Lots of Meetings and Lots of Coffee

December 1, 2010 -

John Heald

It’s 9 pm and I here I sit in the Hilton Hotel in my underpants writing a very quick blog to you before I go to bed and then head to Miami Airport where a mall cop will feel my thingy to make sure I haven’t got a dollop of Semtex tied to the end of it. I will then fly to Tennessee on American Eagle which means a seat belt extension for this fat bastard……. Yesterday I had a very rewarding day in the Miami office and before I tell you briefly what happened I want to talk to you about something I noticed as I walked around from meeting to meeting.

First of all I should say just how extraordinarily kind the shoreside team was toward me. I met so many people who I have never met before who told me that they read the Carnival Splendor Smoke on the Water blogs and how proud they were of me and the crew. Many took photos with me and that was so very humbling.

The other thing I noticed was that everyone……..and I mean everyone……was holding a cup of coffee, drinking coffee or on their way to the canteen to get a coffee. Now I enjoy a good cup of coffee myself although it will for me never replace tea because I am British and drinking tea is as British as The Queen, Hugh Grant and a curry. However, as the shoreside staff hugged me and took photos with me I was enveloped in a constant smell of coffee breath.

I don’t like the smell of coffee on someone’s breath and apart from body odour, garlic and vegetarian farts………coffee is the worst of the smells. If you have body odour, gas and have eaten garlic covered vegetables and you are French…….please do me and the rest of the world a favour and jump out a window now.

It seems though that like most offices around the world, in Carnival HQ coffee is the part of office life and after a few Cuban coffees which are all the rage at CCL HQ their breath could peel the skin right off your face if they get too close. I’d take a woman that smells of yesterday’s rumpy pumpy anyday. I had one lady take a photo of me today who was stunning……I mean drop dead stunning with that mysterious Latin way. She was wearing jeans tighter than 10 Scottish men. As she walked towards me I thought “wow” right up until the point where she breathed on me and my “wow” turned into an “urrgh.” You may as well ask me to get aroused by a naked Judge Judy.  You may have surmised that I dislike the taste of coffee. Actually that’s not true.

I like the odd cup of coffee now and then but these folks in Miami and their Cuban coffee treat it like a religion. I had an early morning meeting and one of the vice presidents said “Ooh, I can’t start until I have had my first cup of coffee.” Have you ever tasted Cuban coffee? It’s like drinking diesel oil that has been filtered through an elephant’s scrotum.

One of life’s mysteries is that a multibillion dollar global industry has been built off the back of something that requires a degree in quantum physics to make and stains all your cups and your teeth. We preach that addiction is evil, and then fondly indulge adults walking the corridors of Carnival sucking their fix through holes in plastic lids, like Styrofoam crack pipes. Oh yes……. one more thing………….for the beards that run Starbucks can I just sat that bowel movements are “regular”…..cup sizes are sodding not.

Just before I talk to you a little about the meetings I had today can I just aplologise for the lack of Q & A these last few days. I know many of you are waiting for me to answer your questions and I have asked Eric to send me any that are time sensitive and I will get to all of those on Monday I promise. I sent the latest Chef’s tables reservations and you should get your confirmations later today. Next week I promise a full week of normal blogs starting on Monday.

Anyway…………here are today’s 10 so let’s crack on.

Harry Gold Asked:
Respond John

John I find your comments about the guests that dare to complain posted on this forum to be inappropriate. These are Carnival clients and whatever their issues, right or wrong, to publicly critique a paying customer on this blog is in extremely poor taste. This is why no other cruise line has something like this. In this day and age of flexible court interpretation of the law, to post something like you do each and every day is unprofessional and will turn potential guests away from your product. I am offended.

John Says:
Hello Harry Gold

I thank you for taking the time to write and expressing your opinion. I am always careful never to divulge the name of any guest that I write about and the foundations of this blog have always been that I would tell everyone about what really goes on behind the scenes on our ships. I am very grateful that Carnival allows me to be honest and write what I do but I totally understand what that it is not to everyone’s taste and apologise if I did indeed offend you.

Best wishes

Candice Pollack Asked:

I am writing to you in the hopes that you can help my family out. My son is a loyal reader of your blog, and a huge fan of yours and he told me to write to you as maybe you could help us. We requested the late dining for our cruise on the Carnival Pride on Jan 02, 2010 but something happened and we got switched to early dining. If it’s possible could we please be moved to the late dining, and have a table for my family of 7? We have always had late dining, and really prefer this. Our room #’s are 8262,8245,8249 Also could we reserve the Chef’s table for my husband Stephen and myself Candice (our room is 8262). We appreciate your help, thanks so much! We are loyal Carnival Platinum cruisers and can’t wait for this cruise as well as many more with Carnival!

