The Love Rocket

May 11, 2009 -

John Heald

It’s 12:40 am………and here I am ………unable to sleep due to my “where is the Thingy?” nerves ………so I thought I would come and sit here in my underpants and write to you all. Actually I have been trying to write to you since 12:05 am and in fact it’s a miracle that I am able to write this blog at all. Now this is not because I’ve been killed by a vindictive polar bear who, finding out I own a Range Rover, popped over to the UK to eat me or have I been infected with swine flu because I dared to listen to my mariachi CD…. no …… it is a miracle that I am able to write to you but because my laptop has stopped working.

Now I realize that I am as thick as an elephant’s scrotum but why is it that things – notably ones that involve electronics – break spontaneously for no particular reason?

Take my laptop. I’ve altered none of its settings and yet, just as I went into the “Word” program as I have done thousands of times, the cursor developed the habit of randomly flinging itself to another part of the document.

This means that, before I cut and pasted it back to here, the end of this paragraph migrated to the beginning of it.

It’s almost as annoying as the sound on my DVD player that now jumps all over the place like a kangaroo on speed. Also, yesterday my cell phone rung, but I didn’t recognize the ringtone as it has changed itself. Where has the old ringtone gone? Again, I haven’t altered any settings; it’s simply taken it upon itself to change everything. Not only that, but now my printer is playing up and my router has lost the internet. It was here a minute ago but now it’s gone. I’ve looked down the back of the sofa and everything but it has buggered off without leaving so much as a Dear John e-mail.

Why do my things decide to stop working at the same time? Are they communicating somehow? I don’t mean via that other thing I do not understand…… Blueteeth, I mean via some sort of central intelligence of which they are all part. I’m convinced my laptop, phone, DVD player and printer are part of the Borg Collective. The most fearsome alien race our Star Trek heroes have ever encountered. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that somewhere in the galaxy right now, plotting against the Federation, are Hoards of Borg, my cell phone, my laptop dancer, the Hewlett Packard printer………and RCI.

Seriously though it is entirely possible that manufacturers deliberately program our gadgets to stop working at a set time? For this reason I won’t be getting the new iPhone, because it will break. And when it does, everything that’s built into it will break, too – iPod, phone, PDA, diary, George Foreman grill, nose-hair trimmers, etc. So I’d rather keep everything separate, thank you. Plus, I don’t want an enormous compulsory airtime contract stating that in return for an iPhone you must give Steve Jobs your firstborn, who will immediately put it to work down the iMines.

I could go on, but my laptop’s keyboard has now simply stopped . . . If bloggers are interested….. I will finish this column with a pen and personally bring it round to your house.

So, with my computer buggered I am using Heidi’s old laptop which has no DVD player, built-in web cam and loads of expensive features like mine does…… works. Maybe the other electronics are not speaking to it…………maybe it’s not part of the collective ………. maybe it has no friends……………….maybe it’s French.
Anyway………………it works and that being said I can now turn my attention to the next group of questions awaiting my reply……………………here we go.

Terry B. Asked
Dear John, (Please Reply)
We are anxiously awaiting the good news about your bundle of JOY! These last few days seem to drag on forever.
I have a question about our Spirit Alaskan cruise (this is our make-up cruise since our Liberty was cancelled for Sept.) We are booked for the May 20th sailing and my husband has made a reservation for the Supper Club to celebrate our 31st Anniversary. I just wanted to check when Formal night was, so there will not be a conflict with the dates. Thanks, hope to cruise with you again soon.
Our prayers & thoughts to you and Heidi!

John Says:
Hello Terry
Thanks firstly for the kind words and I will be glad when the waiting is over and we have a healthy Thingy home with us.
Here as requested is the schedule for your Alaskan cruise.
Southbound Alaska:
Anchorage (Whittier), AK ;
Cruise Prince William Sound ; – elegant night
Cruise College Fjord ;
Sitka, AK ; Juneau, AK ;
Cruise Lynn Canal ;
Skagway, AK ; – elegant night
Ketchikan, AK ;
Cruise Inside Passage ;
Vancouver, BC, Canada
There you go. I know you will have a brilliant time with Bubba as your CD as you explore this amazing Last Frontier that is Alaska. If there is anything else you need please let me know and I wish you both a very happy anniversary
Best wishes

