No Service=No Blog=BUGGER

September 4, 2009 -

John Heald

Before we start today my apologies that yesterday’s blog did not get posted until today…which is ummm……Friday. OK, let’s try that again. I am sorry that Thursdays blog did not get posted until today which is Friday but then again if you are reading this on Saturday then …. well ………. buggered if I know. Anyway, today you are going to get two blogs because yesterday’s blog was not sent on time………….let me explain why.

Last night we went to a dinner party hosted by some posh friends of Heidi. We shall call them Daniel and Nadia Codling ……..because that is their names. They are part of the posh class that Heidi attended when Kye was still living in her tummy. You remember…………..I wrote about her antenatal classes that cost so much money and were hosted by a lady ……….with a beard.

Anyway, she did meet two wonderful people called Emma and Darren who have a beautiful baby called Poppy………love that name. They are both serving police officers and having met them I am glad they are Heidi’s friends……..even if Emma is Scottish and I know Heidi has no bloody clue what she is saying half the time…… fact I don’t think Darren does either ……… lucky sod.

Anyway, we went to the Codling’s house for this dinner party. I was already pissed off because Heidi said if I dared go in a pair of jeans I would have a pair of shoes sticking out of my arse………………..I didn’t wear jeans.

The Codling’s and their new son Tom live in the countryside……I mean……really on the countryside, in fact close to where Heidi and I were living before we realized the stupidity of leaving Heidi and Kye in the middle of nowhere……far from the emergency services, shops and toilet paper.

However, the realization of them living in the “sticks” as we say did not hit home until we were half way through something called a “rocket salad” which may have been nice if I had four legs and a constantly twitching nose………..but as I am not a rabbit……….it tasted of bugger all……….. in a blue cheese dressing.

Anyway, as I munched on my plate of green I suddenly was overcome with a feeling of total and utter despair………oh know…………….how could I have been so stupid, this was a nightmare ……… I had forgotten to send the blog to the 344 Stephanies and Vance.

I had written it on my laptop………in my underpants……and had sent it to myself to read through one last time on my raspberry (blackberry for new readers) and must have been distracted by Kye’s smile…………..Heidi bollocking me about what I intended to wear……..or the need to poo ……………..actually it was probably all three. Anyway……..I realized that I had not sent it and thousands of people would be disappointed. Checking my watch I saw that it was 8:30pm here in the UK which meant it was …ummm………oh hold on……… Raspberry has a calculator ……. good……….it was 3:30pm…………….not too late.

And that was me…………in a field…………not in my jeans…………..driving rain battering my body.

It sounds bleak, I know…….but it was the only place that had any reception. …….there was bugger all in the house……so I had to walk out the back of the house into a field……….in the rain.

Heidi had told me about their house. Oh it’s beautiful and has stunning views and everything. She was right. It did have stunning views and everything……….. everything but sodding cell phone and raspberry coverage.

I know that most people would be cheered by this enforced lack of contact with the outside world, but I am not one of them. As a blogger, or at least someone pretending to be a blogger, it is my job to be in contact with the outside world.

I have become used to broadcasting every fart and poo via this blog thingy. You take away my raspberry, and you take away my freedom.

Not being able to switch on my raspberry does not help me to switch off. I just sit there imagining all the terrible e-mails that have been sent to me by Gerry Cahill telling me that after an investigation me and my underpants were fired, or from my Mum and Dad informing me that Heidi forgetting to turn the iron off has caused not just our house to burn to the ground, but the whole county.

I tried not to appear bothered when I realized that the Codling’s house had everything but raspberry reception. But it was futile. “Are you OK?” said Mrs. Codling. “You look quite pale,” said her husband. “And your hands are shaking.”

I looked at my hand, and the raspberry within it, and realized I was indeed shaking. “It’s just the fresh air,” I said. “I’m not used to it. The fresh air, and the fact that there is no bloody signal on my Raspberry …………how do you live like this you Rocket Salad eating bastards.” …………..OK, I managed to stop myself saying the last bit but it was close. “Just relax.” said Heidi. “Relax? How can I relax? If I don’t post something on the blog thousands of my blog friends will think I’m dead.” There will be panic in the streets. People will beat themselves with twigs and like tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree…….everyone will tie their underwear around trees until I post again.”

