A Name for Our Thingy

April 7, 2009 -

John Heald

One of the most common things that people have said to me these past few weeks is “I hope you aren’t leaving Heidi and the Thingy at home and going back to work on a ship.” Every man should be home at 7pm to see his wife and thingy.

For the first few days this really got to me and I had begun to second guess myself on some choices we had already made. But then, I started to resent what these people were saying. I guess I am old fashioned and that’s why I don’t understand………I am not saying a wife should be at home taking care of the house, cooking, cleaning and feeding the Thingy, etc. while the man goes off to work to support them …………. well ………. actually…………hold on a moment ……………that’s exactly what I am saying.

If you were an Iron Age man and you came home from a hunting expedition empty-handed because you wanted to play with your children, you’d starve. If you were a penguin and you came back from a fishing trip with nothing but snow in your flippers, your baby would die and the following year Mrs. Penguin would be having rumpy pumpy with the penguin next door …………….or become a nun.

This is the problem. I am a man, designed to hunt and reproduce and look after those that bare your name. But in an evolutionary nanosecond, it’s all changed. After several million years of programming we’ve been told that what women really want is a husband who leaves his colleagues in the lurch at 7pm and comes home to make a delicious meatloaf.

That’s like telling someone from Paris that after a lifetime of not washing and being rude you want them to have a shower every day and walk around the streets of London and New York wishing us all a nice day. And it’s not just a bunch of feminists making the point either. It’s every single girl from the age of puberty to the menopause.

Last week I wrote that I had hurt my back. I did this I think whilst performing an on board with Carnival event on the Carnival Splendor. I wasn’t happy with the chair assignment on stage so rather that ask a stage technician to help I moved them myself thus causing my back pain. Being male I shrugged this off and kept going which caused all the women present to treat me like I had Ebola.
If I had wanted to impress them I should have abandoned the show, gone to my cabin, sold my story to Currents magazine, and spent the next six weeks watching Notting Hill while holding a puppy.

I pride myself on the fact I don’t cry over films or TV — apart from Mrs. Landingham’s and Leo’s funerals in West Wing, obviously. But apparently this is all wrong. I should sob hopelessly every time I watch American Idol.

Take my great mate and fellow CD Wee Jimmy, who is about as manly as Elton John’s underwear. But girls say he has bunny-rabbit eyes and that he looks like he needs to be mothered……… bollocks……. He looks like a Weeble …….yet the girls can’t get enough of him.

All of which gets me back to the case in point; that after a million years of not coming home until you actually have an impala to eat, men are now being told that no matter what, we should up sticks at seven and go home with a box of tissues and some flowers from the Citgo station.

And so is the attitude of the many men and women of the armed forces and the thousands of people who work away from home. So, Heidi and I have thought long and hard about this. I will (if Carnival allows it) continue in my roll as brand ambassador and senior cruise director. Hopefully next year I will get to be a CD again and providing I am not at sea for more than 8 weeks then Heidi will be happy for me to continue doing what I love and providing for them in what is ……….the only way I know how.

Some may say my attitude is macho and I guess you would be right…….. because it is.

Anyway, that was a very long winded way of answering the question I am getting a lot at the moment…………what is my 2010 schedule. Well, I don’t know as yet but I hope to soon and I will let you all know what is happening.

Talking of questions……………..lets answer some right now that have been marked “John, please reply.”……………here we go.

spencercoop Asked:
John Please Reply.
John,
I am the one that asked for some pictures of the Penthouse Suites with the extended balconies. Sorry I didn’t specify what ship I was talking about. I thought I did, but I guess I didn’t. I am looking for pictures of the balconies of the new extended balcony suites on the Carnival Sensation. I just wanted to see a few pictures, so I could see how big the balcony is.
Thank You,
Spencer

John Says:
Hello Spencer
Thanks for letting me know. I will ask someone onboard to do this ASAP and will post them here on the blog.
Cheers
John

Ashley Asked:
John (please Reply)
Thank you SOOO much for including a letter from Claire! She is seriously one of my favorite Carnival employees and I hope that everyone out there has a chance to meet this wonderful person. Not only is she an amazing dancer and dance captain but she is one of the sweetest people I have ever encountered. I have had the pleasure of sailing with her 2 times (Glory and Splendor) and had an opportunity get to know on her on Sarah’s and my amazing Splendor Cruise in December.
Please send her my love (and I will email her how excited I am about her blog debut)!
Take Care
Ashley
Not sure if the link will work but here is a pic of Claire and I when I was Gloria during the Legends show!
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/photo.php?pid=1176979&id=602243444

