The Lotetry of Life

March 24, 2009 -

John Heald

So here we are in Los Angeles a place full of crazy people. OK, I had better rewrite that and say “crazy person.”………her name is Angela. She is 33 years old and according the news here she won $22 million in the state lottery………….and she is nuts.

She has returned to her job as a $10-an-hour diner waitress serving greasy food to factory workers, and her congratulatory bottle of champagne remains unopened in her refrigerator. “I’m not going to go out and spend it just for the sake of it,” she said. “I never had money before and don’t want to waste it.”

Oh, for God’s sake. This kind of talk isn’t going to put any lead in the economy’s floppy pencil, is it? If new millionaires can’t be persuaded to crack open their wallets then who the hell can? It’s pathetic: we expect better from our lottery winners. We want to see them living the dream – buying quad bikes, mansions, white leather sofas and having neck-to-buttock tattoos of a tiger caressing a naked Latvian woman. We don’t want them schlepping around on a bus to the everything’s a dollar store. But they continually let us down.

There is a crazy British version of Angela called David Ashcroft. He vowed that money wouldn’t change him when he won £12.5million in 1997. Well, he got that right. He still lives in the same terraced house with his elderly parents and the only thing he has purchased is a new bathroom for his parents and a subscription to “I’m 45 years old and still live with my parents” magazine. Why is it these kinds of people who always seem to win? Money’s for spending! If I won the lottery Gerry Cahill wouldn’t see me for dust. I’d buy a French château………….and then blow it up just because I could. There would be a flock of Aston Martin’s in the garage and I would have Fruit of the Loom design me personalized diamante underpants.

But then again would I? Because maybe Angela isn’t crazy after all. “I can’t change in five minutes,” she said. “I have had to count every penny for so many years.”

Angela is right, of course: people can’t change. The way you were brought up remains with you throughout your life. In the UK there is a famous soccer player called Wayne Rooney. While David Beckham is reasonably good looking in a girly George Michael kind of way Wayne Rooney looks like a potato that looks like a thingy. He grew up in a very poor area of Liverpool and shared a bedroom with his two brothers and had very little in his life. Mr. Rooney has been blessed with massive soccer talents and now £90,000 ($120,000) a week at Manchester United a team sponsored by those hateful bastards at AIG and made up of players from Portugal, France, Holland and, in the case of Wayne Rooney, Walt Disney…………..he looks like Shrek.

Oh………..for my American friends who do not understand football, or soccer as y’all call it, it’s game in which 22 overpaid boys with idiotic hair run around a field attempting to kick an inflated sheep’s pancreas into some netting while an audience of several thousand beat one another over the head with bottles and chairs…………..that’s soccer……………..and I love it.

Anyway, last week Mr. Rooney went to a very posh restaurant and paid the £30 bill with some half-price vouchers. I’m sure he didn’t expect it to make global headlines, but it did because there is something boundlessly fascinating about mega-rich people fussing over piddling amounts of money.. It feels comical, unnatural – a bit like a French person in The Body Shop…

People like Rooney could wipe their bottoms on $50 notes and barely notice. But he comes from a tough neighborhood, where money is scarce and the joke goes that even the pit bulls walk round in pairs. I dare say it would seem idiotic to him and his family, not to use half-price vouchers if you’ve got them. Just as it would never have occurred to the thrifty Rod Stewart, a small shop owners son, not to make a reported 20-mile round trip back to an LA restaurant because they’d charged him $7 for a bottle of water that he didn’t order……but then again……..he is Scottish…………….put two Scottish people next to each other and you have a pair of tights.

I am sure basketball coaches have the same problem……….how do you coach these guys who come from a rough and tough neighborhood and haven’t had two pennies to rub together suddenly have millions of dollars in the bank………………………..it must be so hard for them to adapt and for the coaches to be a life coach to them.

The news reporter this morning said that the vast majority of winners return to work. Which raises the question: if you love your job so much, why did you go in for the lottery in the first place? There should be a new law passed that if winners don’t spend at least half their windfall within five years, they have to give it all back. Or to charity. Or to me. Because few things are more irritating than a multimillionaire claiming that money ultimately makes you miserable. Yes, I’m sure that’s probably true ……………………… all I’m asking for is the chance to prove it.

Yes indeed, here we are in Los Angeles and it’s a beautiful day. We will have 2,400 travel agents joining us today for a cruise to nowhere. I will tell you more about that and what else is happening shortly but first I have to answer some more questions marked for my reply. So, while I do that why don’t you listen to a very ummmm…..interesting interview I did yesterday for an internet show.

Here is the link thingy

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=204880&cmd=apop


Diane Wojda Asked:

Hi John,
I am writing to give you our room #### on the Valor sailing of 3/22/09. The reservation is under Diane, Gordon and Alec Wojda. It would be greatly appreciated if you would be able to request a private table at the early seating for our cruise. I know our son will love the production shows on the Valor. I think he is a little future cruise director! He loves to pretend at home and has learned all of Big Tex’s dance moves. Each trip he comes home with some new material. We love reading your blog and hope to sail with you soon.
Best wishes on the new baby.