It was as I stood in the field, getting soaked and knowing ………oh yes knowing the leviathan of a bollocking I would be getting on the drive home that I thought. ………… has it come to this? How can I be ruled by an object no bigger than my thingy?……..I don’t know but I am and even though I did get a signal in the field it wasn’t strong enough to send the huge blog and all those photos of your Carnival Dream.

By the time we had eaten our main course of tofu stew in a tofu sauce followed by crème brule of tofu and we were on our way home it was too late to send the blog. The Stephanies would be home and Vance would be helping his kids with their homework pretending he understood the questions.

And so, we arrived home. I was blogless, starving hungry and pissed off…..totally and utterly pissed off………..oh and my underpants were soaking wet too……………..not from the rain …………. but from the natural bodily reaction that comes with a massive bollocking from Heidi for ruining her evening.

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

Erik Valentine Asked:
Dear John, (please reply)
I’ve been following your blog since my Carnival Countdown Timer hit 180 days and falling, and there has been *so* much helpful information here on the blog I would have been very lost indeed without it.

While we decided to pre-pay our tips for the cruise, I did want to as if there was anything other than money which would be appreciated as tips given to our Room Steward, etc.?

If you as the CD can only seem to get off the ship once every 30 days or so, I would think that other items we could bring onboard might be appreciated by the staff, so I wanted to ask what those items might be.

Not that I’m against leaving a fiver here and there to reward excellent service, but there might be other items I can bring which would be of even more value to the Stewards and other staff members.
Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated.
Erik V.

John Says:
Hello Erik
Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. Do you know that Stephanie told me today that in the month of August we had 189,000 views…………it never ceases to amaze me that so many people take the time to read my silly musings. I will try and keep the information flowing your way until you board the ship.

How wonderful of you to ask if you can buy your stateroom steward something. There really is no need and please don’t worry, even though you have pre-paid the gratuities he or she will receive them before the cruise ends and so will know that you have done this. If you do want to buy them a little gift……….well……….they love Rolexes and Cartier jewelry. If not that……….then a little something from where you are from is always special. Maybe a pin, a key chain or a baseball cap………..anything like that will be something they will so appreciate.
I thank you so much for your kindness and I remain at your service
Best wishes

Patti Kriebel Asked:
Is there any plans for a blogger’s excursion in any of the ports on the Carnival Dream December 3rd sailing? Many of us on our Cruise Critic Roll Call are starting to make plans/reservations for excursions for each of the ports. We wouldn’t want to miss a Blogger’s event if possible. Please advise.

John Says:
Hello Patti
Yes, there are indeed plans for this and I am so sorry that I have been lax in telling you what ports and the details of the excursions. I promise faithfully that I will write about this next week. Please keep reading the blog for that and I thank you for giving me a kick up the bottom about this. My best wishes to you and Tim

Janet Asked:
Please answer John
Thank you for the recipe for Melting Chocolate Cake
You have missed off the ingredients for the flour.
Do we beat the eggs with the sugar or
Put the sugar with the flour?
Please answer as l can’t wait to make it.
I always choose this when l am on board.

John Says:
Hello Janet
What the F**K ! This is a load of S**T… dare you come into my kitchen and tell me the FU**ING recipe is wrong……go on get out…before I make you eat my Shepherd’s Pie which is made with real shepherd.

Sorry………………I turned into Gordon Ramsey then………….don’t know what happened………….. anyway…………….here is the correct recipe.
Chocolate Melting cake
Recipe By: Carnival Cruise Lines
Serving Size: 25 Preparation Time: 0:00
Categories: Desserts
Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 pounds semisweet chocolate
2 pounds butter
19 1/2 each fresh eggs
1/2 pound sugar
2/3 pound flour
Melt Chocolate & Butter
Mix half egg & Sugar and whisk for few minutes & add flour. Then add the balance egg.
Add egg mixture to the melted chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture in the ramekin cups.
Bake directly in the oven at 200 C° for 15 to 20 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream in 2 oz ramekin cups.