John Says:
Hello Candice Pollack

Please thank your son for reading the blog thingy and I hope he continues to enjoy it. I will certainly ask my friend the Maitre D to see what we can do with your seating request and of course I will make sure your Chef’s Table is booked and you will receive confirmation shortly.

Best wishes to you and the family and thanks so much for your wonderful loyalty

Vicki Asked:
John please reply
We just booked the Legend for Dec 19. My dad passed away Sept 27 and we just had to get away for the holidays

Early dining is what we like and right now, we are wait listed. We tried late dining once and hated it. This will be out 34th CCL cruise
John and Vicki Ryder

John Says:
Hello Vicki

Please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss and I hope that this coming cruise will rejuvenate you somewhat. I will ask the maitre d to see what he can do to help you.

Thanks for sailing with us yet again and have a brilliant 34th cruise.

Best wishes

Joseph Pujol Asked:
Dear John Please Reply

Hey John! My gf and I are cruising on the Pride on March 13th. We want to book both the chefs table and steakhouse, but we know it’s a little early for that. I am just curious to know what night of the cruise the chefs table is, as well as if there is any way to know the menu for the 7 day cruise so we can plan to eat in the steakhouse on the formal night for the better steaks and setting. I also want to thank you for helping us out on our cruise on the Destiny in September. We had an amazing cruise and loved our table for 4. Thank you SO much!!!

John Says:
Hello Joseph Pujol

Thanks for saying “thank you” for the table arrangement. It certainly isn’t too early to reserve The Chef’s Table for your next cruise and will ask the ship to hold two spots for the Chef’s Table and if you require anymore please let me know. The Chef’s Table is on the third day of the cruise after the first elegant night. I hope this helps and if you need anything else please let me know

Best wishes

Alice H Asked:
Hi John, Please Respond!!!!

I love reading your blog thingy, I have to admit I can’t read it every day but I try to catch up on weekends. I was just reading a comment you made to Berniece on Oct. 13th where you said you may take one or two cruises off in August (The Magic) PLEASE PLEASE DON’T TAKE THE AUG. 14, 2011 OFF. I’m begging you. We are so much wanting to cruise with you again. We had the extreme enjoyment of cruising with you on the Freedom in July 2009 and had such a fabulous time, and are looking forward to you as our CD again. Please DON’T take that cruise off and instead have Heidi and Kye join you on that cruise I would love to meet them and give Kye a little gift from us in NY.

I know you will help us so much on the Med. cruise since we are so unfamiliar with all the sights. We are also celebrating our 24th anniversary and plan to spend 2 extra days in Barcelona before the cruise. I will write you closer to the cruise. If you could please help, we would like to be at a table (early) with 2 other couples as we love to meet new friends.
Keep up the good work and I love reading about things on your Facebook also. I have made some comments on there also.

All the best,
Alice H.

John Says:
Hello Alice H

After reading this how can I possibly take your cruise off? Actually I have no idea what cruise I will take a break on but I have now added to my diary that I need to stay on when you sail. Thanks so much for the kind words and it would be an honour to sail with you again. I will be writing much more about the ports etc soon and in the New Year will start to help people with their table requests and Chef’s Table reservations. If you have questions about Barcelona please would you let me know and I will be happy to help you. Thanks again and see you in Europe on your Carnival Magic.

Best wishes

Ira Asked:
John (please reply):

First, thank you so much for the terrific birthday surprise that you left for my wife on our recent Destiny cruise. The bottle of Champagne was shared with our tablemates, and the 24kt gold plastic ship on a stick, now sits on her desk, so she can remember our outstanding cruise.

You asked us to write a review of our time onboard the Destiny – and so we will. Overall we had a great time – good weather, fun atmosphere – a great cruise.

The good:

1. Captain and staff were great about changing our itinerary around to avoid TS Paula. We still went to the same ports (Cozumel and Key West) just in a different order…and that worked out fine.
2. The main dining room food and service were outstanding. We met 2 couples that were a pleasure to dine with – and while we may never be best friends, they made it a pleasure to meet each evening and talk about our day.
3. The cabins were in great shape, and our room stewards were perfect – there when you need them, but unobtrusive.
4. The ship is in excellent maintenance shape – a little tired in overall appearance – but well maintained.

