If the Shoe Fits

April 10, 2009 -

John Heald

You know, as I sit here in my underpants writing today’s blog I can’t but think my life would be a lot easier if I could just be an Italian. For example; as an Englishman, my tax return (which is due this month) is an annual trauma because I’ve been meticulous and honest with my finances and I believe in playing it straight. But if I were Italian I could dismiss the whole thing with a shrug and a “I owea youa orgatz” because all the money would be in used notes under Mama’s bed.

You think I’m making this up? Just before Italy switched to the euro there was a huge surge in domestic car sales, all because people needed a way to dispose of all their undeclared lira.

My experiences of the brilliant Italian shipbuilding industry are similar. The working day begins with a cappuccino, followed by some cannolis, then an argument and an espresso and then it’s lunchtime. Lunch is enormous, lasts for two hours, probably involves some grappa and is followed by a nap, by which time we can start thinking about going home.

Somewhere in the middle of all this is a one-hour work break when you might be engaged in building the Carnival Dream, or some similarly casual job which by some miracle will be ready, on time and looking magnifico.

The best argument for converting to Italy, however, is this: if I were an Italian I would be able to buy the best shoes in the world………all the time. I admit to having something of a foot fetish and during my time in the Fincantieri shipyards I have spent quite a bit of time roaming those exquisite little shoe shops you find in the back streets of Genoa and Trieste, some of which have even been open. The Italians make some fantastic shoes, but I have never bought any. That’s because I’m a size 11, and all Italian men are size seven. I’m surprised they can even stand up.

Japanese men are all size five, though in fairness to them they do fall over quite a bit, especially on a Friday night in karaoke bars. Why am I talking about shoes I hear you cry? Well, let me tell you. This morning I went with Heidi to buy some new shoes because her feet have swollen up and now look like when the mouse drops an iron on the cats paw in a Tom and Jerry cartoon. This is just one aspect of yesterdays shopping expedition for Heidi who woke up pissed off at the world and especially at me because “she had nothing to wear.”

And so we drove 40 miles to a Mothercare Superstore or “hell” as it’s known to us men. The place sold everything for baby and mothers to be. And so we bought shoes and dresses and maternity jeans that have a huge extra bit at the top and then we started on things for the Thingy and before I knew it we were broke. Worst of all Heidi bought a “breastfeeding love bracelet,” which a new mum puts on the relevant wrist to remind her which breast her baby last fed from. I tried to tell Heidi that it would be cheaper to just to leave the breast she had fed the Thingy from hanging out until it was hungry again this way she would know which one he had been chomping on………following this suggestion I will now need surgery to remove the pacifier that is lodged in my bottom.

However I did tell Heidi to bugger off when she suggested we buy the new Burberry perfume for babies called Baby Touch, a mix of citrus aromas, rhubarb and vanilla; a snip at £30 for 100ml………….Burberry my arse. Car seats, Moses baskets, cots, Grobags, baby wipes, nappies, bath thermometers………my dream of buying a pair of fine Italian shoes is over.

Time to answer the latest questions that have been marked “John, Please reply.” …………… Here we go

Stacey Asked:

John,

Sorry to hear about your struggles with your friend…things like that are tough, no matter if you’re 5 or 50, and it’s most important to do what you can so that you can sleep at night, knowing you did the right thing. And by refusing to enable your friend any longer, I think you did the right thing. Nobody’s perfect, and I don’t think there WAS a “right” way out of that situation, I can easily see myself doing what you did and just taking the least-confrontational way out.

I have a question about the Glory, and her first sailing out of Miami 11/29/09. I’m wondering if you could give me a guess as to what nights may be the formal nights on the sailing, as we’d like to make Supper Club reservations prior to leaving (and finding out onboard with everyone else). Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Stacey

John Says:

Hello Stacey

Thanks for the kind words Stacey. I truly hope my friend realizes he has a problem and gets help and I wish I had more time and to help him. You asked about the elegant nights for the Carnival Glory’s new run out of Miami. Here is her itinerary with the elegant nights mentioned as well.

Miami, FL;

Fun Day At Sea; – elegant night

Grand Cayman,

Cayman Islands;

Isla Roatan;

Belize;

Cozumel, Mexico; – elegant night

Fun Day at Sea; Miami, FL

I hope this helps and I know you will enjoy the cruise and a fantastic meal in the supper club.

Best wishes

John

Mark Asked:

John, Please reply

We just returned from the Sensation on Sunday from a short three day. This was our seventh cruise with Carnival but the first one shorter than 7 days. We were pleasantly surprised to see the same attention to detail and the same great show productions that we have enjoyed on the 7 & 8 day cruises. The food was outstanding as usual, and the new upgrades around the ship really make it comparable, even better in some cases than the bigger ships.

