Queen Of The Seas

January 6, 2010 -

John Heald

There is some brilliant news this morning for us ugly people. Scientists with beards reckon they’ve cracked the formula for “love.” Yes, according to SKY news this morning men and women in white coats at a University in Switzerland have discovered that love is merely a chain of neurochemical thingies in the brain. They say that one day this could be reproduced in a potion to make people want you and will be on sale in Wal-Mart…………for only $9.99.

Heidi said “Wow, that’s amazing”……………I said, “Bollocks.”

Having worked at sea with Carnival for so many years I have seen that there’s already stuff available to help those of us that have been hosed down with the ugly gun get some rumpy pumpy. It is called “alcohol” and reaches the height of its powers around 2:30 am when the ship’s DJ plays the last song of the night and when people you’d have rejected in favour of The Lesser Spotted Mongolian Bog Pig at 11 pm suddenly acquire…………a magical new hotness.

Biochemists can’t bring anything new to this party. Ugly men like myself, my friend Alan and Rod Stewart, long ago developed a trouser-based device to make them attractive to women. This is known as a “wallet.” Having something bulging in your pants that guarantees a lady diamonds and all the Prada they can eat has seen drop dead gorgeous women date and marry men who are as ugly as an inside out baboon.

Women, meanwhile, simply say they like wearing stockings 24/7 to gain a proposal, then the instant they are back from honeymoon revert to flannel pyjamas coated with barbed wire.
And what would the purpose of such a potion be? To spray over war zones so that the locals stop disembowelling each other and commence mass rumpy pumpy instead? No one has ever successfully defined what “love” is anyway…….except me……for me the definition is simple ………”Love means not having to hold your farts in any more.”…….. and I show my love to Heidi in this way most every night.

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

Lynda Ulrich Asked:
Dear John(please reply)

I’m so glad you’re home with your family. Thanks for the picture of you and Kye. It’s priceless.
I too read your blog every morning. And on the days you don’t have one it’s hard to start the day. I have a question that I have not seen on the blog before. After 30 plus cruises I have heard the rumor many times that people retire on cruise ships. I am retired, but not 60 yet, and have been dreaming of this for years. First, is this true and second, is there someone to contact if you want to do this.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Love, Lynda

John Says:
Hello Lynda

Thank you so much for the kind words and I am truly enjoying my time here at home, it’s going so fast though. By retiring I think you mean living permanently onboard a cruise ship. Well, there are one or two people who actually do this. The most famous of these is a lady whose name I think is Bee and she lived on the Queen Elizabeth 2 before transferring over to the Queen Victoria (or Queen Mary) where I understand she still lives now. I also believe there is a lady who does the same on a Princess ship. Now, we have never had such a person living permanently on a Carnival ship although I would understand the benefits of doing so. Lets say you had no family…….not you…….I am sure you have a wonderful family……..I am talking hyper pathetically here. So, let’s say you have no family and you have reached your golden years…….what would be the benefits of living on a Carnival ship compared to say living alone or indeed a nursing home or care home.

1. After the cost of the cruise you can effectively live by paying only the gratuities.

2. You will have as many as meals a day as you wish of fantastic food, not institutional food …………….and have breakfast in bed every day as well.

3. Enjoy swimming, trivias, a library, activities, shows and events every day.

4. You will get free toothpaste, soap, shampoo and other goodies.

5. Carnival will even treat you like a guest, not a patient.

6. You will get to meet new people every 7 days.

7. TV broken? Light bulb need changing? Need to have the mattress replaced? No problem! We will fix everything and apologize for your inconvenience by sending you a fruit basket

8. Clean sheets and towels every day, and you don’t even have to ask for them.

9. You may not have a family on land but live on a cruise ship………..and you will have 1,000 crew members who will become your family for sure.

10. There is always a doctor on board.

So, there you go. When you look at it like that its actually surprising that more people don’t spend their retirement years onboard.
Best wishes
John

Austin Asked:
John, **PLEASE REPLY***

We recently cruised on the Carnival Liberty back on November 7th. During that cruise, we won a cruise in the free cruise raffle.