The not so good – AKA things that can be improved… Keep in mind, we are being a little picky, but that is what helps keep standards up:
1. The lido buffet is not good. There are obviously crowd control issues and lines are everywhere. On the first day, lunch (always a little crowded) it took my wife almost 35 min to get through the main buffet line. I tried to get to the deli, but gave up. Ended up having pizza – which is fine, but was by default. Breakfast the next morning was no better. It should never take a half hour to get an omelette – yet that was the norm. Not sure what can be done to increase the speed of throughput, but there must be something. Also, the grill around the pool was very selective in choice. I know that you got rid of the steak sandwich – but there were no grilled chicken sandwiches! There also seemed to be a number of “weird” rules on this ship. For example, one day I wanted a hot dog – but wanted it cooked a little longer. Asked the grill guy to throw a dog from the tray back on the grill for a couple of minutes – and he told me he was not allowed. Asked for a new dog “well” grilled and was told that all the hot dogs are done the same. Hmmm – I’ve had this done on many of your ships – so not sure what the issue was. Also – the Deli was really bad. They make a turkey wrap, and a tuna sandwich – so my wife asked for a tuna wrap and was told that it does not come that way. Hmmm – each sandwich is made to order – you have a wrap and the tuna is already made….so not sure why this is an issue? This is also the first time that we have been on a ship and not seen “supervisors” actively managing the dining facility from a consumer visible position. It was almost like the staff knows that there is an issue, and so they avoid us in order to not hear about it.
2. For the first time, I can honestly say that the entertainment on this ship was lacking. On every Carnival ship we have been on, the main stage is reserved for headliners and production shows. The secondary stage is used for game shows, quest, sometimes karaoke, and/or the Punchliner’s club. Here is seemed to be one or the other. On the Destiny, the production shows were really bad (walked out of 1) the same 2 comedians played 2 of the nights – and one of them was downright offensive. I like bawdy humor (spelled correctly!) and have no issues with “blue” language and/or material. That was not the problem. However, ½ way through his “act” the comedian turned the show into a political rally. Now I happen to agree with his political point of view, BUT it was totally out of place, and not handled well. He even said, “I’m going to get in trouble for this, and I don’t care.” Then he proceeded to lecture us on a new book that came out, and how we should all run out and get it – that it will “save” us. Finally he thanked all of the blacks (his word, not mine) on board the ship for cruising. Not sure why that was necessary?

So you have a choice – see a bad production show, or the same 2 comedians – 1 of which was offensive.
3. This ship has a major smoking problem. In this day and age, when non-smokers significantly outnumber smokers, AND when the vast majority of the United States has strict smoking rules Carnival needs to do a much better job. In our normal conversations with other passengers – many (if not most) agreed with us that the smoking was out of hand on this ship. The casino is filled with smoke. There are 2 non-smoking tables, but that is it. On past Carnival cruises there were “smoke free” casino nights – not on this ship. The disco, piano bar, sports bar, casino bar, and the cigar bar (obviously) ALL SMOKING. This is the first ship that we have been on (on any line) where the smoke infringed on our activities.

I strongly recommend that all of them (except the cigar bar and 1 other) become non-smoking. I think you will find that your profits will go up! I can tell you that one night a bunch of us went walking around to find a “fun” place to have a drink – and not finding one that was not filled with smoke, we simply went to bed. I can also tell you that the sports bar and piano bar was next to empty most nights. I wonder if the smoke drove people away. The bottom line is – being a non-smoker does not infringe on anyone else’s good time – but being a smoker does.

4. Getting on and off the ship. In Cozumel, it took us almost 50 minutes to get back on the ship from the dock. That is an hour of waiting to go through security. Not sure what can be done – but that seems way too long. We would chalk it up to “it is what it is” if it did not happen again in Key West. First, we docked in KW at noon – and then were not cleared till almost 1:30. (I know that this is not Carnival’s fault) BUT then the line to get on the trolley was almost another 45 minutes long. Simply not enough trams/buses! Then to get back on there was a long backup again.
5. Some of the small things were not “Carnival perfect”. Here is an example – Sundays in America is football. Whenever we have cruised in the fall the screen by the pool has always been tuned into a football game. Not so on the Destiny – we got the “swimming fish” video for the first half of the day. Then we got a Miles Davis documentary – about a concert from 40 years ago. REALLY?
6. There was no deck party! Instead of the party by the pool, there was line dancing in the middle of “5” by the casino bar.
7. I wonder if there is not an entertainment director/cruise director problem. It just feels like the entertainment on this ship is on “auto pilot” and could use a major refresher. The CDs big thing is to keep reminding us to have a good time because “you’re on vacation”. So – have a drink because “you’re on vacation”, eat some more because “you’re on vacation”, clap loud because “you’re on vacation”. Yes, we know we are on vacation – you don’t need to keep reminding us. J