I can remember sitting next to the Fascination when we were on the Miracle in Costa Maya a few years ago and seeing the cheap plastic lido chairs on the Fascination deck and thinking I would NEVER go on the smaller ships and trade what the Miracle had. Well, that sure has changed. We will be more than willing to take any of the older, smaller ships after the newest dry dock improvements. Kudos to Carnival for hooking us now on short cruises as well.

I did have a question though about how Carnival decides who gets upgraded, and who doesn’t. Is it random, is it based on past cruiser history, or what?

My reason for asking is this. On two different occasions, once on the Destiny out of San Juan, and now on the Sensation, we have been aware of last minute bookings by other passengers at considerable discounting, and in comparable or better rooms than us.

For this last cruise, we had one of the new balconies on a balcony guarantee rate. We met a couple who had booked 9 days out and had gotten a higher graded balcony at about $100 cheaper than us.

When we first cruised on Carnival it use to be that if the ship was not sold out a month out, the upgrades were given to the farthest out bookings as a way of rewarding them for booking so far ahead. Is there any consideration given to that anymore? Also, does it matter to Carnival that we are frequent cruisers as opposed to new cruisers when awarding the guarantee rooms???

We are cruising on May 23 on the new Liberty eastern itinerary which we got bumped from the Pride when the changes were made. We are taking two of our adult sons and their girlfriends. Though we have an aft, they are booked on an inside guarantee. We booked back in September. We are a little concerned they may get the closet because of what we have been seeing in last minute bookings.

Thanks for all you do to answer these blog questions, and good luck to you, Heidi, and your soon new arrival, thingy!

John Says:

Hello Mark

Let’s start with a word of thanks to you for recognizing the time, effort and capital investment that Carnival has put into the Fantasy-class ships. Your words are being echoed my many people who are all rediscovering the brilliance of these ships.

What a good question you ask ………..how do we make the decision as to who gets a stateroom upgrade. Let me talk to the appropriate folks here and get an answer for you.

Hopefully we’ll be hearing back from them soon. In the meantime I am sure you will have a wonderful time on the Carnival Liberty. Don’t forget to watch a movie on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen and you must try the supper club.

Thanks again for all the kind words and if you have a follow up I will be here to help.

My best to you and the family

John

Bette Jost Asked:

John, thanks for offering to set something up for me… But now that you’re leaving, will you still be able to do this?

My cruise leaves May 10, Carnival Triumph to the Eastern Caribbean and we’re in Cabin —. Please let me know…

Thanks and congratulations on your move!!!!

Bette Jost

John Says:

Hello Bette

No worries Bette……I am at home but still very much able to help. I will ask the cruise director on the Carnival Triumph to make this happen for you and he will place a “Cruise Critic Meet ” note in the today at a glance section in the Carnival Capers. I hope you and your friends have a brilliant time

Please send me the name of your group and I will organize something for you. I suggest you meet in the piano bar or the conference room and I will see what is available. So, please send me the info plus your cabin number and I will make sure you have a place to meet. Please send me this information the week before you sail and I will make sure you are all happy.

Cheers

John

Joko Joan Asked:

Hi John:

Is there any chance that Carnival can print somewhere who the cruise directors of the various ships would be and when? After being on 46 cruises and doing all the ports, the one thing that makes MY cruise is the CD. Any help that you can give to give this a push would be helpful to us who have our FAVORITE CD(s).

Looking forward to your & (Heidi’s) first Mother’s Day.

Love to Heidi & Thingy . . .

John Says:

Hello Joko

Congratulations on your amazing 46 cruises. It’s wonderful to read that you find that the cruise director can make a difference to your cruise vacation. We all certainly try to do this each and every cruise and of course a really great cruise director can indeed be the icing on the cake. If you look to the right of the blog thingy you will see the current CD schedule ………..if you can’t find it Stephanie will now provide a link thingy.

Now, it will need updating in a few weeks time and I will certainly make sure that the new schedule is posted as soon as is possible. Once again, thanks for mentioning the cruise directors and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best Wishes

John

Bill (Zydecocruiser) Asked:

John, Please respond

I thought the Thingy was going to be named Kuki???

While not live, you can get the NBA highlights:

http://www.nba.com/broadband/nbatv_broadband.html

Please keep us informed on how Chris is doing and/or how we might send him something. I doubt he is reading his emails at the moment.

Thanks,

Bill

John Says:

Hello Bill

Bill is actually on our list by the way! I tried watching NBA on NBA TV but it says that I have to be in North America to access this. So, tonight, when the Miami Heat play the Boston Girlies I will be watching the British TV coverage at midnight and beyond. That’s if they choose to show that game. They never tell you which game is gluing to be shown so I may end up watching your New Orleans Sinners vs. the LA Quakers.

