Dressed To Kill

November 4, 2009 -

John Heald

So here I am in New York which regular readers of the blog will know that its time……once again………….for one of my I Hate Flying starts to the blog. And of course, if you look hard enough there is always a story to tell, especially if you are flying out of Miami International Airport which might as well be renamed Charles De Gaulle because rude people work there …………..and it smells.

However, while there is no excuse for the check-in lady to be rude (she seemed delighted that it would cost me $100 to check in my bags and my underpants – smug cow) there are some people who as much as I would like to think they could be pleasant………….really and truly can’t be.

Let me explain. What’s the thing you hate most about airports? I mean, apart from obvious stuff such as the toilets, the lines, the $10 sandwiches, the fear of dying and when the check-in lady asks if you packed your case yourself, having to fight a childish urge to reply: “Do I look like I’ve got a butler?”

No, the worst thing is other passengers. As I remembered yesterday while inching through security to catch my flight to Miami. It wasn’t the line that made me want to chew my own nipples off but the people in it. Especially the older jogging pants wearing couple behind me who should have been wearing T-shirts that read “Born to moan.”

The line was “ridiculous” and “there should be a special fast lane for those in first class.” As she said this to her husband she held her boarding pass over her head like she had just been presented with the NBA trophy. It was “shocking” and “a joke” that everyone has to put their shoes through the scanner because ……. really ………….. did they look like Islamic fundamentalists? You’d think in this day and age they could invent a faster way to blah, blah, blah.

Now, on this blog I have at times complained about the excessive checks given by airline security. I mean, patting down a 5 year old boy or taking my Carnival name tag away from is indeed boarding on the insane. However, no one wants to remove their belts and outer garments and do a Paris Hilton impression with legs apart, to endure light petting with an electronic wand. But it’s preferable to being sucked out of a Boeing 747 at 30,000 feet because a suicide bomber has made a Rosie O’Donnell shaped hole in the fuselage.

And, as it happens, they have come up with a faster system. I read in the American Airlines magazine that airports will soon have a speedy X-ray body scanner that penetrates clothing to create an image that can see whether someone has a hand grenade up their arse. Lines will be shortened drastically, leaving you more time to browse in Sunglass Hut.

But are we happy about this? ………….ummmm…………I doubt it. I am sure Mr. and Mrs. Moaner and their friends will think this is even worse and I am sure the rich and tanned may get upset. Yes, there are “real fears” that pictures of, say, Megan Fox passing through the scanner may end up being posted on the internet and making their way onto my laptop.

Of course I am talking bollocks. Have you actually seen these X-ray images? They’re crap! I am sure they will just be shapes with no facial detail or hair and certainly no bosoms, lady gardens and thingies will be seen…………..super models won’t even register on the scanner at all.

I am sure there will be tofu-eating people with beards who will complain that these machines are a personal intrusion etc etc etc and that intimate medical details such as breast implants and colostomy bags will be seen. Well, I guess if you’re wearing a colostomy bag, being patted down by an airport security person isn’t a much fun either.

As I said I am sure Mr. and Mrs. Moaner and other professional complainers in my airport line are just the types to object to a virtual strip-search. But which is it to be? Long lines and no X-ray or a swift shimmy through and a full proof way to make sure that Abdul and his mates aren’t going to take you with them to meet the 40 virgins? You can’t have it both ways.

This made me think also of the shipboard security. Each and every week on each and every ship we disembark and embark thousands of guests in port. Our security guards do a wonderful job making sure no naughty people get onboard yet each and every week you could stand at the gangway listening to relatives and friends of Mr. and Mrs. Moaner complain about the line and the fact they can’t just walk straight onboard.

Like airlines and other transportation systems, cruise ships take security very seriously. So, the next time you are standing in line after a wonderful day ashore, waiting to get back onboard and you hear Mr. and Mrs. Moaner complain about having to go through security ……..please do me a favor………tell them to stop complaining. Tell them to remember what happened when checks like this weren’t made and if they continue to complain ………accidently shove them off the pier and into the water…………..we can’t do this as crewmembers…………….as fellow guests …………. you can………………..and if you do…………..I will send you a fruit basket.

