My Final Fantasy(s)

June 4, 2010 -

John Heald

So, here I sit in my underpants writing my last blog before my vacation begins. Last night, I spoke to Heidi and she asked men a question. “I want to buy you a welcome home present from Kye and I, what do you want.” Obviously, being me I said ” Oh nothing darling, I just want you and Kye and maybe some Yorkshire pudding and Spotted Dick……oh and maybe a cuddle.”

Afterwards I sat and thought about what I really want. What, would I wish for if I were to trip over a bottle on the beach and a short, fat man appeared and granted me my heart’s desire? Here is my list.

1 – An Aston Martin DBS Convertible…….in black……….with cream leather

2 – The Carnival Breeze to home port in Southend on Sea.

3 – To sit next to a bored, horny Megan Fox on my flight home on Sunday.

4 – Peace and quiet — when Heidi asks me what I am thinking for her to believe that I really am not thinking about anything and that deeper answers do not need wheedling out.

5 – A remote control that only I can work and that when anyone else tries (especially Heidi watching Sex and the sodding City repeats) gives out a mild electric shock.

6 – To go back in time and stop whoever invented the power strip from doing so.

7 – Breasts.

8 – Not to be referred to as “cuddly” by women.

9 – Ann Martin’s computer to blow up.

10 – A private plane staffed by Latvian strippers

Not too much to ask for, is it?

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

Elaine Asked:
Good Afternoon John and Please Reply…

I have a couple of co-workers who have also been frequent Carnival cruisers and can you believe it, they didn’t know about your site (that was of course until I told them!!!)… So you will soon have 6 million 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 more bloggers!!!

Anyways, they will be on the Carnival Victory cruise June 20 and I know they would all love a table together where “all the action with the waiters” takes place!! (They are confirmed for late seating)

They are Rosa Martin, cabin 6214, Teresita, cabin 2216 abd Ana Collazo, cabin 6370 . Ana is taking her grandson Brandon with her for his High School graduation …. (Great present, don’t you think???)…

I told them what a great person you are and also told them that if you could (through I did make it perfectly clear that it’s not a definite) that you would try to get them that table for 6 “where all the action is”…

Thanks John for anything you can do for them…..
Luv U….

John Says:
Hello Elaine

Thanks so much for introducing some of your friends and fellow cruisers to our blog thingy and I bid them a very warm welcome. I will now send an e mail to the Maitre D on the Carnival Victory who will do his best to seat them together as and where requested.

Please wish them a great cruise and I send my best wishes to you all.
John

Judy Asked:
JOHNPLEASEREPLY

Just got back from the Dream. What a wonderful time we had. My first with carnival my fiancées 2nd. Let me start off by saying that I was a little dubious about trying Carnival. Heard you people catered to 40 and under and I’m 63 fiancée is 76. Loved Norwegian but wanted to try Carnival. WELLLLLLLLL you proved me wrong. Carnival is great for ALL AGES.

Embarkation was a breeze. Fastest I’ve ever seen. Only thing I missed when sailing was a live band. But that was fine.

Our waiter Eduardo was terrific. Todd and James were a hoot together and alone. Poor James was sick one day but still hung in there.

The Food was great. Steakhouse is a must.

Wednesday night on deck party was fun and great time. Everything was great. Only smelled the foul odor on the lido Deck a few times. And the morning we pulled into St Thomas the ship did shake. But overall was a great great time. Already planning on going on the Glory next April 10th. Will be my birthday cruise which is the 14Th. Okay went on enough but am so happy I went. Hugs to all Judy and John

John Says:
Hello Judy and John

I should send your review to every travel agent and cruise lover in the world who still lives in a cave or hangs upside from the rafters and believes that Carnival only caters to people of a certain demographic. To put it politely………or not………..that is, as you have proved, absolute and utter bollocks.

Thanks you for believing enough to try and thank you for taking the time to write. I sent a copy of this to the ship and to some beards at HQ all of whom I know will be very happy to read your comments.

