The Worst Movie Ever Made…And My Bottom

June 16, 2010 -

John Heald

For those people who say that my blog is based around toilet humour………..today you would be correct. And after yesterday’s blog about my little Kye being sick………….she is fine now by the way…..the last thing you needed to read this morning is stuff about my bottom. So for those who would rather not may I direct you to a far more grown up blogs……….here are the link thingies.

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2009/09/a-theory-for-why-latvian-women-are-beautiful.html

And if that’s not your thing and you would like something to help you sleep…….try this.

http://www.paris-live.com/

OK, for the 3 people still with me……let’s crack on and let me start by saying that Montezuma’s revenge has come to Essex…….and if you are still not sure what I am talking about let’s just say I could poo through a straw……and it’s America’s fault.

You see last night I decided to take Heidi out for dinner. We have had no time alone since I returned last week and thanks to my Mum agreeing to baby sit I decided to be a good husband and take Heidi to a dinner and a movie, especially after the trauma of our daughter vomiting over Brian the taxi driver.

So we climbed into the Range Rover which has been fully serviced and is able to kill polar bears and melt icebergs once again and we drove a few miles away from where we live to a place called Basildon to a place which is called Basildon Festival Park.

This is a little version of America and is known by the locals as Basvegas. Sitting in diamond formation are a group of restaurants dedicated to the Good Old US of A. The Stars and Stripes are everywhere ……on flag poles and in the windows of a huge multiplex cinema and bowling alley and a huge casino. It’s sort of like Vegas only in the way that my arse is sort of that of a 20- year-old-male model.

Anyway our choice of restaurants included: Chiquita’s which is Mexican of course, The Macaroni Grille, Outback Steak House and TGI Fridays.

Now Heidi doesn’t care for Mexican so we said adios to Chiquita’s. We both love pasta but are I am sorry to say pasta snobs and having had fresh pasta cooked by Chef Luigi at Vila Verdi in Capri and Chef Pier Luigi at our little Italian restaurant in Southend “Il Pescatore”………so having a plate of Carbonara cooked by Chef Bob from Basildon just didn’t appeal.

Outback Steakhouse…….mmmmm…..well these are normally quite good but I have been enjoying the pleasures of our onboard Steakhouse these past few years and very little can compare to the quality and value of those……and so that left TGI Fridays for our pre-movie meal.

I know that this type of restaurant is common where you live but it is a relatively new concept here in the UK. There came a point in Britain a few years ago when all restaurants were suddenly themed with waiters in hats, where the pictures, the music and the napkins were matched like Abba costumes. It was childish and attractive. I suppose we all spent so long thinking that restaurants were either French, Italian, Chinese or British (Indian), that brash, bright, jolly American ones looked fun, and everything had to be fun. Fun and fab. Fab and fun.

Now the owners had obviously done their very best to make their establishment look like a TGI Fridays in San Diego or Fort Lauderdale or New York, Dallas or Chicago. And to the diners whose only exposure to America has been watching episodes of Friends and The Brady Bunch then maybe it was OK……..but me……well I had to laugh. First of all their was nonstop hard core country music playing over the PA system. This is OK if you are in Tennessee or even Alaska but sitting in Basildon, Essex, UK listening to someone sing about how he drove his pickup truck off a cliff because he had realised he had married his sister…….well it was surreal to say the least.

Then there was the waitress who looked like she was 16 years old and was overly cheerful. She had an annoying habit of saying the word “yourselves” in every sentence. “Would you like to order a drink for yourselves at all while you look at the menu? Would you like garlic bread for yourselves? Have you decided what you are having for yourselves?”

Anyway, she was nice and pleasant and apart from the overuse of the word “yourselves,” the only other thing that annoyed me was the size of her pen. I am not kidding you it was 2 feet long……pink……with a huge fluffy pink mousy type thing on the top….. Proving she was probably 12 years old.

However, the service was not the problem. As soon as we sat down, I touched the stickiness of the table that felt like it had been wiped down with a pair of my underpants. Like history, food repeats itself — once is comedy, twice is diarrhea.

