May 10, 2010 -

John Heald

So we have a well hung parliament in t……….oh bugger………..sorry……………I meant to say we have a hung parliament in the UK which means neither of the three parties has a majority which means Susan Boyle is still Prime Minister while the parties try and decide what to do next. You see, in the UK our voting system is as old fashioned as Barbara Walters’ underwear. Voting in the UK means going to a school or a hall or a theatre and lining up with hundreds of others in the rain and honestly it has all the charm and grace of a turd in a swimming pool. The whole election has been sad, boring and so very British. We don’t have electronic voting, nope, you go in a booth thingy and use something called “a pen” to check the party you want to vote for. …………a pen………mmmm…….must have been very confusing to the people in their late teens and early twenties………………what……….you mean I can’t text my vote?

Why can’t we be more American? You are brilliant at making politics feel like you’re in a movie. A feel good American movie probably starring Will Smith and some aliens…………. but a movie all the same

Look at your election night. I love the balloons and the banners and the high fives and the drinking of Champagne straight from the bottle. And the victory speeches that feature long pauses made over huge sound systems in even huger football stadiums so that everything, absolutely everything, sounds like something Martin Luther King would say. “I. Promise. To You. The American People of this Great America. Land of Americans. That I. An American. Will Help You. The American People. So Help Me America.” Who needs content when you have such brilliant Cruise Director-style presentation?

But then again that’s because the candidates in your last election were charismatic and had …………well………….soul. We had two stiff shirts and a Scottish chap with a wonky eye and a slack jaw.

You had John McCain………………..the last action hero. I loved his “gates of hell” stuff. And he could adapt it to absolutely any situation. He told workers in a small weapons factory in New Hampshire: “I will follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell and I will shoot him with your products.” Pure Rambo, but also so thoughtful, the way he seamlessly makes the small gun manufacturers feel special too. No talk of airstrikes. He’s going to kill him in person with one of the little guns they made. Ahhhhh. If he’d been in a Toys R Us, he would have gone armed with a water pistol. If he’d been in a Walgreens, he would have done it by turning a bottle of L’Oreal Hairspray and a $1 cigarette lighter into a flame thrower to torch the bastard with the beard.

And what about Michelle Obama? “As I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they’ll have families of their own. And one day, they and your sons and daughters will tell their own children about what we did together in this election.” If that is not the prime example of a chick flick………I don’t know what is.

Why can’t our political masters adopt a more cinematic approach? Maybe that’s why Gordon Brown lost the election. He should have adopted the American approach to politics? Let’s have the Mother of All Credit Crunches. The Housing Crisis of All Housing Crises and give his opponents some “Shock and Awe.”

Maybe I should run as Prime Minister …………..mmmmm……here is my cabinet in my cabinet.

Finance Minister………..Simon Cowell……………..everything he touches turns to sodding gold.

Secretary of State…………..Megan Fox………..her bottom will definitely get countries around the negotiating table.

Minister of Defense………Judge Judy………that’s one scary woman and nobody is going to argue with her.

Minister of Affairs………….Tiger Woods.

Yep……….time to get into politics I think.

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

Beth Asked:
Hi John, (please reply whenever possible)

Ok, let me admit first off that I am a rookie when it comes to this blogging thingy. I was pretty pumped when I figured out the t.v. remote here at home so technology is not my strong point!

That being said, here comes the need for yet another learning opportunity… What exactly is a “Blogger’s cruise?”

My husband and I are booked on the Miracle in Feb. 2011 for the Southern Caribbean and it’s my birthday! What more could a girl ask for? But I digress…anyway I just started to read your blogy thingy (sounds like something that could be contagious!) and read about blogger’s cruises. So… if the old adage of no question is a dumb question is true, then I won’t feel so dumb asking this!

I can say that I have figured out that Carnival cruises are the absolute perfect vacations. This will be our 9th cruise with Carnival and we have gotten many family members and friends introduced to Carnival and they love it as well. We have always had the best time, no matter what ship we’ve been on or where we’ve gone!

I hope to spend many more birthdays on Carnival!

Thanks so much in advance for answering this hopefully not-so-dumb question.

