I Don't Feel Like Dancing

April 27, 2009 -

John Heald

Weekends used to be so much fun but these days they are just one big blur of reality TV while every grunt and groan from Heidi has me leaping out of the chair thinking that the Thingy is ready to enter the world. Last night we were speaking about what life would be like after the Thingy is born and Heidi told me we must find time for each other and I knew exactly where this was going and I was right…………..dance lessons. For a few years now Heidi has wanted us to learn how to dance and in the past a retort of ” bugger off ” would have been suffice to stop any thoughts of having dance lessons taught by some chap called Guido Santrini whose real name is actually Bill Smith. Nope…………..these days us men are expected to dance.

No longer can we lurk on the gloomy sidelines of dance floors and mumble “Yeah, in a minute” to our wives and partners. There’s no choice, men, but to face the music and dance. It’s the popularity of shows such as Strictly Come Dancing With The Stars that is to blame for this latest erosion of masculinity.

So cheers, Lawrence Taylor and Ty Thingy, for making it socially acceptable for men to be good dancers. Now you can drop in on any number of bars and clubs on a Wednesday night and witness thousands of men press-ganged into salsa lessons with terrified expressions on their faces.

So last night as I said Heidi said: “We should get some lessons.” I mumbled “Yeah, maybe” in her general direction but inwardly I had to resist the temptation to jump up, throw myself through the window and saw my legs off..

Why has it suddenly become acceptable for men to take up dancing as a hobby? Dancing when you’re sober is a bit like borrowing a friend’s shorts to go swimming. It’s legal but you feel ashamed every time you do it.

There are three exceptions to this rule: Michael Jackson, John Travolta and Patrick Swayze. Those are the only three men on the planet to look good on a dance floor. Anyone else is a no no. No man should be proud of being able to tell the difference between a foxtrot and a tango.

My fear of the dance floor stems directly from my youthful experiences at the school disco.

I’m sure in other cultures young teens spend their disco years grinding up against each other to soulful ballads, but in my experience all you used to do was skid on your knees across the polished gym floor, push the nerds into the girls and pogo around like an idiot to Adam and the Ants.

When Phyllis Nelson’s Move Closer came on and you got lucky and found a girl to dance with, her mere physical presence in your zip code brought instant arousal. I think that’s why men are so rubbish at dancing. Trying to dance while hiding a pubescent thingy in your trousers can be a very traumatic sensation.

Maybe the answer is that us guys need something like Fight Club only with dancing. In seedy warehouses and basements across the countrymen could writhe against each other to Led Zepp or Moterhead and learn the basic moves away from the critical gaze of the opposite sex.

My friend and Princess Cruise Director James Lay is a professional ballroom instructor and conducts classes for passengers onboard. I on the other hand tell jokes about toilets and the French. …………………………bugger.

Anyway, there is more chance of finding me buying a Citroen or a Peugeot and naming the Thingy Jean Paul than having dancing lessons and I’m not saying don’t make any more shows based on dancing, but at least stick with professional dancers……………………………………………………. so us ordinary blokes don’t have to feel bloody inadequate. Reality TV has really hurt us men. I feel like Michael Caine in Zulu, but instead of thousands of spear waving warriors surrounding me it’s crappy reality TV shows each one designed to strip a little more of my man hood away.

If the producers want a really great reality TV show then just set the cameras up in the Dance Clubs on the ships and watch as Dad does his Michael Jackson groin grab…………..now that’s reality.

Time for today’s questions……………here we go.

Frank and Bridie Asked:

John Please reply.Awesome photos john. May I ask as to when we cam see you try out the new water park on the dream?? Wow we are exicited about our cruise on it. We are also excited for you and the thingy and can’t wait to hear of (his her) arrival. So can we expect a big naming ceremony as when carnival names/taked control of a new ship?
As Allways Big fans,
Frank and Bridie

John Says:

Hello Frank and Bridie
You know, if I can keep this diet thing up maybe………just maybe I will fit down the water tube. The photos were fantastic and of course I will be visiting the ship in a few weeks time so you can expect many more photos. The diet is going well and I was proud that as I watched two soccer matches on the TV plus the Miami Heat slaughter the Sparrows of Atlanta the only snack I ate was some celery and a few pieces of low fat cheese. So yes, maybe soon you will see me go down the Carnival Dream’s water tube twister and if I get stuck in the middle you may need to come down after me and give me a shove.
Best to you both and many thanks for the very thoughtful words

sdhilton Asked:

Not sure how to do this… but I asked about a ship on a stick a few weeks ago and you mentioned to remind you a week before we leave. It’s just over a week… boy am I getting excited… and I am reminding you.
Carnival Splendor, May 3rd, cabin #— under Douglas & Stefani .
This last week we moved, and then this weekend I am off to a small town in British Columbia called Cranbrook for a wedding and then next Friday we leave for Seattle to start our vacation. Can’t wait to see the Splendor. I got a spa room so that I could enjoy all the ammenities. As a travel agent, I have to try out all these things to let my clients know it’s worth it
So I will try to keep up on the blog during the cruise to see if the Thingy has been born. I hope all goes well and you will have lots more stories to tell. Thanks for the great blog… it’s always a good laugh.

John Says:

Hello Stefani
It seems that you are very excited about your Carnival Splendor cruise and you have every right to be. As a Travel Agent I am sure you will, after you experience all the ship has to offer, want to send many of your clients to experience the fun for themselves. Try the Pinnacle Steak House/Supper Club and do not miss any of the shows. Adele one of the Entertainment Staff will make sure your trophy is delivered. Have a brilliant time and let us know all about it when you get home.
Bon Voyage

Mount Sinai Cruiser

The photos of the Dream are phenomenal. Question, I have always enjoyed the hypnotist shows, which appear to be no longer part of the entertain on board. Am I correct & if so, why have the hypnotist shows been dropped?

John Says:

Hello Gary
You are feeling sleepy……………………you are feeling sleepy…………………….and when I say the words ” blog thingy ” you will be in a deep sleep…………………………..” blog thingy.”
Gary……………you are a supermodel and when I say the word ” bugger ” you will walk up and down your living room as though it were a catwalk and then you will walk outside into the neighbours front yard, take off all your clothes and knock on the door and ask for a cup of sugar.
Sorry, got carried away there. Hypnotists are very clever entertainers and you either love them or ………..well………..you don’t. We still have some working each and every week around the fleet and they are mostly very popular. However, finding the ones who are both able to hypnotize people and be entertaining at the same time is quite difficult. I am sure many of the bloggers have seen them perform onboard and it would be interesting to see what they thought of this kind of show. I hope you get to see one on your next Carnival cruise……………………now………………..go get that sugar

Mark in Houston

John Please Reply,
First to answer your questions, I definitely take into consideration the ports when choosing a cruise, but the fact of the matter is that I consider the ship first. I find a ship (or class of ship) I’d like to sail, then figure out where they go, and select from there based on ports, price, and timing.
Second, thanks for the pics of dream – she’s looking pretty fantastic.
Now, my question. With Dream starting to really come together, I wonder what exactly is the date when her sister ship, Magic, is supposed to debut?
Moreover, as most / all CCL ships tend to do a European tour before their debut stateside, when can we expect to see Magic on this side of the pond?
Finally – and this is really why I chose to reply for the first time (though I’m an avid reader)… When will we learn what Magic’s home port will be? Inquiring minds want to know… And a lot of people in Galveston / Houston / Texas and the middle of the country and West coast have our fingers crossed…
So I guess that wasn’t really final(ly), but related to my last comment… Why aren’t the later 2010 sailing dates from Galveston going to be posted until July 2009, when they’ve already been released for most other ports / ships?