I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you both
John

Angela Guptill Asked:
John Please reply:

First of all, a HUGE HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Kye!!! What a mile-stone in her life!! Congrats to you and Heidi for the great production you created!! 🙂

Re: the plug issue, I have a CPAP machine (used for people with sleep apnea) and it is a bit of a hassle as I have to plug in across the room from the bed (on any of the ships we’ve been on so far.) That’s not too much of an inconvenience but my husband usually makes a few trips to the bathroom during the night and I’m afraid of him forgetting that the electrical cord is there and trip over it. There are no plug-ins on either side of the beds so it does make it difficult when someone has a medical device that must be plugged in. I’m not complaining as we’re going on our 5th cruise with Carnival next year so we won’t be changing cruise lines any time soon or later 🙂 but I thought that you would like to know so you could send this message off the guys (or gals) with beards to see what they have to say. Thanks again for all the wonderful memories that you and the crew create for us every year 🙂 Angela Guptill Nova Scotia 🙂

John Says:
Hello Angela Guptill

Thanks so much for Kye’s birthday wishes and obviously I am very much looking forward to seeing both the girls. I know it’s somewhat of an inconvenience only having one plug in the state rooms is, especially when it comes to medical equipment. Too cut to the chase here let me say that if anyone who has medical equipment and needs help with plugs, extension cords etc all they need to do is ask. The prohibited item list is important but medical conditions override this and as always the staff onboard are here to help anyone that needs it.

I know how loyal you are to Carnival and for that I say a huge thank you and if you need any help please remember we are all here for you.

Best wishes
John

Steve Savary Asked:
Dr John, please reply….

Last summer we sailed on the Carnival Freedom on a 6 day cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale. You were our cruise director, (our first exposure to Carnival) and we had a great time. We especially enjoyed all of the quality entertainment (and I have to say that the food was pretty darn good too). This year both of our daughters (19 and 24) are sailing with us and we have reserved a couple of balcony cabins on the Carnival Triumph, sailing from New Orleans on June 26th. I was wondering if you could help us secure a table for 4. We have already requested a late dinning preference. Our cabin numbers are 8288 and 8292.

Thanks in advance… the Savary’s

John Says:
Hello Steve Savary

I am glad that the cruise on the Carnival Freedom we shared was enjoyed so much that you are back again with us on the Carnival Triumph. I have sent a message to the maitre D there who will do his best to secure your table reservation.

I know you will all have a brilliant time.

Best wishes to all of you
Dr.John

David R Asked:
John, please reply.

I have heard some negative reviews on cruise critic about cruise director Todd Wittmer on the Dream. I am prepared to ignore these comments and give him the benefit of the doubt but what can you tell me about him as we are going in July.

John Says:
Hello David R

I truly appreciate you giving me a chance to defend the comments about Todd. I have not read them so don’t know what they say but let me simply say this. We wanted our best CD on your Carnival Dream straight from the start up and that is why we choose Todd. No Cruise Director has more passion or love for what he does than Todd and that passion rubs off on his staff. You will enjoy him without a doubt. I appreciate that you are prepared to give yourself a chance to make your mind up and I would appreciate reading your thoughts when you return from your brilliant Carnival Dream cruise.

Here is a photo of Todd

Best wishes
John

Alex P. Asked:
John, PLEASE REPLY!!!!!

Okay, I have posted this twice and it never gets responded to, so I am going to post it one more time and if you don’t reply, I’m gonna think you hate me 😀 Here it is:

Jacquelyne Barger
John Please Reply,

First of all we have always had a great time sailing with Carnival and we are anxiously awaiting our next cruise which will be on 6/6/10. This will be our first time sailing on our Carnival Victory and we cannot wait. The only thing that is keeping us going is your blog thingy and we want to thank you for all that you do.

While onboard, my husband and I will be celebrating our 6th anniversary. We always enjoy taking a Carnival cruise for our anniversary. I would love to make this a special cruise for him since he is such a great husband.

We will be traveling with my parents and another couple. My parents (Susan & Mike) have cruised with Carnival many times and love it, but the other couple (Clif & Cathy) are loyal to the Of The Seas brand. We want to make sure that the other couple have a great experience and show them how great the Carnival brand is. Do you have any recommendations on what we can do to show them a good time? We are confirmed for late seating and would love to have a good table so that they can see all of the excitement in the dining room.

Once again we love the blog thingy and read it daily, don’t change a thing!

All Our Best to You, Heidi, & Kye
Jacquelyne & Family

John Says:
Hello Jacquelyne Barger

Thank you for writing and for the kind words about the blog. I am glad that you are enjoying it so much and that it keeps you going until you cruise again next week. I have sent a request to the maitre d who is a good mate of mine and I know he will do his best to help you with your reservation. I will also ask Brad your Cruise Director to send your parents and that ex loyal Something of the Seas fans a little something. Here is a photo of Brad your CD.

The ship and the itinerary are wonderful and I know you will all have the best of times.

