Magic…Sealed With A Kiss

June 23, 2010 -

John Heald

Is it the same in North America as it is here that when your sports team reaches a final or has an important match, everyone puts on their replica shirts? This afternoon England has their last match of stage 1 of the World Cup. Win and they progress. Lose and they go home. So today is the day when more adult males than usual suffer a small mental collapse and think it becomes them to don a shiny two-piece in the requisite England colors.

Why do they do this? That is the question. It’s obviously not to attract women, because when they pull a sports shirt designed for a super-fit twenty-something athlete over their six-packless stomachs, most resemble…….well……… I wonder then if they do it to impress other males and to be one of the lads. Ah, that’s sweet…… if you are a boy of twelve. Otherwise you look ridiculous, I’m afraid, like my mate Alan did last weekend when he joined me for our barbecue wearing an “I Shot JR” T-shirt.

Replica sports kits are basically kids’ costumes. I think its great to see kids and teens wearing them at a Miami Heat game but then adults, especially larger adults who have a few X’s on their label just look stupid. I think the rule should be………if you have pubic hair, don’t wear them. A fifty something in a New York Yankees kit looks no less preposterous than if they were wearing the Superman outfit given them for their tenth birthday. It’s like women buying themselves a giant Snow White dress from the Disney Store.

Football (sacccceerrr) players are not like American football or rugby players or even like basketball stars. Nope, they are paid millions of dollars, yet stars like Rooney, Messi and Ronaldo are big girls compared to stars of other sports. Even have some ideas for football. When someone like Ronaldo, who is miserably good looking, is tapped on the ankle, he falls over clutching his face as though he’s fallen into a vat of acid or seen the Norwegian Epic. This spoils the flow of the game and may result in an unjust free kick being awarded.

What I’d like to suggest is that any player who’s in that much pain plainly has no future and should be put down. No, really. I’d have a veterinary surgeon at each match, and anyone writhing around on the floor like a horse that’s broken its leg, the player would be shot in the back of the head. This is not capital punishment………………….it’s kindness.

But as I went to the shop this morning for diapers and haemorrhoid cream, all around me were men in their England football shirts with the name of their favourite player on the back. A chap called Wayne Rooney is the favourite even though he looks like Shrek and has, this World Cup, played like a drunken donkey. I shall be watching the game but won’t be wearing the white of England, except my underpants which are white……although that might not be the case by the end of the game.

Time for today’s questions….let’s crack on.

Stuart Zaikov Asked:
John please reply

We were on the May 16 sailing of the Glory and had an outstanding time with our grown kids.

We are platinum and lately sail 3x per year with Carnival.

We just loved the new comedy club and have two suggestions and would like to point out one person for special notice.

If you have late seating it is pretty much impossible to attend all of the comedy shows.

Also the lounge is not big enough to handle all of the people for the late shows at the same time the main lounge sits empty for the late shows. Could they not be moved there?

My son loved the comedy club and was moved to sign up for the open mike night by Andre your manager. He is kind of shy and it was amazing to see him up there in front of 250 people and gaining confidence as his routine continued. Andre was full of encouragement and did a great job as MC. I thanked him several times and wanted to put in a plug to him with his bosses.

Comedy club made this one of our best cruises ever!

Also we did the Behind the Fun tour on the last sea day. Was outstanding. Do not remember the name of the guy running it but he is the training manager on the Glory. He did a great job running it and coordinating with all the people we got to see. His first name might be Gary but do remember he is from Canada.

It felt funny being home with no booked cruise so two days after we got home we booked one on the Liberty for October.

My kids took me to the steakhouse for my birthday and a great meal was had by all.

DR did it usual excellent job.

It was our first time in Roatan and Mahogany beach was outstanding.

Now for my question. We understand the comedy club is being rolled out to the fleet. Our pvp was not able to get the info but will the Liberty have it by the very beginning of October?


John Says:
Hello Stuart Zaikov

Thanks for that great review and a special thank you for highlighting the Comedy Club which started on the Carnival Glory before going to your Carnival Dream.

