The "i" Of The Tiger

April 12, 2010 -

John Heald

The next person who tells me they have bought an Eye (i) Pad thingy may find it inserted so far up their bottom that the on/off switch will only be accessible via their belly button.

One of the backstage techs has one. Everyone with a beard in the office has one, I bet my mate the Duke of University has one and so do, according to the news this Monday morning, 980,000 other people…………………and the sodding thing has only been on sale for a week or so.

And I just don’t understand why. It’s just another iThingy to covet, then day-dream about, then buy, then get bored with and then feel guilty about as it sits there on a shelf as you get ready to buy the next thing with the letter “i” in front of it.

I’ve always been wary of those people who greet new Apple products with yelps of pure ecstasy in the same way as I would yelp in ecstasy if Megan Fox’s bottom suddenly appeared pressed up against the window of my cabin. Maybe it’s because iThingies makes me feel old, dated weak and tired.

As regular bloggers will know I am no technophobe. Indeed, I own one working iPod and have no idea how to down load anything onto it. This means instead of London Calling by the Clash and the entire Made in Japan Album by Deep Purple I have what Heidi put on there for herself. This means I have a musical diet of something called R Kelly, The Pussy Cat thingies and a Dutch singer called Wolter Van Bollocks

It seems that iThingies have the potential to get grown men as excited as new toys used to get them when they were little boys and just like when we were kids………….just when you think you’ve got all the stupid toys you could want, along comes a man or woman with a beard ……………………..  and invents another.

I have iFatigue. Can’t it all just stop? I’m bored with these things. I’m bored with the way I’m going to be called old and boring and if I do not buy one……… and I’m already bored with all the people who will.

Time for today’s iQuestions……………off we go…………..and let’s start with some advice for a Honeymoon couple.

Ashley Asked:
John (please reply),

I just want to tell you really quickly how much I love reading your blog! You always tell the best stories.

We’re sailing on the Carnival Dream for our honeymoon cruise on April 17th. We’re sailing in one of the L shaped cabins (7448) and I’m very excited to get the bigger balcony. This is our first balcony, so I’m sure we’ll be spoiled from now on.

I was wondering if you could think of any ways to help make this cruise even more special for us. I’m going to try to get us a reservation in the Steakhouse as I’ve heard it’s fantastic. Any other tips to help make our honeymoon even better?

Thanks,
Ashley

John Says:
Hello Ashley

It’s nice to start today’s blog of with a compliment and I am glad that you enjoy the blog so much. You asked for tips for your Honeymoon so let me see what I can do to help.

1. Put on some Barry White

2. You will need sexy leopard print thong and nipple clamps and……….if your husband refuses to wear them……….dump him right there and then

3. There is the Cloud Nine Spa so if you wake up the next morning, realize you’ve made a terrible mistake……….. Have a hot stones massage.

4. If you are having difficulties in the bedroom remember there is a store on the pier in Cozumel that sells Viagra with no prescription. It will not only help the honeymoon but if the ship is rocking, get him to take one and it will stop him rolling out of bed…….a bit like an anchor.

OK, seriously…….buy the couples pass for Cloud Nine and have a couples massage on one of the VIP rooms. Then, have a romantic, late night stroll around The Lanai. Dance in every lounge on the ship and yes………you must go to the Steakhouse. And you can expect a little gift from me. Happy Honeymoon and have a brilliant life together.

Best wishes
John

Mike M Asked:
John, (please reply)

Something tells me that you didn’t get my reply about the terrorists that might be on ship and in the airports. Yes I did mention the group by name, but so be it… Through your Blog thingy as you so like to call it, today, you have just reinforced the meaning of national security whether it be here in the US or Overseas.. You have brought to the attention of many folks about the need for security.

John Says:
Hello Mike M

I haven’t seen such posting from you so please can you send it again. I can assure you that the Carnival ships are at very high level of alertness.

I remain at your service.

Best wishes
John

Karen Asked:
PLEASE REPLY

Dear John, My husband and I will be going on our first cruise (vacation/honeymoon) on the Carnival Conquest on the 25th of April. Another couple was going with us so we could celebrate our 20th anniversaries this year (not on the sailing dates though), but they had to back out. However, since my husband’s birthday falls on the day we port (did I say that right?) in the Cayman’s, I made reservations at the Steakhouse for that evening.

