The King of Blog and Roll

April 20, 2009 -

John Heald

It’s funny how things come together.

Last night I was watching a documentary about Elvis and then this morning I get e-mailed a question if I new anything about the Elvis Cruise later this year…….well, yes I do and I will come to that a bit later in the blog thingy.

Now I must admit that I am not an Elvis fan. There is no doubting he was and still is “The King” and that nobody wore tighter trousers than he. However, I did find last night’s documentary about him fascinating.

As most people probably know Elvis died while depositing a few cheeseburgers into his toilet at Graceland, an undignified end for a man who’d sold over four hundred million records. Did you know, however, what “the King” was doing before his last trip to the bathroom? Well, “The King” had been playing racquetball.

I didn’t really have him down as a sportsman. I thought, like me, the most exercise he’d do was pressing the remote controls on the three televisions in his underground den. It turns out, however, that Elvis was obsessed with the game – so much so that he had his own court built in the grounds of Graceland.

Racquetball is not a popular game in the UK and I had to look how the game is played on the Internet and discovered that it’s a sort of mix of squash and tennis. It’s the game that you see people playing in posh sports clubs in Michael Douglas movies. You normally see a sweaty Michael Douglas remove the safety goggles that you are forced to wear and then tell his playing partner that he knows he has been having rumpy pumpy with his wife.

I’m sure this wasn’t the situation with Elvis, but I wish that footage of him playing the game existed. I just can’t help wondering what Elvis’s sports outfits would look like.

There’d be sequins, lots and lots of sequins – that’s a given……….designed by Richard Simmons and with a Nike style logo that says “Just Do Me.” How about the flares? These are remarkably impractical for sporting purposes, as are capes, platform heels and collars that rise halfway over your head. At least the goggles would not be a problem – he could have a pair specially made that looked just like his trademark sunglasses, so all would not be lost. I looked on line to see if any of the Elvis internet shop thingies sell Elvis sportswear but I could find bugger all.

I really think that they’ve missed a trick here; it could be the new big thing. Imagine how enlivened Wimbledon would be this year if Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal suddenly appeared in Elvis-Wear………..or a personality.

Even the rackets could be customised so that Elvis’s face appears on the strings. When Nadal wins a point he could fall to his knees while doing a slow windmill action with his racket and ball boys and girls could run up to him and drape him with Hawaiian flower garlands … surely that would finally raise a smile and bring a bit of fun to what is a sport that is played by the most boring group of sportspeople in the world.

Anyway, let’s get back to the Elvis Cruise which Tina Blake asked me about. Well Tina, here is what I know.

Carnival is working with Sixthman and Elvis Presley Enterprises and we are thrilled to be a part of the third annual Elvis Cruise which will take place on the Carnival Inspiration Thursday, November 12, through Monday, November 16, 2009. The event will be hosted by Jerry Schilling, scheduled performers include The TCB Band, The Imperials, The Sweet Inspirations, Joe Guercio, D.J. Fontana, Terry Mike Jeffrey & Band, Andy Childs, Ronnie McDowell, The Dempseys and others, still to be announced.

Sounds like fun doesn’t it? Anyway Tina, here is the link thingy to find out more about this fun cruise.

OK, before I leave the building ……….time to catch up on some questions marked for my reply.

Tim and Diane Asked:
Re Susan Boyle, Please reply
John we agree she should sing at the naming of Carnivals Dream and maybe even be the God Mother. This would show that Dreams do come true.
We were moved to tears when we first viewed the tube. Do not judge a book by its cover.
Good luck in the coming weeks with you, Heidi and the thingy.

