Live From the Writing Room

May 29, 2009 -

News From Steph

I knew it was going to be a difficult day because I had no idea what I was going to write about in today’s blog………….let me explain. During the last two years I have always gone to bed and in the time from putting my head on the pillow to falling asleep I usually plan what I am going to write about the following day. I used to spend this time thinking about Aston Martins and rumpy pumpy or rumpy pumpy in an Aston Martin but nowadays I go to bed thinking about subject matter, questions, photos and Big Ed……..God how my life has changed.

But it usually works because that’s usually when my mind comes up with what to write to you about in the first and last part of the blog. I am sure you have noticed that the blog usually takes this format:

OPENING – write about life, what’s in the news, etc.
MIDDLE SECTION – answer questions and cruise news
CLOSING – write a topical story or stuff about Kye

Well, most days I have an idea what the first and last sections are going to be about but last night I couldn’t think of anything and when morning broke I knew I would be staring at a blank screen. And so I spent most of my time this morning trying anything but to write a blog. But eventually I could run away no longer so I retired to my writing room. I’ve got to have a “writing room.” Because it’s a blog read by thousands so in my mind I need a special place to withdraw from the world.

So this morning because bugger all was coming to mind I decided to redesign my office or “writing room” as I love to call it. So I moved the desk, set up a stereo system and oh yes………I need to move. The desk lamp and ……..oh……..and my office chair ………….. needs cleaning ……………………” HEEEEIIIIIDDDDDDIIIII”

All this is eventually done and I am ready to start my opus. I’d better make some coffee first, as it’s very early and my brain needs to be kick-started.

Twenty minutes later and I have my coffee and have read the BBC news online. I’m ready, but Kye is looking at me in a pleading way. I decide to spend a few minutes giving her cuddle and making “coooohhhheeeeee” noises at her.

That was at 9 am and it’s now 11:30 am and I climb the stairs to the writing room. Halfway up I spot my Xboxstation thingy and decide to have a quick game of “House of the Dead.” I need to clear my mind before I start. I have never gotten past level 5 where the zombie comes out of the confessional box in the abandoned church accompanied by killer frog-like creatures that look a look like Judge Judy. I spend the next hour or so getting more and more frustrated as the slimy Judges eat me alive because I have run out of ammunition………….bugger.

This stresses me out and it’s nearly lunchtime, so I decide to make an early lunch and then really get stuck in afterwards on a full stomach. So, I prepare lunch ………. by shouting …….”HEEEEEIIIIIDDDDDIII”……..and 20 minutes later I am sitting in front of the TV watching Sky news tell me that the pound is stronger again against the dollar (bugger – I am paid in dollars) while munching on a very fine chicken Caesar wrap followed by a Granny Smith apple and a big mug of monkey tea.

I feel a bit ill as I’ve eaten too much and decide to lie down in front of the telly while I digest the wrap. I recorded the last-ever episode of ER last night so I watch this for 1 hour and 30 minutes. It’s now 3 pm and I have to meet my mate Alan for a pre-arranged cup of coffee. He asks me what I’ve been up to all day. “Writing my blog,” I reply.

Coffee drunk, I drive back home melting a few ice caps along the way and once home I bound up the stairs, ignore the Xboxplaystation thingy and the Judge Judy toads and here I sit in the writing room.

Well, it appears this has been the worst opening of a blog ever but the end …….will be brilliant………… I promise………in fact I might write that now and come back to the questions. Actually, I am hungry again. Maybe a non-carb snack is called for and another mug of monkey tea… let me pause while I arrange that…………….. HEEEEEEEEIIIIIIDDDDDDDDIIIIIII.

