Mickey…And Me Being A Bit Goofy

August 21, 2009 -

John Heald

Guest: Ms. ________ Ref: 849007682A
Cabin: _____ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 08/20/09 – 08/20/09

Cabin Steward reported to Housekeeping Manager that he had seen guest take three blue beach towels from his service trolley and place them in her suitcase. Security was sent to cabin and the towels removed and guest spoken to.

I bet many of us have done something similar. What was it that accidentally ended up in your suitcase the last time you stayed in a hotel or took a cruise? Toiletries? Bathrobes? A stateroom steward? I could copy out War and Peace 500 times with the pens and paper that I’ve acquired from hotel rooms. And those Gideon bibles don’t sell well at garage sales……….kidding. That was a joke. I wish to clarify that I have never and would never steal a Bible or any of God’s works as I believe that this would condemn a person to Hell even quicker than if you were to put 20 packets of pop rocks in your sisters cat’s litter tray……….sorry sis.

People who would never dream of thieving from a shop somehow feel fully entitled to do so in a hotel or cruise ship. We lose cutlery, towels, toilet paper and even once back on the Carnival Liberty someone tried to walk off the ship with the DVD player from one of the suites…….luckily the stateroom steward had noticed it missing and reported it before the guest could disembark. I mean………he was staying in a suite……….the DVD player probably cost $99 or less……..why?

I always steal the pens, paper and anything else I can get my hands on though and I am proud to admit that. I do this because Mr. Marriott and Miss Hilton ….the robbing gits ……charge me $5 for a Diet Coke from the mini bar……..so…… morally they “owe” me a towel or five.

You know, the more I think about it the more I realize how so many people look forward to coming back to their staterooms after a day in the sun and an evening of spectacular food and entertainment. You just don’t get that feeling when you stay in a hotel unless it’s the Presidential Suite complete with giant plasma screens……private swimming pools and three Latvian women laying on your circular spinning satin sheet covered bed.

Nope………the faceless business style hotels most of us have stayed in are as welcoming as a pair of underwear made of barbed wire. I hate waiting to check in behind that tired old piece of rope, on a bit of carpet. There is staff in shiny suits who say things like “If there’s anything else at all for yourself at all.” And you are given a credit card key that makes lots of whirring noises when you put it in the lock but will not, no matter what you do, open the door.

After you’ve kicked it down, you have the room. There’s no obvious button to turn off the fan, which sounds like a Judge Judy being dipped in acid. The light switch by the bed turns all the lights off, except one. Which can only be extinguished by hitting the bulb with your shoe. The plug you need to charge your cell phone and raspberry is always behind the mini bar, and the “coffee making facilities” are designed to ensure you can’t make either.
No, really: the kettle lead is never more than a foot long and the brown powder they put in the sachets is way closer on the periodic table to dried Yak poo than it is to coffee. Businessmen’s hotels, I think, are the most miserable, soul destroying, soulless places in the entire world……….I’d rather stay in a Frenchman’s underpants.

But regardless of what kind of cabin you have…….a suite….a balcony……….an ocean view or inside state room………there always seems to be that excitement when you open that door. Maybe it’s the towel animal or maybe it’s the fact that you know your cabin steward (who unlike the mysterious person who pretends to clean your hotel room) has cleaned and tided your room in such a way that it truly does say “welcome home” when you open that door. So today……..I salute all the brilliant Carnival stateroom stewards who make such a difference to your cruise vacation and are all superb detectives….. so don’t try stealing that toilet brush……….because Ketut Colombo will catch you.