John Says:
Hello Ashley.
Your love has been sent and indeed, even though is from the North of England, she is a wonderful person and a great attribute to the company. Thanks for sharing the photos and I hope you enjoyed your starring roll in Carnival Legends.
Cheers
John

Caryn Asked:
John – please reply
I am booked on the Carnival Liberty leaving in 3 weeks and there are still no shore excursions listed for HMC. Are there any being offered there? I called the shore excursions dept to no avail. Part of the “fun” of the cruise is planning your “fun.”

John Says:

Hello Caryn
You are correct, the excursions are not showing and it appears we have a computer glitch once again. Please accept my apologies and I have let our shore excursion department know. Once they have them online you can choose from a host of excursions available at Half Moon Cay………….here are a few of our favorites.
Aqua Trax (similar to a jet ski ).Take a short tram ride and arrive at the safety briefing area and have time to get acquainted with your personal sit-on watercraft. Have your guide lead you, single file, along the picturesque shoreline of the island. Navigate around the natural reef formations, inlets, islands and sand pits before stopping for a cool drink. Learn about the history of the island and the Arawak Indians, the first settlers to the area.
Half Moon Cay Snorkel Tour – Travel by boat to a site off the coast of Half Moon Cay Get an up-close view into the crystal clear waters of the sparkling Caribbean. Snorkel from the boat in waters teeming with gloriously colored fish, anemones and coral. Have professional snorkeling guides assist you as needed. Spend time to observing the creatures of the deep and their characteristics. Spot a friendly stingray if you’re lucky.
Half Moon Cay Horseback Adventure – Make a short tram ride to your orientation where you will then mount up and set out with your guides along winding trails and up to the highest point on the island. Enjoy a great photo opportunity and panoramic view of Half Moon Cay and the surrounding Bahamian islands. Continue along the bay en route back to the corral where you will enjoy a refreshment while your horse is “dressed” for swimming in specially designed pad and rope halter (no saddle). Then ride your horse into the ocean for a memorable swim! Afterwards, re-board your tram for the ride back to the Fort San Salvador Welcome Center.
We also have a bike tour and sailing boats for hire as well as a chance to go deep sea fishing……. and of course you might just want to relax and soak up paradise from your own private cabana. After being the first to tender ashore, you will find your cabana outfitted with a refrigerator, ceiling fan, air conditioner, table and chairs inside, as well as deck chairs and misting shower on the private terrace. You will be provided snacks and an assortment of soft drinks and bottled water to quench your thirst. You can pre-arrange rentals through our staff onboard at the shore excursion desk and I would suggest you do this as soon as you board as they are limited and always sell out. I will do my best to get these excursions up online or is it down on upline? ………..whatever it is I will do my best to get this done as soon as is possible and please except my apologies for the problems this may have caused you and others.
I hope I have been of some service and if you need anything else please let me know.
Best Wishes
John

Irene Garner Asked:
Dear John,
Please reply…I just wanted to make it clear that it no fault of any of the crew aboard the Carnival Destiny that the times were changed for the Swim with the Dolphins excursion at Atlantis resort. The times were changed by the people running the tour, and they did not inform the Carnival Excursion team about this time change, so they were not aware that some of the passengers were not going to have transportation back to the ship.
The excursion director reassured me that this issue had already been addressed with the tour company. The other family had reported it, but I didn’t think about saying anything until we were about to disembark. I was just so relieved that my grandson was back on the ship that I didn’t think to say anything at the time. It was after watching the tour video on the TV in our cabin while waiting to hear our number to be called for disembarkation that I thought I should say something…just in case it happened to anyone else. The excursions director was glad I had said something because it strengthened his argument with the tour company that this should not have happened. As I said before he had not been aware of any problems with passengers not having transportation back to the ship until the other family told him.
I also wanted to mention that I had no problem with our room steward, who did a great job of keeping our room in tip-top shape. I think I just noticed that he never once called us by our names, or enquired how our day had been, which the steward did on the Carnival Freedom last summer. Maybe I was just missing my chocolates lol.
Thanks for your very entertaining Interactive Aquarium video. We were in fits of laughter watching that. Carnival really is All for Fun and Fun for all.
All the best…Irene