Best to you and Elizabeth

John

Melissa Asked:

John,

Please Reply

First let me say that since I have discovered your blog, I have been reading daily. There have been many times my husband looks at me like I am crazy because I am laughing out loud. However, on to my questions. My husband and I are going on the Legend 6/7/09 after the cruise we will not be leaving until 5 pm. As we have so long without a car I was wanting to book and “excursion” through Carnival so our luggage would have a place to go until we left. However, I do not see any options for Tampa, FL. When I look at other ports I see options for things to do. Do you know if there is anything in Tampa my husband and I could do before we leave on our Amtrak train?

John Says:

Hello Melissa

I would love to see the look on your husband’s face when he hears you laughing. I am sorry to report that unlike Miami and some other homeports we really don’t offer any post-cruise tours in Tampa. Of course you have Busch Gardens but I am not sure if there is enough time to enjoy this great place before you need to back at the airport and that would also involve you hiring a car, as well. There is also the Florida Aquarium which is right next to the ship and although I have never been I am told it’s amazing.

Maybe if there are some bloggers from Tampa you wouldn’t mind posting some suggestions for Melissa

Sorry for the bad news but I hope the blog continues to bring you laughter.

Best wishes to you and your husband

John

Sheryl Asked:

Hi John,

I have a question about the Jones Act. Doesn’t the itinerary on the Fascination go against that since it starts in Jacksonville, then has a day at sea, then stops in Key West? I’m sure I misunderstood something….Carnival could not be breaking the rules!!!

John Says:

Hello Sheryl

The Jones Act can be a bit confusing and some would say as pointless as a broken pencil. You are correct that the Carnival Fascination does indeed go to Key West which you may not have heard declared its independence from the United States last week and is now part of Jamaica…….kidding. The ship does go to the beautiful port in the Keys but then after hr sea day she calls at Nassau, Bahamas, which is a non-United States port of call. You see, providing the ship calls to at least one non united States port she can include other United States ports in her itinerary.

Here’s a bit more information on the Bones Act………..sorry………….Jones act

The Jones-Shafroth Act (the Jones Act as it is known) was signed into law on March 2, 1917, by President Woodrow Wilson. The Jones Act is the everyday name for Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (46 U.S.C. 883; 19 CFR 4.80 and 4.80b). It’s intent is very simple, to promote a healthy U.S-Flag fleet and protect that fleet from unfair foreign competition, the Jones Act requires that cargo moving between U.S. ports be carried in a vessel that was built in the United States and is owned (at least 75 percent) by American citizens or corporations. Since the Jones Act vessels are registered in the United States, our general labor and immigration laws require that crewmembers be American citizens or legal aliens. (In fact most maritime nations have an equivalent to the Jones Act – (50 countries).

To reduce the terminology to something the layman can understand – this is termed “cabotage” and applies not only to shipping but to airlines and other forms of international transportation. The statute covering cabotage as it applies to passengers is known as the Passenger Services Act (PSA) and became law in 1886.

Another question we are frequently asked is, can the Jones act be waived or suspended? the answer is Yes, but only during a national emergency. However, over time, a number of exceptions have been made, for example Canadian vessels may transport passengers between Rochester and Alexandria Bay, New York and between southern Alaska and U.S. ports until an American carrier enters the markets. Similarly, foreign vessels may transport passengers between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland as long as a U.S. carrier does not provide such service. Foreign-flagged cruise ships may carry passengers from a U.S. port as long as they return them to the same port (a “cruise to nowhere”). Foreign vessels may also call at intermediate U.S. ports as long as no passenger permanently leaves the vessel at those ports and the vessel makes at least one call at a foreign port.

While the PSA prevents foreign cruise ships from carrying passengers directly from Alaska and the West Coast to Hawaii and from competing for Hawaiian inter-island cruise traffic, a considerable number of foreign cruise ships do visit Hawaii in any given year. American passengers on foreign cruise ships to Hawaii must board in another country—typically, Vancouver, Canada or Ensenada, Mexico. These ships cannot pick up a passenger in one U.S. port and drop off the passenger in another U.S. port. However, after arriving from Canada or Mexico, they may tour the islands and drop off passengers in Hawaii. They may then pick up new passengers, tour the islands, and return to Canada or Mexico. As a consequence, these “foreign” cruise ships made approximately over 300 calls in Hawaii ports during 2002.

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Sorry, I fell asleep there Sheryl as I am sure you did as well. Anyway, that’s basically Jones Act/PSA which needs to replaced with the Heald Act that says we should be able to sail where we want, when we want and if we want to do it naked……………we can

Cheers

John

Karen Schmier Asked:

John (please answer)

I know that Carnival video tapes everything and that you can purchase these videos.

In October of 2007, my family (4 out of 5 kids, all grandkids, ex-wife and family friends) sailed on the Pride. One of the shows was a fantastic hypnotist. My youngest son was up on the stage and became the highlight of the show. Of the 2,600 people on board, about 1,000 knew his name afterwards. Here’s my question. Why was there no video to purchase? We were never given any satisfactory answer to this. The show and my son’s actions had everyone rolling in the aisles with laughter and would have made a great memento of this cruise since it was the last one my beloved husband would ever take.