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

Joan Kennaway QSM Asked:
Hello John, Heidi and Kye. John, please reply.
How we are enjoying your story and pictures of Kye becoming so much a part of your lives from the minute she was born. She is a stunning baby with all the love in the world wrapped around her.
On the 24th of July we are travelling on the Queen Mary 2 from Southampton to New York after attending the World Congress of Voice Teachers in Paris. As our daughter is currently in Edmonton and flying is the pits we thought that a TA crossing on the QM2 was a much superior way to travel with a smaller plane trip to Edmonton (and then of course the much longer one back to New Zealand.) Both Rick and I are singers as well as me teaching singing and we put on an Opera in our own Garden each year with an audience of over 1000 people as well as many other events (last week we had a very successful concert to raise funds for Hospice.) For our efforts over many years we have both been awarded the QSM at a wonderful investiture ceremony at Government House in Wellington NZ and would love the chance to be shown around the theatre facilities on board the QM 2 and meet some of the talented musicians as it is something we are passionate about. I tried to find a way to ask through a site I found on your blog but I am not very clever using a
computer. One other thing, does Kevin the Blogger’s main Chef in New York have a restaurant we could visit while we stay there to take in a show or two on
With our thanks,
Joan and Rick

John Says:
Hello Joan and Rick
First of all what a wonderful way for you to travel and a wonderful reward for the years you have spent teaching. A trans-Atlantic cruise is an amazing experience but doing so on the Queen Mary 2 is even more special because with respect……….nobody does a TA like Cunard. Congratulations on your success with the opera, I am sure it must be quite the spectacle. My knowledge of opera is very sparse indeed but there is surely no more emotional music in the world. I will contact the entertainment director on the Queen Mary 2 and pass on your request which I am sure he will be able to take care of. Please go to the guest service desk once onboard and I will have the entertainment director leave a note for you there with the time and place. You will meet some wonderful musicians during your voyage and I truly hope that you have a wonderful time full of everlasting memories.
Best wishes and thanks for the kind words for Kye

SharonR Asked:
John Please Reply
First of all both your girls are beautiful and you deserve to be a proud man. Thank you for sharing the videos and pics-they make me smile every time. Kudos for working on your health as well so you can be there to watch Kye grow up and give you grandkids to run after.
Just a quick question-hubbie surprised me 2 weeks ago with a booking on the Dream in November as a 50th birthday celebration. Last week we were thrilled to see that it was to be a blogger cruise but are concerned that we have already booked our room (a spa stateroom). Is it possible to be included in the blogger events if we didn’t book it that way? We haven’t been able to enjoy you live since our Mediterranean cruise on the Freedom and would hate to miss out on all the fun!
Thanks for the blog!

John Says:
Hello Sharon R
I really am trying hard with my diet and so far it has been going well. I will keep the photos coming and thanks so much for the sincere words of kindness. I am sure we can include you in the events and nearer the time I will ask for your cabin number so I can send you the daily Bloggers Capers. I know that many people booked this cruise before we announced it would be a bloggers voyage so we will do our best to make sure everyone gets to come to the private events.
Congratulations to your husband for the romantic gesture of booking a Dream cruise for your 50th anniversary and I will do my best to make sure you have a fabulous time.
My best wishes to you both

Chance Asked:

Hello John,
Please Reply…
Congratulations on your beautiful daughter, I have one of my own and laugh along with you remembering the days of being a new father. Enjoy them, they certainly pass quickly.
I wanted to thank you for mentioning the cell service on board. We are travelling on the Splendor on June 7th and I was wondering how the service works at sea so that I could inquire about charges with my cell provider. I would think that at port the cell would connect with a tower near by. In Canada I would expect charges consistent with Canadian charges, In Oregon I would expect to hook with a tower in the USA. The charges when we are out to sea is what is puzzling. Could you please explain? Best Regards.

John Says:
Hello Chance
I have been thinking about how quickly the first two weeks of having Kye with us have gone and I am sure I will find the rest of the time goes just as quick. Thanks for the kind words of support mate.
The Cellular at Sea program runs of our MTN satellite which also provides the in cabin calls and internet service. You are correct that once ashore in Canada and Oregon international roaming charges will apply as you connect through your regular provider. However, when you are at sea and not close to shore you will see your cell phone will display the words “Cellular At Sea 838″ which means you are then connected through the satellite service. The rates are certainly more than what you pay on land but compared to the fact that you can now use your cell phone 24 hours a day it is a huge step forward. Please do check with your provider.
Please let me know if you need anything else.
Best wishes

