An Italian Dream

June 3, 2009 -

John Heald

It’s 4:45 am and I am feeling guilty so here I sit… Italy……in my underpants ….. paying 10 Euros per hour……to use the hotel’s internet system…… write you a blog. OK, I admit that I also woke at this time because I needed a poo but that is beside the point. You see I knew that today I would have no chance to write or post any photos so after dropping the kids of at the pool I knew I had to sit here and write to take the guilt away.

I am not sure just how good a blog its going to be this early in the morning especially as the seat I am sitting on is as uncomfortable as any I have ever sat on before……and you know how critical I am about comfy chairs. The hotel is nice but the chair was built for skinny super models’ bony bums not my flaccid arse. Why do Italians have to have these bloody high fashion ultra-modern chairs?……They may look chic but my arse has not had a more miserable time since it was abused by the 400-pound legendary Fatima during a Turkish massage.

And trying to be on a diet here is bloody impossible. Last night we all went for a meal at a restaurant called O Fortuna which is Italian for “you will be lucky if you get out of there in less than 3 days.” Honestly………the food just kept coming. And while us non-Italians could not believe the amounts of food served it was …….for the Italians amongst the group…….just a normal dinner that by law goes something like this.
Anti Pasta Cold
Drink Wine
Anti Pasta Hot
Drink Wine
Heated Argument
Pasta Dish 1
Drink Wine
Stare at women’s bottoms
Pasta Dish 2
Drink Wine
Argue who has the best bottom
Drink wine
Stare at more bottoms – doesn’t matter by now if its mans, woman’s or a dogs.
Drink Wine
Drink Grappa
Drink Grappa
Kiss each other twice and bugger off to mama

Of course to an Italian the most important element of communication are the gestures: the way they move their hands, hold their heads, move their shoulders, their facial expressions, as well as the way they use their eyes and mouths to make themselves understood. They simply cannot talk without their hands. If they are busy doing something else, they start moving shoulders or other parts of the body for emphasis.

Italians speak very loudly in public whether on the bus, in the street or on the phone. I used to think that this was a country with the highest rate of deaf citizens in the world …..but they just like to be heard by the person they are arguing with and their friends in the next town. A lot of foreigners think they are fighting when they talk that way but it’s just the way they are and what sounds like a man telling a woman that she has the arse of a Mongolian bog pig and that his mama’s pasta tasted divine while hers tastes like yak poo is in fact probably the man telling the woman that she is beautiful and that he would like to have rumpy pumpy with her in a gondola.

Yet, despite all of this I sometimes wish I had been born Italian………and if my fellow male bloggers are honest they probably do as well. So, let’s see if in fact your man has some “Italian” in him by taking John’s “Is He Italian?” quiz.

How Italian is your man?

After lunch, does he drink?
a) A cappuccino
b) a chamomile tea
c) an espresso while gently patting the bottom of the waitress that brings it

When driving on the autostrada, does he
a) Bowl along in the middle obeying the traffic laws to the letter
b) Edge tentatively into the slow lane and remain there unless absolutely necessary
c) Weave expertly through traffic, driving very close behind anyone doing less that 90 mph in the fast lane waving their hands around like a demented mime act and flashing his lights until they pull over

At what age did he leave home?
a) 18
b) 28
c) Hey, what’s the hurry?

Does he regard a scooter as
a) Fun at weekends
b) a cheap and efficient way to drive through Naples
c) An instrument of extreme manliness, especially when revved excessively at traffic lights and with its exhaust modified so as to make an ear-splitting noise and used to batter down pedestrians.

