John's Log…Stardate May 5, 2009

May 5, 2009 -

John Heald

“How do you expect me to have a baby while you look like that?” said my beautiful wife Heidi.

“What do you mean?” I asked thinking she may be referring to the nine-year-old favourite pair of underpants that have more colorful markings on and in them then the hull of a NCL ship?

But in fact it wasn’t that she was embarrassed by vintage pair of Chateau de Skidmark ……… nope…………Heidi can’t possibly have a baby…………….because my hair is too long.


And so this morning…that was me………….off to have my hair cut.

Have you had your hair cut recently?………………..Bloody hell how it’s changed. For years I used to go to man called Giuseppe who owned a barber shop that smelled of old linoleum and who bombarded my head with a pair of scissors that I swear I later saw being used by the butcher next door to cut up meat.

He took five minutes and then charged my Dad £2 ($4) just so I could go to school the next day looking like someone had stuck a goldfish bowl around my head and cut around the edges. And everyone was happy. Especially Shane Ibrahim, who used my new hair as an excuse to shove my head down the school toilets.

Fast forward to the hair cutters of today and in the high-speed world of hair I’m afraid that simple scissors just aren’t good enough. Let alone any hair. The place I go to these days is, I understand, termed a “salon” and the level of gadgetry wielded by those inside is akin to something out of Star Trek

Have you seen the film Commando, with Arnold Schwarzenegger? Remember the bit when he spends 20 minutes clamping bits of military hardware to his arms and legs? Well, it’s like that. The man (at least he had man’s name) who cuts – sorry, “designs” – my hair has about his person at least three different sorts of clippers, some molten-hot hair straighteners, various serrated blades that would make a ninja do a double take, something that dispenses “tea tree oil” and a hairdryer that seems to have come from the bridge of the star ship Enterprise.

Even the chair I sit in is so complicated it looks like it was last occupied by William Shatner. You’d never get Captain Kirk in a place like this. He’d come out looking like Captain Jean Luc Picard and then, when he went back to the Enterprise, a Klingon would shove his head down a Federation toilet.

So today after Heidi instructed me to have my hair removed, my “personal grooming engineer” offered me a choice of coffee, tea, ginseng, ginseng tea, mineral water, mineral water with ginseng in it, a stylish Japanese lager or a nice glass of Chablis, which I didn’t know whether to drink or rub into my hair.

Oh and then there’s “product.” At the end I was asked if I wanted any “product” on my hair. What do you mean, “product”? I need more specifics.

Let’s face it, “product” could take in everything from crushed yak scrotum to Paris Hilton’s own brand of shampoo called “Easy,” none of which I needed because I’d already accidentally rubbed Chablis into my scalp.

There are still old-fashioned barbers out there, if you know where to look. I don’t know where to look, but my friend Alan does. He goes to a man called Paul Williams who specializes in one style called “scalping,” which he deftly performs by only using a pair of clippers. He also has a wide variety of pornographic magazines to read while you wait your turn……….allegedly.

While he goes about the business of making you look like an extra from Prison Break Alan pays him £4. My stylist Lawrence, with his futuristic technology, ginseng and “product,” charges £34.

Still, at least when Heidi is pushing something the size of a baby elephant through something the size of a Fruit Loop……..she can do so safe and content in the knowledge that my hair looks bloody marvellous.

Here are today’s questions.

Steve Asked:

I never really bought into this swine flu hysteria to the level the media hoped it would be. I applaud Carnival for changing the port calls erring on the side of caution and especially offering the option of cruising at a later date for booked passengers. As you know you can please almost nobody.

If the public’s prejudicial memory holds true I would expect great deals on Mexico cruises once they start again.

Sometimes it’s good to live in California.

John Says:

Hello Steve

I know that you didn’t ask for a reply but I wanted to start with your comment today. I happen to agree ……………and remember this is just my opinion and not necessarily the opinion of Carnival Cruise Lines …………that as you said the media have indeed gone a little overboard with the Swine Flu Thing. Over the years, we’ve been told by solemn-faced experts on CNNFOXBBCNBC that life as we know it is about to end. Strange to report, then, that we’ve managed to survive communism, particle accelerators, fascism, asteroids, the French, bird flu, global warming, terrorism, nuclear war, various tsunamis SARS and Fannie Mae. However, as you said Carnival absolutely did the right thing in listening to and acting on the advice of the various health agencies. In these sorts of situations we are always going to have some people who do not like the change of itineraries and that’s understandable but on the whole the response to the way we have handled this challenging situation has been met with much applause.