John Says:
Hello Tim and Diane
Thanks to you both for the words of support and I hope that Susan success continues and who knows, maybe her carnival Dream will come true as well
My best to you both

Frank Asked:
Hello John Please respond.
I am glad that all is well with you and Heidi and I am sure I speak for all when we expect photos ASAP once the thingy is born. We wanted to ask you two questions first off We got off our miracle cruise on the 14th (thanks for the answers about VIP debark by the way) We found out that Malcolm had to get off the boat that day also for some medical attention and josh (big sexy) was taking over. We loved Malcolm and also josh the assistant CD (big sexy). We were curious is Malcolm ok?? We hope so and we kept thinking that josh would make a perfect side kick for you also! Also we are getting ready to book are next cruise on the Dream and wondered about the tux rental on board that carnival has, I have rented one multiple times now and love the program but we are taking my son on the next cruise (his first carnival) and wanted to get him one he’s going to be 6 on the cruise. Does carnival rent smaller tuxes for young boys so that he can match me?
Frank and Bridie

John Says:
Hello Frank and Bridie
Well I am glad first of all that you had a great time and I thank you for also asking after Malcolm who as you said did have to leave during the cruise. I can’t say much but I can tell you that Malcolm needs our thoughts and prayers as he remains in hospital. His Mum is by his side and as soon as I am able to pass on anything else to you I of course will ………so I ask all the bloggers to remember him tonight.
On a positive note this seems the right time to tell you that after 2 weeks in ICU Chris Prideaux, Carnival’s director of entertainment, was allowed home where he will undergo quite a few weeks of rest and recuperation following his sudden illness. Chris wanted me to pass on his gratitude for all your thoughts and prayers. Hopefully he will be back at his desk before too long.
Well, let’s move onto your second question about tuxedos. We do have smaller sizes but not I am sorry to say one for a six year old. I am sure though he will look wonderful though whatever he wears. You may find it difficult getting him to wear anything but his swim shorts when he sees the waterworks on the Carnival Dream.
Thanks for taking the time to write and I Know Josh will have done a brilliant job taking over from Malcolm who we hope will be back soon.
Best wishes to you all

Juan & Maria Santana Asked:
John please reply:
John, you asked about our opinion re Cruises to Cuba…. Well, we think it will be the best & only way of visiting Cuba… The reasons are many… the ship will be, as always, the first class hotel where the tourists will safely & comfortably sleep, bathe, relax, etc., with first class everything: the food quality/variety; the healthy/spotless bathrooms & lounges, etc., plus the fact that the passengers/tourists won’t be hassled by anybody once they step back on the ship. Are you surprised by these comments? Let’s explain: For 50 yrs. Cuba has suffered devastation by the Castro regime (the food & clothing ration booklets have been in existence for 50 yrs… the pharmacies’ shelves are practically empty, the housing or lack of housing is a disgrace, the water & electricity are constantly turned off by government, & so on! Don’t blame the USA embargo like they do, that’s an excuse & a big lie! If you go to the government “hard currency stores” (the very well-supplied stores where they only accept Dollars/Euros) you will find everything you need/want. Most of the Cubans don’t have Dollars/Euros, so they have to stick to the infamous ration booklets or try to obtain the much needed items thru the black market. Mother Nature has not been kind to Cuba either: every imaginable tropical storm/cyclone/hurricane has hit the island lately… This has compounded the island’s disgrace. The USA offered help & they rejected; the Cuban Americans’ help was also rejected. Since running water is turned off often & soap/detergent is also rationed, you can imagine what the people are going thru trying to keep germs and all kinds of bacteria from flourishing! Regardless of whatever the Cuban government reports about their “so-called” accomplishments regarding the medical attention & health of their citizens, it’s all a big lie.
Yes, we agree that cruises will be the ideal way to visit Cuba. In fact, we think that instead of staying for a few hours in Havana or any of the island’s port cities, the ship could stay overnight for a couple of days in each of them so the tourist could have more time to explore and experience the reality of things more or less on their own… For example: 2 days in Havana, 2 days in Varadero… on the northern side; 1 day in the Isle of Pines (now called Island of Youth), 1 night Cienfuegos, 2 days in Guantanamo… on the southern side, etc. Staying at the hotels/resorts that have been built in recent years by the Europeans and other foreign investors, and being paraded by the Cuban tourist agency personnel only thru the places that they want & choose, that’s not the real way of getting in touch of the real Cuba & its people.
On the Cuban cigar subject…. pls. quit smoking… for your health (remember your diabetes), for Heidi & don’t forget you’ll be a father soon and you have already heard of the damage of second hand smoking.
Thank you for asking us to comment and for giving us the opportunity to do so.
The Santanas
Cuban-American Carnival Cruises fans