How many man-bags does he own?
a) One (and it’s more of a briefcase, really)
b) None. No way
c) 17 ……..all Dolce and Gabbana…..(and that’s just from his autumn/winter collection)

He is an Italian Officer on the Carnival Dream. Does he wear his Paul Shark?
a) Over his shirt
b) around his waist
c) tied jauntily, at an angle, over his shoulders because it’s the law
What kind of underpants does he wear?
a) Crumpled boxer shorts
b) Very tight, white Y-fronts, bought and lovingly ironed by his mother
c) His mother’s

On the beach, does he emerge from beneath his towel wearing?
a) Sand-bleached surfer-dude shorts
b) Swim shorts from La JC Pennyo
c) Tight black Speedos that look like they have a cucumber in them

At weekends, he helps out with the children by
a) Drafting in his mother (or, worse, his terrifying spinster sister)
b) Taking them for a pizza while you treat yourself to a nice massage
c) Remembering a very pressing business meeting that can take place only at the soccer stadium and is likely to last for at least four hours. Ciao Bella

OK, time to answer some questions. Here we go.

Robin in New York Asked:
John Please Reply (not really expecting you to, but it would be funny…..)
First of all, that picture of your sister and Kye is just angelic. And a very happy birthday to your Mum! I agree–are you SURE that’s your child? Heidi wasn’t canoodling with the postman?
My son leaves Monday June 1 for his very first Carnival cruise on the Miracle out of NY. As I mentioned earlier he is going with 3 of his friends (all 22) as a graduation gift to themselves. They all worked very hard and deserve it, but as you will find when Kye gets into her teen years, they get very obnoxious until they hit the mid 20s or so. I gave him my “I Ride the Funbus” t-shirt to wear from my House Party and told him it would get a lot of attention. He is of course laughing at me (because I am a complete and total idiot) that I am crazy–is there anyway you can alert the entire ship that he is aboard and make a giant fuss over him? Just joking, of course, but it would be a hysterical joke on him. His name is Andrew Starr and he’s in cabin 4150. Perhaps someone can come put him in his place. Thank goodness they have the cabin with the opening French Door–4 22 year olds in a cabin for the entire week? Send your most experienced Cabin Attendant! I wish you were CD on the ship so we could prank him, but you definitely deserve your off time alone with your wonderful family!

John Says:
Hello Robin
I hope Heidi wasn’t canoodling with the postman….because her name is Sheila. Great to hear from you and thanks for the kind words. I hope that your son has a wonderful time and I am going to send him a little something for having to wear your fun bus shirt. By the way…….Andrew Starr is a great name……he sounds like a PI……….Andrew Starr PI ……anyway I am sure he is having a great time and let me know what he thought of the cruise when you can.
Hope to see you soon and best wishes to all

Bill Asked:
John, Please Reply
First, I love reading your stories of family life now that your life is more normal and you spend more nights sleeping on land then on the water.
Your advice to husbands is spot on.
Now my question, we are looking at booking our third cruise (Sept. 08 Liberty, Oct 09 Paradise) for January of 2011 on the Splendor. We have a 3-year-old daughter and are seriously looking at booking a spa interior cabin on the Splendor. We looked all over and could not find a great deal of description of the benefits of booking the spa cabin. Can you describe the benefits? I know if we do not then it costs $20 per day to use some of the amenities. I guess I am asking if the extra cost is worth it.

John Says:
Hello Bill
I am glad you seem to be enjoying the blogs and I hope that my family stories have not been boring you. I will be back onboard soon and I will look forward to posting more seagoing blogs.
The spa cabins are amazing and, of course, are designed with your total well being in mind. They are finished in deep earthy browns with luxurious furnishings and in the bathroom you will discover a complimentary range of Elemis spa products. You of course then have a private elevator that will take you to the Cloud 9 Spa and the facilities that are also included such as the Therlopary……..Talopian……..Theleropina……… big pool bath that rejuvenates the mind, body and soul…………and makes everything else shrink as well. Seriously these cabins are some of our finest and while your three year old is enjoying the fun at Camp Carnival you can be relaxing at the most fantastic and relaxing spa at sea……………Cloud Nine.
If you need any other information please let me know
Best wishes to you and the family

Susan and Ralph Unkert Asked:
John – Please reply
You had me going there for a bit. I almost thought you were thinking about leaving. That would be awful for those of us who have cruised with you before and want to again and really awful for those who haven’t had the pleasure. Besides you could stage the “Idol” show from the ship. Think of the characters – Remember Mount Holly and Yu Poo from the Freedom Mediterranean cruise in May 2007? I’ll never forget it. I can’t tell you a single thing about any other cruise director we’ve ever had but you, we remember everything!
Best to Heidi, Kei and of course, you.

