For Those About to Rock……We Salute You

March 28, 2009 -

John Heald

It would be acceptable if you were a beard-wearing math professor or a Soya milk drinking accountant……….you are allowed to be hopelessly, mind-numbingly dull.

But in a pop star dullness is not allowed. What is the point of being an internationally famous and worshipped god of rock, with groupies and millions of pounds and an incurable and as-yet-to-be-diagnosed case of compensatory narcissistic personality disorder, if you don’t decide on the spur of the moment, for example, to become a door-to-door Jehovah’s Witness (Prince, 2001) or, as Keith Moon did, bowl up at a tennis match in a tank and dressed as Erwin Rommel?

The reason is, in 2009, that none of your fellow pop stars would find it remotely funny. They’re more likely to report you to the Association of Singing Superstars (A.S.S.) or suggest you might want to sit on Oprah’s couch, cry …………….and say sorry to the world.

And that’s because the whole of the music industry has turned hopelessly and depressingly square………………….if indeed square is a still a word used these days.

Last night I watched the brilliant and totally charming John Mayer whose acoustic abilities were just fantastic………….but bloody hell………….he was as incredibly engaging, nice and as charming as my Great Aunt Flori, whom I adore.

After the concert I met a reporter I had met on the red carpet earlier that night. He was from one of those “entertainment channels” that thrive on getting some dirty secret on the rich and tanned. But he had failed to find anything of interest to say that wasn’t as lily white as my inner thigh. In the end they led with a story of how one of the support band had demanded scented candles in their dressing room. That’s scented candles in his dressing room!

What a load of girly bollocks is that……….I wanted to see a Madonna type diva explosion like when she was launching her latest single in a pink leotard had her kabbalah water flown in especially for the performance. It costs $60 a liter — and comes from the mountains of ummm…….Detroit or somewhere and she allegedly refused to perform if she didn’t get this holy of waters…………….brilliant.

What else happened? One of the performers sang into his microphone while also singing into his cell phone (for his wife? His parents? Who knows? Who cares?) He neither bit the head off a bat nor told anyone to f *** off.

The show featured Gavin Rossdale, Jordin Sparks, O.A.R. (buggered if I know what that stands for but being on a ship seemed like a good place to have an O.A.R.), Sara Bareilles, Guster and Erin McCarley.

All of the above sang acoustically and some even Acapulco …………. sorry …………… acapella………….and as I said before they were all excellent. Some of the music was not to my taste……….for example Sara Bareilles sang two songs all of which were about as joyful as getting seaickness and whopping cough at the same time………..she even admitted over the microphone to the audience that some of her songs were depressing ………..and I think she was right. Anyway, enough of Les Miserable………..the music was fantastic and the audience enjoyed everything…………….especially though John Mayer and Jordin Sparks who sang separately and together………………lovely.

As they sang about love and saying goodbye and the joys of owning a puppy I longed for something “rock n roll” to happen. I wanted John to suddenly realize that he didn’t want to sing about the emotions of losing his girl and smash his guitar over his roadie’s head before throwing himself into the audience who carry him above their shoulders to the back of the room where he drinks a bottle of vodka in one before taking 23 women back to his cabin.

He didn’t………he thanked the audience…………and the world…………..buggered off to his cabin……..had a nice cup of organic tea…… Put on his whale song CD………and went to sleep.

Yet despite my misgivings there is no doubt that once again the incomparable Andy Levine, owner and organizer of Sixthman who promoted this and other similar spectacular events put together something very, very special. They are as I write sailing to Cabo San Lucas on a four day John Mayer cruise which will I am sure be just as fantastic ……….. congratulations Andy and congratulations to Carnival on continuing this brilliant partnership.

Let’s go back to yesterday afternoon when the guests started to arrive. Some were staying just for the concert and some were staying for the four-day cruise. I met people from New Zealand who had flown 25 hours to be at the event and to cruise with their heroes but most seemed to come from California. It was a complete turn around from what the awesome crew of the good ship Carnival Splendor had experienced recently. During the 49-day cruise the guests were somewhat ummm………..mature……………and the crew had adapted to their needs. For example the disco was not one of the more popular entertainment areas during the voyage and on some nights it had closed two hours before it had opened! However, last night the ship experienced something completely different.

