California…Here I Come

April 14, 2010 -

John Heald

For the last few days I have been trying to explain to people with beards at my local council office in Essex that I do exist and that I have not ceased to be. You see, I am trying to get my absentee vote organized as soon as possible because we have a general election on May 8 and I want my vote to count. Yet, for some reason I have been removed from the election roll and have at the time of me writing today’s blog……no more right to vote than Judge Judy has the right to wear a G String. And I really want to vote.

It was an important election for my American friends when you choose between the Messiah and the old bugger and it is just as important for me to do my bit to get rid of the slack jawed Scottish buffoon Gordon Brown who has bugger all sense of humour and the charisma of a vacuum cleaner. While it would be politically incorrect to talk about American or Canadian politics here on the blog thingy incase I upset someone I have no qualms at all about talking about my own government.

This current bunch has turned Great Britain into a country so full of rules and regulations that we are fast becoming the laughing stock of Europe. Today teachers can’t tell off a kid if he punches another kid in the head, I can’t smoke my cigar in a pub, you can’t take shampoo on a plane, you can’t sell food unless you explain on the packet precisely what’s in it and where it came from, you can’t go to work unless you have a yellow high-visibility jacket, you can’t tell jokes about the Irish, thin people, fat people, Muslims, Christians, white, black, the ginger haired or God help us ….the French. You can’t talk on your cell phone in a traffic jam and you are totally buggered if a company called AIG spent half your life savings on Latvian lap dancers. Oh yes………..and my favourite………..the British Government will not allow my wife to take photos of her daughter with her camera at a gym swimming pool. If she does, she will be arrested and sent to the British equivalent of Guantanamo Bay………….a place called Wales.

A few weeks ago it looked like Gordon Brown was going to be writing to Gerry Cahill for a job as an accountant on the Carnival Ecstasy. The only people who said they’d vote for him were his wife and some chap he went to school with who Gordon had photos of with doing strange things to a goat. But now he and the Conservative leader David Cameron are neck and neck.

It looked as though if Gordon Brown wanted to win he would have to promise every woman voter a night of passion with Brad Pitt and every male voter a signed photo of Megan Fox’s bottom. But now he has every chance and because the tofu-eating beardists at my local city hall have lost my records…………….. I am powerless to stop it.

If I had my way I would vote that Silvio Berlusconi the Italian Prime Minister run for the UK job. He has gorgeous models in his cabinet. So the country would still be in the crapper ……….. but at least we would have some nice breasts to look at.

Time for today’s questions.

Off we go.

Meow Man Asked:
John – Please urgently respond

There are lots of us Cruise Critic regulars who want to find out about the sudden death of a passenger on the Ecstasy last week. Can you tell us what happened?

Thanks

John Says:
Hello Meow Man

I think I have now answered this question two or three times and respectfully I will say again that I cannot comment on this other than to send my deepest sympathies to the family.

Thanks
John

Marty Paul Asked:
Hi John (Reply, only if you have time),

Welcome to Texas (we’ll when you boarded the ship in Galveston anyway)!

I found your impressions of Texans interesting…here they didn’t know you from “Adam” and there were smiles, hellos, hi’s from most you encountered. Texas means “friend” and you now have almost 3,000 new ones!

A quick comment on Julie Hume’s post & your reply to her today. I agree with her, the Great Lakes would be a great “untapped” market for Carnival, although seasonal for summers only. However, a Spirit or Fantasy class ship could easily transit the Well and Canal (which in itself would be quite a cruise, with all the locks). Just think of Carnival operating out of Chicago, the 3rd largest city in the U.S.! I bet one of the major Great Lakes U.S. cities would work a very sweet deal with Carnival to sail operate out of their port!

The Great Lakes are beautiful and there are many options on port calls. No problem with the Jones Act (Passenger Vessel Services Act), as a stop in a Canadian port would be no problem on a round-trip sailing from Chicago.

Then, on the way in and out of the Lakes each year, you would have the beautiful St. Lawrence Seaway with ports such as Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto. A stop near Port Welland (south point of the Welland Canal) would allow Carnival excursions to Niagara Falls!