Ann Henderson Asked:
First off, I want to thank Myra for pointing out my question. I just assumed that since the question didn’t get answered but that you had set up a nice meet and greet instead, that there wasn’t a chance to be invited. The reason I had asked the question was for the 3 military members that I know that will be travelling on the Legend May 31st and will be military uniform for the first formal night. My husband Greg (Navy) Due to military commitments couldn’t cruise so this is his first. Julia Kobiska (ARMY) who just returned from Afghanistan and this is her treat to herself, and Patrick Breens (AIR FORCE) whom you are aware of is surprising his family. I wanted to surprise the three of them with invites to the Captain’s Table as a treat for their service to our country. I don’t know if this warrants an invite, but I thought I would try. This is actually my 3rd cruise on the Carnival Legend within 15 months and I so love her. Thank you for any help. By the way, I do love your pictures of Kye. She is absolutely adorable and Mushy is very much allowed by Dad.

John Says:
Hello Ann
Sorry I missed your question Ann and thanks again to Myra for pointing out the error of my ways. I truly wish I could get them invitations to the captain’s table but unfortunately these spaces are pre-planned by the office. However, I will make sure that the captain is aware of them being onboard and I am sure there will be a great photo opportunity there. I will remind the ship about the photo session and please can you send one of the proud uniformed guests to us here on the blog to share with all.
Have a wonderful time
Best wishes to you all

Frank and Bridie Rist Asked:
John please reply,
We are getting ready to send you a package of things and was curious if you are moving where should we send the box or the new address? My gosh that is a beautiful picture of Heidi and Kye.
Big fans as always,
Frank and Bridie

John Says:
Hello Frank and Bridie
Can you kindly send us the package to our PO Box as we won’t be in our new place for some time? You are so very kind………is it an Aston Martin?…….is it food? ……. is it Catherine Zeta Jones?
Best wishes to you both

Justine Asked:
Hi John (please reply)
We are a party of four Brits from Manchester and we are travelling on the Splendor in September. We are really looking forward to this cruise, our first time with Carnival, but wanted some guidance from you regards dress code.
We have cruised with Princess and P & O in the past, but always out of Southampton, so a British crowd, and dress wise it has always been pretty easy to read, i.e. quite formal.
We have holidayed in the States many times, and always found it very casual everyone in shorts/casual gear etc even in restaurants in the evening, will it be the same on the cruise or do most people dress up? We like to dress up – but at the same time we don’t want to look parts by being overdressed!
Any guidance you can offer would be appreciated!
Congratulations to you and Heidi, Kye is absolutely beautiful – by the way, my son suffered really badly with colic, and Infacol always did the trick!
Here’s hoping you and Heidi don’t experience too many sleepless nights….

John Says:
Hello Justine
Great to hear from you over there in sunny/rainy/rainy/rainy/sunny/raining again/ Manchester. It is always an honour for me to welcome my fellow Brits onboard Carnival ships. Let me see if I can help you answer these questions.
You mentioned dressing up and being from Manchester I am sure you mean “Do we need to bring our best jeans?”………kidding. Well, Carnival is very casual and let me fill you in with the dress codes.
There will be two elegant nights where you have the option of dressing formally. You will find that 80% of the ship will indeed do so and for the ladies this means an elegant dress or suit while the men will mostly wear business suits with some preferring dinner jackets or tuxedos as they are called in North America. This dress code will be for the first sea day night starting with pre-dinner cocktail parties. The rest of the evenings most people wear casual clothes at dinner.
For men this will mean nice trousers and a polo shirt or short sleeved shirt and for the ladies………well, cruise casual wear is recommended …….and that really is anything you are comfortable in. Now, we do allow dress shorts and jeans for both men and women but they must be nice jeans and we do not allow tank tops for either men and women…….the men can wear Speedos to the dining room if they wish………kidding. Basically just dress comfortably and bring two nice sets of clothing for the elegant night which would maybe include a jacket and open neck shirt for the second elegant night for the men.
I want this to be the best cruise you have ever had so please, put your thinking caps on and let me know if there is anything else you need.
Best wishes

Stacey Asked:

John (PLEASE REPLY–I thought I submitted this once, but my computer crashed, so forgive me if it’s a duplicate),
Thanks for the update on the CD schedule. Pending any changes/finalizations, could you tell me who the CD may be on the 11/29/09 sailing of the Glory? Thanks.