The average age was drunk…………….sorry…………………I meant the average age was twenty or thirty something many of which as I said came from California. Now, I don’t want to stereotype these young people but I can only report what I saw …………. and that was lots of blonde hair……lots of skirts most of which were as mini as a NCL cabin…

The young men all seemed to be dressed exactly the same. They wore big puffy white shirts……….tight leather pants………….and all had hair that looked like they had driven through a wind tunnel on a motorcycle and then pulled through a hedge backwards. Someone told me that this was the latest fashion………………………fashion, my arse.

As I sat and watched this fascinating group of people I realized all of them had so much in common apart from their dress sense or lack of it. All of them it seemed had a fascination with a certain word……..and that words is “The”………..ok, let me explain.

All night I heard……………..”Are you in The Business””……………”Do you live in The Hills”……………….are you doing “The red carpet”………..do you know “the” answer to one plus one. The other think I noticed was that the girls would see someone famous and when they did they all would do the same demented dance which involved hoping from one foot to the other giggling like a three year old. It was hilarious.

When John Mayer walked down the red carpet I heard one say………….”He looked at me, did you see, he looked at me and I winked at him………he knows.”………………….what does he know I wanted to go over to her and say…………”You were jumping up and down like you had a frog in your knickers and your chances of any kind of relationship with him are about as real as your bosoms.”

So, the red carpet………before I tell you all about that……..time to pause and answer some of your questions marked for my reply. Just before I do, please except my apologies on the delay in doing this and over the next few days I promise to catch up. Here’s the first 10 or so from my list of 40 plus.

Joan Asked:
John, I have a few questions for you – hope you can answer them for me. We were on the Splendor for all 3 legs around South America. Had a great cruise, the entertainment was very mediocre, only saw the Cruise Director, around the ship twice, in 49 days.
The Piano Bar was a designated smoking area, according to the pamphlets that the Purser’s Desk handed out at the beginning of the cruise. On Feb. 8/09, they put no-smoking signs on the tables. I went to the Purser’s desk to ask why, was told that it is a designated smoking area and I should be able to smoke there – it was just something that the Cruise Director was trying out. Went to the Piano Bar and asked for an ashtray, and was told that it is no longer a smoking area. Went back to the Purser’s Desk, (this was the second time that the Purser’s Desk did not know anything about it), after they talked about it, was then told that it was now a non-smoking area. Went to the Purser’s desk the next day and was told that it was a head office decision. Do you know why this was changed and why it would be done half way in a cruise?
On 10, at the back in the smoking area, where the tables and chairs are, was closed off three times from 7:30 to 10:00pm for officer’s parties. Why would they close off the ONLY outdoor smoking area that many times?
Also noticed in your blog, the write-up from Jamie is missing for Mar. 21 and 22nd. Congratulations to Jamie on her new position, she certainly deserves it.

John Says:

Hello Joan
Welcome back from what must have been a fantastic voyage and I am so sorry about the concerns you encountered with the smoking policy at the piano bar. When I left the Carnival Splendor in October the piano bar was a non-smoking area. I tried this because of the numerous amount of negative comments I received from people who did not smoke yet wanted to experience our iconic piano entertainers. So, I made this area non smoking along with the support of the Hotel Director Duncan. We did this also in the knowledge that smokers could smoke just one deck down in the cigar bar called Robusto’s.
We monitored the attendance of these venues and also looked at the number of comments we received from smokers and neither changed very much at all. However…………..I can imagine how frustrating it must have been for you to receive misleading information and for that there is no excuse ……….just apologies. I checked with the vessel and the piano bar on the Carnival Splendor remains non smoking and this is not a fleetwide policy but is one that continues on the Carnival Splendor.
Duncan is the best hotel director in the fleet and I know he and the CD Goose will monitor this situation closely. As for closing off the deck 10 for crew parties ………….. well, I have mentioned this to the ship and I think they are now aware of the impact these well deserved crew events cause and will make sure that future events like this do not disrupt the smoking areas of our guests. It is very kind of you to point out these concerns as often they go unmentioned and we do not realize the problems they may have caused. I am so sorry you did not enjoy the entertainment. It’s funny, isn’t it, how people’s opinions of entertainment differ. Only yesterday I read a post that said the entertainment was fantastic and mentioned specifically the Vroom show, the harpist and a violinist called Peter Fisher. Maybe you could help us further by telling me what exactly you thought was missing. This again would be most helpful.
As for not seeing Gosse around the vessel…………well………in his defense I must say that from experience I know how difficult the planning of these long cruises are. The CD job is unfortunately these days one that is spent more behind the computer than on stage. The CD is responsible for preparing all the Carnival Capers and liaising and planning not only the entertainment, music and activities but all of the ship’s daily events. This though is not the way it should be. A CD should be on stage and on TV and with the people as often as possible and we are looking at ways to make sure this takes priority…..not being be stuck behind the computer.
Thanks for all your kind words for Jaime. She did not post on the dates mentioned, we gave her a few days off………….she deserved it.
I hope to hear from you again soon
Best wishes
John