John Says:
Hello Irene
Thanks for the follow up and I appreciate your words of support for the stateroom steward and the tour manager. There is always room for improvement and we as a company must never rest on our laurels and one of the ways if we know if we are doing well is by reading feedback like yours. The stateroom stewards should all be like the one you met on the Carnival Freedom. He exceeded your expectations and now it’s the turn of others to meet those high standards every time you walk up a Fun Ship gangway.
My best to you and the family
John

Tom and Fay T. Asked:
John: Congrats on the forthcoming new arrival.
I haven’t read your blog since we sailed on the Freedom out of Rome in March 2007. You were great. My wife assumed the role of Dick Little’s wife and we still watch the DVD with her new mate who lives in the same community with us today. I still think of the loss of “Baltimore”, what a guy. For my 60th birthday we are going on the Splendor out of Long Beach on 26 April 09. The actual day of my birthday with 4 other friends. So, what can you do for me to celebrate my 60th. Cabin number will be #. Any chance to put the six of us having dinner at the Captain’s table on night. Where do you live in the UK, spent 3 years at RAF Lakenheath in 1981-84. Still is my Yorkshire bitter.
Wish you were the cruise director. For our sailing, regards,
Tom & Fay

John Says:
Hello Tom and Fay
Goodness me the Carnival Freedom’s season in Europe seems so long ago now but it’s a season I will always remember. Yes…………….it was a sad , sad cruise and having had someone such as “Baltimore” jumping up and down and expressing his love for his beautiful wife and having all the ship know and love him and then him passing away suddenly during debarkation was…………….devastating. I am glad you are off to the Carnival Splendor, she is a greet ship and you will love her. I wish I had the power to grant access to the captain’s table but that is something that definitely is at the master’s discretion. However, look out for a birthday gift from me. I live in the south but love Yorkshire. My Dad was born there and maybe one day you will get to come back and enjoy a pint of warm Yorkshire bitter once again.
Have a wonderful birthday cruise
Cheers
John

Uncle Doug Asked:
John please reply,
One of our party guests at our Carnival Fun Day party is in a wheel chair. I commented to him that Carnival has made great improvements to be able to accommodate mobility challenged guests.
My question is that they are a family of 5 who would want to travel together in a single cabin without the expense of booking a second cabin for the children. He is not 100% confined to the wheel chair and can stand and walk a few steps. I know certain cabins on certain ships can accommodate 5 guests but is there any of the handicap rooms that will house 5 guests?
They live in the Houston area and would prefer to sail out of one of the Gulf ports.

John Says:
Hello Uncle Doug
That’s a great question and as I sit here in the UK its one I cannot answer for certain. I am pretty certain the answer is no…………..however…………..if you will allow me I will check later today and get back to you soon. I hope you had fun at your house party during the Carnival Fun day Sunday and let’s do it again sometime.
Back to you soon
Cheers
John

Erin W. Asked:
Hey John – Please Reply!
Erin W again! – Thanks for the reply about the fun kit – Its arrival cut it close for my party – I had to take off work on Friday to wait for a courier to deliver it! It was missing the medals and the T shirt they sent me was an L (I can only wear an L if it has a couple X’s in front, LOL)! But in true Carnival fashion the party sailed on and was a BLAST- For a medals I gave away my 24 karat gold plastic ship on a sticks that I won on the Glory in Sept and Dec. and one of my guests wore the “I drive the Funbus” t shirt – We had a carnival colors party and everyone loved it! My PVP – the wonderful Danny B. even sent me business cards for my guests if they should have any questions or want to book! How do I send you pictures of the party?
Anyway in 16 days I will be back on the Glory celebrating my 30th and catching up with Butch and Amy. Thank you for the idea for Butch’s gift – I got him a hat that I think he will love and I got Amy a nice Birthday gift too! You told me to check back with you on 2 things: 1- You told me to pass on my booking number shortly before I left – it is —- – Room — and 2. You told me check back with you that Butch would or would not be transferred to the Liberty before I sail! Last question – When will the CD list be updated again – I would like to book my Dec cruise when I return from the Glory.