John Says:
Hello Stacy
My computer crashes all the time. Today it thinks it is a cauliflower…….I hate the vindictive Mr. Sony. Anyway, enough of that. The confirmed CD for your Carnival Glory will be young Mr. Ryan Fitzgerald. He is a great CD, full of energy and life and you will see him all over the ship. I hope you get to meet him personally because he is a great guy.
Please let me know if there is anything else you need
Best wishes

Jeff Asked:
Recently on Cruise Critic there was a post by a person who had seen and envelope in the upper atrium on deck 7 right next to the mural on the wall right under a window on the Miracle. Then one person responded saying that they had seen the same thing on the Legend. It’s just an envelope lying on the ledge of the atrium. It no way it could have been placed by somebody because it is too high and you would think by the rocking motion of the ship and all that this would have fallen by now. I have a link to the picture that the person took.
You might have to copy and paste that. It was just a very bizarre place for an envelope to be and just stay there. Here is the whole thread itself
I just wondered if you have ever seen it or know anything about it. Just curious.

John Says:
Hello Jeff
Wow………… got me on this one. I have no idea why its there so lets see if we can get to the bottom of this mystery. Here is a response from the Miracle cruise director.
Hey J,
Well this was an interesting one. I just went to have a look and it seems that someone dropped an envelope from deck 9 down the Atrium and it landed on a ledge below one of the windows on deck 7. Not an easy place to get to so say the least.
Hope you Heidi and the baby are doing well.

Allison Asked:
Please reply if you can. On the May 8th blog post you said you would be the CD on the Freedom starting June 20th but on the May 25th blog, you said July 20th. Which is correct? I will be sailing on June 20th and am excited that I might get to cruise with you!

John Says:
Hello Alison
Then be excited……..well…………sort of. I am sorry for yet another typo but I will in fact be joining on June 20. I will not however be the CD but will spending a few days with Todd the current CD before taking over the following cruise. Please come and say hello, I will be all over the ship and hopefully get to buy you a cup of coffee.
Best wishes and see you onboard

retirementman Asked:

Good evening John, Heidi and Kye. I’m glad that you’re just being like any other dad, worrying about his precious child. Being colic will scare the heck out of you because there’s nothing that you really can do as a father but worry. Hang in there John, it will get better and better as time goes on.
I’m glad that Carnival is thinking about different ways of dealing with the pins. I want two of them please.
The only question I have to you is since you will be moving soon, will you be giving out your knew address? I’ve already planned on sending things to you, Heidi and Kye and all I have is your present address. If you don’t want to send it out through your blog could you send to me some how?
You are doing a fantastic job being a dad. If you want any questions just ask. Don’t forget, I have had three of them and I could write a book at all the things that I went through and I’m still living. Once my daughter and I were playing and I suddenly had a seizure. Not knowing what was going on, she said” Dad, you want a drink of water? ” At that moment I couldn’t say anything so she thought that I wanted one and dumped a glass of water on my face. She nearly drowned me but she loved my way I was saying glub, glub and felt after that I appeared to be happier. These are the things with children and today I’m a happier man for my kids. Ciao my friend.
Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul
Thanks mate for the kind words of support and I hope you know how much I always enjoy reading your postings. The pin saga does continue and I hope to have the latest news on this subject next week. You can still send anything to the PO Box address next to the blog thingy as it’s one connected to near where we will live and where my parents live now. What a wonderful story about your daughter and I hope I can a good a Dad as you are mate.
Thanks again for your kindness and we send our best wishes to you all

Donna Bulington Asked:
Please respond
Hi John – I had the pleasure to sail with you on our first cruise in 1998 on the Imagination and again just this past March on the Triumph. I had intended to attend the CC event onboard, but as I was travelling with my mother-in-law who required oxygen and some TLC – I never made it to the meeting. Hoping to sail with you again soon.
As to Kye – my daughter too had colic which I refer to as the 30 days and 30 nights of …crying. Until I discovered barely. Yep – boil barley and give her some barley water – it was like magic. My doctor suggested it either way she cries now from colic or when she’s 47 and you still won’t let her date…LOL
Our next cruise is on the Spirit next Jan – info on the ports is hard to come by – what’s a person to do in Manzanillo?? Who do we contact to arrange a CC event onboard?
PS – always love the story about the lady on deck… in the wind… with the hat

