Shopping…For Clues From PA 007

September 8, 2009 -

John Heald

I bonded with a mate of mine yesterday over the raspberry, which praise be to God has full signal once again. The bonding took place between me and a pal because while he was in Italy and I was in the UK we were both in fact in hell……………because both of us were shopping …………with our wives…………….and both of us would rather have sawdust pumped into the crack of our bottoms than go shopping……….we would both prefer to French kiss Judge Judy after she has eaten seven cloves of garlic than parade through the mall……….both of us would rather blow torch our nipples off and nail them to a climbing wall then shop……..yep…….we both hate it.

I see the hatred in men’s eyes when I go ashore especially in places like St. Thomas, St. Martin and Venice. You will see cruise ship males, standing outside the stores, crying, shaking and contemplating slitting their own throats with their Amex cards…….shopping is sexist and it should be banned……..or……..instead……..I had a thought………… a plan for a bit of a compromise.

What Carnival should do is open a male only club in the most popular shopping ports. That our ships call at. Now hold on…I am not talking about a club full of Latvian women and whips ……. nope………..well…………….ok…………..maybe that did cross my mind but realistically I am talking about something for the men …….. A place to hang out ……..or hang themselves ……….. while the wife is spending the kid’s college fund.

You see us poor chaps have such a deep-seated hatred of shopping we need to be dropped off for the duration and play happily while the missus sets fire to the credit card.

Toys should be at our disposal like Wee Wee games, zombie killing and for the more non technophobes amongst us……..a simple pack of cards to play poker with your cruise ship friends and fellow sufferers. Coupled with a few plasma screens to watch the Miami Heat beat the Detroit Pissers…..sorry………Pistons, Fawlty Towers or old re-runs of the Love Boat.

There should be beer and scotch and chips and chicken wings and drinks should there we get thirsty or peckish.

I’m not joking. Obviously Carnival would charge an entry fee and we would I am sure make loads of money on the drink and food………….think of it like a men’s babysitting service………..a penned-in area like a babies………….but one but with leather sofas and Guinness.

Now I can hear Heidi, Mrs. Bentley and many lady bloggers shaking their fists at their computer screens saying that this proves that us men are no different to children.

I can hear Heidi’s voice buzzing in my ear like a mother in law mosquito stating how incapable of schlepping (I love that word by the way) round a few stores in St. Thomas for a few hours and no way do we deserve a man version of juice and crayons to keep us quiet? But we do………oh yes ……….we do.

However, there will also be those ladies reading this who would be overjoyed at this thought. They are I am sure the ladies who don’t want their husbands tagging along and would love the mail creche to drop them off at before they bugger off looking for bargains. Of course I blame TV….yes I do and especially those four girls from Sex and the City. …………those women shop all day and all night and so because they do it……….so do our wives……………….ever see James Bond or Jack Bauer shopping in a mall?

I hate the way women knead clothes like pastry before even starting to think about if they fit or if they are going to buy them. Men………..we stare at it for a few moments and then buy it. If you are with your wife you are expected to wait outside the changing room for days. If a man goes shopping with another man and one pops into a changing room his mate will bugger off and reappear later asking “did you buy it?”

I hate changing rooms. Just hearing another man undoing his pants and taking his shirt off behind the next curtain makes me feel sick. That curtain needs to be a steel door guarded by some Green Berets just in case another man pulls back the curtain just as you are trying to wriggle your 48 inch waist into a 42 inch pair of pants.

That’s another reason I want Carnival to open a man cave in the ports of call. We would have lots of comfy leather sofas to sit on because you never get that at department stores. Why is it that while the wife is trying on a dozen outfits there is only one chair afforded to us per 29 cubicles? One man will be sitting there exchanging “changing room nightmare” glances.

So Carnival…………lets open these male only clubs and we can invite all the other men from all the other cruise lines as well because shopping pain is universal. Hell……….we can even open the doors to NCL, Crystal, and other lines………..not RCI though …there is no point……………once they have paid for the steak, the room service and the other hidden charges there won’t be any money left to go shopping with.

So male cruisers of the world I say this to you:

Shopping kills men by the hundreds, and I John Heald lead the fight against being dragged through the diamond, handbag and shoe stores ….I slay the dragon that is shopping….I do this with fireballs from my eyes and bolts of lightning from my arse. I AM John Heald. And I see a whole army of my friends and bloggers here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What would you do without freedom? Will you fight?

Time for some questions……………….here we go.

Karen Edmonson Asked:
John Please Reply
I will be Platinum this cruise on 9/21 on the Carnival Elation. If my sister is cruising with me, in another cabin, and I have the VIP embarkation can she be with me?? I also was wondering what other tidbits I might be entitled to now compared with before. Anything you can pass along would be appreciated. Love the Kye Friday’s and you being back as cruise director. Thanks for all of your help with all of the bloggers.

