Feeling HOT, HOT, HOT

November 9, 2009 -

John Heald

I have never been to Bermuda before and so it was that even though I would be there but for one night only I was actually looking forward to seeing what everyone had always told me was a beautiful island. I was however anxious that it may be the death of me because obviously myself and the other Continental Airlines passengers would be flying through the Bermuda Triangle.

As we took off I found myself sitting next to Barry Manilow. OK, old big nose wasn’t in the seat next to me but he certainly was in my mind as I couldn’t help singing Barry’s famous lyrics, “Bermuda Triangle…………..It makes people disappear………………Bermuda Triangle. …………. Don’t go too near…………..But she doesn’t see my angle” which apart from Shania Twain’s “My panty line shows….got a run in my hose………..My hair went flat…………..Man, I hate that”…………….are surely the worst lyrics in the history of music.

Mr. Google had told me that Bermuda locals hate to be associated the patch of ocean between its west coast, Florida and Puerto Rico…………. in which anything that might contain a tourist either sinks without trace or mysteriously falls out of the sky. Reading this meant that once again it was not a good day to be my underpants. Obviously I thought the whole Triangle thing was utter bollocks. The locals take this very seriously, as befits a people who have to look across 640 miles of famously dangerous water to find their nearest neighbor.
Anyway………….I made it ……. and here I am in my Bermuda underwear blogging to you.

I have read many times here on the blog thingy how so many people have requested more Carnival cruises here. And like many people, I suppose, I had only the vaguest of ideas about Bermuda before visiting it. I knew it was pretty small, must, therefore, be much the same all over, remained part of the British Empire (hooray), but was otherwise populated by golfers (boo). It is a two-hour flight from New York and as we flew over the island I could see golf …………lots of bloody golf………….the in-flight magazine telling me there are eight courses on an island 21 miles long and at most four miles wide. My taxi driver was one of many residents who wear the national dress of jacket and tie, Bermuda shorts, long dark socks and formal shoes and they do look just as ludicrous as this suggests……………..although this fashion is also very popular in Germany and Austria as well. I am staying at a hotel called The Grotto and as usual Murphy and his law had dictated that my room not be ready for another two hours from my arrival time and that when I finally arrived in the room my sodding key didn’t work and I had to walk all the way down the hill to the resort center to get another one…………….bugger.

The view though is pretty spectacular and I can see why Bermuda’s beaches are counted as being among the finest in the world, with long stretches of pink sand and warm blue water. The beaches, which are called “pink” but are more pink-tinged than strawberry milkshake, come either in intricate and intimate coves or in larger stretches and, either way, are gorgeous. The houses ……. many of which are and complete with gleaming white roofs and devices for capturing rainwater for domestic use. I know this because I watched a program on TV at my Dad’s house some years ago where his heroes Steve and Norm from This Old House were building a house here.

Anyway, I should be out touring as I am only here a short time but honestly……………..I am really, really tired and so it’s an early night but not before I pop to the bathroom and make my own Bermuda Triangle.

Just before I go here are some photos of Bermuda taken by the fabulous Radu from the ship.

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Morning, it’s 6:45am and later this morning 9 am your Carnival Dream will arrive here along with 3,800 guests who have enjoyed a relatively smooth trans Atlantic voyage. I will be boarding the ship and immediately meeting with Roger Blum who arrived here late last night and Jennifer De La Merlot from PR. We will be meeting with the ship’s crew to talk about the naming ceremony and there is indeed lots to discuss. I will of course be reporting to you all about as well as blogging about how your Carnival Dream has fared during her Trans Atlantic voyage.

There are lots of ships making the transition from Europe to North America at the moment and all without incident despite some typical Atlantic weather. And while I wish her and her crew nothing but the best of luck and calm seas I do find it fascinating that the Oasis of the Seas has found the crossing difficult and from what I here she is delayed and some damage has been reported.