Best of luck to you and Heidi with the Thingy.

John Says:

Hello Karen

I wish I could have been there to see your son. I am sure he was the star of the show. I apologize that you never received a satisfactory answer as to why you could not purchase a copy of his stellar performance because the answer is very simple. While we do record audience activities and events we do not record the shows featuring our cast of dancers and singers or the speciality acts such as comedians, jugglers and in this case……..the hypnototist. This is simply due to copyright regulations. The entertainers do not want their performances recorded and sold and of course we have to respect this. It is a shame though because I know you would have loved to have had a permanent memory of how your son brought the house down. I was particularly saddened to read that this voyage was the last one your husband got to take. I am not sure if I am reading the past tense correctly but if I am please accept my deepest sympathies and know that I am thinking of you and your family.

Thanks so much for the kind words for my family and as I said you and yours are in my thoughts

Sincerely

John

Irene Garner Asked:

Dear John…..Please reply

Thank you so much for answering all my questions. Your answers do put my mind at ease in a lot of ways.

I see that many people who read your blog let you know about special occasions they will be celebrating on their upcoming cruises and ask for a little something from you to surprise the celebrant. Well, I wouldn’t normally do this but I am going to be cheeky and ask the same of you for my grandson who will be celebrating his 18th birthday aboard the Carnival Paradise on April 11 (Saturday). We will be in cabin # , so if there if something you could do for him…sorry for the short notice…he would be thrilled as I know he enjoys your blogs too. I’m always calling him over to the computer to read something you wrote or to watch the videos.

Thanks again…and just three days to go to another fun cruise.

All the best…Irene (Hooked on Cruising)

John Says:

Hello Irene

Ask and you shall receive

Have a great cruise

John

“BIG” ED Asked:

Please Reply

John, I think you may want to give this to Mr. Gerry Cahill. It was posted on my blog for him.

Author : John Scott Schultz

E-mail : rescuegrinch@XXXXXXXXX

Comment:

Mr. Cahill, I was a traveller with Carnival Cruise Lines, sorry not anymore. After 8 vacations with this company I think I’ve had enough. Not only has your service been declining but your company has no experience in listening and or contacting the customer for feed back. I’m a fire-fighter outside of Chicago; I pride myself on great customer service and my ability to listen. I took my mother on her first cruise on the anniversary of my father’s death so she could get out of the house. Our experience was terrible. I know this will fall on death ears but at least you know how I feel. If you are sincere please contact me at (XXX) XXXXXXX

John Says:

Hello Ed

Would you kindly pass this onto John Scott Scultz please.

Hello Sir.

My name is John Heald and I am the senior cruise director for Carnival Cruise Lines. I also have a blog which allows people to get in touch with me if they have a comment, a question or a concern. I was so disappointed to read that we did not meet your expectations during your recent cruise with your Mum. Let me start by saying how sorry I was to learn of the passing of your father for which I send my deepest sympathies.

I am sure after this terrible event that you really needed a perfect cruise vacation and with this in mind I would like to tell you respectfully that Carnival has remained the industry leader for nearly 40 years because we do indeed listen to customer feedback. I am sure though that you may not agree with this so I kindly ask that you write to me with a detailed report of your concerns and I will make sure that they are followed up on.

I truly look forward to hearing from you and my sincere thanks to Big Ed for passing this onto me.

John Heald

Senior Cruise Director

Bill Heck Asked:

Hello John:

Please reply.

You are too good at entertaining people and organizing fun to give it up yet mate. From what I have seen, your staff has the highest esteem for you and is completely loyal. But, of course there will be a time when you come home from the sea. You and Heidi will know when the time is right.

As for names.

I guess we have to take Andre, and Pierre off of the desk right at the start. Of course tradition would be to create a Jr. or a III for the first born son.

But you know that. What you asked for was ideas.

How about Ozzie?

How about Angelien?

The offset to being away for long periods is that you get to be home for long periods. Hmmmm. B2B would be back to back thingys, get ready John.

Technology being what it is, you can communicate with your family at any time you wish, kind of puts a different slant on it.

Igor would have had it all if he carried a raspberry and had to hear about honey dos when he was spearing the mastodon. Can you hear it now, “Can’t hear you now?” Heh heh. “Igor, I am planning whale for dinner” “Bad connection, must be a tower down.”

I am getting an itch from the discussion on dining. Don’t know that anyone said that anytime dining would be in the same area as traditional set time, and set table. I trust Carnival to do it right, we have enjoyed it on Carnival already, no big deal.

I have not read any threads on the forums about people complaining that those people two tables over sat down after we did, and aren’t finished when we were, and those over there got their desert before we did, and why are they smiling so much? Maybe because the two seating types are not mingled? Hmmmm.

Anytime dining is not for everyone, but it does allow the rescheduling of meals to fit the day’s activities, and that is a good thing.