John Says:
Hello Karen
Many congratulations on your Platinum cruise. I am sure you are very excited about this.

As a platinum card holder you and everyone traveling in your same cabin will receive priority embarkation/debarkation; it does not however, extend to additional cabins traveling with you. However………..when you check in ask the embarkation staff. If they are not overly busy they may………..and I say may…………extend this to your sister as well but she should be prepared to meet you once onboard. Here are some of the other benefits you can look forward to on your upcoming cruise:

Past Guest Recognition Program
Platinum Guest Level Benefits
Available exclusively to Platinum Guest cardholders who have sailed aboard the Fun Ships ten times or more, Carnival’s Past Guest Recognition Program benefits are designed to recognize and reward those longtime Carnival guests for their loyalty over the years.

Our Platinum Guests will receive a special welcome aboard letter from Carnival President and CEO, Gerry Cahill detailing the exclusive amenities and privileges available during their cruise:

Priority Embarkation
Upon arriving at the cruise terminal, just ask for VIP Check-In, in ports where VIP Check-In is normally offered.

Personal Guest Service Staff
An exclusive, fully staffed Platinum Desk for personal service has been established at the Guest Services Desk. In addition, a dedicated phone line is available from 8:00am-8:00pm.

Personalized Stationery
Special stationery personalized with your name will be delivered to the stateroom prior to embarkation.

Canapés
Canapés will be delivered to the stateroom one evening via room service.
Note: For cruises 5 days or longer only

Petit Fours
Petit Fours will be delivered to the stateroom one evening via room service.

Carnival Logo Item
A special Carnival giveaway will be delivered to the stateroom.

Complimentary Entry Fee into Blackjack or Slot Tournament
Our Platinum Guest (18 years or older) will contact the Casino Cashier Cage for his/her complimentary ticket.

Complimentary Wash and Fold Laundry Service
Complimentary unlimited wash and fold laundry service.

Guaranteed Dining Assignments
Guests may change their assigned dining time.
Note: This is for the Platinum guest and immediate family, maximum of two staterooms.

Guaranteed Supper Club Reservations
Guests may get confirmed reservations for the Supper Club.

Priority Spa Carnival Reservations and Complimentary Treatment Upgrade.
Guests will be encouraged to book early to be assured of their requested appointment selection.

Priority Tender Boarding
In ports where the ship will tender, guests not on a shore excursion will proceed to the Platinum Desk and be escorted to the appropriate gangway for the next available tender.

Priority Debarkation
Guests will receive a debarkation letter offering a choice of how they would prefer to disembark the ship. They will be given the choice of Self Assist (where offered) or regular debarkation; for regular debarkation, the guest will receive Carnival Platinum Luggage tags.

So, there you go. Lots to look forward to and I know that these benefits along with the brilliant crew will make this tenth cruise your very best ever.
Have a brilliant time
Best wishes
John

Joan Kennaway QSM Asked:
Dear John,
Please reply
We have recently returned from an amazing holiday and want to thank you for your advice before we left. We were privileged to sail across the Atlantic from Southampton to New York on the Queen Mary 2 and thanks to your suggestion met up with their Entertainment Director, Ray Rouse on the first day of our journey who had such great suggestions of musical events in which we both have such an interest. Much to our surprise we were invited to dine at the Captain’s table one night (I sat right next to him!)And for cocktails with the captain and senior officers on another day. I really loved Dressing for dinner each night and even the children were beautifully dressed as well. I have just read of your latest plane trip back to England and have to tell you that we were upgraded in front of the curtain with plenty of champagne on the 12 hour flight from Hong Kong to London and also from Los Angeles from Auckland -another 12 hour flight so it was a dream holiday. Your wonderful insight and knowledge helps us all so much. Thank you and so glad to see you cuddling your adorable little daughter again.
Joan and Rick
Personal message (thank you) for John.

John Says:
Hello Joan
I took the liberty of sending your thanks to the Entertainment Director Ray Rouse who I hope to meet one day. He is considered by the entire cruise industry to be the very best cruise director ever…….and it would be an honour for me to shake his hand. How wonderful that you got to eat at the table with the master of the vessel. One day………I will get to sail on Cunard. It can’t come soon enough.

Thanks so much for all your kind words and if I can ever be of help you will find me here at the blog thingy.
Best wishes to all
John

Ryanweatherpa Asked:
John (Please Respond),
We just learned that RCI has a 1 AM curfew for 18-and-unders. I know you mentioned in a previous blog that someone thought Carnival should have curfews too and said that other cruise lines had them…well he’s right, they do.