John Says:
Hello Erin
Bugger………….I am so sorry we messed up your fun box and I am sure we can change the size of your T Shirt. I will make this up to you when you sail on the Carnival Glory. Butch will be your CD and I know he will be as excited to see you as you will be him. The new CD schedule will be up by the end of this month and we are still making some last minute changes although Butch will be on the Carnival Liberty I believe. Please post your photos on the House Party website which Stephanie will add here……….I can’t wait to see them.
Thanks for sending me the information and have a wonderful cruise
Cheers
John

John G Asked:
Hi John,
Have been enjoying our blog for a while now. It seems to be one place where you can get real answers to your questions.
(Please reply if you are able to)
I am wondering why CD’s change so frequently. On our 2 previous cruises the CD’s were like night and day. One we never saw. The other we kept seeing over and over again. We’d see him on the way to the show, to dinner, and also just around the ship interacting with guests. (Karl with a K)
I’m also wondering (I guess I wonder a lot) about entertainers. We had the same magician on our October cruise and on our Victory cruise in February.
How often do the shows change?
Thanks!

John Says:
Hello John G
I am glad you have been enjoying the blog and I truly hope you continue to do so for a long time. I was glad to see that you saw Karl with a K so much around the ship. He is a young man who is going to be one of our best cruise directors. I wonder who the CD you never saw was………….perhaps you would let me know. I will say that being out with the guests is by far the most important aspect of our job. Whether it be on stage, on TV or just wandering the decks saying hello this is what our guests expect. Yes, the role has changed and the amount of paper work and behind-the-job managerial tasks has increased dramatically but never the less……………your cruise director should be one who is providing the fun. Now, regarding the schedule. We do make a schedule but often as you say it is one that changes. This may be due to a number of reasons such as a CD being required to be at home for a family concern…………….a CD being needed on another ship if the CD there is taken ill or has to leave………….or if a CD resigns or retires a new cruise director is promoted and sometimes we need to place them on a specific ship if it is their first time. However, saying all of this we are pretty good and the schedule remains about 70% intact.
You also asked about the shows. I take it that you mean the main shows featuring the dancers and singers and these are changed maybe every five years. Changing a production show is a huge deal and can only really be done when the ship is in dry dock. Not only do we have to teach the cast and musician’s new shows but new lighting has to be programmed and the biggest job of all of course is removing the huge amount of scenery and massive props and replacing them with new ones. We have recently put new shows on many of our ships so this is a continually ongoing process.
As for the magicians………well, as with the main shows they also have a lot of props and moving them around is not easy either which is why we tend to keep them on the same ship. However, all our other acts (we call them fly on entertainers) do rotate between the ships so if you were to sail on the same ship twice in the space of a few months you would see different comedians and jugglers etc.
I thank you for taking the time to write and I remain at your service………….whoever you are
Cheers
John

Gary Asked:
Please Reply
Dear John,
I have a couple questions and observations for you. I read your blog every day and find it very interesting to say the least. I have booked our third Carnival Cruise on the Dream next January and we have one of the new Cove Balcony Rooms. Can you tell me the square footage of these cabins? They look really interesting.
Also, when I retired I took my kids on the Conquest in 2003. They enjoyed it greatly but, two of them have since went on cruise with that OTHER Line. Just so you know, they are both going back to Carnival. They were just not impressed with all the nickel and dime BS that they had to put up with that Carnival provides for free. Now that we have been on NCL, Princess and Carnival we are home to stay with Carnival. The travel agent we used to use also heavily promoted RCl so we are no longer using them.
Good luck with your new trip to fatherhood.

John Says:
Hello Gary
I am glad you find the blog interesting and I can tell you right now having stood on one of the cove balconies ……….you will absolutely love them. They really are fantastic and I will ask someone at the shipyard for the actual dimensions and get back to you as soon as possible. They feel like you can just lean over and touch the water………..obviously don’t try that but you will have a remarkable view. I am so happy to hear that you are coming home to Carnival and are doing so because of the fun. I hope you all have a fantastic time on the Carnival Dream and I promise you…….it will be a ship you will always remember.
I remain at your service and send my best to all the family
John

Karl Asked:
Hi John, PLEASE REPLY,
Is there somewhere a page where the new dining options are explained?
What happens to the gratuities when you chose anytime dining? It’s still at you’re own discretion or are you force to pre-pay them without the option to change the amount?
If we would do fixed dining and don’t make it to the dining room on-time because of for instance a late return from port can we then go to the anytime dining room and try to get in ?
Do you know which dining room Ken will have on the Dream… i would choose just the dining room he’s in…? Can you arrange for us to be in his dining room on the inaugural of the Dream?
Thanks for you’re help.
John – Ooooh ja, veel succes met de aankomende geboorte van “het dingetje”