flipflopcruisequeen Asked:

John, Please Reply,
Are you doing any of the Mexico cruises on the Splendor or are you heading back to Miami? I am sorry that we didn’t get to meet up while you were in San Francisco, but maybe there will be another time when you grace us with your presence in California! I am getting ready for our Carnival Sunday Fun Day event–should be lots of fun, and the weather is supposed to be nice. When do you fly home to Heidi?
Sheryl

John Says:

Hello Sheryl
I loved San Francisco and if I have my way I shall return soon to explore more and to see you as well. I am not cruising anymore on the Carnival Splendor but hope to change that fact soon as well…………I love that ship. I fly back to London on Sunday night and as you can imagine, I can’t wait to see Heidi.
Thanks so much for your continuing support of the blog thingy
Cheers
John


Catrin Asked:

Good Morning John….

I don’t know what to say…. as of (very early) Tuesday morning, I haven’t heard from anyone from Carnival specifically about this issue. Of course, I have tortured Steve and my kids… asking over and over again if they received a message from Carnival….to which I hear “sighhhhh….. No MOM! ” over and over again!

Maybe that one rep who called to offer the suite for $1190 WAS indeed the call?? Maybe I just treated that call as if it was a random “Upsell” call?
If that is the case, please let me know.

Or.. If you have the contact person, you can just let me know… and I will be more than happy to call them.

(One terrific thing…. I did receive my “Goodie Bag” from HouseParty… cannot wait to host my Pre-Cruise BASH this Sunday!)
Catrin

John Says:

Hello Catrin
Again, I write in hope that as I write to you on a Saturday that you have now had a call to follow up your concerns. First thing Monday I will speak to the VP of reservations and follow up myself and once again I apologize for the distress this may have caused you.
I am so happy that your Fun Box arrived. Have a fantastic party and hopefully you will send us some photos to share. I will be back on Monday.
Until then, have fun and my best to you and all the family
Cheers
John


Liz Asked:

John, Please reply:
I started reading your blog a couple of months ago and find it very informative and entertaining. Keep up the good work! I just returned from my cruise on the Carnival Victory (03/15) and we had a wonderful time (and got all the bacon we wanted!). This was our 4th Carnival Cruise. We did have one problem that affected the enjoyment of our cruise. My husband and I sailed with 2 of our daughters (ages 15 and 17) and a girlfriend of theirs (age 17). My 17-year-old’s boyfriend (age 19) and his parents were our sailing companions. (My daughter and her boyfriend met 2 years ago at Club O2 on the Carnival Glory.) My daughter is just 2 months shy of being 18 and her boyfriend has just turned 19. Because of his age, the boyfriend was refused entry into Club O2. Because of the ages of the girls, they couldn’t get into any of the lounges (understandably). Therefore, there was no place that this group of kids could “hang out” at night, other than the arcade or on deck. I took my concern to Guest Services, asking that they allow the boyfriend into Club O2, but was told that there was “nothing they could do”. I was extremely disappointed in this decision as I was certain they would look at the age criteria for Club O2 as a “guideline” and not a hard and fast rule. The GSA told me that I could speak to the youth director but she also said it would not do me any good as they did not even break this rule in the case of siblings who wanted to be together. Carnival needs to understand that teens have friends across a broad age range and that friendships do not always fit into the criteria established by a corporation or youth director. This lack of understanding on Carnival’s part put my daughter in an uncomfortable position all week, having to choose between attending the Club O2 activities with her friend and sister, and choosing to spend time with her boyfriend (who really had nowhere to go…who wants to go to the disco by yourself???) In a recent blog you said that entertainment for teens was a challenge that Carnival was working on. My suggestion is to lighten up on the age criteria for the programs to allow friends to be friends. I remain very disappointed in Carnival’s lack of flexibility in this regard. Remember, rules are for fools and the guidance of the wise.