John Says:
Hello Donna
Well, let’s start by saying that it was a pleasure to sail with you back in 1998 on the Imagination………that’s the year Heidi and I got engaged onboard. I hope you have some great memories of that voyage and all your cruises since. With regard to your CC event next year please allow me to arrange that for you. If you can please write to me a few weeks before you sail I will arrange a room and time for you all to meet as we have done many times before here on the blog thingy.
As for Manzanillo……..well I went there many years ago on the Holiday and I remember the fresh water springs and the waterfalls and the beautiful beaches. I just spoke to our shore excursion team and they are planning some amazing tours for you in this port of call. So, as soon as they are ready I will let you know…….then you can have a read through them…….and I will be here should you have any questions at all
I hope Mum is well and thanks you so much for the colic advice. Hopefully the worst is over.
My best wishes to you and the family

Juan & Maria Santana Asked:
John, please reply….
Hello, John! We’re very happy that you already confirmed that you’ll join the Freedom on 6/20 instead of 7/20! We’re looking forward to have you again as our CD on the Freedom 8-day Caribbean cruise sailing from Port Everglades, FL on 7/18!
The 2:05 a.m. picture of your princesses is a keeper! That picture is perfect for a Mother’s Day card!
Now to the real reason why we would like for you to reply to us… Regarding Carnival’s decision of doing away with the past guest pins…. we join the crowd letting you know that we are very disappointed. Also, we noticed that Carnival has also stopped giving away logo items (for example: T-shirts, caps, tote bags, etc.) to past guests. On the 1/31/09 Splendor So. America cruise (we were on for 17 days – the 1st leg of that cruise) we didn’t receive anything…The same for the 1-week 4/25/09 Liberty Caribbean cruise… Nothing. Now, here goes a touchy question: Is Carnival also considering doing away with the Past Guests’ Cocktail Parties? The reason for asking is that we realize that Past Guests have been outnumbering the first timers… consequently, 2 parties – instead of one – were held on each of the above-mentioned cruises so they could accommodate everybody. Please advise…. we are just curious….
As always, thanks for your attention.
The Santanas of Miami Beach

John Says:

Hello Juan and Maria
It won’t be long until we are together on the Carnival Freedom so I can personally thank you for your kind words for Kye and Heidi.
I realize that the cancellation of the past guest pins for our guests was not well received by many although I must say that mostly everyone has been understanding as to the reasons why we are doing this. We are currently looking at other options and having the fleet pins available in the gift shops onboard. I will continue to keep you informed. Our past guests are so very important to us and I can assure you that there are no plans to cancel your past guest party. In fact, we are looking at ways of improving this and making the party even more exciting. Sometimes we do have two parties instead of one depending on the past guest count and the lounge capacity as well. So……..although we have ……..for now……..removed the free pins……….we are all committed to making sure that our past guest and platinum rewards programs are the very best.
Please let me know if you have a follow up
Best wishes and see you soon

MrPete Asked:
Toilet, Please respond.
Some disagreement going on about HOW Carnival conveys what foods can/can’t be taken off the ship at the various ports.
My question is, is there a standard way that ALL ships convey that message to the passengers. Or is it up to the individual CD to put it in the Capers, or discuss in the post talk, or in the port instruction, or simply at the gangway?
Rona Barrett

John Says:
Hello Rona
Well this is a very good question and the answer is also very simple. You are not permitted to take off any fruits, nuts or fresh food items in any of the ports of call or the North American home ports. This is not a rule set by the vessel but by the various port authorities. It should, as you said, be mentioned by the cruise director and written in the Carnival Capers. You may of course take off candy, snacks etc but things like cheese, fruit and anything unsealed is not allowed. Now, we do not X-ray the guests as they carry bags off the vessel so it is very much up to the guests to make sure they don’t have these items. While many ports don’t check for these items there are some that do especially in homeports in North America where for example the U.S. Department of Agriculture will fine you $100 for any fruit or nut item that is taken off the ship….and that is one very expensive apple.
It seems that we need to make sure we do a better job in clarifying this onboard so I thank you for giving me the chance to get this done
Best wishes

