A Blog Down Under

August 19, 2009 -

John Heald

I was standing with Wee Jimmy at the coffee shop this morning when I guest shook my hand and told me they had sailed with me before and then said, “So, don’t take this the wrong way”…….as soon as he said that I knew I wasn’t going to like what was said next because no good can come from beginning a sentence that way..

It’s the same when a guest says “Don’t be offended, but” ……..or…….”I don’t mean to bother you.”

Anyway, the guest carried on telling me he had cruised with me on the Carnival Triumph and “it seems like you’ve put on some weight.” Then he quickly added: “But you look good still.”

There were just so many things wrong with that, I didn’t know where to begin. First of all, is there ever a right way to tell someone they’ve gained weight? Most people will have this information already. What good does pointing it out do? And considering I was on the Carnival Triumph last in 2003 and bearing in mind that I haven’t eaten any carbs for three months and my poo is the color of concrete I think I had every right to take his cappuccino he had just ordered and pour it down the front of his underpants……………how bloody rude.

Where else in the world except on a cruise ship and except said to a cruise director would this guy be able to say things like this. Does he go to hotel he once stayed in seven years ago, check in and while doing so tell Mary the front desk manager that compared to last time he stayed here she has become the size of a Hummer…of course he bloody wouldn’t.

Anyway, turns out that this guy is the same guest whose letter was one of those that I had read out at the Morning Show yesterday………..here it is.

Letter 5 pg 1

letter-5-pg-2

Now, as you will see from that letter there are some valid points but one ludicrous one as well. Mr. Slimfast truly believes that we should have a curfew after 11 pm for all children aged 16 and under. Ignoring the fact that he had opened the conversation by telling me I was a fat bastard and depressing the urge to boil his genitals in my cappuccino I sat with him and explained that we were a family cruise line and a curfew would never happen. He promptly told me that he would never sail Carnival again then………and would instead go to Celebrity who according to Mr. Slimfast do indeed have a curfew after 11 pm for the kids. I told him that I had never heard of this but he was adamant it was true ………….. is it? I could investigate more but I don’t really have the time so I thought I would ask my blogger friends……….have any of you heard of this?

I did sympathize with him about the running down the corridor thing. This is something that we could do a better job with and I did in fact ask for parents help today at the show by asking them to remind the kids not to make noise in the corridors at night. But having recently just stayed in a guest cabin during my handover period here I know that it’s not just the kids that make noise……..it’s the big kids as well.

As for the elevator and kids pressing the buttons on every floor……well…….although I can see how that can be annoying, in the end it’s just kids being kids…. unlike the little bastards who a few cruises ago were spitting on musicians from the top of the atrium ………well it’s just a bit of fun…………you remember fun don’t you Mr. Slimfast?

I was a naughty boy and so was my friend Alan and some of the things we did were pretty bad but never as bad as those carried about by the school bullies Shane Ibrahim and Dave Pattern. One kid having made use of the school toilet found that he was superglued to the seat. Pattern and Ibrahim had done such a thorough job that the poor lad whose name was Peter Edwards had to be carried out by firemen still sitting on the stainless steel pan, pants lowered, and taken to hospital where strong chemicals were required to unstick his buttocks……..most of us stood watching in horror and many of us stood thinking……….I wonder if he had time to flush. Obviously we all knew who had done this but none of us wanted our heads to get a close up look at the bottom of the school toilet so we never said anything to the teachers.

After talking to Mr. Slimfast I realized that this was a chap who hated kids……and that’s fine……..some people do. I don’t want him to cruise with Celebrity and I told him that maybe he should try us again when the kids are at school. After all he said he thought the food, service and entertainment were excellent. But he was adamant that Brand X will be getting his business because they lock up the kids after 11 pm. I doubt that’s true ………… but if Celebrity or any other cruise line are doing this ………..then they are idiots. Mr. Slimfast’s dream is an adults only cruise line. My dream is a Playboy charter.