John Says:
Hello Susan and Ralph
I am sorry if my blog saying I was leaving Carnival to be the new Simon Bowell was taken seriously………oops. I certainly have no intention of leaving Carnival and will probably be hosting shows while leaning on my walking frame. I am here until Micky and Gerry tell me to bugger off. I remember Yu and Mount Holly like they were just with me…….what great memories and I hope they are for you as well. I hope that we get to recreate other memories very soon as I welcome you back on board.
Bet wishes to you both and hope to see you soon

Mark Asked:
John Please Reply
Hi John, I love asking the more the off beat questions like ship whistles, Carnival’s Italian Captains, and giving suggestions like a Photo Excursions…but here are two questions for all of us Tea lovers. I love my morning cuppa after that coffee is my drink until later in the afternoon when fun ship drinks are my choice.
1. What is Monkey Tea? I googled and found that it is harvested in China in the Province of Fujia – right?
2. I had one very poor cup of tea on the Carnival Liberty and didn’t bother checking out any other possibilities after that…I am wondering if Carnival stocks Twinnings, and perhaps something other than just Red Rose. Earl Grey or even a Breakfast Blend would be good. Like I said this maybe a poor question as I did not investigate further and just compensated with more fun ship drinks ; -)
Thanks John!

John Says:
Hello Mark
And we love your suggestions. Actually I am glad you mentioned the photo excursions. I mentioned this to our VP of Hotel Commerce Bob Woodry and Tour Operations VP Mico Cascais. They are both very interested in this idea and both thought it was something we could possibly offer. Now, the one problem we face immediately is that our staff working ashore could prove to be a concern with regard to immigration issues in the various ports of call. I hope though that we can continue to find ways to do this as it was a great plan.
Now, what is Monkey Tea? Well it’s an English brand called PG Tips and is probably the best selling English Tea in the UK. It was called monkey tea because of trained circus chimpanzees that were used to promote the product back in the 80’s and nineties. Here are a few examples.
I think our tea selection onboard could do with some improving and indeed we now offer Twinnings Breakfast blends as well as the girly, flowery herbal teas drunk by vegatableists and men in sandals and who have beards.
I am now going to see what I can do to get Monkey Tea onboard……if for no other reason for myself although I will be telling Cyrus Marfatia, our VP of food and beverage that thousands and thousands of bloggers demanded that I do.
Cheers mate and I remain at your service should you have any other questions

Michele Maragni Asked:

Hi John, Heidi & Kye, (PLEASE RESPOND)
First let me apologize for not writing sooner, To wish you and Heidi, all the Love Luck & Happiness, with the birth of your beautiful baby girl, I am Linda Hernacki’s best friend, Michele, I am the girl with the Beauty Salon, May I mention “YES”, I cut men’s hair and will have my scissors with me on my Dec 3rd, Dream cruise, It would be my pleasure, ha! Ha! My Mother and I have booked our cruise, not realizing it wasn’t the Bloggers, even though we will be on the ship with you (and must I say, we are very excited to meet you!) I have called Carnival quite a few times to see if we can be added with the Bloggers and Carnival does not know who the Bloggers booked their trip with! So this is a problem, they insist I write you directly! I just noticed Sharon , had a similar problem, can you please do the same for my Mother and I, we would love so much to be included with the other Bloggers, we would really appreciate your help!, thank you so much, God Bless! Michele & Eleanor

