Man of the House?

April 15, 2009 -

John Heald

Let’s start the day off with some food shall we. When I was on the Carnival Splendor recently I came across fast-moving line of lunchtime diners on the Lido deck. Behind the counter, I saw crew assemble burritos piling freshly made flat-bread tortillas with various fillings………made to order. Now, I will be honest here and say I have never been a big fan of Mexican food. No offense to Mexicans, but I can’t help feeling that theirs is a bit of a one-note cuisine. Varying degrees of chili heat; choice of chicken or beef; beans or refried beans. No need to waste time asking what’s for lunch or dinner, because the answer is always “tacos!”

However, there is no doubting it’s popularity and Carnival’s food and beverage team, led by it’s incomparable Vice President Cyrus Marfatia, have been “el quicko” to see that the burrito would be something our guests on the Splendor’s Mexican Riviera itinerary would really enjoy…… in fact did I. It seemed the perfect lunchtime choice………not too heavy yet full of flavors and, of course, you get to choose what’s in your burrito much in the same way that you get to choose what our brilliant chef’s create in the Mongolian Wok.

Here is what you can have in your Mexican treat:
Burrito Bar
Beef Steak
Roasted Corn
Cilantro Lime Rice
Black Beans
Charred Green Peppers
Sautéed Onion
Iceberg Lettuce
Monterey Jack Cheese
House Guacamole
Pica De Gallo
Sour Cream
Tomatillo Red Chili (Hot) –
Green Tomatillo (Medium)
Fresh Tomato Salsa (Mild)

And here are lots of photos showing you the process of how they are made and just how popular they are.















Now, I am sure I am going to get asked “John is this going to be something we put on every ship?” Well……………the Burrito Bar is in its early stages but if it continues to prove to be as popular as it is now, then I wouldn’t be surprised if you see this on other ships.

This one of many new tests we are putting on the ships and not just involving food. Once these are in place I will tell you all about them. They are very exciting and one or two are going to be “head turners” so keep reading the blog thingy and I will be able to tell you about these very exciting times.

OK……….on we go with today’s comments that need answering having been posted with “John, please reply.”

Frank Rist III Asked:
Hello John,
Please Respond
We are sitting here typing to you on our last day at sea before debarkation on the Miracle. We just wanted to make a few comments and ask you a few questions. First of all thank you so much for the gifts along with the signed picture that was great and we just love it and intend to display it with honor at our home. This has been a fun cruise as the locks of panama were amazing. We did however have a few questions that possibly you could clear up, We were first issued #5 debark tags which we were surprised that being we were in a Cat 11 suite we were given such a high number. I went to the purser’s desk and asked about getting #1 as we thought that skippers club applied to debark also not just embark. They gave us #1 with little complaint so I was happy about that and thanked them heavily for doing that saving me from getting upset. So now I am confused why on some ships have we been on were we offered priority debark in a #11 suite without a trip to the pursers desk and on others I have had to make a trip to see the pursers?? Sometimes with and sometimes without success. Doesn’t an 11 suite give you a skippers club priority embark and debark?? We loved Malcolm in the middle (woo Hoo) once again (3rd cruise with him). Is there anyway or has carnival considered re-doing the smoking issue on board? I know you can only smoke in certain areas on board which is wonderful but it seems that we have a hard time standing on are balcony as the smell of smoke about knocks us over. Also we had to spray are room with deodorizer several times as we believe the smell of smoke was coming from next door under the bottom of the floor. Has carnival considered making one side of the ships cabins non smoking? Or possibly even a floor maybe?? Kind of like hotels do a non smoking floor or non smoking rooms? Also one last thing as the other things in no way ruined or cruise but this issue really left a disappointing feeling with us. We had asked you a few weeks backs about booking another cruise while on board here on the miracle. Which we are ready to do now. You told us that they do that and they be able to help us onboard with that. Well……. they don’t do it on the spirit class ships is the answer we got here on board. Now we don’t blame you at all in any way as I sure if your were on board it would be different. You could go down there in your dolly parton outfit and scare them into submission. Why would carnival not do it on there smaller ships is our question its like saying the smaller ships aren’t as important or as if because we didn’t book on a larger ship then we aren’t as important? Oh and to me this is a VERY LARGE ship I’m use to a small canoe with a 5 hp motor this to me is a LARGE ship. So we feel we have gotten the bad end of the deal here as we are ready to book another cruise at this time but wanted the discounts you get from booking on board.
Thanks Again
Frank and Bridie Rist