John Says:

Hello Mark
I see we have another fan of the Carnival Dream photos and her sister ship, hull number 6167 The Carnival Magic will be here in 2011. Exactly when I can’t say just yet but I am sure soon we will start to get more details. I for one would hope that the Carnival Magic will see Europe and I if so I will certainly request to be the Cruise Director. Well, as to your last question it is also a little early to start speculating on her homeport. I will tell you that everyone at Carnival realises how important Galveston is as a home port and how successful our ships are that sail from there. Lets see what the future holds and I will promise to keep you informed and let me investigate just why the details for later months in 2010 have yet to be announced
My best to you and the family

Barbara Butler

John, Please answer
Those pictures of the Dream has set me to dreaming… We will be on this ship in October and the waiting can be alful. I’m glad that have ThePride in May to buffer those feelings till October. David, Valentine, and I will be doing the Med first and then staying on for the ride home. I can’t wait. A whole month of cruising! A dream come true. And to think it all started with a 4 day cruise aboard the first ship the Carnivale. Now we are platinum members and so looking forward to this particular cruise. David has worked so hard this year and he really needs a month off and where better to be than on Carnival’s Dream!
John, thank you for always being there to help with all our special needs that come up when traveling with a service dog. I’ve only got to meet you 1 or 2 times but when I read the blog with all of your stories and such you seem much more like a nice uncle or brother. I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.
Tell Heidi hello and I hope to hear that she has dropped that tummy real soon and also pass on much love for that little thingy. (you just got to get a name) LOL
Smooth sailings,
Barbara Butler

John Says:

Hello Barbara
You are more than welcome and the fact that you say I sound like a nice uncle or brother makes me feel very special indeed. We have passed all your information to the ship and they are now prepared and ready to help. If you can think of anything that would make your cruise more enjoyable I remain here at your service.
I hope we get to meet again soon and my best to you all

Jeri Green

John, Please continue to update us regarding your diet as we all care for you and want to hear about your weight loss.
I agree with Janice that new ports would be great as we like to get off and visit where the ship docks but after twenty two cruises we’ve been to most of the ports more than once or twice. We sail out of Tampa frequently so have been to all the ports visited from there several times. Next Thursday we’re going on the Inspiration (for the 4th time) just to get away for a weekend and will just be in Cozamel. Nice place but we hope to find something new to do.
Please reply: I do have a somewhat silly question. When reading about people getting upgraded (that has not happened to us) I wondered if one just goes to the purser (guest desk person?) and asks if an upgrade is available. Is this considered tacky? An upgrade would always be nice but I hate to seem pushy. Jeri

John Says:

Hello Jeri
You are correct. Many frequent cruisers like yourself are always looking for new and exciting places to visit. Certainly in the Caribbean this is not always easy but I wonder……..have you been to Grand Turk or Half Moon Cay? There are so many factors in deciding where a ship goes to. It is very helpful if the ports have established a strong consumer appeal (high marquis value). In addition, ports must deliver a wide variety of interesting excursions and activities for our guests…and all within a safe and secure environment……………..oh yes……………….and they have to be fun. So new ports are not that easy to find.
Please don’t feel nervous Jeri about asking for an upgrade. However, I would ask at embarkation first when you check in. Now, they may tell you to ask at the Guest Relations desk but either way ask away. Lovely people like yourself who have cruised so many times deserve to receive one and I truly hope your turn comes soon. So, ask and maybe,………………I hope………….you will receive.
Have a wonderful time on the Carnival Inspiration

Ricky Asked:

Please Reply
Mr Heald,
It was great to see that you are a TABASCO fan. That stuff can really liven up some pretty lame diet foods. I know because I am in my 13th year working for TABASCO; first as purchasing manager and now as logistics manager. Please give our other flavors a try (Chipotle, Jalapeno, Habanero and Garlic) and I know they can help you reach your weight goal. Let me know if you can’t find those in your local market and I will see that you get some.
By the way, my family and I will be cruising on the Fantasy June 13th. This will be the 3rd cruise for my wife and I (all on Carnival) and first for my boys (11 and 13). Good luck with your first thingy. Being a good father is a noble task

John Says:
Hello Ricky
I am kneeling before you as I write this reply because my diet has been made so much easier by the small red bottle which sits errantly on the dining table here at home. As a thank you pleased remind me before you sail so I can send you a little gift. I hope to be a good Dad and I hope to be a slimmer one as well.
Thanks to you and all the people at Tobassco and I hope you and your family have a wonderful cruise