Bon appetito
Best wishes

Chris Packard Asked:
Hello John (Please Reply)
My wife and I are sailing on a back to back cruise on Carnival Victory. Would you please explain the procedure for disembarking and re-embarking between the first and second week. My wife had called the bon voyage dept to order some wine and spirits and was told that if we had any open bottles at the end of the first week that they would have to be disposed of before we could clear customs and continue on for our second week.
Thank you in advance for your time.

John Says:
Hello Chris
Please don’t worry about the wine and spirits. As long as they remain onboard they do not have to clear customs. All you have to do is let our guest services department walk you ashore, clear US Immigration, re-take a boarding pass photo for your Sail & Sign card and then come back onboard. I am guessing you will be staying in the same cabin. If not, then all you need to do is pack your stuff into your suitcases, leaving everything you wish on hangers and the housekeeping staff will take it to your new stateroom. All of this will be explained to you once onboard and I promise you it will be a very simple and easy process.

If you have any other questions, please let me know
Have a brilliant two cruises.
Best wishes

Joyce Geraci Asked:
John- please reply
Tried to understand the melting cake recipe. How much flour? And how many does it serve? Do I have to invite the whole neighborhood or just a dozen of my best friends?
Really can’t wait till I’m on the Carnival Dream TA to have my FIX!

John Says:
Hello Joyce
What the F**K ! This is a load of S**T… dare you come into my kitchen and tell me the FU**ING recipe is wrong……go on get out…before I kill myself for having to answer this question a hundred billion times.

Sorry………………I turned into Gordon Ramsey then………….don’t know what happened ………….. anyway…………….here is the correct recipe.
Chocolate Melting cake
Recipe By : Carnival Cruise Lines
Serving Size: 25 Preparation Time: 0:00
Categories: Desserts
Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 pounds semisweet chocolate
2 pounds butter
19 1/2 each fresh eggs
1/2 pound sugar
2/3 pound flour
Melt Chocolate & Butter
Mix half egg & Sugar and whisk for few minutes & add flour. Then add the balance egg.
Add egg mixture to the melted chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture in the ramekin cups.
Bake directly in the oven at 200 C° for 15 to 20 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream in 2 oz ramekin cups.

Bon appetite
Best wishes

Barbie Showalter Asked:
(Please reply)
We really enjoy cruising with Carnival, have been on RCI but prefer Carnival. We were on the Glory with you a couple years ago that left out of Port Canaveral – never laughed so much! We will be going on the Dream for the 9 day cruise and I can’t wait. Never started cruising until after 25 yrs wed and still love it after 41. First time getting a balcony hope we like it. Do they have wifi from the rooms?

John Says:
Hello Barbie
Oh thanks Barbie you are a doll …………..get it ……………Barbie…………..doll………… that the first time you ever heard that joke? I bet it is.

You will be happy to know that all of your Carnival Dream is Y Thigh so your laptop thingy computer will work anywhere and everywhere. Also you wont have to pay for your steak at dinner either…………..I know you didn’t mention that……… just feels good to write and I know it makes the people at Whydowechargeformeat of the Seas a little upset.

Have fun Barbie
Best wishes

Nancy – Columbus, GA Asked:
Hi again John! Great blog as usual!
Please reply ASAP or sometime before Sept 26!
Doug & I are sailing the Triumph w/my sister & niece out of New York on Sept 26 and I was just reading on Cruise Critic some reviews about NONE of the hot tubs working? Is this true and please tell me the problem will be fixed before we sail! Not only do we love those hot tubs, but we use them for health reasons as well – especially after a long day seeing a port! If something is happening with them, please let me know!

Also, if you have the time, could you tell me again when the elegant nights are for this cruise? Thanks for all your help and please keep the photos of Kye & Heidi coming!