We were told that the actual certificate would be mailed to us within 2 – 3 weeks.
To date, we have not received the certificate. Should we start to worry? We have the “temporary” certificate that the social host gave us. Is there a number I should call, or should I continue to wait?
Thanks
Austin & Tiffany Carroll
(actually, my wife won it…I do not have such luck!)

John Says:
Hello Austin

Please don’t worry; I am sure that it has just fallen through the cracks. I will make sure that the proper information is sent to you very soon. Congratulations on winning the cruise and if you need anything else please let me know.
Best wishes to you both.
John

Mark from Alberta Asked:
John please reply.

John in response to many of those that have expressed concerns that they have missed your response, when indeed you have replied, has the 343 Stephanies ever considered not only posting your response but also replying by the supplied email?

This is one extra step for me or you, but perhaps the 343 Stephanies or other computer folks (women and men who wear beards) can find a way that the response is sent via email without too much trouble. There is a checkbox below the comments box that says, “Notify me of follow-up comments via email”.

One last comment, have you considered putting additional pages on the blog thingy where for example pictures can be found that have been previously posted, another page could provide more detailed information on the Carnival Fleet etc. etc. This probably would require work by others as this would be a large undertaking!

Thanks John, wishing you, Heidi and Kye a wonderful Christmas.

John Says:
Hello Mark from Alberta

Thanks for the great ideas mate. Replying by e-mail as well as having the questions I reply to posted is something that may cause the 343 Stephanies a lot of extra work but I shall certainly ask them if this is possible. I think your other idea of putting a link to a “picture box” is an excellent one as it would enable people to look at them as and when they wanted to. I will speak to the Stephanies about this today.

One thing is for certain; as this blog thing grows we should do all we can to provide a better service for you the readers and I will be working on this throughout the coming weeks.
Thanks for the kind words and best wishes to you and the family.
John

Cathy K. Asked:
To a Stephanie – Please Respond!

On Dec 7, the attached blog was posted on this site by Linda A. My family will be on this cruise – my daughter also just turned 21 and I thought we could meet for coffee to see if the girls want to ‘hang out’ during the 1/9 Carnival Dream Cruise. So if one of the Stepanies could give Linda A my e- mail address, she could then contact me if they would like to meet up.
Thanks much – love the Blog and Kye is unbelievable!!
Cathy

John Says:
Hello Cathy

We did actually do this Cathy. One of the 343 Stephanies did send Linda A your e-mail address and I was wondering if you managed to get together on the cruise? I hope regardless you had a wonderful time and hope to read all about it. Thank you for saying those kind words about Kye
Best wishes to all.
John

Leslie Asked:
John please reply

How would I go about getting pins of the Carnival ships I had been on in the past which were: Jubilee, Celebration, Festivale, Spirit, Holiday, Destiny, Triumph, Fascination, Fantasy, Splendor, Ecstasy, and Inspiration. I would appreciate your help in this. Thanks. Leslie Auerbach

John Says:
Hello Leslie

As you may know we recently re-introduced the pins across the fleet. By now they should be available in all the onboard shops as well as being giving on a complimentary basis to our Platinum guests of which judging by the ships you listed in your posting…..you are one. Very soon each onboard shop will not only sell the pins of that particular ship but also those of the entire fleet. The only thing I need to check on is whether they will have pins for the ships that are no longer with us such as the Jubilee. I will certainly look into this for you.
Best wishes,
John

Marty Paul Asked:
JOHN, PLS REPLY IF YOU WANT TO/HAVE TIME

Hi John, first, a quick note, the primary link to your bloggy thingy is broke on the Carnival website. I was able to get here via another link on Carnival’s site.

Just wanted to pass on an idea for Carnival’s future entry into the Hawaiian market while being based in Honolulu (I posted this idea previously on your blog). Here’s the idea;
Carnival Glory is moved to Tampa to replace the Carnival Legend, who repositions via the Panama Canal (let me know when, so I can book this cruise!) to Honolulu, which becomes her new homeport. To stay legal since she is not U.S. flag, her itinerary includes a run out to Fanning Island, which Carnival has invested much $$ (e.g. Grand Turk, HMC), to make it a beautiful destination.