The food consisted mostly of scooped out baked potatoes stuffed with sour cream and chives. The sweet corn tasted like I was chewing on sandpaper and the coleslaw had the consistency of slimy glue, the onion loaf looked like and tasted like the ropes we tie the ships up with, held together by oil that they’re now turning into an alternative fuel.

My “Southern fried chicken” tasted as if it had been cooked in an ashtray.

During our meal a manager type chap bounded up to the table and in some weird faked American accent asked if everything was OK……I wanted to shove his face in the coleslaw and insert a chicken drumstick in his bottom….….but, of course, I told him it was excellent …… what a coward I am. I should have known that the food would be bad…….it was bad last time I went to a restaurant like this in Miami and it was much, much worse here in Essex.

It’s like having your mum come out with photographs of your 1980s girlfriend, and you have a look and you think, “Oh, my God, what was I thinking, how could I have eaten that?” And this blog is taking much longer to write as well because I need to keep running to the bathroom….. bugger. Of course, this wasn’t a five-star restaurant and, to be fair, you can get sick from everywhere from McDonald’s to Michelin Star restaurants owned by famous TV chefs.

Speaking of food, cruise lines are subject to frequent checks by the United States Public Health organization. This brilliant team of men and women make unannounced inspections not just in homeports but in any American ports such as St. Thomas. It is there job to make sure that the industry continues to set the standard in public health issues. Now, this includes food storage and preparation, service, chlorine levels in swimming pools and drinking water plus much, much more.

This inspection takes hours and after it is completed the ship is given a score. The passing mark is 86 and anything below that is a failing mark. The ship then will be tested the following week and if it fails again………well…..lets just say it’s not good and the F&B manager will be packing his bags and looking for work at a Waffle House………or TGI Friday’s in Basildon.

I am so proud of the standard that our ships achieve and I wanted to share the site that allows you all to look at scores and read the reports on what improvements were suggested. This is what they check.

  • medical facilities: for gastrointestinal illness surveillance documentation and medical logs;
  • potable water systems: for source to storage, distribution, protection and any cross-connection, and the disinfection process;
  • swimming pools and whirlpool spas: for filtration, disinfection, general maintenance, and safety;
  • Galleys and dining rooms: for food protection during sourcing, provisioning, storage, preparation, and service. Employee health and personal hygiene are evaluated as well as facility equipment maintenance and dishwashing;
  • child activity centres: for properly equipped diaper changing stations, toilets, and hand washing stations; facility disinfection; infection control for ill children;
  • hotel accommodations: for routine cleaning sequences and infection control procedures during outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness, including the use of appropriate disinfectants and outbreak policies;
  • ventilation systems: for maintenance and cleaning of air handling systems; and
  • Common areas of the ship: for integrated pest management strategies, general cleanliness, and maintenance.

Have a look at this list of perfect 100 scores and you will notice that 21 out of the list are ships from Carnival Corporation brands. Here is the link thingy.

http://wwwn.cdc.gov/InspectionQueryTool/Inspectionwith100Score.aspx

Congratulations to all of them and I wish that United States Public Health would visit the place I ate in Basvegas……………I have a terrible case of what my Dad calls “ring sting.”

So, in between visits to the bathroom I had better crack on with today’s Q and A…….. off we go.

Joe M Asked:
John, Please Reply

John, we just returned from our first Carnival cruise, on the Carnival Dream, and I wanted to share my impressions with you, as you’ve been kind enough to answer questions I’ve asked here on the blog in the past.

Overall, we had a wonderful cruise, and we’re very impressed with Carnival. I particularly want to mention how wonderful the staff is on that ship…we’ve cruised with RCCL and Princess in the past, and the crew on board the Carnival Dream was certainly the friendliest and most accommodating we’ve come across. Every crew member we passed always took a moment to acknowledge us with a smile and a greeting, no matter how busy they were. I especially want to acknowledge our servers in the Crimson Dining Room, Iki and Gerardo.