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

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John, Please reply.

I was wondering if in your 22 years of working for Carnival, you have ever been able to take a cruise. If not then this will be your first to see both sides of cruising, working on a cruise ship, then just being a passenger and not being part of the crew at all. It is kind of like in my carrier, nursing, you have no idea what it is like to be a patient, until something happens to you and you then become the patient. It is an eye opener.

I hope you will do a couple or rather a few blogs during your cruise (not every day that would not be fair, because it is your vacation (or Holiday in your country).

I wish that I could take the cruise with you, but after checking out the price (for just me would be over $5,000) and living on disability there is no way that I could ever cruise on any of Cunard lines. I probably would not like them as much as Carnival anyway; Carnival is the “FUN SHIPS”.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

When I was a child, taking a cruise was as distant a dream as seeing Megan Fox’s bottom up close is now. Pre-blog days the thought of going on vacation and taking a cruise never crossed my mind. However, recently I have had the chance to visit and sail on Princess, AIDA, Cunard, Costa and Holland America ships. Heidi and I cruised on the gorgeous Emerald Princess in 2008 and we had a wonderful week and of course I sent daily blogs from there as well. Next year we sail on the Queen Victoria around the UK and some of the readers have booked cabins and are coming with the three of us……………still feels funny saying the three of us by the way. Anyway, I wish you could come with me but please don’t worry as there will be daily blogs from the ship and I am sure there will be plenty of stories to share.
Best wishes

Marqueta Asked:
Dear John, Please Reply

We love the shows and have not seen any one that was not exceptional. I know a lot goes into putting these productions together and that is why you probably try to rotate them around the fleet. Although those of us who cruise often end up seeing the shows several times before they introduce a new one to the fleet. We have not taken part in the anytime dining and always choose 1st seating as we are used to eating dinner around 5:30 here at home. That always puts us at the late show I really have not seen that much of a decline in attendance.

We also love Karaoke and find it very entertaining. We follow the games and trivia’s around the ship all day long and are always there for towel folding.

I am a little tired of some of the lido deck entertainment, hairy chest; survivor and so on.

Smoking Topic; well as an asthmatic for all of my life, I can tell you that I am happy about having certain areas for the smokers and non-smokers. I can’t tell you how many times on the Conquest going to the internet cafe I would have to hold my breath and run through the cigar lounge. As a result of my medical condition, I hardly ever go to the bars on the ship because of the smoking.

On a personal note, John do not listen to the lady who said you were not being a good father or husband by working away from home. My husband was in the Air Force for 22 years and he missed a lot of the kids growing up years, as well as important occasions, but it was how he made a living and took care of us monetarily. We do not love him any less now that he is home all the time than we did then when he was gone. In fact it has made better people of our kids now 26 and 23. They appreciate their dad more because of the sacrifices he made to be gone to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. I assure you that Heidi and Kye love you just the same too. We appreciate that they share you with all of us too.
Many thanks for all you do,

John Says:
Hello Marqueta

It was very interesting to read how you spend your time onboard. When a show is successful and a huge hit we do sometimes repeat it on other ships. Take our Beatles tribute “Ticket to Ride“ for example. This I believe is on three of our ships and while some guests may have seen it already the majority will not have done and so it makes sense to repeat something you know absolutely will bring the house down. It is also a time constraint. I mean, try thinking about new concepts and new shows for 23 ships. Well, actually, for the most part Kerry Stables and her production team actually do. But sometimes, especially when you are doing a show change on one ship and have a new ship coming out as well, time does not allow for two brand new shows to be produced, choreographed and arranged. Thus, one of our “hits” is placed onboard.

I agree with you about the Lido Deck games. While the Hairy Chest contest is one that if we were to remove would produce a flood of negative comments, it is time to come up with new Lido entertainment. This is one of the categories we will be discussing and I will be reporting on during the Cruise Director conference later this month.