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

David Vigue ASked:
Dear John, (Please Reply if you can)
Thank you for the “Gift”. As I must be a first class mooch to bring it up, I only did it for a laugh. Well when it was delivered to my cabin on the Pride, my wife asked what is this for, and I recalled the story of Destiny. She said you are a great guy to remember from that long ago. 12 & half yrs. We had a wonderful time on the Pride, and I went from being a Mooch to being a “Name Dropper” I told everyone from band members to our cabin steward that you sent us this gift. Well on a serious note, I took the “Behind the Fun” tour, and met so many crew members we never see who make the Fun ship sail on Happy Waters. Chef Wellington spent so much quality time answering questions, and explain the process, it felt like he was a friend showing where he works. I would like to recommend the tour to all your loyal readers. Thanks again, and all the best to you, and your family.
Dave Vigue

John Says:
Hello David
I think you are the first to write a review of the Behind the Fun tour and it’s a joy for me to read that it was something you enjoyed so much and I will make sure that the folks in the Miami office who put the tour together get to read it. I know one or two here on the blog were skeptical about paying for the privilege of seeing these areas but your testament is one that I am sure will encourage others to book it once onboard.

I am glad you enjoyed “the gift” and may I also say it was nice to receive a thank you as well……….that doesn’t always happen.
Thanks again and my best wishes to you and the family

George & Marge Ribas Asked:
John please reply:
Hi John,
I don’t know if you received our pictures of our trip to Alaska on July 15. It was a wonderful cruise.
I sent you a letter with concerns we encountered while on the Spirit which I am hoping you can explain to me or forward me on to someone else or tell me to bugger off….
Enjoy the photo’s.
Your friends,
Marge & George

John Says:
Hello Marge and George
I didn’t see the photos or the concerns. Please can you send them again and I will ask Stephanie to please make sure I see them straight away. I would never ever tell you to bugger off. Please mark the posting JOHN – PLEASE DON’T POST BUT AS PROMISED COMMENTS FOR YOUR REVIEW.

I am sorry that they appear to have been lost somewhere in blog land but once I receive them I promise to give them my full attention.
Best wishes to you both

Joko Joan Asked:
Dear John: (Please answer)
I am a group leader with a group of 40 cruisers (many of them first-timers) and my first time as a group leader, and I would like to know how to go about arranging for our tables to be NEAR each other. For instance, in addition to names, do I also send cabin #’s and/or booking numbers? Our cruise is on Carnival Glory’s sailing of 9/12/09.

If there is any other information that is needed, please let me know. I think we are down now to 30-some days to sailing and our newbie’s are SO excited – ( & me, too). I don’t know about anyone else, but sailing with newbies is like watching your children opening Christmas presents – just love to see and feel their excitement. Buggers . . . I just LOVE cruisin’ . . . don’t you???

Look at that will you – you’ve got me speaking British (Buggers) too . . .

John Says:
Hello Joko Joan
Congratulations on putting your first ever group together. I loved your analogy of seeing their faces once they arrive onboard to kids at Christmas and I am sure that they will have a brilliant time. With regard to the table assignment please send in your requests including names and cabin numbers. These will be listed as a group booking and the table assignments will be done accordingly with everyone sitting close by. Please let me know if you need help and or have any other questions. You said “bugger” perfectly………that makes you nearly British………congratulations.

Best wishes

Elissa Asked:
Please reply
Thank you so much for letting Skip know of my in-laws 50th anniversary while on the Inspiration. He presented them with two pictures of the ship autographed by him and the Captain. They were truly surprised and thrilled and it made the trip more memorable. Skip also went one step further and gave my husband and myself some “goodies” for letting y’all know about the occasion. We wanted to let you know he is a wonderful cruise director and we are in the process of sending a formal letter to Carnival commending him (sending it to the Miami office hope that is the right place). Thanks again!
Elissa Bailey

John Says:
Hello Elissa
Welcome home and I want to say thank you to you for saying “thank you” to me for the gifts. I am glad it made a difference to your in laws and that remarkable 50-year anniversary. I was told in yesterday’s blog that one or two folks on Cruise Critic are mad at me for arranging table assignments and sending gifts but when I read comments like this I know that the time and effort that it takes me to do this is more than worth it. I will make sure that Skippy sees your words of praise.
Thanks again and my best wishes to you all

Cheri Bolchoz Asked:
John (please reply)
I know that you have been quite busy with all the questions that you have been replying to.

1st and foremost you are doing an awesome job!!!

With all the questions I have not seen a reply to mine yet related to Carnival Dream Inaugural Sailing 9/21. I will be patient.