The ship was, for the most part, great. The Comedy Club concept really works well, and the waterslides are a blast. The Tandoori restaurant is really excellent…too bad it isn’t open during the dinner hours. Unfortunately, the odor problem on board that has been brought up in the past still persists, though I understand that they will be rerouting some vent piping to solve the problem once and for all, probably by the time you read this.

I wanted to mention one item that we found to be a disappointment, as I’m sure you may have some influence to correct it for future cruisers. We booked our 8S Spa Balcony on Deck 12 almost a year ago, on Early Saver. Back in your 7/27/2009 blog, I had asked you about whether these balconies had an overhang. At the time, you relayed to me that they were indeed covered. Obviously, that turned out to be in error, but by the time we found that out, we would have incurred a penalty if we had changed our booking.

Some folks might enjoy a fully uncovered balcony…unfortunately, we did not. We found that people were constantly hanging over the railing of the Serenity area above, making noise and commenting on how great it must be to have a “private” balcony. For some reason, passengers, crew, entertainers, and even officers tended to congregate at the railing right over our room.

Even now, if you look at the deck plans or step through a booking on the Carnival site, at no time is there any indication that these are uncovered balconies. I think it would be very helpful if this were indicated either on the deck plans or during the booking process. I’m sure I’m not the only one who prefers a relatively private covered balcony to a completely exposed one, and it would be nice if this could be disclosed prior to booking.

Again, the cruise was wonderful, and the ship is a beauty. Thanks very much for your blog, it is always enjoyable and informative. Best regards, Joe.

John Says:
Hello Joe

This is a very important posting and let me start by saying I am very sorry if I gave you any misinformation regarding the balcony of your spa cabin. I think I may have not totally understood your question and probably thought that you wanted to know if your stateroom balcony had an obstructed view but obviously I was mistaken and for that I sincerely apologize.

I am not sure why the staff was up on Serenity looking down at your balcony and certainly this should not be the case and I will send this immediately to the Hotel Director to make sure this never happens again. Most of the balconies on the ship are on designed on a tier system and I have also asked the folks at carnival.com to consider making this more obvious on the web site. Please forgive me once again for the incorrect information.

On a happier note I was pleased to read that the staff was the most friendly you have come across and that is something we strive very hard to accomplish on every one of our ships.

Work is continuing on the technical concerns you mentioned in fact one of the 343 Stephanies is currently onboard and will be sending me an update on this which I will post shortly. So I am very happy that you had so much fun and I hope that you continue to read the blog, in which I shall be more careful with my answers to people’s questions.

Best wishes to all
John

Jim & Sue Asked:
Dear John, PLEASE REPLY

I just figured out that I had to say “Please Reply”, so I’ll try again.

We’ve been long time fans of yours, as you were the CD on our Honeymoon cruise on the Ecstasy on 6/7/92, and you were also our CD on our second Carnival cruise on the Triumph on 8/22/99. We booked our fourth Carnival cruise on the 7/18/10 voyage on the Miracle (with the two kideeeeeees), and we’ll miss having you about (we’ll be celebrating our 18th anniversary).

On our first two cruises with you, there was this delightful older chap named Sebastian, who was quite the piano player as I remember from the guest talent shows. You had fun with him on stage, and I recall you making a big deal about giving him a key that would open all of the pianos in the Carnival fleet as a reward to his long-time loyalty.

We were always wondering what his story was, and whatever became of him?

John Says:
Hello Jim and Sue

Thanks for taking the time to write again and adding the words “please reply” which assures that I respond……….eventually. I actually did reply though a few weeks ago so I hope you saw my response. As I said then, Sebastian was a character I will never forget and his antics at the talent show as he played the piano were incomparable. I am sure that if I had allowed him he would have kept playing all night long. Its characters like Sebastian that will always stand out as I look back on my career. Have a wonderful time next month on the Carnival Miracle and I hope we get to sail with each other again soon.