All that said – we had a great time – just think the shipboard life could use a “spruce up” and/or a little direction. Can’t wait to hit the seas again in December on the Dream.


John Says:
Hello Ira

Thanks so much for that excellent review. I must admit that I am in a bit of a rush and please don’t think I am being rude by not addressing all your topics. I will say that I am glad that you had fun and enjoyed the cruise and I also have to tell you how disappointed I was to read your evaluation about the shows and entertainment. I have copied this to some important people for their review and I want to thank you for letting us know. I was surprised that they did not show the football game on the big screen as that is one of the things that it was put on the ships for. This along with the comments made by the comedian will be passed along although as I have written here recently, comedy is a very difficult thing to perform because while most of the audience will laugh at each attempt at humour there is always going to be a few who do not like what was said. In our comedians defence I will point out that the shows are “uncensored” which means we give them pretty much an open menu of topics and by using the word “uncensored” in our programming we hope that guests will understand that there is a chance that they will hear something that they may not be used.

And on the smoking issue ……….well that’s something that continues to be a hot topic and I apologise that you were affected by it. This is again a subject that is under review and one that I will be writing more about in the weeks ahead. So thanks again for this great review which I found very useful indeed and is one that I have sent to all the right people. Please let me know if you need anything before you cruise on your Carnival Dream

Best wishes

Jennifer Redmond Asked:
John, please reply

I just wanted to make sure you received my many thanks for making our anniversary cruise on the Pride last week memorable. We received the bottle of champagne and ship on a stick from Felipe on Friday…a perfect end to a perfect vacation away. All of the staff was very friendly. Dinner at David’s was amazing, and the Ivory Bar with Michael Smith was by far our favorite spot every night! Thanks again for making us feel special. Can’t wait to plan another cruise…this time with our kids.

John Says:
Hello Jennifer

Yes I did indeed see this and it is always so great to hear that when my colleagues follow up on my behalf and deliver the little gifts. I hope it’s not too long before we see you again on another fun for all cruise.

Best wishes to all

Gloria Asked:
(Please Reply)

Hello John: I writing to request your help again. My husband and I will be sailing on the Carnival Freedom Dec. 4-12. Cabin #7201. We are confirmed for early dining. We’d like to request that we be seated at a booth if possible. Your assistance is very much appreciated.

Many thanks,

John Says:
Hello Gloria

I will certainly ask the maitre d to help you with your request.

Have a brilliant time

Best wishes


The reason we stopped cruising having done 2 with Carnival is because of the smokers you allow on the ship. They have no right to smoke and inflict their sin on others. It’s because of them that you lost me as a passenger.


John Says:
Hello Graham

I am so sorry that you have stopped cruising with us and I understand your feelings on this subject. Smokers and non-smokers both alike have rights and Carnival and indeed the cruise industry as a whole continue to try and find ways to appease both sides. It is though not an easy thing to do. I truly hope you will reconsider and we will see you again soon.

Best wishes

Penny Asked:
Dear John, (Reply if necessary)

My husband and I were on the September 27, 2010 sailing of the Carnival Fascination. I have been waiting for an email so that I could send my comments to Carnival and it has not yet arrived. Would you please either have one sent to me (at the above email address), or would you be willing to pass along my sincerest compliments to the staff and crew of the Fascination?

Our booking number #______ and we were in cabin U97. I wrote my cabin stewards name down because I knew I’d never remember how to spell it, and of course…… I’ve lost it. It was pronounced “Win”. He and his assistant were extremely professional and courteous. Our cabin was kept spotless and whenever we saw either of them, they went out of their way to make us comfortable.

Desi, the Maitre’D in the dining room is a treasure. She treated us like royalty, and family all at the same time. My husband and I were also invited to the Chef’s Table and had a wonderful time. I cannot say enough good things about the experience. Tony, our waiter was perfect, as was the food. We still talk about it and cannot wait to experience again on our next cruise.

