Chewing Over Smoking

October 5, 2010 -

John Heald

Bloody hell it’s early…..6:45am to be precise. Once again, the three-hour difference between here and El Miamio means that with a busy day ahead of Morning Shows, Marriage Show, Past Guest Parties and the other delights of the day, if I don’t write the blog now there won’t be one. It was hard to leave Heidi and Kye this morning. It’s their last week onboard and during the night Kye decided she wanted to come and sleep with Mummy and Daddy so to have to get up and walk from the guest cabin to the CD cabin at 6:30am was bloody depressing.

I would love to be able to write here that it was hard to leave because Heidi was wearing a little Victoria Secret’s number because she wasn’t. I am positive that in every relationship whether it’s a man and a woman……and because I have to be politically correct here on the blog thingy …… a man with a man……a woman with a woman……or if you are reading this and you are French ….a man with….well…..anything with a pulse …. when the immense pleasure and exuberance of sleeping intertwined amongst the limbs of your sexy lover……. buggers off forever.

This is usually about the same time that she starts wearing barbed wire pajamas and green cucumber facemask that changes her from looking like Megan Fox to looking like sodding Shrek.

Anyway, let’s get on with what’s happening here on the Carnival Splendor shall we?

Guest: Mrs.  ———–Ref: 731022381A
Cabin: —-——-Added-Changed: 10/04/10 – 10/4/10


Mrs.–came to the GSD stating that she had sat on a lido deck chair and when she stood up she saw that she had sit on a piece of chewing gum. Guest says that her pants cannot be worn. Guest was offered free laundry service. Housekeeping advised.

Ahhh yes, the joys of chewing gum……Heidi loves it….as do many of you I am sure. I will tell you who doesn’t like it though……….Rudy the Housekeeping Manager and of course the poor lady who sat in a dollop of the stuff. Me……ummmm…..nope. Heidi says it’s comforting …….. how is chewing gum “comforting?” It’s a tiny thingy that lasts five seconds before you’re left chewing a flavorless knot of what is probably part of a horses dangly bits….my underpants have more flavor…and lasts longer. I bet the stain on the guest’s pants lasts a bloody lifetime though.

You’ve probably noticed that I dislike gum. It’s because ever since, aged 12, I blew a bubble that popped in my face and stuck in my eyebrows for a week. A Snickers bar or a Latvian woman in suspenders …….that’s a treat. Chewing gum is bugger all, as insignificant as Long Tall Sally. All it does is foul sidewalks and Lido Deck chairs. Obviously we don’t sell it on board and guests bring on their own supply. I just can’t understand who’s buying it. It’s not teenagers anymore these days because they’re too busy spending their money on Eye Pods and Marlboro Lights.

But I can’t argue with the figures which if I could be bothered would probably show me that I’m a minority. What I can look forward to now is more people chewing noisily with their mouths open, stretching the revolting stuff round their fingers and sticking it behind their ears for later.

It’s that chomp chomp chomp noise I hate more than anything though………but I guess everyone’s got bad habits. So I won’t mind anyone chewing gum around me if they don’t object to me pulling a piece of wax out of my ear and eating it.

What else…….well you remember the guy who volunteered to be in my Welcome Aboard Show and then insisted that because he was an actor that it be removed from the cabin TVs? Remember, I had removed his speaking part, the bit where I interview him but he of course wanted the whole show taken off….which I politely refused to do.

Well, Mr. Cloonpitt made it very clear to me last night that “I have not heard the last of this.” I met him at the Captain’s Celebration and I really tried to bury the hatchet but he was all threats and bravado and given the choice I think he would like to bury the hatchet in the back of my head. It looks like I might need to take some legal advice on this. I have Googled the man’s name by the way (not Mr. Cloonpitt, his real name) and honestly I can’t find any mention of him appearing in anything……..well at all really. Maybe he has a stage name. Anyway, for now I think it’s safe to say that I am not on his Christmas card list……….some more cynical than me might say…..”only in California.”

Time for some Q and A I think………….so let’s crack on.

April Z Asked:
Dear John, (please reply)

It has been several months since we met you on the Carnival Fantasy back in May, and MAN am I ready to cruise again! We are looking at the Magic next! I think it is fitting to go from the oldest in the fleet to the newest! lol.