Lisa Asked:
Hi John, (Please Reply)
I ran across your blog this past month and have made it my first read of the day! We are sailing on the Splendor June 7th after rescheduling due to the problems with the flu. I have cruised several times, the first being the Jubilee back in 1989 (our first cruise for our honeymoon). I will be celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary on the ship! My mother and our children will be accompanying us and we are so excited. I have only one problem that is shedding a dark cloud on our trip… Our cruise credit from the previous cruise was not transferred properly and we have been shorted credits totalling 326.00. Yesterday I had been patiently waiting on your phone lines for over 4 hours three different times (I have the cell phone bill to prove it) and no one could find the correct person to fix this problem. I am again on hold as we speak (49 minutes now) only to be told that I have to hold they have to find the correct department. I am loosing hope… help. I really want this trip to be as stress free as possible and want to go into it with a positive attitude but this is really starting to bring me down. I also wanted to try to book a room for myself and daughter for the next week after everyone leaves so we can extend our vacation. Again, I can get no response. If there is anything you can do to help me I would really appreciate it.
As if I haven’t asked enough from you could you please let me know if my daughter who is 10 could get a “behind the scenes” look at anything that is offered? (especially things associated with entertainment) This will be her second cruise (and third if I can actually get this all taken care of) She is very much into singing, dancing, etc. She plays Cello, guitar, is in choir and was so amazed by all of the shows on our last cruise that I couldn’t get her out of the theatres!
Thanks for listening, I hope you can help.
I look forward to tomorrows read!

John Says:
Hello Lisa
I am so glad you found us all here on the blog thingy and I hope that as you read each day that it brings some valuable information and a few smiles.
I am so sorry to read about your very long wait on the phone as you attempt to get the onboard credit situation sorted. I am sure that the operators are very busy with so many people calling to make changes and ask questions regaridng the H1N1 flu situation. That’s still no excuse that you had to wait so long. Anyway, I am very sorry that you did and please don’t worry. I will forward this to someone who can help you. I will firstly though need your booking number and surname so please post that marked “STEPHANIE AND JOHN – AS REQUESTED” and I will make sure someone looks at your concern straight away………………please don’t worry .
I will be happy to help with your daughter’s request and will arrange for her to meet one of the dancers in between the shows. Please can you remind me about this one week before you sail. Once again mark that comment “John Please Reply” and include your cabin number and I will make the arrangements.
Once again, don’t worry, all will be well and you will have a fantastic cruise with the family. I will look forward to reading your review when you return.
Best wishes to you all

Ted Daniels Asked:
John – please reply if you have anything to say. If not, it’s okay, as this will probably be a rather random group of comments.
First off, you responded today to Kenny Randolph, who happens to be my father-in-law. I second his request for more in the way of “backstage” tours. As a mechanical engineer and an amateur entertainer, I’d love to see the bridge, engine rooms, and/or stage areas better than what you get in the onboard videos. Since we’ll be on the Dream October 3rd, I can only imagine the tours would be that much more exciting on a brand new ship. I know there are security concerns and I know you said the staff is “working” on something – if it can be worked out by October that would be better.
Secondly, you keep talking about how much you miss Europe and to keep up hope that Carnival will return in 2010. You told me earlier in the year that you’d be spending some blog space on Europe and I want to make sure you hold to that. I know you’ve got more important things on your mind, but every time you say the word ‘Europe’, my eyes dilate and my ears grow larger. Just don’t leave me hanging.
Third, in relation to the earlier question about overnights, my wife and I cruised Hawaii on one of the painted ships. We overnighted in Maui and Kauai, and both were great. As if you couldn’t guess, we’re really pumped about the overnight stop in Venice on the Dream.
Finally, I had to laugh at the imagery of unclaimed underwear on the luggage carousel. A few years back, my Dad came to visit. When he left home, he had a perfectly good bag with a roll of underwear in the front pocket. When he arrived, he no longer had a front pocket and his underwear was strewn along the taxiway. He took it well enough, but it was hilarious to the rest of us.
Thanks for making my lunch hour entertaining and good luck with the thingy!

John Says:
Hello Ted
Thanks for taking the time to write. Let’s have a chat. We will start with the back stage tours. While these are not standard across the fleet we do offer them on some ships. At the moment these are left to the discretion of the cruise director however if you or anyone else reading this would like to see what happens back there I will be happy to arrange this for you here via the blog. I wish I could do the same with the bridge and engine room tours but those avenues of pleasure have long since gone. We are now forbidden to take guests to these areas under maritime law and that of course is such a shame. I live in hope that one day these bans will be lifted……….but in today’s world hope for that does not spring eternal. It seems that everyone is interested in getting a peek behind the crew door on how today’s modern and massive ships operate so hopefully we’ll be able to provide some insight into this in the future.
While I do hope that Carnival may change their minds about sending a ship to Europe next year I promise I say this with absolutely no knowledge that this is going to happen. As I write there are no plans that I know of that this will change. I will though be writing about Europe later next month as I know many of our blogging friends will be sailing on the Carnival Dream and seeing the incomparable European ports for the first time. I see that you are particularly excited about Venice……….and you should be. An evening in St. Marks square is something that is hard to describe……….maybe I will try later.
For now I wish you and your family a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Dream and should you need anything I will be here for you
Best Wishes

