That's the Spirit

March 21, 2009 -

John Heald

A colleague of mine has an Eye Phone………………………. and he also has the personality of a dead frog.

I saw him today on the Carnival Spirit and as I was attempting to view what work was being carried out in dry dock he was boring me to death with details on some of the latest stuff he had updownover loaded on his girlfriend…………or Eye phone as she is called. The first was something to do with holding the phone over a speaker and the phone telling you the name of the song………..and just as I was about to either slip into a coma or strangle him with his headphones he said something that was mildly interesting. According to Mr. Bore you can now updownover load something called Google phone tracker. It’s a service that once it’s activated, you can pinpoint someone’s exact location from their

mobile phone.

Their movements will appear as a blue dot on a map and you can track them live. They have to agree to be monitored and Google promotes it as “fun”……………………..fun my arse.

Who would sign up for this? At what point in the relationship would a couple look at each other and decide this is a good idea? If your partner says they think it would be fun to know where you are, precisely, on this earth at all times – I’m no Doctor Phil but I think this is bollocks

Or maybe friends think it’s a cool way to stay in touch. Right up until you see all your friends hanging out together and you weren’t invited. That’s annoying. Do you show up? Why not – you know where they are. They’re all at

the pub down the street and you’re home watching on the computer. How is that fun? …………….it’s just another way to realize that you have no friends and like a Royal Champion you are a social outcast.

I had a look just now on ummmmmm Google and Uncle Google claims that a million users have signed up. I predict 999,999 of them will regret it.

“I lent my phone to a friend for the night” will overtake “I was working late” as the new most popular excuse for cheaters. Or let’s say you spot your loved one on the map but when you call the phone is turned off. Batteries will be “dying” all the time.

Either that or the people on this service have no idea they’ve been signed up for it. I’m sure there are loads of men getting Eye Phone’s for their birthday this year programmed and ready to go. Google phone tracker is a money

buffet for divorce lawyers.

I don’t really have a problem with that. My problem is that it’s not specific enough. Who wants to look at a blue dot? That’s not very satisfying. So I can spot what neighborhood she’s in or what street she’s walking on. Big deal. What I’d want to know is: who she is talking to, what’s she saying, what is she looking at and how is she looking? Does she appear interested? Just giving a location is nothing to get excited about …………..I want to know if she is about to have rumpy pumpy with someone.

Why waste time staring at a computer screen when I can be dreaming up far more incriminating scenarios in my head?

This service is not doing any favors for paranoid people. One of the features available is that you can control who gets to see the location and then there is the ability to hide where you are – temporarily. Here’s how this would unfold through a ladies eyes……………………………….You’ve just had a conversation with your boyfriend and he’s told you he’s on his way home. Next thing you know, the location is hidden. Next thing you know, you’re in prison for manslaughter.

So, yesterday after a long flight I woke up at 7:10am. My body clock was once again totally buggered and my bottom was especially confused. I spent the morning blogging and then before going to see the Carnival Spirit I thought a quick walk

around Fisherman’s Wharf would be a good idea. The first thing that struck me was…………….it was cold………………and windy……………..but the sun shone brightly and that made for a perfect day. It’s a very touristy area of course but I sat and enjoyed a huge bowl of conch chowder and a crab salad sandwich and even though I was on my own………….I really wasn’t as the tables at Nick’s Lighthouse Restaraunt were so close together I enjoyed a full conversation between two ladies about a friend of theirs who was trying something called the The Primal Diet , which according to my two new friends is a diet based on eating raw meat…… only in California……….it’s like a big bowl of ceral………….filled with flakes and nuts .and I love it.

Roger Blum had invited me to come and visit the Carnival Spirit in her dry dock at pier 70. What he failed to tell me and what I failed to remember from the dry docks I did way back when is that there are a few stairs to climb to get on

board…………….in this case 500………….ok……………it was 55 but to someone in my delicate position it felt like 500.

The ship is in something called a floating dock and while new carpets are being laid inside and a Circle C area added the major work was going on outside. Right under the bow lay the propeller blades which had been taken off for a huge clean

and ……….ummmmm…………….stuff. I have no idea what the men were doing but one assumes that during her voyages the Carnival Spirit’s propellers get some unwelcome visitors who attach themselves to the blades …………..they were now being expelled.

There were also men…………and women……………..working up in the thruster areas making sure they are as good as new……………it was extraordinary to see. In fact let’s see it right now as we slap on some photos of

the Carnival Spirit’s dry dock work.

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As you can see there was a meeting of great minds also taking place as the Carnival Production team continued the planning for the new shows which will premier on the Carnival Dream. I cant tell you too much about them but I can tell you none of them include me gyrating to a Barry White love song in a G string.

And so in a few days time the Carnival Spirit will be brand spanking new ready for you to experience the paradise that is Hawaii and the last frontier of Alaska. She looks magnificent and as that was the first time I have been on a Spirit class ship since 2002…………… I have to say……………..I still absolutely adore them.

Talking of Dry Dock the Carnival Sensation completed hers and look what they gave her:

Waterworks

Circle C

Cabin Upgrades

Cabin balconies

Mongolian Grill

You see, Carnival continues to invest in our existing fleet and as with her sister ships within the Fantasy Class the new Carnival Sensation is rejuvenated ready to give you a brilliantly fun vacation.

Well………….I have said before that this blog is your blog. It’s not just a simple way for me to sound off about how AIG spent all my savings on Latvian women and beer or tell you the comments made by some of our more eccentric guests………………nope…………….this blog is your blog and more than ever it is read by the people who count at Carnival and they do listen. many of our gold and platinum card holders said that the new sail and sign cards did not “proudly show off” their status as loyal Carnival supporters ……………….and you were right…………….and so they will be changed.