However, just in case it got lost I will ask again along with a few other questions. Forgive me for a duplicate question.

Before I get to the questions I have: Can you please inform the crew of Carnival Dream that Mr. Carnival will be on board. (That is the name the crew on Carnival Fascination gave Michael with his 3 Carnival tattoos) I know I still owe you pictures of the new ones of the Funnel & the Logo.

Now to my questions:
1. Are they planning any special ceremonies for 9/21 Carnival Dream? (It is the 1st sailing with guests) Not counting the sailing you are on with the crew

2. Is there a way that you or Todd can arrange a Cruise Critic Meet & Greet for the 1st Sea Day which is Wed 9/24.? There are about 60-80 Cruise Critic Members on this sailing. We do have one Unofficial Meet & Greet for the day we sail.

It would be nice to have an Official Meet & Greet that maybe can be posted in the Carnival Capers (if possible)

3. I have put together two activities for our group on the other two Sea days. A scavenger hunt for 9/27 (2nd Sea Day) and Question & Answer for 9/29 (Last Sea Day) The Questions are about Our Ports, Carnival & Carnival Dream. Came up with some good ones related to Carnival 🙂 Would love it if Todd could maybe come to one or both to give the prizes to the winner.

4. Still no Christmas Ornaments Any idea what could have happened.

Again Thanks for all the great work you do as a Cruise Director & on This Blog. We truly hope to sail with you soon.

Forgot one thing, kinda Important: How to we go about having a drink with you (coffee or other) on Carnival Dream on 9/21 before you get off?

See you Soon
Cheri & Michael

John Says:
Hello Cheri and Michael
I have a feeling our questions and answers have crossed but just in case you didn’t see my reply last time let me answer your questions again.

1. There are ongoing discussions about what the ship’s crew will do to mark the inaugural sailing of your Carnival Dream. There has been lots of e-mails flying around with various suggestions and as soon as we decide what will happen I will of course let you all know. It will be the first ever sailing and everything will be done for the first time. This means you will be the first ones to sleep in that bed….the first to experience the shows……the amazing water park and the first guests ever to sit in those oversized Jacuzzi’s that hang over the side of the ship on deck 5……and you will be the first guests to experience ……. well………everything.

2. I will indeed ask Todd to arrange a meet and greet and as I mentioned in my last reply please can you kindly remind me on September 15 or thereabouts and I will be honored to arrange this for you and all my Cruise Critic friends. I will also ask Todd to see if he can present the prizes but as it is the first cruise he maybe a wee bit busy for this. However, I am sure one of the staff members will be able to do this of course. I mentioned in my last reply that we will meet on the 21st and I can give you the illusive Xmas thingies.

I hope you are enjoying the photos of your Carnival Dream and my best wishes to you both

Doug Asked:
John, (Please Reply)
I enjoyed the photos today from the Carnival Freedom. Is that Key West in the background? Key West is one of my favorite Ports of Call. I’m not much of a golfer but I do enjoy mini golf. A year ago January my two teenagers and myself were on our way back to Galveston on the Carnival Ecstasy. It was a beautiful evening as we sailed across the Gulf of Mexico. We were enjoying a couple rounds of mini golf at sunset. I have pictures and it is one of those special times I will never forget. I hope we get to sail together one of these days and when we do, it would be an honor to play a round with you.

As far as this politically correct business goes, well I think it is a load of bollocks. I was raised to be respectful, treat people right, and it irritates me when I am told what I can and cannot say in the interest of not offending someone. I would not intentionally offend someone, and if I do I will step up to the plate and apologize. There are some people who just need to “get over it”.

John a while back I inquired about getting a copy of the picture of the Carnival Destiny in Cozumel, at sunset that was taken by one of the many Stephanies. I know you’ all are very busy, but just wanted to follow-up to see if this might be possible. Love Cozumel and would love to have that picture framed and on my wall.

Also just curious, when you sail from New Orleans, how long does it take to get down the Mississippi River and out into the Gulf of Mexico? Flying over that area it looks like it would take a while and was just curious.