John Says:

Hello Liz
First of all I am so happy that that you and your family and friends had a great time on the Carnival Victory. How wonderful that young love was found at Club O2 on the Carnival Glory. Let me chat about your concerns. The GSA and the Club O2 Director were correct………..right or wrong there is a strict Carnival fleetwide policy that does not allow anyone over the age of 17 to attend Club O2. We consider 18 to be a young adult and although they cannot drink people of 18 -20 can attend the dance clubs on our ships. The thinking is that if we let in your 19-year-old then we have to let in other 19 year olds into the Club O2 environment…………….and therefore allowing them to interact with younger teens. This is a policy that we enforce strictly. However…………I do understand your situation and maybe should we be more flexible in matters like yours ……………. possibly …………………and therefore we will address this matter with those who make these policies at our head office in Miami. I will let you know what they say and if we can look at being a little more flexible. I hope their love continues and maybe we will see them on their honeymoon cruise in a few years time.
Glad you are enjoying the blog and hope you will do so for a long time to come.
Best wishes to all
John

Princess Lori Asked:

Loved the blog today; especially the pictures of the re-vamped Carnival Spirit. Skiing? Those people are crazy. Would much rather cruise to WARM and beautiful places!

PLEASE REPLY: Was wondering if you have any pics of the Carnival Miracle’s “facelift”. That would be great.

Princess Susan, congrats on your party. I too am hosting Sunday. Received my package yesterday. I can’t wait to get this party started.

Hello to John, Heidi and baby – with hugs to all.

Princess Lori
aka Catmama

John Says:

Hello Princess Lori
How are you? I don’t have photos of the Carnival Miracle yet but will next week for sure and of course I will post them for you to enjoy. Have a wonderful party and wish I could be there with you. Thanks so much for the kind words and I send a big hug back to you.
Cheers
John


msqpon – Jo Myerly Asked:

John.Pleasereply.
Hi John, Will you do me a huge favor when you visit the Carnival Dream? We are booked on the December 3 bloggers cruise. We have cabin 2424. It is a category 6C. It should have a junior tub. Can you take a photo of a junior tub? I would love to see what these bathrooms look like. I wonder how big the tubs are. Hopefully they fit adults and not just human pretzels.
Thanks,
Jo and Dave

John Says:

Hello Jo and Dave
Yes, of course I will. You may have to remind me though as my mind will be full of dirty diapers
Cheers
John

Sarah B. Asked:

Mr. Heald, (there is a question, please reply)

Never before have I been inclined to comment ANYTHING online just to give my two cents. This is my first. My husband and I will be on our second cruise April 26. In my (obsessive) excitement of my pending Splendor Cruise, I stumbled upon your blog page. You sir, quite frankly, are hilarious! Don’t tell, but I have been reading your blog while (not) working and I am running out of excuses as to why I am laughing. Can’t tell them I’m online! I appreciate you’re humor and believe me I will be reading every thing you have to say from now on. I do have a question for you as you seem to be straight up when you answer and for once I feel comfortable asking. I am currently booked on the Riviera deck, Category 4B # inside stateroom, on the Splendor as previously mentioned, because of prices really. I have fantastic visions of sipping coffee watching the dolphins, birds, and the sunrise on my own balcony. Can you please tell me, from your point of view; is a balcony stateroom really worth the extra cost? For some reason I feel like I may not be maximizing my experience by not splurging. I would this time around if I really could, but maybe next time. Someday I will try a balcony as I plan to take many more cruises with Carnival. My last cruise, a 5 day on Elation, was more than adequate with the inside cabin and I have zero complaints. Your opinion seems honest and worthwhile.