John Says:
Hello Juan and Maria
I had to read your comment twice, not just to make sure I understood everything you had written but to enjoy how it was written………….with passion. I never new about the “hard currency” stores and that the infamous ration books still existed. I also want to thank you for the itinerary suggestions as well and I have passed those onto the people who decide where our ships call at.
I realize that when we talk about Cuba that emotions run high and so I need to be careful when I say this – As a Brit I wish to say Raul, though still a dictator, looks to be moving in a more positive direction than his brother. He seems to still be aligned with his brother but at the same time does not want the anti-US policy that has caused massive poverty. He knows better relations with the US means better for Cuba.
Anyway, I want to thank you for your informed and passionate posting and maybe one day sooner than we all thought we all get to visit this beautiful island onboard a Carnival ship.
Oh……I don’t smoke much anymore…………..I think maybe I have five cigars this year………..I do have one left in my humidor. It’s a pre-Castro Davidoff Dom Perignon which I paid $120 for at an auction…….I shall smoke that when the Thingy is born and then…………….that’s that.
Thanks again and best wishes to you and the family

Mark Asked:
Please Reply
John thanks for sharing that video of Susan Boyle. I am sure as your thingy starts to dream dreams, you will be greatly inspired by their dreams and be just as awestruck or even more so. Life is grand!
I have just booked my air deviation for my back to back cruise on the Freedom. I realize that the direct air group is another group separate from the Personal Vacation Planners (PVP), but why can’t the PVP book this as well. PVP’s can book cruise air so why can’t they book the deviation as well? Not that it was difficult to call them up. This was the second time I had done so, because the first agent had answered the phone made some excuse that the PVP had to “cross reference” the bookings. This second agent had noted that the bookings had not been cross referenced, but said she certainly could proceed with the booking and was very helpful and pleasant. She suggested that I mention to my PVP that the bookings were not cross referenced. This tells me that for some reason – perhaps audit/security reasons the two different groups can not make changes. I think this piece needs a bit of streamlining.
As far as a Cuban cruise…Yes I would cruise to Cuba. I understand some sensitivity around that nation, but folks still go to Germany, Russia, Italy and China all who are or were countries that experienced an atrocities and political strife. I think this is even more reason to go. It is important to understand other cultures and gain appreciation of people from around the world – yes even the French, John! Tourist dollars don’t hurt either!!!
Thank you sir for all your responses to dates on some of my more obscure questions like ship’s whistles and the decision making around cruise ports.
Just a reminder and I may have missed it, but you were looking into having some tips posted about how to take great scenery and water shots like Geo’s! I am just miserable with the camera.

John Says:
Hello Mark
Thanks for the wonderful words at the start of your posting, they were very kind and written from the heart I am sure.
I know that we are always looking to make the booking process easier for our guests and I know that close to the top of many of our guests list of areas we can improve on is booking flights. I have no idea why the PVP is unable to do this but I promise that I will pass on your thoughts to those at the top and let’s see what they say and let’s see if it is an area we can improve on. I will keep you posted…………oh and by the way ……….. thank you for booking your back to back cruises on the Carnival Freedom.
Bugger………….I forgot about the taking photo tips ………..thanks for the reminder and I will get straight on that and my apologies for the delay.
I remain at your service and look forward to our continuing correspondence