John Says:
Hello Karl
These are all great questions mate and having thought that I might get lots of these I am putting a Q and A together answering these and many other questions regarding our anytime dining option. As for Ken………..well, he will I am sure be in the aft dining room which is called the Crimson Too. I will be visiting the ship in June and will have new photos and videos for the blog and the Carnival Dream page on carnival.com.
Anyway, on Thursday look out for the Q and A with Shanaz the Hotel Director who put this project into place on the Carnival Legend and is now helping place it fleetwide.
Until then, best wishes to you and the family and hartelijk bedankt voor je lieve woorden
John

Lynda Ulrich Asked:
Dear John, please reply. We love Carnival. We’ve done 15 Carnival cruises since 05. We are looking into a Princess Cruise in Nov. Since Carnival doesn’t do Europe this year. I just thought it would be nice to transfer our Platinum level to your sister company. Just a thought. Good luck with the thingy. Love your blog, Lynda

John Says:
Hello Lynda
I think this must be one of the most frequent requests I get here on the blog thingy and if I had a corporate magic wand I would make it so. Unfortunately the different lines all have different levels etc within their reward schemes which makes it very hard to transfer them from one cruise sister to another. However, never say never and maybe during the current economic climate it is something we should try really hard to accomplish. I do know for sure that you will have a brilliant cruise on Princess and love the European ports of call. If you have any questions about the ship you are sailing on or the ports let me know as I am quite familiar with the outstanding Princess product and very familiar with the majority of the European ports of call
Have a great cruise
Cheers
John

Irene Garner Asked:
Dear John, Please reply……
It seems the ship we will be on next weekend has the ‘anytime seating’ option. Don’t you think this will cause problems with people who will rush to get the window seats? I haven’t been lucky enough to get that seating allocation yet on my previous cruises, but if I am given a window seat (I prefer the assigned seating option) will I find somebody has already beaten me to it by being first in the line-up for when the dining room opens their doors?
Your thoughts please
Best wishes ….Irene (Hooked on cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene
No Irene, it doesn’t work like that I promise you. On Thursday you will see all your questions answered and one thing is for sure……………for those who prefer the assigned dining ……….you will not see any difference to your brilliant dining experience. Tune in Thursday and let me know please if there is anything else I can do for you.
You will have a brilliant cruise and I wish I could be there with you
John

Laurie Bendick Asked:
John (please reply)
We are currently booked on the Carnival Pride on April 18th; I just recently noticed that this is the last sailing of the Pride from Miami she then moves to Baltimore. Why are they not doing a 2-day cruise from Miami to Baltimore? Or are they and I doing know about it? I would of much rather cruised to Baltimore and drove back to Binghamton than flown from Miami any day.

John Says:
Hello Laurie
It would have been great to do this wouldn’t it but there is a lot of preparation that needs to be done onboard which is difficult to do with 2,000-plus guests there. Also, there is the Jones Act to consider that states that a ship cannot sail from one US port to another without first going to a non-US destination. I hope you are excited to have the Carnival Pride in Baltimore and soon you will be able to drive to the ship and drive away from the ship after the cruise. Have a wonderful time and my best to you and all the family
John

Stephen Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply
A reply would be greatly appreciated as this is just a message from your new-found friend Stephen who wrote the “brilliantly poetic” post about my experience on the Valor with you February 22nd- 1st March a couple of weeks ago. Well I have a confession to make, I’m off on another cruise but unfortunately it is with Princess. My sister is one of the Future Sales Managers for Princess which means all I have to pay for is my flight. I’m off to somewhere a bit more scenic this time though venturing to Alaska. I know it’s not really a 19 year olds holiday but in the midst of this recession, I’ve just felt the need to do something more memorable for my money. I’ve made a promise to myself and I’ll make one to you as well though in that I am returning to Carnival for a cruise sometime soon even though the chances are very slim that you will be the CD.
Despite my turn-coat nature, thanks for trying to get me noticed on your Blog by replying to my comment, of which I imagine you receive hundreds. Don’t get me wrong John, you were first on the list of people who I would love to share memories from my cruise with, but I appreciate you’re a very busy man with the affectionately named Thingy on the way, valuable comments to respond to, being ridden by large American women at the Bedtime Story section of the cruise and admiring the French!! It’s only early days I’m hoping, but there’s no sign of anybody from the Valor which is unbelievable considering the amount of people you get on your Blog. I’ve had a look at those two sites you sent me and Facebook but to no avail. I’m off to the Grand National tomorrow and thought I’d drop you a message before I go. Hope all is well, and you are now obligated to come for a drink whenever you are around Liverpool!!
Peeeeeace and love,
Stephen