I want to thank you so much for the very kind words of support which continue to be much needed.
Best wishes to you and the family

Mel Asked:
John or Stephanie please reply,

Hello John and I must say I missed your blog for the past three weeks, but I was in Italy and onboard the Gorgeous Carnival Dream Oct 3rd sailing. What a ship and what a voyage. The ports of call were amazing and I have to say it ranks as my number 1 trip thus far! Please tell all the bigwigs to put a ship back in Europe! Also it was my first encounter with Ken in the dining room, this man is AMAZING and I will certainly be looking to find another voyage that he is on!

I am actually looking for some assistance or direction to follow. We were disappointed with our cabin 8466 and I have returned to see it was definitely a ship building error. I called the pursers desk whilst onboard and they all came for a tour of our cabin. They followed procedure and contacted Miami who gave us a 200 pp obc stating this was the cost difference between our 9a and the extended balconies (when we booked the ext aft balconies were Cat 8b and not 8G as they are now).I disagree but I know the pursers desks hands were tied. We were booked on the Freedom and then the Liberty which were cancelled and then to the Dream. I know for a fact our cost difference was approx 1000 for both of us as we had a discussion as to whether we wanted to spend the addition money and I worked extra to spring for it! Our friends on the 6th and 7th decks had the aft balconies and I know for sure the cost diff was 800.oo. I had said we would be happy with a future cruise credit for the difference. We paid 5000 for the cruise and though I do understand sometimes mistakes happen I would expect my credit to on par with the cost difference for when I booked. I would have changed my choice of cabin at time of booking if I had known I was not getting an aft wrap. (btw friends had a cove balcony and they are LOVELY).

Who should I address this with or is there someone you could get this too? Also the cabin does not have a sofa in it as I was told when changing from the cancelled Liberty sailing.

Thanks John and I do want to emphasize that we still think this was our best Carnival cruise yet!

John Says:
Hello Mel

I want you to know that I just forwarded your comments to our Senior Vice President Roberta Jacoby and the shipboard staff. I know having done 11 new deliveries I that bringing out a new ship is never easy. No matter how much you prepare and plan there are always going to be times when you say “bugger, I didn’t think of that.” So, your positive words will mean so much to the Captain and crew.

It has been well documented here on the blog thingy that we did indeed make a mistake when building cabin 8466. I know by now you will have read that the partitions have been removed. However, obviously this was not done in time for your voyage. Please let me apologize for this and I will make sure that your comments are sent to one of our vice presidents for her immediate attention. Please leave this with me and I promise someone will be in touch shortly.

If you need anything else I remain at your service.
Best wishes

Stephanie Asked:
Please Reply-

John, I love reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your funny stories. I feel a kinship of sorts with you, as I work in the hospitality industry as a front office manager. While my hotel only has 237 rooms, I always feel like you’re speaking to just me with some of these stories!!!

My Husband and my family are going to be on the Glory on November 7th, and I wanted to know if there is anything in particular we HAVE to see on that ship. This is also my husband’s first cruise, and sort of like our real honeymoon as well, (we’ve been married a year). I just want to make sure we don’t miss anything really spectacular. I’ve read all the boards, and feel like I’ve got a good idea, but just wondering if you have anything you would recommend, from one hospitality worker to another!! 🙂
Thanks again for your blog!! It always brightens my day!!!

John Says:
Hello Stephanie (what an unusual name!)

I am glad you enjoy the blog so much and I am sure you could write one of your own working where you do. I am sure you must be excited that this Saturday you will join the Carnival Glory. Please don’t miss any of the shows including the two shows featuring the dancers and singers and the sensational Marcus Anthony Motown show. You also have the new comedy club in the aft lounge so stop by and get ready to laugh. Then there is the steakhouse which as this is a special cruise for you and your husband you really have to try. Most of all, relax, have fun and enjoy some wonderful time together.
Have a brilliant cruise
Best wishes

Mike Asked:
John (Please reply when you can)

I’m looking for information about what ship a particular Carnival employee may currently be serving on. Twice now (Holiday in 007 and Carnival Conquest in 2008) my family and I have had the pleasure of sailing with a dining room hostess from Macedonia by the name of Slavica (not sure I got that spelled correctly). We were all so very taken with her, none more so than my young daughter. Slavica is so very classy, beautiful and friendly. She definitely made both of those cruises memorable for our family.

