An Englishman In New York

November 5, 2009 -

John Heald

So, like most of this city I was watching the baseball World Series between the two countries of Philadelphia and New York. Actually, I think I have actually been watching the world spitting championships.

Bloody hell, can these people spit. The rule seems to be that everybody has to be chewing something, at all times — gum, tobacco, fingernails, toenails, boogers and a fan or two. And not in regular style quantities, either but in dinosaur portions. There was a guy out there last night who apparently has the rather unfortunate name of Mr. A. Rod who had a wad of gum in his cheek the size of a puppy. Actually, it might even have been a puppy. And what goes in invariably comes out. Then they cut to the manager just as he unleashed a stream of tobacco juice the width of Hudson. Then just as I was recovering from this charming sight the camera a player called Derek Cheater who was shelling peanuts with his teeth and lips and regurgitating the shrapnel like some kind of demented human beaver.

And of course………there was much rejoicing in the street because New York won and just as Philadelphia had done last year the rejoicing in the streets was done right outside my hotel …….. bugger.

Strange though isn’t it. Last year we were filming the Piñata commercial and the parade meant we had to postpone our event. This year……..same thing ……and while we won’t have to postpone our Carnival event it may be slightly overshadowed by some men who have hit balls with a stick.

Oh one more sporting mention today…………………..because I am flabbergasted ………. it was a wig…………….a wig!

Andre Agassi published an autobiography confessing that he took illegal drugs during his career; he must have imagined that this would provide the most talked about detail in the book. Was it bollocks?

The public …………or is it just me…………is more fascinated by the revelation that the now bald tennis ace wore a wig. The lion like mane that won him loads of tournaments, buckets full of money and unlimited rumpy pumpy was a wig and the fact that he wore it without anyone noticing is surely one of the most amazing sporting miracles the world has ever seen. I wonder if the Williams sisters’ forthcoming book will reveal they wear jockstraps….and it will be revealed that Martina Navratilova is actually a welder from the Bronx…….. Whose real name is Vinny?

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

Dee Asked:
Please reply!

Would it be possible for you to bring pictures of Kye to the 11/15 bloggers cocktail party for all of us to see?

John Says:
Hello Dee

I am a proud new Dad and have photos of Kye with me 24 hours a day. They are the first thing I look at when I wake up and the last thing I look at before I go to bed……………well…………..except my photo of Megan Fox’s bottom.
I will be honored to show them to you.
Best wishes

Scotty Asked:
Hi John, (please reply)

My wife and I have just booked out first cruise on the Carnival Dream for Jan 30/10, something we are really looking forward to.

We have timed this trip with my wife’s 30th birthday, any specific recommendations for something special?

John Says:
Hello Scotty

Congratulations on booking your Carnival Dream for your wife’s birthday. There is so much to see and so much to do onboard. The shows are amazing and the new Lanai, Carnival Water Works brilliant four slides, the steakhouse and all the new and exciting facilities blended with all the usual Carnival brand of fun make this ship………..incomparable.

Make sure you don’t miss a thing and as I will be your Cruise Director I am sure if you remind me I can find a little birthday gift for your wife.
Best wishes to you both

JM Asked:
Dear John Heald, (Please respond.)

I will be on the 02/14/10 sailing of the Carnival Glory in room #7440. I need a (cold) refrigerator in my room for some disability-required items. I know the room comes equipped with a mini-bar, but those are usually not cold enough (I need regular refrigerator temperature). My required liquid needs to be refrigerator-cold and my service dog’s canned foods (her breakfast) need to be kept from going bad for two to four days each, depending on how I mix them together. (Once opened, they need to be refrigerated because they are meat/fish along with vegetables, vitamins, and other healthy pieces.)

My travel agent has spoken with Carnival a couple times about this, but they have so far refused to put a refrigerator in my room, stating that I can either store items in the mini-bar (which the Carnival Web site even says is not very cold) or walk halfway across the ship (and back) first thing in the morning (twice) each day to store items in the purser’s refrigerator. They do not seem to understand that with my mobility and stamina disabilities, this is burdensome, if not sometimes near impossible, (and the pain issues I have don’t help, either). I have been on a cruise before on a different cruise line, so I know what it is like trying to get around a cruise ship, trying to wake up and get out of bed after a day or two onshore (remembering a particular day I could not get up until at least noontime or early afternoon), and the other challenges I face. On that cruise, the cruise line just had me fill out a form pre-cruise to get a mini-refrigerator put in my room (in addition to the built-in mini-bar that wasn’t cold enough). I have already filled out disability forms for Carnival and requested a refrigerator on the applicable one to no avail.