So now we’re looking at other cruises for next July…what do you suggest? Obviously you have to suggest Carnival (or maybe one of the sister cruise lines) but we’re looking for Caribbean, 7 nights or more, preferably from the Northeast but doesn’t have to be. Do you have any favorite cruises you would suggest?

(By the way, you got off the Freedom just in time as it looks like there’s another Tropical Storm forming out there.)
Thanks,
Ryan

John Says:
Hello Ryan
I read with much interest about the curfew that RCI has. This is the first time I have heard of this and I will have to investigate this further. As for 2010 and a cruise from the Northeast, well, during the summer months many of our sister companies have most of their fleet in Europe and Alaska. You may want to think about the Caribbean Princess as an option. She is a beautiful ship and of course I am a huge fan of their product.

However, why not look at the Carnival Miracle out of New York or the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore. Have you ever been on a Spirit class ship? If you haven’t let me just say that you really should. Pop on over to carnival.com and have a look at the ship’s itineraries and then let me know if you have any other questions. I also of course have to recommend your Carnival Dream…………not exactly the northeast………..but a ship…you have to see.

I remain at your service
Best wishes
John

DelawareEllen Asked:
John (please reply),
Wow, what a wonderful surprise to see a picture of you and Kye and it is not even Friday.

First off, I wanted to thank you again from both Dave and I for making our Carnival Freedom cruise (Aug.9-15) our best one yet. We had many laughs and special moments that we will cherish forever. Thanks again for all the special things you did for us. I came back with an unexpected souvenir and that is why it has taken me so long to write to you. I broke my kneecap climbing the waterfall in Jamaica. I didn’t know it was broken until I walked on it for a week. Guess I will be taking the sightseeing buses from now on 🙂 My question is how to get some pictures to you. Dave took lots of good ones and great ones of the bedtime story and we wanted to share them with you. Is there an email address we can send them too? Thanks again, John and enjoy your time at home…you certainly deserve it.
Ellen and Dave Schonbach

John Says:
Hello Ellen and Dave
Oh my goodness ………you poor thing. Did you slip on a rock? Are you in pain? Please let me know how you are doing. Can you kindly send the photos to one of the 343 Stephanies at this address………. socialnetworking@carnival.com and I will then share them with everyone. I hope that despite your injury you did have fun and I hope we get to sail together again very soon.
Best wishes to you both
John

flipflopcruisequeen Asked:
John and Heidi, John, PLEASE REPLY
I am sure I am not the only one that had tears in my eyes as I looked at the photo of John and Kye together again. It is soooo sweet (sorry John if you don’t like the word “sweet” attached to you, get over it). John, you look so proud, and with good reason! Heidi, you have done an amazing job of raising Kye while John has been gone. I am a single mother, and I know how difficult and trying it can be at times. Please tell me this: Does Kye have John’s great dimples? John, please forget about so much blogging, just send photos of the 3 of you and tell us more Kye and Heidi stories.

Thanks, and I’m glad you made it home safely! Not Murphy-less, but at least safe!
Sheryl

John Says:
Hello Sheryl
Seeing how hard Heidi works to look after Kye and knowing how that work increases when I bugger off to the ships has given me a new found sense of amazement at how single mums like you cope…………but you do………………..and you should be so proud. Kye doesn’t seem to have dimples yet and we are still trying to work out what colour hair she will have. I hope you enjoyed yesterdays photo of Kye and there will be more later this week.
Thank you so much for your kindness
Best wishes
John

Mae Asked:
Hi John- Please Reply
I was just on Carnival Freedom last August 15th-23rd. I would just like to say that my family and I had a wonderful time. Last summer I sailed with the Carnival Liberty, but I must say that I enjoyed this cruise much more with you as our Cruise Director. I had so many laughs during that week. Another part of the cruise that I particularly enjoyed was listening to the incredible sounds of the Freedom Orchestra during the evening shows. Without them the shows would be nothing. Living where I live now, you don’t get to hear great live music coming from actual instruments anymore. Everything now is pretty much computer generated. What I would like to know, if possible, are the names of the members of the orchestra. Just like one comment earlier, I too am scrapbooking 🙂
Thanks again & take care always!!

John Says:
Hello Mae
I will be honoured to send you the names for your scrap book. Unfortunately I don’t have them here and will have to e-mail the Musical Director on the ship and get him to tell me who they are and what instrument they play. It is always very special to read that our guests love live music. I wonder if in years to come there will even be live music or will it all be simulated by computers ……………..I truly hope not. I am pleased that you had such a great time and it was a cruise full of fun and laughter as that is what we always strive do………….provide Fun For All.