Let’s get on with today’s questions…………here we go.

Donna Asked:
John (please reply)
THANK YOU!!! For a wonderful cruise…sorry you were not feeling well. I would have written sooner but after we left Freedom on 8/1–we headed to Disney…and had a great time there.

I cannot thank you enough for all of the laughter you shared with all of us…we made our tablemates go to the shows and everyone said they never enjoyed themselves and laughed so hard.

This is our 11th cruise and I never thought a CD mattered…all were the cookie cutter same cruise director well you are definitely not one of those…

The only thing I want to ask…is why you were not at the final show…were you that ill? I hope not but you said you did not feel well…so we were all concerned…please let us know…

My husband is trying to book a cruise now on Freedom for when you will be there…but will you be doing any shows etc…or just administrative stuff???

Thanks again John…by the way your daughter is so lucky to have a Dad who enjoys life & laughter…those are the best gifts a parent can impart upon their children.

John Says:
Hello Donna
It has been a challenging cruise so far and as I sit here ……..in my underpants ………..at 6:45 am…………..I must admit that I feel totally knackered ……which is an English word for ……..ummm……..tired out I guess. Yet, my energy levels just rose after reading your comments and I am so thankful to you for taking the time to write. Yes, that last night was when the fever hit me. As you probably heard at the debarkation talk I was struggling then between coughing fits and sneezes and having taken some laxatives that day as well I was quite scared to cough!

Seriously, I hate missing shows and can probably count on one hand the number I have missed in the many years I have done this. Even when I had Bells palsy I still did the job……but with a fever…….well……let’s just say I would have been as entertaining as toilet brush.

I am a true believer that a great cruise director really can make a difference and at Carnival I truly believe all of our CD’s are the best in the industry. I guess I won’t be seeing you here on the Carnival Freedom as I leave on Sunday but I hope you and your husband cruise again very soon.
Thanks again for making my morning
Best wishes to all
John

Joyce Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY
My very first cruise, at the ripe old age of 15, was on the Mardi Gras in 1973 and since then I’ve been on more than 35 cruises including the Festivale, the Glory, and the Valor among others. I only recently reached platinum status because so many of my cruises were before they kept track of past guests!

In answer to the question, does it matter who the CD is, I actually booked a cruise on one of your ships because I’d heard so much about you on the message boards. I had already been to those ports of call many times so my sole purpose in going on that cruise was to see if you really were THAT good and you were! How wonderful that you’ve undertaken the enormous task of this blog so that we can get a daily dose of your vast knowledge about cruising and your wonderful sense of humor.

I just got home from the Imagination (June), I’m booked on the Inspiration in September and just to hold me over the long hot summer, I’m booked on my 6th trip to Alaska on August 19th with 28 of my closest friends. I work for the fire department and every year, 2-3 dozen of my firefighters and their friends come with me on the Carnival Spirit. You really should consider coming along on one of the few Carnival ships that have not experienced the side-splitting joy of the Bedtime Story.

Aside from you, my favorite of all CDs was Michael Mullane – we only had him once, in 2005 on the Spirit, I believe, and he was in your league. I wondered whatever happened to him. Did my group of 35 firefighters scare him off?

Keep up the great work as Carnival’s ambassador…. you do a terrific job and I look forward to the next time we meet.
J. Taylor in Orlando, Florida

John Says:
Hello Joyce
My goodness how things have changed since the Mardi Gras but I am sure you have many happy memories of your time onboard. I am so very humbled by your words of kindness and every time I walk out onto the stage I do my very best to make sure that I provide everyone with some laughter and fun so it’s great to hear from people like yourself who appreciated the effort.

The bedtime story is something I always enjoy doing and even though I have often thought about doing something else instead, it seems many want me to keep doing it ….. so I do.

Michael Mullane was a good friend of mind and we miss him here. However, he is still doing what he does best, being a cruise director except now he is doing it for Princess Cruises. He has a great voice and a charming personality and a heart the size of Texas so it’s no surprise that he made a big impression on you.