Oh one more thing – after spending 28 days on 2 Celebrity cruises, I can most assuredly tell you that they have no such thing as a curfew for anyone under the age of 17! I can also tell you that maybe they should have something for those over the age of 35! They have just as many foot stompers & loud-voiced inconsiderates in that age group as anywhere else!
Thanks for all you do John – you are a gem!

John Says:
Hello Nancy
Well, I just contacted the Carnival Triumph and indeed there does seem to be a technical concern with them. I spoke to the hotel director Damir and he told me that they hope to get them operating in the next few days. I will let you know of course. Hopefully they will be working again next week but please let me take this opportunity to apologize to those who were so disappointed that they were not working. I know everyone is doing their best to resolve this issue. I will keep you posted. I did think it was a bit strange when I heard brand X had a curfew so thanks so much for providing me with the correct information.

My best to you and the family and there is a Kye photo on the way.
Best wishes

CruisinSue Asked:
Hi John (Reply please)
I so enjoyed the picture of Kye and note from Heidi. I know you miss your girls. You will soon be home and I think you will be amazed at how big Kye has gotten.
To respond to Caryn, who thinks you should quit blogging. Maybe she should just not read it, because all your blog junkies would go into withdrawals without your blog. (At least I know I would).

You responded to a reader that Lenny Halliday will be the CD on the Carnival Victory for the August 23rd sailing. I am cruising on the Carnival Victory on August 30th. Is it true that Lenny will be CD? He was the CD on the Mardi Gras on the first cruise I ever went on.

Also, another positive comment for CCL, the upgrade fairy got me for that sailing. Mom and me were booked in a lower category cabin. I got the call and was offered a 6 category upgrade at no additional cost. What other company would make this change in advance and without the customer asking? I am Platinum (44 cruises on Carnival ships) and I do appreciated the pins. I have all of them on my hat and I use my husband’s for my mascot bear, Bubba. He has cruised with me over 30 times….I think he deserves them on his hat as well. Thank you for keeping the blog going and keeping us informed on day to day survival on the ships.

Give my best to Kye and Heidi. Have a safe trip home, relax and enjoy your vacation. I will be waiting for your next blog on Tuesday!!
Gloria aka Sue

John Says:
Hello Sue
Yes indeed, Lenny will be your CD and I will be featuring his bio next week, He is a great chap and a wonderful vocalist and one of the last of the CD’s who actually have a specific show…………….he is old school but still one of the very best. I am so excited for you that the upgrade thingy called you and please allow me to thank you for your wonderful loyalty to Carnival Cruise Lines. I hope to see you onboard a ship soon so I can give your bear another pin.
Thanks for the kind words
Best wishes

Lisa D Asked:
Dear John,
Please reply when you get a chance.
First, I just want to say how happy I am that you are finally getting to go home to see your girls. I have such great respect for you to be able to get up and do your crazy job everyday and to be so patient with all of the irritable people you deal with and have to be away from your loves……you are the best!

I just want to say also, that I love the blog. Please do not listen to one person who says that you should stop. You have thousands of us out here who use this blog to have a laugh for the day or simply get an idea of what it is like to live on a cruise ship……something a lot of us love to fantasize about and to get answers to pressing questions.
I am looking forward to also following your blog while you are home. We are all so excited to hear about your reunion with Heidi and Kye and what the rest of your year has in store.

Now my question…………..
What is the best excursion in St Maarten for a family….with a teenage son? I understand most of the beaches are clothing optional. Even though I am sure he would enjoy it………….it would be a little awkward for me.
Best wishes from a blog thingy fan!

John Says:
Hello Lisa
It is great to be home although I seem to be working even harder here. The great thing is of course that I can take a break and give Kye a cuddle. I have no intention of stopping the blog. I am sorry that some may not like it or me but I also know that many do and it’s for them that I sit in my underpants writing to you all.