John Says:
Hello Beth

You and I have a lot in common as technology and I go together like Judge Judy and pole dancing. Well, a bloggers cruise is many things and that includes of course a chance for me to meet all of you and for you to meet each other. Over the three years me and my underpants have been blogging, a community has sprung up like a Kangaroo on a pogo stick. That community shares a love of life, cruising and Carnival and when they all get together it makes for a great time. There are lots of private events and activities and a few gifts as well. I am so glad that you have grown to love cruising and maybe one day I will have the pleasure of seeing you onboard.

Best wishes

NickH Asked:
John Please Reply

Hi John,
Because I read this blog everyday and it reminds me of Carnival, I have decided to take my beautiful wife on a last minute cruise on the Carnival Imagination on May 3. Our booking # is —-. We have 2 daughters ages 2 (already has two cruises under her belt) and an 11 month old. While my wife was in active labour, she still remembers asking me what I reading on my iphone thingy, and I said “reading Jonh Healds blog.” Let’s just say she was not impressed LOL. Less than three days later, you also were welcoming your daughter into the world. Bet you didn’t think you were in someone else’s labour and delivery room did you?

I am writing you today to ask for a couple things. First off, this is the first time my wife has left our two young daughters at home with grandma and grandpa and I want to make sure this quick cruise is extra special. I know that the steakhouse would have been a great idea, but I see the Carnival Imagination does not have the steakhouse, though it does have the evolutions of fun, which almost makes up for it. Can you suggest an idea to make this cruise extra special? Also, what do you suggest we do in Key West?

Speaking of the Carnival Imagination, I have never heard anything about her cruise director, Tory Secora (sp?). Can you tell us a little about her? I have been a daily blog reader since you were on the Carnival Freedom back in 2007 if I remember correctly, and I don’t believe you have told us about her before.

I do want to politely request one small favor from you if you receive this in time. Currently, we are waitlisted for your time dining. Do you have any connections on the Carnival Imagination that could help our chances of making it off the wait list and into your time dining?

We are planning a family cruise next Jan and we are waiting for your schedule to be announced so we can book with you as the CD. Hopefully Heidi and Kye will be with you as well as my 11 month old will be just over a year and a half and will need someone to play with 🙂


John Says:
Hello Nick

I am so sorry that you will probably be reading this after you get off the Carnival Imagination. I am still 3 weeks behind and it seems that I will never catch up. I hope you were able to have a great time with the family and enjoy the water park and the shows and events. I am sure you both missed your daughters and I hope they like the little gold things I sent them as you hopefully enjoyed the bubbly.

I did speak to the Maitre D so hopefully you got the dining assignment you requested. I am so honoured that having read the blog you decided to book a cruise and I am so sorry once again for the late reply. Please let me know all about it when you read this.

Best wishes to all

Angela Guptill Asked:
Please reply.

Hello John. Just was wondering why the Sr. Cruise Director of CCL has to travel on a budget airline??? Sorry if this is a personal question and if so, don’t worry about answering 🙂 Also, is there any security on the ships in regards to the fighting couple who, on land, would have been given a ticket for being a public nuisance? I read in your blog every now and then about such incidences and am a bit concerned for when we have our big family reunion cruise in the future as there will be little ones there. I know most people would not act this way in public but then there are the few-and-far-between who’s IQ points plummet when seen and heard in pubic with their colourful display of language. Thanks again for all you do and cheers to all the wonderful Stephanies.
Angela Guptill
The Dream Feb.13/10 🙂

John Says:
Hello Angela Guptill

It’s OK Angela. Short of asking how much I earn and what happened between me and Sally Pool on August 15th 1983 behind the science classroom………….I am willing to discuss anything at all. I think you are referring to my blog about Ryanair or maybe one of many other flights. Carnival flies many thousands of crew all over the world every month as they come and go from the 22 ships. I am not important enough to warrant 1st class travel, actually I think this is given only to those of Senior Vice President and above or anyone who has a beard. Also, sometimes, airlines like Ryanair have a monopoly on the routes I fly, especially in Europe so there is little choice. My dream is to fly from America to the UK in 1st class……………….drinking diet coke out of crystal glasses and eating Sautéed Yak off Wedgewood china and maybe………actually managing to sleep. Oh well……………it’s good to dream.