So thanks for writing and let’s hope we can get you on the Carnival Splendor sailing from your home state to those wonderful Mexican Rivera ports.

Best wishes

John

Christy Richardson Asked:

Dear John, PLEASE REPLY

After what I am sure you have seen is a great review of our family’s recent cruise on the Conquest, we are looking into booking another for the next year or so to go on the Bahamas itinerary possibly on the Dream. But, I have a few questions you may be able to answer.

1) Why are there no Galveston Cruises listed after April 2010? We would like to look into May or June, but can’t get any info for either of the Galveston ships. I have read rumors that they will be putting both ships into dry dock at that time for upgrades. Surely they wouldn’t do that to us.

2) I have also read rumors of another ship possibly coming back to Galveston. Is this just another rumor that has been made up or could Carnival really be adding another ship?

There are so many rumors out there. You never know what to believe. If you could clear this up, it would be great.

Thanks

Christy

John Says:

Hello Christy

I read the wonderful review from the Carnival Conquest and I have sent it on to the ship. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts down and I see you already want to plan your next cruise. It’s been a busy few days for everyone at Carnival and nobody has been busier than Terry Thornton, our senior vice president of marketing planning who is ultimately responsible for deciding where we send our ships. I have sent Terry an e-mail this morning requesting an answer to your question as you and many others are interested in what’s happening after April 2010 in Galveston. Terry is a wonderful chap and I know that as soon as he is able he will tell me the news so I can pass it on to you. Galveston is a very important home port for us and as soon as I know what’s happening I will tell you I promise.

Until then I send you my best regards and I will wait for an answer from terry

Best wishes

John

Tom & Jane Asked:

JOHN——PLEASE —–REPLY

john

see if you can get the big shots at Carnival…to rotate western caribbean….and eastern Caribbean

us in Tampa need a change real bad.

we got the Inspiration 4 & 5 trips

and the Legend 7 day trips all going to the same dam place….cozumel,belize,isla roaton,grand cayman….its BORING….over and over again same ports……… we would kill for…

San Jaun,,,St.Thomas,,,St. Maarten,

Half Moon Cay,,,,Grand Turk,,,,,,,,,PLEASE HELP US

Get us out of this rut.

Tom and Jane

we have sailed out of Tampa on Carnival 17 times and all 17 times we went to the same B O R I N G ports

We are ready for a C H A N G E

John Says:

Hello Tom and Jane

I guess I could copy and paste the information I just wrote where I mentioned how busy Carnival has been this past week finding new itineraries for the majority of the fleet. Hopefully things will settle down soon and we can concentrate on other more pleasant subjects such as your request. I will say that I understand totally that going to the same places may not be want you want however I will say that heading down to the Eastern Caribbean as far as St. Martin from Tampa would without doubt increase the cruise length by at least one day or more. However, maybe we could look at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and other western ports of call or indeed look at some longer cruises down to the Eastern Caribbean.

Tom and Jane, I know you are both huge supporters of Carnival Cruise Lines and I also can promise that I will forward your suggestions to those at Carnival who can help see if indeed we can change things around in Tampa. I will let you know as and when I have an answer

Best wishes and thanks again for your continuing support

John

Sean Asked:

Hi John (please reply)

I have been reading your blog for a few months now down here in Australia and enjoying every moment of it. I can’t agree more with you about your frustration at 80 people in a lobby attacking junior staff – ridiculous.

As a head of department, I was wondering if you could provide me with some of your expertise and assistance. I am trying to ascertain what gaps, if any, you observe in the performance of new crew who join your entertainment team. They might be new to cruising altogether or joined Carnival form another line. I do know that Carnival recruits the right people and inducts them appropriately, but it can still be difficult once on board for a new crew member to adapt to their role, life at sea, structure and the environment.

