being called David. And so, a new CD is born and I wish Charlie all the best luck in the world.

I wanted to show you this comment from our incident report.

Guest: Miss ______ Ref: 836005629A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 03/11/09 – 03/11/09

Guest came to the desk to say that she was in the sun on Deck 10 and when she came back from the bathroom someone had stolen her sun tan oil. Guest said it was very expensive and cost $54 and was called Banana Boat VitaSkin. Guest demanded an announcement be made and said that Carnival was responsible to provide her with a replacement bottle or the money. GSA said that guests left valuables at their own risk but lady guest got very angry and started screaming at GSA saying that this had ruined her cruise. GSA supervisor was called and the guest told to please calm down or leave the desk which guest did. Lost and found checked but nothing handed in so far

What drew my attention to this comment was not only the quite silly statement that “this had ruined her cruise” but the cost of the sun tan oil……$54……is it made from bits of the sun?………………..$54, my arse.

But maybe I have lost touch with what things like this cost because I am long past the age when I would be bothered about a tan. In the past I’d stake myself out on a day bed and lie there blinking the sweat out of my eyes and rubbing baby oil into my secret gentleman’s areas. This would make me look rich when I got home. But by the age of 37 I’d realized that most of my hard-earned brownness would be left in a series of unpleasant flakes on the homeward-bound airplane seat.

So I’d arrive back at Heathrow with one completely see-through layer of skin straining to stop my internal organs sploshing all over the luggage carousel. And I’d be in screaming agony because I always always always forgot to put sun cream on the top of my feet. So they looked like slightly chewed salamis. That’s why I gave up sunbathing and decided to spend my time under a hat, a tree and a roof.

Anyway, I guess some passenger is now the proud owner of a bottle of Banana Split Thingy sun tan oil leaving Mrs. Handbagskin a very unhappy lady. I can understand that having something stolen is not nice and I hope the thieving toe rag that took it gets whooping cough…………but did she really expect that having a good old rant and rage at the guest service associate would end up with us giving her $54 back?………You know what?………that’s exactly what she thought.

Oh, I forgot to answer this comment

Tim Lawrence Asked:
John please reply
We will be sailing on the Valor with you on Sunday. Myself and my group of 11 are huge NASCAR fans and would like to ask that you show the race from Bristol on the giant screen. It’s shown on the Fox network and you would make some South Carolina Highway Patrol Officers very happy. I read your blog every day and we last sailed with you on the Triumph in 2001 where you made our cruise so much fun.
Tim Lawrence

John Says:
Hello Tim
It’s always a pleasure to welcome onboard people who risk their lives every day for the public and I know how important the fun that you find on a Carnival cruise is to people like yourself as you need this to rejuvenate.
OK, let’s talk about NASCAR. I know how popular it is but I guess I just don’t get it. I love F1 and the fact that the cars have to go round something called “corners” ……….. I know that’s a strange and unusual word to NASCAR fans but corners would make it more interesting rather than just driving around in a circle. Maybe there are other things they could try to spice the race up a bit. Nobody is saying, “Hey, let’s sprinkle water onto the circuit on lap 20 and see how they cope with that.”
And I am not, Officer Lawrence, suggesting that each driver has to race while under the influence of a different drug. Imagine that: Jeff Gordon on acid, Clint Bowyer on cocaine and the Busch brothers on grass………but maybe we could add a corner or two.
Anyway, the answer is yes of course we can show this for you and I truly hope you and your mates have a fantastic cruise

Tonight was the final of the Department Head Ping Pong Tournament and I had to go …………….I didn’t want to………..but it would be like going to Korea and not trying the fried poodle – it would just be rude. The final was between the Laundry Manager I Wan from Indonesia who took 3 sets from me in under 15 minutes and the Assistant Housekeeping Manager from Trinidad Mr. Smiles…..that’s not his real name but we have all been calling him that for years and years…….he has been with us for 25 years and still looks 18 years old.

Anyway……..the players march in to the marshaling area where we store luggage and begin to warm up. Back and forth, back and forth goes the little white ball – it’s quite hypnotizing, the metronomic repetitiveness sends me off into a Zen-like trance. I’m watching eight simultaneous rallies of up to 40 shots… Where do they learn to play like this? Are there secret table tennis academies high on clouded mystic hills where students travel far to learn from the great ping-pong master? I imagine huge halls filled with eager students, wearing tight little blue shorts and all endlessly chanting “topspin, backspin, topspin, backspin” while a wizened old man with a huge long beard plays trance-like music on a huge harp shaped like a table tennis bat.

The match begins for real. In between games the players go off into a corner and talk to their trainers who in this case were crewmembers from their own countries. I wonder what a table tennis trainer can say to make his player’s game better. …. “Remember, grasshopper, always focus on the white ball.”

Anyway, Mr Smiles was eventually beaten by his much younger opponent and myself and the captain gave a trophy (solid gold plastic) to the winner. The problem is I can’t get that bloody ping-pong ball beat out of my head – it’s going to give me nightmares…

Well, that’s it then. I finished my last Bedtime Story for a bit and I must say I am going to miss being an active CD over the next few months and I have promised myself that next year I will do much much more cruise directing.

I will leave you today with a few photos of last night’s show










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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.