John Says:

Hello Diane
Thanks for the information Diane and I have e mail Pablo the senior maitre d on the ship to assist you with this. All should be well and hopefully you are already there enjoying everything. Hope you have a great cruise
Best wishes
John

Rick H. Asked:

John:
I add my voice to the chorus calling for these guys to be placed on Carnival’s “banned forever” list.
Thank you for sharing this. It is just one more demonstration of the professionalism and competence of CCL’s employees and crew.
While on the topic: Kudos to CCL’s shore excursion office! We’re going on the Miracle next Sunday (3/29) and were considering shore excursions in St. Lucia, when, to our chagrin, the excursion we wanted to book disappeared from the list of those available. I emailed the shore excursion staff using the link provided, and received a timely response indicating that the excursion we wanted was sold out but that additional spaces had been requested from the tour operator and to keep checking back. Less than 2 hours later, the excursion was available again! Needless to say, we’ve already booked it! B-) It’s great to see excellent performance on three points: a timely response to a customer inquiry, affirmative action by the shore excursion office to try to increase capacity to meet demand, and the tour operator’s timely increase in capacity allowing my family and others to enjoy this excursion. Well done!
Can I ask two small favors, please?
First: There are 16 of us (8 adults and 8 children) sailing 3/29 on the Miracle. Can we request 2 tables for 8 each with the same wait staff at both tables? (perhaps with a view?) We’ve enjoyed this arrangement in the past; it allows us to have an “adults” table and a “kids” table without causing chaos for either the wait staff or fellow passengers. We’re all linked in the system to my reservation (cabin ####, booking number #####, early seating).
Second, could you please provide an address (either postal or email) where I can bring up an issue regarding bookings and upgrades? I discussed this a couple of weeks ago in response to your answer to reader Catrin; subsequent events have raised my blood pressure a bit more since then. I’d rather not post it here (or anywhere else in public) because I don’t want it to become fodder for the NoFreeSteakButYouCanClimbAWall of the Seas crowd.
Hope your flight(s) went well, and your California adventure goes well…
Give our regards to Heidi and Thingy. You’ll get to see them both soon!
Regards,
Rick H.

John Says:
Hello Rick
Let me start by saying thanks to you for taking the time to say thanks to our shore excursion department. we have it is fair to say had some technical issues with our online bookling system which for the most part seem to have been repaired. It was therefore great to read that you experienced some first class service from them. I will send your dining request to the ship and I am sure they will be able to accommodate you. Please also send via the blog your comments on the booking concerns you have as I really want to read them. I will not post them if you just mark “not for posting” at the top and I will forward your comments to the correct person who I will make sure contacts you …………I will also follow up.
Thanks for the kind words and have a brilliant cruise on the Carnival Miracle
Cheers
John

Mark Brass Asked:

**John please reply**
RE: Alien vs. Predator
John, you are indeed a gentleman! The way you took care of your colleague and managed the allegation shows true professionalism.
I am so impressed and feeling all the more safer knowing how well trained and responsive Carnival’s Security staff are – not to mention, that indeed that all complaints even about their Senior CD are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated before any action is taken – I don’t think anyone would expect anything less.
John, the comment he made about him being an U.S. Citizen and you, an alien…implying some type of immunity, is not true as an assault did take place and U.S. laws apply when the ship is in U.S. waters or in an American Port (St. Thomas, San Juan, and Miami for example)? And generally when underway in international waters, Maritime law applies or is it the country of the ship’s registry?
Despite the answer, the lesson for anyone traveling anywhere in the world is to respect others and the laws of the country you are visiting…period whether we are French, British, Canadian or American. I think for the most part, the vast majority do, unfortunately there are some of our compatriots from our respective countries can make us blush, mad and pissed off.
Thanks John!

John Says:

Hello Mark
That was a brilliant post and I thank you so much for sharing your passionate thoughts with all of us. It was a unique situation and one I hope I never have to go through again. That’s not because of what happened to me but for what happened to the young bar waitress. I am big enough and ugly enough to bounce back but I am sure this incident will have a long lasting effect on her. The international waters excuse is one we hear now and then but as you so correctly said………..the laws of the land and the laws of being a human being still apply. I have no thoughts for this man……………..except the occasional one where he and I meet in a dark alley and his groin has a close encounter with my foot.
Thanks mate and I hope to hear from you again soon
John

Mike L Asked:

Hi John (please reply when you get a chance),
I hope you were able to enjoy your dinner… even if you were alone. I also hope you have a safe and hopefully unadventurous flight and trip to San Francisco.
Anyway, I have a quick question that I have been wondering for awhile, and I think some others have or have had similar thoughts.
Why doesn’t Carnival have its own private island? I know that Carnival owns Princess and Holland America and that some Carnival ships sometimes dock at Half Moon Cay (which I have read fantastic things about and hope to sail there soon), but why doesn’t Carnival have its own island. Many cruise lines (whether owned by Carnival or not) have their own island, and they always are among the most popular visits the ships make. It always makes for a very nice quiet, relaxing day… a perfect vacation day with a nice private beach, music and entertainment, and good food. Are there any plans for Carnival to get a private island?
Also, I noticed that Princess will only have one ship sailing in the Caribbean this summer. Is there a reason why Carnival does not take advantage of this and have some ships visit this island? Even during the winter, is there a reason why Carnival ships do not visit Princess Cay?
My last question is a little off topic… it involves live music, which has come up from time to time on the blog, and I know that you agree that it partially makes a cruise a cruise. I am considering a cruise on the Triumph, but I recently read that some of the live pool music has been replaced by the big screen piped in recorded music (not 100%, but someone on a message board wrote that they noticed this and that they noticed hours have been cut). I hope this isn’t so, as it is really is a factor when booking a cruise… after all, what is a cruise to the Caribbean/Bahamas without a reggae/Caribbean band? I can listen to pre-recorded music anytime at home. The good thing about some of the Princess ships is the TV and band are at two different pools, so the TV cannot necessarily be used to replace the band… they have both.
Do you have any info on this… the bands, the TVs by the pools, the reggae band on the Triumph and on the ships in general…. and lastly, I am hoping that the brand new Dream will have a good reggae band by the pool…?
Sorry that this ended up being so long. I and I feel some others am/might be interested in this, and when you get a chance, I definitely appreciate any info you have.
Thanks for everything John, and I hope you have safe and enjoyable travels. Speak soon, and I look forward to the next blog!
-Mike

John Says:

Hello Mike
Another great post and let’s dive straight into the answers to your questions. Let’s start with the private island. You must visit Half MoonCay…………it is quite simply……paradise.

Holland America under the watchful eye of Vice President of Caribbean Relations Matt Sams have really made this island stand out from many of the others and when I visited last year on the carnival imagination I was stunned by just how gorgeous a place it was. I have no idea though how much it cost to buy and to maintain but I imagine it to be a pretty expensive operation which is why it is easier for us to share the cost as a corporation rather than just Carnival Cruise Lines foot the bill.

I have never been to Princess Cay…………….however I have heard that it is also stunning. And therefore you make a great point…………with the majority of the Princess fleet in Europe and beyond this summer maybe we could visit Princess Quay………..I will mention this to others higher up and see what they have to say. It sounds like a great idea. Private islands are popular with many guests although I must admit a few prefer the ports which offer a larger variety of things to do such as shopping and sightseeing. However…….I loved Half Moon Cay and I am sure Princess Cay is just as beautiful. Let’s see what the powers that be say and I will let you know.

Now let’s talk about music and I thank you so much for allowing me to address this very important subject. I have just read this “thread” on the boards and once again I am sorry to say that the facts are not correct. Live music is as you said so very important and I can assure you that rather than cut back the hours that we have our musicians perform we are increasing them fleet wide. This involves adding variety on the Lido decks as well and moving the various bands around the different lounges.

For example………….on the Carnival Valor I had the three different bands playing on lido deck during the seven day cruise and the same will apply here on the Carnival Splendor. I took the time to show you the current Lido live music schedule……….here it is.
Sunday Embrakation – 12:00pm – 3:00pm – Calypso live
After Boat drill – 6:30pm
Sea day – 11:00pm – 1:00pm and 1:45pm – 4;45pm – Live Calypso Music
Tuesday – 3:00pm – 6:30pm – Calypso Music
Wednesday Grand Cayman – karaoke Under the stars and movies
Thursday – 11:00pm – 1:00pm and 1:45pm – 4;45pm – Live Calypso Music
Friday – 4:00pm – 6:00pm and 10:00pm – 1:00am – 4 piece rock n roll band
Saturday – 11:00pm – 1:00pm and 1:45pm – 4;45pm – Live Calypso Music
In between these performances you have the various pool and deck games and later in the evening the big screen concerts and movies.
Carnival is committed to live music……………I promise. Please post this on the boards if you wish and maybe Host Mach can do the same.
Thanks mate and my best wishes to you and all the family
Cheers
John

Semper Fi Asked:

JOHN PLEASE REPLY.
BOOKING —– CABIN —-
GOOD MORNING JOHN FROM DECK 10 AFT ON THE CARNIVAL FREEDOM. CINDY AND I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING OUR CARNIVAL FREEDOM CRUISE FOR THE PAST 6 DAYS AND AS PROMISED I WANTED TO DROP YOU A NOTE THRU THE BLOG ON THE EXPERIENCES OF THE WEEK.
IT HAS BEEN A WONDERFUL WEEK SO FAR, AS WE ARE NOW SAILING TOWARDS FT.LAUDERDALE. ITS 6 AM AND THE SUN IS JUST RISING AND THE SIGHT FROM DECK 10 IS NOTHING LESS THAN AWESOME. CINDY AS USUAL IS GETTING HER EXTRA BEAUTY REST THIS MORNING AS WE WERE BOTH UP VERY LATE LAST NITE ENJOYNING THE FESTIVITIES ON THE SHIP.
AS I STATED ABOVE IT HAS BEEN A WONDERFUL WEEK SO FAR WITH ONE EXCEPTION, THAT BEING THAT I HAD SET UP WITH MY CARVIVAL PVP FOR SOME ROSES AND CANDY TO BE IN OUR STATEROOM UPON OUR ARRIVIAL LAST SATURDAY, TO SET THE MOOD WITH CINDY AS WE STARTED OUR 35 TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, AND FOR THE SECOND CRUISE IN A ROW I WAS AGAIN DISAPPOINTED IN THAT WHEN WE ARRIVED THERE WERE NONE. I HAVE LEARNED A VALUABLE LESSON TO USE THE CARNIVAL WEB SITE AND PRE PURCHASE THESE THINGS ON MY OWN RATHER THAN TO DEPEND ON OUR PVP TO DO IT FOR US.
NOW THAT WE HAVE DONE AWAY WITH THE ONE LOW LIGHT OF THE WEEK LETS TALK ABOUT THE CRUISE ITSELF. WE ARE ON THE EXOTIC WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE; WE HAVE VISITED COZEMEL MEXICO, LIMON COSTA RICA, AND COLON PANAMA.
TWO OF THE THREE PORTS WERE NEW FOR CINDY AND I, THIS WAS OUR THIRD VISIT TO COZEMEL AND WE FOUND THAT WE STILL HAVE NOT DISCOVERED ALL THE BEAUTY THAT THIS PORT OFFERS. WE WENT ON THE ISLE OF PASSION AND TWISTER BOAT RIDE TOUR .. WOW CRAZY HIGH SPEED BOAT DRIVERS FOLLOWED BY MANY RELAXING HOURS ON ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES WE HAVE EVER SEEN. IT WAS TRULY A REMARKABLE DAY.
THE NEXT PORT WAS LIMON COSTA RICA,UPON LEAVING THE GOOD SHIP CARNIVAL FREEDOM WE WERE SURPRISED AT WHAT WE SAW . WE LEFT THE SHIP EARLY SO WE WOULD HAVE THE CHANCE TO WALK AND SEE THE PORT BEFORE OUR ARIEL TRAM EXCURSION.WOW MY RECOMMENDATION TO ALL FUTURE VISITORS IS TO STAY WITH AN ORGANIZED EXCURSION AND STAY ON THE PIER, WE FOUND THE TOWN TO BE VERY DIRTY AND LOADED WITH “SNAKE OIL SALESMEN” NOT EXACTLY THE PLACE TO BE AT 8 AM.. LOL WE THEN WENT ON OUR EXCURSION WHICH WAS THE ARIEL TRAM RIDE ABOVE THE FORREST. ALL WE CAN SAY IS WOW……….WHAT A DIFFERENCE WE GOT TO SEE BOYH THE DARK AND THE BEAUTIFUL SIDE OF COSTA RICA THE TRAM RIDE WAS SENSATIONAL AND I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT TO ALL TO SEE THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF THIS COUNTRY IS A SIGHT NOT TO BE MISSED.
AND YESTERDAY WE SAILED INTO COLON PANAMA, WOW TALK ABOUT A BUSY PORT. THE GOOD SHIP CARNIVAL FREEDOM AND THE BRIDGE CREW HAD TO DO SOME FANCY MANUVERING TO GET US TO THE DOCK AS THERE WERE NO LESS THAT 50 SHIPD WAITING TO USE THE CANAL, BUT UNDER THE MASTERFUL HAND OF CAPTAIN CARLO AND HIS TEAM WE MADE OUR ARRIVIAL ON TIME (THE BOW AND STEARN THRUSTERS ARE A VERY EFFECTIVE ALARM CLOCK.) LOL DUE TO THE SMALL SIZE OF THE PIER WE USED A DIFFERENT BUT HIGHLY ORGANIZED METHOD FOR GETTING FOLKS OFF AND ON THEIR TOURS FOR THE DAY. ALL TOURS STARTED IN THE “VICTORINA THEATER” STARTING AT 730 AM. EACH PASSENGER WAS GIVEN A COLORED NUMBER DEPENDINGON WHAT TOUR THEY WERE ON AND THEN ASKED TO HAVE A SEAT IN THE LOUNGE. ASST CD JAMES AND THE ENTERTAINMENT STAFF DID A WONDERFUL JOB OF KEEPING THIS ORGANIZED AND MOVING FOLKS FROM THE SHIP WITH NO CONFUSION AT ALL. SUPER JOB
