A Message From A Big Trucker

September 15, 2010 -

John Heald

There seems to be more and more and more and more people who write to me on our blog thingy to tell me that I offend them. Whether it’s my blubbery stomach, my bent tooth that’s surrounded by its straight but brownish mates. My effort to help people with dining and other requests or the fact that I am breathing at all……I seem to be getting so far up people’s noses I can taste boogers.

Here’s another.

Marshall J. Gruskin
OMG John, waaaaaaa! Jesus stop whining. You have a dream job a great family see the world and work for a company that put up with your BS and all you do is complain. Shut up already. Poor John is having his curtain cleaned and can’t sleep on the big vacation ship waaaaaaa. Did you tell your personal slave that you want to take a nap for a while BEFORE you left the room? Noooooo. I’m on the road for 6-8 weeks and my family can’t visit me. I sleep in a little truck and THERE IS NO FREAKN ROOM SERVICE OR CURTAINS. Do I complain? Noooooooo. John stop feeling sorry for yourself and learn to manage your life. I love ya but you sound like a mess. Nobody is asking you to blog – you do it because your ego demands you do it. I work 14 hours a day and I blog almost every night and do Facebook. You don’t hear me complaining. And you probably make twice as much as I do and have REALLY WHITE TEETH!

lifeontheroad.com

Hello Marshall J. Gruskin

I never really talk about truckers here but obviously you are one and I am sorry that my blog upset you. I realize that truckers have a lonely and hard life. I guess you have to have an ego to write a blog and as a fellow blogger I appreciate your comments. I wish you safe journeys. My best wishes to you and your dentist.

John

As I’ve mentioned before, I always make sure that someone else reads my blog before it goes to print just to give a good proofread/spell check and in case I accidentally tell one of these people to bugger off and shove their dangly bits in blender. My words go through a filter because two pairs of eyes are better than one. I guess it’s for my own protection.

A few days ago I replied to a particularly nasty comment by pouring out my true feelings which involved many words that rhyme with “luck” and suggestions that the author of the comment may enjoy having rumpy pumpy with himself. I put a lot of heart and soul into that reply but luckily ……….someone brought it to my attention and suggested that I might write a softer reply. So I did and I am glad that I did. However at the time I was angry that I was being asked to do so. You know the feeling when you think you’ve finished all the work on your desk and then someone from accounts with a beard stops by and drops a load of sodding files on your desk and buggers off and how your soul starts crying? Well, that’s how I felt.

I certainly don’t want to gratuitously offend anyone which is why, even though it’s my blog I always let someone else read it. However saying that….offence, when performed well… is the funniest thing in the world… I’d like nothing better than to reply to one of the people who calls me fat and ugly by writing a clear description of something utterly disgusting that I would wish to happen to them. I would love to write a 200 word reply in which, say, Blogger X who makes my wife cry by suggesting I will die soon unless I lose weight unexpectedly develops extreme and explosive diarrhea in an elevator full of nuns. But I can’t, because a tiny handful of you would complain.

So I will tell you what, let’s have a code word…..just between me and you. If someone writes a comment that is truly nasty and I use the words “deep and sincere apologies” I am actually saying “you are a total bastard and I hope wake up with a huge boil on your arse.”…….. sssshhhh ……….that’s just between me and you. Don’t tell anyone.

Let’s do some Q and A……………off we go.

Stephanie aka Hockey Addict Asked:
Hi John! (Please reply)

Hubby and I can’t wait to get onboard our Carnival Fascination again! Just 55 more days from today! I am so happy that hubby loves cruising as much as I do. I know you don’t remember but it took me 13 long years to talk him into cruising!

This will be our 3rd cruise and all three has been on the Carnival Fascination. We are looking at the 7 day she now offers for next year! Carnival answered my dreams by putting a 7 day voyage out of Jacksonville! We live here and it is perfect to sail from here. We feel so at home when onboard this beautiful ship!

Sorry, I am rambling already. On to my point….

This is the first time the Behind the Fun tour will be available. We want to do this so badly. We plan on going to the excursion desk right away to try to secure a spot! We also plan on getting a cabana this time as well.