On to my question… I have been keeping up with your blog and checking frequently, but I haven’t seen the picture you promised of Kye in that little dress I brought you. (Houndstooth and crimson with her name on the bottom). I would just love to see how cute she is in it, if you don’t mind.

Hope to sail with you soon!
April Z.

John Says:
Hello April Z

Bugger….double bugger. I did promise you a photo didn’t I and I forget……I am an idiot…. I am very sorry. I just told Heidi who is still here with Kye and she will make sure she wears it this week and I will post the photo here for you. Thanks again for your unbelievable kindness. I will be on your Carnival Magic and I hope that I get to show you this gorgeous and exciting ship.
Best wishes


Mike mcd Asked:
John, (Reply if you want to)


Just wanted to give you a short review of My Families and mine of our cruise on My Carnival Triumph on 08/21/10.

Embarkation was a pain. Had to wait about 2 hours because of a new computer problem on the day we got there…We understood because we know how computer programs can be, especially new ones, but you wouldn’t believe all the stuff we heard about this from Folks waiting in line, even some Platinum Folks. Gotta love it,
Good stuff:

Dining Room: Matrie D…Fantastic Came around to see how his Wait Staff was doing, asked if they were meeting our expectations. Told him NO, they were exceeding them, they were Mind readers. Sorry I don’t remember their names. We were at table 429 Lower, Paris, Early dining They brought us things we didn’t think was possible, like 2 helpings of Lobster, and every night no matter what we ordered for desert we always got a Chocolate Melting Cake. One night, when they had Apple Pie, I asked for melted Cheese be put on top. This is not a standard thing, but the Wait staff made it happen. As a matter of fact, other folks saw it and they wanted the same. Just a side Light, Ken the Matrie D is gonna have a tough act to follow when it comes to singing ours was Fantastic.

Ports: Nassau-Fantastic. Loved it. Atlantis was Fantastic, Not to mention that I Put a 20 dollar bill in a slot and got back 65 bucks, one quarter at a time.

Freeport. Not good. Went on the Beach Break and shopping tours. Too many folks trying to get you to buy stuff while on the beach, like every 5 minutes, same folks. Went to the local Pub on the beach that was supposed to open at 11 am so we were told by our tour guide, was told wrong, we don’t open till 11:30. I can’t confirm this, but I was told by other folks, that the Radisson, which we were supposed to have access to was truly Lousy, No air Conditioning, Bugs running around the Lobby, in the pool, and God knows where else

Key West: Best Port we did the Pub Crawl Tour. Our Guide was Fantastic…Did 5 Pubs and enjoyed every one of them Would HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TOUR…

LIDO Deck:
Excellent food Loved every minute of it Fantastic Pizzas, Burgers, Great for a Quick Lunch

Had a Bartender wave at me every morning when I came through the sliding doors, no matter what time. He knew I wanted BREAKFAST, before Breakfast, if you get my drift, Tomato Juice and a few other things, not from the Pre-Mixed Stuff but from the Bottle of SKYY and the tomato Juice. It was there before I sat on the stool

Getting Off. Easiest we have had on all Carnival Cruise. Bags were all together, not all over Hells Half Acre and 3/4 Quarters of Georgia.

Bad Stuff:

WIFI throughout the ship:

We were in Cabin 6360 (This is something you might want to send to the Beards In the IT Department) – Bullocks as you say Hope you are not writing the blog in your underpants from the computer room and sending it WIFI, because that is the only place my laptop would work, except for the last sea day, Finally got it to work on the Balcony..Spent $100.00 to get Internet connection in our room…Didn’t work. I took my laptop because my Wife’s is slower. Literally took it down to the computer center, got on-line, walked it back to my room, and the connection was gone. Asked about the access points and was told they would be checked…Went back the next day and the attendant told me he had somebody check them…Still NO LUCK GETTING ON LINE FROM INSIDE MY ROOOM I know about steel and the WIFI, but at home I can go 200 yards from my home and still get connected.