John Says:
Hello Michele
No apologies needed Michele and I want to thank you for taking your valuable time to read the blog and to post a question. Your kind words for Heidi and I and Kye were very kind.
Hopefully I will have had a haircut before the Bloggers Cruise and therefore you won’t need to be savage with your scissors. Please don’t worry now about the Bloggers Cruise. I know many people booked the cruise on the Carnival Dream before we released the date and we will work to make sure all those who want to be included in the events will in fact be able to. I will take care of gathering those names nearer the time. I look forward to seeing you then………maybe a quick trim ……………bring the scissors anyway.
Best wishes and see you soon

Cruiselion Asked:

I just can’t take it anymore!!!!!……So far every time you have mentioned it I have bit my tongue. How can you be so enraged when a cell phone talker invades your sanctum on only an 8 hour flight but think that it is “brilliant” that these same people can do the same on a 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 day (you get the point) cruise as I sit by the pool, buffet, dinning room trying to forget what a work cell phone ring sounds like while I am on a “brilliant” long awaited holiday on a “marvelous” Carnival cruise ship!!! John, while you are on ship you are working so a ringing cell phone is okay for you (sucks to be you working) but I am in retreat from reality mode that you and Carnival so brilliantly provide and then now you ruin it by letting these obnoxious cell phone user invade your so carefully or-castrated nirvana sanctum of fun and relaxation. Give them cabin voice mail (oh yes you do already!!) what more do they need, let them relax and understand the world will still revolve for a few days without their input on what the kids should wear to school the next day and if they don’t scream sell Sell SELL their Carnival stock just may go up while they are out of touch and Gary if left to do his thing he does best. Carnival gave the rest of us the sanctuary only a cruise can provide from the reality of life…. please remove the cell phone link. Ask Gary to please let us enjoy our Carnival cruise cocoon world from reality, competing to be like those non-customer caring airlines is not what Carnival cruisers want,….. John it would be BRILLIANT…. so ask for a blog reader’s poll.

John Says:
Hello Cruiselion
I love your passion and you have a great point. I must admit that I (as mentioned in previous blogs) hate the sound of a phone ringing will I am in a public place such as restaurants, bars and theatres. We do in fact have the 24-hour cell phone service available on the ship but to be very honest I have never seen a complaint about phones ringing during meal times or shows. I think this is probably due to the fact that many guests don’t want to have calls during their vacation and that many also realize that the calls (received or made) are not exactly cheap.
I will say this: If it was to become a problem then we would do something about it and make areas of the ship cell phone free such as the Serenity decks and if needed make a “please turn your cell phone off” announcement before the shows. So far the Motorola two-way radios have been more of a concern than cell phones. I wonder…….have any bloggers had problems or concerns with other passengers using cell phones? Please let me know if you have.
So, we will continue to monitor this situation Cruiselion and act accordingly if needed.
Best wishes

Rick and LeeAnne Asked:
Hi John (please reply if time permits…..)
First, a big congrats on the new baby….Kye. They are a gift. A few questions about CD’s if you don’t mind and have time. Do you know when there will be an updated CD schedule? Also, do you know who the CD will be on the 8/22/09 Glory, 11/22/09 Pride and 02/13/10 Dream? Yes, we have three cruises planned. BTW, what ever happened to “Wee Jimmy”? We were one two cruises in the past that he was the assistant, one when you were the CD. We had heard he was now a CD but that was a while ago.
Thanks for any info John and enjoy that newborn!
Rick and LeeAnne

John Says:
Hello Rick and LeeAnne
Thank you, she is a gift indeed and one we shall cherish. The CD schedule is pretty much finished but for reasons that we may change one or two schedules I am unable to post it. I can however answer individual questions on who will be the CD on specific cruises. I see that this is something you want to know so let me answer for you now.
The CD on your Carnival Glory cruise will be Ryan Fitzgerald a wonderfully energetic and fun CD who I know you will enjoy. The CD on your Carnival Pride will be Kirk Benning who is there now and from what people have told me here on the blog he is doing a brilliant job. The CD on your Carnival Dream cruise will be John Heald ….. he’s crap.
Wee Jimmy is now a fully-fledged cruise director and will soon be taking over the Carnival Freedom in August. I am very proud of him and he has quickly become a firm favourite with Carnival guests.
I thank you for the kind words and I will see you next year
Best wishes

Please reply
John, it looks like your wearing man-liner on your eyes, are you? LOL. Putting on make-up to do a 2-minute video.
PS; I sure would like to be a fly on the window of the car during that 5-hour ride you will be having with Gerry Cahill.