Kathy Asked:
Hi John (or should I say toilet),
Please Respond.
That was such a cute response to my question about Kye’s name which I think the meaning is perfect for her, she is as beautiful as an Ocean.
I have to admit I love it when you can answer questions people post on Cruise Critic that know one else can answer. Carnival has the rule that you can not take any foods off the ship unless they are pre-packaged or bring foods back on the ship after you have been in port. Well a thread started about not being able to take foods off the ship for a lunch, the person asked if you could or could not do it. I was surprised at how many people did not know that you could only take pre-packaged foods off the ship, so I got my Capers out and posted what is on the very back of it. What surprise me next was not all Capers have that warning, I thought that they all would since it is a policy of the Cruise line. So what I am asking is that maybe all the Capers could have this written where everyone would see it and even maybe print it in RED, that way it will be seen by the people who read them. Maybe they could also make some big signs that everyone would see leaving and returning to the ship. I think that would take care of a lot of the problem of people not knowing of this policy.
John, are you scheduled for any cruises on the West Coast of the United States in the year of 2010 or 2011. I would love to book a cruise sometime when I know that you will be onboard. Maybe you could do one of your group cruises on the West Coast. Also if you do one, I would hope that you could bring Heidi and little Kye with you.
Best Wishes,
P.S. I love that picture of Kye and Heidi that is a beautiful picture of both of them. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

John Says:
Hello Kathy
I realize that 99% of what is posted on the cruise boards is excellent and correct information. However, as we have seen recently with tipping and now with food there is the odd occasion when people express opinion and not fact and that’s why I am more than happy to try and put the record straight…………when asked?
As I mentioned above, there are very strict rules and regulations about bringing food items off the ship and I see that you mentioned that it is written in some of the Carnival Capers and not others. Well, it should be listed in all the port day Capers and there should be a sign at the gangway as well and I will work with Chris in the office to get the message out there loud and clear. I would love to cruise the West Coast and on the Carnival Splendor and as I continue to discuss my 2010 schedule with Roger and Chris I will certainly keep that in mind so we can cruise together.
Please if you would can I ask that you or Host Mach post the above two answers to the food question and I will be here if anyone has a follow up
Best wishes to all

The next group of questions will be answered on Monday. Now, next week I will be travelling as I will explain in a moment but I will still answer your questions of course. However, there may be a longer time delay in me doing this so please may I kindly ask for a dollop of patience and I will as I said get to everyone’s questions eventually.

Following on from a conversation we all had recently about the blog not being available free on the internet onboard I wanted to confirm that as of now the blog is available on every ship in printed form. Chris Prideaux has confirmed that it will be printed out and placed in the library onboard in a binder. It will have a do not remove sign on it so everyone can enjoy it. Thanks to Chris for making this so.

So, here is my itinerary for next week.

SUNDAY – Heidi’s Mum returns to Holland.
MONDAY – Roger Blum (vice president cruise programming) flies to the UK to see Kye and Heidi
TUESDAY – Roger and I fly to Monfalcone (on Ryan Air – oh joy) where we will be joined by:
Gerry Cahill – president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines – and FlowRiders
Ruben Rodriguez – executive vice president of marketing and guest experience – and soccer dad
Roberta Jacoby – senior vice president of hotel operations – and who will be suffering from Empty Nest syndrome as her son Max goes of to university
Cyrus Marfatia – vice president of food and beverage – and the best Indian cuisine chef ……………… the world
Todd Wittmer – cruise director of the Carnival Dream – and would be boy band star who needs a good hosing down with the ugly gun

We shall spend the second and third on the Carnival Dream looking at all the ship has to offer. While this is going on I will be armed with my camera and Flip video thingy ready to send back loads of photos, etc.