Could you be so kind as to see about this issue so that I will be able to go on this cruise? I know Carnival has mini-refrigerators for medical use because I have done some Internet searching and found people who have gotten them put in their cabins for their medical items. If you could please have Carnival add to my reservation that I need a mini-refrigerator for medical use in my cabin, that would be so helpful and I would be very grateful.

Please let me know if you need any more information (I don’t want to give too much out on a very public Web site) or if there is anything I can do for you in return. Thank you for your help!

John Says:
Hello JM

I don’t want you to worry although that is probably easier for me to write than for you to do …… but you really mustn’t. I know exactly what your concerns are and I can tell you that we will take care of this for you. Our mini bars are actually refrigerators and the temperature can be adjusted. I know this because I had a service dog with similar requirements sail on the Carnival Freedom recently and the owner had similar concerns.

So, what I need you to do is kindly remind me 3 weeks before you sail and I will make sure that the refrigerator (mini bar) in your stateroom is as you require it to be. So, as I said please don’t worry. Relax, give your dog a pat and a Scooby snack and I will make sure you both have a wonderful cruise.
Don’t forget to write
Best wishes

Steve Owen Asked:
Dear “1 of 343 Stephanie’s”

This is kind of embarrassing. A couple of weeks ago I sent my first “comment” to John about his always delightful blog AND the Blogger’s Cruise on DREAM 12/03/09, HOWEVER, I forgot to put “please reply”.

My Sis and I booked before they had 12/03/09 designated as an official Blogger’s Cruise. Is there still a chance to be included in the group? When I called Carnival they transferred me around a little and it didn’t seem anyone could help me with getting the “PBL” code on our bookings.

If you can still help us that would be great.

John Says:
Hello Steve O

No worries Steve. I just checked with one of the 343 Stephanies and I can confirm that you have been added to the Bloggers list. See you real soon…………..bugger………….that was far too Disney ………see you real soon?…………….what am I saying……………oh bugger ………… I can’t help myself………….M I C………K E Y……….O U S O B……..bugger ………spelt that wrong as well.
Best wishes

Ernie Asked:
Please reply:

I like the idea of having the mini bar left empty. I am a diabetic and have to move things around or just remove them to be able to keep my insulin refrigerated. I am sure others have the same problem. On our last cruise our steward had to lock the fridge the night before disembarking and placed my insulin in the ice bucket, a great idea, but as they were “pens” in cardboard, by next morning the containers were soaked. Not his fault, as he did what he could. I thanked him for his thoughtfulness.

Looking forward to the 9 day Bloggers Cruise on our Carnival Dream.

John Says:
Hello Ernie

While most guests prefer to have the mini bar stocked I know that there are those who like yourself need them for medication. There are three ways to make sure this happens. You can call our special needs desk, you can ask me to assist in advance via the blog thingy or you can simply ask your stateroom Steward to do this for you. The last night’s incident you described should not happen if we do one of these things and I apologize that it was done this way. So, I am here to help and if anyone needs this done please let me know.
Best wishes from a fellow diabetic

Paula Hayes Asked:
Please reply

I will be going on the Carnival Sensation with my family and have booked 3 Suites for Thanksgiving, 11/26/2009. We decided to take this cruise then because my mother-in-law has never been on a cruise and her husband passed away May of this year and we wanted to do something different because this will be the first holiday without him. Since we booked this cruise, our financial situation has dramatically changed and we will not be able to do any excursions or really have enough money to spend much extra on this cruise. I was wondering if Carnival had any policies about awarding on board credits for it passengers even when there are no promotions or specials advertised. I would appreciate anything that Carnival can do to help (even it is just $50 per stateroom). Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Paula Hayes

John Says:
Hello Paula

I was so sorry to hear of the passing of your father in law and that your financial situation has changed since booking your Carnival Sensation cruise. I have sent your e mail to my friends in Miami and they will review your request and let you know. Remember, all the food, activities and entertainment are all included so I promise you will have a brilliant time.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write
Best wishes to you all

Angela Guptill Asked:
Please reply:-)

Hi John! We’re on the Dream Feb.13/10 and want to know if we too can request that the mini bar be emptied and I can put my bottled water in instead. Also, who will be our CD? Thanks oodles, Angela Guptill from the Great White North, eh?