I am glad you are enjoying the blog and may I take this opportunity to thank you and all the firefighters you work with for the fantastic job you do each and every day.
My best wishes to you and the family
John

Kerri Asked:
John- (Please reply)-
I just wanted to let you know that I booked the Carnival Dream sailing 12/3/09 – based on the ship and the itinerary. I did not realize until a week later that it was your bloggers cruise. My husband and I cruise at least 3 times a year (always with Carnival); take our kids (19 & 22) on at least 1 cruise each year and we just got back from sailing our 20th cruise. We sailed the Carnival Pride with 23 family members. Everyone had a great time. We have had you as a cruise director a few times many years ago and my husband really enjoyed talking to you during the day in the cigar lounge. My concern is that my husband and I will not be included in the bloggers “exclusive events”. Please let me know if it’s possible for us to be included in the blogger’s events.

John Says:
Hello Kerri
I am sure you must be excited to be sailing on your Carnival Dream and I hope you have been enjoying the photos…….there are more today. I am glad your husband and I got to share some cigar time together and maybe we can get to do the same in December. Please send your booking number and names etc with cabin numbers marked for STEPHANIE to the blog here and we will add you to the list so you can attend the events.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon
Best wishes
John

Susan V Asked:
Hi John:
I know you are getting anxious to head back to Heidi and Kye for a vacation before heading to the Dream.
JOHN, PLEASE REPLY:

My husband, Scott and I had the pleasure of seeing Kim Harrison, one of the best comedians Carnival has down in Ocala this past weekend and we had a wonderful time. She did an outstanding show and threw in a lot of praises for Carnival as well. We found out from her that she will actually be on our cruise in September on the Glory! We were thrilled and wanted to see if you had something to do with that. I dropped a hint when you asked about favorite comedians and I mentioned her.

We found out from her that she will be on our cruise (Carnival Glory 9/5) from the beginning until we stop in Belize (3 days). We wanted to find out if her schedule allows, could she join us for dinner. We would love to invite her but wanted to make sure it was allowed and how we could arrange it as well.

Here is a picture Scott took of Kim Harrison and I after her show in Ocala!

Also, I need your help. My mother lost her 2nd husband last year after taking care of him being bedridden to for over 2 years. Early this year, she met a wonderful man whom also had lost his wife 2 days before my step dad passed away and have fallen in love. They will be cruising on the Inspiration 10/10 and I need to find out if in Cozumel, they have golf carts that will take them down the pier since it’s so different from when we were there last time and there used to be somewhat of a mall to walk through that was air conditioned. Mom has Fibro Myalgia really bad and some days she can’t walk long distance. We want her to have a great time but I worry about the long pier. Any information would be wonderful.

John, one of these days we hope to have you as our cruise director! We will be on the Dream next year 9/11 and maybe Todd will be due for a vacation during that time and you can fill in. Hey, I can DREAM (no pun intended!) can’t I.

Again, thank you for all your hard work and dedication to this blog and all you do for people. I know some are just downright nasty but you always handle it with class!
Thanks again!
Susan & Scott

John Says:
Hello Susan and Scott
I have not had the pleasure of working with Kim Harrison but from what everyone tells me she is hysterically funny and has quickly earned the mantel of Carnival Cruise Lines 1st lady of comedy a position previously held by Al Ernst.

I was sorry to hear about your step father passing away but it seems that Mum is back on her feet again and will be sailing on the Carnival Inspiration soon. There are no golf carts in Cozumel but there are very fit young men who will use “pedal” power to get you to the end of the pier. I believe the cost of you sitting in a carriage type contraction is $5 each way but certainly check the price before the three-minute journey starts. Many people use this service as the pier is indeed quite long.

There is no need to go downtown as remarkably the Puerta Maya village has been completely restored and has three wonderfully fun Mexican restaurants and 50 plus shops as well including all the recommended stores. They will have a great time I promise as will you on your Carnival Glory cruise.