Best wishes and I will send you those names soon.
John

JAS1178 Asked:
JOHN (PLEASE REPLY)
You went to IKEA (HELL) and didn’t have any LOX or Meatballs? You committed the ultimate sin!

Seriously, IKEA has become very popular in the US, and people come from states around to put themselves through hell.

Can you confirm that you will be cruise director on October 11th Legend?

If so…are you planning on doing your usual talent show?
Also….when do you perform the Bedtime Story?
Thanks in Advance!

John Says:
Hello Jonathan
As I was just saying at the top of the blog…I hate shopping and if shopping is hell………..then IKEA is Paris!

I will be seeing you as CD on the Carnival Legend on the 11th and I will try to perform the bedtime story during the talent show. Please come to all the shows.
Best wishes and see you soon
John

Tom-n-Cheryl Asked:
John Please Reply 🙂
JOHN SAYS: “2. Platinum Breakfast or Lunch……..I think this is something that we can do straight away. We don’t need to have a special area……..or special food…………we just reserve an area of the dining room for breakfast of lunch on a sea day and invite the Platinum cruisers. This should be hosted by the captain and or cruise director and it will be a wonderful way for you all to chat about your past cruise experiences and meet your fellow Platinumers…………yes that is a word.”

Nooooo – not breakfast on a SEA DAY. That is almost sacrilegious! Sea days are meant for staying up late the prior night (Piano Bar, Casino, Disco, etc…) and sleeping in the next morning. This is supposed to be a vacation – heck, even on port days I make it a point NOT to book the early (version of) excursions!

If this does come to pass, and since you mentioned “special food” – let’s see if we have have PRIME RIB on the LUNCH menu! Prime rib, btw, is the main reason why I will never miss the first formal (excuse me – “Cruise Elegant”) night. “Yes Ketut, scoop out ALL of that horseradish right on top there!”
Tom
John – This is a reply to your reply, no question.

John Says:
Hello Tom and Cheryl
You are right of course……….a special Platinum lunch may be the answer as breakfast is far too early I guess. I have been thinking about the menu for this if we were to do it and came up with:

APPETIZER – CHOCLATE MELTING CAKE

MAIN COURSE – CHOCOLATE MELTING CAKE

DESSERT – 2 X CHOCOLATE MELTING CAKES.

What do you think?

Seriously though, we do need to do something for our Platinum guests and as I said a few weeks ago………..that’s at the top of my to do list.

Best wishes to you both
John

Cheryl Donofrio Asked:
Hello John, Heidi, and Kye,
I really enjoyed your blog today, John. Now I know I won’t be going to IKEA any time soon. It sounds like the way I feel when I go to Home Depot!

The others have said it, but it bears repeating. The picture of you and Kye is beautiful! Your face definitely looks thinner than when I met you on the Bloggers’ Cruise in February. Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

Thank you for the interview of Big Sexy. In his interview, he mentioned that one of his mentors is Jorge, who is currently the CD on the Carnival Triumph. I was very excited when I read this, because we are sailing on the Carnival Triumph on Oct 10th of this year. (I hope Jorge is there on that sailing. He sounds terrific.) My husband and I are travel agents, and we are escorting a small group on this sailing. There will be a total of 16 of us, ranging in age from 3 to 86. Most of us are in our 50s – 70s. I have a couple of questions:

John, PLEASE REPLY.
1. A number of the group is celebrating birthdays in the months before or after the cruise. What is the best way to celebrate? Should I get a couple of birthday cakes one night at dinner? (One chocolate and one vanilla.) Or can you think of something better?

2. I want to do a “bubble sail-away”. Do I need to get permission? Or can I just do it? I’m only talking about two bubble blowing guns, nothing elaborate.
3. A few of my group are past guests, and senior citizens and they HATE the fact that they can’t just walk across Deck 3 to get to the aft dining room. I’ve tried to tell them how to get to the dining room easily, but to no avail. Here is my question: Should I request the mid-ship dining room? Or more to the point is there any reason that I shouldn’t request the mid-ship dining room? Once when we were on the Carnival Legend, (which I know has only one dining room) they put our group way over in the front corner, and we couldn’t see any of the Fun entertainment in the dining room. I don’t want to miss out on any of the fun. But I want my group to have the best possible experience. What do you recommend?
Thank you so much for your help, and for writing the blog. It’s wonderful.
Your Friend,
Cheryl D.

John Says:
Hello Cheryl D
Funny you should mention Jorge as he will be in the spotlight in a few minutes. Let me try and help you with your questions.

The best thing to do regarding the birthdays is to order two cakes as you suggested and when you make the reservation ask for them to be delivered to the table all on the same night. This way you can have one big celebration. Always check with the Maitre D the night before just to make sure they have the cake order and I know you will have fun. As for the bubble machines, there is no restrictions on these as far as the ship is concerned. They pose no threat to the environment as long as they are used outside we will have no problems with you using them as part of the celebrations. Both dining rooms are the same, serving the same food and with the same fun service. The forward dining room is a little smaller ……….that’s the only difference.