Bette Jost Asked:
I seriously don’t know how you do everything you do!! I’m definitely impressed… working… writing your blog… answering all our questions… taking care of Heidi… preparing for Thingy… I am amazed!!
I asked for some advice a couple weeks ago and you answered my question by asking me to get back with you a week before we left on our cruise. As a reminder… On May 12th, my husband and I will be celebrating our 8th Anniversary on the Triumph, which leaves Miami on May 10th. It’s my 21st cruise and my husband’s 4th and we’ll be in cabin — (looks like a great balcony cabin!). Anyway… I’m in the midst of organizing a group from Cruise Critic and I asked you about an area to have a “Meet & Greet” party. You gave me a couple suggestions and told me to remind you and you’d do your best to set it up. I truly appreciate the offer… honest… but I believe I’ll be going through Carnival as we want to have a private Happy Hour at our party too and Carnival will need my credit card information. Everyone in our group is so excited about having this party! There’s a cost per person and they’ve all been sending me their money via PayPal… they’ve been great!! We have a little over 30 people so far and still have a couple weeks to gather more!! I’ve been collecting birthdates and anniversaries so we can celebrate them at the same time. I’m going to try and come up with some contests so I’m open to suggestions for that… and *here comes my question)… I’d be thrilled if someone from Carnival could donate a couple “Ships on a Stick” for prizes!!! LOL! We’ve named our group the “JAA Triumph Trippers”. (JAA stands for just add alcohol… seems very appropriate, don’t you think?).
So….. thanks for your suggestions… your help… and mostly just for being the miracle worker you are!!
Bette Jost

John Says:
Hello Bette
In answer to your first question, it does take me about three hours to write a daily blog. Sometimes the words just flow like a Mozart concerto and other days I just stare at a blank screen wishing that I had never heard of the word “blog.” However, when the blog is written I do feel a certain sense of purpose especially as I am not currently onboard a ship.
OK, so you are going to have your party arranged through Carnival……..that’s great and I am sure the Cruise Critic group will have a brilliant time. I will ask George Solano the CD to stop by and deliver a few trophies for you and say hello and you can look out for a little message from me as well.
Please let me know if you need anything else
Have fun!
Best to you and everyone at Cruise Critic

Fraser Asked:
Please Reply
Thank you for your reply and I am sorry to bother you again. For some reason I never did get your reply to my personal email. I really appreciate that you are here to, #1 entertain, your Blog is hilarious and I hope to cruise with you in the future #2 take your very valuable time to answer all these questions, when do you sleep
I was wanting to know the elegant night schedule for the Carnival Triumph sailing on 4/26, I would like to get my parents a reservation in the supper club and don’t want it to be on the same night as an elegant night.
I was also going to have my parent’s cabin decorated as this cruise coincides with their anniversary (over 40 years); I was wondering if you might be able to add something a little special
My Parents info:
Campbell and Sarah
I will be on the Freedom on 9/26 and when I read that you were going back on board the Freedom in June, I was excited that I might to get cruise with you. But from what I have read it sounds like you will not be onboard in September (better luck next time)
Thank you John for all that you.
It is people like you that make Carnival the best cruise line in the world (Free steaks for all)
Now get back to that wife and Thingy of yours.
Thank you

John Says:
Hello Fraser
I am so sorry you didn’t see the e-mail reply to your question. I wonder if it’s floating out there in cyber space as unwanted as a climbing wall.
Here is the itinerary for your cruise with the elegant nights marked.
Ft Lauderdale, FL;
Fun Day At Sea; elegant night
Cozumel, Mexico;
Fun Day at Sea;
Limon, Costa Rica;
Colon, Panama;
Fun Day At Sea; – elegant night
Fun Day at Sea;
Ft Lauderdale, FL
May I suggest you make a reservation in the supper club for the night before we arrive in Limon? It will be a magnificent prelude to two brilliant days in port. I will also ask the CD George to leave a little something for your parent’s special anniversary.
Please let me know if you have any other questions and even though I will be off the Carnival Freedom when you sail I know you will have a great time and hopefully we will get to sail with each other soon