Thanks again John. Hope you are having a Great time with your Bride and Beautiful Daughter. Keep the stories and Pics about them coming

Mike, Judy McDaniel
Robert, Shannon Mathis

John Says:
Hello Mike mcd

Thanks for the great review and I am glad the table assignment worked out for you. I will make sure that all the people you mentioned get to see what you have said about them and those little extra things the dining room staff did are the little things that I know can make such a difference to the cruise experience. It sounds like we need to work harder with the folks in Freeport and I will make sure our Miami-based shore excursion department get to see your comments.

I was so very disappointed to read about the internet service. You know, there is one company that supplied the entire cruise industry and obviously I don’t understand bandwidth and satellites and tofu but I think we need as an industry to improve the internet services we provide the millions of passengers who cruise every year. So thanks again for this great review and I hope it’s not long before we see you again.

Best wishes to all.

Travel girl23 Asked:
Hi, John (Please reply at your convenience anytime before Oct. 2011)

Thank you for putting videos on your blog, especially those on the ship. It is like being on the ship again while actually sitting at my computer.

We have a very active roll call on CC for our Carnival Magic transatlantic repositioning cruise from Barcelona to Galveston; in fact we just hit 1000 posts. Many times, people there have asked if you are going to help us with a meet and greet. Knowing you, I just feel you will. I know this is rather early but I thought I would check with you and see if you would help us. Thank you for anything you can do to help us set one up.
I am so glad your lovely wife and precious little girl are now with you.

I just love your blog as it provides a good laugh each day.

Looking forward to the Magic and meeting you in person (and hopefully, Heidi and Kye, too).

John Says:
Hello Travel girl23

I am glad you like the videos and I will include more later this week. Congratulations on the 1,000 hits and of course it would be an honour to arrange a meet and greet for you. Just let me know nearer the time and we can arrange a time and place. Actually, we can do two as it’s such a long cruise. Thanks so much for the kind words for me and the family and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

Best wishes and see you on your Carnival Magic.

Mike Asked:
Dear John, (Please respond)

Well, I just found your blog and have enjoyed it. My family and I are booked on the Legend for Oct. 10 – 17. This is actually our 3rd attempt to cruise and hopefully it will happen this time. The first time was Katrina’s fault and the second was just this year in February. We were booked but my wife came down with pneumonia and spent a month in the hospital and a few months beyond that recovering. We nearly lost her. Her health is not good at all and hasn’t been for some time.

We got insurance too late, but we were able to get a credit which allowed us to rebook. My wife wanted to wait due to the finances of her hospital stay and then my youngest son having to have a cornea transplant, but I was not willing to risk another winter. So, although we are having to do the cheapest of the cheap version, barring any unforeseen difficulties, we are bound for a seven day cruse of the western Caribbean in about a month. I will say that we did upgrade the cabin since we were booking so much earlier this time, our credit (which had to be used in full) allowed a nicer room.

So my question is, is there anything you could suggest for us to make this cruise particularly memorable. I know it will be anyway, but I’m talking something to make it really special for my wife. This has always been a dream vacation for her (and myself for that matter) and I have no idea if we’ll ever get to do it again. I’d love for it to be really special.

My wife is 45 and I’m 47, boys are 18 and 19 (hopefully they will both get to come). She has

some mobility issues, but not wheelchair bound yet, though we will have one with us for those long trips around the ships and off when possible. So anything that fits with that would be great.

John Says:
Dear Mike

Welcome to the blog and I am glad you enjoy it so much. I see that you and the family are sailing on one of my favourite ships next week and after Hurricane Katrinabastard and your wife’s unfortunate illness I hope that this time it is indeed third time lucky and you will all have a brilliant cruise. I really suggest that you book a family table at the Steakhouse and celebrate ……. well……life and valuable family time.

May I also suggest that you take your wife to swim with the stingrays in Grand Cayman. Even with her mobility concerns this will be an incomparable experience. She doesn’t need to be a great swimmer as the water is shallow and honestly it is a superb experience that will afford you unforgettable memories. In Roatan I think you should all go see the monkeys and parrots at Gumbalinda Park, you will all love that. Now, as you didn’t write either your last name or cabin number I would like you do something for me.

Please leave a note at the guest services desk addressed to the cruise director. Mention that I said that you are a blog reader and that I had promised your wife a little something to celebrate her recovery. I have also asked the maitre d to arrange a table that is easily accessible for your wife.