Please scratch John. Ahh, that’s it.

Heidi, have you had any interesting food cravings? Does your market have those scanner thingies where you scan the purchases as you put them in the basket? We saw them in Canterbury.

Your friend

Bill Heck

John Says:

Hello Bill

This naming thing is dominating our everyday conversation and I have now added Ozzie to the list. I think we are trying to find the fun names…….names that are simple yet fun ……….and Ozzie does indeed fit both labels so many thanks for that.

By now I am hoping you have read the Q & A in yesterday’s blog concerning you’re your Time dining options. I haven’t really seen any negative feedback apart from one blogger who did have some concerns which I addressed. Overall it has been a big success and just as important as the success of this dining option is the lack of any negative impact on those guests who prefer assigned seating. So far……….I have not seen any.

Bill, it’s always great to hear from you and my best to you and the family

Cheers

John

Sharyl Langley

Booking # Conquest 03/29/09

This cruise was booked last June 2008.

Just got back from our cruise on Sunday and there were some disappointments this time. The boarding process really needs to looked at; there is much room for improvement. Our rooms were as expected; had no trouble getting balcony doors opened for our 4 connecting rooms. However, we were assigned a “first time” steward and it showed. Only saw him the first day and was never able to contact him later. One of our group hardly ever received the daily newsletter; she had to pick one up at guest information almost daily. Also, we had 18 in our party. One of our group went to the maitre d’ upon boarding and was assured that we had an extended table for 18. We were supposed to be in the Monet dining room early seating; we were in the Renoir, upper. Lovely view of the life boats. When we arrived the first night to dine we had a table for 8, 2 tables for 4 and one of our couple was assigned late seating in the Monet. A big thanks to John, the asst maitre d’ – he at least got our 2 tables for 4 combined and moved our late diners to the same dining (the other side of the room, but at least at the same time. Here again, we were assigned a first timer – waiter and bus boy. The waiter eventually came around about mid-week. He did loosen up. Petra from Slovokia is wonderful. She brightened up our dining experience.

Also, Freeport was a total wash out. The port is industrial and had to pay for a taxi for a 15 minute ride. We tried to book the Jeep tour immediately upon boarding but was put on a wait list. Never heard from anyone about this. Our bad; we should have booked early but needed 2 Jeeps so decided to book on board. Our loss.

I do think we should have had a better dining experience, especially since we had all booked so early.

I sent this to our personal vacation planner, Cristina Cruz. She replied to contact guest services. Sure wish she could have hit the forward button and sent this to them. I then tried to contact guest services from the web site; but even though I cut it down to 982 characters, the item would not submit.

Could you please send this to guest services for me? Thanks, I do appreciate it.

John Says:

Hello Sharyl

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to hear of your dining concerns as well as those regarding the stateroom steward. I will indeed pass this on to guest relations and please let me know if you need me to follow up if you do not receive a timely reply. I will also present your comments to the vessel as well for their attention. Comments like this are priceless and a way for us to continue to improve so I appreciate very much you taking the time to write. Freeport is actually a lovely port of call once you get out of that industrial area which is the only area where the larger ships can dock. I remember when I used to call there on the Carnivale back in the late 1980’s and it cost $5 round trip to get downtown. I guess the taxi suppliers there (as in many other places) know they have a captured market and therefore can charge what they will. It is advisable where possible to always book the excursion of your choice before you board via the internet. This is especially true when it comes to Jeep tours which regardless of the destination are always some of the most popular.

So, I hope you and your group had fun and I will start the ball rolling on your comments.

I remain at your service

John

stefani Asked:

Please reply….

I have a question. Say NO if you want, I will not be insulted. I am a travel agent, and did my first Carnival cruise last year. I am a cheerleader of Carnival cruises now, that is for sure. I enjoyed the activities that was done, but I tend to not be good enough for a lot of the trivia games to win a ship on a stick. Any chances you can get me one on our next cruise?

I am checking out the new Carnival Splendor on May 3… can’t wait. So excited and I will be sailing with many other travel agents from Expedia CruiseShipCenters for our annual Cruise to Success Seminars. Sure love your blog and read it all the time. I have no suggestions for baby names… hope that is ok.

Good luck in being a first time father.

Stefani

John Says:

Hello Stefani

NO !

John

Kidding

YES OF COURSE!

For your continuing support of Carnival Cruise Lines it would be my honor. Please remind me a week before you sail and I shall make it so.

Hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy

Cheers

John

Amy Asked:

Hi John! (Please reply if you have an extra moment) I have to agree with Longin2cruise, Amy is a wonderful name

Anyways, my husband and I will FINALLY be taking our honeymoon on the Triumph, June 11th… Just a 4 day, but it’s finally something I’m soo soo antsy to find out who our CD may be, I’m wondering if you might know… You know, a sneak peek before the schedule comes out later this month Thank you much, and my best to Heidi and Thingy!!