For those who have not experienced this concept let me tell you a little more. It involves 2 comedians performing 5 shows between them on two nights of the cruise. On a seven-day cruise, 4 different comedians perform meaning that between them there are 20 different comedy shows in on cruise. The shows are a mixture of PG-13 and uncensored performances, and are held between 7:30pm and midnight. These shows are then repeated the next evening before the next two comedians fly into a port to perform. The shows are designed so that regardless of what dining option you take, they can be viewed by all.

We still have the review and variety shows in the main theatres and I think moving the comedy club into the main lounge would be a bad idea. You see, the small lounges give it a true comedy club feel and that’s what the comedians want, for sure. The aft lounge seats 350 people so with 5 performances a night this gives everyone a chance to see the shows especially as they are repeated the next evening.

I am so glad you and your family enjoyed the concept. Thanks again for mentioning Andre and I will make sure his supervisor and Cruise Director see your kind words. Congratulations on your platinum status and my best wishes to you and your family.


Jim Asked:
(John, please reply)

Mr. Heald,

Thanks much for providing this blog: you do us (Carnival fans) a wonderful service by providing behind-the-scenes information, and it’s clear you expend much time and effort in doing so. Thanks.

My wife and I have cruised with Carnival five or six times now, and it’s by far the best vacation we’ve ever had and a heck of a value at that. We’ve never had a bad experience on our cruises, and we’re looking forward to our seventh and eighth Carnival cruises this year.

The one area you and I might disagree is the usefulness of the surveys at the end of each cruise. Without fail, past CDs have informed us that, of the three “grades” allowed (exceeded our expectations, met our expectations or opportunity to improve [or words to that effect]), anything but the first will result in calamity, staff will be upset, the world will stop spinning, etc. etc. I exaggerate only slightly.

If the goal of those surveys is to provide Carnival with useful feedback, they’re missing the mark. If the only allowable choices amount to “A+” “F+” and “F-”, Carnival’s CDs are really asking for just a blanket “everything was wonderful,” when (for instance) a scale of 1-10 (or even letter grades of “A B C D and F”) would be far more likely to elicit truly helpful feedback. Think about it: let’s say my room steward is surly throughout a cruise (it’s never happened). I can either gloss over his poor performance with an “exceeded” or I can rate his performance as “met,” which, again, I’m told by the CDs that this is REALLY BAD. On the other hand, if I was asked, “On a scale of one to ten, how was his performance?” then an 8 or 9 could mean that overall his performance was good but not absolutely great. As it is, there’s no room for anything other than what amounts to fabulous or crappy. Personally, I find those limited choices way too restrictive, and I provide comments only, no scores.

Anyway, perhaps (if you see some merit in my suggestion) you might pass it along to “the beards.” As I mentioned, we’ve had truly fine times on Carnival, and this one little nit doesn’t affect our enjoyment a bit. It just seems that this really is an opportunity for improvement (in the literal sense).

Thanks much for “listening,”

John Says:
Hello Jim

There is no doubt that you are absolutely correct about the comment cards. The cruise directors totally manipulated the ratings and let’s face it – the push to give the best rating was a little ridiculous. And I must admit that many of the cruise directors had “borrowed” my way of doing this so if anyone is to blame…………it’s me. That’s why the cruise directors and maitre d’s are no longer mentioning the cards. The cards are placed in the staterooms and if guests wish to fill them out they can and they can do so without any suggestion of how to do so by me or my colleagues. Here is an interesting fact…….when we were hosting a debarkation talk on say a Conquest class ship, we were getting a return of 1,500 cards or so. Now we have stopped the talks and the comment card push we are receiving an average of 300 cards. That’s a big drop. And as many of you have noted here on the blog and on the cruise boards, we are sending you post cruise reviews by e-mail. These are managed by our marketing department who are the best equipped to ask the right questions that will tell us what you enjoyed and what you feel we can do better. These are massively important and I do hope you can all find the time to complete them. Thanks for giving me the chance to write about this and thank you for your wonderful loyalty to Carnival Cruise Lines.