Have a brilliant time and my best wishes to you all.

Will Johnson Asked:
John (Please reply)

Very quick question and I’m sure one of the Stephanies can answer. I am trying to book the Steakhouse on Carnival Dream sailing 5th Mar 2011 – the web site has options only for 2008,9 & 10 is it going to be updated soon?


John Says:
Hello Will Johnson

I just checked with the 344 Stephanies and they told me that this will be available from December 1 of this year. If you have any difficulties please let me know.

Best wishes

Cindy Beggs Asked:

Hello John,

I put a comment in while you were on vacation and have not heard back from you so thought I would resubmit. I have enjoyed reading your blog and especially sailing with Carnival.  I have a small request if you can help. I finally managed to get our family to take a cruise together, probably the only one for a couple of the people, and would prefer a ROUND 8 top table for our table assignment. It would be much easier to talk to everyone that way.

We are sailing on the Triumph out of New Orleans on October 23rd. Have all the booking numbers for you if you are able to help.

Thank you.

John Says:
Hello Cindy Beggs

Sorry that I missed your comment until now and congratulations for getting the family together for this special cruise. I have asked the maitre D on the Carnival Triumph to help you with your reservation and I wish you all a brilliant time.

Best wishes

PAT67 Asked:
Reply if you want

I know you think that Carnival is the perfect company and that your servers are good but they are not. Have to say that the crew seemed extremely unhappy most of the time. There were a “FEW” crew members who were smiling and nice, helpful…but…Most…were not too friendly and definitely NOT helpful.

Most acted like I was bothering them, if I had a question.

Had 2 different room stewards. 1st one a girl from Indonesia. Had her from day 1 – 3. She acted really nice the first day. 2nd day made me a puppy out of towels. I told her how cute it was and thanked her. She brought me a book on how to make towel animals. I asked her how much it was and she told me that I could have it for free. I thanked her and thought in my head that I would include the price of the book in my tip, at the end of the cruise. OKAY, well, the next day after she gave me the book, she saw me entering my cabin and said that she “borrowed” my book because another guest wanted to see it and that she would bring it by my cabin later that evening. Well, later never came. For some reason, the next day we had a new cabin steward, a nice guy. Never did understand that. She also totally ignored us, as we could tell, was on purpose. All I could figure is that, she never returned the book, BIG DEAL…NOT.., and she knew that she had lied to me about returning it. Other than that, I don’t know if it was something I said or did, maybe in her culture that offended her…I honestly don’t know, but..The guy we had was very attentive and we did tip him personally at the end of the cruise. As a matter of fact, HE WAS ALMOST THE ONLY PERSON ON THE CRUISE THAT CONSTANTLY SMILED AND ALWAYS ASKED IF HE COULD GET US ANYTHING OR HELP US!!! KUDOS TO HIM!! Okay, Dinner. We had early seating in the lower (Deck 3, POSH DINING ROOM). I was not too impressed with the seating. Seemed like we were in a dungeon. Couldn’t see anything on the main floor (They had small shows, etc). Never saw who the Matri’d (Sp?) was UNTIL the last nite of the cruise…OF COURSE, you had an envelope for his TIP that you were supposed to give him when leaving dinner. THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN!! …We had a very disgruntled waitress. She acted like it was total trouble to take our orders and serve us. I forgot to order iced tea the first night…And almost went through the entire dinner without; because she never came back to the table once the main course was served. Oh, I did ask for the iced tea when she served our appetizer, but, received it during the dessert part of the meal??? Go figure!! The food was really good in the dining room and also in the buffet, but the service was NOT SO GOOD. Sail on Royal Caribbean if you want to know what good service is all about John and stop pretending that you have the best because I have seen that you don’t. Be advised I posted the rest of the post on Cruise Critic.

John Says:
Hello Pat67

I am very sorry to read about your experience and that you did not find the crew friendly and that you did not appreciate their service. I have sent your comments to the office but as I don’t know what ship you sailed on. I can tell you that while I am very sorry that you had such an experience I can proudly stand behind the statement that we do have the best crew in the industry. I will certainly look into this and hope you can write to me again with more information on your ship and sailing date. Until then, please know that we will learn from our mistakes and I hope you did have a great cruise.