John Says:
Hello Frank and Bridie
I guess you will be reading this at home so let me start by saying I hope you had a wonderful cruise and a safe journey home. You bring up a good question about the suites and priority debarkation. I wasn’t 100 percent certain if booking a suite does not automatically qualify you for early debarkation and judging by what you have told me in the above posting some of the onboard staff may not be totally sure either. So, here is the correct policy as explained to me today by Vicky Rey our wonderful VP of Guest Services.
Non-Platinum guests who purchase a cat 11 or 12 receive VIP check in and
priority debarkation.
Kind regards

I hope this clarifies this and my apologies that this was not the case on some of your cruises. I will make sure this policy is reiterated to our shipboard personal. I wonder ………have any other bloggers had concerns with this…………..please let me know.
We have come along way with our smoking policies since the days of half the dining room being smoke free and the other smoking allowed. We have only a few public lounges left where smoking is allowed and as you say we still allow smoking on our guest balconies. I can totally sympathize with your concerns that the smoke from the cabin next door drifted not only onto your balcony but into your stateroom. I do know that our smoking policies are always being reviewed and I shall of course be forwarding your comments to those who make these decisions.
Now, please accept my sincere apologies for the misinformation I gave you about the ability to book on board our ships. I was told that it was a fleetwide program but I should have checked and I didn’t. I am so sorry. Here are the ships that the program is currently on as given to me by my great friend and Vice President Cherie Weinstein……………who I should have checked with in the first place:
Carnival Splendor
Carnival Freedom
Carnival Liberty
Carnival Valor
Carnival Conquest

The Future Carnival Vacation program is currently still in the test phase, Cherie told me. I promise that we are not ignoring any class of ship and if it is a success which I think it will be I know we will add the program elsewhere. I will let you know as and when this happens.
Your posting brought up some great points and I want to thank you so much for sharing them with us all and I hope that other bloggers will add their thoughts as mentioned above.
My best to you and the family

Carol Schoenberger Asked:
Hi John & Heidi,
It’s been way too long for me to finally get to read your blog thingy. I am having back/sciatica trouble and am even using a cane now. Hopefully I can leave it at home in November on the Dream. I am also getting grief from Simon Legree on the time off I’ve been taking. I just try to ignore him.

But I’m glad to be back. Happy Easter. Heidi, how are you? Still glowing? Are you glowing too John?
JOHN, Please reply when you get a chance: After skimming over the past few posts, I saw the “AnyTime Dining” mentioned for the Dream. Is that definite, or just a possibility? Also I haven’t gone back a few weeks so I don’t know if you answered my previous question – but should I change my dining preference to early sitting on the Bloggers Cruise?
Thanks for the photos of the Spirit. My sister and brother-in-law just booked an Alaskan cruise for July on her. I’m gonna tell her all about Bubba.
I just made my day by reading your blog – I really missed it.
Take care,

John Says:
Hello Carol
I had no idea you were going through so much pain. I had a bad back a few weeks ago and it was murder so I cannot imagine what you are feeling right now. Please don’t worry about anything on the Carnival Dream. I will make sure you are at every event and show even if I have to carry you there myself.
Now, as to your question…………the Your Choice dining will indeed be a feature on the Carnival Dream and will be part of the three choices we give our guests along with assigned seating and the alternative dining on our Lido Deck…………..actually it’s four if you include the supper club. As far as seating for the Bloggers Cruise is concerned just choose what you want. I did try the open seating (all bloggers eating at the same time) during the last Bloggers Cruise on the Carnival Fantasy but in all honesty it didn’t work as well as I had hoped. So this time we will allow people to book whatever option they want. I shall schedule all the events and activities in such a way as regardless of what time you ……… won’t miss a thing. I will have more information on this very soon.
I am glad you are back reading the blog thingy and we all send you our warmest thoughts for a quick recovery
Best wishes