Best wishes

Shawn Asked:
John, (Pleaaaaasse Reply)

I have been reading your blog for a long time, but this is the first time I have posted.

I am taking my dear mother on a cruise on the Glory out of Norfolk VA in October. I have booked a balcony room By the way; I cruised with you on the Destiny in 2000 out of Newport News, VA. This will be my second cruise on the Glory and I hope mom has a great time.

I wanted to confirm if something I heard was true. Do you have to pay for drinks at the captain’s welcome aboard party now? I hope not.

I hope to sail with you again. Fair thee well!

John Says:
Hello Shawn

As always I really appreciate it when a longtime blog thingy reader takes the time to write their post and I am glad you did. I remember the cruise we did out of Norfolk and especially the announcement I had to make over the PA system stating that photography of the naval ships was strictly forbidden. The captains party has now changed to something called the Captain’s Celebration and the drinks are no longer complimentary but are at happy hour prices. We now serve complimentary beverages on the last day at a farewell party. I am sure you will have a great time in October and if there is anything else you need before your cruise please let me know.

Best wishes

Dave Carson Asked:
Stephanie – – Please pass this note on to John.

Last October my wife and I booked a cruise on the 03 October sailing of Carnival Dream. Because it was our 50th wedding anniversary cruise, it was quite special for us. I had booked the cruise with an Early Saver Fare of $1159/pax (+ $88.56 tax) for a category 4F stateroom. When the cat. 4F dropped to $899/pax, I sent in the required form (online) with the request that the savings of $260/pax ($520 total) be applied to my onboard account. I am a travel agent and stated that the price drop to $899 was listed on the CCL travel agent site. I checked my account several times during the cruise but the OBC never showed up and there was no acknowledgment of my request from the Miami office.

Several weeks after my return I again filled out the form and noted that I had applied before the cruise but never received my OBC. Once again the Miami office ignored my request. As a loyal blogger I have read many other posts from those who have had similar experiences. The Miami office is just not up to a reasonable level of service to its cruising guests. I am concerned about this as a CCL customer (8 cruises) and a travel agent. I am withholding Carnival recommendations to potential clients until corporate is doing a better job of responding to its guests. Personally I have cancelled two other Carnival cruises I had booked for my wife and me. I did not cancel the one I booked for my son and his two daughters as I just cannot disappoint my granddaughters.

As you have stated many times, John, Carnival has a good product – – and you are correct. My wife and I have over 50 cruises under our belts and we have taken a number of cruises on each of seven other cruise lines. And onboard – – Carnival does well against all of them including the premium lines. But the home office needs to do some serious work to rise to the level of most of its competitors. And you John set a service standard which should be emulated by all the CCL officers, managers, and service workers.

We miss you, John but we also miss Heidi.

David A Carson
Carnival Dream sailing of 03 Oct. 2009

John Says:
Hello David Carson

May I send you our sincere congratulations on your 50th wedding anniversary and I wish Heidi and I could have been there to help you celebrate. I want to thank you for letting me know about your concerns and I have sent this to the vice president of our guest services team. I know she will give this careful attention and someone will be in touch accordingly. Please let me know what happens and if there is anything else I can do for you. I promise we will continue to work hard and do all we can to maintain and exceed the standards you expect.

I hope we all get to be together again soon.

Best wishes to you both

Bill (Zydecocruiser) from Asked:
John, Please Reply

Hi John,

Another Carnival Magic question. Should Carnival Magic arrive in Barcelona in time to make a 10am flight on May 22 (the May 10th cruise)? I know sometimes ship happens.

If not, what is the earliest flight time we should consider?

I read on CruiseMates (originally from somewhere else) that Carnival has discontinued the air deviation and the pre- and post-cruise hotel programs. The Fly Aweigh program will continue, but without the above options.

1) Is this true?

2) Will the Fly Aweigh department bring the options back for the Carnival Magic and Europe? Some pre- or post- tours might be nice for some of the cruise.