Anyway, I hope they make it Port Everglades soon and maybe they have to look at the design. I mean, the Queen Mary and the little Seabourn Odyssey are all able to cross without incident yet the Oasis………….well…………..she hasn’t. Maybe it’s been really bad weather and maybe I am talking out of my bottom………….or maybe it’s because the world’s largest cruise ship is as top heavy and as stable as Pamela Andersen with two water melons shoved down her T Shirt ……………… standing one leg.

Time for today’s questions, here we go.

Linda elkins Asked:
Dear John, (please reply)

We just left the Legend yesterday (10-25-09), and we had a couple of questions for you. What happened to the honeymoon couple that missed the boat in Cozumel? We never heard anything else about them! Also, where can we purchase the future cruise certificates? I purchased one on the Freedom, and thought that I would be able to purchase one on the Legend for my next cruise. I was so disappointed to find out that I couldn’t! We had a really great time & I’m looking forward to booking my next cruise soon!

John Says:
Hello Linda

I hope you had a wonderful time and it was great for me to share the fun with you on the Carnival Legend. The couple missed the ship but unfortunately I guess the experience was very stressful for them as the wife decided that she would rejoin the ship, pack and fly home. I can’t say anymore than this as obviously the situation was of a very personal nature to say the least and obviously I could not bring them on stage as planned.

The cruise certificates are very popular but at this time they are being sold only onboard the Carnival Liberty, Carnival Valor, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Splendor and Carnival Conquest. Hopefully they will be extended fleet wide one day as they are very popular indeed. Thanks for the kind words and I do hope to see you on your next Carnival cruise soon.
Best wishes
John

Jason Elrod Asked:
John (please, please, please reply),

Per the instructions of your September 19th reply to my posting, I am reposting to provide you a reminder.

My wife (4th cruise) and I (3rd cruise) will be sailing out of Los Angeles on the Carnival Splendor 11/15/09 and will be celebrating two occasions. First will be a delayed 15 year anniversary celebration. Second, and the reason for the delayed anniversary, is the celebration of the adoption of our first child. Do you think it would be possible for you or the Captain to send my wife, Amy, a little note of congratulations? I am sure it would mean a lot to her…

I want to once again thank you for your kind consideration of my request.
Thanks much,

John Says
Hello Jason.

Thanks for the reminder and I will make sure your wishes come true. Have a brilliant cruise and please send us your review when you get home.
Best wishes
John

Jay (Cruise Addict) Asked:
Hi John, (Please Reply)

About three weeks ago you were kind enough to answer my request for help in doing something “Special” for my wife on our upcoming cruise on the Valor on Nov. 15th. I really do appreciate the suggestions you gave and will follow them.

You requested that I remind you on the 25th of Oct. with my cruise info. Sorry that I am a day late, but our info is as follows:

Thank You So Much for all you do to make everybody who comes to you for help feel like a friend. More people should realize the value of being helpful to your fellow man, not just because it’s your job, because in your case, it isn’t, but just because that’s what “good people” do.

You, my friend, are “Good People”; truly one of the best.

I really hope I can meet you when you come to NY for the Naming Ceremony for Our Carnival Dream. I am going to make every effort to be there. Please post the Blogger’s Breakfast info as soon as the people with beards will let you so I can make plans to attend.

You asked about the weather here. You will Definitely Need a Coat! It’s starting to get cold here now and by Nov. 7th it could very easily be in the 40’s.

John Says:
Hello Jay

I want to say huge thanks for all those kind words. I know some remain mad at me for helping people via the blog and hearing words of thanks really helps me keep going. You will have a great time with the crew on the Carnival Valor and I know that it will be the best cruise ever. Have fun and please let me know how it was when you get home.
Best wishes to you all
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John, Please reply because inquiring minds need to know.

I have noticed that on the following Carnival ships, the Carnival Freedom, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Pride, Carnival Fascination, and the Carnival Ecstasy that all of them have had the Carnival Logo’s removed from the sides of the ships. Could you please tell us why? I like the logo on the ships.