Just my 2 cents. Please pass to the men with beards in Miami, if the idea is worthy. Full credit to Julie Hume, so she gets to share a suite & hot-tub with George Clooney on the inaugural Great Lakes sailing.

Again, welcome to Texas! Have those Texans teach you the Cotton-Eyed Joe! Missed you on the Carnival Conquest, but Jeanne & I are looking forward to our July 10th sailing on the Carnival Ecstasy (especially me, as I can smoke a cigar in the Society Cigar Bar).

Fair winds & following seas John,
Marty & Jeanne

John Says:
Hello Marty and Jeanne

You described Texans perfectly because that’s exactly what they have all treated me like……….a friend. I thank you for your support of a Great Lakes cruise and you have probably seen the reply from our Senior Vice President Terry Thornton as to why as much as we would love to do this, we cannot. Even our smallest ships are too big and as Terry said, that’s a real shame. He did though mention that he and his team are looking at brand new destinations and home ports and I know that there may be some surprises up his sleeve in the months ahead. So, thanks for the posting and maybe we will get to share a cigar together one day soon.

Best wishes to you both
John

BIG Ed Konefe Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY

John I sure hope that was just the trailer of the full length video to come soon to a blog near you. It’s been almost 4 months in coming. How long do we have to wait. Peter told me he would send me all he took during BC3 but I’ve not received any of it.

Ed

John Says:
Hello Big Ed

There was lots of footage that Peter the Hair shot of our bloggers cruise adventures and I will ask him again if he will be posting more footage and if a DVD can be made available. I know I am three weeks behind in answering questions so maybe he has already replied. Just in case he has not I will send him a note today. We had so much fun, didn’t we? And as usual……you were at the center of it.

Best wishes to you and to Pat
John

Jeanette Asked:
Reply if you wish to

John, so now you know why the Conquest is one of the fave ships for many people. I have to wonder, what do you think of the murals in the lobby and on the wall opposite the glass elevators. I can safely say I spent a fair amount of time just looking at the different scenes and even on the last day it seemed like the first day!

Bloggers Cruise 3–Please, please, please, please say it’ll be in March on the Splendor out of Mexico…please….I really need to meet you!

John Says:
Hello Jeanette

I do indeed understand fully why the Carnival Conquest is so many people’s favourite vessel and why the crew raves about how friendly the people are. The murals are amazing but I have to admit I haven’t had time to study them too much but you have now inspired me to do so. I will be talking about the Carnival Splendor in a moment.

Thanks for the kind words

Best wishes
John

Waiting4acruise Asked:
John, Please reply.

Welcome to the Conquest. We have sailed on the Conquest 5 times. I love that ship.

I have a question about one of my favorite Conquest employees, Assistant Cruise Director Kyle Post. We first met him on the Conquest in October 2008. He was our cruise director on the Cruise Critic Crazies cruise with Host Mach in September 2009. He will make a great cruise director.

Is Kyle on the Conquest with you? If not what ship is he on? We will be sailing on the Legend in May. We would love to sail with him again.

John Says:
Hello Waiting4acruise

I see you are another Carnival Conquest fan and a fan of Karl Post. Do you know, I have never met young Karl but have heard so many good things about him. He is currently on vacation and due to return to the Carnival Liberty soon. From what I have heard he is indeed going the right way to becoming a great Cruise Director one day soon. Your CD in May on the Carnival Legend will be wee Jimmy who I am sure will become someone you will never forget. Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes
John

LookingForwardtotheCarnivalGlory6June Asked:
Mr. Heald – Pray tell, please reply.

The Mrs. & I have decided to make our platinum celebration on the Carnival Glory – could you please advise us as to who our cruise director will be?

We are looking forward to all the benefits of being platinum guests on Carnival – especially the no waiting in lines part for embarkation and debarkation.

Wish you were going to be on the Glory, but I understand you have family obligations – making goo-goo eyes at your baby girl never gets old.

MTSFP

John Says:
Hello LookingForwardtotheCarnivalGlory6June

I like your new screen name and am I right in saying that the Carnival Glory is your new favourite ship? And will you ever again be known as Missingthesmokefreeparadise?