I am running into a bit of a dilemma. On Cruise Critic is seems that the Behind the Fun tour may be when we are in Half Moon Cay! Please tell me it isn’t! Is there a way to find out for us if it will be held while we are in Nassau, Half Moon Cay or our sea day? If it is HMC then we sadly would not be able to do it. We want to spend every possible minute on the island with all its beauty! We LOVE HMC!

We sail on October 16th. October 17th is a sea day, October 18th is Nassau, October 19th HMC, October 20th is a sea day and sadly, the day before my birthday we disembark. It’s going to be such a sad day and I will probably be crying all over myself on my birthday wishing I was still onboard! At least I will have the memories, right?

Thanks for any answers you can give me! As always I love your blog and I hope that Heidi and Kye will be joining you soon! I almost hate to mention their names because I know you miss them so much, but you have 2 beautiful girls! I can’t believe how big Kye is getting. I also hope the Californians ease up on you!

Thanks again….
Steph

John Says:
HelloStephanie aka Hockey Addict

Later on in today’s blog I will be writing about a chap I met who is so angry that a certain cruise line is leaving his home state. This along with your passion for cursing out of Jacksonville shows that Carnival’s decision to spread the ships out and introduce more homeports was absolutely the best thing to do. We recently added South Carolina to the list and……….who knows where we’ll end up next. Yep, the Carnival Fascination has a wonderful 7 day itinerary next year for you to look forward to but before then you have your October cruise………. and here it is.

Saturday, Oct 16 Jacksonville, FL 4:00pm

Sunday, Oct 17 Fun Day At Sea

Monday, Oct 18 Nassau, Bahamas 8:00am 6:00pm

Tuesday, Oct 19 Half Moon Cay, Bahamas 7:00am 6:00pm

Wednesday, Oct 20 Fun Day At Sea Thursday,

Thursday, Oct 21 Jacksonville, FL 8:00am

I checked with the ship and the information on the cruise boards is not correct as they confirmed to me that the Behind the Fun Tour is now on the last sea day at 9:30 am. Make sure you book it as soon as you get onboard. Thanks for sharing your excitement and if there is anything else you need please let me know

Best wishes
John

Wanda Asked:
John, please reply.

Have you considered publishing some of your best blogs which could be sold in the gift shops on Carnival ships? I would certainly buy a copy and ask you to autograph it for me when I sail with you again. I’m Platinum, and I’ll sail Carnival until……

Wanda

John Says:
Hello Wanda

Goodness me Wanda. I think you would be the only one prepared to pay to read my daily musings. However, you are so very kind to suggest this and maybe on the bloggers cruise one of the complimentary gifts could be something along those lines. It is my intention one day to write a book but that seems a long way away at the moment. I really hope is one day we will cruise together and that I can hand you a signed copy of the blog and some other things to say thank you for taking the time to read the blog thingy.

Best wishes
John

Brandon C Asked:
John, Please Reply

We will be on your boat in October and I would like to interview you for my University Newspaper. I go to CALTECH and am one of the sub editors. I would also like to interview the head engineer as well. Can you arrange this?

John Says:
Hello Brandon C

I am sure this will be fine. Can I ask though that as we do for all interview requests you have your editor write to Carnival’s PR department with an official request? Here is the address for this – media@carnival.com. I am sure we can organise something for you. Until then I look forward to seeing you soon. Oh and by the way, if you interview the chief engineer you might want to refer to the ship as a ship, not a boat. A boat is what we get in if the ship is… well …. you know.

Best wishes
John

Katarina Kirkpatrcik Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY!!

John,

I really love reading your blog always makes me laugh. It’s so kind of you to help out cruisers! I was wondering if you could help me??(Pretty please!)

My mother, finance, sister and I will sailing on the Carnival Liberty on September 25th this is all of our first cruise and is very bitter sweet. This trip was originally planned to include my grandparents as a celebration that my grandmother’s cancer had been “cured”. We were planning it well over a year in advance. Well in January (right after booking) her cancer came back much more aggressive than before. We lost her April 19th 2009. My mother wanted to cancel saying “it would be very hard to go on this cruise without her.” I begged her to give it a shot since my grandmother had expressed how much she wanted to have us go with her. I was wondering if you could do something special for her. I looked into buying something from B.V Dept. but since I won’t be 21 until a month after the cruise I cannot. I’m at a loss for what to do and I thought you could help out!! I really want her to enjoy this cruise the same way my grandmother would have!