Now, Carnival guests that cannot take almost 2 weeks off (12 day cruise), as is in place now to sail the Hawaiian Islands on a Fun Ship, can now fly directly to Honolulu and board the Carnival Legend for a 7 or 8 day round-trip cruise and only have to take a week’s leave.
Oh, one more recommendation; in honor of the Carnival Legend homeporting out of Honolulu, Carnival changes the vessel name to the “Carnival Le’ale’a”, with le’ale’a being the Hawaiian word for…you guessed it, fun.

(Btw, no coincidence that the word “ale” is smack dab in the middle of the Hawaiian word for fun). Sorry about just throwing my 2 cents your (& Carnival’s) way, but this idea keeps popping into my head. NCL Pride of America my arse…
Marty Paul

John Says:
Hello Marty

Thanks for taking the time to write. I must admit that it seems quite difficult to find the blog via the www.carnival.com website in fact I can’t actually find a link to it all ……………………. STEPHANIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Oh, hold on………..found it. You have to go to carnival.com………….click on Funville and then you will find a link. We used to be on the home page but have been replaced by a photo of a woman on a horse.

Anyway, as to your brilliant idea about placing the Carnival Legend out of Honolulu I will say that I have never been to Hawaii and it is certainly somewhere that I imagine cruising in and out of is very special. I love the new name for the Legend by the way and can picture us placing a giant lay or is it lai ……….you know ………one of those flowery things you put round people’s necks……………..around the smoke stack.

I wonder though, and I really don’t know the answer to this. Is year-round cruising in Hawaii viable? Air fare I would think would be expensive and is Hawaii on everyone’s must visit list? I would be interested to read peoples thoughts. As always when a member of the blogging family has an idea I send them to the bearded ones at Carnival HQ. Let’s hear your Hawaii thoughts everyone. Thanks Marty and best wishes to you and the family
John

Bonnie Boatner Asked:
Dear John. (please reply, maybe)

I want to thank you, Todd, and Captain Scala, plus all of the wonderful crew of the Dream. Our cruise was wonderful. New friends and memories are safely stashed away in our hearts and we cannot wait to cruise again, together. The ship is beautiful. I know, due to some unforeseen problems that week that all of you must have been exhausted, but it never showed. Kudos to Captain Scala for making a difficult decision in San Juan. I think many people do not realize that if we had docked and a lifeboat had been damaged, that our cruise would most likely have ended there.

We spent a glorious afternoon at the aft pool that day and had our own San Juan party. Spontaneous and improvised, but as the day went on, we had quite a group of new people, and we all had a good laugh. Its funny how life works. I know we did not attend many Bloggers events, but High Tea, which is something I would never have thought of doing, was a highlight, and I’m glad my friends made me go. My only disappointment is the fact that I was not successful in my attempt to hijack a mobility scooter at 4 a.m. on deck 6! Again, thanks to all of you for giving my friends and I a beautiful place to reunite.

And enjoy your time at home, enjoy your girls, do something foolish. May the meaning of this season keep all of us safe and warm? Merry Christmas.

John Says:
Hello Bonnie

Thanks for the great words of support and just to correct you that the Captain during our cruise was Captain Queirolo. Captain Scala is currently serving on the Carnival Destiny. There were some concerns that have been well documented here on the blog thingy and the situation in San Juan could have and should have been avoided but the Captain did the right thing by not trying to dock as if he had done…….there would have been a lot of damage to the vessel and her life boats.

I am glad you enjoyed the High Tea. This is something that I love to do and will be hosting as a regular event when I am onboard the ships this year as a Cruise Director. It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope it’s not too long before we see each other again.
Best wishes
John

Chris Carr Asked:
Dear John (PLEASE RESPOND):

I never thought I’d be writing a “Dear John” letter, but here I am. I really enjoy reading your bloggy thing about your exploits and travels. I’m sorry to hear about the haemorrhoids, those can be a bummer. I know from personal experience.

I, along with my wife, and our two boys ages 5 and 8 will be sailing on the Carnival Valor on January 17th. This is our first balcony and we are excited beyond belief. My wife’s parents are also sailing with us. This will be my families 3rd Carnival cruise, but will be my in-laws first Carnival cruise and their first cruise in over 10 years.