Well, there are lots of great excursions in St. Martin. We don’t actually send to many tours to the clothing optional beaches on the French side for obvious reasons…….if your teenage son did go he would see things that no teenager or anyone for that matter is supposed to see……………retired French people………….naked.

So, may I suggest these two brilliant tours? ………..they are my favourites.
Experience one of the biggest, fastest and best-looking sailing catamarans in the whole Caribbean.
On this excursion you will:
• Ride aboard the “Golden Eagle”, a 76-foot, winged mast catamaran.
• Enjoy an open bar and light snacks while sailing at speeds up to 30 knots.
• Count the Flying fish or watch the dolphins while you lie in the nets or laze in the shade of the 80-foot sail.
• Stop at a quiet cove to snorkel in the crystal clear waters or bob around on a beach float.
• Explore caverns or dive through coral formations teeming with fish.
• Stop on a fabulous pink sandy beach, one of the finest you will see in the Caribbean.
• Cruise downwind while listening to great music and enjoying cocktails and snacks.

On this excursion you will:
• Find nestled in a cove, protected from the prevailing winds by cliffs below Fort Amsterdam is where you will find our the Tiki Hut Snorkel Park.
• Beneath acres of calm waters lie the hulls of six or more ship wrecks, 16th century cannons and even a scuttled yellow submarine.
• See hundreds of tropical Caribbean reef fish call these wrecks home. Turtles, rays, eels, lobsters, and octopus visit this area frequently.
• After a short scenic cruise you will arrive at the private floating Tiki Hut Island. During the cruise you will be given baskets to place your belongings in to be kept secure and dry.
• Upon arrival, a certified instructor will provide an orientation and safety briefing on the use of snorkel equipment.
• A salt water pool, only 4 ft. deep, is located on the Tiki platform. This pool is used to get you comfortable with snorkel skills. Instructors and safety personnel will be on hand at all times.
• After orientation, the day is yours! Snorkel, swim or just relax on a floating lounge or noodle. You may choose to lay on a deck chair and gaze at the beautiful Caribbean land or seascape.
• The Tiki Hut serves soda, beer, juices and our famous rum punch! Hot dogs and burgers are cooked to order; prices are modest (cash only).
• You may stay at the Park as long as you like, when ready to leave you can take a fresh water shower and we will take you back to your ship or to town to shop and look around Philipsburg. Front Street is beautiful and the shopping is fantastic.
• Have free water taxi service back to your ship included.
Note: Minimum age to participate is 6 years old. Snorkel equipment

Let me know if you have any follow up questions
Best wishes to all

Oh – note to everyone. Did you know we now offer a Harley Davidson bike tour in St. Martin ………… cool is that?

That’s all for today and thanks to you all for the wonderful comments and opinions you continue to share.

Just a quick follow up to this one.

David Wyatt Asked:
John, please reply.
I have a question concerning the rank insignia of the Captain. Above his rank, on his sleeve of his black jacket, is what looks to be a crown, can you tell me what it signifies and do you know of a location on the web I can find information and especially pictures of the rank insignia used by the Carnival crew? I know I have seen it in previous cabin information books, I wish I had taken the book, (did I type that out loud?) I mean I wish I had taken more notice of what’s in the book. Perhaps you know of a location in which the books could be downloaded.
Thanks Again

John Says:
And here Dave is the answer from your Carnival Dream Captain Carlo Queirolo.

Hi John, how are you?
Ship’s is almost ready, crew moved on board. Only the Captain’s cabin is not ready and I’m still live in my apartment. About the crown on my insignia, this is a sign of command coming from Italian Royal Navy.
Ciao Carlo

Thanks Captain………….hope your cabin is ready very soon.

Lets have a look at a selection of photos that have been taken today of your Carnival Dream.





















Wow, what a brilliant selection and I hope you saw the great shots of the stern……..I will say once again that your Carnival Dream has the sexiest aft in the world…….apart from Megan Fox and mine of course………….have you booked yet?

It’s now time to introduce today’s cruise director. We have recently highlighted the long established CD’s so today I thought I would highlight one of the acting cruise directors and someone who I had the honor of working with on the Carnival Splendor. So for those of you who may be sailing on the Carnival Valor these next few weeks………meet your cruise director.