Best wishes

Frank and Bridie Asked:
John please Reply,

I have a question for you ever since the pre-booking or online purchasing of shore tours has become popular and available on-line just like The steakhouse reservations. The spa pre-booking has remained very limited. We just booked Shore tours for are upcoming trip on the Carnival Dream. However you can only book some spa treatments, not everything. For example under Massages you can only book the stone or couples massage not a regular Swedish massage. Even the Hair Treatments are very limited. This is true for a lot of other things also they only give a very limited selection. Why is this? Can you forward this to the beards? We love to pre-book everything but always go straight to the Spa upon Embarkation to book are treatments. Can’t they upgrade this seeing they have most of the shore tours and Steakhouse reservations?

Big Fans As Always,
Frank and Bridie

John Says:
Hello Frank and Bridie

It’s great to hear from you and you are absolutely right about our online spa booking service. I just checked myself and you’re correct – many of the menu of treatments are not available. I know that many like to pre book their spa treatments as it allows for less things to have to worry about onboard and assures that you get the treatment you want. I know we can do better and I am going to send this to the beards straight away. I hope you are both well and hope to see you soon.

Best wishes to you both

Jeff Asked:
Dear John, Please read and reply if you would like.

I have been reading and enjoying your blog for about two years now. I was so excited to find out that you would be on the west coast! We finally booked our cruise for the Carnival Splendor for October 10th. Our original plan was to sail on the Spirit next (haven’t sailed on her yet), but I convinced the family that we should sail on the Splendor for a second year in a row because we don’t wanna miss you. This will be our 5th Carnival cruise. I will be with my wife Heather, daughter Lili, and niece Shalyn.

Hope to get a chance to say hi and maybe even take a few minutes to smoke a cigar. If I remember you like Montecristos right?

See ya soon!

John Says:
Hello Jeff

It will be an honour to welcome you onboard and I hope we can find time to have a cigar. Please can you find the time to leave me a note at the guest services desk with your cabin number on it and I will send you a special dedication in the morning show and also a little something to your cabin. Maybe you can say a few words of love for your wife.

I will do all I can to make this your best cruise ever.

Best wishes

Josée Rainville Asked:
Bonjour John! (Please reply)

Yes! I am FRENCH-canadian! Just started reading your blog “thingy” a month (or so) a go. You make me laugh so hard that my husband comes to the room and I have to translate everything to him!

My question is: is the “HONOUR (SPELT CORRECTLY)” an inside joke? Or is it just a debate between English and American? The way I see it, it’s just the same as “potato” and “potato”. It depends on where you come from?

Anyway! We will take our first cruise ever on “my Carnival Glory” January 9th, for our 25th anniversary. Will it still be Jorge the CD? I know that you will be on the Carnival Glory for BC4 in February. Is there a chance that you’ll start on the Carnival Glory earlier (like Jan. 9th)? The CD “schedule” ends in December (so is the calendar for the steakhouse reservation). When will we know?

Please, keep us laugh!

John Says:
Hello Josee Rainville

Bonsoir monsewer un est la grand honour je welcome dans la blog. Mon derriere ce formidable e scherde du fromage.  Just in case you don’t actually speak French let me say that in English. A bid you a big welcome to the blog thingy and my bottom smells of cheese.

Right, the word honor is the American way of spelling honour. As you can see, much to the Queen’s disgust they have dropped the “u” as they have also done in Splendor and color. I am trying to convert them one blogger at a time but so far I have failed miserably……La Bugger.

It looks like George Solano will be the CD for your Carnival Glory cruise and as I am sure you will have read here dans la blog that he is an excellent CD whom I know you will love more than a big plate of frog’s legs. I hope we get to sail together soon and we can share our favourite (spelt correctly) French stories.

Au revoir mon petit croissant

That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow. Just to follow up on a request from a blogger last week for a recipe we used at the brilliant Chef’s Table………here it is.

I receive lots of letters each and every week for my morning show. Sometimes they are simple dedications of love and sometimes they are far far more complicated. This week I have been working hard ……….to save a relationship. Let me show you the letter I received on Monday and for obvious reasons I have not included their names.