Please don’t worry about security onboard. We take the security and safety of our guests and crew as seriously as any establishment ashore if not more and if needed the Captain reserves the right to disembark any guest that may put the safety of themselves and others at risk. The incident you referred to was an isolated one and I again promise you that all will be well and you and your group will have bucket loads of fun.

Please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes

Sandy Sutton Asked:

Hi John – please reply

Although I am rather new to reading your blog I am not new to Carnival. We will be taking our 8th Carnival cruise on May 23rd and this will be our 6th trip on the Conquest. Unfortunately, I see you will be leaving the boat before our trip. We seem to have had Todd on most of our trips but in May I guess we now get a new (or different) cruise director. This will be an interesting cruise as we are putting 4 grown people in one balcony room – myself, my husband, our 19 year old son and his 20 year old girlfriend (this will be her 1st cruise -they’ve been together almost 5 years but there is no way I’m putting them in their own room – so we are all together in 1 room). It was a surprise Christmas gift to both of them. They are both really great kids and doing really well in college and both are very excited about the cruise. Since we’ve never done a balcony room with “upper and lower” before I was wondering if they are only in that configuration “during the nighttime”? In other words, do we get use of the sofa during the day? Also, if you have 4 people in a room are you still restricted to only 1 laundry bag on the Cayman $15 laundry special day? I’ve also been looking through the Carnival Gift section to have something delivered to them in the room to help celebrate the girlfriend’s acceptance to the Nursing Program and my son’s induction in the College of Honors (both of which just happened this past week)- what would you suggest for 19-20 year olds? Thanks for reading…. please keep up the blogs – I look forward to reading this every day when I get home from work.

John Says:
Hello Sandy Sutton

Thank you for finding my little blog thingy and thank you also for cruising so many times with us. It will certainly be “interesting” having 4 adults in the one cabin and certainly the bathroom may be fun. Maybe you should think about using the spa facilities. They have wonderful showers up there……..just a thought if you are running late or your husband has been in the bathroom for a long time………….with a book.

The laundry bag question is indeed a good one. I had to check as I didn’t actually know the answer and I was informed by the Housekeeping Manager that on a seven day cruise there are 3 opportunities to fill the laundry bag and of course a quiet word with the stateroom steward will result in your laundry needs being taken care of……………….actually thanks for the reminder………….it’s been three weeks since I did my laundry…………I should probably take care of this.

The sofa will be a sofa during the day and then at turn down service the state room steward will turn it back into the bed.

I hope this helps and as for a gift for your son and his girlfriend, may I suggest you wait to get onboard and why not book them a romantic table for 2 at the Steakhouse, you can also do this online. I will also send them a gift.

So have a brilliant time and let me know all about it when you get home.

Best wishes

nanetteali Asked:
Please respond

Hi John!! How are you?? Your girls?? I’m writing just to tell you that i’m still here reading every day. Did Kye like the Coqui we sent with ED?

A big huggo

John Says:
Hello Nanni

It is always a pleasure to hear from you and we will see you when the bloggers come to San Juan.

Best wishes to you all
Much Hug Jeanette

Sam Ganda Asked:
Please reply

There is a thread on cruise critic about a lady pax that died. There is lots of conjecture about what happened so please set the record straight.


John Says:
Hello Sam

I have replied a few times to other Cruise Critic members about this and maybe you have seen the replies I made to them. In case not, let me just say that I send my sympathies to the family and that is really all I want to say.

Best wishes

Jeanette Asked:
John, reply if you can…

You had mentioned that the comedy club would be rolled out to the rest of the fleet. I will be on the Liberty in September and is it possible that by then they will have a comedy club. I was on the Glory when they had it and it was fabulous! The comedy acts were great and there were enough shows that you could find time to go at least once or twice!


John Says:
Hello Jeanette

The Carnival Comedy Club is a massive hit on your Carnival Dream as it was on Carnival Liberty. I don’t have a start-up date yet for the clubs but there is certainly a good chance that it will be there when you cruise.

I will keep you informed here on the blog thingy.

Best wishes

Eric T. Asked:

I guess Carnival decided NOT to go ahead with the “Orange County Choppers” motorcycle idea? Do you know if it was because of the expense (which I’m sure they would have gotten back in time via charging for photos with the bike) or was it because they simply thought it was a bad idea??