Best wishes
John

Juan & Maria Santana Asked:
John, please reply..

Hello again! Sorry, we just forgot to mention on the previous comment that yesterday, Sun., May 23, the Spanish Herald (El Nuevo Herald) publish an excellent article on the Carnival Dream. It was full page article and it was full of compliments and every one was well-deserved. We sailed on the Dream in early December and we know everything was perfect. We didn’t receive the English version (The Miami Herald), so we don’t know if the same article appeared on their Travel Section. We hope the article appeared on both, so lots of people can enjoy reading and get hooked on taking a wonderful Dream cruise!

Warmest regards always.
The Santanas of Miami Beach

John Says:
Hello Juan and Maria

I am sure Vance and his PR colleagues got to see the review of your Carnival Dream in the Miami Herald. She is a brilliant ship which I know you enjoyed and soon……………she will have a sister…………your Carnival Magic.

I hope to see you both there

Best wishes
John

Loretta and Marcus Asked:
John please reply….

Question for you John. Why does Carnival not have any Jewish services on the Carnival ships? This keeps us from cruising with your company

John Says:
Hello Loretta and Marcus

Thanks you for asking this question and as I written here on the blog before, Carnival does not have a significant on-board religious service program. This includes both Christian and non-Christian services. Occasionally we will have a Catholic priests sailing but rarely do we have rabbis join us. However, we do hold services at important times in the Jewish calendar where we provide a lounge for the guests of the Jewish faith to meet and make sure they have whatever kosher items are required.

There really is no answer here except to say that I apologize. I would hope that you look at some of the other aspects of the Carnival product such as the fun and value for money experience that we offer.

If you have any further comments or questions please let me know.

Best wishes to you both
John

Diane Randall Asked:
John – please reply

Hi John,

I’m a past cruiser who plans her Carnival vacations with great care and the only thing causing me anxiety about my 6/16/10 Miracle trip is the process for getting a reservation for the Behind the Fun tour. As a cruise ship buff, the Behind the Fun tour is half the reason I’m taking the trip. It sounds wonderful.

I plan to be at the ship early in the morning to be amongst the first onboard, and I’ll run straight to the excursion desk to make my reservation for me, my husband and my brother — but is there a way to reserve in advance through you? Just to spare myself the anxiety? Anything you can do would be appreciated.

Many thanks!
–Your fan, Diane

John Says:
Hello Diane Randall

The Behind the Fun tour has proven to be so very popular right across the fleet and being a cruise ship buff means that you really should take this tour. Going behind the “crew only door” is something that I highly recommended that everyone does.  However, we can only accommodate two departures of 16 guests. So, I do recommend that you book this as soon as possible. I see that you are joining the ship tomorrow so I hope you get chance to read this before you sail. Unfortunately I cannot reserve you a place here as once I open that door I will be doing it for everyone. However, if you book before the Carnival Miracle departs you will without doubt get a place. I will look into adding this to the online booking system as we do for our other excursions. So, enjoy the Behind the Fun Excursion and have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes to all
John

MaryCatherine Ryan 0′Loughlin Asked:
Hi John, (Please reply).

I hope your summer will be cool, calm and full of Carnival creativity.

My mom, Patsy and the boys and I are all set for the Miracle on July 2 out of NY. Mom has not been feeling well so we decided to cheer her up and give her the 7/25 cruise on the Freedom from Ft. Lauderdale.

We will “celebrate my 40th” birthday on the first cruise and the second cruise would have been my parents 46th wedding anniversary and it would have been our 13th wedding anniversary.

Any suggestions for the boys to visit on any of the ports?

Any suggestions on who to see about a private dinner table?

We didn’t really have a lot to ask you but rather give you an update to remind you what a great person you are and to thank you for all that you do. We once again will be cruising because your crew was so personable with our family.

We will miss not having you with us but I thank you again for taking the time to contact us. The boys still talk about you and yes they still want to be like daddy and poppy and be the LAW!!!