Now I can’t tell you what the lady had done but I don’t think you need to be Sherlock Holmes to work out what she did. Anyway, I called the guest who we shall call Amanda and she was in absolute tears and she begged me to come and talk to her partner whom we shall call Sam. Now, I am not a counselor nor did I really have time to spend with them on a busy sea day. But I am glad I did. I am not saying that everything in their garden is rosy but at least they’re talking again.

The 30 minutes I was with them were emotional and at times Sam was angry….very angry….. but as I tried to explain that if there was ever a time that they would know that their young lives were meant to be shared with each other, it was now in this environment of fun and relaxation. Sam had not spoken to Amanda since they had been onboard and they would have canceled had they taken insurance. At least now I have them being civil to each other and talking again. Will their relationship survive? I have no idea……..but hope springs eternal.

This was a part of my job that isn’t in my job description and I must say I found it quite difficult but hopefully my help………well……….helped.

I feel that I need to open another can of huge wriggly worms here and talk once again about that most controversial of subjects…..smoking. I have stayed away from this since joining the Carnival Splendor but having been here for two months now I think it’s time I sent in my report. We have been a trial ship for two areas, the piano bar and the dance club (disco as we used to call it back in the days of the mullet and Wham) both of which are non-smoking. Now, the most controversial area here is the piano bar which remains for most of the fleet a smoking location. So here we stand at the end of the trial period with the hotel director and I having the choice of whether to keep it non-smoking or return to a smoking bar. Before I tell you what we have decided let me first pass on some facts.

I guess that Duncan and I expected more complaints from regulars then we actually received. My regulars, I mean guests who have sailed Carnival before and are used to being able to smoke in this lounge. Well, we did get some……but not a lot and that I must admit surprised the heck out of me because I had read some very passionate pleas here on the blog thingy from smokers to allow them to light up in the piano bar. Yet, here onboard there were not that many. Second of all we looked at revenue and again we were surprised that there was little if any difference between when it was smoking and when it wasn’t. Now I think that has a lot to do with the entertainer we have in there and if he or she is top quality then maybe it doesn’t make any difference at all.

What we are finding here is that smokers are taking a smoke break, popping on down to the Robusto cigar bar and having a cigarette and then returning to the piano bar. And obviously there is one more area to factor in and that is the demographic of the guests themselves with California having some of the strictest smoking regulations on the planet. You can’t even smoke a cigar on the sodding golf course anymore. Anyway, taking all of this into consideration we have decided to keep the piano bar non-smoking. This is just on this ship and it is NOT — I repeat not — a fleetwide change. I say this only because I don’t want another power strip/burgers/iced tea situation rammed up my arse.

As for the dance club. Well once again revenue there is the same and people are enjoying the music and bumping and grinding as ever before. So this will also remain non-smoking. Again, this is I believe the only dance club in the fleet that is totally non-smoking.

So, what else on this subject. Well, I have added an area outside on deck 10 aft overlooking the ocean for smokers. There are tables and chairs and we also have sail away mojitos and cigars from the three ports of call. I think this is a nice added touch.

On a very positive note you will be glad to hear that Carnival is assisting its crew members to stop smoking. While smoking may be a less popular trend in North America and the UK it is on the rise in places like Eastern Europe, the Far East and India where many of our crew come from. And so Carnival is giving free medical advice and free stop smoking kits and patches etc to those crew who wish to do so…….it is already proving very popular.

However, while I understand smoking is a subject that many feel passionate about I am sure that there are very few who would not agree that the polar bear-loving beardies have taken anti- smoking to ridiculous new heights.

Have you heard that a board of beardies who give movies their ratings is seeking an 18 certificate for any film in which a character smokes, and where the film fails to explain that smoking is bad for you. It was only a matter of time before this reached us. In France, there have been bans on posters advertising films in which characters are shown with a cigar, such as the recent one of Audrey Tautou playing Coco Chanel….who smoked like a bloody chimney. That’s typical of France……stop your citizens from smoking ……. OK…..but while you’re at it maybe you can educate them that bathing is something that would also do the body good.