John Says:
Hello Eric

Actually, the idea was brilliant and is still on the desk of our marketing department. I have not followed up on it though and my apologies for that but let me do so and let you know what is said. Thanks again for the great idea. A reminder that the Smart Cars have been a great success for Costa and Holland America and the Chopper would look very cool.

Best wishes

Erica Keating Asked:
Hi John (Please Reply),

I LOVE reading your blog! Some days it makes me laugh so hard that I cry. I call my husband at work and read it to him when he’s having a hard day. Thanks for making life so light and laughable at times! You are a breath of fresh air on a ‘not so great day’ for me!

My family and I are cruising on the Legend (5/30/2010). I’m also cruising with a group of first-time-cruiser girlfriends on the Imagination in October (10/8/2011). The May cruise is coming up very quickly! My husband and I have not cruised with Carnival since our honeymoon (almost 12 years and 3 children ago). We cannot wait. We are bringing the kiddos, along with my in-laws (who have not cruised Carnival) and the brother-in-law/sister-in-law (who have never cruised before at all). We booked last year with the Early Saver Rate and I’ve been watching the cruise rate bump up and down over the last year. We have an awesome cruise planner through Carnival (Janis Boyd) who doesn’t hesitate to help in any way. She’s been great! Honestly, this woman deserves a little prize for fielding all of my phone calls and questions. She’s a gem.

Yesterday, though, the website was doing something funky. One minute it would look one way, one minute another. The prices were different in the morning, afternoon and evening all for the same cruise. At one point they were all lower prices and all had upgrades (we are in 8A and it showed upgrades to 8K). I put through the forms immediately for all three of our rooms, but did not received confirmation from Carnival that they received our request for reimbursement + room upgrade (per the Early Saver Program). Now the website looks different and I’m not able to see prices or special promotions…. or even our specific sailing date…

Is there someone else that I can talk to who will help us with making sure we all get the upgrades and price difference that was shown yesterday afternoon? I took a screen shot of the prices for my room (past guest cruiser prices) yesterday.

Also, my niece will be celebrating her 1st birthday and my oldest son will be celebrating his 8th birthday – I requested that they sing to them on the first night at dinner (with dessert). Is there anything else I can do to make that special for them?

One last question. Can you suggest anything that we can do as a family in Honduras or Belize? It seems that most shore excursions have a minimum age requirement. The ages of our children and niece are 1, 18 months, 4, and 8.

Our families are so looking forward to this cruise! Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can send my way.

Erica Keating

John Says:
Hello Erica Keating

I am so proud to read that when you are having a bad day that the blog thingy will help get you through the day. It makes all those early mornings in my underpants worthwhile.
I am afraid I do not understand how the price drops and the price increases work but I have sent your posting to someone who does so that they will be able to contact you and help you where possible. I have also asked wee Jimmy the Cruise Director to send the kids a little something from me. They will love the Monkeys Parrots and Pirates tour in Honduras which is the perfect family excursion and of course in Belize you may want to let them have fun at Camp Carnival while Mum and Dad do the Cave Tubing excursion.

Have a terrific time and I wish you all a brilliant time.

Best wishes

Lynda Ulrich Asked:
Dear John, please reply,

Great blog today. You mentioned that you’ll be on the Carnival Fantasy soon. I would like for you to say hi to the social host, Lewis, TJ, Brandon (if he’s not on vacation) and Bonnie and acd Hennie from Bob and Lynda. They will know who we are. We were on the Fantasy in Dec., Jan. and Feb. They are some of the best you have. We’ll be on the Elation with Brandon for the Panama Canal repo. the end of this month. Can’t wait.

Thanks again for the great blog. I read it every morning and it just makes my day.
Sincerely, Lynda

John Says:
Hello Lynda Ulrich

I just met these great entertainment staff members for the first time and they are all superb. I passed on your best wishes which they returned to you. I am glad you are reading the blog and enjoying it and by now you will be on the Carnival Elation on your Panama Canal repositioning adventure.

Have a great time.