With you being the “Admiral” of the high seas and all things Carnival what can I suggest to them so they can have a great time and fall in love with cruising and Carnival like we have?
My wife and I (and our boys) will be on a “Celebration of Life” trip. Long, long story short – – she has had an ongoing battle with cancer since 2003 with the most recent bout was in May of this year. WE ARE WINNING and that is what is important. I just want her to have the best trip and really enjoy herself. Any suggestions on how I can make this the best trip ever for her?

Thanks for all you do and my best to Heidi and Kye. Enjoy your time at home.
Your Fan:
Chris

John Says:
Hello Chris

Thanks for the Dear John letter and your kind words about the blog thingy. I am sure you are all getting very excited about this coming cruise and I know the in laws will have a great time. Please make sure they see the shows…..all the shows and why not book a wonderful family meal at the Steakhouse. Enjoy every moment and I will be sending the in laws a little gift as well.

Most importantly may I wish your wife health and happiness and I hope that this cruise rejuvenates her following her battle with cancer. Have a brilliant time and I send my best wishes to you all.
John

Mary (Mrs. “Shy”) Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)

Just dropping in to let you know what a fabulous time we had on the Carnival Dream. It is a dream of a ship. We really liked the décor of the Dream. Serge thought the use of wood, mirrors and glass mixed in with ceramics was a great combination.

Thank you very much for our blogger gifts. They will make nice souvenirs from our Bloggers Dream Cruise.

It was nice to finally meet you face to face (on Triumph with you in 1999 but did not get to say hi to you then) and to meet Stephanie, Craig, Jordan and Peter.

I don’t want this to be too long so I will just touch on 2 areas which are the most important to most cruisers, I think – the dining experience and the entertainment.

With so many of the cruisers on this cruise wanting early dining, we were confirmed (perfectly understandable as we booked this cruise very late) for late dining in the Scarlet. 8:15pm would be way too late for us. So on the 1st day, went to see Claudio, the Maitre’d in the Crimson and asked for My Time Dining. He told me that that may involve waiting to be seated. I told him not to worry as we were experienced in any time dining and would make it work. We have had anytime dining on 6 Princess cruises and one time on the Carnival Liberty and have never had to wait to be seated. Not even 1 minute. This also proved to be true on the Carnival Dream. We go within 15 minutes of the dining room opening and are always seated after giving our cabin # to the hostess. In the Crimson, we enjoyed dinner with various other couples at a table for 4 for seven evenings. Now the only problem with being in the Crimson (apologies to Claudio as he also entertained with the waiters) is that we would miss out on hearing Ken, the Maitre’d of the Scarlet sing. We had heard so much about his wonderful voice and had already missed out on the Splendor in May. We were also in the wrong dining room on the Splendor. What was so frustrating was that we spoke to others who were at tables for 7 or 8 and they had 3 or 6 empty seats most nights. Now that is not Carnival’s fault as they cannot control when the guests are going to use their assigned seats or not. Our friends, Tom and Jane at a table for 4 sat by themselves each evening except for the 1st evening. When they asked if we could join them, they were at first told no, in case the other couple showed up. After 6 evenings, Ken finally told them to invite us to join them in the Scarlet. What an experience! Ken is a fabulous singer as advertised! On the way out, we thanked Ken for allowing us to come to the Scarlet and how much we enjoyed his singing and told him how disappointed we were that we also missed out on being in his dining room on the Splendor in May. At this point, he reached into his pocket, said we had scored and gave us his card. He told us to email him the next time and he would see that we had a table in his dining room.

Now I understand that it was unusual that on this sailing that the Dream had an older mix of passengers and most of us old folks 🙂 like to eat early and not something that is within Carnival’s control. However, the passengers who were assigned early seating and did not use their seats made it difficult for others (assigned to My Time) as they could have had their seats. After the 1st couple of days, I noticed that there were empty tables at 6:15-6:30pm in My Time. Maybe people gave up and went to the Gathering for dinner or decided to come later. What a shame!