I truly hope we get to see each other one day and if there is anything else I can do for you or Mum please let me know
Best wishes
John

Justin asked:
Hi John
(Please reply)
I guess I have been a bit of a stalker reading your blog since you probably started I believe that was a couple years ago–I am just amazed how much people take you for granted in terms of the help and service you provide on this blog!! Anyways I am planning on taking my 8th Carnival Cruise in November and before I decided my destination I was wondering if you would be CD on any ships during this time period..
Thanks for all the great laughs and reads over the years!!
Justin

John Says:
Hello Justin
I laughed when you said you were “stalking” me through the blog…….keep stalking please. I will be serving as a cruise director on the Carnival Legend through October and then have planned visits to a few other ships and then your Carnival Dream inaugural celebrations. I doubt therefore we will be together this year but I hope that when you do book you will let me know so I can send you a stalking gift!
Thanks for the kind words
Best wishes
John

Michael Asked:
Dear Julio … (PLEASE REPLY!!),
I had the greatest privilege last week 8/1/09 to sail with you as my cruise director aboard the Carnival Freedom. This was my second time cruising with Carnival and up until this cruise, I had no idea how cruise directors were suppose to handle their job until I had you. I do not have a slightest hunch on what his name was or any activities he had plan aboard the ship, but I know now I will remember you and this cruise forever. Comparing this cruise to the last one aboard the Carnival Miracle 2 years ago, this cruise was by farrrrr more memorable all thanks to you. Although there were some delays and incidents that were out of yours and the carnival’s control, you’ve made it better with your calm reassurance and professionalism to all guests aboard (excluding some knuckleheads on board with their silly conspiracy theory, which is inevitable). There should be a rehab class for all people leaving the Carnival cruise…because today I’ve been suffering some post carnival cruise syndrome , 1 day after returning home, I have tendency to throw my towel on the bathroom floor..Hoping to have it picked up and folded later on in the day… having my bed neatly folded and tucked in with a cute towel animal looking at me upon my return, looking for LIDO when i press the 9th floor button in my elevator, and endless more.

My question to you Julio is, can you post your schedule on the blog in the near future of all the cruises you will be directing? I would love to join you again as my CD aboard another Carnival ship, you are a classy English gentleman with a superb sense of humor.

I look forward to joining you once again! If you and Dick Short ever decide to recruit people to join your gaggle, please don’t hesitate to ask me!
Sincerely,
Michael Zheng

John Says:
Hello Michael
Thanks mate for writing those wonderful words. The whole situation in Costa Rica was a difficult one and I am glad to hear that you appreciated the way the shipboard team handled it. There were many conspiracy theories as to why the guests could not get of the ship. These ranged from a military coup to a pair of my underwear being the cause of us calling in a Hazmat team. Anyway, thanks so much for your understanding.

It was strange being called Julio all cruise long. I said it a the Welcome Aboard Show and everyone………even the staff started calling me it and some are in fact still calling me Julio even now.

I will shortly be posting my 2010 schedule. There are a few things I need to sort out first but I will be putting it here on the blog thingy soon so please keep reading.

I hope the post cruise depression disappears soon and maybe booking another one will lift the spirits.
Thanks again for the great post and kind words
Best wishes
Julio

Tim Kriebel, MCPO US Navy (Ret) Asked:
John: PLEASE REPLY
Congratulations!! In addition to being Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador, you are now Carnival’s Senior Maitre ‘D’. How nice of you to be taking all those requests for tables by the window, tables for two, etc.