Best wishes

Tom-n-Cheryl Asked:

Cheryl and I, after every few cruises, make a trip to the bank to pick up a fresh crisp stack of $2 bills. We enjoy giving these (not often seen bills) out as tips – luggage arrives, there go a couple… BLT, Cookies and Milk (at 2 AM), there go a couple more. Often the look on the persons face is one of surprise (perhaps they think I erased the “0″ after the “2″, LOL).
… at any rate there have been more than one thread on Cruise Critic regarding tipping (surprise). On almost every one the topic of $2 bills comes up. There are a few people who emphatically say that the staff DO NOT care to have $2 bills, and would rather have ones – due to the difficulty on the ship and/or in ports of spending/using them.
Could you shed some light on this for me? I would prefer to continue with our tradition (on 50 cruises now). I know that staff people would never turn down a well intentioned tip, but I certainly don’t want to inconvenience anyone!


John Asked:
Hello Tom and Cheryl

I know that you love to hand out the $2 bills and your kindness is to be praised. I checked with two stateroom stewards and two waiters about this and while one waiter had never seen a $2 bill before the other three had and said that they love to get these. I also checked with our onboard accounting department who pay the crew. They told me that there is absolutely no problem in the crew wishing to change these $2 bills for singles if they wish to. So I am glad that you asked and maybe you would post this on the thread thingy. Thank you both again for all that you do and your continuing loyalty to Carnival.

Best wishes to you both

That’s all for now………..there will be more tomorrow and once again thank you all for your continuing comments and blog support.

Time for a break and while I go and christen my new toilet I will leave you in the company of Radu as he continues to share his experiences on the Carnival Elation’s voyage to Alabama. This time Radu shows us his skills as a wildlife photographer……………here he is.

Good evening John,

Today we have been in Puntarenas , Costa Rica, a place that I had visited before, and I decided to do something that I have not done — the “crocodiles river tour,” with a very good guide, and a boat with many seats.

It was really amazing. I never been so close to crocodile of this size, and the number of birds I saw in only two hours was incredible. I think it was a good choice.

After that, we came back to the ship, and we did enjoy the rest of the evening walking on the beach or cooling with a glass of Costa Rican beer Imperial.

Now we are at sea, it is raining outside and we have only 24 hours to reach the Panama Canal.

See you with more photos soon and hello to my new blog people friends and thanks for the nice things you say.


Those are some mean looking crocs and those are some absolutely stunning photos, Radu……….thanks again mate.

And one last stop before I tell you about my day and what a stop it is. I can never quite believe that we have one of the most important people in the cruise industry as a regular guest blogger here on my little thingy. We do, and that person is of course the President of Cunard Line………..Mr. Peter Shanks…………..our man in London………or in this case…………our man in Germany.

Hi John
A live ‘Blackberry Blog’ from Queen Mary 2 ……

It’s twenty-five past 11 on Friday night. I am on the Bridge of the most famous ocean liner in the world sailing up river into Hamburg. The balconies below me and the deck above are resonating with cheers as our guests wave hello to the many boats and people ashore. It’s dark and it’s nearly midnight for goodness sake – and still the fine people of Hamburg are out in the thousands. Firework displays light up the sky – we continue to be amazed at just how often we are reminded of the pride of this ship.
 And this is just the warm up act. Tomorrow is the famous Harbour Day Birthday in Hamburg. A day full of maritime history, tens of thousands down at the docks will line the centre of the city. Fine (and hopefully chilled) German Beer will be consumed in vast quantities. At exactly 2200 tomorrow evening, Queen Mary 2 will slip away from her berth, as many Cunard Liners before her have done over the last 100 years – she will take pride of place in the middle of the river and then the mother of all firework displays will light up the sky. John – I wish you and your bloggers were here to experience it – next year all you have to do is book a voyage and you could be….

We are Cunard!

Best Regards
Peter Shanks

Peter has painted a perfect picture on his Blackberry and short of Claudia Schiffer parachuting into the harbour ………naked……… is only the sight of the Queen Mary 2 that will get the German’s………..thousands of them………at night, lining the harbour to see her arrival. I guess they want to say “Ich Bin Ein Cunarder.”

I can’t wait for my first ever Cunard experience in July and through the blog thingy I will be taking you with me.

Thanks again Peter for all you do.