When we left Conquest in 2008 she was headed back to Macedonia for a long vacation and seemed unsure of whether or not she would be returning to CCL for another contract.

If possible I’d like to know if she is still with CCL and what ship she might be serving on. I can’t imagine that we’d be lucky enough to have her onboard for our May 2010 Carnival Dream cruise, but that would definitely be the icing on the cake!!

Its crew members like her that keeps us coming back to CCL.
Thanks John.

John Says:
Hello Mike

I thank you for those words for an obviously very talented dining room hostess whose name is actually spelt Slavkia. She is currently working onboard the Carnival Miracle and so she will not be with you on your Carnival Dream voyage in May next year. I am sure you will meet Ken and his brilliant dining room staff though and have more wonderful dining room memories.
Best wishes to you and the family

Julia Burke Asked:

I have been enjoying the blog thingy since the very beginning and my family and I had the privilege of sailing with you on the Freedom in August of 2007 on a 12 day European cruise, and more recently this summer on the freedom again. We were right there with you and all the craziness on that last cruise (8/15 -8/22) before you went home to your family.

I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that we love cruising with Carnival. It is our favorite and only cruising line. Every staff member we encounter has always been attentive, polite, and friendly. The food and service at the restaurants is first class. The shows are entertaining and you are so hilarious. On our last cruise, I actually attended the newlywed show and you had me and everyone else laughing so hard.

Our kids enjoy Camp carnival and the O2 so much, that we must enforce the “we eat diner as a family” rule to get to see them. My 7 year old, wishes she could be in 3 places at the same time. She loves cruising so much that one of her favorite phrases is “I don’t care where we go, as long as I’m on a cruise.” As for me I just love being pampered for a whole week. Because, that is what it translates into, not having to clean, cook, make beds….it is pure heaven.…

Anyway, not being able to wait until next summer to go on the “dream” we booked the 2 days cruise to nowhere out of NYC. (My husband refuses to take the kids out of school) I have been following all the posting related to the Dream very closely, and I know you will be on board. I haven’t been able to determine though, if you are going to be the CD or are going the there in your Grand ambassador role. I love you as a CD, but I think I will probably have more of an opportunity of bumping into you if you are the latter. Next year, we are cruising Alaska. We are trying to get a large group of friends and family together. To that end, we invited my mother in law and her cousin to join us on the 2 days cruise on the dream (Nov 13-14) and it would be great if they could meet you, and maybe get a photo with you.

Also, I wanted to inquire, will the back stage tour be available on those days , I would love to provide them with such an experience, besides, it would go a long way to convincing them to join us next year in Alaska.

Finally, I read about the blogger’s breakfast on Nov 7th in NYC. Can you give a little more information on that? Where will it be held? How do I get invited? It sounds like so much fun. I would love to be there.

Well John I hope this actually gets posted and you get to read it before our sailing day – Nov 13th. Our cabin # is 9391 & 9395. Thank you for all you do. Is there anything I could do for you? Anything I could bring you from NY or actually NJ? Please let me know. You do so much for everyone- that I would love to be able to something for you.
See you soon…. your blogger fan
Julia B

John Says:
Hello Julia

Thanks so much for the great posting and I am so happy that you have such fond memories of our times together onboard the Carnival Freedom. I will be there with you on the 2 day cruise onboard you’re Carnival Dream. I won’t be the CD though but will be there as the Brand Ambassador helping with the press as well as washing the dishes. I will see what I can do about a backstage tour. I know there won’t be one purse but I am sure I can organize one for you and the group. Can you leave me a note when you get onboard and I will be in touch with you …………… you can leave it at the guest services desk please? I will be seeing you soon and I am sure it will be a wonderful two days.
Thanks so very much and best wishes to you all

Laura Asked:
John (please reply if you can),

You mentioning how the “up and coming” CD’s are nipping at your heels made me wonder…just how are the Cruise Directors assigned to each ship? Is this done on a seniority type basis i.e. new CD’s get the smaller ships or is it totally random? Just curious as to how this is done 🙂

John Says:
Hello Laura

Good question. In days gone by we had what we would call “starter ships” for new Cruise Directors. These were the Holiday, the Jubilee and Celebration and before that the Mardi Gras and Carnivale which was my first ship. These days there are no “starter ships” and therefore a first time CD will always have a major posting for his or her first time. We also look at the type of CD the person is and what the demographics of the people who sail onboard are as well. Also, some CD’s have acts which means we need to find a ship where they can perform and some are suited more to the shorter cruises than the longer. However, there are 23 ships in the fleet right now and this means that there is a lot of last minute rescheduling due to unforeseen circumstances and this means that more often than not………it’s a question of filling in the gap with anyone we can get.