Once again, you have an amazing sense of humor and that really encourages my husband and me to get out there more often. You bring out the “fun” in “fun ships.”

Thank you SO much for your time.

Sincerely,

Sarah Blacklock & Manuel Rivera

John Says:

Hello Sarah
Firstly, if anyone catches you laughing at work just tell life is too short not to laugh and after they fire you call me and you can come and work for Carnival. I am so glad you are enjoying the blog and I promise always to give my honest opinions here on the blog. The day I am gagged and not allowed to I will stop writing for sure……….but that day I am sure will not be here for a long time. Now………….about that balcony. Is it worth it…………………well, yes………..it really is. There is nothing wrong with our interior cabins which are spacious and welcoming but there is something special about being able to sit on that balcony. I just had a cabin with one on the Carnival Splendor and my favorite time to use it was early in the morning with a cup of tea watching the sun rise. Then, late a night sitting, listening to the sound of the sea before bed is ………… well ………….. priceless. Certainly their popularity is immense as you can see by the industry building ships with more and more cabins having balconies. Even though we have the best staterooms at sea, interior, ocean view and balcony, we don’t want you in their too much. We want you out enjoying the fun, food, entertainment and yes………spending money in the casino and shops etc. So, have a think about it and regardless of what cabin you have I promise you that your Carnival Splendor cruise will be absolutely brilliant.
I remain at your service
Best wishes
John

Mandy Carter (PLEASE REPLY JOHN!) Asked:

Hey John! First I would like to say thanks for this blog, lots of fun and great information. I am a Carnival Fan…first Carnival Cruise at age 6 and now at age 26 I will be going on my 13th Carnival cruise soon. My question: I have a group on Cruise critic that have a meet n greet scheduled on our own but now that our roll call has grown to over 50 we were thinking of paying for a one hour cocktail hour…BUT the cruise leaves April 6th on the Miracle; so it is too late to pre-arrange this. Can we arrange for a private party once we get onboard? And can we all just chip in and pay with cash to the ship instead of one person’s card being charged? We definitely have the 20 person minimum and are not picky about which day at sea it is on…PLEASE ADVISE us on the best way to get this planned!!! Thanks in advance.

John Says:

Hello Mandy
Thanks for being a Carnival fan since the young age of just 6…………….how lucky you were. Now, as far as your group is concerned, yes, of course we can organize this for you. When you arrive onboard I would like you to go to the GSA desk (Purser’s Desk) and ask for the group coordinator. She will then discuss times and places for this event to happen. You can choose from a variety of parties that include open bar with or without hors d’ ouerves or you may prefer to have everyone pay for their drinks separately using their own Sail & Sign cards. I will alert the ship that you will be looking to do this and I hope you all have a brilliant cruise
Let me know if you need anything else
Cheers
John


Jeff Asked:

Please reply

John-

I just booked the Dream for Oct. 2010 last night and am very excited! My wife told me today that she was reading on cruise critic something about on board credit that you receive if you book a cruise within 60 days of your last or something like that. Is this true? If so that is a great deal…bummer for this one since we book something like 66 days after the Inspiration but still a great deal! Sorry to bother with such an odd question, just curious for next time! Thanks

Jeff Sommerville

John Says:

Hello Jeff
The Carnival Dream…………it seems everyone is very excited about this ship and it’s the vessel everyone is talking about. I think you may be referring to the $100 certificate we were promoting. This was being done through the cruise and loyalty folks onboard our ships. If you put down a $100 deposit on certain future cruises we would match that with a $100 onboard credit. I suggest that you check with your travel agent to see if you were eligible to this promotion. If this is not what you were talking about I apologize and if that is the case please let me know and I will investigate further.
Thanks Jeff an my best to you and all the family
John


Frank Asked:

John Please read:
My compliments to Captain Pagano and his years of service. We were on several cruises with him. I am also truly upset also someone was more concerned over themselves then a life of a human being. To the point to write a hateful letter like that. I think the captain is a wonderful man and I truly think he has a knack for comedy as I continue to watch his commercial over and over. His face is priceless and had me crying I was laughing so hard the first time I watched it. Even now I can’t help myself from getting into a laughing fit when I think about the Capt’s face. I now show it to everyone I know as to how funny the captain is in this. It now has new meaning to me after reading your blog. So captain good luck to you and our personal thoughts are very much with you right now with the passing of your mother. John is there anyway you can send a card from all of us bloggers to him and his family?
Thanks
Frank & Bridie Rist

John Says:

Hello Frank and Bridie
I know you didn’t ask for a reply but I just had to say…………..”thank you.”
Best Wishes
John


Bobby Asked:

Hi John, PLEASE Reply. We are sailing on the Valor on May 31st and for dining it says 6:00 Waitlisted what does that mean?? My father has to eat early for stomach issues if he eats late.

Thank you
Bobby

John Says:

Hello Bobby
Please send me your cabin number and surname so I can try and help with your dining assignment
Don’t worry
John


Semper Fi Asked:

john please reply..

Thank you so much for replying in caps …lol the sun light was not helping my laptops monitor.
In any case…

We have arrived back home safe and sound, I do want to make a comment about the debarkation process at the Ft. Lauderdale pier… ABSOULTLEY BRILLIANT………..what a job completed by the crew and the customs folks.
Cindy and I were in group 3 as we had scheduled an excursion to the airboat tour.
The captain and staff did a brilliant job of docking the ship in extremely windy conditions and without much room for error.
Cindy and I had time to enjoy our breakfast and to stroll up to Victoriana Lounge to get ready. James and the staff were totally organized and had things running very smoothly. When our number was called and we left the ship we were surprised to find that our luggage was there waiting for us and in less than 10 mins after leaving the lounge we had our bags and were through customs and on our way to our tour.
Please forward this on to Todd and James and the entire entertainment staff of the Carnival Freedom and to the folks working at the pier.
What a WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE.
Just another example of why Carnival is the leader, as they pay attention to the ENTIRE cruise experience from arrival through departure.
While we are settling back into our normal lives we again are blessed to have had an 8 day life altering experience on the Carnival Freedom and have already booked our next 2 cruises, and yes 1 of them will be on our favorite Carnival ship and the other will be on her sister ship.
As we reflect on the experience again we want to share our thanks to each and every crew member on the Carnival Freedom who again EXCEEDED EVERY EXPECTATION IN EVERY WAY.

Thank you all for all your hard work and dedication

Cindy and Bill

John Says:

Hello Cindy and Bill
Thank you………………what wonderful words and ones I have shared with the captain and ship’s company. I can’t wait to see you one day and say Semper Fi to you in person
Best to you both
John


Sarah Asked:

Please Read!
Hey John!

I can’t believe you are in LA! I just left there last night, so I just missed you. Hope the party is a lot of fun though.

I have some photos of the Carnival Pride in port in Long Beach taken as she left for the last time from the port. My friends and I were touring the magnificent Queen Mary and the Pride was in port. I couldn’t help but take tons of photos.

If you’d like, I can pass them along so you can post them for all to see. There are some nice shots of her sailing past the dome into the sunset of Long Beach. There really wasn’t much fanfare for her departure.

Though I have to tell you I was really hoping it was the Splendor when I first arrived. You see, when we took the Splendor in November/December, I was lucky enough to get a photo of the Splendor next to the Queen Mary 2! I was hoping to get the Splendor next to the original Queen.

Thanks for another entertaining blog John!

Sarah

John Says:

Hello Sarah
Can you send us a photo or two………….we would love to see the ship sailing past the dome. I am glad you had fun seeing the Carnival Pride and maybe one day soon you will get to experience a Carnival “Fun Ship” cruise with me.
Cheers
John

Shawn Asked:

John Please reply :

I will be sailing on the Splendor this upcoming Oct and my booking Number is—— and the cabin number is 7202. My dear friend Edward will be celebrating his 31st birthday on Splendor with me and I was hoping to know if there would be 2 small favors you might be able to help me out. One if you can send him a birthday greeting to our cabin and the other is we are trying to figure out who might be CD on our cruise… We would love to have you, but we are both thinking that you might be on the New Carnival Dream or at home tending to the Heidi & the thingy. I would just like to see my friends face seeing that he gets me at surprises all the time.