You will adore the Platinum benefits and that includes early embarkation and debarkation and of course……………we will wash your underwear for you as well. Please remind me before you sail by sending one of the 343 Stephanies a posting note. Best wishes to you and mrsLookingForwardtotheCarnivalGlory6June.

John

Sandra Marks Asked:
John please reply

Hello John, I’m not sure if this is the right place to post but maybe one of your 343 Stephanie’s will get it to the right place.

I’ve been reading your blog for a month or so. I do enjoy your wit… I am sailing on the Carnival Dream on May 1, 2010. I need a favor from you as I don’t know who else to ask. We are a group of 14 that have our dinner reservations linked for the late seating. Some of us are a little fluffy and I would like to know if you could maybe get us two round tables set up in the dining room. We may have 2 more to join us. This will be my 17th cruise with Carnival and I’m sure there will be more to come. I hope to get to cruise with you some day. Thanks John for all that you do. My cabin # is 2374. I can’t wait to check out the cove balcony.

Thanks,
Sandra Marks

John Says:
Hello Sandra Marks

I am glad you took the time to right and I will ask Mr. Ante the Maitre D to put you and your  “fluffy” friends at a round table……..being fluffy myself I know what you mean. I may need more details of your friend’s cabin numbers etc but maybe they are linked to yours. We shall see.

Have a fantastic cruise on your Carnival Dream.

Best wishes to all.
John

Angela J. Asked:
Hi John (please reply),

Well, it’s almost here – my very first cruise on Carnival. I’m so excited I’m about to wet my pants! I’ve been enjoying your blog since last summer when we first decided to switch from the “of the seas” cruise line to Carnival.

My sister and I are doing back-to-back cruises on the Carnival Dream on April 17 and 24. The first week we’re doing Your Time dining, but the second week we’re going to do late dining so that we can experience the fun singing and dancing by the waiters. I was wondering if you could do us a favor. I’m a little on the shy side and would prefer a table for two. Would you be able to forward our request? This is for the April 24 Carnival Dream cruise only. We’ll be in spa suite 11221. Although I go by Angela, my first name (and my cruise reservation) is under the name of Mary Johnson. My sister’s name is Susan Kunzelman.

I would appreciate any help you can give us. Oh, and guess what? We’re booked on the Carnival Magic in June 2011. I can’t wait to visit Europe for my very first time AND have you as our cruise director!

Thanks again!
Angela Johnson

John Says:
Hello Angela Johnson

Well by now you are on your Carnival Dream doing a brilliant back to back cruise. I asked the Maitre d to help with your table and I hope everything worked out OK. Have a great cruise and I will indeed see you next year on the Carnival Magic for a European adventure.

Best wishes to you both
John

Brett Romano Asked:
Hi John!

I am very sad that you will not be our CD on the dream. The week we sail you are leaving! (04/16/10).

I work in the hospitality industry as well, and we have started to read your blog at our morning meetings. It’s something we all feel that we can relate to and it gives us a good laugh. Anyway … we are cruzing to celebrate my partners 30th birthday.

I know at my hotel, if people call and request an upgrade we do our best to try and upgrade that customer. How does it work on with carnival? I have called many times and have been shot down! My booking number is 82FZ68. Help!

Thank you!

John Says:
Hello Brett Romano

I am glad you enjoy the blog and as you know better than most, working in the hospitality industry is always an adventure. Upgrades are few and far between at Carnival because much of the time the ships are sold out and thus we have no empty staterooms. If there open upgrades they are offered to past guests and as many who read the blog here will tell you even that is very rare. While I may not be able to help you with an upgrade I will send you a little something for being a blog reader which I hope you enjoy.

Best wishes
John

Marqueta Asked:
John, Please Reply!