There is some method though to the madness and hopefully the proof of this is in the fact that we think our current crop of Cruise Directors are the best we have ever had.

Please let me know if you have a follow up question.
Best wishes

Kristin Boarman Frankenfield Asked:
Hi John (Please Respond)

I wrote you yesterday but I truly am new to this blog “thingy” and not sure if I posted right or not??? I don’t know where to look for responses either!! I wrote about our amazing honeymoon on the Legend on Oct. 11th and our great service staff (I Gusti, Iis in the dining room and Alex in Golden Fleece and Michael our steward for #5157) my question was for you to settle the bet b/w me and my husband as to whether Dick Little was real or a plant? If you received my other post, I wrote how my husband ran into Mr. Little’s supposed granddaughter who claimed Dick Little is not Dick Little!!( I think she said his name was James Kennedy from Ohio) Of course as previously mentioned, it would not take away from our experience at all…just settle a little newlywed bet!!!!
Kristin (Boarman) Frankenfield

John Says:
Hello Kristin

As always it’s an honor to welcome new people to our blog thingy and your post made it loud and clear. All I can say is like a magician…………a good CD never tells his stage secrets. I hope you found the show funny and have wonderful memories of your cruise. I read with delight your comments about the dining room staff and I will make sure they get to see your comments. Did we get to meet on the ship? Did your husband send in a honeymoon dedication for you? I hope the cruise gave you a wonderful start to your life together and tell your husband………..he lost the bet………..even if he didn’t. Remember – you’re the boss.
Best wishes to you both

Jim Aske:

About 60 Cruise Critic members will be aboard the 11/11/09 SPIRIT cruise. I’d appreciate it if you could arrange a “Meet/Greet”. Possibly on our 1st “Fun Day at Sea”. We’d also, if anyone is available, to meet with any entertainment/CD staff. Thank you.

John Says:
Hello Jim

I will send this to Stuart Dunn and the groups coordinator onboard and ask him to put a note in the today at a glance section of the Capers stating “cruise critic meeting.” I hope you all have a brilliant time.
Best wishes

Ian Ridge Asked:

I know we are not “allowed” to e-mail you directly but I needed to make sure that you saw this. I read a topic on Cruise Critic that you stated in one of your blogs that you do not understand why people like me are so ticked off at the jerks who ask you for free gifts and dining room requests. You think these people are your friends? They are not they are free loaders who make the rest of us normal cruisers look bad. We have to line up to change our dining room seating and we never get anything free so why should they. This is my opinion and that of many who read cruise critic and I thought I should express it on behalf of us all. I am part of the “Looter Rebel” group sailing on the Splendor in May10 and I can promise you none of us will be asking for anything for free.

John Says:
Hello Ian

I have just deleted my reply to you because after reading it back I think it came across as flippant and somewhat arrogant for which I would have eventually had to apologize. So, instead, let me just say this. I respect your opinion, having opinions is what separates us from farm yard animals and that’s what this blog is based on …….opinions. I will say just this. If you ever need me to help you or your group that is sailing in May on the Carnival Splendor…….I will be honored to do so.
Best wishes and have a brilliant cruise

That’s all for today. There will be more tomorrow.

Let’s take a break and allow me to go calm down a bit…………of course you are my friends ……………. right? There have been many things in my career as a CD and as a blogger that I know I have said and done that have been wrong but honestly…………….I have to admit to being jaw droppingly flabbergasted at the hostility some of the Cruise Critic folks have towards me helping others. I honestly think I may be missing the point and …………..I have to say……..It makes the hairs on my arse stand on end!