CINDY AND I WENT ON THE GRAND CANAL TOUR…. AGAIN WOW….. THIS IS ONE TOUR ALL MUST DO WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE SHEAR SIZE AND SCOPE OF WHAT THIS CANAL PROVIDES AND THE HISTORY OF ITS BUILDING YOU WILL BE LEFT IN “AWE” TO WATCH THESE MASSIVE SHIPS MOVE SO EFFORTLESSLY THROUGH THE LOCKS IS A SIGHT THAT MUST BE SEEN
OVER ALL THREE PORTS AND THREE DIFFERENT EXCURSUIONS AND ALL THREE WERE WONDERFUL.
NOW LETS TALK ABOUT THE GOOD SHIP CARNIVAL FREEDOM, AS YOU KNOW SHE IS OUR FAVORITE CONQUEST CLASS SHIP (NO OFFENCE TO ANY OF THE OTHER SHIPS BUT THE CARNIVAL FREEDOM WILL ALWAYS BE SPECIAL TO US FOR REASONS THAT I DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN HERE.
IN ANY CASE, WE ARRIVED EARLY SATURDAY MORNING FROM THE FROZEN STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA INTO THE WARM ARMS OF THE FT.LAUDERDALE AIRPORT. THE PRE PURCHASED TRANSFERS WERE SEEMLESS AND BEFORE WE KNEW IT WE WERE GOING THRU EMBARKATION AND ON OUR WAY TO THE SHIP. WE ACTUALLY ARRIVED AT OUR STATE ROOM 90 MINS BEFORE IT WAS READY AS THE STEWARDS WERE STILL PREPARING THEM FOR US. THAT WAS NO ISSUES AS CINDY AND I STARTED OUR TOUR OF THE GOOD SHIP FREEDOM. WHAT WE FOUND WAS A VERY DISTURBING SURPRISE AT FIRST, THE SHIP WAS “DIRTY” AND I MEAN REALLY DIRTY TRASH ALL OVER STAIR WAYS WITH SPILT DRINKS AND STAINS, WINDOWS AND LEDGES WERE DIRTY ECT. SHE JUST NOT ANYWHERE NEAR WHAT WE HAVE COME TO EXPECT FROM A CARNIVAL SHIP. SO BEING ME, YOU KNOW THE “BULL IN THE CHINA SHOP TYPE” THAT I AM I STARTED ASKING SOME QUESTIONS OF THE STAFF AND CREW. HERE IS WHAT I DISCOVERED THE CARNIVAL FREEDOM AND JUST FINISHED A CRUISE WHERE THEY HAD 3400 GUESTS OF WHICH 2500 WERE “SPRING BREAKERS” AND THEY HAD LITTERALLY TOTALED THE SHIP. THE CREW AS GOOD AS THEY ARE WERE SIMPLY OVERWHELMED WITH THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF THE MESS. HOWEVER WITHIN 24 HOURS OF SAILING THE CREW HAD THE GOOD SHIP FREEDOM BACK IN PRISTINE CONDITIONAND IMMACULTLY CLEAN WELL DONE TO ALL THE CREW.
NOW JOHN CINDY AND I GOT TO SPEND A FEW MINS CHATING WITH CAPTAIN CARLO AND HE TOLD US THAT THIS WAS HIS LAST CRUISE AS THE MATSER OF THE CARNIVAL FREEDOM AND THAT HE HAS BEEN NAMED THE CAPTAIN OF THE CARNIVAL DREAM AND HOW EXCITED HE WAS TO BE ACCEPTING THAT NEW SHIP. NOTE FOR JOHN (HE ALSO SHARED A STORY ABOUT YOU AND HIM IN ST. THOMAS THAT I WILL NOT SHARE IN THIS FORUM.. LOL SUFFICE TO SAY WE WILL USE THAT TID BIT OF INFO AT THE APPORIATE TIME…LOL….
AS FAR AS THE SHIP AND THE CREW IS CONCERNED, OUR CD TODD HAS DONE A GOOD JOB BUT HE IS NOT YOU. WE DID FIND A REAL DIAMOND IN THE CREW AND THAT IS THE ACD JAMES, HE REMINDED BOTH CINDY AND I OF YOU. HE HAS A TON OF ENEGRY AND IS ALWAYS UP TO SOMETHING.CINDY AND I WOULD ABSOLUTLY CRUISE ON ANY SHIP WITH HIM AS THE CD. IF YOU GET A CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH HIM ASK HIM ABOUT HIS “RACOON EYES” EXPERIENCE IN COZEMEL.WE HAVE TO SEND OUT A FEW “WELL DONES” TO OUR ROOM STEWARD,SARJANA AND OF COURSE OUR WAITER CARLO BOTH HAVE BEEN EXCELENT AND HAVE EXCEEDED ANY POSSIBLE EXPCETATION.
OVER ALL AS I SAID JOHN IT HAS BEEN A WONDERFUL CRUISE THAT IN MOST CASES HAS MET OR EXCEEDED BOTH CINDY AND MY EXPECTATIONS, YES THERE WERE A FEW GLITCHES AND BUMPS IN THE ROAD HOWEVER AS I SIT HERE WATCHING THIS BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE I THINK TO MYSELF THAT NO MATTER WHAT LITTLE ISSUES MAY HAVE ARRISED THERE IS NO PLACE I WOULD RATHER BE AT THIS MOMENT THAT SITTING HERE ON DECK 10 WATCHING THE BEAUTIFUL SUN RISE SOMEWHERE IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA ON THE CARNIVAL FREEDOM
CINDY AND BILL
SORRY FOR THE ALL CAPS TEXT BUT THE EARLY MORNING SUN AND MY OLD EYES ARE JUST NOT WORKING TOGETHER THIS MORNING