Best Regards from your #1 bloggy thingy friend,
Kathy

John Says:
Hello Kathy

You have a good eye for detail. It is because we changed our logo. However, the Destiny, Conquest and Splendor class never had the widget on the side as there was no space for it. Because of the change in our logo, moving forward all ships going into dry dock will have the widget removed. Other ships will have them done while in service. Of course our iconic funnel is our new logo and I am sure that everyone will agree that this is the perfect logo for the cruise line we all love.
Thanks Kathy and best wishes
John

Melissa Jurgensen Asked:
John please reply.

John, I have a question. On Embarkation day when the Dream is in its home port of Port Canaveral, what time does the shore excursion desk open? Will it be open in the morning when I get on the ship, or does it not open until after the ship sets sail? Really need to know this.

WOW is all I have to say about the Dream! Had a wonderful, wonderful time on the 10/3 sailing (my 11th CCL cruise). Everything was perfect. We had to miss Monaco due to severe weather but I respected the captain’s decision to do so because I knew he was looking out for our safety. Instead of Monaco, he charted a special course for the ship to sail very close to the Italian Riviera so we all could see it. WOW!! That was a real highlight of the cruise and worth missing Monaco for. It is something I will never forget.

I could tell that everyone from the officers to the crew members were very proud of their ship. I simply cannot wait to sail on the Dream again on January 2!! Going with very dear friends and this will be their 2nd cruise on Carnival.
Thanks!

Melissa Jurgensen
PS: I hope Carnival returns to Europe for a full season soon.

John Says:
Hello Melissa

It’s always good to hear from you.

The Tour Desk will open as soon as embarkation begins. It will close briefly during the Safety Briefing but will reopen when it is completed and stay open until 8 or 9pm.

Thanks for the great words about the Carnival Dream. I will be joining the ship tomorrow and I will make sure that everyone here gets to read your brilliant words of praise. I know they will be thrilled and thanks for taking the time to write them.
Hope to see you soon
Best wishes
John

Jim Eakins Asked:
JOHN PLEASE RESPOND.

Well, most of the following comments require no response but several bits at the end would benefit from your sage words.

First to the beautiful Carnival Dream. Our all too brief 3 Oct 09 cruise on the Carnival Dream is over but the memories linger on. The staff and crew went above and beyond and clearly enjoyed putting the fun into Carnival cruising.

Ken, as always, was the maitre d’ of maitre d’s and should be given yet another gold star (pay increase might also be nice!) for his sterling service and for going the extra mile to accommodate the “Back of the Bus Dream Team” at the “back of the bus”: some bus! The food in the main dining room was wonderful: served with care and dispatch by Mario and his team; always piping hot; and always above expectations.

Sir Micky Arison, if you are reading this blog, you really should pair up John and Ken as a roving Carnival Tiger Team. Oh, and make sure Jamie from Carnival Splendor is on the team.
The Chief’s Art Steakhouse is a cut above and Eva went out of her way to ensure each of our meals there would long be remembered. The food and food service was five-star in every respect. The steakhouse was full whenever we attended which was no surprise. I think the only down side must be for Carnival because at $60 per couple you must be losing your shirts.

Sugene and Api, our room stewards were attentive to our every need and made little problems vanish in the wink of an eye. The sliding closet door by the entry door fell off its track when first opened and did its level best to destroy a chair in the process. Sugene was there to assist before the echo of the crash has left the room and within minutes had an engineering team there to repair the door and seconds later arrived with a brand new chair (if the Captain is missing a chair, it is in stateroom 7304). We had problems with the phones but they were also quickly resolved (I did hear rumors that phones were an ongoing problem throughout the cruise but hopefully have now been sorted out). Hmmm, programmed by the same folks who provided your new server software?

We missed one port-of-call, Monaco, due to high winds but in hindsight I think we were happy for the extra sea day so as to put up our feet and relax after so many hectic shore days. There was so much to see and do on Carnival Dream that all twelve days could well have been spent at sea. Never did manage to fit in the water slide!