If your family’s cabins are at the forward part of the ship it may make sense to request this especially if some have walking challenges. If you need my help doing this please let me know and I will be happy to do so.

I know that you will all have a great time and look out for George Solano’s bio in a few moments.
Best wishes
John

Steve Asked:
John, (PLEASE REPLY)
I tried posted this the other day but it doesn’t seem to have made it to the comments. I just started reading your blog after my awesome Carnival Freedom spring break cruise in March and have been reading ever since. I am already planning another Carnival cruise for March 2010 and had a question regarding an itinerary. It seems the Carnival Valor and the Carnival Glory sail the exact same itinerary, on the same days, on their March 7, 2010 sailing. Am I reading this correct? Is it strange for two ships to have the same exact ports of call all week from the same departure port and everything?? Thanks mate!

John Says:
Hello Steve
I am glad that after your first Carnival experience you are ready to cruise again. I remember the days when you never, ever saw another Carnival ship in port with your vessel and if you did it was a huge occasion. Nowadays it is very common for ships to be in port together. However, for them to leave on the same day from the same home port and to call at the same ports is more unusual.

Let’s look at the two ships for March 7 and yes you are correct they do both leave from Miami on a Sunday and both do call at the same ports. Now, this is because the ports of Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan and Cozumel are some of our most popular and I wonder when the last time this happened………..two ships sailing from the same home port calling at the same ports on the same day…………..I wonder if we have to go back to the Mardi Gras and Carnivale to find that. And I wonder if both Carnival Glory and Carnival Valor will stay on these routes or will the brilliant mind of Terry Thornton our SVP of ….stuff…….has other plans for them.

I hope nobody asks me which of the two ships I would choose because that is a question that is very difficult to answer.

Anyway……….let me know what I can do for you Steve and I hope you keep enjoying this humble blog thingy
Best wishes
John

Karen Asked:
Reply john please
I have a confession to make to start this blog. My husband and I are Platinum cruisers with 12 cruises to our history. All but one is with Carnival so we are die hard Carnival fans. Now the confession– We just booked on a repositioning with that other line that starts with an N. And I do mean to tell you I feel quite guilty. It is a chance to go to the Panama Canal so we had to take it. I am going to take extensive notes and do some cruise critic work myself. I will be happy to share. I hope the N ship knows they have a long way to go to make me happy after all my experience with Carnival. Please except this as an apology to all my Carnival friends but I really want to do this trip. We are booked on the Carnival Dream (full name) in June so this trip is just a short deviation.
Hope you have a great time at home with your two girls.

John Says:
Hello Karen
Oh my goodness. I…can’t say anything except………let’s see what the future holds. We are so proud that so many people like you are loyal to this great company and I wonder if one day soon we will get to sail together. Please keep reading the blog and let’s see what happens round the corner.
Thanks again and best wishes to all
John

Bob and Lynda Asked:
Dear John (please reply),
I was not going to ask you to get us a table for two on our Holiday cruise, Sept 7, as we have always taken care of that once on board. But since you said you would do it for another couple, I will ask you to try to do it for us. This is our 15th Carnival Cruise since 2005, and we have two more planned for this year after the Holiday. Our booking number is 29GT01, stateroom M10. Thanks again for the great blog, have been a loyal reader for a couple of years. Wake up to it every morning. Hope to see you on the Holiday in November, for her last sailing. Have a great vacation with the girls.
Thanks, Lynda

John Says:
Hello Lynda
I wanted to apologize to you for replying so late to this post. You are now onboard and I am hoping that you have been able to get the table you wanted. I am so far behind in my replies that it is affecting people’s requests ………bugger. I am proud that you have been such a loyal reader of the blog and I hope you had an excellent cruise and found the little gift I sent in way of an apology.
Best wishes to you both
John

Randall Asked:
John (please reply)
My family and I are on the Legend for Oct 11th and are very excited to have you as our CD. After all the great things I’ve heard on the Cruise Critic Boards I know we’ll love our trip. This will be the first CCL voyage for me (41), my son (10), my mom (66), and dad (74) and my wife’s (I better not say) 2nd.

The last few cruises (on other lines) we have made a point of not just doing the “tourist” stuff but to try and do something positive for kids in need in the places we visit. My family and I have been collecting books and supplies for the kids in Roatan from numerous sources here, but I need to know if there are special things I need to do to take them off the ship for delivery. It was suggested I contact you early to get your assistance. Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance and we can’t wait for our vacation on the Legend with you.