Anyway, while me and my underpants take a break , let’s check do the news and start by reading a piece of news written by our mate Vance from PR…………..who helps us all say goodbye to the Holiday.

Holiday Departs on Final Voyage for Carnival Cruise Lines

Thanks mate and we shall all miss the Holiday and we wish her good fortune in her new life.

I have many Holiday stories in my memory banks and here is a quick one top share now with you. I was in the bar department and used to spend the entire time making sure as an assistant bar manager that the main show room was properly staffed and that drink service was good. Actually, that’s bollocks. I used to stand there in my white uniform, looking at the Cruise Director and dreaming of being him. The laughs, the love the audience had for them…………I wanted it …………..and……………I wanted the lashings of rumpy pumpy that came with it.

One CD was a British chap called Mark Haslam. He was a magician and a great guy. One night I stood and watched him perform a trick called the sub trunk. This involves him standing on a trunk type box, holding a large piece of cloth in front of him….and within a flash he would change into a beautiful showgirl. The showgirl would then jump of the crate…………my favorite bit because it was pre silicon valley and when she jumped things would wobble ……….. and she would let Mark out of the trunk. Great trick.

Well, this particular night the trick went well right up to the part where she tried to get Mark out of the box. Unfortunately the key broke off and she couldn’t take the padlock off. Now ……… obviously there was a secret………..ummmm……….entrance but they couldn’t reveal this to the guests…………….and so that was the end of the show.

Well, the next night was the Talent Show and as the drum roll sounded and the MC said “Please welcome to the stage your host for tonight’s show ……your Cruise Director …….. Maaaaaaark Hasslammmmmmmmm……………..two guys pushed the trunk out to the middle of the stage and Mark…………hosted the show…………from inside the box……….the premise being that they still couldn’t get him out……………………..brilliant……………absolutely brilliant. I will share another Holiday story with you tomorrow.

Well, it’s time to say hello to Jaime who has a special Dear John letter for us.

November 3, 2009

Dear John,

I am going to get to see you in only a few days at this huge “Welcoming of the Carnival Dream” party in New York, so I figured I would say hello and fill you in on what has been going on before the big event this coming Saturday.

The upcoming weeks are going to be full of adventures and changes. This week, I am leaving mid way through the cruise to join YOU and 400,000 strangers in Rockefeller Center to co-host this huge party! I could not be more excited, I have been seeing pictures of the ship for months now, and it is almost right here in the states! I will return the Carnival Pride for one week as Assistant Cruise Director, and before I know it, it will be time for the annual Cruise Director’s conference, when I will be taking over as and sitting in the big chair for a whole week on board the Pride. In preparation, I have been watching every single cruise director’s Welcome Aboard Shows and Debarkation Talks so I can try and find what I think will work best for me. Unfortunately, there are not too many female cruise directors so I am going to have to base my routine after the following cruise directors that I have worked for: Jorge Solano – a Colombian, slightly overweight, mid 50 year old former fly on comedian; Steve Cassel – A tall, skinny, computer genius who is a master fiddle player; Kirk Benning – an extremely attractive, moderately funny guy who everyone just seems to love, and John Heald – a quick witted English guy who has worked in the cruising business for longer than I have been alive…. On second thought, I think I am going to have to make my own unique show… which may be a first for a cruise director! Shortly after I take over… I am hoping to be able to join you and John for the bloggers cruise. I would love to see all of my old friends, and meet all of the bloggers that I have been reading comments from since last year on the Carnival Splendor’s European season!

I have been back on board the Carnival Pride for just over a month now, one may think that having the same seven day itinerary every cruise may seem a bit redundant, but in actuality we always have new challenges and a wide variety of different personalities with each crowd that steps on board.

Last week for example, we had a wild animal loose in our cabin (see the picture).