Are there any specific areas that you see impact on new crew? Are there any specific duties that new crew are initially deficient in? How long does it normally take for your new crew to feel comfortable with everything about life at sea?

I would also be interested to know if any of your bloggers who cruise regularly notice this. Can you pick a new crew member? What aspects stand out? How does it affect your cruise experience? Have you cruised with many Aussie crew?

Thanks John, I know you are a very busy person with dual roles and the impending arrival of the Thingy. But I would appreciate (if able to divulge) any assistance. I am writing a new training program, which will incorporate an on land component and a ‘learnaway’ (on board) component. Any information will help me develop appropriate and relevant content to help Aussie crew gain employment in the overseas market, adapt quickly to the role, enjoy the whole experience and contribute to the guest experience.

Good luck with the new adventure you are about to embark.

Kind Regards,

Sean

John Says:

Hello Sean

First of all welcome to the blog and I am especially grateful considering you have to read this standing on your head………sorry…….that’s an old Pomm Joke. I would be happy to help you out and let’s see what I can tell you straight away. You asked about the difficulties that a new crewmember may face during his or her first time onboard. That’s a really difficult question to answer as I guess some of the reply would have to be based on the specific job that the crewmember has been tasked to do. However, I will say that regardless of the role the crewmember has there are some common scenarios that come into play.

First we have the obvious one of missing family. This may not compute to those who live and work on land and after the days work return home to be with the ones they love. This is not possible on a cruise ship and if not handled correctly it can truly affect the attitude of the crew member and their ability to do the job they have been employed to do.

Then there is the close conditions each and every shipboard employee has to face. I am not talking about accommodations here but the fact that even a 100,000-ton ship can suddenly become very claustrophobic. You see……you live, work, play and become friends with the same group of people for months at a time. This can be difficult to adapt to.

I have worked with many brilliant Australian crew all of which have always given 100% in all they do and are often some of our most popular crewmembers. They are also free spirited and sometimes adapting to the ship’s rules can take time. These rules are mostly there for the safety of the crew and the passengers they serve and it does take time to get to grips with what you can and cannot do onboard.

Saying that……….working on a cruise ship is beyond rewarding and no where else will you find the sense of camaraderie and friendship as you do on our vessels. It’s hard work…….but its work that allows you to meet wonderful people and see astonishing places.

My best advice to the new crew in my department is always the same……..work hard, play hard, stay within the rules and if you ever need to talk……..come and see me. We then employee the “buddy” system where a new crew member is shadowed by an experience one and he or she will be the mentor for the new crew………..and that seems to work quite well.

I hope that helps you and if you need anything else please let me know.

Thanks for the kind words and I hope you continue to read the blog

Cheers

John

Wil-da-beast Asked:

HI John (please reply) you will be busy soon with the thingy gets here, so wanted to post my questions now. I only get on the computer at my daughter’s so I am behind on the news about Malcolm. What happened? We love the Woohoo guy. Also is it true that our friend, Ken, will be on the Dream. We are booked for the TA and it made it more exciting if we knew for sure if would be there to entertain us at dinner time. Then, if he is, how can we make sure we get seated in his dining room. Can’t believe it’s May already and thingy will be here soon. My birthday is in May. I was born on Mother’s Day and made my mother, a mother on that special day. Can’t wait for you to post the arrival. Take care and thanks for your time and all that you do for us cruisers…da Beast

John Says:

Hello Da Beast!

I am glad you had time to read the blog and thanks for asking about Malcolm the cruise director. He was seriously ill in hospital but thankfully he is now on the road to recovery and should leave hospital very soon.

Yes, Ken Byrne will indeed be the maitre d on the Carnival Dream and will be there for your trans-Atlantic voyage. Nearer the time please remind me and I will be happy to arrange your table request. Thanks so much for stopping by and hopefully I will have some good news about the Thingy soon.

Best wishes

John

Juan & Maria Santana Asked:

Sat., 5/2/09

Please Reply…..

Hi John! We just got off the Liberty a few hours ago & we have to tell you what a great time we had. Half Moon Cay is just as the bloggers reported… a marvellous paradise! Whoever thought the picnic idea deserves a big prize! Also Grand Turk… another wonderful paradise! St. Thomas & San Juan, as always, are great. For a 1-wk. cruise, this itinerary is surely a winner!