Then…….on the June 4 myself, Gerry and Ruben will drive for five hours from Monfalcone to Trieste for the Costa Iluminosa and Costa Pacifica naming ceremony. I said Costa Deliziosa yesterday but she is after the Pacifica and Iluminosa which is on the June 5. I will be reporting on this of course and we will have a live link thingy on the blog. The ceremony starts at 10 pm Italian time which is 5 pm E.S.T so I hope you can all join us.

Now, I am not sure what Internet coverage is available in the hotel I will be staying at in Monfalcone or on the Costa ships so maybe the questions will have to wait a few days but I will catch up. I will have my raspberry with me and my lap top dancer computer so I can update you as much as possible. It should be a great event and I am honoured to have been invited to attend.

I wanted to share this wonderful letter that Kirk and Jaime (the most famous double act since Fred and Ginger) sent me from the Carnival Pride. Here is Kirk to explain

Dear John,

A couple of months ago, you asked the Cruise Directors to share stories, letters or comments from guests and this is one that has touched Jaime and I deeply. Leigh-Ann is a spirited 9 year old who took to the “Morning Show” like you to a fine Cuban cigar.

Leigh-Ann’s mother Jenn stated quite bluntly that her daughter is now my number 1 stalker. The letter below is a response to Jaime and I simply calling after the cruise to say hi. I hope you and your readers enjoy it as much as Jaime and I did. The picture attached is of Jaime, Leigh-Ann and I giving the Inner Circle Salute.

All the best from the Pride,

Kirk and Jaime

Hi Kirk,
We finally got our computer to load all the pictures from our cruise. I attempted to attach them to this email. Hope you enjoy them as much as Leigh-Ann does…just so you know, Leigh-Ann has a Kirk wall of fame in her room. I will see if I can get a picture of the shrine that is dedicated to you. I don’t think that there is a day that goes by that you and Jaime do not come up in a conversation. I really want to thank the both of you for being so good to her both on and off the ship. I know that you guys are busy and I think that it is great that you take time from what you are doing to call and email her. We went on the Carnival Miracle last year from NY and we swore that after some of the things that went on during the cruise that we would never cruise with Carnival again. I am really glad that we decided to give it one more shot this past May because you two definitely changed our opinion of Carnival. The two of you are the only reason why we booked again for next year. I understand that you guys never know where you might end up but if you could stay in touch and when 2010 (which is way too long a wait…) comes around and let us know what ship you are on we would be more than happy to adjust our plans. Carnival Cruise Lines are very lucky to have the two of you working for them.
Happy cruising,


That’s what it’s all about and having had some concerns from her previous cruise the crew of the Carnival Pride restored her faith in this great company and that’s why our crew are simply the best.

Talking about being the best………..the best cruise magazine in the world “Porthole” has there online awards this year. Well, I noticed that one or two other cruise lines are bombarding their fans with e-mails to vote for them.

Well, I would never stoop as low to ask you to please vote for us here at Carnival. I mean………it would be ridiculous of me to say that I hoped you would say that we have the best entertainment, activities, food, children’s program, best value for money cruise line etc……no……I would never do that.

It would also be so very wrong of me to ask you to vote that the best website in the industry is and that the best web site category should be ours …… no …..I won’t be like the others and go down on bended knee and beg that you all take the time to vote for Stephanie and her team’s hard work on and my blog.

If you did though and couldn’t find the website address I would post this link thingy to help you………..bugger……..sorry………I meant ……………

Time for some Nassau photos compliments or our friend Paul.









Kye is two weeks old today and time is just flying by and I am already preparing myself for being apart from her and Heidi next week when I go to Italy. I have so much to thank Heidi for and none more so than bearing our child. I am trying to help Heidi get as much rest as she can and with that in mind and very much against her wishes I hired a cleaner ……….. who twice a week comes and does what Heidi used to do every day …………………. even if the house needed cleaning or not. The cleaner’s name is Claire and she is a wonderful lady. I mentioned this to a friend who asked me how much I paid her and when I told him £10 an hour, “That is quite a lot.”

And I thought …What planet are you living on? I bet you’re earning double that, and you don’t have to put big yellow rubber gloves on, or stick your hands down my toilet after I have just given it some shock and awe the night before.