John Says:
Hello Big Ed
Man Liner my arse.
I will be reporting on my “traveling with Gerry” adventure ASAP. I have a list of questions and ideas all of which I promise to share with you ……..I was wearing nipple pads though
Best to you and the lovely Pat

George Asked:
John, please reply
You mentioned having the blog printed and placed in a folder in the library. That’s a step in the right direction, but I believe it will be hit and miss as to the number of people who read it. There are way too many things to do on a Fun Ship and a trip to the Library may not be on many cruisers’ “to do” list.
My suggestion, if at all possible, is to insert a copy of the blog in with the daily Carnival Caper. I believe everybody would be in everybody’s best interest. A second suggestion, but I prefer the first one, is to have the tech people put the blog on the in room TV and on select TV’s around the ship.
Congratulations on the new baby and good luck with the move.
George & Dianne

John Says:
Hello George and Dianne
What a wonderful suggestion although with some blogs and questions needing 30 pages or more it may put our paper costs up across the fleet. However, you have given me an idea. Maybe we could include a brief highlight of the daily blog in the daily Caper and tell everyone that if they want to read more they can log on to the blog thingy address and that copies are in the library. What do you think?
The TV is an even better suggestion and actually………maybe we could start this on the Carnival Dream……………….mmmmmmm.
Thanks for the great idea
Best wishes

Heather Albright Asked:
Hi John, Heidi and Kye, (Please reply)
First of all I want to say congratulations on your beautiful little girl. She is just precious! Treasure every moment with her because they grow up so very fast!
I am writing to give you my booking information for my cruise on the Carnival Pride leaving Saturday June 6th. I wrote to you earlier saying that this will be our honeymoon cruise and was wondering if there is a way we could get on the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed game and you said you would check into it for us.
Our booking number is —– and our room is —–. The reservation is under our names: Heather and Brandon.
If you could work your magic that would be awesome!! We already know we will have a memorable cruise on the Pride, but being on the game would make it even more memorable!
Take care of you girls and yourself as well! Wishing you all the best in the world
Heather Albright

John Says:
Hello Heather
I want to start by thanking you for the very kind words for Kye and Heidi and I… are very kind. I hope you have a fantastic honeymoon cruise and Jaime will make sure that it is even more special by getting you involved. Have fun and we all wish you a very happy honeymoon. Stay out of bed and get some rest.
Best wishes

That’s all for now. I am not sure as and when I can answer the next set. I will be travelling to Genoa tomorrow and as I am going my car I am not sure what tomorrow will bring. I will be staying on the Costa Pacifica tomorrow night and I hope to have Internet access so I can write. So, please be a little patient with me and I will get back to normal next week I promise.

Talking of Costa……..on Friday night the two stunning new Costa ships will be christened in the world’s first ever-double simultaneous naming ceremony. I will be there and will be blogging for Costa with little insights in English about the night. It all starts at 10 pm and here is Stephanie to tell you where to go in order to share in this brilliant night.

Hi Everyone,
To find out more about the event including how to watch live on June 5th visit:
Hope to see you on the next blogger’s cruise!

What else……..well many of you have enjoyed sailing to Dominica and Carnival has a wonderful relationship with this great port. We recently celebrated 20 years of taking our guests to enjoy Dominica and here is Vance to tell you how this was celebrated.