Now, you probably know this, but we want the bloggers to know it too… Steve Knisley, the Liberty Cruise Director is excellent… he does a superb job! Don’t get jealous, please! You are the very best, but Steve comes in 2nd place! We wrote him a note congratulating him & we told him that we were going to praise him on your blog too. We did the same on the comment cards we turned in before disembarking this morning. He is funny, helpful, eager to please & always present… not only during the show presentations, the port talks, etc., he is always visible, and the guests appreciate that. Today, as we were getting off the ship very early a.m., there he was, by the 3rd deck exit door, assisting on the disembarkation process…It didn’t matter that last night was Legends night, the show ended late & they had Legends Happy Hr. afterwards, he was there – early this morning -doing a great job. We have taken many cruises before & we can tell the difference. He deserves the recognition.

Another subject: About a week ago (right before leaving on the Liberty), we wrote you asking how we could obtain a list of the Past Guests’ Benefits. We don’t know if you received it or not. We e-mailed Carnival several days before we wrote you asking how to get the list. While we were in St. Thomas they replied by saying that we should contact one of Carnival Cruise Consultants at 1-800-227-6482, that now they are available 24/7. We will do so ASAP because we are on our way getting closer to the 10th cruise & we certainly would like to know the great benefits that Carnival offers its guests upon reaching the 10th cruise. We mention his to you because we assume that there are lots of bloggers that would like to know.

The Heald Baby must be arriving any minute now… how exciting are the future parents? Congrats again!

Many thanks.

The Santanas from Miami Beach

John Says:

Hello Mr and Mrs Santana

What a wonderful review and I am so happy that you took the time to write. Steve is a great guy and is many of our guests’ favorite cruise director despite the fact that he is Canadian 🙂 Seriously, he is a wonderful chap and I know the many Canadian readers we have will be very proud of him. I worked with him many years ago when he was a Disc Jockey with me on the Carnival Destiny ……..at least I think it was…….and he was so much fun to work with.

I wish that everyone could experience the wonders of Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. These two ports are two of my very favorites and I can totally understand why you loved them so much. Now, about the picnic. I have not experienced this……can I kindly ask you to describe what you did please for us all to enjoy.

I did indeed answer your last posting but if I remember it may have been just before your Carnival Liberty cruise. Anyway, here are the Platinum benefits you will soon be enjoying. Platinum cardholders are entitled to the following shipboard benefits and features:

* Petit fours and/or canapés delivered to cabin one evening

* Personalized stationery

* A special Carnival logo item

* Guaranteed dining times and supper club reservations

* Complimentary $20 entry fee into blackjack tournament

* Spa Carnival priority reservations and complimentary treatment upgrade

* Complimentary wash and fold laundry service

* Priority tender boarding

* Priority embarkation and debarkation

I will also tell you that these benefits are being closely studied at the moment by our marketing team to see where we can enhance our benefits to those customers who are regular cruisers with Carnival.

I hope you had a brilliant time and I hope we get to sail together very soon

Best wishes

John

Toni O’Bryan Asked:

John, (PLEASE RESPOND)

My husband and I are taking our 2 daughters on a cruise on the Inspiration on June 15, 2009. This is to celebrate their graduations from high school. My husband and I have both been on 2 cruises prior to this one, but we are concerned that they will not have much to do. They are 20 & 18. Could you give me some suggestions? Can they get into the clubs? I know that they can’t drink but dancing is that an option? Please let me know we really want this trip to be special for them. Hope Heidi is doing well and that thingy gets here safely.

Thanks Again,

Toni O’Bryan

Katy , Texas

John Says:

Hello Toni

Oh my goodness. If only I had been lucky enough to sail on a cruise at their age. I promise you one thing your lucky kids will not be is bored. There will be many young adults of the same age and although both are too old to attend Club O2, which is designed for 15 – 17 year olds, they will for sure meet new friends in the Dance Club, out on Lido in the sun and at all the shows and activities. Now, maybe you are concerned because they maybe a little shy. If that is the case let me know and I can arrange for one of the entertainment staff to have a chat with them on-board and help break the ice. Please make sure you also spend some family time together but I have a feeling that they will be of enjoying a world of carnival fun on their own.