Kevin Hoffman Asked:
Hello, I’m not sure where to get this information so I though I would start here. My cousin and Grandpa went on the Fantasy out of New Orleans on 5/31/2008. On the cruise they went to one of the comedy shows. Now I don’t know the name of the comedian, but my Grandpa wheeled up to the stage, got out of his wheelchair, and got on stage and started telling jokes to the audience. Definitely a memorable experience. My Grandpa passed away on Easter Sunday. It would mean a lot to my family if we could get a copy of that show. What he did that day sums up his whole life. He loved to make people laugh. He has made me laugh my whole life!
This is him on YouTube playing charades:
If anyone has any information on how to get a video, pictures, etc. it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Kevin Hoffman

John Says:
Hello Kevin
I want to start by saying how sorry I was to hear of your grandfather’s passing ……we send you and your family our sympathies. I am sorry to say but we don’t record the comedy shows and if we did I am sorry again to say that we would keep copies for so long. However, maybe one of the thousands of people who read this blog may have been there and may have seen the show and who knows, they may have recorded it. If anyone reading this does remember this from the Carnival Fantasy’s 5/31/08 voyage of last year, please let me know so I can put you in touch with Kevin.
One more thing Kevin……….was your granddad in the US Coast Guard? I remember a character I saw on the Carnival Fantasy in February and was wondering if it was him?
Once again my deepest sympathies at the loss of granddad who from what you say, sounded like he was a man who loved to have fun
Best wishes to you and the family

Steve Asked:
Please reply. Hey John! Greetings from Pennsylvania! My son and I are platinum cruisers and are booked on the Carnival Liberty on August 15. We have “convinced” two dear friends to accompany us. They are first time cruisers and I believe we will have them addicted to Carnival by the time they set eyes on the magnificent beauty of Half Moon Cay!
Wanted to comment on the recent upgrades to the web site. Really do enjoy the look, the ease of navigation and the numerous choices you can opt to do online. Not waiting in shore tour lines is OK with me when I can book with a click!
One feature I thought would be interesting is a part of the web site dedicated to the Captain’s of Carnival ships. I have always been impressed with the caliber of masters Carnival has on their ships. We meet them at the Captain’s party, we hear them during the daily noon briefing, we see them out and about but we know little about them. It would be interesting to know which master is assigned to which ship, their backgrounds, history with Carnival, personal likes and dislikes…you get the picture. Has this ever been discussed as a viable idea? I think many would agree that they would be interested in checking out such a feature.
Best wishes to you and your family and thank you for your time.

John Says:
Hello Steve
First of al let me thank you for introducing some cruise virgins to the world of Carnival. I am sure that before long they will be Platinum cruisers like yourself. Half Moon Cay is a terrific slice of paradise and I can’t wait to go back there again.
Now, as for the captains…..well…..they are still the most important people on the ships. Yes we may have all the innovations and iconic entertainment and dining options but these are all still on a ship. And that means we need to have someone in total command and that is the captain. Their world is very different and I promise you and all the bloggers that in the very near future we will be taking a closer and more frequent view from the bridge………….so look out for that in the days ahead.
I am not sure how long you have been reading the blog thingy but I wanted to give you a couple of link thingies to keep you going. These are from blogs past that included some fantastic interviews with our ship captains. The first two are Carnival captains and the last one features a brilliant interview with the senior captain (or commodore) of the Princess fleet………… they are.