John Says:

Hello Amy (nice name by the way)

I am so happy to hear that you and your husband will finally be getting that well deserved honeymoon you so richly deserve. Your CD will be George Solano who is very, very funny and that’s because he has stolen all my jokes.

Why not remind me a week before you sail and lets see if we can persuade George to make send you a little honeymoon gift

Best to you both

John

Steve Brown Asked:

John, Please Reply,

I’ve been reading your great blog for a long time now, but this is my first comment/question. I was wondering about the Jones Act that says a ship cannot go from one U.S. port to another without stopping in a non-U.S. destination. Why are ships allowed to stop at several ports in Alaska? And why do some lines, such as Princess, do West Coast cruises (e.g. the Princess British Columbia and West Coast cruise that does San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco). Princess even has a Canada and Colonial America cruise that stops in seven East Coast U.S. cities in a row (from Florida to Maine). If others can do it, why can’t Carnival? Thanks for a great blog, love your humor – don’t ever change, and I hope to sail with you some day.

Steve B.

John Says:

Hello Steve

Thanks for writing in after all this time, I appreciate you doing so. The Jones Act (also known as the Passenger Services Act) is as complicated and twisted as an episode of CSI in Japanese. Just a few questions ago I included a chapter or two about its origin and some of the regulations and exceptions contained therein. These exceptions do include the Alaskan ports and others you mentioned but this is an interesting topic and one that I’m sure will come up in the future.

Thanks for the kind words about the blog and I hope you continue to read for a long time to come

Cheers

John

Rosemary Williams Asked:

DEAR JOHN PLEASE REPLY

My daughter, Erin who reads the blog faithfully, is celebrating her 30th on the Glory on the April 18th sailing and you had asked me to remind you and give you her booking number shortly before she leaves. Well — this is the reminder her booking number is —— and her room number is —-. Could you please arrange something special for her room. I am joining her on her Birthday cruise—it was supposed to be a surprise, but the PVP accidently let the cat out of the bag — I hope that are dining is linked for our reservations. How do I check on that? My booking number is —– and my Room number is –.

Thanks for all you do and yours is the greatest blog!!

John Says:

Hello Rosemary

Bugger! I am so sorry that the surprise of you being there for your daughter’s birthday was spoiled. Never mind…………I know you will both have a brilliant time.

Wish Erin a very happy birthday.

Best wishes

John

Adam W Asked:

Dear John,

Please Reply:

It seems my New Orleans Hornets beat your Miami Heat (or maybe just ‘warmth’) in dramatic fashion! They better be prepared for the playoffs!

OK – enough basketball….Speaking of New Orleans, my fiancée and I will be cruising on the Triumph for our honeymoon cruise Feb 13, 2010 – we are SO VERY EXCITED for the new ship to arrive! There is one thing I didn’t expect, however… It’s Mardi Gras weekend and all of the hotels are about FOUR TIMES more expensive! ACK!

Now to my question: The schedule for New Orleans is only through April 2010. Is there a reason this port doesn’t have an update yet? Possible NEW ship coming? Any word would be appreciated – we like to book our annual summer cruise early!

Thank you for all you do for us – even though you have never helped me directly, you certainly have a huge impact on me. I completely plan on making a “Flat Stanley” (Do they have those in the UK?) of you and taking you with us on the Glory June 6th! I will send you the pictures. 59 days and counting!!!

John Says:

Hello Adam

I have nothing to say about the game except it was 2:30 am my time when it was over and I went to bed as depressed as someone who had just discovered that they had to pay to get a steak in the dining room.

Congratulations on your forthcoming honeymoon and before I get make sure you remind me before you sail so I can send you a special honeymoon gift and decorate the cabin with Lets Go Heat banners. The schedule for post April 2010 will be released later this year and I know you will be very happy. I have had the pleasure of sailing with many Flat Stanley and it would be an honor to have Flat John join you on the Carnival Glory. Not long now and I remain at your service should you need anything.

Cheers mate

John

Melody Asked:

John,

{{{{{{{{{{PLEASE RESPOND}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

I still cannot locate the June 2010 schedule for New Orleans. Is this a plot against me? LOL

Melody

John Says:

Hello Melody

Nope……….I promise there is no plot against you. The schedule is posted up until April 2010 but we have not yet opened bookings past April for 2010. I am sure that’s a little frustrating but I promise that as soon as I know what is happening you will here it first here on the blog thingy. I love the name Melody by the way.

Please let me know if you have a follow up question

Best Wishes

John

KevinandPatty Asked:

John I could use your help!

We were on the Carnival Glory 3/28-4/4. My daughter (5 yo) participated in the Camp Carnival Talent show and sang a wonderful song (of course) and I was filming it (or so I thought)! My problem is that the recorder did not record the entire performance. (I only got the first 3 seconds and the last 6 seconds). And as you can guess, my standings as a male electronics wizard are being questioned…Is there a possibility that the media people were there and recorded it? I do not remember seeing them, as the room was packed full of proud parents with more video skills than me and I did not discover the problem until I was home.