Thanks in advance. This would mean the world to me! We are on the Carnival Liberty September 25th in cabin #2351.

Thanks again!

John Says:
Hello Katrina Kirkpatric

I am so very sorry to read of the passing of your grandmother and I understand how your cruise will be one full of mixed emotion. I have asked my colleagues to send Mum a little something for Mum and I hope that you will all have a time of reflection, fun and relaxation. Best wishes and you should be very proud of thinking of your Mum like this

John

Patrick McAdams Asked:

I want to go on the Carnival Magic sailing Oct 16, 2011 from Barcelona cruising the Med. I NEED a handicapped cabin. There does not seem to be an distinction on the deck plans. I have talked to the reservation people and all they can say is “maybe, should be, perhaps, there are handicapped cabins. Put down your deposit and we will see what we can do. I am frustrated. I want to see a FULL layout of the handicapped cabins available and then make the reservation, not the other way around. Please help. PJ

John Says:
Hello Patrick McAdams

Thanks for taking the time to write and please don’t worry. I am going to pass this onto someone who I know will help you as much as possible. Your Carnival Magic is going to be a beautiful ship and full of fun so all so I truly hope to see you there. Someone will be in touch very soon.

Best wishes
John

SandyTXTX Asked:
HI John.

Just found your blog and I love it. I have to ask one thing. All of the past years that I have sailed with Carnival I have always got a Carnival pin. I have a Carnival jacket that has 5 pins on it. Last Sept. we did a cruise to the Virgin Islands and when I ask for a pin, I was told that Carnival doesn’t do them anymore. I was offered an ink pin instead, lol. It is hard to pin an ink pin on my jacket, lol. How am I to keep up with my cruises without my pins??? Please let me know what is going on. Every time I would wear my Carnival jacket someone would ask me about my pins. That would give me a great time to tell them alllll about cruising. Carnival, please bring back our pins. John I read you every night, please respond, thank Sandy

John Says:
Hello Sandy TXTX

Welcome to the blog thingy where you are most welcome. The pins were stopped in 2008 and we present to our Platinum guests and have made them available in the gift shops for purchase. When we announced the pins would be stopped many people were disappointed. I don’t really think the people who made this decision realised how important these little buggers were to so many of our guests. Let’s see what happens next as our whole loyalty program is being discussed at the moment by some very important beards at Carnival. Thank you though for your loyalty and I hope to cruise with you one day soon.

Best wishes
John

Traci Andreas Asked:
Hi John,

I am so embarrassed to ask you for anything as some of the things people ask of you are rather insane. My hubby and I will be sailing on freedom Dec 4, Platinum cruise WOOHOO. We’re in cabin 1448. This will be our 10th wedding anniversary too. My hubby Craig is an Iraq Veteran who was injured overseas. Is it possible to do a little something special for him? A note or anything you think would be cool. Since his injuries, he is a bit down at times and I know this cruise is going to be a great time for him 😮 ) Thank you so much… Cheers to you mate.

PS: Were you the Cruise Director of the Liberty in June of 2007? If so you were our Cruise Director.

Traci & Craig Andreas

John Says:
Hello Traci Andreas

Please never be embarrassed. I am here to help as many people as I can and of course it would be an honour (spelt correctly) to send your brave husband a gift from us all. I hope that this cruise will rejuvenate him and make him smile and I would be grateful if you would pass on the thanks of many who read this blog for all he has done. I was indeed the CD on the Carnival Liberty and I hope we get to sail together again soon. Please can you send me a reminder about this on November 1 and I will make sure I take care of your request.

Best wishes to you both
John

Frank Ruse Asked:
John

I just wanted to thank you for the table for 2 you arranged for my wife and I on the Miracle. It was the most wonderful time and your gift of champagne and the gold ship on the stick was a special surprise. The day after the cruise my wife fell and broke her hip and because of complications she passed away a week later. The memories the crew gave us and the way you looked after us is something I will always treasure. Thank you John and thank the crew of the Miracle for me please. Betty and me had been married for 55 years.