You are going to love the Carnival Conquest and the passengers that sail her. Most of the passengers are repeat customers from Texas and Oklahoma and boy do those folks know how to party. From Karaoke to the lido deck it is all a lot of fun. We like the ships because we are able to drive to the port. We wish carnival had more ships in Galveston. You are going to have to get off the ship and take a tour of the island and get a meal at the Fisherman’s Wharf not far from the Carnival Ship’s. Galveston is a very nice seaside town. I know you will enjoy your time on the Carnival Conquest. My family always does, we are just a little tired of going to Jamaica, which leads me to another part of my response. What are the chances that you could station another ship there to do the longer Caribbean trips and possibly a Panama Canal trip? I assure you that it would be both a profitable venture as well as making the Texan and Oklahoman Cruisers very happy. What are your thoughts on this? Wishing I was going on the Carnival Conquest tomorrow. Instead of staring out the window at another snow storm this weekend 3/20/10, so much for the beginning of spring.

Safe travels,
Marqueta from Oklahoma

John Says:
Hello Marqueta from Oklahoma

And you were right. I do love the Carnival Conquest and the people that sail aboard her. I have yet to see Galveston and was hoping that this coming Saturday I would be able to do so. But, alas it is not to be as I now have meetings onboard. Bugger! Galveston is a massively important market for Carnival and we will continue to look at different homeports, itineraries and vessels to meet the needs of the many who love to sail on a Carnival ship. The future is bright and I hope that this will not be my last time here. I hope you get to come home soon to the Carnival Conquest.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today, there will be more tomorrow. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated all your comments after my “down in the dumps day” on the Never Mind the Bollocks blog. Over 100 of you wrote to me and that included a beautiful note of apology from Mocha Joe which really wasn’t necessary. However, thanks Joe. Anyway, sorry for being down in the dumps and I hope the next I am feeling blue you won’t mind me telling my friends here on our blog thingy.

As you may know your Carnival Dream could not leave the port of Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan last week. A friend of mine has pointed out that there are a lot of conspiracy theories about why this happened on the cruise boards. Some apparently state that Carnival Corporation was having a disagreement with the longshoremen who are the people who let go the ropes. This is nonsense. The reason was simply wind. Yes, the captain had eaten a curry and had terrible gas so he could not make it to the bridge. Kidding. The wind was coming through the valley that the ships sit in and both the Princess ship and your Carnival Dream could not leave until it disapissatated ……… yes …….spelt correctly.

There are warning signs as to what would happen if you try to dock or leave the pier in high winds as displayed by the two wrecks of ships that did not make it and met their end on the rocks. Have a look at them the next time you enter Isla Roatan. Mahogany Bay is a stunning facility and the reviews we are getting are fabulous but like me after a bowl of chili……wind was a problem in this case.

This coming Sunday I was hoping to get off the vessel and see some of Galveston and restock on hemorrhoid cream. However, it will be a busy day as we will be working very closely with the United States Coast Guard who will be conducting a drill on the Carnival Conquest.  We’ll be providing all guests with a letter so that they are aware of these operations.

I will also back this up with announcements and keep the guests informed. I don’t want anyone to look over the side of the ship and see us being boarded. We are of course always ready to help the men and women of the United States Coastguard who do a brilliant job protecting our seas ……………….and protecting us.

Time to look at some photos of the Carnival Elation and Cabo San Lucas and the beautiful scenery that surrounds this great destination.

Now some of you may be looking at the amazing quality of these and recognize it as the handiwork of our senior photographer and photo artist extraordinaire…..Mr. Radu. He has returned from vacation and is now on the Carnival Elation ready to document through the lens of his Nikon thingy the ship’s journey through the Panama Canal. And he will share his photos exclusively here on the blog thingy. So, let’s welcome Radu back and I think I speak for many when I say how much we are looking forward to his photos.

Well, talking of Cabo San Lucas I can now confirm that this is indeed one of the ports that I have never been to and I can confirm that I will soon be rectifying this. On August 1 I join the ship and will have a one week handover with Goose, the current cruise director and on Sunday August 8 take over as CD. I will remain as CD of the Carnival Splendor until December 12.

I know that some of my west coast friends felt I was ignoring them and even though it was nothing I was purposely doing I can see how it may have looked.