I send my best wishes to you all and have a fantastic cruise together

John

Stephen Smith Asked:

Please Reply

John,

I just finished reading your blog on the use of the PA system. Your assertion that you aren’t going to please everyone is right on. I think your three announcements are correct. However I believe the subject raises a bigger issue, especially for the novice cruiser. Allow me to explain.

Ship board life on-board a Carnival cruise is high energy. It is about having “fun”. Does that mean you have to participate in every event? Of course not, but my observations have shown those sailing with Carnival seek to experience all the ship and crew have to offer. That fact in itself is great, because your ships and their crews do a great job and hence they draw a large repeat clientele. So your statement that the vast majority of passengers enjoy or are at least not bothered by the announcements is accurate as far as I am concerned. Yet there are travellers who are looking for a lower key or more subdued cruise experience and that is OK. There are many cruise lines that provide a slower pace or lower energy atmosphere. Some are in fact owned by Carnival Corporation. My point is this. If you want to go on a cruise to some research. I think Carnival Cruise Lines provides one of the best travel values going. The ships, the crew, the entertainment and the food are all top notch. Yet, I don’t think it is the right fit for everyone. I have a 102 year old grandmother. She is as active you or me. I truly believe she would be overwhelmed, but then again I might be wrong.

Best to you, Heidi and Thingy.

Stephen Smith

John Says:

What a brilliant posting and your comments are very well noted. Certainly, when I am a cruise director I use the PA system not only to help promote activities that generate revenue which of course I do but more importantly I use it to sell the fun. I know that in itself sounds a bit cheesy but I truly mean what I say. Now, in a perfect world we wish everyone would read every single thing in the Carnival Capers every single day of the cruise …….but we know that many do not even look at it. This means we need to keep people informed and with the ships being much larger than the ones of yesteryear the PA system is as you said a valuable tool in keeping the energy levels up and the guests directed. It must though be used in an entertaining way and that is not always easy.

Now, as to your Grandmother of 102……..well, that is just fantastic and I would love to see her on-board judging the Hairy Chest contest. Would you send her our very best wishes?

Thanks again for the great post

Cheers

John

Linda Asked:

John (please reply):

I know 2011 seems a long time away, but I have to plan (and save) ahead. My husband and I sailed on the Mediterranean cruise (Carnival Liberty) in the Sept. 2005. You were the CD. That was our first trip to Europe and our cruise was the perfect way to experience it. We loved it so much that we repeated the same cruise in Oct. 2006, again with you as CD. (You were great!) We would love to experience cruising the Mediterranean again – on Carnival of course! We are not able to go this year on the Carnival Dream so our next opportunity looks like the Carnival Magic in 2011. Any info about when the Magic will start sailing and how long it will stay in Europe?

We also would like to have the Current magazine mailed to us. My sister would receive hers and ask me to check out new cruises. I called Carnival and asked to be put on the mailing list. Each time my sister would receive her magazine, mine did not come. I called again and was told it takes time to actually get in the system. After calling several times for a year I gave up. If there is any way to get on the mailing list I would greatly appreciate it. My past guest # is —-.

I know by now this seems to be a silly request, but after someone else requested it too, I didn’t feel so silly. It really is a great marketing tool. The Currents magazine is how my sister knew about the Carnival Liberty Mediterranean cruises and why 10 of us booked and made that first trip in 2005.

I have been reading the blog a little over a year and think it’s great! It is one of the few reasons I even get on a computer.

Best wishes to you and Heidi and the Thingy. My husband and I waited (no choice of ours) six long years to begin our family (35 years ago). We have two wonderful sons, and 2 grandchildren with #3 grandchild due in Sept.

Thank you again for blogging.

Linda in Florida

John Says:

hello Linda

Thank you so much for writing and thank you for saying just how magnificent the European cruise season was on Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom. I miss Europe so very much and I am as hopeful as you that 2011 will see a full season once again on a Carnival ship. If this is so the ship I hope it’s the Carnival Magic but regardless I will for sure want to be the CD of any ship that sails the Mediterranean waters.