There was a thread started on CC last week (actually started by Host Mach) about the folks who use the blog only to get something special for themselves. The one that is particularly grating to most folks on the thread is the asking for gifts, or table reservations because they saw it on CC (bogus, by the way). Today’s questions are a classic example of this. Most of the posters on the thread cannot believe the audacity of these folks. In fact if that is what the majority of the “John, Please Reply” posts are to be on the blog, reading the questions is boring and useless, and I personally won’t be reading that part of the blog.
Now, consider this for a moment. What are you saying to the rest of the bloggers who submit their requests for dining, wait until they get on the ship to see what time, table etc they got, stand in line to see the Maitre ‘D’ when they get aboard if they require changes ….you know, those of us who do what the system normally requires and have been doing it for (in our case 22 Cruises on Carnival).

Quite frankly you are “peeing in the corn flakes” of a lot of loyal cruisers who understand how things work and follow the procedures…and it is really angering a lot of folks.

Now, I know you are a very generous man and very accommodating person, and I understand your desire to make everyone happy, but this one is angering a lot of folks.

By the way, we and two folks we met on a previous CCL cruise will be joining you on the Dec 3 sailing of the Carnival Dream and I expect mountains of gifts from you delivered to our cabin, dinner served on our Balcony, a table for six in the center of the lower level of the aft dining room and anything else you can give us!!!! (Tongue in cheek). After all, I read it on Cruise Critic!

John Says:
Hello Tim
It does seem that the table assignment favors I do are getting ever more popular. I understand what you are saying Tim but respectfully I disagree. While there are one or two people who were writing in and demanding……rather rudely……..for a table, etc. the majority who have been asking are old friends of Carnival and the blog. For example I have a couple on this cruise with me, Mr. and Mrs. Ord who have been married 57 years and are both celebrating their 82nd and 85th birthdays. They wrote to me asking for a table for two and it was a real pleasure to be able to help them get their wish. What I have decided to do is not to post or to reply to anymore demanding or curt requests for tables or free gifts…….I got as fed up with that as you and many others. However, I don’t want to punish the true followers of the blog and those who genuinely have a need for my help because of a few people who feel that they expect something for free. I could get very defensive about the fact that people get angry at me as you stated because I help others ….. but I will just say this……..that’s their opinion and while I think it’s nonsense….I will respect it as I hope you will mine.

Please pass this to the thread thingy on Cruise Critic and send everyone my best and…..if there is anything I can do for someone and if that something is genuine and asked for graciously then it will be an honor to help.

I have taken your requirements for your Carnival Dream cruise into consideration and will be able to accommodate them all and as a bonus I will be placing a mirror on the ceiling and a photo of me naked on the dresser.
Enjoy the cornflakes
Best wishes
John

kiciaski Asked:
Hi John, (please reply)
Hope the cruise is going well.
Concerning the e-docs. I usually have to use Internet Explorer to print them because Mozilla Firefox doesn’t work and also it has to be after final payment.

You mentioned this in today’s blog “Stockholders do indeed get an onboard credit and other rewards.” We do get the onboard credit which we are very grateful for but what are the other rewards.? We’ve never gotten anything extra but we didn’t know we should be looking for something.

I’m also interested in having the dividers removed on the Carnival Dream. We have friends sailing with us on the Valentine’s Day cruise and they are in an 8G (7456) next to our 9A (7454) and we are hoping to have the divider open so we can have a giant balcony.
Thanks John,
George and Linda

John Says:
Hello George and Linda
I will ask someone to contact you regarding the shareholders benefits as I am not sure exactly what they are. I am not surprised that you are both shareholders though as I know just how loyal you are to this great company. I am sure we can arrange the “big balcony” option for your February cruise and I hope you will remind me a week or so before you sail. And I will be there of course so can you also remind me to buy Heidi a Valentine’s card.
As always I send my best wishes to you both
John

Dutch By Association Asked:
Hello John, (PLEASE REPLY)
As always, love your blog and all of the coverage of the sister-lines. You give me something to aspire to each and every day!
You mentioned you couldn’t find the Pound Sterling symbol so here it is… to copy/paste any time you might need it:

Take good care, and feel free to drop by on my blog any time you would like! I just had a photo contest and the winner had their photo put at the top of my blog where it will remain for at least a month. Many of the other images were incredible as well!