And finally from the news section of today’s blog here is confirmation that it’s time to get out your best pair of shorts……….Bermuda shorts that is.


Six- to Eight-Day Voyages to Sail from Baltimore, Norfolk, New York and Charleston

MIAMI (May 6, 2010) – Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator, will dramatically expand its Bermuda cruise schedule in 2011, offering 16 departures to the island from four popular eastern U.S. homeports — Baltimore, Norfolk, Va.; New York and, for the first time, Charleston, S.C. Carnival will be the only cruise line offering Bermuda cruises from Charleston.

The 16 Bermuda voyages — the most the line has ever offered — will encompass a variety of six-, seven- and eight-day cruises from April through November.

“Bermuda is one of the world’s most desirable cruise destinations, and offering three different cruise lengths from four East Coast homeports provides our guests an unprecedented variety of choices for visiting this beautiful island paradise,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.

Carnival’s 2011 Bermuda departures include:

· Baltimore (seven-day cruises on Carnival Pride) – April 10 and 17, Sept. 18, Oct. 2 and Nov. 6
· New York (seven- and eight-day departures on Carnival Miracle) – April 14 and 21, and Sept. 11 and 27
· Norfolk (six-day sailing on Carnival Glory) – Oct. 16
· Charleston, S.C. (six-day voyages on Carnival Fantasy) – April 23, May 19, June 16, Aug. 25, Sept. 15 and Oct. 6

Reservations are currently open for the six Charleston departures with the line’s other Bermuda cruises expected to be open over the next few weeks.

All 16 voyages will dock at King’s Wharf or Heritage Wharf, and while in Bermuda guests can sample the island’s many fine restaurants, shops and boutiques, and visit a number of interesting sites and landmarks. Six-day voyages will offer two-day calls at King’s Wharf or Heritage Wharf, while seven- and eight-day cruises will feature three-day visits.

I am sure that the people of Bermuda will be thrilled to welcome the Carnival ships that are calling on their beautiful island and I am sure many of you will be booking as we speak.

And ladies and and gentlemen I now have the honour and pleasure of telling you the name of the Carnival thingy…….the ship after the Carnival Magic. She will be called……drum roll please………….THE CARNIVAL BREEZE.

What a brilliant name………..and 100% totally original. Breeze; something enjoyed without difficulty: Findingaffordable fun on a Carnival ship……… was a breeze. 
I really like it…….what do you think?

One of the great things about being here on the Carnival Fantasy is that I get to work with a chap I have not seen since the last time I was here. That’s because amazingly he has been on this ship for the last 8 years and if anyone knows this ship inside and out it is Mark Hoffman……….Hotel Director.

Mark is one of the few true old school characters left at Carnival. He started with Carnival on Oct 31st 1976 on the Mardi Gras…………yep………………1976 ! A New York native who is very opinionated, doesn’t stand for any nonsense and yet has a heart the size of Brooklyn and who has the absolute total respect of the crew and all the shore side personnel. He has seen Carnival grow for a two ship cruise line to the most popular in the world and if you are sailing on the Carnival Fantasy in future days, be sure to look him up and have a chat with him. He truly is………………one of a kind and has been a loyal Carnival employee…….a sea going employee………for 34 years. Lets hope he can manage another 34 years as people like Mark are irreplaceable.

Let’s find out who is sailing with us this cruise on the Carnival Fantasy.

NON US – 10………………..10!………….bugger me……………just 10.
PAST GUESTS – 1309 – half the ship!

Under 2 Years

2-5 Years (Camp Carnival)

6-8 Years (Camp Carnival)

9-11 Years (Camp Carnival)

12-14 Years (Circle “C”)

15-17 Years (Club 02)

18-20 Years

I had an amazing surprise when I walked out on stage at the Welcome Aboard Show because there, sitting in their John Heald T Shirts, holding photos of Megan Fox and her delectable bottom……..were a group of Bloggers including Linda, Dave, Caroline, Don, Stev O and his sister and others all of whom were wearing huge badges that look like this.

It is so great that they are here and have made my first cruise extra special.

So after 5 days in cabin E116 I am now embedded in the CD cabin and although it is very clean it smells like the perfume section of a department store. I am not sure what perfume Risa wore but it smells like she applied it using a high pressure hose. Bloody hell………….when I took over the Carnival Legend from Jen Baxter I ended up with a glittery thingy and know I smell like Paris Hilton with a touch of sodding Chanel.