Thank You!

Kevin (who has sailed Carnival and loves it)!

John Says:

Hello Kevin and Patty

I checked with the ship and they did not record the show……..something by the way that we should do. I am so sorry. Maybe there was someone else on the cruise who may be reading this blog and did tape the show. If there is anyone who did please let me know and I will put you in touch with Kevin and Patty. I am so sorry I couldn’t help further and I hope you all had a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes to all

John

John R Asked:

Hi John,

Please reply.

I can’t help but mentioning again how great your blog is. Have you ever thought about writing a book? I think it would be a brilliant read.

Anyway, back to the smoking piano bars. I certainly hope that the “experiment” on the Splendor with the non-smoking Piano Bar is successful.

It would be great if every Carnival guest could enjoy the experience of the piano bar without having to expose themselves to dangerous second hand smoke.

Has Carnival ever considered making the piano bar non-smoking every other evening?

Thanks!

John Says:

Hello John R

Points well taken mate and I will keep you informed as to the results of this experiment. I would love to write a book but considering only you and my Mum would buy a copy it may not be worth it.

Thanks for all the support and I will keep you informed on the piano bar situation.

Cheers

John

That’s all for today and as always I ma hear in my underpants ready to answer your questions.

I have not forgotten the blogger who requested photos of the new balconies on the Carnival Sensation……….here they are along with some other brilliant shots of the vessel

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If you asked me to do something for you and are waiting for a follow up and have yet to receive one please would you remind me next week. I have so many things to follow up on that I am worried one or two may fall through the cracks so please …….if you don’t hear from me in a timely manner give me a nudge would you.

Thanks to you all for the continuing comments……….Stephanie………how many comments have been posted on the blog these past two years……..any idea?

Total comments since launch: 32,781

One of the things I have had to learn to do since I have been home is how to operate the dishwasher. Yes…….I know it’s pathetic that I am 44 and have bugger all idea how to use it but I really can’t moan about having to……….not when you think about the hard work of washing the dishes left by thousands of cruise ship passengers after every meal.

I would like you to pop over to James Cusick’s blog written from onboard the P&O ship Arcadia. He has a wonderful insight into just how your dirty dishes are taken care of and brilliant photos of the unsung heroes who do them each and every day……….here is the link thingy. http://www.jamescusick.co.uk/

It’s also time to say welcome home to the Queen Mary 2. She has just returned from her world cruise and from the blog I have just read it appears it was a massive success. There is a wonderful account of what happened from guest blogger and Social Host Jennifer Schaper that I encourage you to read. Here is the link thingy……. http://wearecunard.com/

On the Ooooooooooooosterdam as Heidi correctly pronounces the ships name in Dutch work is continuing to complete the Holland America vessels extensive refit. Captain Baijens continues his account of life in the shipyard and that’s over on http://www.hollandamericablog.com/

“There are a few other remedies which an old sailor once told me which include gently slapping the face of the captain with a flounder three times”………..now this statement could only have been written by an Aussie and in this case written by the Aussie Cruise Director of P & O’s Pacific Dawn. His blog features a really well written about the myths and cures for seasickness which is a must read. Her is the link thingy to down under http://pacificdawn.pocruises.com.au/

Just about 11 weeks to go until the launch of Seabourn Odyssey and my invitation to the inaugural voyage of the world’s most luxurious ship must have gotten lost in the mail somewhere and was probably accidentally delivered to someone called Micky Arison by mistake. Well, over at the Seabourn blog not only is there an updated reports and photos of the Odyssey but also great shots of the hull of her sister the Seabourn Sojourn being floated onto a barge. It’s a must see. Here’s the posh link thingy http://blog.seabourn.com/

Now…………. I would like to introduce you to Mr. William Filomena.

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Mr Filomena is seen pictured here onboard the Carnival Inspiration with Hotel Director Ron Ness. Mr. Filomena is trying to set what we think is a Carnival record by sailing on all 23 Carnival ships in one year. He is currently onboard the Carnival Spirit sailing to Hawaii and I will keep you updated as to his progress and we send congratulations in advance to William.

Do you know? I don’t think I have ever told you how I discovered Heidi was pregnant

So there I was coming back from my debarkation talk on the Carnival Splendor when as soon as I opened the cabin door she told me we were pregnant. Initially, I was pleased because it meant all my bits work properly but since then I have gotten more and more nervous each and every day. And I have already prepared myself that I will now have to wait until 2023 before I get a decent night’s sleep

Thanks again for all the name suggestions. I like the idea of Alan if it’s a girl or Dick if it isn’t. But this has gone down about as well my idea of hiring a Swedish au pair.