That’s all for now and there will be of course more questions answered tomorrow. May I also take the opportunity to thank all of you for writing about if you personally book a cruise based on the ports or the ship. I found your replies fascinating and I also know the top guns at Carnival did as well. They will also have found your thoughts about the CD’s fascinating and it was great to read what you looked for in a brilliant CD. I hope that when you do sail you will send me a review of your Cruise Director. I think we have a truly wonderful bunch and your honest opinions will make sure that continues. Finally in this portion I would like to say thank you to those who wrote personally to our single cruiser Jean. I know she will have found your words of support so heartening and again the community feeling here in this blog is truly astonishing. I ask that community to also think of one of our long serving bloggers Laura AKA Divetrash who was involved in a serious car accident yesterday. I can’t say too much about her condition but I can say that as she has the first of what will probably be many surgeries to ask you as you did for Malcolm and Chris please keep Laura in your thoughts……………thanks.

Well from what I hear the Baltimore event was a HUGE success and I know I will be reading reports from those who were there soon. Stephanie Meads was there and she just now sent me this photo.


This was taken at 5:30pm and you can see how popular it was. I also know that Vance is there now so we can expect some more photos and information from him on Tuesday. I just read the posting from Sallie (thanks Sallie) and it seems that she and many other people experienced the Carnival brand of fun there in beautiful Baltimore and congratulations to all those involved in making it a success.

A little bit later than planned here is the next guest blog from Claire the Dance Captain of the Carnival Splendor who has two wonderful anniversaries to celebrate.

Fun Times & Quick Changes!

So hi again! This cruise has been fantastic! Firstly at the beginning of the cruise I found out I am now an Aunty for the first time, my brothers wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Sebastian who I am very excited to meet in 7 weeks.

Secondly, yesterday we had a day out for the entertainment team; we went to Las Caletas in Puerto Vallarta. It is such a beautiful place with a gorgeous beach. There are plenty of activities if you like to snorkel, kayak or go on nature trails, and plenty of hammocks if all you want to do is relax. Las Caletas is owned by a tour company called Vallarta Adventures who made this happen for us along with Goose (CD) and my lovely husband Paul (Shore ex mgr). We went over with the guests for the daytime tour and then we stayed there, we had about 2 hours to ourselves on the beach and then we joined the evening tour including dinner and a show called ‘Rhythms Of The Night’ which was great. Days like this are needed for teams to relax and let their hair down. We had such an awesome day and we all feel re-fueled and ready to take on the last 7 weeks of our contract. Goose wanted to make this happen, this cruise as he is leaving at the end of the cruise for vacation and many of us will have left when he returns on June 21st.

On Sunday we will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary together. We started rehearsals for the Splendor April 26th 2008. Nicola is organizing a gathering for the cast. We are going to have a game show with questions relating to the cast and the contract here on the Splendor, to find out how much we actually know about each other, and how much we remember about the contract. So tonight I have to come up with 20 questions either about me that the cast might know, or shenanigans regarding the contract. I suspect this to be a very fun, enlightening event!

I think it’s time for an interactive blog moment!

Every time we do a backstage tour or a question and answer session with the guests I always get asked how do you change your costumes so fast, so I have a plan to make you understand what it’s like……………Get some music that you like to dance to (probably the song you sing in the shower……..We all do it!), now get dressed in an outfit that you would wear out to a nice dinner with friends, make sure you put your jewelry on and any other bits and bobs you might wear……….OK now on a chair or flat surface put your pajamas, the top should go down first then the pants (this is called pre-setting), now you’re ready……….Put on that fabulous piece of music and dance to it for about a 2 minutes (don’t hurt yourself make sure you have space!) once you have danced for 2 minutes there should be about 2 minutes left of the song, presuming it’s not a song from a musical! OK now what you have to do is get out of your evening wear and in to your PJ’s before the song finishes, don’t forget to change your shoes in to your slippers, and take the jewelry off, remember, don’t just throw your things, you only have a square meter of space to change in, and you don’t want to crease your clothes! Fantastic……..Now you have more of an idea of what we have to do to get changed quickly. Let me know how you get on……….