John Says:
Hello Randall
You were in full flow then mate and then you lost all your courage and decided not to mention your wife’s age…….you are a smart man. I will be there with you on the Carnival Legend and please can you bring me a list of the items you wish to be disembarked and leave it for me at the Guest Services Desk and I will arrange this for you. I hope you have fun and how kind to think of those less fortunate during your vacation

See you soon and best wishes to you all
John

Kyle Asked:
Hi John, (please reply after some well deserved rest)
I just got off the Carnival Freedom mystery tour and am already missing life on the cruise. Let me start off by apologizing if this comment runs too long. I just wanted to let you know that I had a great time on the cruise and let you know how everything went.

I guess I might as well start with the bad, which probably has more to do with me being a first time cruiser than anything. I had a few problems getting through embarkation. It started off as we walked into the terminal. Immediately as we walked in, we each had a form for the swine flu thingy stuck in our hands. No hi, no how are you, and worst of all no pens to fill out the form. After we scrounged around for a pen to fill out the forms, we really had no idea about how it was supposed to work. We had to ask a fellow cruiser what to do to get thru it all. The guy handing out zone cards wasn’t really interested in telling us how the system worked, so we again were asking other passengers what to expect. I know that the terminal was swamped at the time, but I was a little disappointed with the way everything was starting out. I just think there may be some opportunities here.

Ok, enough of the negative. The good news is once I was in line everything turned around. There were friendly Carnival employees the rest of the way thru the embarkation process. They were cracking jokes with us in line, and everything else ran really smooth.

Once onboard the ship, everything far exceeded my expectations. Everyone was friendly. Everyone was fun. Everyone worked hard to make sure that we had a good time. Our room was way bigger than I was expecting it to be. I was a little nervous about fitting three guys into a cabin, but we had plenty of room. Not to mention that the suction toilet was awesome! Our room steward was great. We couldn’t believe how quick he was to get the room put back together and cleaned. Our wait staff was the best! Tutu and Wewe were amazing. They knew exactly what we wanted, gave us great recommendations, made us laugh, took good care of us when the rocking ship was making some of our stomachs flip, and went far beyond what I was expecting.

The entertainment on board the ship was great too. Your welcome aboard show had me rolling not just in, but off my seat. The other shows were all very impressive too. Especially the dancers doing a full routine while everyone else is just trying to walk a straight line. The Beatles tribute was probably my favorite show. It really was great! The entertainment staff was a bundle of fun too. I especially enjoyed Mel. She was always a lot of fun, and seemed like she is a real sweetheart. And speaking of sweet, the sight of Jane in that black dress was quite the sight to behold. Say you couldn’t hook me up with a number? Just kidding.

Anyway we really had a great time and can’t wait to start planning my next cruise. I think I am officially addicted now. Thank you for being the best cruise director ever, and making the best out of a potentially busted cruise. I was never worried about the weather ruining the cruise because I knew that whatever happened you would find a way to make it fun anyway. Your naked rain dance on the bow just made sure that we could go on our original course! Thank you so much again, and make sure that you take a well deserved rest!

John Says:
Hello Kyle
Let me start by addressing the concerns you had during embarkation. There is no doubt that we have some concerns in Fort Lauderdale and I know that the Carnival shore side team is well aware of them and doing all they can to improve, However, there will be some lines as space is limited and it’s a shame to read that while the majority of the embarkation staff were brilliant that there one or two who looked disinterested. The people handing out the influenza forms are your first impression of the Carnival experience and they should make it a good one……at least. I have sent your comments to the people concerned.

Now, thanks for those great words of praise. Mel is a fantastic member of staff and I will make sure she gets to read your words. She is about to get engaged to her boyfriend who works in the casino and I know he has bought her a diamond that is so small it cannot be seen with the human eye………..right Mel?

Anyway, congratulations to her and all the crew for making your time onboard such a great one. I am glad my naked rain dance had us heading where we were supposed to and considering what might have been the weather was stunning.

I hope we get to sail together again very soon

Best wishes to all
John

Spencer Asked:
John Please Reply.
John,
Do you have any word on the Carnival Elation? The itineraries for May 2010 and on we suppose to be relapsed on Aug. 17. Thank you for all your help!
Spencer

John Says:
Hello Spencer
I am so sorry but I don’t have any news on this at the moment. I was promised faithfully that there would be news by Friday the 11 September. Please check back with us about that here on the blog thingy. My best wishes to you and the family
John

MelanieG Asked:
John, please reply…
Hoping you have a fantastic visit with Heidi and Kye…
A question came up on our Oct 3rd Carnival Dream roll call…Do you know if we will be able to access Skype whilst onboard if we get the internet package…
Thanks in advance
Mel