I only recently found your blog thingy and I really love reading it. I also read on another board that you will be on the same cruise? I sure hope so! Much as I’ve heard and read, I’ve still got no idea what to expect on a cruise ship. We are very much looking forward to meeting you and the rest of the very interesting staff on the Conquest. If you could give some advice for the trip or maybe some ideas of something special I can do for my husband, I would greatly appreciate it!

Very Respectfully,
Karen

John Says:
Hello Karen

It won’t be long until you are here with me on the Carnival Conquest. It will be my final cruise before I head to Mobile, Alabama, and the Carnival Fantasy. I was glad to read also that you have discovered the blog thingy and please make sure that you write a beautiful note about how much you love your husband and wish him a happy birthday. Please leave the note at the guest services desk and I will read it out on the big screen “live” and on your cabin TV and give him a birthday gift as well.

See you both soon.

Best wishes
John

Kevin Stover Asked:
John. Please reply

Hello John.

First, I just wanted to say I love reading your blog. Every day you make me laugh and help keep me occupied until my next cruise.

I just sailed on the Carnival Triumph for my 12th cruise. It was a perfect vacation. I wanted to let someone know that the waiter we had for dinner was outstanding. I believe his name was I Komang(sp?). Every night he was very attentive, would ask us how our day was, danced with us and would sing to us. Carnival is very lucky to have him as an employee.

Next, I have booked the Carnival Magic for July 10th, 2011. I am so excited to be going to Europe. Will you be the Cruise Director for that cruise and do you know when I will be able to book shore excursions for the cruise?

Thank you for everything.
Kevin

John Says:
Hello Kevin

I have sent your words of praise to the Hotel Director on the Carnival Triumph and he will make sure that “iKomang”…….bugger………….got that i pod thing going today………….I mean Mr “I” your waiter who you enjoyed so much gets to see what you have written and…………I know he will be so proud. I will indeed see you in Europe on the Carnival Magic………..I can’t wait.

See you next year

Best wishes
John

Margie Tracy Asked:
Hi again John,

First let me say that in all of my 11 cruises I have never used the library. I usually bring my own books to read by the pool. The only time I ever went into the library was to find the Cruise Critic log book to sign.

Second, I just loved the pictures and comments about the two sisters celebrating their birthdays. I want that to be me someday. I want to be able to still be cruising at that age as well. I want to know if the waiter shown in the picture is Arzu from the Scarlet Dining Room. He was our waiter on the 2/27/10 cruise. He was fantastic. It certainly looks just like him but you never know. Could you please reply and let me know if it is him.

Margie

P.S. I am ready for some video blogging. I need a fix already and it’s only been two weeks since we cruised together.

John Says:
Hello Margie Tracy

Thanks for recognizing Arzu from the photo taken on your Carnival Dream. It was indeed Arzu whom I have worked with many times and is indeed a great waiter indeed. I will be working on some video blogs at the end of May when Peter the Hair comes to sail on the Carnival Fantasy.

Hope you can hang on until then.

Best wishes
John

Beverly Asked:
Hi John (please reply)

I went back to work today after returning from the Carnival Dream cruise with “Stinking Creek” March 6-13…..I wish I was on the ship again!

Anyway, we (my hubby, 21 y.o. daughter, her girlfriend, and myself) had a fabulous time all week! Lots of laughter and good family time. You read my letter on the 1st morning show and we were able to meet you at the captain’s party (my husband’s birthday wish was to meet you)….we had our picture taken with you, you talked with our daughter who is soon graduating from college and for our 25th anniversary, you surprised us with some things in our room, …..THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! My husband does not show his feelings all the time, but when he saw that, he choked up and couldn’t believe that you did that for us, knowing how busy you are.