Michelle Asked:
John please reply
First of all I hope you and Heidi are doing fine.
A few months ago I sent you a copy of a letter I sent to Carnival, you said you would investigate but I never heard anything back. Was wondering if you ever had a chance.

John Says:
Hello Michelle
Thanks for the kind words Michelle and I am sorry to say that I never saw a letter from you. If you have a copy maybe you could scan it to me …………..Stephanie will tell you how.
Hi Michelle,
You can either post a copy on the blog and mark it with “john please reply” or email it to me at

Thanks Michelle and I hope to see your letter soon so I can help you
Best wishes

cheri Bolchoz Asked:
Please reply
My PVP did take care of the OBC. It is to be a credit back to my credit card. We are in cabin E– for the July 2nd Fascination Cruise. My 50th Birthday is July 4th. We will be in Nausea on My Birthday from 8am-10pm. I have heard that Naussa does shoot off fireworks, do you know about this?
Thank you for sending my email to Josh & Trevor
Hope that Chris is doing better.
As for your man- flu—- Drink plenty of fluids (juice & water), plenty of rest ( you are going to need it for the Thingy
Give Heidi our love & take care
Cheri & Michael

John Says:
Hello Cheri and Michael
I am glad that your PVP sorted your onboard credit out and how wonderful that you are celebrating your 50th birthday on July 4th. I did a bit of investigating and I do understand that Nassau will indeed be shooting off some fireworks which will be in honor of your birthday of course. Please remind me a week or so before you sail
Best wishes to you both

Frank & Bridie Asked:
John Please reply,
Oh john that will be so great if you actually were the cruise director next year on 5/29/10 on the dream. Frank’s head would probably explode when he met you! Oh we hope so to meet you whether it be on the Dream or ashore. We are so excited for you and are watching the blog every day and wondering for you and Heidi. We are also so glad to hear that Malcolm is out of the Hospital
As always Big Fans,
Frank and Bridie

John Says:
Hello Frank and Bridie
As much as I would love to see Frank’s head explode I don’t want you to get too excited just yet. I will be taking over the Carnival Dream for Todd who will need a well-deserved vacation. However I don’t know when and for how long I will be there. I truly hope that our dates match and we can all have fun together. I hope to be able to tell you the dates soon and as always I thank you so very much for the very kind words
Best wishes to you both and hope to see you soon

Melissa Jurgensen Asked:

John please reply.
Have you ever been on a Costa cruise? I have been considering trying them in the spring of 2009 in Europe but I am not sure.
I’ve been so pleased with Carnival I am almost afraid to try another cruise line!
I feel comfortable with the fact that they are a Carnival company, but I am just curious to see if you had ever been on one.
My best to you, Heidi and the Thingy!!

John Says:

Hello Melissa
Costa is fantastic and the perfect cruise line on which to explore Europe. I have visited their ships and in June I will be sailing on a short cruise on their new ship the Costa Luminosa. Now, I also have lots of friends at Costa so if you have specific questions please let me know and I will make sure they are answered. We would love to have you sail with us all the time but if you are considering Europe then the European flavor of the Costa ships will be perfect.
Please let me know if I can help further
Best wishes

Katiel53 Asked:

John, please reply.
By the time you read this you might be a proud Papa. I am dying to know if “thingy” is a female, who will be able to handle a cold, or a male, who God forbid gets the same thing, but is on his deathbed, lol. Seriously though, I hope you are feeling better so you can get close to the new baby and hold him/her soon after the birth.
I have a question about a shore excursion. As I told you previously, we are going on Glory October 17. It is a western Caribbean cruise going to Belize. I know there was a shore excursion to a private island (Bannister) and that the manager there was murdered and that Carnival stopped going there. I have read on Cruise Critic that there are now excursions to Bannister again. When I looked at the Carnival website, it gives me the option to book a private island excursion, but when I try to book it, it takes me to my cruise page and it isn’t shown there as an excursion. I am trying to find out if we can book this excursion through Carnival and if so how? Someone said that it could only be booked onboard now. Is that true? We really wanted to do this tour and do it through Carnival as my understanding is that we would be picked up right from the Glory instead of having to tender to shore. Any info you can get for me would be much appreciated. Thanks so much.