By the time you read this and get around to posting this on your blog, there will have been a couple or more cruises after ours. Have they had any more problems with the lopsided requests for early dining? If so, is it possible for the Maitre’ds to ask those assigned early dining to advise them if they are not going to use their assigned seats? It seems such a shame that some people in MY Time have to eat later or in The Gathering when there are empty seats in the assigned dining rooms. Except for 1 night, I saw a table for 4 every night sit empty on the lower level of the Crimson.

The entertainment on this cruise was FANTASTIC! What great production shows! Get Ready and Xtreme Country were excellent but Dancin’ in the Street was by far the best production show we have seen on 22 cruises. What talent, especially with those of the Fun Force talents incorporated into the show? When I met a group of the dancers on the beach in Antigua and complimented them on Get Ready, they advised me not to miss Dancin’ in the Street the next night. Obviously they are very proud of that show too. The comedians were all great, especially Kim Harrison and thanks to you, the bloggers got an extra show with her. Marcus Anthony is a great entertainer and we really enjoyed the ventriloquist, Phil Hughes.

I agree with others that if you wanted a good seat for the production shows, you had to go immediately after dinner and wait 45minutes to an hour. We didn’t mind…it was worth it and we passed the time by meeting new people seated next to us and having a nice chat. For the other shows, we decided that it didn’t matter where we sat and as long as we got a seat, we could still hear. We only went about 15 minutes before showtime and still got seats on the 1st level and were able to enjoy the shows.

I apologize for the length of my comments (I could go on and on about the Dream) but there is one other thing I need to mention. We were not at all upset that San Juan was missed. We had only planned to go to Starbucks to use the free wifi and then come back to the ship. So we used our OBC to send our emails from the ship and still had a little left to spend in the shops so a win-win situation for us. We did feel bad for those who had never been to SJ though and especially for those who had made plans to meet friends or family. Many we spoke to did not mind missing SJ.

Glad you are home with your girls now. Enjoy your time @ home.

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas to you, Heidi and Kye!
Mary (or the Shy One as you so nick-named me)

John Says:
Hello Mrs Shy

Just a quick note to say a big thank you for posting this review of your Carnival Dream which makes me look forward even more to me being her CD in February and March. I will make sure that everyone who has been mentioned gets to read the review and thanks again for taking the time to write it.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and I will be back tomorrow with more.

Ok, a few days ago I posted some amazing photos of the New Years Eve celebrations on the Carnival Glory and your Carnival Dream. Yesterday I had a very small Scotsman write to me saying “where are the photos I sent you”………..and then I realized ………bugger…………….I had not posted the photos that Wee Jimmy sent me of the Carnival Freedom‘s party to welcome in 2010. So with my apologies to the little Jimmy…………..here they are.

New Year was certainly was a busy time around the fleet and it should be well noted that all the Carnival sailed with well over 100% occupancy. Super Spy PA 007 tells me that Crystal sailed at around 60% occupancy which is further proof that more and more people are looking to the affordable and fun for all experiences that can be found on our ships………….that’s great news.

I read a few comments from people about the Christmas decorations onboard our ships and that some felt that were not “Christmassy” enough. And I happen to agree. These decorations are done by a private company who come onboard our ships in August ………OK…….November but it does seem like it is getting earlier every year……..and decorate the ship. Now, I do understand that it’s very hard to decorate a big area but I do think we can do better. There is too much green and not enough sparkle and tinsel and………I would love to see each of the Grand Atriums with a large Christmas tree with all the trimmings as a centerpiece. I have sent my observations in to those with beards.

Oh by the way, I have some amazing photos taken by my friend, professional photographer Andy Newman, to share with you tomorrow of your Carnival Dream entering the port of St. Thomas.

I wanted to take a few moments to talk about the Cruise Directors travel and adventure talks. These have always been an important part of what we do onboard and a great way to provide you the guest with important information about the ship and the ports of call.

These talks have always taken place at 11 am but now that time and the structure of the talks will be changing. The talks will now be called Fun Talks and will start at 10:30 am. Instead of talking about all the shore excursions for each port which, lets face it, can be a little boring the Cruise Director will now introduce the top five tours in each port. These top five excursions have been chosen not just based on what the CD or the Shore Excursion Manager believes are the best but are based also on the feedback we receive from guests who have been on the tours.