Phil & Liz Asked:
Hello John, Heidi and Steph,
Three cheers for the US Navy SEALS and all those involved in the rescue of the Capt.!
Love the “terms & conditions” bit above!
Wish we could join you, Heidi and the Thingy on the Dream!
Today it was announced that Pres. Obama is relaxing rules on travel to Cuba. I read about a bill called “”Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act” and an accompanying bill in the House of Representatives, which has garnered the support of 121 co-sponsors, as reported in Travelmole, a U.K.-based online community for the travel industry.”
There was mention of one Vance Gulliksen of Carnival Cruise Lines. Also mentioned was the fact that “A factor more likely to delay ships’ arrival to Cuba is the length of time needed to develop adequate port facilities.”
Could you explore whether CCL, with Pres. Obama’s relaxation of the rules, will take a fresh look at this?
We would very much like to book a Carnival sailing with a port in Cuba, so long as the ship had the EOF upgrades and the fish & chips aboard.
Phil & Liz

John Says:
Hello Phil and Liz
It’s funny but as soon as I heard about President Obama’s new policies on Cuba I immediately thought about whether this would expedite our ships sailing to Cuba. Actually………..that’s not true. My first thought was for me and my mate Tim Gallagher. We have been paying ridiculous amounts of money for our beloved Cuban cigars so hopefully this will bring the prices down a bit.
Seriously though and having been to Cuba I can tell you that it is a beautiful country and I think others would really enjoy it. And that time may be soon with President Obama’s willingness to talk to Cuba’s leaders and a bill before the US Congress to end the ban on visits. I must admit that I have often found it a little bewildering that Americans can go to Iran, China and Venezuela but not Cuba. I am not surprised that POTUS has done this though as with all the problems he has with the credit crunch, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and his new dog crapping in the Rose Garden, Cuba could prove to be an easy victory.
Just think thousands of cruise ship guests could pour into the already well-developed resorts along the 20-mile-long Varadero beach east of Havana without huge pressure on the infrastructure However, I’m told that there’s not much new to report on this front until there are further changes in U.S. policies that would allow all American to freely travel to Cuba. Don’t be surprised if in the months ahead you start hearing more on this story.
Again………….I would be very interested to read what others have to say about this, please send me your comments…………..especially if we have a Cuban American blogger……..we would love to read your thoughts.
Thanks to you both and my best wishes

Bob Bradford Asked:
John Please Reply.
John, with the new fantastic commercials from Carnival they play Anchors Aweigh, our Navy song, at the end and then the horn. I remember from my early days cruising Carnival they use to play that song as you set sail. I would like to see that started back up.
What do you think?

John Says:
Hello Bob
I am with you on this one and I for one am going to do this as soon as I get back onboard and will be encouraging other CD’s to do the same. It is a proud and exhilarating piece of music that really gets the mood set for the fun times ahead
My best to you and all the current and past Navy service men and women

Bobby Asked:
Hi John, please reply; I just wanted to tell you that I made a request for a reservation on the supper club on the Valor. also I was wanting to ask you if you found out anything on the tour sea spi for roatan Hond.
thank you

John Says:
Hello Bobby
Did you see my reply yesterday about the sea spi tour?
Let me know mate

Marc G Asked:
John Please Reply,
I just booked my cruise on the Liberty in July and I just wanted to know if you knew would the CD would be on board? Also if the laser tag system will be on that ship at that time as well, it has definitely intrigued me.
Thanks a bunch John.
Marc G

John Says:
Hello Marc G
Congratulations on booking your cruise on the Carnival Liberty where your cruise director will be my friend Butch. As other guests will tell you he is a bundle of energy and will make sure you are having fun from the early hours well into the night. I don’t have the laser tag schedule as yet but as I said it has been so successful that we are indeed intending to put this fun event on as many ships as we can. I will ask what the next vessel to get this is and let you know
Cheers mate