1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair
Well my name is Gary and I am from Manchester, England. I’m 26 years old and I started with the company in 2005 as a Social Host. During my time with Carnival I was fortunate enough to bring out both The Carnival Freedom and the Carnival Splendor. It was on the Splendor in 2008 that I was promoted to the position of Assistant Cruise Director and was transferred to the Carnival Fantasy, from there I went to the Carnival Valor were I was given the opportunity to take over as Cruise Director.

2. What ship are you currently serving on?
The Carnival Valor

3. Before we talk about you let’s talk about the ship. What are you favorite areas of the vessel and what is it that makes your ship the best in the Carnival fleet.
The Carnival Valor is simply a beautiful ship. My favorite areas are the Lindy Hop Piano Bar and the Steakhouse. The Lindy Hop is always a great place to be with fantastic music that you can all sing along too. You always walk out of there with a smile on your face. Now I love the Steakhouse for 24 reasons in particular……The Porterhouse mmmmmmm
I believe that it is the crew of the Carnival Valor that makes it the best in the fleet! They are some of the hardest working people you will ever meet, yet every day they will greet you with a smile and do their best to ensure that your vacation is the best it can be! They really are a pleasure to work with.

4. Can you tell us about your itinerary and please pick your favorite shore excursion from each port and tell us why you like it so much
We Operate 7 day cruises out of Miami. The run goes as follows: Miami – Sea Day – Grand Cayman – Roatan Honduras – Belize – Cozumel – Sea Day

In Cayman my favorite tour is the “Stingray, Hell and Turtle Farm.” This is an absolute blast of a day! Mainly because I get to see and play with two of my 3 favorite animals, the stingrays and the turtles (my other favorite are dolphins of course).

In Roatan I love to go Scuba Diving. I just passed my Advanced Open Water there and it really is one of the nicest environments I have had the pleasure of diving in.

Belize HAS to be the Lost World Canopy Tour!!! This is such a fun tour; I love the Adventure type tours so this is perfect for me. Plus the operators here are very good at their job and make you feel so safe that you can really relax and enjoy the sites of beautiful Belize as you’re zipping from tree top to tree top.

Finally in Cozumel I would recommend one of the Jeep tours that let you explore the other side of the Island. The area where the ship drops us of is very nice, but the opposite side of the Island is almost untouched… its white sands, blue beaches, PARADISE!

5. If someone were to ask you “what does a Carnival Cruise Director do ” how would you reply
I’d say I do many things, this ranges from giving out information each and every day to our guests, to providing the top notch entertainment that our guests have come to expect from a Carnival cruise I like to think that I am here to help our guests have the best time of their life, so if they need anything, and I can help them I will do.

6. What is your most favorite part of the job
Apart from the traveling, it has to be meeting people. I love to meet new people and this job provides me with the chance to meet people from all over the world. When you see 3,600 people a week you are guaranteed that you will see some real characters that can make your day that little more fun. All in all it’s an incredible experience and one that will give me memories that will last a lifetime.

7. If we were to sail on a ship where you are the CD what would be the must not miss activity or show that you host.
Don’t miss the “Rockin’ The Promenade” and of course the Deck Party!!! They are the BIGGEST parties of the cruise! In Rockin’ The Promenade we groove through the Decades (from the 50’s to the 80’s) with our band ‘Rise Up’. It’s so much fun each and every week and it’s one of those that people speak for the rest of the cruise.

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD
There are many challenges that come with being a CD, but that can be said about any job. What’s more important is the ‘Up” side and there are MANY more reasons that make this job fun and exciting than there are make it a challenge….. I know I kinda cheated that question didn’t I :o)

9. If you could sail on any other cruise ship (not Carnival) what ship would you like to sail on as a guest and why
I would like to do a Seabourn cruise just once! They look absolutely incredible and I really think it would be an incredible experience.