John Says:
Hello Mel
That’s a great question and the answer is I honestly don’t know. I’ll try to track down this information and get right back to you. Will be in touch.
Best wishes
John

Samantha Brumberg Asked:
(PLEASE REPLY!)
This is Samantha Brumberg. I came on the Carnival Freedom on the 15th of August. I was the girl with the cast. I am happy to say that I have gotten my cast off today! I just wanted to know how you’re doing and I miss your New York (Brooklyn) accent, your fighting with wee dick and you just being funny. I really would love coming on another cruise with you very soon!
Love,
Sam from Pennsylvania

John Says:
Hello Samantha
It’s so wonderful that you took the time to write to me. I remember signing your cast outside the main theatre and the great photo we had taken together with your family. It was brilliant having you onboard and your Dad is very funny, he should be a cruise director. I am happy your arm is OK and I hope we can sail together soon.

Say hello to everyone
Cheers
John

Carolyn and Don Asked:
John please reply
John, now you’ve got the keys of my computer damp. I can tell she didn’t forget her Daddy. She’s got hold of your thumb and she’s not going to let you go. She’s so pretty.

You’re looking good. I can tell you’ve lost more weight in your face since we saw you July 4th on the Carnival Freedom………… (Full name)

Okay everyone is wanting to know what they are going to get that is special for the inaugural sailing of the Drea ooooppppppppps Carnival Dream.

Well while you’re at it, could you find out if the ones that are sailing on the inaugural cruise from Port Canaveral are going to get something special also? After all it is her inaugural sailing from her new home. Will they be doing anything special in Port Canaveral like they did when the Splendor arrived in California?

I’m so glad you are finally home with your girls.
Countess Carolyn….. One month from sailing on the Carnival Holiday

To Bee
I learned a lesson with the problems you had with your scooter and booked a handicap room so we don’t have to leave mine in the hall.

John Says:
Hello Carolyn and Don
Kye loves holding my hand and the emotions I feel when she smiles at me are indescribable. As for the inaugural cruises I am working with Roberta, Jim and other senior vice presidents to see what we can do for those sailing on the September 21 cruise and the one out of New York. I must admit I have not asked about the one out of Port Canaveral but seeing that this is a bloggers cruise there will be lots of gifts for those sailing as part of our family. I will let you all know news about this soon. Thanks to you both and thanks again for your continuing kindness.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today……bugger me……….that was a double load. I just can’t ahead with these questions so this leaves me once again having to apologize for the delay in me answer them.

OK, time for a break while I go and ask Heidi to rub some Preparation H on my hemmerhoids.

I will leave you with another kind of hole……..18 of them actually………your Carnival Dream mini (not midget) golf course.

Dream Gol 002

Dream Golf 001

Dream Golf 003

Congratulations to Tim Cabral and the design team. Are you ready for a round of golf on your Carnival Dream?…………….have you booked yet?

Now please meet a great friend of mine ………Cruise Director George ” I love You Man ” Solano.

P1210010

enjoying oysters in Key West

Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair serving
I got started back in the early 90’s as Fly-on comedian until 2001 when I was given the chance to become a cruise director

What ship are you currently on.
I’m returning to the Carnival Triumph

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.
Well it depends what I’m the mood for, what I like to do to hop from lounge to lounge but the Rome Lounge is my favorite. I love the Entertainment on this ship!!! Our ship is the best in the fleet because we have a warm friendly family atmosphere with great service, top notch entertainment, beautiful ports of call and over 1000 officers, staff and crew to insure you have the best vacation you ever had!!!!

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 are departing from New York doing 4 & 5 day cruises to St. John New Brunswick and Halifax Nova Scotia. This was my first season doing Canada and I love it!!! In St. John I like to go to hope well rocks tour is worth the trip these rocks were created by the clashing tides and melting glaciers for thousands of years as tide comes in twice a day as high four stories, plus the magnificent views and a great lunch at the ranch….
In Halifax, I love doing the hop on, hop off double Decker bus!!! this is your best way to see Halifax at your own leisure it has three different loops lasting between 30 to 90 min and you can get off and on anytime at the designated stops, You will learn about the history and colorful characters that once lived there and don’t miss the maritime Museum where you get to see many of original Titanic artifacts that were recovered at time it sank, and much more..

If someone were to ask you ” what does a Carnival Cruise Director do ” how would you reply
As CD’s we wear many hats as there are many other jobs that fall under our scope but first and foremost we are the leaders of fun aboard the ship!!

What is your most favorite part of the job
Being on stage interacting with the guests !!!!!

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 .
The Welcome Aboard and Marriage show.

What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD
Like on any other profession it has it’s challenges, at times we tend to spend too much time behind the desk dealing with stuff that has nothing to do with entertainment!