Love you to your family!
MaryCatherine

John Says:
Mary Catherine Ryan 0′Loughlin

Why, after writing your name do I feel like bursting into a verse of Danny Boy? Anyway, thanks for writing and for the kind words. Please can you write back ASAP with which of the cruises you would like a table for you and the family on? Is it both? If so please can you send me the cabin number so I can help arrange this for you?

Let’s see where you are going on the Carnival Miracle cruise.

EASTERN CARIBBEAN:

NEW YORK, NY;

FUN DAY AT SEA;

FUN DAY AT SEA;

GRAND TURK;

HALF MOON CAY, BAHAMAS;

NASSAU, BAHAMAS;

FUN DAY AT SEA;

FUN DAY AT SEA;

NEW YORK, NY

Well, Half Moon Cay is just stunning and I can assure you the boys will love playing on the beach and swimming in the ocean………..it truly is paradise and maybe they want to start thinking about what they are going to build in the sandcastle contest. As for Nassau they would be thrilled if you treated them to the amazing Aqua Park excursion at the Atlantis Resort. The slides are so much fun and then after that they can see the brilliant aquarium. These are just some of the highlights and in Grand Turk maybe some snorkelling and of course some shopping for Mum.

Please would you say a big “hello” from me to the boys and please write soon with your cabin number and table request details.

My best wishes to you all
John

Lynda Ulrich Asked:
Dear John (please reply)

We just got back from the Carnival Elation Panama Canal cruise. It was great. I was so happy to hear that Heidi and Kye are going to be on the Carnival Splendor cruise with us in Sept.

Now to a hopefully quick review. I have sooooo much to say.

Embarkation was bad, only because X line got in late so we all had to stand on the sidewalk til all the pax got off. After that it was good thanks to Platinum.

Food was the best we’ve ever had on any cruise. This was our 21st Carnival cruise in 5 years, so we know the menu well. Chef Orvil Edwards did an outstanding job coming up with new items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They were sooooo good.

Monika, our anytime hostess was also great. Due to the different demographics of the pax on this cruise, everyone wanted to eat early. So the first night we came at about 7 o’clock and had a 45 minute wait. That didn’t bother us much, but Monika sent us a note saying sorry for the wait, with some of the best desserts ever.

As I said earlier, we had an older crowd for this cruise. They went to bed right after the 8:45 show. So there was no one at the bars, casino or Karaoke. Six of us sat with Mike Smith (the piano player) most nights til closing. He was great.

The transit was interesting. People stayed up all night to get a front row seat. But after the first set of locks it all looked the same. I am a proud owner of 10 of Radu’s pictures. Some of the ones you’ve posted here.

The entertainment staff was very good. Again they had to deal outside of their comfort zone. Steve did say happy 40th anniversary to us on his afternoon show. Noortje(ACD) was great even though she had to deal with a difficult pax the whole cruise. You know we love Brandon. But Nick, Cory and Irish Bob were great too.

Finally, bet you thought it would never end, debarkation. This is the one place that Steve fell down. They had all platinum self assist in the Cole Porter lounge. When we were finally told were could get off, Steve called all self-assist at the same time. So we platinum were at the far aft of the ship. I had even called down to the guest relations about 30 minutes before we cleared customs to see if someone was coming to get us first and she said yes.

So as you can see, we had a great time.

Can’t wait to see you in September,
Lynda

John Says:
Hello Lynda

What a brilliant review. I will be talking about the longer cruises later but it sounds like you had a fabulous time. I can’t believe that some guests stayed up all night to get the best view of the Canal entrance. I will make sure that everyone you mentioned by name get to read your words of praise and my apologies for that long wait on the first night. Your Time Dining has been a huge success. However when we do have an older clientele the first night is usually the most difficult with regard to getting everyone seated as soon as they come in. It looks like this was the case on the Carnival Elation and I thank you and everyone else for their patience. It also looks like we dropped the ball at debarkation. I have heard this a few times recently, not just the Carnival Elation but on other ships that we sometimes do not give the priority that we promise to our Platinum and Milestone guests. This is now a big priority for me and in fact I will be writing an e-mail to the top people with beards who are involved in this as we truly must do better. Please accept my apologies for the debarkation errors you encountered. But overall it sounds like you had a fun time and that is great to hear.