Fraser Asked:
Please reply,
I am still laughing about your polar bear joke during your dinner that must have been awkward. As far as elegant night I could care less what anybody else wears, as long it is not mashed potatoes.
I had a question for you that I sent in on 4/6 I marked to please reply but also not to post, do you still get it and can you reply directly to my email. I had a question about something on my parents cruise and my father reads the blog.
Thank you for all you do
My best to Heidi and the Thingy

John Says:
Hello Fraser
I am pretty sure I replied to your question privately, mate. If having read this and you did not get a reply from me please accept my apologies as it may have been lost in cyber space. Send me the question again mate and I will reply straight away.
My best to you and the family and I ma glad you are enjoying the blog

Marsha Breen Asked:
John – please reply. Glad to hear that the ships are doing a better job with enforcing the dress code. Is this supposed to include the buffet area also? For some reason, that doesn’t seem to happen when I’m sailing. I haven’t taken a cruise yet where I didn’t see people coming in to the buffet that are barefoot, in just their bathing suits, and guys in their swim trunks (no shirt, no shoes). Nothing whets your appetizer better than sitting across from a guy with man boobs and hairy chest snarfing down their food while you’re trying to look everywhere but directly at them. Is there a reason these people are not approached by a staff member and asked to go put on a shirt and shoes? I’m all for people being comfortable while they are cruising but there is a point where I think this goes way beyond appropriate. Thanks for the daily laughs John

John Says:
Hello Marsha
How right you are. This is something we must do better at and I am going to send this directly to our hotel operations department and let’s see what they say. I always made announcements about this plus added it to the Carnival Capers as I agree ……..who wants to look at someone like me half naked while you are eating a burrito? There is also the safety aspect as well. Shoes should be worn at all times inside as sometimes the change of temperature from the outside deck to the inside Lido food service area can cause condensation to form – not to mention people’s wet swimsuits, etc. – making the floor somewhat slippery. I do understand though why people do not always put on a shirt etc………it’s that beach feel I guess.
As mentioned, I will bring this up and let’s see what we can do to improve in this area.
I will keep you posted

That’s all for today and I remain at your service should any of you need my help.

OK, let’s talk about the fruit punch or the lack thereof on Lido deck.

Yesterday, this subject was brought up again and I know it has been discussed on the cruise boards as well. I will be honest and thought that the reason it isn’t served anymore was maybe it was too expensive to make, etc……….but I could not have been more wrong.

I asked our VP of Food and Beverage Cyrus Marfatia and here is his answer.

The reason we discontinued the fruit punch was due to the fact that it was soiling our furniture and carpets. We have many daily spillages and the dye in the fruit would not come out of the carpet even after a deep clean and shampoo. We tried looking for similar products but all cause the same concerns

So, there you go. I guess like me you are all going “Ahh, yes that makes sense.” I know it will be missed – and hopefully we’ll find a substitute one day – but I am sure you will understand.

Tomorrow we will have a new blog from Carnival Splendor Dance Captain Claire so look out for that and very soon Jaime will be back on the Carnival Pride ready to give her heart and soul in looking for a man………..oh and being an Assistant CD and we can look forward to more blogs from her …………and others ……………..sssshhhh…………very soon.

I am learning that it is probably easier to live with a hippopotamus with a hangover than with a pregnant woman……….I mean………did I really deserve that massive bollocking last night just because I had used the last piece of toilet paper and not put a new roll on the stand thingy?

And what’s worse is that I just stood there ……and took the bollocking with my head bowed just mumbling the word “sorry” over and over again. I also go to supermarkets, load and unload a thing called the dishwasher. I don’t know how to change the tire on our car, yesterday I had a sandwich with something called Brie and rocket in it and ….I am embarrassed to tell you that…..since I have been home…… may want to sit down for this………Heidi has made………..I can’t believe I am telling you this ………she has made me use……….moisturizer…… shocking is that?

And while I am admitting my deepest darkest secrets to you I might as well admit one more. The other night I watched two episodes of Sex and the City and never complained ….. not once…….because Heidi is pregnant and therefore complaining is illegal punishable by a tears, tantrums and a kick in the bollocks.