I must mention that the Behind the Fun tour was way beyond “funtastic”. Thank-you good sir for giving us a heads-up on this very limited tour and a special thanks to Carnival Dream staff and crew for making us feel like family.

Oh, before I forget, I should mention our delight in finding Carnival Dream pins with our invitation to the past cruisers cocktail party. Did John have something to do with this? I’m sure he did so a thousand thanks. The pins are one of those nice gestures that make coming back for another Carnival cruise so very special.

No cruise is ever perfect but I really am struggling to find anything that could have made this cruise any better. Coffee and drink-of-the-day cards would have been nice but they were most certainly not show stoppers. Whatever happened to the monkeyhead drinks? Ah, wait, here’s something: we really wanted to purchase more “Where Next” certificates: can you talk the boys and girls way up there in corporate headquarters (where the likes of you and I get nosebleeds) into making them available?

There was one smelly little issue. I have noted several posts here about the “not so sweet smell often noticed in the Empress deck hallways” (not sure if it happened on other decks as well) and I think I should comment since we were on Empress deck and it was very noticeable more often that we would have liked. My suspicion is that there may be a design flaw here that needs to be seriously looked at. We sailed on Carnival Splendor on all three South American legs and we experienced the grey water smell, along with five minor grey water floods, in our stateroom 7333. We left the ship in Rio de Janeiro and returned in Buenos Aires and the smell in our cabin after our three day absence was quite beyond belief.

Eventually, tired of mopping up one or more times each day and probably equally tired of offering an apology for something over which he had no control, our steward put a rubber dam in the floor drain to stop the floods. The grey water smell remained but very much diminished thanks to the tireless efforts of our stateroom steward. The smell was worst when in port and especially so if the ship listed slightly. None of this diminished our fantastic South American cruise on the Carnival Splendor: heck, it gave us somewhat unique bragging rights.

When we first noticed the smell on Carnival Dream it brought one of those “I know this” flashes of memory. Happily, for us, the smell was confined for the most part to the hallway rather than our stateroom. I am no engineer but I wonder if there might be a suction problem as I noticed the s-traps in our stateroom were drained of water whenever we noticed the smell. Is this unique to Carnival Splendor and Carnival Dream? Both seem to share many common features vis-à-vis stateroom layouts so I wonder if there is a plumbing design flaw that needs to be addressed; hopefully before construction is begun on Carnival Magic staterooms. Nuff said.

We are non smokers and naturally applauded the smoking policies being trialed on Carnival Dream. Many of our friends are smokers and we recognize and recognize the special efforts that were being made to accommodate them as well. I do not know if it was by design or by pure dumb luck but there was little or no evidence that anybody was smoking in the casino although many clearly were. It would have been nice to have been able to keep the doors from the Ocean Plaza to the Lanai open but I expect the smoke from the starboard side Lanai would have otherwise drifted in. Having the doors closed all the time “closed up” this otherwise beautiful open space. Bottom line: Bravo Zulu for the efforts taken to accommodate smokers and non-smokers alike.

Now to my questions. John, whom does one write to in order to make a plea for a special cruise? We travel from afar for each of our Carnival cruises and therefore prefer longer cruises so as to give value for money spent on airline tickets. I would like to pitch a thought I had that would satisfy our wishes and possibly even help Carnivals bottom line at the same time. I am looking for a name and e-mail address of someone that is high enough up the food chain to get listened to but low enough that credit for the idea might help their careers (mutual back scratching never hurts, right?).

Wait, one more thing….. I’m Canadian so please accept my apology for the tome. French text to follow!

John Says:
Hello Jim

I am sure I speak for everyone reading this when I say thank you for this brilliant review. I want to mention Ken as I will be seeing him soon on your Carnival Dream and there is no doubt that I relish every moment I can when I work with him.

I am aware that there have been some concerns regarding ventilation issues on certain parts of deck 6. I know that workers from Fincantieri are onboard as we speak working to fix this obvious problem and my sincere apologies for the inconvenience that this caused. I will write an update about this tomorrow and I hope I can provide some good news.