Thanks for all you do John! Can’t wait for another trip across the Gulf in December on the Carnival Ecstasy, and a few more rounds of mini golf.

John Says:
Hello Doug
I really have not taken enough photos of the Carnival Freedom since I have been here. I have concentrated on your Carnival Dream…….bugger. Yes, you are correct. The photos I did post of this ship were taken in Key West. The mini golf courses have been a brilliant addition to our ships and many have enjoyed a round or two as you and your family did on the Carnival Ecstasy.

I did indeed forget to follow up on your photo request and for that I am sincerely sorry. My mind is like Swiss cheese sometimes and I often have the brain capacity of an amoeba. I am now going to write to Stephanie Meads, who is currently serving as cruise director on the Carnival Sensation, and I will ask her to contact you directly and e-mail you a copy. Please let me know when she does this. She seems to have an excellent eye as a photographer, especially at sunset.

I asked Risa the CD on the Carnival Fantasy to check with the Captain on your navigation question………here is her answer.
Depending on weather and traffic anywhere from 6 1/2 to 8 hours 🙂

Risa Barnes
Carnival Fantasy CD

Thanks Risa
Hope this helps David and thanks again for taking the time to write
Best wishes

Chris Zachry Asked:
Please Reply

I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and have been reading religiously since! Quite frankly, my girlfriend is getting quite perturbed. With all of my “John said this today…”, “John posted this…”, “John is simply amazing!”, and “I love John!” comments, it seems as though she is feeling a bit left out.

I truly love the excitement of both cruising, in general, and of Carnival Cruise Lines you instill in me every day.

I am envious of your job – even when someone gives you the occasional negative remark – and I can tell from the positive remarks from both Jamie and Jaime that you are a well respected and loved mentor.

I hate when people post extremely long comments, as I am doing now, so on to a quick suggestion: I really love reading all the fascinating ‘quirks’ behind cruising, but it often gets muddled behind people’s personal requests. Don’t get me wrong, I truly appreciate what you do for everyone, but maybe it doesn’t warrant a public response? I wonder if an email to the person would be a better avenue so you’ll have more of an opportunity to post stats, pictures, interviews, crew stories, etc.

Again, I love this avenue for reaching cruise fanatics and can’t wait to meet you in person (with slightly-jealous-of-John-girlfriend in toe) on the gorgeous Carnival Dream in March!

John Says:
Hello Chris
Please send my deepest apologies to your girlfriend. My wife Heidi will understand how she feels as I am constantly making references to Megan Fox’s bottom “It’s perfect”…… “I want it”…..”I need it”….etc ….which as you can imagine is as popular as poo in the pool.

This blog thingy has morphed so much since it started. My first few blogs were about as interesting as the inside of my underpants……..there was no substance. Then I started chatting with the originals……people like Big Ed, Paul, Carol, Linda etc etc. Then the readership suddenly shot up and the time for me to reply to each and every comment was gone and that’s why I only have time now to reply to those that ask me to and even then I am constantly behind.

I know for some the comments, questions and answers are their favorite bits, where as others prefer the stories and every day happenings from on board. My aim is to try and find something that everyone will like and that of course is never easy.

I hope things are OK with your girlfriend and if she wants I will send her a photo of me in my underpants sitting at the computer so that she feels part of the blogging club.
Best wishes to you both

Stephanie Foster Asked:
Dear John,
Please Reply. I need your help!

My family and friends (12 of us total – 5 cabins) are sailing on the Legend on August 30th. This will be me and my husband’s 2nd trip on the Legend and our 4th sailing with Carnival.

This will also be the 2nd Carnival trip for my dd and my dfsil (I hope that stands for dear daughter and dear future son-in-law). They have scheduled their WEDDING (!!) for September 1st at The Grand Old House during our stop at Grand Cayman. It seems like there are a hundred details that I am worried about, but Sarah and Zach are so low keyed about this. They aren’t even concerned about a HURRICANE (!!)