John Says:
Hello Frank Ruse

It has taken me a few minutes to even know how to start a reply to the so very sad words you have shared with me and my blogging friends. I think it is incredible that through the tears you must have been shedding when you wrote this that you still found time to thank the crew of the Carnival Miracle whom I will make sure get to see what you have written. I can only hope that the memories you do have of the cruise will stay clear and present for a long time and that the laughter and fun you shared together will always be something you will remember. On behalf of everyone reading this I send you our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers.

Sincerely
John and all the bloggers

Sally Hardeman Asked:
John, Please reply

Love your blogs, I can hardly wait for our cruise!

This is my second sailing with Carnival, my 6th cruise overall. I was just wondering how you go about getting to dine with the captain? I have heard it was possible, but have never heard of anyone doing this. I, along with my best friend, Ann, will be sailing with you on the Carnival Splendor Oct 17, 2010, cabin 1058. Would it be possible to dine with him? What a thrill it would be for both of us! Looking forward to our cruise and meeting with you.

Thanking you in advance,
Sally Hardeman

John Says:
Hello Sally Hardeman

It seems you are very excited about your cruise and I am honoured (spelt correctly) that I will be your cruise director. The captain’s table is mostly decided upon by the Miami office as they look at the VIP’s, etc. who are sailing. Then, if space is available the hotel director and I will look at whom we can invite. I should also mention that not every captain hosts a table these days and more and more I see this tradition slipping away which is a shame. While I can’t promise you a seat at the table I can promise that if you leave a note at the guest services desk with your name and cabin number saying you are a blog reader I will be happy to send you something to say thank you and welcome aboard. I will see you both soon.

Best wishes
John

Stuart Zaikov Asked:
John please reply

I am a very active member of CC (golfadj) and would like to say that the vast majority of us are not at offended when you do things for other people.

I prefer to earn my plastic sticks on a ship and would never think to ask you for one. In addition we like to sit at a large table and meet fellow cruisers.

As a result I would not think that I would ever need to ask you for anything. We are fortunate to be able to go on three cruises per year and reached Platinum several cruises ago.

Please feel free to ignore the CC people who claim they are speaking for the majority of CCers. They are not.

CC is an outstanding resource for learning more about cruising and most of us seem to be normal well adjusted folk. Please do not let a few fools spoil it for the rest of us.

I am still shaking my head over the person who complained there were too many kids on the ship while sailing during the summer.

Happy cruising
Stu

John Says:
Hello Stuart Zaikov

I have always been a huge fan of Cruise Critic and all of us at Carnival from Gerry Cahill down understand its importance. There are a few who definitely feel that theirs is the only opinion that matters and should be heard but they are as I said…….a minority. I hope that if you ever do need anything whatsoever that you will take the time to contact me.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today, I will return with more tomorrow.

My friend Host Mach from Cruise Critic asked me to follow up on the information I had written about the comment card being replaced with an online version. His question was, as always, a good one. Mach wanted to know if it would be sent to each person in the cabin. The answer the online review will be sent to the e-mail address supplied with booking but not to each person in the cabin or to the head of each household…………..so ladies……that means you.

I have noticed these past 7 weeks I have been here on the Carnival Splendor that there is a large percentage of the guests who don’t speak English. It seems that everywhere I go Spanish is being spoken. I thought this may be only like this during the summer but this cruise I would say at least 30% of the ship is speaking Spanish, which is not surprising given that California and the southwestern U.S. has a large Spanish-speaking population.

And while karaoke and the piano bar are doing OK the Latin Trio is the most popular band on board. I have received comments every week that there are no activities in Spanish and so much so that I have asked my ACD Marcello to come up with a daily hour of Spanish fun and games. I am surprised by this because even when we have a large count of Cuban Americans on the Florida-based ships we would never receive so many comments as we have been getting here. Anyway, I am working on improving what we do for them and hopefully the additions will be met with favorable results.

One interesting note. I was having a conversation with a guest yesterday about RCI pulling out of California. This was his first time on a Carnival cruise as he had been a loyal RCI anchor thingy or whatever they call their platinum members. Anyway, he told me that he was impressed with the cabin and the service and apart from the breakfast choices which he said were greater over on the something of the seas….he thought our product was as good and in places like quality of dining room food and friendliness of the crew…..better. Anyway he was telling me how angry Californians were at RCI leaving and how Carnival would benefit from this greatly.