It’s funny, when us girls get ready to go out for dinner or to go to promenade to listen to the fabulous bands on board we take at least an hour to put on something that in the show would take us 30 seconds!

OK I am off to think of my 20 questions, I’ll let you know how it goes!!

Love ‘n’ quick changes
Claire X


My Brother Phil and baby Sebastian.

The bunch at Las Caletas in Puerto Vallarta

Congratulations on being an Aunty and my goodness……………….was it really a year ago that you all began to prepare the shows for the then brand new Carnival Splendor? I miss that ship very much. And so I have now confirmed that I will join the Carnival Freedom on June 20th and stay there as Cruise Director until August 28th. Then wee Jimmy will come and the Carnival Freedom will have the small Scottish git as its permanent CD. I am so very much looking forward to doing this. Now, I don’t and won’t go into the how much I will miss Heidi and the Thingy stuff…………..that’s weeks away…………..but I will say that I still love being a CD and hopefully next year I will get much more chance to tread the boards again.

Let’s just say a little something about swine flu which I am sure is on your mind. Here is the Carnival official statement.


Miami – (April 27, 2009) The swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza viruses. It is observed regularly in pigs and is uncommon in humans, although human infection can occur in rare instances.

Fortunately, there currently is no evidence of a swine flu pandemic and there have been no reports of guests exhibiting symptoms of swine flu on Carnival’s ships.

Carnival enforces the highest of standards for cleaning and sanitation on all of our ships to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We are monitoring the situation in Mexico and maintain regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control. We do not anticipate that our guests’ cruise experience will be impacted by this type of illness and will not be making any adjustments to our itineraries.

For further information on swine flu, visit the CDC’s web site at www.cdc.gov .

I will keep you informed of course and let’s hope that this problem is quickly eradicated

Anyway, if any of you are not doing anything this summer, come and sail with me on the Carnival Freedom and lets have some fun together.

By the time you have read this we will have had a very important conference call about the next two bloggers cruises and I shall of course report on this later in the week.

Tomorrow though you can all look forward to a guest blog from my mate and yours Chris ” Bubba ” Roberts who is currently serving onboard the Carnival Spirit in Hawaii. That’s something you definitely will not want to miss.

Now……………..lets talk about something a little off topic. A mate of mine who is a Brit and who is now living in Los Angeles, sent me an e mail over the weekend saying that finally his ” Green Card ” had arrived and amongst the benefits of his new found freedom as a member of America he also wrote and I quote ” I can go out and buy a high-powered semi-automatic assault weapon.”

This got me thinking, if Heidi and I were to live in the land of the free would I buy a gun. Of course they are illegal here in the UK and maybe that’s why my friend who now lives and works in America has decided to get one………………..but would I?

After a few minutes of deep thought I decided it’s probably best if I don’t go out and buy a high-powered semi-automatic assault weapon, or any other kind of gun for that matter.

Knowing me, I would almost certainly shoot myself in the bollocks while loading it.

Or someone would break into our house and I would scramble for the gun. But hesitate before pulling the trigger and then the intruder, being more experienced in such matters, would grab it off me. And by that time he’d be angry. Or I’d kill the intruder and then a blood spatter expert from CSI would declare at my trial that I’d shot him as he was turned away from me and I’d spend the rest of my life on Death Row.

The truth is that, when you get down to the boring, un-Rambo-ish details, it’s hard to envisage a scenario in which the benefits of owning a gun for the sake of self-defense outnumber the pitfalls. Take the issue of storage. Most gun owners I know keep their firearms and clips locked up in separate places, for safety. But you can’t very well say to the bloke in the ski mask who has just burst into your bedroom wielding an industrial meat cleaver: “Oh hang on a minute, old chap, while I remember the key-code to my gun box – and if you can just bear with me for a few moments longer, I need to go down to the garage to fetch my bullets.”

I mention all this because I see today in the news there has been another terrible shooting this time by a trusted college professor and I am sure there will be yet another debate over Americans’ (and, by extension, Green Card holders’) right to bear arms.