We are truly Carnival fans…..the food, service, entertainment, everything was wonderful! Embarkation was a breeze as was debarkation (we did self-serve)……we tried most of the eating areas and never waited in long lines….planned our “grazing” to avoid the busier times. Sure, there were a few minor negative things, like my husband never receiving his birthday cake (Carnival did reimburse us)….but nothing that would cause us to say our cruise was ruined. We totally understood the missed port of Roatan and enjoyed our sunny sea day and know those things happen. We always say, that “a vacation is what you make of it”…..lots and lots of memories, including those lovely ladies celebrating their 98 and 104 birthdays……good for them to be able to go cruising!

Lastly, John, YOU ARE THE BEST! We have been reading your blog for a few years and love it! This was our 6th cruise, the 4th with Carnival and the 2nd having you as our CD. Laughter is good for the soul and you definitely had us laughing, as did the guests. So many times today at work, my mind would drift to different aspects of our cruise and I would start to smile. Thanks again to you and CCL!! By the way, loved the pictures of you, Heidi and Kye…..Kye is so cute! Take care.

John Says:
Hello Beverly

Ahhhhh…….Stinking Creek. Do you know, I saw a copy of a letter which a guest had written to Carnival Chairman Micky Arison which one of the chaps in the office sent me? It was a brilliant letter of praise for the whole crew of your Carnival Dream and started with “In was on the Carnival Dream Stinking Creek Cruise.” That is the impact that Willard made and not only did he make 4,000 people laugh out loud, he put Stinking Creek on the map. It has since become a major tourist destination.

Thanks for those wonderful words about the cruise and everyone who loves Carnival must at some point try a Dream class ship. Whether it’s your Carnival Dream………the Carnival Magic …………. or the Carnival Thingy………..I encourage everyone to experience this exciting class of ships. I want to say a personal thank you for the kind words about the shows and the fact that we gave you and your husband fun, relaxation and laughter is the essence of what the company I work for is all about.

I hope to see you both again soon and thank you for the nice words for Heidi and Kye.

Best wishes
John

Charles Spurlock Asked:
John (Please Reply)

Love your blog. My wife and I will be sailing on the Spirit in July to celebrate our 25th anniversary/ I would like to surprise her with something, could you talk to the Cruise director on this sailing and have him surprise her? thanks for your help

John Says:
Hello Charles Spurlock

It would be my pleasure. Please can you send me a reminder with your cabin number and your wife’s name by June 25th and I will make it so.

Best wishes
John

Gloria Asked:
(Please Reply)

John: My family and I just returned from a 7-day cruise aboard the Valor. It was amazing. My husband and I had just taken the same cruise in November and enjoyed it so much that we wanted to take our sons who were celebrating their 21st and 20th birthday. I contacted you to request a private table for our family so that we would have a more intimate setting. Not only did we get a private table (Thanks to you and Pablo), but the boys also received a gift from you and Big Tex. They were so excited and met so many new friends that they are planning to keep in touch with. They are already planning their next Spring break cruise. Thank you for adding your special touch to make our vacation that much nicer.

John Says:
Hello Gloria

My thanks to Pablo and Tex for helping this cruise that extra bit special and I hope it won’t be too long before we see you onboard another fun for all ship again. Thanks…….for taking the time to say thanks.

Best wishes to all
John

Rick Sullivan Asked:
John,

My family sailed with you last week on the Dream. 3/6. My daughter stayed in cabin 11238 and Totok was her steward. She might have left a purse she bought in Belize along with several other souvenirs. Would it be possible for you to get this to guest services or Totok? I have emailed a request through the lost and found on the main carnival website, but figured this may be an option as well. Thanks

Rick Sullivan (I stayed in 11214 and 11216 so you or someone should be able to get my contact info. My daughter was in 11238, which was in our friend’s name) Thanks so much

John Says:
Hello Rick Sullivan

Please tell your daughter that I have sent this to the ship and our lost and found department in Miami. Someone will be in touch very soon if it has been found. I hope it is.

Best wishes to all
John

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

Oh hold on…………….I have to show you this one which is way ahead of the queue of questions I have to answer but it deserves special recognition.