Best wishes to you all
John

John R Asked:
John H, (Please reply)

It is great that there is a comprehensive list of prohibited items and it is already on the FAQ’s on Carnival’s website. Thanks for responding to the CC posters.

Now to Carnival’s website – there seem to be some outdated items lurking on the website – as when I entered “prohibited” in the search Carnival.com box the result led me to a list from 2006, which should be deleted or updated.

In addition, below is the FAQ regarding the availability of sushi (which I know is just wrong):

——————————————-

Can I get sushi while onboard?

The sushi bar is open nightly prior to the dinner hours. Saki is available at a nominal cost.

Applicable ships: Fascination, Inspiration, Ecstasy, Elation, Paradise, Fantasy, Conquest, Glory, Imagination, Valor

Sushi is served for lunch at the Asian counter in the Lido Restaurant, but not nightly prior to the dinner hours. Applicable ships: Destiny, Triumph, Victory, Spirit, Pride, Legend, Miracle

——————————————-

I am not sure if the FAQ is completely wrong, but I do know that the Victory has a sushi bar and it is available prior to dinner and should not be included in the “available only at lunch” phrase.

I thought that Carnival added stand alone sushi bars to all of the ships that didn’t have it a few years ago, but my memory is not what it used to be, so I’ll leave it to you to see what’s what.

I like the recent changes to the website and although it took a while for them to work out the bugs with the new cruise search – it now works well.

The expansion and usability of the FAQ’s is so much better now.

Cheers and keep blogging!

Regards,
John R

John Says:
Hello John R

Bloody hell you are right. Excuse my light profanity there because that information is ummmm……….well wrong. Obviously sushi is now available on ……..well……..all the ships that are not mentioned. There have been changes coming in thick and fast across the fleet and obviously while our website is award winning and voted the best in the industry ………..it isn’t perfect. So many thanks for being an extra pairs of eyes here and I will make sure that the 344 Stephanies get to see this.

If you find anything else please let me know.

Best wishes
John H

Jeri Green Asked:

1st Happy Birthday, Kye! You certainly have a beautiful daughter, John. Hang in there, you’ll be home soon.

2nd Please Reply

Regarding the allowed items: My daughter and I sailed on the Carnival Freedom on May 2nd. It was her first platinum cruise and my 26th (first without husband who stayed home to care for animals) Anyway, we each took one bottle of sealed wine to enjoy in the evening on our balcony. We each put the bottle in a wooden wine box for safety and then in our luggage. It was taken away and returned on our last night. A very nice letter explained that it had been taken, etc. We did not want any problems as the point of this cruise was to relax, get away from bank business and a flooded house so we said nothing. Of course, we got the wine back. My question is – were we supposed to carry it on – not put it in the luggage? My husband and I will be sailing on the Carnival Miracle on November 19, 2010 and would like to know how to safely bring a bottle of wine. Thanks. Jeri

John Says:
Hello Jeri Green

Thanks so much for those kind words, they mean a lot. I was also sorry to read about your flooded house and I hope things have dried out now.  To answer your question, the ship’s personnel were correctly upholding our policies which state that guests are allowed to bring one bottle of wine or champagne in their carryon luggage only (it cannot be placed in checked luggage).  That said, be sure to bring bottle of wine with you in your carryon luggage when you cruise on the Carnival Miracle. Please also let me know your cabin one month before you sail so I can send you a little something as well.

Best wishes to you both
John

Hunterman Asked:
JOHN – NEED A REPLY PLEASE

Just sailed on the Valor and had a fun sailing. During the week a message came over the speaker system in the cabins at 11:45pm with an announcement called bright star. What was this and was it necessary to wake up all the ship. Many passengers complained.

Thanks for the reply in advance

John Says:
Hello Hunterman

Unfortunately “bright star” means that someone needs urgent and immediate medical attention and as crew members involved in this are working at this time around the ship the page needs to be done through the emergency system. This code alerts the doctor(s) and nurses as well as senior management and stretcher bearers. Had this happened early in the morning, say between 1 am and 6 am the page would have been made in crew areas only as they would all be asleep? But at 11:45pm there can be no mistakes made, someone needs help and we need to make sure all those who provide that help heard the page. I apologize if it disturbed you but hopefully knowing now why you will understand.

I am glad you had a fun cruise and if you have a follow up on this please let me know

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today.