I am sorry you have not received your copies of the Carnival Currents magazine and I will make sure that this changes forthwith.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you

Best Wishes

John

Matt T Asked:

Hi John (please read/reply),

Thank you so much for addressing my issue that I was not having luck with after getting rudely turned down by a supervisor and revenue management at Carnival. Fortunately, most of the people who work for/at Carnival are so caring, considerate, and helpful like you, and that is just one of the many reasons why Carnival is our first choice for cruising and is the reason why we are taking our 5 first time cruisers with us on the Carnival Dream for their first cruise.

I appreciate you contacting someone in Miami to try to assist with accommodating our 5 first timers with their little kids on the Dream. Fortunately, I think I might be able to save both you and Vikki some time… and myself some worries. An awesome PVP called me the other day after seeing that I visited the website. He had no idea that I had been having some issues with getting my family members onboard with us. Whereas with everyone before him who had turned us down, he said that he will do whatever it takes and speak to whoever he has to in order to get my first time family members onboard with us. I was reluctant to feel a little optimistic at first, but when he called me back and said he has been back and forth with his supervisor and his supervisor’s supervisor, he was able to work everything out to satisfy my family members and accommodate all of us.

I was so grateful that someone cared so much to help and that my family is going to all be able to cruise and celebrate the holidays and New Years together on the Dream.

I know that there are many people out there who like to complain unfortunately (like we have unfortunately seen with Brand on the Splendor), but when someone goes out of their way to help (whether onboard or in this case, before our cruise), I like to make sure that they get noticed for their hard work and dedication. I wrote two emails to two of his supervisors, and I know they will appreciate his effort just like I did.

So…. thank you so much John (and Vikki) for stepping in and attempting to help, and fortunately everything has been taken care of and now all I have to do is wait…. until December… unless we book a mini 4-night cruise on the Triumph to Canada out of NY to breakup this long period of waiting till our New Year’s cruise on the Dream.

That leaves me with one last question… no need to rush as we have a lot of time and I know that you are very busy, but would you be able to check where one of our favourite crewmembers (our original waiter who we still keep in touch with on our first cruise on the Triumph), Roberto Dejesus, will be in August and in December. We’re hoping that maybe he’ll be on the Triumph in August or on the Dream in December… and if not, maybe on another ship that will be docked with us so we can see him after so many years. Again…. no need to rush… just wondering as it would be great to see him.

Thanks again for your help with this issue John… and for always answering mine and all of our questions… and for always being here…. and for writing. I look forward to these blogs every day, as do a lot of us. You are a very talented writer. I hope Heidi and the Thingy are doing well… and we’re down to the final homestretch of a few weeks or days until you become a (great) dad.

-Matt

John Says:

Matt

I wanted to say how happy I was that your concerns have been addressed. It has been a heck of a busy time here with the flu and itinerary changes and I apologize if it took a little longer to get someone to call. But call they did and hopefully come December we will have a final happy outcome. The blog has become a great tool for people who love Carnival to address their issues and I will always do my best to try and help as much as I can.

Thanks for letting me know what’s happening and thank you also for the kind words

My best to you all

John

That’s all for today. May I kindly remind you that if you would like me to reply or need my help please mark the top of your comments “John please reply” and of course I will be happy to do so. I just finished reading the comments from yesterday and it seems that some of you picked up on my glaring mistake. I had stated that the photo of the On Deck For A Cure photo was taken onboard the Carnival Freedom but of course you were all correct……..it was taken onboard the Carnival Splendor…….sorry about that …….and that mistake deserves a “bugger.”

You will be happy to know that one of our regular bloggers Laura aka “Divetrash ” is doing a little better following her serious car accident. She remains in hospital but is making a slow but definite recovery. We will continue to think about her.

I see that we have some very honest comments about the Carnival Splendor’s cruise last week. I want to thank you for taking the time to write them and I have posted them onto the people at the top at Carnival to read. Thank you for letting me know your thoughts.