John Says:
Hello Stephen
Another wonderfully written comment from my British friend. There is no need to apologize about going on Princess Cruises. It’s like being married to one of the Miller Lite twins and having rumpy pumpy with her sister……….it’s almost the same …………… and nobody really minds.
Princess is a great company and their service, food and entertainment is outstanding. As for Alaska………….well I promise you that this is not just a cruise for the older passenger but is a cruise that will leave you breathless. Please send my best to your sister and if you get the chance send my regards to the cruise director there.
Have a great time and I hope I get to sail with you one day soon
Cheers mate
John

Melissa (please reply) Asked:
John (please reply)
I am so disappointed that you will not be going to the ship yards in April for more pics of the Dream, guess we will just have to wait till June. We were supposed to Host a Carnival Funday Sunday party but we have had to postpone ours until sometime in May due to the fact that Rapid City, South Dakota is under about 3′ of snow now and we are just getting started with the 3 blizzard in 2 weeks. I am VERY tired of snow and ready to be on a cruise ship, but that will have to wait until Feb 2010.

My question for you that needs an answer is whether you know anything about why the Swim with the Dolphin at Blue Lagoon excursion was taken off of the Nassau shore excursions? The Atlantis one looks great too, but my daughter will only be 7 when we go on our cruise in Feb and she is not old enough to swim with the dolphins at Atlantis (I think they have to be 10 there) but the Blue Lagoon excursion she was old enough to do the swim not just the encounter. Can you find out if the Blue Lagoon excursions will be coming back or if Carnival is only going to use the Atlantis excursions for the Dolphin swim and encounters? Thanks for all you help John.

John Says:
Hello Melissa
I hope all is well at home. Your state made the news here in the UK and I am sure we would all appreciate you telling us that you and your family and property are OK. There really isn’t anything for me to take photos of yet as the Carnival Dream is still pretty much undressed. However, in June and after the Thingy is born I will go and share more wonderful photos of this incomparable vessel with you and the bloggers.
You asked about the dolphin encounter at Blue Lagoon. Yes, we did indeed take this off the program for various reasons and replaced it with the encounter at Atlantis. As far as I know, there are no plans as I write to put the Blue Lagoon experience back. I am sure this must be very disappointing for you and your daughter but this decision was made I assure you with the guests in mind………..we only want to offer the best. I am so sorry; it looks like she may have to wait a few years before she gets to do this. I am sure she won’t mind………..maybe it will give her a porpoise in life………..get it?………….. porpoise ………. purpose……….never mind.
Please say hello to your daughter and most importantly please let us know you are all ok
Thinking of you
John

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
JOHN – PLEASE REPLY
I have been on eight cruises, all on Carnival. These eight cruises included five on the (formerly) smoke free Paradise, two cruises on the Carnival Liberty and one transatlantic cruise on the Carnival Freedom.
I have never sailed Princess, Royal Pain in the Gluteus of the Seas or Cunard. I probably never will sail Princess, Disney or Whatever of the Seas, but I will, at some point in time I will sail Cunard.
Until I cruise, I will refrain from making comments about Cunard, but I will speak to the Carnival ships I have been on.
Amazingly, all five times I was on the (formerly) smoke free Paradise, I found the decor to be the same, most of the entertainment to be the same and the menu in the dining room to be the same. Regardless, I managed to have fun – Lord only knows how.
Maybe it had to do with the fact that I approached every cruise with an open mind. We had our experiences with certain crew members, but found that every situation was handled with tact and compassion by the staff of the ship.
As for Cunard, I have high expectations – they are the pinnacle of the cruise industry and I am certain that my high expectations will be met. If not, I will be certain to raise these issues with the cruise personnel.
Anyway, I just felt the need to respond to Kevin I have never sailed Carnival.
Best to Heidi and Thingy. Hopefully, we will see you in Baltimore at the end of the month.
Just Jon

John Says:
Hello Jon
Just wanted to say that your comment was brilliant and I urge you to go sail with Cunard……………..I promise you will not forget it
My best to you and Mrs MTSFPBLFTACOTQM2
John