So we were talking about this and that and then while talking about California he said something interesting and quite surprising. “I am a Californian first and an American second.” I was going to ask him what he meant by that but then he went onto tell me all about the economy and how California was a tough place to live at the moment. But the most startling part of our conversation was just how angry he was that RCI had buggered off. He liked their product and had enjoyed 12 cruises all from his home state with them. But to him………the fact that they were leaving California was unforgiveable.

So, good morning from Puerto Vallarta and what promises to be a lovely day of weather. Excursions are very busy with guests out and about having fun on the canopy adventures or relaxing at the wonderful Las Calitas beach. Heidi, Kye and I will be hopefully finding time for some lunch ashore as Heidi has a thing for guacamole so we shall see if we can satisfy her craving. It’s now 8:50 am and I am about to meet a guest at 9 am of which I will tell you about in a moment. So while I go do that I want to leave you with a video of a man I met at the Welcome Aboard Show…….it’s not often you meet a true hero………but here’s one. His name is Lt. Colonel Aylaya who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam and was one of the original Navy Seals. Here he is on stage with me.

As I said on the video………….it was an honour to share the same stage with him.

And two more for you. First of all we have a heart surgeon who sang his version of Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love at last week’s talent show.

Yep, a heart surgeon……….brilliant.

Now have a look at me trying to be Jamaican

I am the whitest Jamaican ……in the world.

Well, it’s been a busy few days and the guests are having fun for sure. Yes there have been some interesting comments like the guest I spoke to who attended the R-rated comedy show and was very angry at a joke that compared Tiger Woods to President Obama. It was upsetting to this guest and I apologized on the comedian’s behalf. It is difficult to tell a comedian not to tell that joke again because when 300 people laugh and one doesn’t it is hard to justify telling him not to use that bit again. But at the same time I can understand why this guest was upset and the political minefield is a dangerous one to maneuver when it comes to comedy. Mostly though the comedy club that we call Punchliner has been met with much success and I hope you will visit the club the next time you cruise with us.

So I was going through the Capers this morning and I re……..bugger……I was going through the Fun Times this morning and I realised that we had a certain word listed 8 times today alone …….. and that word is “party.”

We had a Karaoke Party, a Sing a Long Party, a Deck Party, a 60’s Sock Hop Party, a Singles Party and a Jazz and Martini Party. Know this excessive use of this word was my fault as I should have checked what Stephanie was writing there and because she is in her 20s….everything is a party. Personally, I hate the word “party.” Don’t get me wrong, I like to think of myself as a reasonably fun fat bloke. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a bit of pointless messing around. Playing practical jokes on people is along with you know whose bottom, one of my favourite things in the world. But I have a problem with the word party.

Parties somehow represent the rationing of fun, and that very concept makes me …. well…… sad. You’re allowed to let your hair down and act like a twit at parties but then doesn’t that mean you’re not allowed to act like a twit the rest of the time. And if I put the word party in the Fun Times isn’t that like me saying that the rest of the time onboard won’t be fun.

Should I therefore be making an announcement that says “Attention all guests…… your allotted fun period starts now?” I am also very conscious of the fact that thanks to people who have never cruised with Carnival before talking bollocks about what a cruise with us is all about, there are those who think that our ships are indeed “party boats.” This is another reason I hate the word “party.”

But there is one thing more I hate than that word and that’s when another word is added on to it. And that word is “animal”………….as in party animal.

Many years ago when I was a social host you would often hear our DJ’s say “Where are the party animals at?” This doesn’t happen today of course …………thank goodness.

I maybe wrong here but referring to someone as a “party animal,” you can guarantee what they mean is “a loud, obnoxious bugger who is likely to drink so much that he will vomit all over the balcony below. To me a party animal is likely to grab strangers’ arses and speak so loudly that they will burst your eardrums. I have seen my share of “party animals” during my 24 years onboard and how they treat the crew is dreadful. If there are any self proclaimed “party animals” reading this I hope your monitor shatters, firing white-hot LCD shards into your party loving eyes.

So here at least on the Carnival Splendor I am putting an official ban on the word Party…….and replacing it with the word …………..celebration.

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.