All of the other guests are first timers, but I know they will get hooked just like us. One of the first timers is my younger daughter who just turned 21 last week and is looking forward to dancing and drinking all night long (that’s why her cabin is on deck one near one of the dance clubs).

I need to know if you can send my information on to Jen who is by-the-way one of our favorite CD’s and by far the cutest we have had (sorry John, we have not cruised with you yet… ….maybe someday soon). I have a few questions for her regarding early salon appointments on wedding day and tender transportation with a wedding dress and a grandma that may need to have a drink or two before she’ll get on the tender (ha-ha)

My daughter has chuckled and joked about how great it would be to take part in the Wedding Game in her wedding gown. She says she might only take it off to go swimming. So if any other cruisers see this beautiful platinum blond wearing a wedding dress everyday of the cruise be sure to say “hi Sarah”.

We should let Jen know that my daughter Rebeccah is probably shorter than Jen.

Thanks John
You have my serious admiration for that you do.

John Says:
Hello Stephanie

Thanks for the brilliant posting and it seems like the MOB is more nervous than her DD …..have you noticed that I am using this abbreviation bollocks…….are you proud of me?

Anyway, there really is nothing to worry about. Our crew does this every week and will be committed to making sure your DD and DFSIL have the perfect day. I will make sure I send this onto Jen your favorite (and many others) CD and she will contact you accordingly. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you and I am sure I speak for all the bloggers when I say that we all wish your DD and your DFSIL a fantastic WD and lots of RP later that night.
Best wishes to all

MelanieG Asked:
(John please reply)

Hey there John,
I find my day is not complete without reading your blog!! Is this a common affliction? Does this make me a blogger or bloggee??

Anyways, we are anxiously awaiting the sailing of the Carnival Dream on Oct 3rd. This will be our first time to this area in the Med and I am wondering about the weather and the water slide!! Should it be warm enough for a few slides down into the pool? Would you recommend a rain jacket at this time of year? Could you possibly come and pack for me??


John Says:
Hello Mel

I think the common terminology for someone who has to read the blog every day is “Blogster” but honestly………am I bothered though? I don’t care what it called; I am just so humbled that you and thousands of others take time out of their day to read my musings. Oh how you will love your Carnival Dream and oh how you will love the Med. The temperatures will be just perfect and in places like Barcelona, Cannes, Dubrovnik and Messina it will be beautiful….just beautiful……around an average of 70 degrees. In Venice which is further north of course it will be a little cooler, especially during the overnight portion of the ship’s time there so I would take a light jacket with you. The huge new water park will be fully operational and I wish I could be there to see you whizzing down the slide in the Mediterranean sunshine.

I am the last person you ever want to pack for you…..look at me now……here I am having been on the Carnival Freedom for two months and I only have one pair of underpants that I packed.

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

That’s all for today……more tomorrow……..yes…….I will find time to answer more questions before I fly home on Sunday. So, there will be a bonus blog over the weekend.

My goodness your response about whether I should sprinkle the lifeboat drill with a little fun was met with a brilliant response. Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to write and also for your observations on what is said during the Southwest Airlines safety announcements. I found this absolutely fascinating and I have decided to send a few proposals into the Miami office to the people with beards and clipboards who run our safety department.

I have a feeling I know what they are going to say but I am at least going to try. I know that this is a serious thing and that the principles of how to save your life at sea must remain clear and present……..but it also seems that a little light relief at the start and end of the drill may be something that many would appreciate. So, when I am home next week I will write a few bits and see if the beards allow me to do this…..or not. Even if the men and women with beards and sandals in our safety department do say yes then I will still have the huge hurdle of the captains to get over. Italians are some of the most superstitious people in the world and the thought of me cracking the odd joke in the lifeboat drill would send some into one of those brilliant rages that only Italians can muster.