10. Finally – please fill in the blanks

George Clooney

Catherine Zeta Jones

4,203 songs, 3 Audio Books and 5 Stand Up Comic shows….

I’m more into series than movies… I am currently watching the final season of 24 and also I just finished Prison Break as well.

I love watching the Eddie Izzard stand up shows. He makes me chuckle….

I have just spent the last 15 months with Big Tex and I have to say that not only is he one of the funniest CD’s I have met, he is also a great guy. He taught me a lot and the guests love him too!

You wouldn’t be able to see me so I am not going to tell you….. I will tell you that I would have A LOT of fun that day :o)

I am so proud of Gary and the other young CD’s who I hope I have helped realize their dream. Gary always had the talent, all I did was help take the top of the bottle and let that talent pour out……………good luck mate.

It’s not been a good 24 hours for me what with no blackberry service, tofu and rocket for dinner a bollocking from Heidi and a ruined pair of underwear. And so today (Friday) I went out for a drive and as often happens I got the urge to smoke a cigar. The car is the only place I can do this these days. Yes, I can smoke them in the garden but as there is no TV outside I don’t do that too much. Anyway, it was while I was at some traffic lights waiting for red to become green that once again a concerned citizen in the car next to me looked across at me and pulled a face as though she had just been forced to wipe by bottom.

I just smiled at first……….the smoke wasn’t going into her car as her window was up……..but even though the smoke was not bothering her in any way shape or for she looked at me and held her nose between her thumb and forefinger as if to say…….your cigar stinks……and without thinking I shouted “am I bothered though” and blew an extra large puff off smoke towards her car……and of course immediately felt angry at myself for doing so. Why did I do that?

As I drove away I had a flashback………to 2007 when Heidi and I were on the Carnival Freedom and we went for a drink in St. Marks Square………… is what happened.

I have many bad habits, and I know smoking the odd cigar is one of them. I don’t drink and although I am overweight I don’t eat to excess (much), but when the mood takes me I find a cigar relaxes me completely. Anyway, it was 12:15 am by the time I had sat down there were only few dozen people enjoying the beautiful classical music and the extraordinary ambiance that is St. Marks Square. I am very careful never to smoke if other people are around but tonight the scene looked set for me and my Trinidad Rubosto that a beautiful Cuban Sinjourita had rolled on her tanned silky thigh.

We were going to be best friends. There was only a dozen other couples sitting outside and the nearest was 20 feet away.

Now at this point I am sure I am going to upset many of my non-smoking blogger friends but I am sure they will understand that this was outside, in a designated smoking area and there was nobody any where near me and any smoke that I did exhale would dissapissatate — spelt correctly Vance 🙂 — in the night air.

So, there I sat, cigar in hand, the quartet playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto number 21, my beautiful wife at my side….apart from the 150 euros I had just spent for a plate of pasta and the Fawlty Towers-style Venetian service I had just experienced at dinner, all was well ……………. then….a shout from across the other side of the Café……..not the person 20 feet away but the furthest table which must have been 40 feet away from us….

“CRUISE DIRECTOR – CRUISE DIRECTOR”…….I knew the bellow was for me but I ignored it just for a second…..and then looked over…….”CRUISE DIRECTOR”……came the voice which was now louder than a piano, a cello, a violin and a double bass ……..”do you mind putting that disgusting thing out?”…….I could feel the heat rising from Heidi and could sense the other people around the café were now looking at me and at the large fog horn voice that was emanating from such a small lady.

Now normally, I would have put it out…….I never want to offend people especially from the ship. What were the chances of me offending someone who had to, of course, be on the ship and who recognized me?

Anyway, I took one last big puff of my cigar and blew the smoke which the wind took in the opposite direction of where the lady was sitting and was about to put the cigar out which by the way cost more than I can afford and as my hand moved towards the ash tray……..the manager came over and told the lady to be quiet and not shout as she was disturbing the music…, I think that was what he said because the lady and the two other people got up and started walking away.