Hi Blogger’s,
Please visit our News blog to read the full story:
Carnival Cruise Lines’ 20-Year Relationship with Dominica Marked with Reception Aboard Carnival Victory. (Click on the headline to read more)



It’s time now to look at some very ugly men who used to be very ugly boys and were new to a block thingy. I guess I should pre-warn the lady bloggers (and maybe one or two male ones as well) that the following photos contain images of a boy band some of who are dressed in very tight clothes. Here then are some photos from the New Kids on the Thingy cruise on the Carnival Imagination which was a huge massive success.






Everyone is reforming……..Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and the list goes on. George Michael is reportedly going to join Queen as they reform. Will Michael come on in hot pants, or don an apron and do the vacuuming? Even if he plays it straight, a Queen reunion is sure to be one of the highest grossing tours ever. Maybe the Beatles are next.

I cannot begin to tell you how extraordinary a ship the Carnival Dream is…..oh…….I will be telling you next week for sure but not now and not while seated on this bloody chair ………..honestly………sitting on Gerard Depardieu’s nose would be more comfortable.

I have been in meetings yesterday and will be again today and will be spending time with Roger and Todd discussing the finer points of the entertainment we will be offering. I have videos with both Todd and Roger to post next week but for now here is the official press release which will tell you a little about the shows that Roger and his team has designed for the Carnival Dream and that will no doubt keep us at the top of the cruise industry’s entertainment ladder.

Shows Aboard New 130,000-ton Carnival Dream Set New Standard in Shipboard Entertainment

The massive scale of Carnival’s newest and largest “Fun Ship,” the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, combined with recent technological advancements and the incredible imagination of the line’s entertainment team, have created the most spectacular shows at sea that raise the bar on shipboard entertainment.

In addition to three spell-binding production revues that will feature elaborate sets and costumes, state-of-the-art video technology and sophisticated special effects, Carnival Dream will offer a multitude of entertainment choices, everything from solo singers, comedians, and live bands to “Fun Force,” the line’s high-energy acrobatic team, which will perform in different areas throughout the ship.

The first production show, titled “Dancin’ in the Street,” is a dramatic departure for the line, combining a gritty, urban feel with the latest in special effects, including groundbreaking neon lighting and video projection technology, to create a truly spectacular and memorable show.

“Dancin’ in the Street” makes maximum use of the Carnival Dream’s talented cast – particularly the “Fun Force” team which takes center stage in the show and entertains guests with break-dancing numbers, acrobatic Chinese pole routines and even a high-flying trampoline segment to leave audiences breathless.

Realistic sets with city scenes – exposed brick walls, street lights, and more – along with recognizable songs that run the gamut from pop and R&B to hip-hop and hard rock, make “Dancin’ in the Street” a truly one-of-a-kind show.

The second show, “Get Ready,” takes a musical look at various professions through a variety of styles and genres, from classic tunes of the Motown era to recognizable R&B hits and songs from some of the greatest vocal artists of all time, with elaborate production numbers themed to different occupations. Showcasing the Carnival Dream’s highly talented singers and dancers, the 50-minute show is sure to have audiences singing and dancing in the aisles.

In “Get Ready,” legendary hits such as “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Mustang Sally” are playfully employed to highlight transportation workers, while crowd-pleasing songs like “Please Mr. Postman” and “Signed Sealed and Delivered” offer a unique homage to mail carriers. Popular contemporary tunes including “Sledgehammer” and “Work to Do” are featured in the construction segment while “Rescue Me” and “Hold On, I’m Coming” round out a high-energy number focusing on rescue workers.

Like the name implies, the third show, “Xtreme Country,” is a toe-tapping salute to country and western music with a unique Carnival twist. The show opens, appropriately enough, with a visit to a rodeo with singers and dancers donning 10-gallon hats for a clap-along line-dancing number, followed by a stop at a ranch and a raucous saloon, with authentic western-themed sets and costumes. The show culminates in a memorable finale showcasing the U.S.’s familiar red, white and blue, ending with a magnificent fireworks flash.