Please join me in congratulating our sister company the Yachts Seabourn who have just delivered their latest uber-luxurious ship the Seabourn Sojourn.  The photos I saw looked stunning and her creamy smooth lounges and decadent staterooms will make your mouth water. I hope to get some exclusive photos from my friends the Bentleys who are joining the ship in Dover this weekend which of course I will share with you.

Well bugger me if I didn’t get off the ship yesterday in Key West. It was a tough choice what to do. Should I go to see the house where Hemmingway lived, take a boat trip around the Keys to look for the John Heald’s of the water………..or manatees as they are sometimes called…….or maybe go parasailing?

In the end I decided to do none of those and instead I walked to Walgreens to get Fish Oil and B12 vitamins and some hemorrhoid cream.

In fact it’s time for me to apply some so while I put a bit on the end of a ruler I found in the draw here, why don’t we go back to Half Moon Cay with Jaime.

Hey John,

I saw you wrote about HMC yesterday, so in case you wanted pictures to show the guests how beautiful Half Moon Cay is…  we were there today so I took a few for you.

I love Half Moon Cay, it makes me feel happy

Hello to you and all the bloggers

Jaime

Here is the updated version of the Piano bar entertainer’s schedule.

GL       Jason Davis                 06/06/10

PR       Roger Concepcion      06/13/10

PA       Jordan Heppner          06/14/10

LI        Brad Alexander          06/19/10

DR       Barry Miller               06/19/10

SL       Ron Passalaqua           06/20/10

SE       Tom Riccio                 06/20/10

VA      Laurie Anne Gardner  06/27/10

CQ       Claude Cote                06/27/10

EL       Michael Lee Smith     07/03/10

SP        Peter Brenner              07/13/10

IS         Linda Wiggins                        07/22/10

FS        Dana Barnes               08/12/10

VI        Angela Johnson          08/15/10

IM       Tom Grable                09/03/10

FD       Robert Crucilla           09/19/10

EC       Dana Honey                10/11/10

MI       Rich Canter                 10/16/10

TI        Agustin Villarin         11/27/10

FA       Rick Atha                    11/27/10

There are some new names there and some old ones because as you can see the much celebrated Ron Passalaqua has returned and is currently entreating on the Carnival Splendor. Anyway if you have any questions about this please……….ask Laura AKA Divetrash …or me ….and thanks for supporting these brilliant men and women.

On Monday I will post the final poll results for which port was the most popular to have your Carnival Magic there. If you haven’t voted……..please vote now.

It’s been a wonderful four months and as I sit here……..in my underpants…………I find myself reminiscing on my travels and my experiences.

My first two months were spent on my Carnival Dream. Of course, I loved it. Yes, we had some concerns at start up but I found myself ignoring these and concentrating on the way there’s a choice of what slide you wanted to go down or weather you wanted a burrito or barbecue on the Lanai for lunch. I loved the Ocean Plaza and the outdoor areas, especially for cigar smoking at night. I loved to introduce the Dancin in the Street show that made me so proud to say “Look what I brought you.” I loved the interior, which feels like it belongs in a much more expensive cruise ship……well done Joe. But the thing I love most of all about this ship is that at the captain’s celebration night or as I met guests around the ship…….they would say how much they loved their Carnival Dream.

So, the conclusion then. Honestly. Absolutely honestly. Hand-on-heart honestly. My Carnival Dream is not perfect but if I were to look at the opposition …….the Oasis Mall of the Seas, with prices from the Comedy Store, the vomitously ugly Epic………well I know for sure that if I were in the market for a cruise on a mega ship and I wanted absolute value for money…………..I would choose my Carnival Dream.

And from their I flew to Texas confident that all the hype that my colleagues had told me about how great the people were and that cruising out of Galveston was totally unique was absolute bollocks. After 6 weeks on the Carnival Conquest I realized I was an idiot ……I was wrong……I didn’t want to leave……I cried……..I was Sarah Ferguson.

I had never been on the Carnival Conquest and I was often told that the ship looks better in the flesh than it does in brochure…… and I’ve always scoffed at this. I based this on the fact that I look horrible in pictures because I look horrible in the flesh. It’s not Nikon that gives me a bent tooth and a belly that looks like I keep bowling ball under my shirt.

However, I can report that when it comes to the Carnival Conquest, the camera really does lie. The ship is absolutely beautiful. And so are the people who cruise on her. Never ever I have seen a group of people who laugh and have fun morning, noon and night more than the guests on the Carnival Conquest. I mean this with no disrespect to anywhere else……….it’s just a fact. I have tried to analyze why and have failed and the only way I can sum this up is to simply say this. The best audiences I have ever performed to on a consistent laugh out loud, pee in their pants, ruin a good pair of underwear basis ………. are the audiences on the Carnival Conquest. The end.