Now I wanted to show you two photos sent to me by a blogger of two new billboards that advertise the Carnival brand of fun in their home town of Fort Worth, Texas…..here they are

billboard-1

billboard-2

billboard-3

I want to thank them for this and of course I know many of you have similar billboards where you live. So, as I never get to see them I wondered if I could ask you for a favor. Can you please send us your billboard photos and I will post them all here on the blog. Send us your favorite one and where it was taken and I am sure for the people who have not had a chance to see them it will be a great way for them (and me) to experience these brilliant catch phrases.

Then next week we will launch a very special contest. The first real one we have had on the blog thingy with prizes, judges and maybe even Simon Cowell….Simon Cowell my arse. Seriously though it’s going to be a great competition and I will be telling you all about it soon.

I am not sure what is the best way for you to send in your billboard photos but I know someone who does………..here she is……..the one…….the only………the beautiful dog loving whiz kid of all things computery and mistress of carnival.com ……… please give a huge welcome as I introduce the incomparable ………… bugger ……….what’s her name……………….hold on………………….oh yeah …………… Stephanie.

Hi Everyone,

Simply email them to me at socialnetworking@carnival.com.

Thanks!

Stephanie

So, I look forward to seeing them. Stephanie will e-mail them to me and I will put a collection together and post them here………………..thanks to all in advance.

Thanks also to Doug Robertson for sending me these photos

cool-tree

I guess what the Three Wise Men saw shinning in the east was not a star but a solid gold plastic ship on a stick………………..brilliant.

I see we are getting lots of questions still about swine flu and the future. While there was some good news yesterday about Mexico returning to some kind of normality by re-opening the business infrastructures, Carnival is still listening and acting upon the advice of the various government agencies. I hope as do all of you of course that we can get back to cruising to the Mexican ports very soon.

We updated our itineraries yesterday.  Here is the latest

STATEMENT REGARDING H1N1 (SWINE) FLU ITINERARY CHANGES

Miami – May 4, 2009 3:00PM

Carnival Cruise Lines has cancelled all port of call visits in Mexico for 16 of its ships that were previously scheduled to stop in that country.

Itineraries for vessels departing between now and June 15, 2009 that included stops in Mexico have been modified. In many instances, the modification simply involved substituting an alternate port. For full details on modified itineraries, click here.

Guests who do not wish to sail on a modified itinerary may opt to receive a refund in the form of a future cruise credit equal to the full amount paid for the voyage. The credit may be applied to an alternate sailing departing through the end of 2010. Compensation for missed ports/altered itineraries (where applicable) for guests who sail varies by itinerary. With four and five-day cruises from Galveston and New Orleans that are being converted to seven-day voyages, those guests may opt to receive their refund in the form of a future cruise credit or money back.

I promise to give you the latest news here so there you go. Until then, life goes on and our ships are sailing to wonderful locations and I look forward to reading your reviews here on the blog.

Can I kindly remind you www.bestblogsatsea.com? It’s definitely worth a look there today and you will see new photos of the Seabourn Odyssey, an All American Astronaut on the Queen Victoria and the latest blog from the Captain of the Eurodam and much much more. This site shows the wonderful diversity that can be found within the Carnival family and for people like us who love ships and life at sea………….. it’s a must read.

I made a bit of a Star Trek reference at the start of today’s blog and that’s because deep down I am a bit of a Trekkie. I am though not the sort of Star Trek fan who likes to dress up as a Klingon or Romulan at a Trek convention.

I will never forget the Trek convention we had on the Carnival Sensation back in the mid 90’s. We had stars from the original series, the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine as well.

Most of them as I remember were a bit quiet and couldn’t seem to wait to get out of the public areas and hide in their cabins. The only exceptions to the rule was Michelle Nicholas who played the radio operator Lieutenant Ahooroo or soemthing like that and an actor called John De Lancie who played Q. He was brilliant and we spent the week smoking cigars together and until this day we have stayed in contact and in fact sailed again with his family on the Carnival Triumph with me.

My favorite memory of the cruise was watching Captain Gavino’s face on the then formal night. We stood at the entrance to the main lounge at the captain’s party and instead of welcoming elegant ladies in flowing gowns and smartly dressed men in tuxedos…. we welcomed Cardasians, Klingons, Romulans and the blue-skinned ones whose name I am not enough of a Trekkie to remember.