I read with interest your comments about smoking and I know from my conversations with Todd the Cruise Director that the smoking policies on the ship have been met with great success. The Lanai was built to allow smokers a place to sit outside on the port side of the vessel as well of course to allow guests to walk around the entire ship on deck 5. Most of the casino is non-smoking and I continue to look forward to seeing it in operation tomorrow and again, I will report back here on the blog.

I would be honored to pass on your thoughts of a long cruise plan to Terry our Senior Vice President so please send them to me and I won’t post them and instead send them straight on. The long cruises are very popular as we have found by how quickly state rooms are selling on the Carnival Elation’s repositioning cruise through the Panama Canal cruise. PA 007 will let me know any news as soon as he or she hears that we will be doing more.
Thanks again for the great post
Best wishes
John

Flynlo Asked:
John, Please Reply.

This is a great blog. Keep up the good work. I have a question for you. Our family of 20, going on a group cruise on November 22, 2009, four weeks from today on Carnival Conquest. We have some newlyweds with us and would like to enlist your help in getting them into the Newlywed Game. Any chance you could help us out? Their names are Patrick and Natalie Zacha, they are in room 8272. Any help in this will be greatly appreciated. BTW this will be cruise number 13 for me. Go Carnival!!

John Says:
Hello Flynlo

Thanks for the kind words about the blog and I am glad you are enjoying it so much. I have forwarded your request for your Honeymoon friends to take part in the newly Wed game to Chris Jefferson the brilliant CD and I know he will do all he can to honor your request. I hope you all have a fantastic time.
Best wishes
John

Spencer Asked:
John Please Reply.

Is there any way I could get the recipe for the Baked Stuffed White Mushrooms that are on the Appetizer menu. My sister really likes them and was hoping I could get the recipe. Thank you so much.

John Says:
Hello Spencer

Well, here it is the mushroom recipe and here it comes. Obviously the recipe is for a few more people than you will have round your house but hopefully it will taste just as good as it tastes in the dining room.
Bon appetite

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Baked Stuffed Mushrooms_Page_2

That’s all for today, there will be more tomorrow of course. Please remember to mark your questions John Please Reply if you wish me to.

Tomorrow I will be planning the naming ceremony with the ship crew and office personal. It will be a ceremony that everyone can enjoy and here to tell you how, here is Vance.

OFFICIAL NAMING CEREMONY OF NEW CARNIVAL DREAM CRUISE SHIP FEATURING ACADEMY AWARD® AND TONY AWARD®-WINNING ACTRESS MARCIA GAY HARDEN AS GODMOTHER TO BE FEATURED DURING LIVE WEBCAST ON THURSDAY, NOV. 12

MIAMI (November 9, 2009) – The official naming ceremony of Carnival Cruise Lines’ new cruise ship Carnival Dream featuring Academy Award- and Tony Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden in the role of ship’s godmother will be broadcast live on the company’s web site, www.carnival.com/dream, beginning at 4 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 12.

Live streaming video of the invitation-only event will include an exhilarating dance performance, a nearly six-foot-tall champagne bottle and some other unexpected surprises. The ceremony will be hosted by Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald while the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream is docked in New York City.

A live chat offering viewers an opportunity to ask questions about the Carnival Dream and comment on the festivities will take place during the webcast as, well.

The Carnival Dream web portal, www.carnival.com/dream, also features exclusive photos and videos of the ship’s wide-ranging facilities and features. Interviews on the site include various shipboard personnel, as well as Carnival’s interior architect Joe Farcus who describes his thought process in designing the line’s largest ship.

The 130,000-ton Carnival Dream ushers in an exciting new era in “Fun Ship” cruising, offering a host of innovations. These include Carnival WaterWorks, an expansive aqua park featuring the longest water slide at sea; Ocean Plaza, a stunning indoor/outdoor café and live entertainment venue; more than 19,000 square feet of space dedicated to children and families; and a 23,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, the largest in the line’s fleet.