Catrin Asked:
Hi John,
I was not going to write again concerning my upcoming Pride Cruise, and the pricing issue I have had….but I wanted to share something with you.
I never did receive a call from Carnival. It is frustrating, yes. The answers I originally received from customer service seem to be the answer that I will need to accept after all.
I wanted to thank you, however, for your dedication to us loyal readers and everything you do.
But the reason I am writing…. is all of a sudden, it doesn’t matter anymore.
I am writing to you while waiting for a phone call. Steve is in the hospital…. and awaiting a CAT scan… they think it is his appendix. If they do get confirmation that the severe stomach pains he is having IS his appendix, he will have surgery either tonight or tomorrow morning.
If it IS his appendix, we will be so grateful, as he is a cancer survivor, and when he ends up in the hospital my mind races and I fear the worst.
So…. that being said…. suddenly, making a big deal over a couple hundred bucks doesn’t seem to matter.
Will be in touch…
Catrin

John Says:
Hello Catrin
Just wanted to say that we are all thinking of Steve. Please keep us informed and once he is on the road to recovery let me address your concerns again this time with someone higher up. For now…………..be strong
John

That’s all for today……….lots more questions need my reply and the next batch will be ready tomorrow. I remain here should you need anything at all and as always please mark your comments “John, Please Reply.” Thanks to everyone who posts a comment regardless if a reply is needed. I read them all and they continue to play such an important part of the blog thingy.

Congratulations to the Carnival Spirit who returned from her dry dock period looking brand new. I am going to ask Chris “Bubba” Roberts to share some of the exciting times ahead as she sails to Hawaii and Alaska complete with bow to stern wi fi and that new ship smell. This is Chris’s last season with us CD unless we persuade him not to retire. Anyway, Bubba…………how does the ship look?……..let us know mate.

Here are some photos to be going on with

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One of the only frustrating things about being home in the UK is the lack of NBA coverage here. If the games are live it means I have to watch them at 2 am UK time and I am forced to have to listen to British commentators who know as much about basketball as I do applied mathematics………..in Japanese. Instead of “there’s a pick and roll,” the commentator will say “There’s a lovely one two,” which is a soccer team similar to a give and go. And whoever heard of the word lovely being used in basketball…….oh how I miss Marv Albert and his hairpiece.

And so I rely on the internet for my Miami Heat news as they go storming into the playoffs. I read NBA.com and it seems this twittering thingy has also become a sport star’s favorite. For commitment to the cause, Charlie Villanueva, who plays basketball for a team called the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, has set new standards by tweeting during half-time of a game against the Boston Celtics. Villanueva’s tweet says— “In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up”……………I wonder if the coach would have proffered if Mr. Villanueva actually paid attention to what he was saying rather than twitting ………….. anyway………………all I can say is “Tally Ho Heat.”

For anyone who may have visited Italy I am sure you were shocked and saddened to hear about the Earthquake that killed 190 people and destroyed the beautiful Renaissance village of L’Aquila. I am sure there will be at least one of our ships officer’s families who are from the area and once again we think of those who have lost loved ones in this beautiful and peaceful part of the world.

One piece of good news for Italy is yet another award for Costa Cruises. Yesterday we spoke about the amazing success of AIDA in the German market. Today we can proudly say that Costa Cruises has won the Gold List Award from National Geographic Society and its Chinese partner, Trends Magazine, which between them have a circulation of 5.3 million a month. Congratulations to Costa and it is obvious that in the highly lucrative Asian market that they are the Gold leaders.

On a lighter note here is today’s entry from my fellow cruise directors who have been sending in their favorite guest comments. Today’s comes from Todd who will be the CD of the Carnival Freedom and is at the top of the CD tree. He sent me this one from last years Carnival Freedom season in Europe.

John – last year while in Europe a guest stopped me by grabbing my shirt sleeve while I was walking down Promenade Deck…………he was very upset and said
“We bought ‘Ray-Ban’ sunglasses for five euros ($8) from a street trader in Barcelona, only to find out they were fake, why didn’t you warn us they were fake.”
Hope to see you all on the Carnival Dream
Todd

Brilliant – thanks mate for sharing this gem.

Well, the discussion goes on regarding the naming of our Thingy. We were given a book by our friend Mrs Bentley called 5,000 baby names and we still can’t decide. It is the one thing that keeps us up at night…………..well………….that and my arse.