Please thank them for us. The cruise schedule was messed up due to Tropical Storm Nicole, and I’m sure they all had a lot more put on them keeping up with the guests who were disappointed over the changes in itineraries.

My only suggestion (not complaint) is that while I’m sure the staff had their hands full, there could have been more activities added to the schedule to help keep people happy on our extra sea day.

Thanks again!

John Says:
Hello Penny

I am very sorry we did not get you a review card. This was mentioned by me today in a meeting and we will be improving here I promise. Anyway, until the new system is set up this blog remains the place for you to post your praise and opportunities for improvement and I will certainly make sure that the crew of the Carnival Fascination gets to see what you have written.

Thanks so much for your understanding about the changes we needed to make because of the bad weather and I will make sure the ship sees that you felt there were not enough activities for the extra time at sea. There should be lots and lots of course and I am sorry to hear your opinion that there was just not enough. I was so glad to read about Desi our only female maitre d. She is brilliant and I am very proud of her. Thanks once again for taking the time to write.

Best wishes to you and the family

That’s all for today and I apologise if I have missed anyone’s requests who have already sailed. As you will read in a moment we are working on a simpler way for me to be able to help you.

Let’s take a break and meet another of our brilliant Piano Bar Entertainers………here then is the current entertainer on the Carnival Glory

Name: Duane Lewis

Home: London, Ontario, Canada

Short Personal Biography:

Duane has been one of Carnival’s leading Piano Bar Entertainers since joining the fleet in 2003. He plays and sings well over a thousand popular songs, incorporating all musical styles, genres and eras. He acquired his performance skills through many years of experience both as a solo performer and as a member of popular bar bands in Canada. His repertoire includes a wide variety of vocal and instrumental music by leading artists (such as Billy Joel, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, James Taylor, Styx, Journey and countless other country, jazz and rock artists) . In addition, he is known to be fond of humorous, satirical and “tacky, yet unrefined” materials suitable for mature audiences. His skills and subtle sense of humor are greatly respected by guests of all ages who return year after year to the ships where he appears.

Best Part of being a Carnival Piano Bar Entertainer:

Enjoying the world’s fantastic ports of call while doing what I love to do …Making every evening an “all request” night and the musical challenges that provides …Making new friends, showcasing guests’ singing and musical talents, encouraging active participation …Quality music, eye-candy, wine, women and song (not necessarily in that order, eh!) Earning a living (“They sit at the bar and put bread in my jar” – my favorite interest, eh!)

Most Requested Songs:

Piano Man, Sweet Caroline, American Pie, Kitty Kat Song, Sweet Home Alabama, Jack and Diane, Take It Easy, Crocodile Rock, Fly Me To The Moon, Georgia, Boot Scootin’ Boogie, Family Tradition, Perfect Country / Western Song, You’ve Got A Friend, Bumble Boogie, Johnny Cash Medley ….

Thanks Duane and I am sure many of you will have enjoyed his entertainment.

In fact let me tell you what a brilliant team I have the honour (spelt correctly) of working alongside. Eric, Everett and the 344 Stephanies met with me today and showed me some amazing plans they have for the blog and for our Facebook page as well. In the weeks ahead they will make it easier to post dining table requests and Chef’s Table requests with special thingies that only people with beards can design. But it will for sure make it easier for me to be able to help you in a timely fashion. There will also be prizes, contests and a chance for you to interact much more with me and more importantly with each other. I won’t go into details because quite honestly it would be like asking Charlie Sheen to talk about how to be a good husband or someone from Paris to talk about the benefits of bodily hygiene. But you will start to see changes before the end of the year and I promise they will be changes that you will truly enjoy. By the way ……….we now have 8,500,000 page views.

Also today I presented all your view points that you have sent me these past few days on Facebook and here on our blog thingy. One of the subjects was the Platinum benefits that I know many of you have been talking about.  We are making some brilliant changes to this program and these changes are only the beginning of what I promise will be the best loyalty program at sea.  Now obviously I would love to tell you more but if I did someone would cut off my meat and two veg with a machete…….so all I can say for now is that in the days ahead you will hear more on this and you will smile a big happy smile.