Anyway, here I am and the first two days have been lots of fun and as always the Welcome Aboard show sets the tone. I have never been on ship in Alabama before and the sense of fun and friendship I felt on the Carnival Conquest in Texas is exactly what I am feeling here. I will tell you what though……….I wasn’t ready for the heat. Bloody hell, it was 88 degrees at 7:45am today and the sun wasn’t out. I went outside to Immigration (all new crew members have to go through United States Immigration when they join a new ship) and it was really muggy and warm. But then again so was the Immigration Officer who smiled, asked me how I was, stamped my passport and wished me a nice day. I fainted……….partly from the heat………..and mostly from how nice the Inspector was. Miami Airport……….please take note. You don’t have to be rude!

Well, it is 7:10am on this Monday morning and once again I am at ease because I can write this blog in my underpants. Last week I was blogging from the conference room which meant that I had to keep my trousers on but now I am back to normal………..although many would say that this is something that is far from normal.

Last night I went out on stage for the first time on a Fantasy class ship since 1995 and I had forgotten two things.!) How the hell to get from my cabin to the back stage area. 2) I had forgotten just how wide the stage is on this class.

It was also strange looking out and seeing just two tiers of seating rather than the three on the Destiny, Splendor and Dream class of ships. I think………I am not sure……but I think I was ummmmm……..nervous a bit last night. Maybe it was the different surroundings or the fact that half the ship’s crew were standing at the back of the theatre to see what all the fuss was about. Who was this fat chap who has come amongst us. Anyway, I soon got into the swing of things and once I got the cast of the Dukes of Hazzard on stage…….all was well. And I say that with respect because even more than when I was on the Carnival Conquest and surrounded by Texans, the Alabamians were really……..southern…….and their accents were at times hard to follow. The best and funniest was Hank.

I all but needed a translator to understand what he said. The conversation went like this with everything he said as southern as you can possible imagine and each word containing 10 syllables or more.

ME What’s your name sir
ME Where are you from Hank
HANK Madrid
ME Oh wow, you are from Spain?
HANK Whaaaaaat
ME Madrid, the capital of Spain
HANK I dunno about no Spain. I’m from Madrid……Alabammmmmaaaaaama
ME Who are you here with me
HANK Ma wiiiiifffffeeeeeeeee
ME What’s her name
HANK Sissssssssssseeeee
ME What
HANK Sisssssssssseeeee
ME Sissy?
HANK Tht’s what I said Sissssssseeee
ME Oh, Ok. How long have you been married?
HANK twennnnnnntttyyy nineee years
ME What?
HANK twennnnnnntttyyy nineee years
ME Oh, 29 years
HANK That’s what I said….twennnnnnntttyyy nineee years
ME Would you like to say something romantic to her live on stage
HANK She knows sheees ma Dollin
ME She’s your what?
HANK she’s a fahn lookin woman and she’s ma Dollin
ME she’s a fahn lookin woman and she’s ma Dollin
HANK That’s what i said…….she’s a fahn lookin woman and she’s ma Dollin

I think he meant she was his darling and I don’t know what he meant by ” fahn ” at all….. but I decided for the interest of time to move on

ME Are you going to do something romantic this cruise
HANK Already did….bought her some clone
ME What?
HANK I said I bought her some clone from that there shop
ME Clone……I didn’t know we sold clones

At this point Hank just stared at me and the audience…….well………..they were laughing……….a lot and then someone shouted out that Hank meant he had bought her some cologne…….as in perfume…………and then it was my turn…………to laugh out loud.

ME Well Hank, have a great cruise and you have a wonderful lady in Sissy
HANK You are mahty raht

I was going to ask him if “mahty raht” meant he had seen a rat on steroids ……..but sometimes less is more……….and I just let the audience laugh. Although……….I think they weren’t laughing at him ………….but were actually laughing at me. That’s because they all speak exactly like Hank and they were not laughing at the way he spoke or the words he said……..nope……they were laughing at the fat Englishmen who didn’t have a bloody clue what was going on.

You know what? I think I am going to like it here.

Your friend

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