I remember when one captain found out that we were showing Titanic on the Seaside Theatre he went absolutely bonkers. His arms were flapping around and he started screaming and jerking his body like someone who had just had a cattle prod shoved up their arse……and that was the last time that Leonardo DiCrapio ever appeared on the big screen…….and I never had the courage to ask if we could play the Poseidon Adventure. In the UK and America, we are used to saying, “touch wood”……..the Italian captains do something a bit different. If someone says something that they think may be unlucky they say …..ummm…….”tocca de balla”……..I don’t think you need me to translate that one do you because it isn’t wood that they are touching?
Tell one of our Captain’s that you saw an umbrella on board……”tocca de balla”.

Tell one one of our Captain’s that you are showing Titanic on the big screen………”tocca de balla” and then he will toccha de my balla with his foot.

Sensitive people, those Italian captains……..still ………you can’t blame them for being superstitious can you? They hope that lady luck will be with them and when they come home from four months onboard they won’t find that the ravishing beauty they married is there to greet them wearing a black sack with breasts like six sacks of potatoes.

Anyway, I will work on some light hearted additions to the drill and let’s see what happens.

Here are today’s photos of your Carnival Dream and today we are going behind the scenes as we look at the galley.

Galley 1

Galley 2

Galley 3

Galley 4

Galley 5

Galley 6

Galley 7

Galley 8

Galley 9

And that’s where our superb chefs will cook your chocolate melting cakes and your free steak. My thanks to Boris for all the wonderful photos this week and there will be many more next week.

Oh………and talking about the Chocolate Melting Cake……….thought you might like this

Melting Chocolate Cake for Guest

Now, I know its Friday but I have bad news. You will have to wait until tomorrow before the latest photo of Kye and blog from Heidi…….sorry…but it will be worth the wait I promise.

Because of the blog thingy I have made friends with many members of the cruise thingy press. Once such mate is Ralph Grizzle who writes for a publication called The Avid Cruiser. I came across an article he wrote and I thought you might want to read it……… because it’s about a man I have never managed to snare for an interview here on the blog thingy………Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO…..Micky (with no e) Arison.

Here is the interview thingy.


It’s easy to think of Micky Arison as someone who just sits in his Bentley counting his money and it’s easy to forget that he and his father have done more for me and you and all of us who love cruising than…….well……anyone.

And how proud he must be at all he has achieved. I am sitting here in my underpants wondering what he must feel is his greatest achievement and of course that is easy to answer……….his family…..being a wonderful husband and father. But what about business wise. Is he most proud of the continuation of his father Ted Arison’s dream that cruising should be made affordable and available not just to people with double barrel names and lap dogs but to people like me and you?

Is it that despite climbing walls and ships of epic ugliness being built by our competitors that Carnival Cruise Lines remains the most popular cruise line in the world? Maybe it’s the fact that he oversaw the purchase of Princess, Costa, Holland America, P&O, AIDA and Seabourn and despite the mutterings of men in blazers and beards those cruise lines didn’t collapse in a heap of Carnival neon but kept their own identities and became very profitable indeed.

Surely our chairman’s proudest achievement must be the purchase and rescue of the world’s most famous ocean liner company………Cunard. This was the puppy nobody wanted…..a company with just one ship and with about a bright a future as Phil Specter has in the movie business……..or as a hair model.

Yet Carnival Corp under Mr. A’s guidance rescued Cunard and rejuvenated this great and historic company. And therefore……surely his greatest achievement was standing on the podium…..next to H.M. Queen Elizabeth……watching as she christened the incomparable Queen Mary 2.

This year he has your Carnival Dream to make the hairs on his bottom stand on end and next year……the most famous name in shipping is reborn as we welcome the Queen Elizabeth.

Now…..I don’t know Micky Arison well and if or not he even knows this blog exists. When we see each other on a ship we nod and we smile at each other and we shake hands before he heads off to eat caviar out of Angelina Jolie’s belly button while I scurry back below stairs to nibble on my bread and cheese. But secretly……..I like to think that on the top 10 list of his greatest achievements………somewhere between the Miami Heat winning the world championship …….and the launch of the Queen Mary 2…….is me……..and that he often thinks………just before he closes his eyes and goes to sleep……..of me and what an asset I am………sitting at my computer…….blogging about his great company…………in my underpants.

Your friends
Micky and 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.