I know I wrote a blog a few months ago about some of the names I had heard on the ship. The annual list of most popular names shows that the Bible is still a source of inspiration for most, and that the two names at No 1 are the super-traditional Jack and Emily. But look beneath the top 10 and it’s a maelstrom of lunacy where children are named after pop stars and footballers’ wives. And the middle classes are no better, going for increasingly ludicrous handles.

I mean, what kind of a name is Araminta? We grew up laughing at Frank Zappa for calling his daughter Moon Unit, but today we’re naming our kids after remote Himalayan villages and exotic cheeses and it does seem that sometimes when I get someone on stage the younger generation have had their names chosen by their parents picking letters out of a Scrabble bag.

I am fascinated by the current trends here in the UK. Anyone would think that the British Parliament had passed an act decreeing that all girls had to be named after characters from Pride and Prejudice and all boys from the books by Charles Dickens. There are loads of Rubys, Ellas, Graces and Lilys, and lashings of Jacks, Harrys and Alfies. You can’t move for tripping over Daisys and Archies.

I am fascinated as to how thousands of parents somehow arrive at exactly the same decision. Names have always spread like a virus: girls of my vintage are often called Sarah, Catherine, Victoria and Elizabeth, while boys are frequently David, Michael, Tim and Robert………and John

But today, things are much different. Do Dell and Microsoft sleep well? How has Apple taken to his new brother, Avocado? And guess what? Jaspin took his first steps the other day and I missed it because I was changing Andreakisya’s diaper.

In the past decade, baby naming has gone gaga. Previously it was a sober and highly considered practice, over which new parents would agonize for months as Heidi and I are doing now. The options were, by and large, simple: you named your child after a favorite relative, pop or film star, or after the leading figures of whichever religion you subscribed to. Some general trends emerge. Naming your child after a plant, color or other aspect of nature is the in thingy— Lily, Fleur, Indigo, Berry, Poppy, Daisy, Sky, Tiger and Blossom.

A distinct aquatic theme also emerges with Dolphin, Pearl and Ocean. Furthermore, many new parents may well have been studying the classics and cultivating a profound interest in Arthurian, Greek or Roman legends such as Mungo, Cleopatra, Isis, Julius…………these parents are in my opinion complete and utter Dickus Maximuses. They don’t care that the poor kid will have to spend his entire life with a name like Titus …………they want their child to stand out and they want to know that there won’t be five other similarly named kids in class.

And what must it be like to be born into a celebrity family and be given a name usually chosen for your pet hamster.

SHILOH NOUVEL – It sounds like an expensive hotel in Dubai, but that didn’t deter Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Shiloh supposedly means “peaceful one” in Hebrew, but Shiloh can expect life to be anything but with a name like that.

BARRIANA WHITE – The three-year-old daughter of Barry, the Walrus of Love, was born four weeks before he died in 2003. Naming your child after you has also been taken to extremes by Michael Jackson with Prince Michaels I & II, and George Foreman, the boxer, who named his seven sons George and his daughter (surprise) Georgetta …………… lucky she wasn’t named Grill

KAL-EL CAGE – Superman fans will know this is the real name of the man of steel. Nicolas Cage was supposedly cast by Tim Burton in a never-made version for which he reportedly received several million dollars. Hence baby Kal-El, who was born in 2005 to Cage’s wife Alice Kim……Still, try finding a mug with that on in a gift shop.

Anyway, the debate goes on and one thing we have to be careful is of words that mean something in English but in Dutch mean something else…………..for example the name Beau is one I really like for a boy……….Beau Heald………….sounds good eh?………….only problem is that the word Beau in Dutch spelt Beaujh with a silent H and J but pronounced Beau……………means sewage………..yep sewage………so anytime I took my son to visit his grandmother in Holland she would have to cuddle and hold some sewage ……………… bugger.

The world’s growing population, and the challenge of Google (has your child’s internet domain already been purchased; does he share his name with a porn star?) has further complicated matters. According to The Wall Street Journal, 80 baby-names books have been published in the past three years, while more than 100 baby-naming websites have been created. All of which leaves the option of auctioning your child’s name to a sponsor “The name’s Coke. Diet Coke”

So, at this point it looks like we shall just call him or her Thingy……………..it’s certainly original………………………although it will probably guarantee Thingy of a lot of toilet head-flushing while at school.

Any name suggestions?

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.