Hope you enjoyed those and I suggest you kindly keep reading the blog over the next few weeks…….I think you may like what you see. Finally I am sure Stephanie will be passing on your words of congratulation regarding………I join you and many others in saying what a brilliant job they have done with the new design.
Best Wishes to you and the family

Ray Czenszak Asked:
(Please Respond)
Hi John
When Jeanne and I where on Carnival Splendor in August the karaoke host Melvin picked me to be Garth Brooks in the Carnival Legends show and was honored that he thought I was good enough, but because he could not get some of the other singers for the show, the Legends show was cancel. Melvin did a Fantastic job that cruise everyone that sang Karaoke had a great time though out the cruise.
I love to sing and Carnival makes it truly fun for all to do things like Karaoke or whatever fun thing they like.
Over the years I have seen many talented Guest perform on Carnival ships.
Recently you posted some videos of some very good performances
I also sent you Susan Boyle’s video from the Facebook thingy and was simply blown away by her performance it brought a tear to my eye.
Miss Boyle should sing that song at the Inaugural ceremony of Carnival Dream.
Can you suggest it? I hope Susan’s Dream to be a singer comes true she is a hidden talent and her time has come to shine bright.
Wishing you and Heidi all the best with the up coming arrival of the thingy.
Ray and Jeanne

John Says:
Hello Ray and Jeanne
Oh, I am sorry the ship never got to hear your rendition of “Friends in Low Places.” It is strange. Sometimes we have a huge turnout for the Legends auditions but sometimes as you experienced we get bugger all. Thanks for mentioning Melvin who is one of our very best karaoke hosts. I shall be sure to pass on your comments.
I will indeed continue to make sure that the Susan is considered to perform at the Carnival Dream’s inaugural celebrations. I think the latest count is two million that have watched her video and I am sure she has wonderful things ahead of her which maybe will include a Dream performance. Did seeing Susan’s performance have the same response with you Ray?
To me, watching without any idea of what was coming; it was at first rather puzzling: an odd, dumpy, middle-aged woman, wearing an old-fashioned frock and unfashionably cut grey curls, is being interviewed, casually, in a busy TV studio by two patronizing young media men. It quickly emerges that her name is Susan Boyle; she is nearly 48, unemployed and just about to sing on a huge stage in the Britain’s Got Talent show. There is something quaint about her manner, or, as people used to say, a bit simple, and something vulnerable too, as she keeps hitting slightly the wrong conversational note.
She reveals that she lives alone with her cat Pebbles and has never been married nor ever been kissed, with a strange, self-deprecating smile that I recognized in retrospect: it’s the secret smile of someone who has often been laughed at. But she is full of a surprising confidence. “I’m going to make that audience rock,” says this most unlikely person. Anyone of any sympathy would at this point have felt sorry for her – sorry for her misguided confidence. But then she sang!……..Oh how she sang. She, in fairy-story terms, is the ugly old lady, despised by all, who turns out to be a beloved and powerful princess; the spell that sets her free and makes her great is her voice yet it is also the fact that she is just……..well…………just like you and me. Yep…………….to hear her sing on the Carnival Dream would simply magical.
Thanks for your thoughts and if you would like to record yourself on a video singing in the shower I would be happy to post here on the blog thingy.
Thanks to you both for all your kind support

Sallie Asked:
Please reply.
First please let me say hi to you, Heidi and the soon to be here Lil’ Thingy. I can read your excitement with every work you write. I am so happy for you and Heidi.
Now for my question. I am planning on being at the Port of Baltimore the morning the Pride arrives. On one of our past cruises, we made a great friend of one of Carnivals terrific employees, Margarita del Prado, and as luck would have it she was transferred as the Casino Host to the Pride. We are so excited to have the Pride coming here and now even more since Margarita will be on board.
As I said, I am planning on being as close to the pier as possible with a huge banner welcoming the Pride and Margarita to our town. My question is though, do you think Margarita will be able to come ashore even for a few hours so that we maybe can take her to lunch? I know you are not part of the Pride crew but I was hoping you might know the protocol for such things.
Thanks in advance for responding and again, congratulations to you and Heidi. I know you will make wonderful parents.