Its going to take a few months to get these produced and into service but……………..we will………………so my thanks on your behalf to Gerry Cahill and his team for listening………………….you can add your thanks if you feel you want to here on the blog thingy……………..YOUR blog thingy.

Well on the TV right now I am watching some glammed-up showbiz reporter, on one of the breakfast television shows, standing right outside Liam Neeson’s house and stating, with a straight face, how the family wished its privacy to be respected at this “difficult” time………………….well, get your arse away from outside their house then and take your 200 mates with you. Death is not showbiz. It is a stark human tragedy, and not least in this awful case. I don’t want to make light of this tragedy but it highlights just how dangerous skiing is.

Don’t go skiing…………..please don’t go skiing………….I have a better idea. Take some of your money and burn it, or give it to AIG………….it’s the same thing. Then stand in your refrigerator for a week, beating your self with a baseball bat until your arms and legs break. And then, after you’ve eaten some melted cheese, dislocate your shoulder. That’s skiing.

Skiing, for those of you who’ve never tried it, is an extremely expensive way of combining acute discomfort, butt-clenching embarrassment, mind-numbing fear and a light dusting of hypothermia. Plus there’s a better than even chance that at least one member of your family will come home in a wheelchair.

The first thing you must understand is the ski boot. It is specifically designed to be as heavy as possible and to ensure that if you fall over – and you will, all the time – your leg will break at its most painful point: just above the ankle. The only way to prevent this happening is to cushion the fall with your face. Of course you might think it is possible to avoid such injuries by going

very slowly. Unfortunately this is not possible because to counter the surprisingly powerful effects of gravity you need to dig the edges of your skis into the slope with such force that after a very short time your thigh muscles actually catch fire.

I only went once and after just two days I new I hated skiing. I hated the lack of control. I hated the sliding. I hated the stupid T-bar lift, which you fall off and then aren’t allowed to get back on to but have to slide all the way down to the bottom on your arse (because you can’t ski) and then queue again for it with a load of people who can ski and look at you as though you are a total idiot…………… And then fall off again.

Falling over, however, is not the greatest danger. Far worse is being hit by a teenager with baggy pants on a snowboard. Snowboarding is like skiing, except you have absolutely no control over your direction of travel, mostly because you

will have had a lot of marijuana at lunch time. …………………….come on a cruise…………….it’s much more fun and with much less chance of coming home in a wheelchair.

By the way…………..I did an interview with a lady last week who I cannot name or mention the paper she writes for but she fresh from some vegetarian-sponsored media studies course. She had read the blog and didn’t want to interview me so much as lecture me on the evils of being male, having a Range Rover and wearing shoes rather than sandals and suggested that my blog

would be more popular if I just wrote about cruising and pricing etc. I am sure her column will be called Introducing Cruise Director John Heald – Carnival’s bastard man-pig.

So, this morning I was awoken by music from the Mike Oldfield album Tubular Bells which is what my phone alarm is set to……………………it was 5:15am……………….time for my radio interview on KG 810AM talk radio. I’m dragged round the nation’s radio and television stations to promote my Christmas DVD. Called Full Thottle Power Hell Megablast, or something.

I have been asked to do quite a few of these in the past few years and usually a bit of a bore. You show up, tell a short amusing anecdote, they mention Carnival is the best cruise line in the but you talk about it without trying to sound

like you’re plugging, then you bugger off while the DJ takes a call from Doreen Smith who wants to complain because there is too much dog poo in the local park.. Normally the DJ is a bit of an arse and really couldn’t be less interested in what you are talking about because it isn’t politics or sport and because your not famous.

This morning though was different because I met one of California’s most famous morning talk show hosts, John Hamilton. It was like spending 30 minutes in a warm pink bubble bath as we spoke about all things Carnival. Unlike anyone else in

the business, John, who is normal and probably doesn’t drive a Prius had actually read up on what the company and the Carnival Splendor is all about, so the chat was quite intelligent and pertinent………………….he was the same off the microphone as he was on it………………….and that is why I think he is so popular.

Now, exactly how many people were actually up at 6:30 am? on a Saturday is another topic all together but I want to thanks John and his staff for making me feel so at home. I also met Stuart who is a free lance journalist and Spud Hilton who is a potaoe ……………sorry……………….who is the deputy travel editor for the San Francisco Chronicle and one of the most respected voices in the industry……………….and both read our blog. Anyway……………here is a photo of John Hamilton and I from this morning

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So, its off to the Carnival Splendor I go and although there will be no blog tomorrow I promise Monday will feature lots of photos and videos and all the gossip from the ship.

I know I am not supposed to be naughty on the blog thingy but at this point I just can’t stop myself………………..ummmm…………talking about ship for the cruise line that has……………ummmmm………………graffiti on the bow………………..I can’t say what line as that would be unprofessional and while I wish them the best of luck I have to say ………….bloody hell that’s one ugly ship.

It must receive my inaugural What Were They Thinking Of award. Have you seen? it? No, and I am not surprised because in a world that’s plagued with recession and run by people who believe the world’s polar bears are up at the North Pole sipping pina coladas and slapping on the factor five, it is surely the most bizarre piece of corporate thinking since the chap who invented the Segway said it would replace the motor car.

It was built by men with body odor and hammers, rather than on the computer- controlled production line of the Fincantieri shipyards in Italy. You get the impression that the designers and engineers couldn’t be bothered to make a beautiful looking ship ……………..next to me naked it’s one of the most ugliest things I have ever seen.

I’d love to meet the man who styled the exterior, to find out if he’d done it as some sort of a joke. . . ……………………………and the cabins ……………..the line says you can now relax in your 100 square feet cabins ………………100 square feet…………..or as Bernard Madoff would call it …………….a cell.

Epic my arse.

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.