On to the question that requests your response-

Do you know if there is any chance of more of the 2010 Carnival Spirit sailings out of Seattle to Alaska will get permission to go to Glacier Bay National Park? A good friend of mine has a Future Cruise Credit through Carnival and would like to bring me along (I’m always up for trying a sister-brand) but I would absolutely love to go to Glacier Bay as I say Tracy Arm this spring in Alaska. Is there any chance that these permissions will later be obtained? The September date which does go to Glacier Bay does not work with when she needs to use her FCC by.
Appreciate your help my friend! Take good care and my best to your lovely wife and daughter!
Cheers!
DBA

John Says:
Hello DBA
Thanks for the ₤ sign and congratulations on the continuing success of your HAL blog and the brilliant photos you place there. I am sure many of our bloggers will enjoy reading it and seeing the photo contest winner.

I will have to check on your Glacier Bay National Park question as I am not sure. I will be back with an answer in a few days. It sounds amazing and one day I truly hope I get to experience Alaska for myself.

Thanks again for all the kind words and I will write again soon with the answer to your question.
Best wishes
John

Tanya Asked:
John please respond:
First off, I found your blog a couple months ago when we booked our first cruise on the Splendor for July 26. We have been home a week and I am so sad about not being back on the ship. We had the best vacation we have ever had. My parents were there, my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary and my 2 teen boys were there. It was absolutely the most amazing week ever.

Everything (almost) was perfect. First the good, we filled out the comment cards but there wasn’t enough room for all the good comments. Could you please pass on to whoever is in charge of the crew that we were so impressed with the level of service they gave us. Our waiter Michael was the best! The food was great. We never made it to the supper club (next time) but we didn’t feel like we missed out because we enjoyed the main dining room so much.

Also our drink waiter German was amazing! He made the cruise so enjoyable. He came to our table every night at dinner with a different puzzle for us to figure out. Whenever he seen us in a different area of the ship, he went out of his way to come say hi. We would love to find out where his next assignment is and go on that ship!

The only complaint I would have would be with the club O2. We signed my son up the first night, talked with the director and got the schedule for the week. My son has aspergers and so doesn’t always feel comfortable in large groups of people he doesn’t know. We had a hard time finding the director at the activities, there were activities listed that he would go to and they never started. He ended up hanging out with us the whole time, which is NOT a problem, after all it was a family vacation. There were lots of teens on board that seemed to be having a great time. Things ended fine, he had a great time and talks about going on another cruise. I am not sure what we could have done differently with the director but maybe it’s worth passing on to her about kids with social issues and drawing them into the group a little more.

The Splendor was beautiful and we are looking forward to our next cruise, whenever that may be. Thanks for taking the time to answer all the questions people send and Kye is so cute! I am sure you can’t wait to get back to her!

John Says:
Hello Tanya
I am so glad that you have been enjoying the blog and I am very happy to hear that your cruise was so special. I have sent your words of praise to the Hotel Director and he will make sure that everyone you mentioned will be shown your fantastic comments about our friendly staff.

I have also taken the time to send in your disappointing comments about our usually heralded Club O 2 program. I was so surprised to read this and I sincerely apologize that this was not what either you are I expected. It seems we may have some issues here and I promise that they will be met and improvements made. I would also like to ask that if you have the time, maybe you could send me some more details on what your sons challenges are . I won’t post them but instead send them to the Club 02 directors so that if they have a teen who also has the same condition they will be better educated as to what to do.

Once again, thanks for the great post and I send my best wishes to you and your family.
John

That’s all for today. Please keep the comments coming and remember most importantly that if you want me to reply please mark the top of the post with JOHN – PLEASE REPLY. I read all the comments but it will be easier for me if you do this. Thanks in advance.
I need to take a break – so I am off to the pool.