John Says:
Hello Sallie
Thanks for the kind words and amongst the nerves there is of course tremendous excitement and the pending arrival of our Thingy. It seems you and many of Baltimoreans will be out to welcome your Carnival Pride. I am sure also that we can arrange for Margarita to come and say hello. Now, you may need to be patient because the crew only come ashore once debarkation is over and the authorities have given permission. I am going to send this to the casino manager on the Carnival Pride and I will pass on your e-mail address as well for Margarita to make plans with you.
Enjoy the great day and I wish I could be there with you

Ron Asked:
John please reply. Thanks for the answer about fruit punch. Are they now going to ban everything that stains? Cola particularly can stain things, as I can prove from the carpets around the building where I work.
The burrito bar looks great. I’ll try it on my next cruise on the Splendor. Does this new found enthusiasm for Mexican food mean that the chefs will finally figure out that tortilla chips should be made from corn, not flour tortillas?
I would love to go to Cuba. The island has looked so tempting every time I’ve sailed by. Let’s hope they finally realize all the embargo has done is hurt the Cuban people, not the Cuban government.
Off to see if I can book a four-day on the Paradise.

John Says:
Hello Ron
Its funny you should write about the carpet stains because as I was typing the answer I thought exactly the same thing. However, upon further inquiries it seems that cola, beer and other beverages are easy to clean compared to the fruit punch we were using ………… we are looking for a replacement product though.
The tortilla chips were made from corn when I had my Burrito recently on the Carnival Splendor so excuse my ignorance when I ask………have we not been making our chips correctly onboard. Please let me know. Thanks also for your thoughts on Cuba and let’s see what the future holds. Hope you managed to book the Carnival Paradise.

Heather Albright Asked:
Hi John! (Please reply)
I am new to your blog and have been keeping myself busy ALL day reading up! My fiancé and I are booked our honeymoon on the June 6, 2009 sailing of Carnival Pride out of Baltimore. This will be my third cruise, second overall with Carnival. I was wondering what is the procedure for being selected for the Newlywed game on board. I think this would be so much fun. My fiancé is a social ham, lol, and would be sure to get laughs.
Best wishes on your upcoming addition. I have an 8 month old and a 5 year old and they are the loves of my life!!
Heather Albright

John Says:
Hello Heather
How wonderful that you are going to celebrate the start of your married lives on the Carnival Pride. Please would you send me your surname and cabin number a few days before you sail and I will speak to the cruise director who will then be in contact to see if we can get you to play the game. Thanks for the kind words and I look forward to hearing from you just before your Honeymoon cruise…….oh and welcome to the blog.

Paula Asked:
Hi John (please reply) (and forward to Cyrus Marfatia),
Thanks so much for the great info. today. Regarding the fruit punch, there are bulk distributors that now sell “invisible” non-carbonated drinks, following the lead of Kool-Aid, to prevent staining (furniture, carpet and teeth lol).
Also, would you be so kind as to post the cruise winner of Carnival Sunday Fun Day when they choose the winner tomorrow?

John Says:
Hello Paula
Thanks for the fruit punch information. It seems that we must do our best to find a replacement product as it really was so popular. I will find out the winner of the Carnival Sunday Funday and get back to you soon.
Best wishes Paula

That’s all for now and as always please keep the comments coming. I have now collated (OK, Stephanie has now collated) all the smoking comments together and we are presenting them to the people at the top. I want to thank you all so very much for your honest and frank views and in the days ahead we shall see what happens. The blog thingy remains a very important tool for you all to tell us what you think about your cruise line whether it’s the good, the bad or the ugly…………we want to know.

Now, someone had asked to see photos of the penthouse on the Carnival Sensation that is available for you to live the highlife in ………so…………..a bit later than I had promise for which I apologize……… are said photos







Yep, life styles of the rich and tanned available to you on the Carnival Sensation.

I hope you didn’t mind the quick video update on Saturday. It was cheating really as I really needed a weekend off from blogging. I feel guilty now as I promised you six blogs a week but hope you were not too disappointed in the video replacement.

OK, this having a baby thing is getting ridiculous. Heidi has now ordered me to make a “Birthing Tape” for her so that as she pushes and tells the entire hospital what a total bastard I am she can do so to the sounds of Robbie Williams, George Michael and Michael Buble.