You may have noticed from my Facebook post today that starting this coming weekend every ship regardless of where it is sailing will play “Anchors Aweigh” as in the old days. This was inspired by the brilliant help and assistance given us during the Carnival Splendor incident by the United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard. We used to do this in the old days and it really set the scene and I am overjoyed that we will be doing it again. I hope you all agree.

Then we met on the subject of the Bloggers Cruise 4 for which we have 300 registered. You may have noticed that Eric the Beard designed a thingy at the top of the blog which allows people to register there so if you haven’t please do so even if you booked with the fare code or not so we can make sure you are involved in everything. Now we planned a lot of great stuff and as we were doing so it became clear that there was no way I was going to be able to interact with you all and host the private events and be the CD. So I came to a compromise.

George Solano will be the CD. He is brilliant and a great friend. I will though host a Marriage Show and the Bedtime Story for the entire ship as sort of a guest CD. This will allow me to perform my two favourite events plus still have the time to host all the private events that we will be doing. Are you ok with this?

It’s going to be a great cruise with special shows, tea times, private excursions and oh yes ………. something special.

Many of you have been asking me for the Cruise Director schedule for 2011. I met with Chris Prideaux today and he told me it is nearly ready. He just has to talk to a few more cruise directors and then I will post here on the blog thingy.

One last thing before we finish. There is going to be some very exciting news soon about …… ahhhhhhhhhh……..bugger………….I would love to tell you but you will have to wait …………… just a little bit longer.

One thing struck me though today and that is the top team of Gerry, Ruben, Lynn, Jim, Mark, Gus and the rest of the beards are going to move Carnival in some new and exciting directions and I think that knowing the readers of this blog as I do, all of whom love Carnival Cruise Lines, that you are going to be very pleased indeed and this will insure your loyalty continues.

I know that this all sounds very corporatey……….and you all know that’s not my style…………..but these are exciting times and I just had to tell you.

So now I head to Tennessee and I am sure I will go through a mixture of emotions at St. Jude and I look forward to telling you all about it.

One thing is for sure, I am glad the meetings are over. Carnival like most businesses is trapped in the meeting culture and an increasing number are scheduled at ridiculous bloody times. The breakfast meeting…….. what’s that all about?

It is amazing though that anything gets done because basically everyone sits around a table, with a cup of coffee and expresses their opinion on a particular subject, and each of these opinions is completely different. Then there is my favourite subject of “marketing speak” which today included this gem which I wrote down for your possible enjoyment. This was said by one of those consultancy types in an expensive suit.

“Well, we’re outside the box here but we need to crawl, walk and then run with it and we can’t know what the result will be until we’ve run the flag up the flagpole and seen if the consumer has logged on.”

The consultancy chap looked at me to see if I agreed, but as I drew breath to speak I realised that I hadn’t a sodding clue what he was talking about. I wanted to make a point but I didn’t know what that point might be, so I just nodded and smiled and realised that like a Frenchman in Bath and Body Works…………I was a fish totally out of water.

Yes I am being horrible to the French again so I guess I should try and balance it out with some nicer facts about the country that is closest to where I live in Essex.

France’s historical figures are Louis XIV, the Huguenots, Joan of Arc, Jacques Cousteau and Charles de Gaulle, who was President for many years and is now an airport. A tunnel connecting France to Britain beneath the English Channel has been opened in recent years to make it easier for the French government to run away to London during future invasions. France has a large and diversified economy, second only to Germany’s in Europe, which is surprising because the French hardly work at all. If they are not spending four hours dawdling over lunch, they are on strike and blocking the roads with their trucks and tractors. France’s principal exports, in order of importance to the economy, are wine, nuclear weapons, perfume, guided missiles, champagne, guns, grenade launchers, land mines, tanks, attack aircraft, miscellaneous armaments and cheese.

France has more holidays than any other nation in the world. Among its 361 national holidays are: 197 Saints’ days, 37 National Liberation Days, 16 Declaration of Republic Days, 54 Return of Charles de Gaulle in triumph as if he won World War II single-handed Days, 18 Napoleon sent into Exile Days, 17 Napoleon Called Back from Exile Days, and 2 France is Great and the Rest of the World is Sh*t – Days.

I am sure a French blog reader right now is writing posting a comment saying what a bastard I am……at the end of the day it’s all done with a smile and big dollop of humour because there is nothing that French wouldn’t do for the British and there is nothing the British wouldn’t do for the French…..…..and that’s what happens………we do nothing for each other.

Well, I’m off to see the very special children of St. Jude and I hope as always that you will come along with me


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.