John Says:
Hello Bill Zydecocruiser

We will start debarkation from your Carnival Magic at 6:30 am. It is a 40-minute ride from the port to the airport so if all goes well you should make it comfortably. We have indeed canceled our flight deviation program and post cruise programs. Our air/sea program remains strong but the air deviation side has been discontinued. I am not sure about Europe though Bill so please allow me 24 hours to confirm this and I will get back to you. If you have questions on Barcelona transport, hotels and attractions etc please let me know and I will be happy to advise as I have been many times.

Best wishes to you and Elizabeth

Gregg Taylor Asked:
Dear John, (please reply)

Long time reader and seldom poster. I just finished reading two different books written by cruise crew members. Cruise Confidential and Permanent Passenger. I have to say the first was far better than the latter but entertaining none the less. My point is that you are a far better writer and twice as entertaining as either of these guys. My hope is that one day you will write one that will no doubt be a best seller and in the process kill millions of trees. I understand that these types of books are of a kiss and tell variety and you will probably need to wait until the day you sign off for the last time before writing it. Looks like the perfect path towards your dream car Aston Martin thing and perhaps a peek at Megan Fox bottom when Hollywood comes calling.

I too must throw my hat in the ring of those questioning the letter from Ann from a third party. That was a little petty. If Ann or Anne has an issue she should sign her name to it and not hide behind someone else. That was wrong on a multitude of levels. Or as you are fond of saying it was lower than the number of French Military Victories or The List of guys who got rich selling soap to the French.

I do have to agree as a huge fan of your blog thingy and as someone almost Platinum on Carnival that Corvette Lady’s post did raise a couple of valid points. You are very correct about the pier in Grand Cayman. But she is correct about Half Moon Cay …. It should be harder to throw rocks when living in a glass house. I also cringe when make jokes about your competitors something of the seas and rock walls. I guess that is a Brit thing left over from cheering that silly game with a couple dozen guys in silk shorts running on ten acres of grass for three hours only to have the game end one to nil. At least you have the after match riots to entertain you when they kill the loosing goal keeper. If only NASCAR was like that here in the states, ratings would explode.

I only have one pet peeve and it is pretty minor. Actually two but you often defend yourself and champion those who write to you only to beg for free stuff. So I won’t go there. I often feel it is very disingenuous to post this as anything other than a Company sponsored blog. One only has to look at all the links and advertisements to feel differently. With all due respect to the 242 Stephanie on salary and the constant time this has to take from your otherwise impossible work day. Is CCL such a great company that they provide you with a staff and time off to keep up with your personal blog? Is it possible that the presidents of your sister cruise lines take time to post on anybody else’s personal blog? I don’t having any issues with it being just that. It is great. I look forward to sailing on the Dream (not Hyperlinked) this fall and perhaps one day meeting you. That’s my thoughts and I sign my name to them.

John Says:
Hello Gregg Taylor

What a great post and thanks for putting the time and passion in to write it. I have not read either of the 2 books you mentioned but have heard that they are quite entertaining although from the people who worked with both authors I am told that they belong on the fiction shelf.

I have often thought about writing a book but as you said, I would have to be a non-Carnival employee as writing about the staff captain who on vacation changes his name to Loretta is probably not something I should talk about while still in Carnival’s employ.

I know I often write about Grand Cayman not building a pier although they are allegedly now going to do so. And you are correct, it would be nice if we did one at Half Moon Cay as well although the main difference here is that while we only have one ship in port and a relatively quick tender service, for those of us who have been in Grand Cayman when there are 4, 5 or more ships in port………….well it isn’t pretty. And you have no idea how much this island charges to use their tender service. As for Ann Martin, well her second hand comments have been banned and I simply won’t post them.

I do want to say though that this blog is definitely mine and I hope that you have seen that I am always pointing out areas where we can improve as well as making sure that before I throw stones at anyone I throw them at myself. I know also that not everyone may like the links I post to our sister companies and I assure you I do this because I want to and not because I have been ordered to do so by anyone. That I promise you. The reason I do is because not only do many of the readers of this blog love Carnival, they love cruising and cruise ships which is why I sometimes talk about the other lines. And I am very excited that the president of the world’s most famous ocean liner company, Cunard, is a blog reader and blog contributor.