So armed with my new set of orders I am today putting this Thingy’s Greatest Hits album together. However……there is a problem……..I can’t find Robbie Williams Sings When You Are Winning Big Band Album and so that meant a visit to the Virgin store. It is after a visit to the shop that I predict 2009 is going to be the year the compact disc or CD as we all love to call it…….. finally dies. It will be the year lots of other things die as well — polar bears and peoples trust in AIG — but CDs will be the big one.

How are we to feel about this? If you ask me, absolutely delighted, because CDs have always been, well, a bit rubbish. First, the big claim that they were indestructible was a lie. I remember the first CD I ever bought the same way I remember discovering that Sally Pool had let Julian Fennel touch her magnificent breasts just a few minutes after I had been told to bugger off when I requested a quick feel..

Back to the CD……..It was a Saturday morning in 1988, a few years after CDs had been invented but about the time any normal, non-Japanese or billionaire person could afford a machine to play them on. I was in a shop called HMV trying to choose which of the five CDs. The best option was Queen’s Night At The Opera, mainly because the other four were Billy sodding Joel. I can’t remember how much it cost back then but I do remember coming back from my first contract as a bar waiter on the Holiday and feeling like a millionaire because I had earned $400 in tips during my six months on board.

I got the CD home at top speed, pulled it out of the case and, in an effort not to put fingerprints on its magical, glittery surface, I dropped it. Ricocheting off my Mum’s 1980s Formica kitchen floor, it smashed into a thousand magical, glittery pieces. Or, if I’m being honest, two, which was enough to shatter my hopes and dreams for a new musical format.

Consider, if you will, what we have lost because of the CD. First, it pretty much killed off vinyl, which I’m neither beardy nor long-haired enough to really care about. But it also murdered tape. What is childhood without tape? No wonder your modern teenager spends all day wearing his pants low enough to show us their rusty sheriff’s badge and binge drinking. It’s because he’s not at home struggling to record pop songs off the chart show when Dick Clark wasn’t speaking……..yep…..old Dick is even famous here in the UK.

And how are boys supposed to express their unrequited love for girls without the compilation tape (complete with handwritten inlay card)? I did one for Sally Poole featuring the world’s greatest ever long song ……..Just Between Me And You by April Wine……..she probably played it while that bastard Julian was touching her melons.

You know even onboard things have changed so much when it comes to music and entertainment. The DJ’s who used to mix one vinyl record to another now mix using computers and even our karaoke systems seem to be going digital. I am not sure which system karaoke lovers like Linda Mum of DJ and Queen of Karaoke prefer but changes are coming. Even the movies………you know the ones we play in the cabins that used to come on VHS video and then DVD……..well those are digital now as well. How long before we get digital cruise directors?

Things are going to get worse before they get better. The death of the CD has not been brought about by a nostalgic return to cassette tapes and records. No, the thing that killed the CD is the EyePod. And the EyePod is worse than the CD. Yes, it’s very nicely designed and pocket-sized. But clicking down a list of virtual albums is not the same as rummaging through an actual shelf of albums.

And why is it that the moment I set fire to my irritatingly scratchy CD collection, I know that the EyePod will break? Or the computer will have a fatal error? And I’ll lose my virtual music collection because, well, it was virtual. And I didn’t back it up.

We will be stuck with digital music until someone clever invents a wooden box with a trumpet-shaped speaker sticking out the top that can’t play rap or anything spawned by Simon Cowell but does a nice, scratchy Coltrane………and we will all be happy again.

Oh yes……one more thing it was while I was shopping today that I realized just how much my life has changed………..These days I notice babies everywhere. In the street, in restaurants and on TV. I also look at the paraphernalia that comes with them, the outfits and the different shape and size of the strollers. Is it a pretty baby or does it looks like Judge Judy in a diaper.

Has my life changed………well let me say this………..I know realize that I have a keener eye for babies than I do women’s bottoms…………………my life is over……….bugger!

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.