Some argue that such things would never happen if guns were banned; others say that such things would never happen if everyone from grannies to toddlers were packing heat. I don’t know what the answer is and it will need much smarter people than me to debate this one but it says a lot if a guy from the UK gets his green card and before buying himself a Cadillac and some apple pie celebrates his new citizenship by buying a Glock.

Security is certainly on the minds of the shipping and cruise industries as those bastard Somali pirates continue to cause havoc. I see from the news that they captured a German cargo ship and that an MSC cruise ship the Melody narrowly escaped being boarded. I see that there are discussions on the boards about this as well as here on the blog about what precautions are being taken. Well obviously I can’t comment too much but I do know that the entire industry is listening to the advice of the various Governments and Agencies and I do know that Carnival Corporation will do whatever is needed to keep the ship and her guests and crew safe.

It’s strange when I think back to when I started at Carnival. Do you know we had no specific security department onboard. If an incident happened then the person who would need to deal with it would be the Italian officer on duty. He would come down from the bridge (leaving someone else on the bridge of course) and deal with the matter. Back then of course the only real security concern was someone who had drunk one too many beers. Usually it was the Bosons (the sailors) who would have to escort the happy passenger back to his or her cabin as the Italian officer on duty didn’t want to get too close in case the drunk vomited over their Paul Shark sweater which being Italian they would wear draped over their shoulders…………….because it’s the law.

In the mid 1990’s (I think) we started getting security guards onboard mostly ex army from India or the Philippines. Even then, their job was not too stressful as they dealt with Johnny Budweiser and the odd domestic squabble. And then came 9/11 and their job changed. Now of course you will see these security staff on the gangways and now their job is much, much more serious. They now have to patiently check ID’s to make sure no naughty people can get onboard but also they need to check items brought from onshore. Then once the ship sails they walk the vessel 24 hours a day. Yes, they did this pre 9/11 but then they were mostly looking for any guests who may be a little too rambunctious or a crew member who wasn’t dressed properly. And while they still do this they are also searching for things far more serious as you can probably imagine.

So, I wonder if the next time you cruise you may spare these ladies and gentlemen a thought. I know they don’t make you laugh or entertain you at dinner or clean your cabin but they do provide a service……………..one that keeps us all protected and that is more important than anything.

Well the diet is going well and even though I don’t like to blow my own trumpet I will say that I am proud of myself. For the last 7 days I have eaten only wheat bread, vegetables, fish , fruit and chicken. My sugar levels have stabilized and are very good and of course I already feel like I am loosing weight. I shall start weighing myself today.

However, I do have to say that being on a diet makes me angry. It’s not the cabbage or the high fiber, or the fact that I cannot eat my beloved fried breakfast; it’s the injustice of it all. Why do I have to go on a diet at all? Why can’t I just be one of those people who eats what they like and stays as thin as a supermodels kneecap? My friend Tom from the Miami office who has to scoff like a trucker just to stop his size 30 waist jeans from sliding off his hips the bastard……………..now wonder we call him Hoover

And how about those people whom simply “forget to eat”? How can you forget to eat? Surely that would be like forgetting to breathe or forgetting the names of your children. I have never forgotten to eat which is why I have a Baboon’s arse and diabetes. But…………….I will prevail.

It’s nearly time to say goodnight and as always I wonder if I will be awoken by a rather damp feeling around my legs and Heidi telling me that her waters have broken. She is doing well but is getting more tired each day. This though is nothing new, especially in the morning. Let me explain. If a woman gets 30 hours sleep a day, she will still be tired in the morning. They also feel they have the monopoly on the right to feel the most tired. Even if a man has walked from Miami to Vancouver and back with no shoes on they will still be more tired than you. A man can never win the who is more tired fight with a woman………………never!

I get more and more nervous each and every day. I have read that the days leading up to the birth are more nerve racking for Dad than Mum and I certainly would agree. Heidi seems to be taking it all in her stride but I find myself getting sweaty and unable to concentrate. The only thing that seems to calm me down is to close my eyes……………….take long deep breaths ……………….and think of Cameron Diaz’s nipples……………………….ahhh……………………….that’s better.

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.