John Says:
Hello Katiel53
Well, I am still not a Dad but hopefully there will be movement soon so I can get the Thingy out and home. My cold is still with me but…………I am being brave. I did hear about the tragic death of the owner of the island and of course following this incident we did stop going there. I am not aware of any change to this however I am now going to check with our Miami office. I hope to get back to you before the blog is posted but if not then I will have your answer very soon thereafter.
Thanks again for the kind words of support
Best wishes to you and your family

JenniLynn Asked:
John, (Please Reply)
Thank you so much for your reply! I am really looking forward to Grand Turk!!! We have already picked out our “new” excursions, but when I try to book them online I get the screen that says “I will be able to book excursions when I am fully deposited (we’re paid in full) and less than 90 days out (we’re way below that!)
We want to do the “Dunns River Falls and Bobsled Jamaica” in Ocho Rios, and the “Sail Grand Turk & Snorkel” in Grand Turk. Is this problem something unique to me or are we going to ALL have to wait till we board? (YIKES!)
I promise I will not “go back into the closet!”
I truly hope that you are feeling better very soon!! You sound just like my husband does when he is under the weather… Thank you for the “helpful” hints on how to make him feel better =)
Thanks again for everything!!!

John Says:
Hello JenniLynn
I am so sorry that you…… me today…….are having computer/internet thingy concerns. I will need your surname and booking number and once I get this I will send the information to some people who should be able to fix this pretty quickly. So, once you have sent us the information please pop back onto and see if you can indeed book the tours. If not……..please let me know and we will go to plan B which will be that I reserve them for you directly through the shore excursion team onboard. However, that should not be necessary but please let me know. Meanwhile, please send Stephanie your booking number and last name so we can get this taken care of.
The two tours you have chosen are two of our very best and please do not worry …….. I will make sure you get what you need
Best wishes to you and the family

Ricky Venable Asked:

John, Please Reply
TABASCO guy here again. I’ve been reading your blog regularly and I am sure that I read that you started your career with Carnival on the Holiday. My wife and I enjoyed our first cruise on the Holiday in April of 1990(It was our Honeymoon). Were you on the ship at that time?
On another note, I was wondering if you could pass on my compliments to the supervisor of Michelle Zambrano. I called Carnival to inquire about the June 13 Fantasy sailing. You see, Carnival’s travel advisory says that all sailings to Mexico have been modified through June 15. For some reason there is nothing about the June 13 sailing anywhere to be found. Michelle was unbelievably nice under the current circumstances and tried her best to get answers for me. Unfortunately, we were not able to find out anything. Do you think you could get the right people to get out some info on that particular sailing?
Still looking forward to our cruise, but getting a little anxious about the itinerary. Thanks for your help and I hope you get to feeling better soon. Try some TABASCO on those boiled eggs. It will help the cold, I mean “man flu”, and it tastes great.

John Says:
Hello Ricky Tabasco
I am still enjoying your product and did do tonight in fact when Heidi made me my dinner of scrambled eggs with peppers and onions. I am still on a very strict diet and losing weight and I thank you and your product for all the help.
I will indeed pass on your comments to Michelle’s supervisor. I will also check on the June 13 sailing and get back to you.
Thanks again and best wishes

That’s all for today. Now, despite the fact that hopefully this week the Thingy will be here I will still do my best to continue answering all your questions so please send them in. There may be an extra delay sometime this week in me answering them for you but I promise that eventually I will.

I know I am repeating myself here but it is very important that you mark your questions “John Please reply” so I can see which ones need my help.

I want to thank all of you for your patience these past weeks. I know that there have been many changes because of the H1N1 flu and that some of you (as witnessed in today’s Q&A ) have been waiting for answers to your questions that you have tried to ask to Carnival on the phone or via a letter or e-mail. It’s been a crazy few weeks and I also know that we had some unhappy people who did not appreciate some of the changes ……….. especially that first cruise on the Carnival Splendor. So, please let us know if we can help. You can contact us via the phone or by letter or indeed via myself here on the blog and we will all do our very best to help you as much as we are able.