See you soon

Best wishes to all
John

golfmom98 Asked:
Dear John, PLEASE REPLY

First I want to take this opportunity to thank you for keeping us so well informed and entertained at the same time. My dream as a little girl was to grow up to be Daisy Duke and you made me relive some memories today LOL.

I went on my first cruise ever aboard the Carnival Ecstasy over Mother’s Day weekend; I loved it so much 3 days after returning home I booked a second trip on her for August. This time I’m taking my 11 year old son along and cannot wait till he is cruising with me. Vacations are a special time for my son and I and I want to make this one the most memorable yet. You see 5 years ago he was diagnosed with a large (benign thank the LORD) brain tumor. After 9 and a half hours of surgery he spent the better part of 6 months learning to walk and talk again. (I would tell the whole story but its way to long to type out here lol) Any way since then I’ve always done something special for him during our vacations to make sure he knows how proud of him and all he’s gone through, and I want to continue that tradition. One of the great moms on Cruise Critic suggested I petition you for help. I would appreciate your help so much to help me make sure he knows this trip is both for relaxing but is also a celebration of 5 years being tumour free (if you have dealt with someone who had tumours or cancer you know that the 5 year mark is a BIG one) and doing such an awesome job of just being a good kid and beating the odds. He’s now the most amazing 5th almost 6th grader I’ve ever met. (Sure I’m biased but it’s true!!!)

I know you won’t be on the Ecstasy during that time but if you could help me arrange a surprise or two for him I would greatly appreciate it more than you can ever know. God blessed me when He chose me to be my kid’s mom and now I want to pass some of the joy God gave me onto him during our vacations (which by the way I have pretty much decided will now all be on Carnival).

One more question and I will let you get back to your job. Does the Ecstasy have a behind the Fun tour? I would really like to take my son on that as I think he would love seeing all the inner workings of the ship and I would like to see all of that stuff too.

Thank you so much in advance!!!
Golfmom98

PS we will be sailing on the Ecstasy August 7 and we are in cabin M 98. Thank you again!!!

John Says:
Hello Golfmom98

I am sure all of the many blog readers will join me in saying how happy we are to hear that your son has survived what must have been the scariest of times for him and all of you. I hope he is now blessed with nothing but happiness and great health and I will make sure that there is a little gift waiting for your brave super son. The ship does have the behind the fun tour which you should try and book as soon as you arrive from the shore excursion desk on deck 7. Have a wonderful cruise and my great friend and Cruise Director will make sure your son has a great time.

Best wishes to all
John

Debra Kopecky Asked:
Hi John- (Please Reply)

I just want to say that I love your blog! My husband and I are getting ready to go on our 1st cruise in September and we cannot wait! I have heard so many great things about cruises and I can’t wait to experience one for myself! We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary and will be without the kids. I was wondering if you could tell me what we absolutely have to do to get the full experience. We’ve heard a lot of things about Jamaica and are not sure what to expect or think. We would like to do at least one excursion but do not know which direction to go! Please respond when you can! Thank you!

John Says:
Hello Debra Kopecky

Thanks for writing how much you love the blog thingy and congratulations on booking your first cruise and we are honoured (spelt correctly) that it is with Carnival. Jamaica has had some problems in the capital Kingston but those problems were far from the areas of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios and none of our calls were affected.  As I have said on the blog many times Jamaica is one of my favourite places, full of really friendly people and the country itself is full of hills, valleys, rain forests and water falls…….it is stunning. I do suggest though that you take an excursion so that you get to see the real Jamaica. Please can you write back and let me know what ship you are sailing on so I can maybe recommend an excursion or two and highlight some of the must not miss areas of the ship. Once again, congratulations on booking your first cruise and I promise you ………………it won’t be your last.