From: FREEDOM HOUSEKEEPING
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 5:43 PM
To: FREEDOM HOUSEKEEPING MANAGER; FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES; FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; FREEDOM CHIEF ENGINEER; FREEDOM STAFF CHIEF ENGINEER; FREEDOM HOTEL ENGINEER
Cc: FREEDOM HOUSEKEEPING; FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR; FREEDOM ROOM SERVICE; FREEDOM BRIDGE
Subject: FWRD Pool closed


Good Afternoon

Please be advised that the FWRD pool have been closed from 17:30 due to fecal accident, until further notice.

Thank you and regards
Daniel Greyling
Asst Hskp Mgr

OK, I feel better now after my water birth.

Time for today’s photos of your Carnival Dream so let’s have a look down Promenade Deck but before I do I wanted to post these thoughts on our new flag ship from a friend of mine and Carnival employee who visited the ship last week. Fabrizio Stroopiard is one of our inspectors and has 40 plus years worth of knowledge in the cruise industry and is a man of few words…………this is what he had to say in an e mail to me.


Hello John

Some more thoughts from CARNIVAL dream. Atrium is amazing (the best in the fleet) love the stage location, feels a little like AIDA’s theatrium. Main Lounge is wonderful and side sight lines are good the bigger opening on the balcony gives the room an even grander feeling.

The deck space is fantastic I thought losing the dome would be a negative but on the contrary the space looks huge and the much larger screen is a plus. Ocean Plaza and outdoor deck 5 are great spaces the ship will be a huge success.

Ciao
Fabrizio

So, as those brilliant words of praise echo in our minds let’s have a look at those photos.

Dream Decor 1

Dream Decor 2

Dream Decor 3

Dream Decor 4

Dream Decor 5

Dream Decor 6

Dream Decor 7

Dream Decor 8

Dream Decor 9

Dream Decor 10

Dream Decor 11

There will be more tomorrow as we look at the Ocean Plaza………….have you booked your Carnival Dream yet?

Amazing scenes here in St. Thomas as the sun continued to shine. There were fanfares, dancing girls and fireworks because…….I got off the ship. For the first time since June 24……I touched dry land. I was ashore for 45 minutes as I needed to buy essentials such as toothpaste, soap, deodorant and hemorrhoid cream. And oh yes……….I had to buy Heidi a gift………so I got two tubes of Preparation H and some latex gloves……..I am a generous man.

I think……touch wood…..that we may have managed to turn the guests around. By me I mean the brilliant crew here on the Carnival Freedom who despite the changes of itinerary and the uncertainty of where we are going have continued their extraordinary friendly service……..this and the sunshine yesterday and today have I feel won the guests over. Obviously I am going to say that in adverse times onboard the cruise director is as important as anyone …….apart from the captain and the chef that makes the Chocolate Melting Cake. It’s the CD who sets the tone and he or she must keep the information coming in a calm, relaxed and if the situation allows…..a fun way. This is what I always try and do. And this also leads me into today’s question for you.

I was talking to a guest today who told me that they think I should inject some humor into the lifeboat drill. Now obviously and I must admit, totally automatically I started to mouth off about safety and humor go together like cornflakes and urine (thanks again for that great reference Tim) but as I was expressing why this could not be done the guest politely interrupted me. He told me that they fly Southwest a lot and that often during the safety pre flight drill the flight attendant and or captain would add a touch of humor to the proceedings…….I was flabbergasted at this.

Now maybe they do this because they, like me, know that you the number of people who have survived a plane crash because their tray table and seat back were in the upright position is bugger all. However……….it got me thinking. Would you, the guest, be offended if at the beginning and at the end I was to make some humoristic comments.

The substance and importance and facts of how to save your life at sea would remain clear and present ……….but would the odd funny quip be out of place and ……….if you have flown Southwest…..what kind of things do they say. Please let me see your comments on this……I am intrigued.