As they walked past me the lady came towards me and said these exact words: “Crew members should not be allowed in the same place as passengers and you have ruined my night.” I stood to apologize but, the look on her face changed my mind and I am sorry to say I just said . . .”Am I bothered though?” and sat down.

Now, you cannot imagine how difficult it was for me to admit to all of you and all the top people at Carnival that I said that but sometimes you know what… you have to be a human being and this time I am sorry to say I WAS RUDE….I feel bad even now and remember hoping that I would bump into the Judge Judy lookalike on the ship so I could get down on bended knee and apologize.

It was not the fact that I had been asked to put my cigar out, or had been shouted at 40 feet from across the most famous square in the world or that she interrupted the music for all of us or that I was trying to be a big man in front of my wife. It was simply that she thought that we as crewmembers on our time off had no right to be in that most special of places and should have been locked in our rooms hanging upside down like a troglodyte….that’s what made me mad…I regret it deeply now, but at the time….to see the astonished look on her face…well I have to admit………….it felt good.

So, it was a feeling of mixed emotion as we walked back to the Vaporetto and Heidi knew that I was mad at myself. Then as we walked, another couple was walking towards us and as they did so a big smile came across the man and the lady’s faces ….John….”a hand extended as I shook theirs…’s great to see you we think you are the best cruise director we have ever seen”….I have never been so happy to hear a compliment ……..”Have you had a nice evening?” I asked …….Yes they said….we chatted about Venice for a minute or so and, as I said goodnight, I invited them to my show the following evening “Oh, well we would love to John,” they said, “but we’re on the Emerald Princess!”………………….bugger.

And after that moment I very rarely, if at all smoke in front of the guests but for some reason today as the lady showed her disgust to me through her car window I had deja vu about my time in Venice.

And so to finish today I want to show you my tentative CD schedule for 2010. This does not include the bloggers cruise which the people with beards in the marketing department are still talking about. However, I will let you know that I have asked for a seven-day cruise in September………………what ship………… idea.

Next year I want to be a CD as much as possible. I have no idea how much longer I will be doing this……….bloody hell………I am 45 next year………..although they do say that 45 is the new 25 …………25 my arse. I will still have some brand ambassador stuff to do as well but taking all of that into consideration I was able to put down this schedule………… it is.





After that I hope to have the bloggers cruise and then I will be CD on the Carnival Pride until December. I will have dates for this soon.

My wish was to be CD on all the class of ships and I seem to have achieved this. I wanted to get out to the West Coast and take the Carnival Splendor but that’s Goose’s ship and there really isn’t a gap for me there…………I was very disappointed about that.

So, unless there are any unforeseen circumstances that seem to be the schedule and I hope some of you will come and join me on one or more of the fun ships I will be CD on.

I have to make sure that I have an assistant to travel with me. I truly hope Carnival will OK this position. I really can’t be a CD and write the blog, etc. without one. I used to have Heidi and now I need someone to travel with me and I will be discussing this with them soon.

And as you will see I will be away from the girls a lot…….they will be traveling with me though sometimes. Kye will be older and that should make it easier………….I cannot imagine how I will feel when its time to say goodbye.

My hope and dream is that 2011 will have Carnival sailing in Europe once again so I can be close to them………..let’s hope that happens.

Meanwhile, let me take this chance to apologize again for there being no blog on Thursday and tell you that the next blog will appear on Tuesday. I know Monday is a holiday in North America and on Monday Heidi, Kye and I will be taking a cruise……..OK………a ferry………….to Holland.

Heidi’s Mum is the only one of her family to have seen Kye so we are taking a seven hour ferry ride to Holland and will be back on Thursday. I will keep writing of course so there will be more Carnival Dream photos, CD bios, news, and information and of course oodles of talk about my underpants.

It will be a very special moment on Tuesday when we will take Kye to see her Opar Joop. He never got to see his granddaughter and we will visit Heidi’s Dad’s resting place and show him beautiful Kye. I know that he would have been so very proud to see the sparkle that he always had in his eyes………… Lives on in Kye.

Heidi and Kye

Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.