Ten pounds is absolutely not “quite a lot” when you consider what a cleaner has to do, and the sights they have to see. A cleaner spends most of their time on their hands and knees, reduced to the same level as a dog – and treated with considerably less affection.

Their days are spent in a haze of toxic sprays; they exist in a sea of bleach; they breathe in so much dust that the very thought of it is enough to make you asthmatic. They are fearless soldiers in a war against dirt and germs.

To add further insult, the cleaner’s job is a lonely one. Most people would rather leave the money and a scrawled note on the table than have any face-to-face contact with their employee.

There is no water-cooler chat, no office banter and for me I hate even admitting I have a cleaner……….It feels a bit like modern-day colonialism.
I’m not suggesting that people stop having cleaners. Some people probably really need them (a glance at my writing room, which constantly looks as if it has just had two bulls having rampant sex in it, would show you that I do not have one).

I told Claire today that she had a new title ……….she was Dirt Disposal Officer. And I did this in the hope that she would not reveal to the thousands who read this blog what magazine she found while dusting today……….. hidden behind my bookshelf.

It’s strange when I look back at our life together. I got married rather late on in life at the age of 39. I had finally met a girl who didn’t vomit when she kissed me and I was going to marry my Dutch delight.

I had heard mixed emotions about marriage……….such as…….. It’s awful, absolutely awful. At least female spiders have the good grace to eat their husband when they’ve finished having rumpy pumpy with him. Women are far less compassionate. They choose to nag their husband, with death arriving only years, and sometimes decades, later. So said my cynical mates most of whom were not married because they were even uglier than me.

I think marriage is wonderful. However, I have learned a thing or two during my time of blissful wedded bliss that every man should be aware of. This is particularly dedicated to a staff captain friend of mine Pier Luigi who is about to marry a young lady called Beverley Pitsea who was a dance captain with us and a great friend of Heidi and I……so Pier Luigi…….and anyone else who is getting married……here is some words of wisdom from old John

First: women really genuinely do like to talk. Ideally, they like talking to you, but they will also talk at you if necessary. To a woman, talking is the most important aspect of a relationship. Diamonds and money and the regular availability of rumpy pumpy are insignificant by comparison. And, unlike rumpy pumpy a woman’s desire to talk does not diminish with the years. If anything……….. it increases.

Rules, I’m warning you, will be introduced to make sure the talking continues. If you’re not careful, eating dinner in front of the television (unless it’s Dancing with the Stars) will be banned. Returning from work, finding a dark corner and rocking back and forth, muttering to yourself, will be permitted only after a how-was-your-day exchange of not less than 22 minutes. Trying to adopt your own rules for the grounds upon which talking takes place (e.g. after watching the game/pub/rumpy pumpy) is pointless.

You will lose in the end, and the longer you resist, the more painful it will be. Resistance, my Italian Stallion mate, is futile, and this applies not only to conversation, but to all things marital.

If, for instance, your wife wants to healthier, it means you will have to healthier, too. Accept that you are going to have to eat vegetables. This will make her brilliantly happy. When she is happy, your life is much, much easier. And you can always do a McDonald’s drive thru when she’s at yoga. If she thinks you drive too fast, you do. If she insists it would be quicker to stop and ask directions, she’s right. You and I both know she’s wrong, but absolute rights and wrongs are as pointless as a climbing wall on a cruise ship. Perception is everything. Her perception. The sooner you grasp this, the sooner it will be all right.

The same applies to all the marital battle grounds: remote-control control; where to hang a picture and whether it’s straight; whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher and if it’s time for rumpy pumpy……..or not. It never is and even the mere suggestion is a stupid move…….. unless you want the nagging to start. And nobody wants that.

But women are priceless They’re the ones entrusted with childbirth. They can even do more than one thing at once. So, the secret to a successful marriage has nothing to do with sickness, health, poverty or death. It’s simply to give in early. That, and to make a vow, preferably during the service……………… never, ever to go to IKEA.

Here is a photo of Kye aged two weeks……….I had just told her that she was going on a Carnival cruise and that she would never ever……….have to go to Paris.


Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

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.