I keep trying to point out to Heidi that I’ll be far too tired for any rumpy pumpy with Miss Svenso the au pair after I’ve been up all night long wiping vomit and faeces off the walls. But despite my protests I have been told, quite firmly in fact by Heidi, that if we ever were to hire a nanny ……….that she will be a moose, or there will be no nanny at all.

The rows, however, are not the worst aspect of Babydom. Nor do we mind very much that the days when we can simply travel together as and when we want are over for now. Sure, we could take the Thingy too, but I really do believe that no-one should ever be allowed to take a baby on a long-haul flight.

Airlines ban smoking because it inconveniences other passengers, yet children are allowed to howl all the way from London to Miami and back.

I have always believed babies should be carried in soundproof boxes stowed safely in the hold, and as I don’t want my Thingy in a box, it won’t be going on an aeroplane. But yet again I have been overruled and Heidi has decreed that the Thingy will in fact be joining me on the Bloggers Cruises on the Carnival Dream.

We won’t be much fun at dinner parties, either. Like every other couple that has ever spawned a child, we will be able to talk of nothing else. Which will make us dull and tedious. I may even grow a beard.

And if we’re going to be dull and tedious, and wear corduroy, and have no money, and if we’re going to carry on living in the UK, and if we’re going to conform on every other front too, then it will have to buy one of those ‘Baby On Board’ stickers…….I have all this to worry about and that’s before the Thingy becomes a teen.

Some…….not all …….teenagers these days are totally out of control and I am sure where you live you see the random acts of selfishness and destruction of property all done in the name of fun. Do you remember the little bastards who carved their names and other symbols into the cigar bar’s leather chairs on the Carnival Splendor or the idiots who like to scratch their “tags” in the stainless steel doors of the guest elevators?

Again……these are random and infrequent acts yet we have all come to accept them as part of “today’s youth.”

This morning I had driven into town for yet another shopping expedition allowing Heidi and the Thingy to lay on the couch doing bugger all watching the Incest Channel …………. or the Soap Channel as it’s sometimes known………Bold and The Beautiful my arse.

Anyway, as I parked the car in the supermarket car park I saw a middle aged man hoping from one leg to another as though someone had poured sulphuric acid down his pants. He was clearly in distress. Being a good citizen I walked over and asked this chap if he was OK. He wasn’t……..and I could see why……because some little toe rag (www.urbandictionary.com) had spray painted their initials on the hood of the this mans Toyota and taken a key or a sharp object and scratched the car from front to back on both sides…….at 10 am on Good Friday. Now remember………..I don’t live in a big city but it seems that Yob Culture as we call it here in the UK is everywhere.

There was little I could do for this poor chap except sympathize and hope that the CCTV cameras will have caught the little buggers in the act.

So after shopping for milk, butter, bread, nipple pads and hemmerhoid cream, I drove home listening to the news on the radio and as I did I heard a speech given last night at some posh dinner in London by HRH the Prince of Wales. I’ve always had my doubts about Prince Charles. First, it’s said he talks to plants – a singularly unrewarding experience, because all they do in return is die. Mind you, my plants also die when I don’t talk to them, when I water them and when I don’t water them…

Second he crept out of the bed he shared with the one of most beautiful woman in the world to crawl into the bed of someone who would certainly be able to fit Heidi’s criteria to be our nanny.

But now Prince Charles has shown himself not only to be a decent chap, but also the kind of leader that this country needs. In his speech he spoke about the youth of today needing tougher parenting and that the courts dealt with them to easily……and I couldn’t agree more.

Now, the politically correct will say that the vandal who sprayed that mans car when apprehended, should be taken to court, addressed by his Christian name and let off with a stern warning. Me…….I want him taken to the town square and given a good flogging, and it seems Prince Charles sort of agrees.

Oh…and I while I am having a rant…..please allow me to get one more thing off my chest

Over the past few months I have tended to make light of the pirate situation Somali …………. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, raise the Jolly Roger me harties and all that.

The thought of pirates brings a smile to the lips – but in reality there is nothing jolly about pirates, as this week’s hijacking of the cargo ship, Maersk Alabama, off the coast of Somalia, should remind us.

So before we end today’s blog I just want to say this. Although these pirates are not operating anywhere near you or I would take a cruise they are being allowed to operate. On Wednesday, Somali gunmen briefly hijacked the colossal freighter, only to be driven off by the crew. Retaining the captain as a hostage, they fled to a lifeboat, where they were yesterday engaged in a David-and-Goliath standoff with the might of the US Navy.

My concern as someone who spends much of his life at sea is this. The Gulf of Aden is an exit from the Mediterranean, one of the world’s most important seas, crossed annually by thousands of ships. So as someone who spends his life at sea, I say there must be campaign to stop these bastards. The pirate ships must be sunk on sight and the crews left to swim to safety, if it can be reached like the terrorists of this world, the pirates will not go away…They needed to be hunted and stopped…..And the time to start the hunt is now.

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.