Whenever I see a film with an 18 certificate I am treated to torrents of foul language and relatively explicit rumpy pumpy. None of that seems to be so bad as people having a cigarette. My Mum and Dad have watched thousands of old films full of smokers but have never smoked so much as a salmon in their life.

Now there is another problem though as you will see here and the timing of this comment was just perfect for today’s blog.

Guest: Mr ——–Ref: 842020109A
Cabin: _____Booking#: 99N4J4 Added-Changed: 10/04/10 – 10/03410

Maitre D called the GSD and said that two male guests were smoking inside the dining room during dinner. Maitre D stated that other guests were complaining but the cigarettes were not real and guests refused to leave. Security were asked to assist and guests left. Guest Mr ______ late came to the desk to say he had been embarrassed by the situation (see incident 84202117B) and that he was allowed to smoke in bars and restaurants in California.

OK, for those of you who are going “Ugh, not real, what are they talking about,” let me explain. The battery powered, steel gadgets are designed to look like real cigarettes, with a glowing end and a plume of fragrant smoke, but instead of inhaling tobacco the user breathes in a mist of nicotine that is absorbed in the lungs. Now I don’t know much else about them apart from I have seen my great mate Big Ed use one during our time together on our Carnival Dream. I guess the thing here is not so much do we allow them because yes we do but should we restrict them to the smoking areas. And if that’s what we do then I guess the point of having them is …well…..bugger all because why would you shove something you can buy from Radio Shack in your mouth when you can have the real thing.

So for now, we have told the guests that they can smoke them around the ship but only in designated smoking areas. I think we as a company need to educate ourselves more about these things and then set a more standard policy in place….because they are getting more and more popular for sure.

Big Ed……..I have seen you use these things………..what do you say mate?

In the last few days we have had some changes amongst the beards at Carnival HQ and soon we will have a new Senior Vice President of Guest Operations joining us and I will be welcoming him officially soon. He has an incredible resume which includes managing some of the most important hotels in North America so it will be fascinating to see his insights into smoking. One thing is for sure, we have to try and do our best to appease everyone. As any smoker knows, the ban on smoking in public places has caused cigarette and cigar smokers to be forced to stand outside like a naughty dog every time you want a smoke. Even now when I dare light up a cigar, there’s a sense still that I shouldn’t. That if I do, it will be for some guests as though I am sitting there playing with my thingy. But then again, smoking and the dangers of it for the user and those around us has to be taken seriously and that’s why once again Carnival is doing all it can to try and appease everyone………and that I can promise you is about as easy as Mongolian algebra.

Maybe one day they will invent an electronic cigar. Heidi will be happy but I won’t be. I am sure people will say it’s like the real thing…………yep….of course it is…………in much the same way as a blow up version…………….. Is the same as the real Megan Fox?

Last night at the Captain’s Celebration I met so many wonderful guests and for some reason many wanted to take my photo. Having my photograph taken has always been like having extensive root-canal work done or a hemorrhoid that is so far up that my bottom there is no way to get there and scratch it. I hate it with an unbridled passion. A photograph of me serves as a permanent reminder of the simple fact that I am just a stomach with a bent nose.

Unfortunately these days everyone has a camera phone, so everyone has become an amateur paparazzo.

I understand why, of course. If you could get a snap of Judge Judy smoking a joint with Simon Cowell, then – ker-ching! – I bet it’d be worth thousands.

However, why anyone should want a photo of me is beyond my comprehension. However, my misery was nothing compared to Captain Cupisti. That’s because we have a fantastic group onboard ….they are The Japanese Karaoke Group from…….well Japan. There are 54 of them and last night they arrived at the party all at the same time. They saw the captain…….looked up at him…….and that was it…….he was General Custer…….. was surrounded.

Each guest wanted to have a photo with him and each had bigger more expensive camera than the last. Some had two cameras. They were pushing and shoving each other trying to be the next to have their photo taken. The captain looked at me with panic-stricken eyes but there was bugger all I could do and so for a solid 45 minutes he stood there and had multiple photos taken of him. Now there was a group leader there and you might wonder what he didn’t organize them into a nice line……well that may have been because none of his group were ever going to take him seriously. Why……..well that’s because for some bizarre reason…………Mr. Makoto the Japanese group leader…….was dressed as Elvis.

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.