I enjoy talking about Carnival as a corporation and the blogs that our sister companies are producing. Often I talk about Holland America and Cunard with a dollop of Seabourn, P&O and AIDA thrown in.

The one company I hardly ever mention is P&O…….Australia. I was reminded of this when as I was coming back from ashore today a guest shook my hand and asked me what part of Australia I was from. This happens to Brits a lot and to Aussies to and while it’s an honor for an Aussie to be thought of as a Brit ……..for the Brits, being called an Aussie is only one step away from being called French.

Anyway……we will talk more about the differences between them and us in a moment. But first have a look at the P&O Australia blog. One thing for sure is that sailing with hundreds of Aussies sounds like loads of fun and fun Oz style as well. Make sure you read their “meet the crew” and learn more about our Australian cousins…….some of which I know read this blog thingy.

Here is the link thingy.

http://pacificdawn.pocruises.com.au/

And in December the ship known as Ocean Village 2 will be heading down under to become the Pacific Jewel. Preparations for this are already underway and as you will see they have started a new blog about her journey from the UK to Australia……..I think you will find it fascinating.

http://pacificjewel.pocruises.com.au/

I often here about the atmosphere that can be found onboard the P & O Australia ships It is led by the top “Sheila” and CEO Ann Sherry whose sense of humor and spirit sets the tone and I hope one day to experience a P&O Aussie cruise for myself.

We Brits are of course very similar and Australia was populated by the us of course. But there are subtle differences.

Aussies live outdoors, have teak-tough bodies, huge muscles, and beards, drink 10 cans of Fosters for breakfast and believe sport is all…..and that’s the women. The Brits, by contrast, live on the sofa, drink tea and watch 10 hours of TV a day.

Because Australia is so hot and full of snakes and spiders that crawl up the toilet and bite you on the arse killing you dead, its people tend to spend a lot of time in the sea. The average Aussie has tousled blonde hair, a shark’s tooth necklace and a surfboard. The average Briton smokes a pipe and grows potatoes in his garden and will have spotted dick for tea.

The most dangerous wild creature we have in the UK is the squirrel…..oh……and Amy Winehouse. As mentioned above Australia has more poisonous thingies than ………… well ……… anywhere. And as one of the Australian dancers was telling me there is a new threat. Australia who are warning people not to flush their tropical fish down the lavatory.

I know several people who keep tropical fish and none has ever felt the need to put his often very expensive collection in the toilet. Apparently, though, that’s what they do in Australia……and now one particular breed, called the Platys, has made it to the ocean, where it’s wreaking bloody havoc.

It was bred to live in an aquarium because it suffers from what I call Napoleon ……….or “Captains” syndrome – an inferiority complex resulting from the fact that it’s about six feet short of being a shark. It is also tough and bright. Not only is it capable of dealing with the complexities of a U-bend in the toilet, but it can also swim through several miles of Australian poo just so it can get into the Pacific, where it is now eating fish, eating frogs and generally swimming around shouting: “G’dday mate…….. my arse.”. And it’s now started eating Aussie swimmers as well.

But mostly I am jealous of the Aussies. They have such a wonderful outlook on life and don’t give a damn about anything. They go to work in shorts and that’s a good enough reason to hate them. They have cookers in their kitchens but choose to cook their prawns in the garden.

But mostly I am jealous of them because their men are all good looking and they beat us at sports……all sports. Swimming, rugby and of course my beloved cricket. Tomorrow it’s the final round of the cricket equivalent of the Super Bowl………Australia vs. England ………….it’s called The Ashes.

I won’t bother trying to explain cricket to you all because by the time I would be finished many of you would have died.

I will say this though. Beating the Australians at cricket would be like my local basketball team “The Basildon Bastards” beating the Miami Heat. Beating them would be the single most deliriously joyful thing ever …..except of course if Gordon Brown our Susan Boyle look a like Prime Minister announces that the British have invaded France and set free the oppressed soap users who had been forced to was in secret.

Goodnight
Your friend
John

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.

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