Miss J. Cole Asked:
John – Please Reply

Hi.  I’ve got a weird question to ask.  I just got off the Pride ship and there was a song (more of a jingle) that played on the ship’s interactive TV system.  It was sung by a woman and went like, “bom bom bom bom bah bom bom bom bah, bom bom bom bah…”  Any clue as to the title or artist of this song is?  I cannot get it out of my head.  Thank you,

John Says:
Hello J. Cole

Ummm………ummmmm………it sounds like a song by Bootylicious called “Slap My Bitch Down” or it could be Mozart’s Second Piano Concerto in G Major. Can you tell me anything else about it? When you heard it, what channel because bom bah bom bom bom bah, bom bom bom bah isn’t really giving me much to go on. I will also ask Kirk the CD of the Carnival Pride to see if he can help figure out what bom bah bom bom bom bah, bom bom bom bah is.

Best wishes
John

Let’s move on……quickly…….because I have this strange urge to tell a blonde joke.

I love naming ceremonies and before the age of the web thingy they were only witnessed by a privileged few. These days of course we can all enjoy them and experience the sensation of welcoming another ship to the industry we all love so much.

I really want you to see the one that happened last Saturday in Southampton, UK. It marked the launch of the new flag ship for P&O Cruises and I think after you have seen it that you will agree with me when I say it was a beautiful ceremony gull of panache and grace. Please enjoy it. Here is the link thingy.

http://www.pocruises.com/

Tomorrow at 10 am (EST) people with beards will gather in Coral Gables will gather for Carnival Corporation’s Annual General Meeting of Shareholders. This is where Vice Chairman Howard Frank and Chairman Micky Arison will talk about the state of the company and will…….well………..basically remind the rest of the industry that we are the best. The end.

Actually, it makes for fascinating viewing and the Q & A session is always very interesting indeed. Once again, thanks to the web thingy you can listen in live and if you can….I highly suggest you do. I wonder if Howard or Micky will mention my blog……….OK, I think I just entered the realms of fantasy there.

Anyway, have a listen and find out more about the greatest collection of cruise lines………in the world. It can be heard live on carnivalcorp.com

So, let’s wrap up last week. Obviously the fog gave us the worst possible start and while the wonderful folks at embarkation did their very best to entertain 3,000 people for as much as 12 hours……..we sat in fog………waiting for the port to open ………even though the captain, myself and had he been there, Stevie Wonder, all thinking that we could have easily have docked the ship safely. Yet even though, the guests didn’t board the ship until late Saturday night and even though they had no welcome aboard show, no casino, no gift shop and even though some of them smelt like Paris on a hot summer’s day………most never complained and most had the time of their lives.

Yes, there were some who left on Saturday with a bad taste in their mouth and some who felt that their pockets should have been bulging with the full refund Carnival should have given them. But the vast majority left only with a smile on their face and a mind full of fun-filled memories.

My star of the cruise was Ryan’s Mum. You know, the lady who son had serious learning difficulties. I have to be honest here as well that not only was I over awed at the patience and undying love that Doreen had for Ryan……….but I also……..just for a moment……..gave thanks that Kye was healthy ……………and then felt immensely guilty for doing so.

One last comment from last week though……………..and it’s a corker.

Guest: Mr.______ Ref: 831915892A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: ____ Added-Changed: 04/08/10 – 04/08/10

COMMENT ABOUT STEAK HOUSE

Guest came to the GSD saying that he had just returned from the steak house and that the rib chop was not very good. Guest said that he owned a steak restaurant in San Antonio and that his steaks were much better. Guest wanted a full refund for his meal for himself and his wife.

Note: Steakhouse hostess stated that Mr. and Mrs. _____ both had eaten all their food including the steaks and had not complained

First things first, I just called the Guest Services Desk and reminded them that Steakhouse is one word. OK…….back to Mr. and Mrs. Porterhouse. I can understand that sometimes people don’t like food. If someone serves me Squirrel’s scrotum in a white wine sauce, I don’t eat it all up and then say. “Ewww……That tasted like squirrel arse”………..nope………….I taste it……….projectile vomit over the waiter………..and ask for my money back. By the way, we had 543 people eat at the Steakhouse this week…….and we had only two complaints.

Let’s have a look at some of the folks who starred in Carnival Legends.

The show is still popular but goodness knows the “new Legends” can’t get here quick enough and hopefully Michael Jackson and friends will be here soon.