JOHN SAYS:

HELLO BILL
I HAVE KEPT MY CAPS LOCK BUTTON SO JUST IN CASE YOUR EYES ARE NOT WORKING I WILL MAKE THE LETTERS NICE AND LARGE FOR YOU. WHAT A WONDERUL REVIEW AND SO WONDERFULLY DESCRIPTIVE. I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE HAVING A BRILLIANT TIME AND THANKS SO MUCH FOR MENTIONING CAPTAIN CARLO QUIEROLO. HE IS I KNOW SO PROUD TO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN TO BE MASTER OF THE CARNIVAL DREAM AND I AM SO VERY PROUD OF HIM AS WE ARE GREAT FRIENDS. AS FOR JAMES DUNN……….WELL…………HE IS INCOMPARABLE AND LIKE THE ENERGIGER BUNNY HE KEEPS GOING AND GOING AND HE TOO WILL BE ON THE CARNIVAL DREAM AS TODD’S ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR.
I WAS VERY UPSET TO READ THAT THE IN CABIN GIFTS YOU ORDERED WERE NOT THERE AND I HAVE FORWARDED THIS INFORMATION TO THE BOSS OF THE PVP’S AND YOU WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF.
PLEASE KEEP US UP TO DATE AND ENJOY THE REST OF THE CRUISE. WRITE WHEN YOU GET HOME AND MY BEST WISHES TO YOU BOTH
SEMPER FI
JOHN

Lorena Asked:

Thank you so much for your blog. I have just found this blog and have enjoyed reading it daily. I have been on several Carnival cruises and have loved everyone and believe this is the only way to take a vacation. We I booked a cruise in May 2008 for our kids’ spring break on 3/29/09 aboard the Carnival Triumph. My husband just lost his job a month ago and we are trying to be very careful with our spending. Could you give us some advice/pointers on ways to reduce our costs while we are on board? Thanks for your help!!!

John Says:

Hello Lorena
I am so sorry that your husband has lost his job and I am sure he will find another even better form of employment very soon. Thanks for finding the blog and as for saving money onboard well that’s a good question. Remember to buy the unlimited Fountain Fun soda card for the kids. This will feature a one low price for unlimited sodas and is by far the best way to buy them. Then you have juice and lemonade available free of charge from the lido deck. The shows are free as are all the activities however going ashore ……..well this is where you need to plan your day. Speak personally to the cruise director Brent or one of the shore excursion personal. Explain the situation and tell them what it is that you are looking to do in each port. They may suggest an excursion that is not too expensive or they may suggest you going to the beach on your own and tell you the best way to do this.
Most importantly just enjoy yourself. Try and relax and allow the brilliant crew to serve and entertain you.
I hope you have fun and I hope your husband finds a job very soon
Thinking of you all

John

Noelle Asked:

John, my husband and I think we first sailed with you on our honeymoon I think it was on the Spirit in Jan 2004 or possibly on the Glory Oct 2004.. We can’t remember. But for sure then again on the Liberty for Europe in 2006. Where will you be next? Can you confirm which sailing it was you were the CD on? I would have to lug out the Capers and that’s too daunting of a task. Congrats on your upcoming Thingy!!