There were Starship captains who truly believed they were………ummm… Starship captains …….and Vulcans who instead of shaking Captain Gavino’s hand would approach him and give him the Vulcan salute………while saying “live long and prosper” ……… I guess Star Trek is not so popular in Italy because poor old Captain Gavino looked like …… well…….you can imagine……..it was brilliant. Seriously though some of the passengers truly thought that the actors were really the characters they played if you know what I mean. At the Q&A sessions they would ask one of the actors “when you were on the planet Buggeroff and were being attacked by the Royalchampionsters how did you feel?”

It was obvious to me that the actors just wanted to say………”I just read what was on the script and then went back to my trailer.”

But they couldn’t because these people truly were ……….ummm………….different.

Perhaps I am being too cruel. Trekkies are an easy target. Having a go at them is like setting your phaser to “stun” when an alien lifeform is already down. But such ritual humiliation appears to be part of the fun for them. They know they are nerds. They are in on the joke.

I love the original series ……yep, I am a fan. I specifically like the banter between Kirk and Spock…….the stud and the geek. I guess that’s how my mate Alan felt as we grew up together. Many of us have a mate who is a bit of a nerd and somewhat ugly but smarter than us. That was me and Alan…….I was Kirk………he was Spock.

Captain Kirk got the big boss’s chair in front of the giant plasma screen while Spock sat quietly behind him occasionally grunting the word “acknowledged.”

He could also do the famous Vulcan Death Grip which I myself used on Tony Lang once in the playground because he had told me that Sally Pool had said I smelled. The death grip worked when Spock did it……..but when I tried it on Tony he laughed……..and punched me in the head. Being a Vulcan he had a seven year mating cycle which meant he only got to have rumpy pumpy once every seven years……..many of you……..like me……..will now be thinking if you have a bit of Vulcan in you and it might also explain why he had so much strength in his wrist when giving the old death grip.

Of course Kirk was a stud. He had rumpy pumpy with every kind of woman ……green, black, pink ………if it breathed ……..he would have rumpy pumpy with it. I am sure that he must have spread some sexually transmitted diseases around the galaxy………he really did go where no man has gone before when he had rumpy pumpy with the shape shifter thing who started out as a woman called Amanda but finished up as a man called Tran ….. very appropriate.

Of course since Kirk hung up his communicator we have had many more captains of the Enterprise. I guess many loved Jean Luc Picard but not me and not just because he was French, OK……..yes………I didn’t like because he was French. But although he was calm and had cool sayings like “make it so number one” he wasn’t Kirk. Picard could outwit the Borg and then have a cup of Earl Grey tea. That’s OK. Kirk on the other hand would have had rumpy pumpy with three green alien women by the time the kettle had boiled.

And now we have the new high tech Star Trek movie which everyone is saying is amazing. Captain Kirk was a hunter, killer and if he met a Ferangie he wouldn’t want to hold “peace talks” with it he would rip its head off and then have rumpy pumpy with his wife. Kirk had a cool Phaser that looked like a gun and not a Gillette electric razor as they use now……….and Kirk had a lazy boy chair on the bridge.

Of course the chances of me seeing the new Star Trek movie for myself are limited as we sit here waiting for the Thingy. Still nothing has happened though and I am becoming a nervous wreck. Every time Heidi moves at night in bed I sit bolt up right expecting it to be “time” but so far bugger all has happened. I know it’s not due to May 10 but I am hoping it will come out before as there are two very important soccer matches this Sunday on TV.

Heidi would not come with me to see the new Star Trek movie because she hates science fiction and she is too busy texting and e-mailing her girl mates around the world describing every movement the Thingy is making. Heidi like most women makes new friends so easily. Women it seems can make friends in any situation. If therefore the planet Earth was to be invaded by aliens from another world we should not send Obama and Brown to meet them.

Nope……….we should send a group of women to make friends with the aliens wives. We would have an intergalactic peace accord within minutes.

Unless the alien wives were better looking than them…….. in which case they would bitch slap them to death with their stilettos.

Live Long and Prosper and I am off for a poo……..I only had one an hour ago ……… but I think I have a Klingon of my own

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.