Carnival Dream debuted in Europe Sept. 21 and will operate a series of voyages from New York before repositioning to Port Canaveral, Fla., to begin year-round Caribbean service Dec. 3.

Additional information on the Carnival Dream is available at www.carnival.com/dream.

For additional information on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

So, that’s very exciting and as you are all watching I had better make sure I have clean underpants on.

Yesterday was a huge success. I have no idea how many people passed through 30 Rock but it was a lot. They all enjoyed the brilliant entertainment organized by Roger Blum and performed by our Fun Force dancers and acrobats and a brilliant acappela singing group called Four to Five. Josh (Big Sexy) Jaime and some of the ship’s entertainment staff provided dances, contests and brought some of the Lido Deck Party fun to the crowd. At one point they were joined on stage by Michael Jackson as a crowd member dressed as the kind of pop decided to moon walk and grab his crutch ………..it was a thriller.

Each kid that passed by got a Carnival cap to color and Fun Ship Freddy joined in the fun as well. Jaime and I took turns reading the Big Book of Dreams and as I did so I thought of Kye ………..and how I wished I could have been reading it to her.

Anyway, there was Fun for All the people of New York and I think it was a wonderful success. I want to say a special thank you to all the bloggers who turned up for breakfast on a very chilly NY morning. I know some lived around the corner and some had come as far as Boston and it was a true joy to stand with you at Rockefeller Plaza and freeze our thingies off. Seriously, it was so kind of you to come and join me and I want you to all know I cherished every moment.

It was really a pleasure meeting Marcia Gay Harden who is simply an excellent choice to be Godmother of your Carnival Dream. She is an accomplished and highly talented actress who has gotten some outstanding reviews for God of Carnage, winning a Tony for her performance. That will look very nice on the shelf in her bathroom next to the Oscar she won.

She is a mother with a beautiful family and will help launch our new relationship with St Jude Hospital, an organization that understands children and wants to make their lives better.
Marcia is a great choice and having spent some time with her and compared to another famous actress who once christened one of our ships………..Marcia was a wonderful person. Kind, considerate, polite and well……very Judy Dench-like. I can assure you that this is not always the norm.

Anyway, as I said, be sure to watch the fun and festivities on the 12th and. Oh by the way ……………….on November the 13th I start my official “Megan Fox for the Carnival Magic” campaign…………she will be brilliant……………and if she can’t make it…………well…………..she can just send her bottom.

Here is a video of one or two highlights from the last two days.

Well, we thought we had got away with it but we spoke to soon………………..because just as we were all saying it had been a relatively wimpy Hurricane Season…………….along comes Ida. She has affected the itineraries of a lot of our ships who are sailing in and around the Gulf of Mexico and let’s check what’s happening. Here’s Vance to tell you the latest.

CARNIVAL TRIUMPH’S FIRST DEPARTURE FROM NEW ORLEANS DELAYED UNTIL WEDNESDAY, NOV. 11

November 9 – 10:30 am EST

Because of the projected path of Hurricane Ida, Carnival Triumph will now operate a modified three-day cruise from New Orleans that will depart Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The ship was originally scheduled to sail on a four-day cruise departing Tuesday.

Guests sailing on the modified three-day voyage will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare paid for the four-day cruise. Guests can also opt of canceling and receiving a full refund. All guests on the affected voyage have been notified of the change.

Carnival sincerely apologizes for this disruption to our guests’ vacation plans.

———————————-
CARNIVAL FANTASY’S INAUGURAL SAILING FROM MOBILE DELAYED UNTIL WEDNESDAY, NOV. 11

November 9 – 10:30 am EST

Because of the projected path of Hurricane Ida and the subsequent closure of the Port of Mobile, Carnival Fantasy will now operate a modified five-day cruise Mobile that will depart Wednesday, Nov. 11. Ports of call include Cozumel and Costa Maya.