John Says:

Hello Noelle
I have never been the Cruise Director on the Carnival Spirit but I was indeed with you in 04 on the Carnival Glory. I have great memories of our time there and I hope we will be able to sail again together soon. I will be on the Carnival Freedom in July and August and then have two bloggers cruises on the carnival Dream. As for 2010 …….well…..my schedule is a bit up in the air at the moment and as soon as I know I will let everyone here on the blog thingy know as well.
My best to you and your husband
Cheers
John

Spencer Asked:

John Please Reply,
There is a thread on cruise critic about a women that is mad because her daughter and I am guessing her 3 friends had the do not disturb sign on their door for the whole 7 days of their cruise and the cabin steward knocked on their door a few times.
Does Carnival have a rule that the stewards have to check a persons room every so often to make sure they are not sick, dead, jumped overboard, or have destroyed the room?
Here is the thread if you want to see it.
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=952068
Thank You for your help,
Spencer

John Says:

hello Spencer
Before I answer this……..why would someone have the do not disturb sign on their door for the whole seven days? Anyway………..regardless of this I am sure the stateroom steward will have been concerned that this sign was in place so much and for so long. This is very unusual and I am sure that the stateroom steward wanted to make sure all was well and to see if at least once during the seven days the guests may need new towels and have the cabin cleaned a little. If a do not disturb sign is placed on the door the state room stewards will not knock………….however if it is there for an extra long period of time………..as in this case I am sure they were just doing the right thing. I would suggest that anyone doing this should talk to their stateroom steward at the start of the cruise and explain that they will not require any service. I will have a read of the thread you sent the link for when I have time but maybe you could my comment to it
Thanks mate
John

Jeanette Asked:

John, whassup with this “early dining waitlisted” on my edocs for April 19th Freedom sailing. I also see it on my Sept 13th sailing for the Splendor!
Are they giving anytime dining a go on the Freedom and Splendor?
Also, how come my luggage tags for Splendor don’t have VIP on it. I did spend an astronomical amount to book a Spa suite (and pay double as I am cruising solo) to get that VIP privilege. I’m turning 40 on the Splendor, so I was wondering why my edoc luggage tags don’t say VIP…..
Interesting…

John Says:

Hello Jeanette
Thanks so much for taking the time to write. We do not have anytime dining on the Carnival Freedom yet and as far as I know it will not be in place by April. What dining preferences do you have, let me know and I will see if I can help. You will love the spa suite on the Carnival Splendor………….it’s amazing. The VIP tags are reserved for guests that have Platinum status of 10 cruises or more. But don’t worry. Once onboard our staff will make you feel like you are a VIPs and as you sit there in your suite on your balcony dressed in our extra thick and soft spa robe you will no doubt feel like a Queen.
Let me know about the dining and anything else you may need
Best wishes
John

Frank Rist Asked:

Hi John,
Please reply,
I am sailing on the Miracle in two weeks and I know she just came out of dry dock to fix a AZIPOD issue that was preventing her from visiting Panama and Costa Rica on her west route. Do you know if they fixed this and she has returned going to panama and Costa Rica?
As always a big fan,
Frank

John Says:

Hello Frank
That’s a great question and I don’t have the answer ………….but I will. Give me 48 hours and you will see the answer here on the blog thingy
Best wishes
John

wil-da-beast Asked:

Hi John….please reply……sorry I haven’t written in quite a while, but I have been reading all the blogs. I really enjoyed Jaime’s letters and got to know her when we sailed back to back on the Splendor last fall. My question is what happened to Kevin who was on the Splendor as part of the entertainment staff? He must have been with you on the Splendor. We really enjoyed the staff on the Splendor. What a great bunch. Also look forward to all the updates on Heidi and the thingy…Regards…W

John Says:

Hello wil-da-beast
Great screen name.
I am glad you enjoyed Jaime’s Dear John letters and I am here onboard with her now and will be filming an interview with her tomorrow for the blog thingy. Kevin is a great guy and he is currently at home on vacation and due to go to the Carnival Victory next. They are a great a bunch as you said and getting to spend time with them here is brilliant
Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and posting again……we missed you
Cheers
John

Bill Heck Asked:

Hi John:
Please reply.
The newest cards are ok. Don’t know the terminology, but the old cards had some reflective areas and some different tones and were cool. But this is better than the last new cards. The graffiti around the funnel reminds me of that other cruise line’s stuff on the hull.
Since it will let me on and off of a fun ship and into a cabin, and buy a toddy on board, the design is stupendous, where is mine?
Did you know in a pinch these cards make good ice scrapers?
Do you know why the dining room seating requests on the reservation portion of the Carnival website are showing “waitlisted”? Maybe Tom or Tony can weigh in.
Your Friend
Bill Heck

John Says:

Hello Bill
Great questions. Let me say that the new cards with the platinum and gold upgrades will be much better ………….I promise you will like them. I imagine they will make great ice scrapers and next winter…………let’s find out.
Now, as for the question regarding about reservations I will defer to Stephanie who may wish to sub contract to Tom and Tony.
Hi Bill, we will have the details about this later this week. Thanks.
Thanks Bill and as always my best regards to you and the family.
John

Debbie Asked:

John please reply
What are the upgrades the Miracle will receive when it goes into dry dock? I am sailing on it with my daughters and best friend on May 8th and cannot wait.
Debbie

John Says:

Hello Debbie
It seems you are very excited about your cruise and next week I promise to feature everything you need to know about the Carnival Miracle. It will be here soon and I wish I could be with you
Cheers and watch this space
John

That’s all for now…………….I will answer more comments marked for my reply soon. I read each and every one of your postings regardless of whether you need a reply or not. As I have said many times before, they are so important so please keep them coming.