You are correct though that none of the other companies promote my blog which I totally understand as some of the things I write ……..well………..they may not want to be associated with.

There is a disclaimer at the top of my blog and as I think I have said before, the day I am told what to write and the day the censors in their high visibility jackets and beards do this will be the day I stop. I hope that didn’t sound too defensive Gregg and I second your hope that we meet one day so we can chat in person. Have a brilliant cruise on your Carnival Dream.

Best wishes

Christy Asked:
John, (reply please)

I have just started reading your blog thingy and I have to tell you that it brings a smile and laughter so THANK YOU!! I normally do not partake in the conversation – I guess I’m a “lurker”. But, I felt compelled to respond to this one regarding the tips and other things

It is very frustrating on land for me when we are “forced” to tip because it seems in this day and age it is expected rather then earned. We are booked on our second cruise, yes still newbies, but our service was impeccable on the first (Carnival Triumph). We provided envelopes with extra to those that earned it in addition to the standard tips.

It would be most unfortunate if Carnival decided to “mandate” the tips because I think there truly is incentive for all staff to make it the best they can. What frustrates me even more then “forced” tips….those that run the staff ragged, have no class when making requests, and then complain because they weren’t first to receive a requested item, then to top all else, they belittle the staff… to those of you — The staff are not your personal servants and no human being deserves to be treated that way. This was our experience with a table mate on our first cruise.

Now – about the herbal life guy — I think that the folks that call and won’t provide a subject should be advised that you won’t be calling the back. You are far too busy.

I don’t know if I have to give you all of this just to post for a response – but we are on the Fantasy in a GS leaving July 17th. My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary and we are taking my sister who just lost her husband of 22 years to Cancer in March of this year. We’re hoping that the CD is as full of life as you are. Can you tell me who that will be and what to expect? Is there anything special on the Fantasy cruise that you can recommend that we don’t miss out on that would be appropriate? I’m getting her more and more excited by the day, but still she is struggling with, her words – being the 3rd wheel – she took care of him without regard for herself for the last 8 years and she deserves every bit of this pampered vacation. Any recommendations would be so helpful. I do have a request that I don’t know whether it is possible since this time we opted for Anytime dining because that is what my sister wanted. What room is the anytime dining in? Does it change? We were so pleased with our seating – main floor right in the middle – on our first cruise and fear that because of the anytime dining choice, we will be up the stairs in the back, etc… Do we need to change this choice in order to get better seating?

Thank you John – I hope your cold is much better – there’s probably not much worse in warm weather – best wishes to you and your family!

John Says:
Hello Christy

Please don’t worry about the tipping as we have no plans to change the current system which allows guests the chance to remove them if they feel the service has not been at the level that our guests expect. I agree with you totally and repeat my thoughts from yesterday’s blog when I say that if you receive fun and thoughtful service, tip. If you don’t, then don’t tip.

Congratulations on booking the Carnival Fantasy. As you know I just left that ship and I absolutely loved her. Bring your swim suit as you must try the water park and slides and try the Mongolian Wok for lunch one day……….it’s superb. The shows are not to be missed including the Beatles tribute and the comedians, who will have you laughing out loud.

I think you are very wise to book Your Time Dining. The seating for this is in the forward dining room and all the seating is excellent. Having the choice to eat when you want to is something I am absolutely sure you will appreciate.

The CD will be Hennie Van De Bugger who I just left in charge and he is one very funny young man whom I know you will enjoy. I will be sending you a little something which I hope makes you and your sister smile.

Have a great cruise and my best wishes to you all

BabsieR Asked:

I agree with Big Ed. I have NEVER had any problem with Carnival staff and always found everyone to be hardworking, personable and efficient. These gratuities should be non refundable.