I am sure though that if I had stayed here on the Carnival Fantasy a bit longer as CD that the guests from South and North Carolina and the surrounding southern states would be nipping on the Texans hills for they too have been brilliant to entertain. I also see the passion for cruising in them as well that was so evident on the Carnival Conquest. But more importantly I was reminded that the Fantasy class remains for now the most important class of cruise ships in the world. Being here reminded me that even though the Destiny, Spirit, Conquest, Splendor and Dream classes have joined us, it is the Fantasy class that continues to provide so many people with their first cruise experience……. yep ………….the Fantasy class ships are the launching pads that propel guests to our bigger ships with longer itineraries.

The Fantasy class have all had their upgrades and with Mongolian Woks, water parks, upgraded bars, lounges and dining rooms and with new cabin furnishings and added balcony cabins and suites they will continue for some time to come to be just as important as when a young skinny social host first gasped at the sheer size of the ship back in 1990.

So, with the superb time I had last year on the Carnival Legend which reminded me why so many people list the Spirit class as their favourite ships, I have covered the fleet. I have delivered 11 new ships for Carnival which has been a true honour. But these last few weeks I have re-discovered that for a fun, comfortable, spacious and enjoyable first cruise experience……the Fantasy class is truly extraordinary value for money. For people who are umming and ahhring about if cruising is for them I say this…….take a short 3, 4 or 5 day cruise on any of our Fantasy class ships…….it is absolutely impossible to come up with anything better.

Back in the days when my Mum and Dad shopped at little family own shops that knew their name and what sort of meat they wanted for Sunday dinner, “brand loyalty” was very popular. Now we live in a world of supermarkets and corporations and most of us have wallets full of loyalty cards.

On Sunday I will be flying with British Airways. I know that the flight crew may call a strike and Even though I know this and was offered a flight on United ………I am holding out for BA. Even though I know Bank of America’s UK partner HSBC is in fairly good shape, I bank at Barclays……because I always have done…..even though my local bank manager now lives in Bombay.

Yet, when it comes to brand loyalty all of you reading this are loyal Carnival cruisers and I don’t think we thank you enough for that. Yes, we make mistakes, yes we do things that make some of you bang your head against the wall in despair and sometimes…..I feel like joining you.

But what these last four months sailing out of Port Canaveral, Galveston, Mobile and Charleston have shown me is that loyalty is still alive and well in this industry. The future is bright and soon we will welcome your Carnival Magic to the fleet. There will be new ports of call, new and exciting things to look forward to, including more ships featuring our instant smash hit the Chef’s Table and much, much more.

So, in case we haven’t said this enough, on behalf of our President and CEO Gerry Cahill and everyone associated with Carnival Cruise Lines……………..thank you for your loyalty.

And so it’s time to pack. I have a flight from Charleston to Miami and then an overnight in Miami before my British Airways flight to London Heathrow. Hopefully the flight attendants will not be pissed off and decide to go on strike and spend the night on South Beach drinking slippery nipples.

If the flight does go I worry that it will be staffed by retired BA flight attendants as this is what has been happening. They are bringing the retired hostess onboard to serve meals etc. I shall be mad if my chicken is cold because she has found it difficult to get the meal cart and her walker down the aisle at the same time. Their strike, along with the farting volcano have already forced my mate ugly Alan and his family to cancel their cruise with me.

Anyway, I am not sure I understand this strike of theirs. If the cabin crew win, the airline will go under and everyone will be out of a job. So, if they lose, they lose, and if they win, they still lose. Only, if they win, we all lose, because a nation with no national airline is like a nation with no national anthem………even France has one of those.

Anyway, hopefully I will make it safe and sound and on Monday be reunited with the girls which obviously I am anxious to do. I was going to waffle on about how much I have missed them but I am conscious that certain factions over on the cruise boards hate it when I do that so I won’t. I will though be writing a blog on Monday to recap my journey and let you all know I have landed safe.

It’s been a brilliant four months and thank you to all those who booked to join me and thank you to everyone who wakes up in the morning to read my silly musings. And thank you to the Captains, Officers, the Staff and the Crew of the Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Conquest and your Carnival Dream. It was an honour to work alongside you.

See you across the pond………..someone is already looking for me.

Goodnight
Your friend
John

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

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