We had an incredible time celebrating Halloween. We had a great turn out of guests dressing up in costume and we had a huge costume masquerade party and contest on Halloween Eve! Also, I discovered that there is such a thing as the bingo mafia… Please see the below email that was sent to me by one of the members of the entertainment staff:

Hello Kirk and Jaime,
Just thought I would inform you of my run in with the angered mob that is possibly know to some as “the angered bunch of people that don’t understand the wording in the capers and announcements”. They were extremely adamant about it having been advertised as $10 for a triple card. I informed them that the mentioned $10 was for the single card only. As like always seems to find like, all the angered mob members convened in one area of the Show lounge I explained to them that the cards start off at $10 and that the caper stated nothing in regards to it being $10 for a set of three cards. They then stated that is was announced all morning long that it was a special bingo, I mentioned that I confirmed with management that no such announcements were made. During their “welcome to our mob” meet & greet one lady exclaimed “see this is how they catch you, and don’t even get me started on the jewelry sale….”

I thanked them and then left seeing that the large lady in the mob would have been able to crush my spine in half if she saw fit to do so.
Thank you

Needless to say, the head of the mob still played bingo, and ended up winning the bingo game with the largest prize value – $1,000.00. Nevertheless, she was still angry about her “overpriced” card. ::smiles:: never a dull moment.

On a brighter note, my aunt recently took an hour and a half drive from Virginia to visit me in Baltimore for the day. Before long my mom and dad will be joining me on board for their 30th wedding anniversary. And most recently, Kirk and I visited one of my old high school friends who works for some theme whose President, CEO and Chairman is a 6 foot tall perpetually happy mouse.

I couldn’t be happier. Hope all is well!

Looking forward to seeing you in New York! And, hopefully for the bloggers cruise!

All the best,
Jaime Deitsch
Assistant Cruise Director
Carnival Pride


I will be seeing Jaime here in New York in a few days as will those who will be having breakfast with us. Jaime can tell you all about her time on the Carnival Pride and her forthcoming marriage to………..oh bugger………….was that a secret…………oops.

Well, I am getting ready for the arrival of your Carnival Dream. She is on her way to Bermuda having passed through the straits of Gibraltar. As usual Radu our amazing chief photographer was on hand to capture the moment.











Thank you all for your kind words of respect, admiration and sympathy for Mr. Zonis. I read each one and it was wonderful read them all, especially one from Robert the Great Excelsior who was and still is an amazing entertainer and who was hired by Mr. Zonis. His legacy will live on and as the tributes keep coming I will be collating them all and then presenting a special blog about his life, something I hope his family will treasure.

It’s 5:55 am and I am sitting here in a hotel close to Rockefeller Center finishing off today’s blog. I didn’t want to disappoint you and not post one today because I have a 7 am – 9 pm……… ummmmm …………something. I can’t tell you what yet but will do so soon.

Anyway, I decided to get up at 5 am to write to you despite the fact that I didn’t get to the hotel until 11 pm. As I write I am watching local channel 10 news with Chuck someone and a girl with the most enormous hair I have ever seen. I love local news hair. The anchor’s is big and funny and makes me giggle, but just now they cut to a chap “in the field” and that was me rolling around in the hotel room laughing so hard that I farted at the same time. How does this reporter’s hair get like that? Do they take a picture of John Kerry to the salon? And what is it cut with? A shovel?

Local hair is one of the main reasons why all the tear-jerking, my dog was run over by a snow plough stories on local news go so wrong. They love someone in tears on local news. They’ve seen it on Oprah and they have seen it on The Apprentice and they know it is a ratings winner.

But they can never quite pull it off. The reporter does everything right. He puts on his special “caring” voice. The cameraman tightens for a Big Close Up when the photos of “Rex” the Golden Retriever are produced. But the parent in question won’t cry because . . . well you can’t when the lady reporter with the microphone has more hair on her head then all the Supremes put together.

They can go back to the studio for a couple of quick puns, a spot of off-Autocue flirting with the weathergirl and then it’s off to Brian Williams for some proper news.

The weather lady has told me thought that its cold outside and so I have my coat ready to go. I was going to wear a dress but ………..it’s a little chilly. That pathetic segue was the only way I could get into the subject of me playing Dolly sodding Parton in the Legends show. Some of you asked for photos and so for those people who have obviously not taken their medication …………. here they are………side effects may include un-controllable projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea. Please seek the advice of a medical professional if symptoms continue.










I need your honest opinion………………Does this dress make me look fat?

Your friend

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