Now, I have a question for you, I purchased a FCC on my recent Miracle cruise. I cruise solo and pay the 200% for my stateroom. I feel if I am paying the price for two people then I should also receive a $100 OBC not just the $50. Do you think you could get one of the bearded ones to look into this? Just curious as to their rationale. BTW, the Miracle cruise was wonderful and Malcolm was very entertaining. I will be booking again for next spring.

John Says:
Hello BabsieR

Wow, someone who agrees with Big Ed……not even his wife Pat does that. Seriously, though, I know that Big Ed always looks for the best in our crew and I thank you for doing so as well. I think it was yesterday that I mentioned that I realise that is expensive for single cruisers and your thoughts on the FCC do make sense and are certainly worthwhile and I will certainly pass this up the line. Thanks so much for writing about CD Malcolm, I will make sure he sees your words of praise. I will let you know what happens to your suggestion and until then I send you my best wishes.


Mike & Lori Drew Asked:
John “Please Reply”

Is there a way that we can personally send a thank you msg. to Stu Dunn on the Spirit? We would really like for him to know how much he meant to us as CD. While on the cruise we lost our birth certificates and was so worried that we would not be allowed back into the U.S. My wife was crying when we asked Stu if he had a minute for us. He took the time out of his busy schedule right then to help us and reassure us everything would be ok and we would be allowed back home. What a great and kind man he is not to mention a wonderful and funny CD. We would cruise with him again anytime. We just wanted to thank him again personally if that is possible. If not, could you please pass along the thanks for us? The entire staff of the Spirit is wonderful catering to our every need. Alaska is awsome! Anyone who watches the TV show “The Deadliest Catch” must take the “Deadliest Catch Crab Boat Fishermans tour” in Ketchikan. It is amazing! It was the best thing we did all week. The guys who run it are very professional and funny. It’s not dangerous at all. They take you into the calm waters and show you what they do. The captain of the Spirit is awesome and very informative as well as the naturalist who works on the ship. We saw many whales, water falls and snow capped mountains as well as the most beautiful glacier in Endicott Arms Fjord. Still don’t know how they turned the ship around in that small space though! Thank you John. You’re the best!

Mike & Lori

John Says:
Hello Mike and Lori Drew

How wonderful of you to write those so very kind words about Cruise Director Stuart Dunn. I will make sure he sees this and will include your e-mail address so he can contact you directly. I am sure losing the birth certificates must have been very distressing and I add my congratulations to Stuart for looking after this situation for you. I love watching the Deadliest Catch. Alaskan fishermen risk their lives and it’s guaranteed to instil a deeper appreciation of what washes up on your plate. And your review has only strengthened my resolve to cruise Alaska one day soon.

Best wishes to you both

That’s all for today, back with more tomorrow.

So, last night I confirmed the cruise industry’s worst kept secret. If you missed the video thingy I made, here is the much more official press release written brilliantly, as always, by our friend Vance.

Carnival Magic to Operate Seven-Day Cruises From Galveston, to be Port’s Largest Ship

So, many many congratulations to the Port of Galveston who today I am sure are feeling like they have won the lottery. As I wrote while on the Carnival Conquest, Texas and the surrounding area is a very important market for us and as a massive thank you to the loyal support that guests who cruise out of there have given us, we proudly present them with our new flagship. And of course they also have the Carnival Triumph which will be the largest ship to sail on 4 and 5 day cruises from Galveston.

And then we have New Orleans, which has also become a very progressive market and post-Katrina is thriving once again. The popularity of New Orleans has resulted in Carnival sending them both Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Conquest. These ships served Galveston well and now they will do the same in New Orleans. There will be more news on some other exciting itineraries soon but for now let’s talk about your Carnival Magic. Actually, I can’t……..not yet. But I can tell you that just off the top of my head three brilliant things that we will feature on this ship that we have never featured before. So, Galveston, lick your lips in anticipation of your Carnival Magic heading your way and I hope you will join me onboard.

I shall be visiting your Carnival Magic in the shipyard this winter and of course will start writing more about her soon.