YOUR FAVOURITE ACTOR
Al Pacino

YOUR FAVOURITE ACTRESS
Sandra Bullock

WHAT’S ON YOUR EYE POD
Every single AC/DC & Beatles song ever written and Family Guy

YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE
Scarface

WHO MAKES YOU LAUGH
George Lopez and John Heald. John is the funniest cruise director in the world and so much funnier than me. He is the engineer………I am the oily rag………….I wanna be like Juan.

YOUR FAVOURITE CARNIVAL CRUISE DIRECTOR EXCLUDING YOURSELF AND ME (JOHN) AND WHY
Malcolm Burn he’s a funny and entertaining, and a good guy!

IF YOU WERE INVISIBLE FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD YOU DO
Hang out in your cabin and annoy you all day long!!

Thanks George. If you get to sail with Jorge I promise you will get to see one of the funniest men in the business……..of course he is funny because he does all my jokes………..but with a Spanish accent. What chair ?

By the time you read this I will be in Holland introducing Kye to clogs, windmills and Heidi’s family. There will be regular blogs for the rest of the week and I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend.

Now, I want to talk to you about spies……….you know……..the James Bond type of spy …………..not the current Bond……….the big puff. I hated Quantum of Solace, I had no bloody clue what Bond was up to half the time.

In the olden days, Bond would get some orders from M and then embark on a series of fights, interspersed with some rumpy pumpy, until eventually the baddie and his entire operation exploded. …..I miss Roger Moore.

I have also missed our super spy PA 007. Now…….for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about let me explain. During the latter part of 2007 and for most of 2008 I had a spy in the office. Obviously their identity has to be kept a secret…..more secretive in fact then the true identity of Superman, Spiderman, Batman and the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who I think is actually ………Susan Boyle.

Anyway, he……or she………….used to sit in their cubicle somewhere at Carnival HQ listening for bits of information. If he thought some Carnival executives were talking around the water cooler about something the blog should be told he or she would casually get up to get a drink of water and after listening to a bit of info would return to his or her cubicle and e-mail me all the news.

Now, the people at Carnival were getting a little upset about this and in fact I was intensely questioned by Gerry Cahill and his team of inquisitors as they tried to get me to divulge the information as to who he or she really was. Honestly……….the questioning was quite intense. I was tickled on the arse with a peacock feather………I was locked in a room and forced to listen to 8 straight hours of Barry Manilow…….then when I was at my lowest I nearly cracked when Mr. Cahill made me look at photos of myself naked……..but…….I stayed strong and to this day PA 007’s identity remains intact.

Obviously he or she had to stop sending me information………until now because the spy has come in from the cold……..well actually the spy has come in from the hot as he or she lives in Miami……but anyway…….PA 007 told me that they may have some exciting news in the next few days…….all he would tell me was……….that it would make some of y’all……very happy.

Welcome back PA 007……..and we look forward to hearing the breaking news very soon…

OK, time to go. By the way, if packing for two was bad enough packing for three is horrendous. Kye is taking more than Heidi and I put together…………bloody hell……..we are only going for three days……..stroller, rocker, Moses basket, three pacifiers, 28 changes of clothing and 457 diapers………….OK…two of those are for me……….but come on!

Oh by the way…….Heidi has just given me a bollocking about my Sex and the City comments. It seems I am forbidden in making fun of Carrie and the three heffers. Well sorry Heidi and sorry to all the other SITC fans. I am surprised that it’s so popular because I guess the cast are all good looking and thin which is usually a good excuse for other women to be shouting “bitch” at the TV.

I only wish that one episode would feature Sarah Jessica Parker falling over on those bloody ridiculous high heels and has to be put down by a vet.

It’s their fault as I said at the start of today’s blog that women love to shop, especially for shoes, pursers and sexy underwear……..talking of which…………there is no point in the Sex in the City Girls shopping for underwear if ten minutes into every episode they are going to be just keeping their ankles warm!

So, to sum up toady’s blog………I say this to the men out there in blog land…………and I say it with a thick Scottish accent.

So male cruisers of the world I say this to you

Shopping kills men by the hundreds, and I John Heald lead the fight against being dragged through the diamond, handbag and shoe stores ….I slay the dragon that is shopping and I slay those Sex and the City wee skinny trollops….I do this with fireballs from my eyes and bolts of lightning from my arse.

I AM John Heald. And I see a whole army of my friends and bloggers here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What would you do without freedom? Will you fight?

Aye…..fight and you may be in the doghouse. Run and you’ll live — at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our wives that we refuse to go shopping……..ahh ….. they may take our lives………..but they’ll never take our freedom!!!

Goodnight
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.