As always I don’t want anyone to think that everything I write here is the opinion of Carnival Cruise Lines…… isn’t……hence the disclaimer on the top right corner of the blog. The following is just my observation. On the news here in the UK was that scientists have made a crucial advance in the search for a swine flu vaccine by identifying the genetic fingerprint of the virus’s European strain. This however was not the lead story………that was about politician’s expense claims………nor was it the second or the third or the fourth news item………in fact it was part of Sky News’s “News In Brief” segment. This astonished me. How was it that that just a week or so ago it was all the 24 hour news stations were talking about. I looked at CNN and Fox and it was the same ………they seemed more interested in President Obama’s jokes at some dinner he attended.

Recently here in the UK every house received a leaflet in our mailbox, telling us how to avoid this potentially lethal illness. In the good old days this would mean we could all look forward to a public information film in which a cartoon pig, sitting at a desk with a stethoscope around its neck, would speak to us in the manner of a very posh Doctor.

The doctor-pig would then carefully instruct us on stuff like covering our mouths when we cough or sneeze and washing our hands regularly. However we received a very bland flyer telling us how to sneeze using the catchphrase “catches it, bin it, kill it.”

What’s my point here?………Well I am not sure. It just seems that the news channels have better things to talk about that even in Mexico things are getting slowly back to normal. …….and therefore I guess my point is that hopefully now we can all start doing the same and very soon the travel advisory we must adhere to will be lifted……and we get our ships back on their scheduled course.

It’s 1:15 am and I guess I had better try and get some sleep. I had eggs for dinner tonight and a huge salad for lunch plus I am so nervous about the Thingy……….which means there is an odor here which I wish I could share with you all.

See you in the morning.

Good morning everyone.

During the past few days I have been answering lots of questions and seeing lots of great comments about Half Moon Cay. For those who have not seen this “Robinson Crusoe” island I thought you may like to see some photos of this slice of paradise which we visit on some of our ships.







Stunning……….isn’t it? You really have to see this for yourself.

Well the night was uneventful apart from me being told I was a “dirty animal” thanks to the eggy smell that wafted around the bedroom. Heidi has to call Doctor Ramitin this morning to tell him that she has cruised past her sail by date and that the Thingy has yet to come out of wet dock.

I thought I was prepared for the big day until yesterday when Heidi made me watch a program called Bringing Baby Home. Seeing images of the birth and afterbirth, frankly, horrified me. For the first time I could see how men could pass out.

Seriously, I could barely look at them and this is a person who looks at himself naked in the mirror every morning.

You see, until now I thought I had it all under control. I think I’m quite a modern man. I have watched Sex In The City the Movie…….I’m not afraid of my feminine side – hey, I even moisturize – but giving birth is something I just don’t “get.” In fact I’d challenge any man to try and fully explain to me the emotion and pain involved in childbirth. I now feel out of control of the situation and boy, do we men hate that! You think I’m wrong? Just think about how it feels when you’re driving and your partner/ wife is navigating……………..badly.

So I turned to my friends Alan, Danny and Roger who all have had kids and have been down at the business end of things during the birth and were prepared to give me the full, graphic and emotional view (complete with demos and sounds) of why I should see it. They also talked with an in-depth knowledge about buggies, nappy brands, ointments, vaginas, stitches, placenta……..well you get the picture. They also had some sort of weird, overly emotional, bond with their partners and seemed happy to talk about nothing else but babies. At some points during the conversation I genuinely had to restrain myself from inserting a pacifier in them.

Women also have an enormous array of magazines to turn to – “Mother and Baby,” “Prima Baby,” “Pregnancy and Birth,” “I’m Pregnant!” “Babies and Slimming,”
“Slim Babies,” “Hair and Babies,” and “Hello! Magazine….the Baby Edition.” All of these dish out a variety of advice, best buys and places to get support. By way of contrast, I had a quick flick through a copy of “Playboy” and although it had an admirable amount of bosoms in it…………… there was not one article on breast feeding.

Also………..and this shows you that I tell you everything here on the blog thingy ……..last night after writing the first part of today’s blog I woke Heidi up. We chatted for a bit and she again mentioned that rumpy pumpy was a proven way to get the Thingy to come and join us. As I mentioned a few days ago I have huge reservations about doing this and it was while I was contemplating it, my arse decided to do a Pavarotti impression. A few minutes later I decided that the rumpy pumpy thing might not be such a bad idea. This is love I’m showing her, not just lust.

I am a love rocket…….my engines are roaring. It’s blast-off time. Ten. Nine. I kiss her cheek. Eight. Seven. I touch a buttock. Six. There’s no response. Five. She snores. Four. She’s really snoring. Three. She’s flatlined. She’s gone ….. Houston, we have a problem

If anything happens I will send you all a Raspberry message
Until Then

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.