Hello Angela
While I can authorize the emptying of the mini bars for medical reasons I am sorry to say that once I open the door for guests to have theirs emptied to allow beverages purchased ashore to be put there………..I will be flooded with requests to do so, I am sure you understand. However, the good news…………….I hope……………… that I will be your CD and I look forward to welcoming my friends from the great white north to the wonderfully warm Caribbean.
See you soon
Best wishes

Ken Stevenson Asked:
John – Reply if you like

Next Sunday when you’re in Tampa ready to head out for lunch grab a taxi to the Columbia Restaurant. It’s just a few blocks from the ship, it’s a Tampa landmark and worth a look even if you’re not over the moon about Cuban cuisine. Ask for the Patio room.
Will you be on board the Legend cruise January 10, 2010?
Ken Stevenson

John Says:
Hello Ken

I am so sorry I saw this late and of course by now you will know I am off the Carnival Legend and back on dry land and won’t be going back to Tampa for some time. It would have been so nice to try out your recommendation as I love Cuban food. Thanks again for thinking of me and by the way, the hospitality and facilities that cruise ship guests will find in Tampa is simply brilliant.
Best Wishes

Sean McGrath Asked:
John, Please Please Please reply.

Hello John, Sorry to have to bother you again, you very kindly answered my Draft larger query earlier.

I’m on the Carnival Valor on the 8th and 15th of next month. Really looking forward to it now.
This is mega, mega, really important, to me at least 🙂 .

Ireland, I’m Irish, are playing in the world cup qualifiers on the 14th and 18th of November, when I’m on the ship. Against…. Dum Dum Dum, the hated French, Merde and other Frenchy language word’s.

Please, Please Please tell me I will be able to watch the match in the sports bar, or anywhere on the ship for that matter, I don’t care if I have to crawl under a staircase and share it with a smelly hairy Moldavian Stocker, or something, as long as there is room for a 6pack and my new Moldavian friend doesn’t cheer the French on.

Seeing as the Italians topped the group in front of us I think the Captain should take a personal interest in this too 😉 , only joking.
This is more important than Life and Death.
Come On Ireland!!!!!
Thanks very much John and best wishes to the family.
Sean McGrath

John Says:
Hello Sean

Well, it’s time to order a barrel of Guinness because you are going to need to drown your sorrows. Unfortunately, in the United States coverage of Rugby on TV is ……well………….bugger all. In fact, there is more coverage of ladies topless darts and underwater naked table tennis then there is rugby. So mate, it looks like you will have to rely on the internet for your coverage ……… sorry. Don’t worry though………….you will beat the French. In fact, even though the game is not for a few weeks…………I hear they have already surrendered.

Have a wonderful cruise………….come on England!
Best wishes

Lorraine Beggs Asked:
Hi John (please reply)

Well the Carnival Dream was a truly great ship, great friendly staff, food etc, in fact everything you said it would be. You may remember you helped us with a booking problem when my father suffered a stroke and had to cancel 2 weeks before the cruise. Guess what?, my mother in law, who sailed with us, suffered a heart attack as we were sailing into Venice and required a triple bypass whilst there. We disembarked the ship on day 5 of our cruise so our Inaugural sailing was short.

I am actually writing to ask you to pass on our heartfelt thanks to Dr Caroline, David and in particular, nurse Sharon Ritchie, who spent the whole day in hospital with us and a very terrified mother in law. Their actions were quick, professional and made the outcome happier than it may otherwise have been. I think some passengers just take the medical facility for granted but having experienced this first-hand, I can only say that we should be very grateful that they are fully equipped for serious illnesses and not just for packs of ice for sprains or laxatives because someone has not eaten properly(This happened when we were there). Can you also pass on our grateful thanks to Eadie and crew in Miami who called us every 2nd day throughout just to check on progress and ensure we were coping. You can’t get better than that. We returned home 24 days after leaving Scotland and I’m pleased to say my mother in law is doing well. I’m disappointed to note that Carnival is not sailing in Europe next year but hope that 2011 might be different.

Wishing you, Heidi and Kye all the very best for the coming year and I look forward to seeing more photos of your family. Many thanks

John Says:
Hello Lorraine

I was so sad to read these words and let me start by saying that I hope Mum continues to recover from what must have been a terrible experience for her and you of course. I know the husband and wife team of Dr. Caroline and Dr. David very well. They are good friends and loved by the crew for the wonderful care they provide them. And of course, this goes for the guests who have to see them as well and their professional abilities as well as their genuine care for those they meet meant that they were the natural choice to deliver your Carnival Dream. I don’t know Nurse Sharon but it sounds like she was a true angel. I will make sure they and their supervisors get to see your gracious words and I am so sorry that your Carnival Dream turned into a nightmare although with somewhat of a happy ending.