Best wishes to all
John

California Cal Asked:
John – PLEASE REPLY

I read on Cruise Critic that there you have stopped the chocolate mints at bedtime. This is yet another cutback from Carnival and how come a big cruise line like this can’t pay for a few chocolates

Cal

John Says:
Hello California Cal

Actually, it’s not a few chocolates. If you consider we do this on 22 ships every night of every cruise that’s a lot of chocolate. Anyway, I am not sure who wrote this information on the cruise boards but they are as wrong as Judge Judy being covered in chocolate and me being forced to lick it off………then again if it was sugar free……….then maybe I would consider it………. actually ………..nope…………I wouldn’t. Just to confirm then that the chocolate mints are being placed in the staterooms on every ship. Thanks for giving me the chance to set the record straight

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow. Thanks for all the comments on the quality of our food and suggestions you have for new menu items. It was also interesting that some of you took the time to write pleading me not to take certain items off the current menu. I have collated all these comments and sent them to our VP of food and beverage I will follow up on this with you all soon. I was sad to see that I was the only one who wanted to see Spotted Dick on the menu.

Yesterday we highlighted the Carnival Paradise and today we move to Seattle and of course the Carnival Spirit. Moving the ship to Seattle was a bold move and one that has paid dividends. It is a very popular home port and gives a whole new group of guests the chance to explore Alaska. The folks onboard the ship have been telling me that the guests are more diverse than guests from past years which has been backed up in reviews on the cruise boards and on the blog thingy.  Anyway, let’s see where she goes.

SEATTLE, WA 4:00pm

FUN DAY AT SEA

CRUISE TRACY ARM FJORD

SKAGWAY, AK 7:00am 9:00pm

JUNEAU, AK 7:00am 3:00pm

KETCHIKAN, AK 7:00am 1:00pm

VICTORIA, BC, CANADA

SEATTLE, WA 7:00 am

And of course later in the year she will be off to Hawaii and Baja Mexico. These are the people who will be looking after you and some photos of the ships interior.

CAPTAIN ROCCO LUBRANO

HOTEL DIRECOR RON NESS (HE IS FROM SEATTLE BY THE WAY)

MAITRE’ D FERNANDO

CRUISE DIRECTOR STUART DUNN

There you go a great ship with great ports and a fantastic onboard team. Oh and Captain Lubrano and I have a great friendship based on the fact that we joined Carnival on the same day together. Yep, on August 19 1987, I walked up the gangway of the Holiday as a bar waiter and Rocco walked up the gangway of the Holiday as a fire patrol officer……….and we have been friends ever since and I am so proud that he has risen to the rank of captain.

It’s time to check in with our man in London and Cunard’s President Mr. Peter Shanks. He has just completed a trans-Atlantic voyage. Now I know many of you love these longer cruises and if you ever wondered what a Cunard TA is like well who better to tell you than Peter. Here is an introduction to his brilliant blog.

Sounds terribly grand – but once a year we have a ‘Presidential Voyage’ – I travel on the voyage and take the opportunity to spend as much time as I can with our guests and the ship’s company. It’s an opportunity for our valued guests to let me know how things are going and just as importantly an opportunity for me to meet with as many of our people as I can. It was a remarkable voyage in many ways and I thought I would share it with you as a blog. It was a seven day voyage – but don’t worry, you will get through this in less than seven minutes.

You will find out exactly what happened and see some brilliant photos if you click on this link thingy:  http://wearecunard.com/

Oh and yesterday we had a bit of a technical hitch, glitch thingy with the Cunard video of their Veranda Dining ……………..sorry about that………….here it is again then.

I hope you enjoyed that video.

Thanks Peter for that brilliant review and as always we all enjoy your great writing skills and vivid descriptions of what a Cunard voyage is all about. Oh and thanks for allowing the bloggers to see the correct use of the word “blimey!”