During the talk the CD will also be introducing some of the department heads and talking about what their departments will be offering during the cruise. The CD’s have been instructed to keep the talks to 45 minutes or less and to have them as entertaining as possible. The shopping ashore talk which used to be at 9:30 am will move to an afternoon slot and is something that anyone who intends to shop ashore should attend.

This new programming is already underway on the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Valor and by January 19th will be in place across the fleet. I know many of you reading this are seasoned cruisers and may not go because you have seen and heard this information before. However, please can I ask that you try and attend this new format? I think it will be very beneficial to all and I would like your feedback on it.

Of course, this year is a very busy one for Carnival Corporation with new ships for AIDA, P&O, Holland America and Costa. However, I think it would be safe to say that the one ship that will get most of the attention is of course a ship that bears the name of Elizabeth…….Queen Elizabeth. A few days ago she left her dock and was floated out and as you will see here, it was a very special occasion.

Ceremonies Mark the Float Out of the World’s Newest Queen

Congratulations once again to Peter Shanks and everyone at Cunard and thank you in advance for my invitation to the naming ceremony which I can host if you want me to. OK, I may not be as good looking as Alistair and Ray your Entertainment Directors…….and I may not have a washboard stomach like they do…….and I may not have a posh accent like they do……….and I may not have an expensive Saville Row dinner jacket like they do……….and I may not ………. OK ……forget the hosting idea then……but please Uncle Peter…..can I come to the naming ceremony?

Seriously though, what an amazing turn around Cunard has had. From having one ship which, like Judge Judy, was really showing her age to having the youngest fleet in the industry is truly remarkable. How proud Micky Arison and those at Carnival Corporation must be and how thankful the many thousands of people around the world who are Cunard fans must be. In fact, I am sure the Queen herself must be thankful that her name continues to be associated with the most famous Ocean Liner in the world. I wonder if she is going to come to the naming ceremony. I am sure she would love to……it would be exciting for her…….because lets face it ………she leads a very boring life.

What? …….I know many of you are saying that right now……boring life? Palaces, butlers and never needing to carry money……………….boring?

But think about it. All she does is travel around the world, shaking hands with people while she listens to a cheerful calypso version of God Save the Queen. It must be the only tune she ever gets to hear and I wonder if she even knows of the existence of icons like Pee Diddly, R Kelly, Justin Trousersnake, Christina Spears and Lenny Kravitz. She recently had to go to a Royal charity event where she met Lady Ga Ga whom the Queen thought was a member of the Swedish Royal Family!

Now, I have never met Royalty. Peter Shanks has, Carol Marlow has and so has Micky Arison during the inaugural of the Queen Victoria which was of course christened by Prince Charles’ wife Camilla. There is I guess a lot of protocol bollocks that have to be followed and I imagine it involves some, all or none of the following.

1. You only get 45 seconds with the Queen – and half of that is taken up with doing a 16th century bow and saying: “My name is John and I live in a hovel with my best pig, your Majesty.”

2. Everyone is looking at you. You know they are thinking: “He’s talking to the Queen! OMG!” This is off-putting and can lead to one soiling ones underpants.

3. The remainder of your 22½ second conversation takes place between someone (the Queen) who owns 16 countries and had a rug woven for them by Ghandi, and someone (you) who works as a Cruise Director, with a rug woven for them by JC PENNEY — trying to think of something to say to each other that will neither make the next day’s papers, nor potentially get his or her head cut off.

Prince Charles will of course eventually be taking over this job. He is ummmm……..a little strange. I am not talking about the fact that he left Princess Di for Camilla although that is like giving up Megan Fox’s bottom to get into bed with Rosie O’Donnell’s Bottom…….. no……..I mean Charles talks to plants, says he is a supporter of the environment and then takes a huge shotgun and shoots Bambi in the face. He regularly wears a kilt and is friends with Elton John.

When the Queen finally passes on to the Kingdom of Heaven from the kingdom of …… ummmmm ………..her…………she will though still have the legacy of her name on the side of a the new Queen Elizabeth.

I hope she does visit her and maybe if I do get an invite I can have my photo taken with her and present her with an I Love John’s Thingy bobblehead.

God Save the Queen.

Best wishes
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.