Let’s take a break and have a look at some photos of the Carnival Splendor taken by the one and only Radu.

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Brilliant as always Radu and than you so much for sharing these amazing photos

As I mentioned just now Stephanie and the video crew will be joining me on Thursday and we will be conducting interviews with various members of the Carnival Splendor’s crew and posting the videos on the blog thingy.

I have to admit I feel a bit of a spare part at the moment. Goose is the cruise director and although I am here to host the Onboard with Carnival event I am spending most of the time just sitting with agents and people who recognize me while fighting the urge to grab the microphone and entertain. It is amazing though how many of the agents read our blog and to all of them I say a huge thank you for your continuing support.

God I miss Heidi though and really need to see her now. She said I looked tired in the recent photos of me on the blog but I know seeing she will rejuvenate me so very much. Thanks to all of you for your continuing kind words of love and support.

Following this two day cruise we have the big VH1 John mayer concert here complete with red carpet entry and a list of VIP’s ………….most of which I have never heard of. However, my friend Kevin from Gray ER thingy is coming and of course I will be there to photograph and write about this special night.

In a recent poll to find out which European country were the most unhappy during these tough economic times held by the newspaper The International Herald and Tribune ……………the surprise winners were…………..the Italians. Ah yes………..I can see whiling away those long, warm summer evenings in the Tuscan hills with some cheese and a bottle or two of Chianti. La dolce vita? It’s Italian for “the ungrateful bastards”.

Even if we poke about in Italy’s dark and secret places, we don’t find much to complain about. The mafia has pretty much buggered off, and how can anyone complain about Silvio Berlusconi’s alleged corruption when they themselves need a backhander to get out of bed in a morning.

Italy’s youngsters complain, apparently, about having to live at home until they are 72 but that’s because they spend all their money on suits and coffee and Alfa Romeos rather than mortgages.

Of course, I can see that there are drawbacks to life in Italy. It must be annoying to have to post your letters in Switzerland if you want them to stand any chance of arriving, and I would quickly become bored with being killed on the autostrada every day.

Then there’s the problem of your wife. One day, you know with absolute certainty, you will come home from work to find that the ravishing beauty you married and said goodbye to that morning is waddling up the street in a black sack with breasts like six sacks of potatoes.

However………I love Italians and as I know I have mentioned many times before, being born an Italian man is like winning the lottery of life. Last night we had a dinner to say goodbye to the Italian captain of the Carnival Splendor and star of one of our commercials – Captain Giorgio Pagano. He is leaving after a long 49-day voyage around the cape that involved many difficult days of maneuvering and managing bad weather.

Captain Pagano is one of the most wonderfully sincere men I have ever met and nobody………….I mean nobody………….cares more about his fellow humankind than he does. And that is why he was so upset when he showed me a letter he had received during the Carnival Splendor’s South American voyage.

As you may have read here on the blog thingy, a male guest went missing and left a note to his wife and upon finding it she of course told the ship’s officers. There are then strict regulations on the search and rescue plan that has to follow… These rules are set by the US Coast Guard and are part of maritime law. So, the ship returned to the area and began hours of searching in the hope of finding the man still alive……………but not only is the law………..but with a hysterical wife and family still onboard it is the absolute right action to take……………imagine if it was a member of your family.

Well, he was never found and the unfortunate implication of this search was that the ship would be late into the next port and guests would not be able to go on their tour to the various Peruvian sights.

During the search Jaime reported in her Dear John letter that many of the ship’s guests were on deck with binoculars helping to look for the guest and the next day the guests were in a quite reflective mood as they mourned the loss of someone who had been sharing this amazing voyage with them. ………….one guest was not…………she was in her cabin writing the most abusive and hateful letter to the Captain. I wish I could post it here but I can’t. it was written by a lady of 67 years of age who upon hearing that she would miss her tour called the captain amongst other things “a vicious dictator worse than Mussolini”……………what a spiteful horrible thing to say to a man who has nothing but compassion and love for the sea, his job and the guests he has kept safe for 30 years.

He has kept this infernal letter and it has upset him so very much. I told him to throw it away and treat it with the contempt he deserves but he won’t. So, I hope the lady who wrote that letter gets to read this blog. Madam……….the fact that you put your tour above the life of a human being is in my humble opinion………astonishing and I hope that you now realize who much your letter hurt Captain Pagano and I truly hope you never have anything so terrible happen to you or a member of your family…………………oh one more thing Madam………………..during the night the Captain was searching for the guest he received word his mother had passed away back home in Italy…………….a few hours later…………..he received your letter.

Thank you Captain for your wonderful service and your true compassion……………we will be thinking of you when on Friday you lay your mother to rest.

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.