The ship was originally scheduled to operate a six-day cruise from Mobile departing Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Guests on the modified five-day will receive a pro-rated refund of the cruise fare paid for the six-day cruise. Guests have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund. All guests on the affected voyage have been notified of the itinerary change.

Carnival sincerely apologizes for this disruption to our guests’ vacation plans.

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It was obviously always going to be bad news but it couldn’t happen at a worse time for the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Triumph who we were going to be giving a big dollop of pomp and circumstance to as they head for their new home ports of Mobile and New Orleans, respectively. I will keep you informed as to what happens with this.

As I mentioned I flew through the Bermuda Triangle yesterday and I thought that my trip to Bermuda might be my last and that me and my underpants would be destined to spend eternity at the bottom of the sea having crabs nibbling on my thingy…………….but it wasn’t the Triangle that nearly killed me………….it was something far more terrifying that even know some 15 hours later……….I am still recovering from.

Let me explain.

Last night I was Billy No Mates again and went to the hotel’s restaurant for my evening meal. There were two choices, a posh one with posh people serving posher people posh food in posh sauce…………or a barbecue pit outside. So obviously you know which one I went to. I ordered barbecues shrimp on a skewer and roasted Caribbean veggies and while I waited for my main course I started eating the plate of mini spring rolls I had ordered. They were ok and if the truth be honest ………….a little bland.

However, help was on hand as there in front of me was a basket. In the basket was a selection of Caribbean hot sauces. Now, I like Tabasco and jerk sauce and so I thought a little spice might cheer my sad spring rolls up. One of the bottles caught my eye. It was called “357 MAD DOG Hot Sauce.” And so I poured a little 357 magnum sauce I asked the spring rolls “do you feel lucky?” in my best Clint Eastwood impression………… Eating alone does things to you like this

It’s an American chili sauce that was bought by my wife as a jokey Christmas present. And, like all jokey Christmas presents, it was put in a drawer and forgotten about. It’s called limited-edition Insanity private reserve and it came in a little wooden box, along with various warning notices. “Use this product one drop at a time,” it said. “Keep away from eyes, pets and children. Not for people with heart or respiratory problems. Use extreme caution.”

Unfortunately, we live in a world where everything comes with a warning notice. Railings. Vacuum cleaners. Energy drinks. My quad bike has so many stickers warning me of decapitation, death and impalement that they become a nonsensical blur.

The result is simple. We know these labels are drawn up to protect the manufacturer legally, should you decide one day to insert a vacuum-cleaner pipe up your bottom, or to try to remove your eye with a teaspoon. So we ignore them. They are meaningless. One drop at a time! Use extreme caution! On a sauce. Pah. Plainly it was just American lawyer twaddle.

Now as I said…………I like a hot sauce………………………at an Indian restaurant I will often order a vindaloo, even though I know me and my bottom will regret it later………but I can handle the spice. So…….I didn’t expect anything too different here and took a bite of my spring roll and 357 Mad Dog hot sauce

I remember an episode of ER where Doctor Green was talking to Dr Clooney discussing a fire fighter who had been badly burned and them saying that when the flames had taken hold of him there would have been no pain. It has something to do with the body pumping out adrenaline in such vast quantities that the nerve endings stop working. Funny how your remember things like this……………even though that statement is totally bollocks ……………… because Dr Clooney …………. it wasn’t like that for me.

The pain started out mildly, but having eaten spicy sauces before I also knew that this would build to a delightful fiery sensation. I was even looking forward to it. But the moment soon passed. In a matter of seconds I was in agony. After maybe a minute I was frightened that I might die. ……………after five seconds I wanted to die.

The searing fire had surged throughout my head. My eyes were streaming. Molten lava was flooding out of my nose and if I could have moved my head I am sure the lava would have been flowing out of my ears and my bottom. My mouth was felt like someone was welding in it. Even my hair hurt.