The doctors and nurses on our ships are indeed unsung heroes most of the time and I thank you so much for mentioning them and the brilliant Eddie and the after care team for all they did during this awful time.

Once again, please give Mum a big hug and we all send her and you our best wishes

That does all for today and of course there will be more tomorrow.

You know, just going back a bit on today’s questions………and I know this is wrong…….. but ……………I am concerned now that I will get some requests to remove the mini bar stock from people who say they need it for medicine when they actually need it for a case of Budweiser they managed to get onboard. I wouldn’t have thought this if I had read some comments from some of you that people book the special needs cabins when they don’t have special needs outside of wanting a bigger cabin.

I hope this doesn’t happen and my faith in humankind still springs eternal. I must admit that the chap who wrote about his dissatisfaction that I continue to help those who ask me to here on the blog thingy. I really wanted to tell him to go put his thingy in a blender but I didn’t because that would be rude.

Well, your Carnival Dream is nearly here in New York. Her final port of call before arriving in Bermuda was Palma De Majorca in Spain and our senior photographer Radu shared these wonderful photos of his time ashore with me and I want to share his brilliant work with you.










Well, it was quite a day here in New York. I started at 7 am and finished at 5 pm so suffice to say it was quite exhausting.

New York is everything it fabled to be. It is full of extraordinary people and ones who have one volume when they talk ……………loud………..”You talkin to me loud.” There are also things you would see in New York that you would never see anywhere else. While in the city today we witnessed a man in a full panda costume who was trying to get kids to have their photos with him but the parents were never going to do this………because this was a very drunk panda. He staggered all over the place near the Bull on Wall Street, as Mr. Panda broke the golden rule of children’s characters……he shouted “Hey f#%k off, this is my patch.”…………brilliant.

Then there was the lady who came up to me and said “are you that guy from TV ?”.  Yes, I said thinking this might be fun.

“I don’t like ya “she said…………….and buggered off…………..leaving everyone in hysterics.

It was, quite a day.

However, the craziest thing I saw today in a city that has its fare share of crazy involves massage. Readers of this blog will now that the last time I had a massage I farted so loudly that the therapist from the Carnival Freedom Spa had to have therapy ………..and I have and never will have had a massage again. I also know that I am in the minority as whatever the problem ……………people always say …………… a massage will help! And lately I’ve noticed, there are an infinite number of places where one can test it out. Massage chairs are available on most of our ships along the Promenade Deck although they are mostly used for our older guests to fall asleep in. Miami airport I noticed has “Express massage” outlets. I’ve always thought the point of getting a massage was to relax. Is there any environment less relaxing than an airport?

The only place worse than getting massaged at the airport is getting a massage on the streets on New York…………which you can do right outside our hotel.

What kind of person would do this? How desperate do you have to be for a neck rub to be willing to get one on the sidewalk in front of pedestrians who are walking their dogs and picking up dog poo three feet from your face? How can you relax when taxi drivers are blowing their horns and workmen are whistling at bottoms and a drunken panda is trying to get you to have a photo with him?

There are rows of leather massage chairs set up on right here around the Rockafella thingy and as we walked around I saw people facing the gutter in these chairs, noses practically touching the ground, while they inhale exhaust fumes from the buses and heavy goods traffic. Are their lives really that much more stressful or is it that these people need to feel special – so special they’ll pay a stranger they’ve never met and who may have no qualifications to put their hands all over them in the street. How qualified are they really? You could end up with a dislocated thingy.

Tomorrow we have meetings and will make final arrangements for the events on Thursday and Friday and within the next day or so I will be able to unveil more details on who has been chosen to be your Carnival Dream’s godmother.

Tomorrow also I will be joined by Peter the Hair and his video cameras and he will be filming some footage for me to post on the blog tomorrow and of course he and the 343 Stephanies will be providing steaming footage of all that happens on November 12.

There were many highlights today and I will be sharing them all with you soon I promise. You know, the last time I was in New York was with the Carnival Triumph in 2001. Heidi and I have a special photo on the wall at home of the ship sailing past the Twin Towers…………today, for the first time since they fell……I got to revisit the place where they once stood. I returned this morning as New Yorkers, Americans and people from all over the world have done and I bowed my head………………. and remembered.

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.