Thanks a lot John.

John Says:

Hello Shawn
The cruise director will be Goose. He will have had a well deserved vacation by then and will be back to entertain you. I will be honored to send your dear friend a birthday wish and more so please would you remind me nearer the sailing date so I do not forget. I wish I could be there to deliver this in person.
My best to you and Edward
John

That’s all for now and I will answer more as soon as I can. I know I am really behind but I will catch up I promise………Please remember to let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

By the way……………talking of Goose. …………….he and the entertainment staff have put together a brilliant 50’s and 60’s rock n roll deck party. It features the live band Elite and members of the orchestra and choreographed numbers by the dancers and singers. Jaime ………………how about some photos please?

Back to the red carpet which was layed on the promenade deck just after the casino stretching down to the dance club……………it was quite a sight. Only VIP’s wearing a pass round their necks that said either Media or Access All Areas were allowed in and big burly event staff with no necks stood by the gift shops to make sure nobody normal got a look at what was happening. Thanks, though, to Jennifer de la Cruz, our director of PR and all things show bizzy, we had a spot along the carpet.

When I say a spot…………..I mean we literally had a place to stand the size of one of one of my hemorrhoids. The “we” were myself, Stephanie Leavitt and our video producer and cameraman Peter Hair………Peter has been a welcome asset to the blog crew and we call him Mr. Hair as his looks like he has put a wet finger in a plug socket or he has just seen a photo of Judge Judy wearing only a smile.

Anyway, joining us along the red carpet were dozens and dozens of photographers. You know……….all the stuff you have heard about the papparazi being sort of loud and uncouth is true to a degree but generally most were pretty nice. There was one in particular, though, who was going after a fellow photographer with the most disgusting and degrading slurs………….horrible bastard.
Further up the line were the much nicer and calmer TV crews from shows like …….E-Entertainment TV……….Extra…….Access Hollywood……and MTV who were onboard to film “Pimp My Cruise Ship.”

I watched some of the performers walk down the carpet and as they did I thought some more about fame. These were not “mega stars” and sometimes I think the smaller the celebrity, the bigger target they make in this nasty celebrity age in which bad hair, skin or weight days are front-page news and a failed relationship starts a national debate. Then I pulled myself together and remember that some of them are greedy for People Magazine’s attention.

I watched the obviously very talented and certainly very beautiful Jordin Sparks who is an American Idol apparently and has been “famous” for just a short time. Yet as she stood there gladly accepting the blaze of flashbulbs I wondered how her life must have changed. It had certainly changed for her mother as well who stood at the end of the carpet looking very stern indeed.

I was supposed to interview the stars for carnival.com and the blog thingy and I did manage to interview a couple of them.

However………I had to take a break because like a stupid idiot I had forgotten to eat properly that day and suddenly I found myself feeling “floppy” as I call it. Diabetics will know that when your sugar level drops it’s a pretty horrible feeling. You feel faint and start to sweat. I must admit that I have not had this feeling for a long time……….and maybe only once or twice before but I knew I had to take care of it.

I therefore called Jaime, our Dear John friend, and she covered brilliantly for me as you will see soon. I went back to my cabin and tested my sugar……..it was 3.4………….I have no idea what that is on the American scale but I knew it was bloody low ………. luckily, my loving wife Heidi had packed some emergency high glucose chocolate stuff and after gulping down a few pieces and testing my sugar level again 15 minutes later I felt much better and returned to work.

A few minutes after that Kevin arrived. For those of you who don’t know who Kevin McKidd he is currently appearing in Grey’s ER and has starred in the HBO series Rome, many movies including Trainspotting, Made of Honor and one you must see called Dog Soldiers. He walked the red carpet like a professional and it was astonishing for me to see how famous he has become………..I am very proud of the Scottish git…………………I vote he be the next James Bond.

Here are a few photos of the red carpet stuff.