And all the time, I was thinking: “If it’s doing this to my head, what bloody hell is it doing to my insides?” I felt certain that at any moment my stomach would open and everything — my intestines, my liver, my heart would simply splosh onto the floor. This is not an exaggeration. I really did think I was dissolving from the inside out.

Trying to keep calm, I drank my entire glass of diet coke and then shoveled in the crushed ice that lay at the bottom of the glass. This made everything worse. So, dimly remembering that Mr. Guna my Indian Hotel Director friend told me that he uses bread when they eat spicy food, I grabbed a bread roll and ate it …………….like a rabid dog. The table next to me started to stare and honestly I couldn’t give a sh*t because I was exploding from the inside. My skin was pouring sweat as my body tried to eject the poison quicker than a basketball player who has just twisted the referee’s nipple for not calling a foul.

Nothing was working. And such was my desperation I waved the waiter over and managed to say ……….”help”…………while pointing to the bastard hot sauce. Now, this is Bermuda which like Jamaica and other Caribbean islands move as slow as a turtle wearing concrete Reeboks. He smiled………..turned and went behind the bar stopping along the way to see if another table needed some more French fries.

He returned three months later with a big glass of milk. I drank it as quickly as I could. I felt sick but didn’t dare regurgitate the poison for fear of the damage it would cause on the way out. If I vomited this stuff over other hotel guests I would have taken their skin off.

Well, I didn’t vomit and I didn’t die. Even now, the following morning, I feel like death warmed up a bit………….and all I’d eaten was a sprinkle of the dam stuff. I asked Mr. Google about this torture in a bottle and this is what I discovered. 357 Mad Dog ……………… “This killer sauce is packing 357,000 scoville units of heat. One hit will blow you away! We blend Chile extract, fresh Habanero peppers, 160,000 scoville super Cayenne peppers, garlic and onion to makes a sauce that can truly take your breath away. Mad Dog 357 is the hottest hot sauce ever made. Use with extreme caution.

Bollocks is it made from peppers……….no way. I think it’s made from uranium, plutonium, liquid kryptonite, sulfuric acid, mace, and the juice from a skunk’s scrotum. I do not believe it’s a hot sauce. It’s a weapon of mass destruction.

It got me thinking. Yesterday, I flew from New Jersey to Bermuda. I was told by the security people that I can only take. 100ml of liquid onto a plane because the authorities believe such a small amount could not possibly bring down an airliner. They are wrong. If I painted just a spoonful of 357 Mad Dog sauce on the window of my Continental 757 ………………. it would melt. And this is stuff you can buy from a shop, along with some pop tarts and a bag of sprouts.

I went down for breakfast and asked to see a bottle of the hot sauce and sure enough ………..there was a warning on the bottle telling people that if they eat this ………they will die a slow painful death. I hadn’t read the label………….bugger. Well, the waiter who had gotten me the milk was also at breakfast and as I munched on my toast, still burping up the last bits of lava……….he came over and presented me with a gift. You see, I must have given him a good tip for getting me milk etc. I don’t remember how much as I was too busy trying not to die. But it must have been a good tip and he must have not have understood how much hell that sauce put me through …………… because he came over to the table and said ” This bottle is for you………I see you enjoyed it so much.”………..he grinned and walked away. It was then that I realized that the waiter had a sick sense of humor. He knew what it had done to me and he was enjoying a good laugh about it.

And so the bottle of the world’s most dangerous sauce is sitting in my carryon bag now ……….and I have no idea what I should do with it.

I can’t pour it down the sink because it would get into the local Bermudian water system and kill the locals. I can’t put it in the garbage because I am embarrassed that the waiter who gave it to me would find out that I had thrown away his gift. I am thinking of giving it to the CIA and MI6 to use to get information out of terrorists. Last night, when the bread had failed and the milk was finished, I would happily have confessed to killing Jimmy Hoffa, 23 counts of robbery and designing the Norwegian Epic.

In the end though I have decided to send it to President Sarkozy of France……….. for Christmas.

Off I go to your Carnival Dream…………….coming with me?

Goodnight
Your friend
John

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

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