In addition to these three lavish revues, Carnival Dream will offer a diversity of entertainment venues to suit every mood or taste.

These include the new Ocean Plaza which will not only offer a unique venue place for guests to relax and unwind but will also feature a wide variety of different entertainment options that will vary throughout the day and night.

Also offered on the Carnival Dream will be the line’s legendary comedy revues with hilarious comedians who have appeared on network talk shows and comedy clubs across the country. Carnival Dream will also feature Carnival’s Seaside Theatre, a massive LED screen on Lido Deck that will display movies, concerts, sporting events and other programming.

Other options include solo singers along the Dream Street promenade, a dedicated karaoke lounge, rollicking sing-a-longs in Sam’s piano bar, steel drum and Calypso bands on Lido Deck and live bands playing everything from rock to country to disco.

Again…………I need to compose myself and spend a day writing a special Carnival Dream blog and also post some video footage as well. But for now, I will have to leave you with some more photos of your Carnival Dream which I hope you enjoy. It’s hard for me to label the photos as the areas are still three months from completion but these pictures will hopefully act as an appetizer to those I will post after my next visit which will be during the hand over ceremony in early September. Anyway, here then is a Dream montage.
















I miss Heidi and Kye very much……I don’t want to write anymore about this for now but I think about them every minute of the day………..I used to think about rumpy pumpy every minute of every day………….goodness how things change.

I really enjoy being involved in the planning and meetings for the Carnival Dream even if only on a very small basis. I would like to be much more involved in the design and construction of the next ship the Carnival Magic and any further ships Mr. Arison gives us. I feel I have a lot to offer not only with my ideas but with yours as well and as Carnival continues to provide the most fun and best value for money cruises in the world …….I hope that I can help make our dreams come true.

I have just gone back and read the earlier comments I wrote about Italian men…….I was worried that I might have offended them. I once wrote something (can’t remember what) in a blog that one of the Italian captains took offense to. I want to make it clear that I have nothing but respect for my La Dolce Vita crewmembers……especially those who are responsible for keeping us safe in the water during our cruises. I remember this captain saying that Italians always get a hard time in the press, movies and on TV.

Well, if the Italians think I am giving them a hard time, what do they think the French get?

I apologize. I’m honestly sorry if the Italians really believe that I don’t like them, and just to show contrition and to try to set the record straight here are some of the things I love about them. Food — obviously. It’s almost impossible to eat out anywhere in the western world and not eat Italian.

Spaghetti is now the most popular children’s food in the world apart from a McBurgerthingy, but then the Italians think this is a ghastly practical joke at their expense — that all pasta cooked north of Trieste is a mortifying insult to their mothers.

Fine, but what about their culture? No arguments here. I admire Italian culture. It is beyond compare, the finest in all the world. Italians themselves, though, never get to see it because the queue of foreigners is longer than the passengers trying to get off in a port on the new Shopping Mall-Sized Lines Everywhere Of the Seas. And I didn’t help by sending thousands of people on tours when we were in the Med who turned the renaissance into the wearing of T-shirts sporting The Statue of David’s penis.

I admire and am jealous of the Italians eight-hour lunches under an awning of vines; wolf-whistling from Vespas; huge families, flirting and friendship. I love the mafia and the Godfather movies and Tony and the rest of the Sopranos. Italians hate us for it. They though do have appallingly crap television. We’d like to have crap television, too, if we could have an Italian life, as well. We love their corruption and the black economy; it’s so sensible, so alternative. A captain who was from Naples once told me that Naples would be the most popular city in the world from which to run a business if you could only get a telephone connected.

How can you not love a country led by the jolly little nymphomaniac billionaire and ex- cruise ship entertainer Sivio Berlusconi
Italians seem to live in a sunnier, brighter, sexier place. They are unique and I do hope any Italian reading this understands that I have nothing but admiration for them, their country, their food and the ships that they build.

Let’s go to Genoa.

Your friend

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.