Yep……..I watched two 30-minute episodes of this crap wondering why women the world over worship at this cathedral to credit cards, Jimmy Choos and lunchtime Manhattans. It’s designed for women who want to lunch, talk about sex and end up with guys called “Big.” What kind of name is “Big” anyway? Carrie must have worked her way through Tiny, Sneezy, Skinny, Fatty and probably a whole host of similarly named men on her way to true love. What’s that? “Big” is rich? ………….makes perfect sense now.

And so it was that I woke up this morning realizing that I am no longer a man. I have become a “Yes, dear” husband and my life as I knew it………it is over.

I therefore decided to give myself a man test to try and prove that I am still the king of my own castle (barn) and I invite all my male bloggers to try the test for yourself.

Here we go:

How much time do you spend in front of the cabin mirror before going to the captain’s cocktail party and elegant night dinner?
A) An hour of intense cleaning, moisturising, exfoliating, plucking nose hairs and applying creams and smelly French after shave
B) Less than a minute

What are you better at remembering?
A) Birthdays, anniversaries and first dates
B) Entire sections of Godfather Parts I and II and Jed Bartlett speeches from West Wing

What is the purpose of the remote control?
A) To change the TV channels without having to walk over to the TV itself
B) To flick around the moment the commercials come on and try and see everything else that is on but never actually watch anything for more than 5 .7 seconds

When was the last time you cried?
A) When Publix ran out of fat free, sugar free, cholesterol free, organic olive oil
B) When you read that 7 Aston Martin’s were totally destroyed during the making of the last James Bond movie

When your wife or partner asks you “What are you thinking?” you reply:
A) “I was just thinking how joyous it would be to have rumpy pumpy with Angelina Jolie and afterwards have a naked Heidi Klum and Catherine Zeta Jones serve you a double cheeseburger with extra everything before all of us jump into a powder blue Bentley Continental convertible and drive to our private yacht…………….. to play Twister.”
B) “I was thinking how much I love you.”

You meet with some new male friends you have met during your cruise and you go for a drink and a chat in the Cigar Bar. Do you talk about?
A) The texture and design of the leather seats and how much you are looking forward to going shopping in St. Thomas
B) Who would win a fight between Jack Bauer and James Bond?

What do you think of Musicals?
A) Brilliant. I have seen Les Miz three times and I can’t wait to see the new version of The Sound of Music
B) Entertainment straight from the devil………….pure evil.

Instructions on how to set up electronic items are for:
A) Reading
B) Losers

You are arguing with your pregnant wife. Do you:
A) Sit down and try to work out a positive outcome saying that you fully understand why she is so angry.
B) Apologize despite having no bloody clue what the hell you are sorry about.

Your wife wants a pet. Do you choose?
A) A cat because they are so cute and purr a lot and look like a big ball of fluff.
B) A dog because they kill cats.

Do you have a favorite pair of underwear that are full of holes and smell a little like the center of Paris?
A) Yes
B) No

You are trying to find where to park at Port Everglades before joining the Carnival Freedom. Do you:
A) Admit to your wife that you are lost and stop to ask for directions.
B) Tell your wife you know exactly where you are even though you haven’t a clue.

You notice the toilet roll is empty. Do you:
A) Replace it.
B) Ignore it not understanding exactly where exactly new rolls of toilet paper comes from.

And finally
You are asked by your wife or girlfriend to sit and watch a Sex and the City marathon on TV. Do you:
A) Say “Yes, dear.”
B) Say – “I would rather rub a cheese grater over my scrotum than watch this crap.”

If you answered “A” to any of the above I suggest you seek medical help. If you answered “B” to any of the above……………….you are…………like me…………… a man.

I would like to talk about this more but I have to go and empty the dishwasher and mop the bathroom floor because I accidentally missed the target this morning. After that I shall go and do the grocery shopping (it’s quite windy today, maybe I should put some extra moisturiser on) and when I get home and all the groceries are put away I shall hopefully have a few minutes to read Dad magazine and then get in touch with my feminine side by having a good cry at an episode of Little House on the Prairie.
I am a man…………….my buttocks

Your friends
Heidi, the Thingy…………………..and me

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.