By the way, I want to salute Barry Edwards who played Elton John. Barry is blind and has no sight at all. Yet there he was singing Crocodile Rock with all his heart and you know what……..I bet the audience had no idea that he couldn’t see any of them. But he sure as heck heard their exuberant applause.

Oh one last thing……..as a cruise director you never know what kind of influence your jokes will have on other people. Here is a guest who took my toilet humour (spelt correctly) one step further.

Anyway, that was the week that was………..let’s see who is onboard with us this cruise.

GUESTS                                                                     3,243

NON UNITED STATES CITIZENS                           27 Mexicans and 8 Canadians

AGE GROUP TOTALS
Under 2 Years 16
2-5 Years 52
6-8 Years 32
9-11 Years 40
12-14 Years 44
15-18 Years 53
19-21 Years 33

A vast difference then to the first two cruises with much less children, Mexicans and polka dancing Swedes.

On Sunday I addressed a group of 150 Texan travel agents who were on a familiarization trip onboard escorted by Laurie and Shannon from Carnival who you may remember gave me that wonderful cowboy hat. I spoke a little about the wonderful experiences I had enjoyed in my career and how impressed I had been with the people who I had met on the Carnival Conquest so far. There were then questions about the ship, a concern about fuel surcharges and a bizarre question from an agent who had seen an article that had said that Carnival Corporation were going to turn Princess and Holland America ships into Carnival ships even going as far as to put the famous Carnival funnel on all their ships.

I hazard a guest that the author of this article had either just smoked a palm tree or his own underwear or he had written the article from the inside of a padded cell holding the pen in his mouth as his arms were constrained within a straight jacket. It is obvious that when Carnival brought them into the family they were encouraged to keep their own identities and despite what the doom mongerers were saying………….it worked.

I thanked the agents for their loyal support and they were so nice, they took photos and I had hugs galore as they left for lunch. I hope they enjoyed the chitlins.

There were two great characters in the Welcome Aboard show. First of all meet Colt Hersh ….. what a great name………..Colt Hersh.

Colt is from a small town in Texas called….are you ready for this………a place called “Happy.”

I thought that was great and asked how many people lived in “Happy?” I was going to say 45 ……but thought that might be too obvious. Anyway, Colt told me that he thought maybe 600 ……now that’s a small town. I asked him if everyone who lived in Happy was happy. His answer was priceless. “They are on Friday night’s at happy hour.” His accent was priceless and I we had so much fun and of course…..I got 1,000 people to sing “If You’re Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands .”

Now meet Tucker Smith.

As you can see Tucker is a big chap and this is how the start of our conversation went.

Me                               What’s your name

Tucker                         Tucker Smith

Me                               Where are you from

Tucker                         Longview, Texas

Me                               I nearly didn’t see you in that camouflaged shirt

Tucker                         Damn thing’s broken……..I want my money back

Me                               What do you do for a living?

Tucker                         Why?

Me                               Oh (referring to the camouflage shirt), just interested if you were a hunter

Tucker                         Yes I am a hunter and your head will look great next to ma bears in ma study

Me                               You seem angry, would you like a hug

Tucker                         OK

By the way, Tucker isn’t a hunter…….he is a police officer……….bet there is bugger all crime in Long View Texas.

It was a great start to the week.

So Tiger Woods was back on the golf course and it was an extraordinary sight in so many ways. First of all, here is a man who has been unfaithful to his wife and hurt his children emotionally and yet he swaggers onto the golf course and thousands of men and women cheer for him as though he has just discovered a cure for cancer and not had banged every nightclub hostess in Los Angeles like a screen door in a hurricane…….. I just don’t understand it.

I hate golf, I hate watching it and I hate playing it. I would rather wipe my bottom with sandpaper than dress up in stupid trousers and play sodding golf. However……….I did watch a bit of the last round on Sunday………..if for no other reason than to see when Tiger was on the course if the commentators could stop themselves sniggering when using words like “woods,” “irons,” “birdies” and “holes-in-one” — and let’s not even go there on swinging .

And you know what……..not one commentator laughed, not even a giggle……..which proves my point that despite Tiger Wood’s best efforts………..golf is still the most boring sport in the world.

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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