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Carnival certainly got some great publicity out of this event and I should also mention the hard work that so many of the Carnival shoreside personal put into making this a huge success. I would also like to mention the ship’s company who having completed the 49-day cruise and two two-day travel agent voyages were pretty tired I am sure.

Yet………….they never show it and they continue to work so hard and do so with such friendliness that it never ceases to amaze me. I would like to specifically mention the bar department. There is nothing more difficult than serving 2,000 people on an open bar basis………….I won’t say anymore than that but I am sure you all know what I mean. So, well done to the crew of the Carnival Splendor……………I am very proud of you all and it was brilliant to be home with you on a ship I miss very much.

The concert was amazing…………..the music terrific (mostly) and all the celebrities stopped to talk to all the TV crews…………including us…………..at carnival.com and the blog thingy. So, in the days ahead we will feature a video featuring Jaime and I interviewing John Mayer, Kevin McKidd, Jordin Sparks and some rock band I interviewed who had just smoked a palm tree and will therefore have to be edited. In fact everyone of the stars took their valuable time to talk to us…………which is quite astonishing…………..all except Sara Bareilles who didn’t look too happy……….. maybe she had been listening to her own music.

The concert was called “Save the Music” which is of course something we must do …………I fully intend to have our Thingy learn to read and love music and understand that it doesn’t just come out of an Eye Pod but through the hearts and minds of brilliant musicians like Mr. Mayer and his friends.

Well, yesterday as you saw I was on the streets of Los Angeles filming. Except, of course, I wasn’t. Seconds after breaking out the tripod to film the brilliant new interactive Aquarium, a policeman pulled up and demanded that we show him our permit.

Unfortunately and despite explaining to Officer Picky that we were from Carnival and just wanted to film something we owned he told us to bugger off…………it was like trying to reason with a tin of soup. So we did………..but risking sharing a cell with a man called Big Bubba we went back later and filmed again without the tripod. You will see the results of that very soon.

So, here I am in yet another faceless business person’s hotel. There’s a priority check-in section where you wait behind some rope, on a bit of carpet. There are staff in shiny suits who say things like “If there’s anything else at all for yourself at all.” And you are given a credit card key that makes lots of whirring noises when you put it in the lock but will not, no matter what you do, open the door.

After you’ve kicked it down, you have the room.

The light switch by the bed turns all the lights off, except one. Which can only be extinguished by hitting the bulb with your shoe.

The plug you need to charge your raspberry is always behind the mini bar, and the “tea and coffee making facilities” are designed to ensure you can’t make either. No, really: the kettle lead is never more than a foot long and the brown powder they put in the sachets is way closer on the periodic table to yak poo than it is to coffee. Businessmen’s hotels, I think, are the most miserable, soulless edifices in the entire world……………………………. I’d rather stay in an igloo.

So, tomorrow (Sunday) many of you will be hosting your Carnival Fun Day Sunday parties. All of us at Carnival are so grateful to you for hosting these events. I know you will have fun and I know that you will tell your friends and neighbors just why you love the Fun Ships of Carnival. Mostly though I hope this party brings you closer to the people who live down the street……….the ones you may just say “good morning” to before going about your busy lives. So, let the fun begin and I look forward to seeing all your photos …………….have fun.

So, on Monday morning I will land at Heathrow (God willing) and then head home to be with Heidi and the Thingy………..and enjoy a good cup of monkey tea………I am desperate for a good cup of tea. Here in California coffee is king ………..tea……..don’t even bother asking. These LA people are coffee drinkers and sneer at the teabag-danglers among us. Tea is for people who drive VW Beetles. Tea is for men and women who wear pink fluffy pullovers.

So I joined the ranks of coffee drinkers here and it wasn’t a good experience. Order a cappuccino in Starbucks LA and you’re likely to be presented with a cup of low-fat foam atop a thimbleful of liquid that tastes more likes a pair of my underwear has been put in a blender and liquefied ……….rather than espresso. I can’t wait to get my morning mug of monkey tea……..although I will miss it being served as it was yesterday in Starbucks LA by a Pamela Andersen lookalike ………..who had a massive pair of Grande Lattes.

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.