By the way, a huge thanks to PA 007, our Super Spy who risked life and limb to break this news before it was released to the general population. I am sure the investigation at Carnival HQ has begun to see who he or she is…………but his or her secret is safe with me. I have sent him or her a huge Spotted Dick as a big thank you from me and you for being there for all of us.

Oh yes, 1 of the 344 Stephanies posted a link to the video I made about your Carnival Magic on Carnival’s Facespace thingy page…….there are some very interesting comments there as well as lots of other fun stuff. Have a look:

And talking of Facespace and for those who have never enjoyed Galveston as a cruise homeport, you really should. We work very closely with the local tourism office and I think it would be nice to pop on over to their Facespace thingy page and see what they are saying. Here is that link thingy which will also tell you all you want to know about Galveston and your pre- and post-cruise questions.

I have so many video links on my computer laptop desktop floppy hard driving thingy that I am having to delete them. However, just before I do I will post a few here and there of my favourites. Some of you will have seen them before but for those who haven’t and before they are gone forever, I will post a few during the next few days. This one features blogger Eric C who as you can see here, featured in the welcome aboard show with me.

Now I may be putting my foot right in it here but hey……….as I was telling Gregg Taylor in today’s Q and A session……………it’s my blog……… bugger it.

You see this morning I finally got around to opening all my mail that has accumulated since I left for my Carnival Dream last January. I left on January 22 which is my birthday and amongst the pile was a birthday card from Barclays bank…..written not by the manager but by a Dell or a Mac. Now I am not sure if Carnival does this but honestly I couldn’t care less if a computer wishes me a happy birthday.

I don’t want some corporate memory bank sending me an e-mail declaring, “Happy birthday!” either. Sod off. You don’t care whether I live or whether I pump gas into the crack of my arse and set it on fire. All you want is for me to keep banking with you and not bugger off to another bank.

I was sounding off to Heidi about this when I opened another and again this wasn’t a birthday card from an actual friend who has met me and cares, but from Marriott Hotels who wanted to wish me happy birthday by offering me the chance of a 4th night for three if I booked 3 nights in any of their hotels. There is nothing as special as having the words “terms and conditions apply” written at the bottom of your birthday card.

And as I opened the rest of my cards from actual living people, something else started to get on my bloody nerves. Why do people I hardly know put an “x” at the end of their birthday greeting? I have never kissed these people and never will. But have you noticed where this trend started…….texting and e-mails………… many times have you received a text or e-mail from a friend that finishes with an “x.” You have never had rumpy pumpy of pre rumpy pumpy with these people yet……….they finish with a kiss.

I would guess that nine out of ten women who write e-mails to me from Carnival land and sea operations finish with a kiss. And this happens so much that we worry that a text without kisses means this person is angry with them. I once got an e-mail from a very upset Captain because I had sent an e-mail using only capital letters and he thought I was shouting at him. I wasn’t. The caps thingy lock was pressed and by the time I looked at the screen and noticed, half the e-mail was finished and I couldn’t be bothered to write it again.

But the “x” kiss thing is out of control. The problem is that once you start, you can’t stop. Kisses are a plague. Let’s say I write an e-mail to Carnival’s President and CEO Gerry Cahill asking for a raise and finish it with a kiss, even if he refuses to give me any more money his e-mail telling me so must respond in kind.

One of the worst side-effects of the Eye Phone/Raspberry phone thingy revolution has been to make people more needy and demanding of attention 24/7, no matter of where they are.

I often find myself saying “It’s been five minutes since I e-mailed and texted you and they haven’t replied,” I moan, eyes glued to my Raspberry with the photo of Megan Fox’s bottom as a screensaver on it. “Do they hate me? Has Carnival fired me?”

No, they’re probably just terrified because I have put 27 kisses on a message that simply says “How are you Mr Cahill?” I guess though that one thing is escaping me and escaping you more and more each day………..if it’s an instant response that we want, well, here’s a thought………… why not make a sodding phone call?

OK, me and my underpants are off to watch England lose. See you tomorrow.

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.