And so rather than do the Carnival Pride, Carnival Glory and Carnival Spirit this summer and fall, I have asked to go to just one ship…….and that will be the Carnival Splendor. As always there will be some who will be mad at me and those will be the guests who have booked those ships and I am truly sorry that we won’t be together. However, I know you will still have the best of times.

And to those who have always wanted me to come to the west coast…….well here I come so I hope as many of you will book as possible so I have some friends to look forward to meeting. I am very happy to be heading over there and hope to see many of you there as well. Heidi and Kye have agreed to spend more time with me during my next contract even though it takes a few more hours to get to LA than South Florida. Talking of my girls, Heidi will be writing some stuff which I will post with my blog on Friday along with some photos of Kye. Anyway, please be honest and let me know how you feel about me being the CD of the Carnival Splendor, I am hoping it will be met by some with happiness and I hope I get to sail with many of you.

OK, as to the cruise director schedule. Well, it was almost ready then this week we had two cruise directors who have left us. I won’t say who just yet but it has meant that Chris Prideaux the chap who does the schedule has more holes to fill and I will make sure as soon as it is ready that the schedule is posted for you all to see.

There were about 1,000 people watching my Marriage Show yesterday at 2:30 pm. It was a beautiful day outside yet 1,000 decided to come in and watch some fat English bloke tell silly stories and interview honeymooners and older married couples. I do love hosting this event because it is so different each time and that gives me a chance to sharpen my improv skills. One of the things I ask some of the honeymoon girls is how they were proposed to. Some proposals ooze romance and some ooze…..well……bugger all really and yesterday we had two perfect examples of this.

First we had Lynn and Heath from Louisiana. Lynn explained that Heath was not the most romantic man in the world and proposed to her by leaving a note on the kitchen table next to the ring box that said “Will You Marry Me”…..Heath had written the note with passion and with love……and then went back outside to fix his truck. What made the note extra special Lynn told us was that it was covered in oil and grease from where he had been working on the truck.

Heath then joined me on stage and a few minutes later he was on bended knee singing “Love me Tender” and professing his undying love for Lynn.

Then we had Jessica and John Lee from Texas. Jessica heard a knock at her door. There stood John Lee with a limousine waiting for her. The limo took them to an airfield where John Lee, who flies helicopters for the United States Army had rented a helicopter and flew over a field where a huge white sheet had been layed out with the words “Jessica Wheaton will you marry me?”

The women in the audience all went crazy and there were “ahhhhs” and applause and a standing ovation while some men in the audience received an elbow to the ribs accompanied by “why couldn’t you do that for me?”

So, do you remember the couple I spoke about yesterday? They were the ones who walked along Promenade Deck during the Captain’s Celebration shouting you f****** f*****,” he bellowed. “Don’t you call me an f****** f*****,” she said. “You’re the f****** f*****.”

Well, yesterday evening I received this from the Purser’s Off………..bugger………….the Guest Services Desk.

From: CONQUEST GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2010 6:48PM
To: CONQUEST CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: CONQUEST ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR; CONQUEST GUEST SERVICES; CONQUEST GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; CONQUEST GUEST SERVICES MANAGER
Subject: Would like to apologize – cabin ____

Good evening John

Miss_____ would like to apologize to you about her language with you. Can you possibly call her please?

Thanks

And so I did. And she apologized. And I told her that she was on vacation and all I wanted was to know that her and her male companion……….or “You f****** f*****,” as he is sometimes known……….are OK and have made up.

All I was looking for was a simple “Yes, all is well.” But I got more……….much more. For the next 10 minutes she told me why they had been arguing. They have been dating for just over a year now and this is their first vacation together. And do you know what had started the argument?

Well, it turns out that she had caught her boyfriend staring at another woman’s bottom and  ………….taking a photo of it. Yep…….now he did this for a joke and at the time he admits he was sponsored by Budweiser if you know what I mean. And so they had come down from Lido deck where the random bottom photo was taken screaming at each other.

I doubt the owner of the bottom would have been too happy either. Anyway, sun and beer had led to their arguing and as I explained to her…………… modern man, French men excepted ………..  has moved on from the apes in every respect but two…….. we still leave the toilet seat up ……………….  and we still check out other women’s bottoms.

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.