It was interesting reading some reports about the Carnival Elation’s Panama Canal transit and how there were some “difficult” guests onboard. Now “some” refers to the minority for sure but ………..having done quite a few longer cruises it is true to say that they can be difficult and for sure our incident reports are larger than on a normal three- to eight-day.

I have never figured this out. We provide the same service, the same fun, the same high quality food and yet there are some………ummmm……..grumpy people on board. Now obviously we have to do something about this especially as it looks like I may be the Cruise Director on your Carnival Magic’s trans-Atlantic voyage and I want to get it right. We do our best to provide extra activities for those 5 back to back days at sea and yet personally and quite honestly, I dread them because I know that regardless of what we do…………..some guests won’t be happy.

So what is it that we are doing wrong? Well, lets start with the library and while Cunard ships have 6,000 books in a double-decked library……..we don’t and we have…………..well maybe 400 or so and no real space to increase this. However, with these electronic book thingies called Cradels……..nope that’s not right is it?………anyway………..whatever the things are called maybe we can hire out some of these.

Apart from that I am not sure what else we can do to stop the grumpiness. We have bridge instructors, dance instructors and arts and crafts teachers as well as all the normal activities and much much more.

Now I know I have many readers who have done the longer cruises such as TA’s etc so please……..help me out………….what can we do better? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

I know I have been promising you information on where your Carnival Magic will call home. I see there has been some chatter over on the cruise boards and I will tell you as soon as I am able via Super Spy PA 007.

So the last two days have not been pleasant what with a puking baby, crap food that gave me an arse that looks like a chewed orange. But these were just the appetizers….the main course was that I went with my wife to the movies so she could see…..Sex and the City 2. Let me say straight away that this movie was the biggest load of bollocks since…..well…….Sex and the City 1.

For those male blog readers who have not seen it yet please let be the one to tell you…. don’t …… do anything you can not to have to sit through 2 hours of inane dribble……. hemorrhoids are more fun.

And if there are any men who may still be saying “it can be that bad” let me describe the movie for you.

Sex and the City 2 is all about marriage, kids and wanting to have rumpy pumpy with the nanny. Carrie (the one that looks like a horse) is having marriage problems. Her husband, Mr. Big wants to get take out and watch movies in bed while Carrie the horse wants to go out to parties and openings and so they argue. I can do that at home!

The ginger one is coping with a boss from hell, and the normal one has to cope with a nanny with breasts the size of the alps……….her assets were the one (or two) bright moment in the whole sodding moving.

Meanwhile Samantha (the one who wears knickers only to keep her ankles warm) is fighting a something called menopause. It goes on for far too long. The whole second half is centered on a free trip the women take to Abu Dhabi. It begins with an interminable passage that shows them oohing and cooing over the fabulous planes, limos and hotel suites they enjoy, which when you have just eaten something at TGI Fridays that is already building a road through you is the last thing you want to be bothered with.

At one point I shouted out “will you just get on the fu**ing plane” which got me a massive bollocking from Heidi ………..but it was worth it just to get the frustration out.

Time has not been kind to the girls either despite them wearing enough foundation on which to build Queen Mary 3.

It’s a movie about shoe obsession and swapping stories over a goat cheese salad about what bastards men are. I just wanted a piano to fall on Sarah Jessica Parker and the movie to end by her having to be put down………….by a vet………….while the other three get the heels of their Jimmy Poochoo shoes stuck in a grate and are mowed down by a sewage truck.

It is the worst movie ever made and to make matters worse………..there is no sex in the bloody movie……….it has the word “sex” in the title which may make some men feel they should go and see it. Yet the only brief sexual interlude is when Samantha has sex with some old bloke and with her bra on………. I would rather see Whoopi Goldberg and Larry King have rumpy pumpy. There is more sex in Mary Poppins than in this film.

I know that my female readers will tell me to sod off and trying to get them not to go and see this film is pointless.

But to my readers that have testicles…….I simply say this………avoid this film as you would avoid tying a piece of steak onto the end of your thingy………and dipping it into a bath full of piranhas.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye.

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.