A Blog Full of Non-Alcoholic Sparkles

January 3, 2011 -

John Heald

“Are you an alcoholic?”

I was asked this by a complete stranger at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square during the New Years Eve extravaganza of which I will be writing more later. I was standing at the bar and while the beautiful people of New York were ordering Cosmopolitans and Slippery Nipples I of course had requested a glass of…………yep…………Diet Coke.

Now over the years I have discovered that Americans are never fearful of telling complete strangers exactly what’s on their mind. As you know I have been told by herbal vegetablists that I am a fat bastard and that their tea can help me shed the pounds. However, even I was taken aback when this thirty something bloke at the bar asked me if I was an alcoholic because I had ordered a Diet Coke on New Year’s Eve.

At this point of the evening I was exhausted. It was 1:30 am and I had been pulled from pillar to post by marketing and public relations people all of whom had perfect teeth and were all called Laurie, Lauren or Lisa. The only reason I hadn’t gone back to the hotel yet was because there were no taxis running and with nearly a million people partying outside and me with the directional capabilities of Stevie Wonder……….I was stuck in the Hard Rock Cafe with the rich and famous of New York being asked if I was on a seven-step program.

I could have engaged him with some wit and sarcasm or I could have given him a swift kick in the bollocks and told him to mind his own fu**ing business but as tired as I was I just smiled …… and ignored him completely.

However, I noticed that me ordering a Diet Coke on New Year’s Eve in a Hard Rock Cafe VIP party seemed to have made him uneasy and he wasn’t the only one. Even my Carnival colleagues seemed to be a bit uncomfortable with my not drinking. This is not new to me though because since I stopped drinking in 1995 after arriving on the bridge of the Carnival Imagination at 4 am for a man overboard in a bit of a haze…….people have looked at me as though I am strange. And the chap in the Hard Rock Cafe was like most others and was surely thinking why can’t he just relax, have a few drinks, enjoy, have fun, lighten up?

The drinker eyes the teetotaller the way I look at skinny, calorie counting vegetablists. Maybe they look at me and think if he’s not an alcoholic then he must be a Mormon or a Methodist. Then they may make their excuses and leave to talk to someone with a glass of something stronger than Diet Coke in their hand.

Yep, we non-drinkers get under people’s skin. The question is, why? When we were 12 years old we were all non drinkers. Back then, a balloon animal and a banana split provided buzz enough to get through birthday parties, yet some time in the next eight years most of us signed up to the belief that we can’t function at a party without alcohol. Sure, we can survive social occasions without drinking, but it’s a damn sight easier with it. It’s relaxing, it tastes nice (to some); it makes some people think they can dance and, just for a moment, it takes your worries away. Besides, without it, how would ugly bastards like me ever get any rumpy pumpy? Funny isn’t it that if you tell people that you don’t smoke it is impressive. But tell them you don’t drink, and they ask a million questions. “Aren’t you bored?” When I tell people that I don’t drink, they start looking at themselves. They either start trying to justify drinking, or say “I really must give it up.” Or they’ll tell you a story about how they stopped drinking for three months last year and it felt fantastic.

I haven’t had a drink since I stopped 16 years ago……well almost. During my stag party in Amsterdam my best man Alan and assorted friends bought me a pint of lager with a shot of whisky in it followed by them force feeding me a pair of edible strawberry knickers.

And on that visual it’s time for today’s Q and A………away we go.

Hayley P Asked:
John to reply Request

I need you to understand there is a huge difference between the way Carnival treats cruise critic members compared to NCL. NCL understands the power of cruise critic.

On CCL, they act like they never heard of us which is bull. Even the outside vendors that do excursions are well aware of CC. We’ve had several ask us to make sure to post our experiences here to tell everyone what a great time we had. For instance, Cosol Tours (St Lucia)…Cosol told us himself that because of cruise Critic, he was able to pay off his very first van in no time flat and then proceeded to purchase and pay in full, for eight more. He credits CC for this….the same with the Cave Tubing Tour in Belize that we took…Yhonni was well aware of CC and wanted us to have good things to say when we got back.

NCL has treated our roll calls wonderfully and not only did the Captain and officers show up but they gave us free drinks. Can you imagine Carnival doing that??? I think not. Cruise critic can sway thousands of readers to cruise with Carnival OR NOT and if you looked after us better like NCL does then your profits would most certainly go up.

John Says:
Hello Hayley P

I have said many times before here on our blog that all of us at Carnival appreciate the loyalty to Carnival that many of the Cruise Critic website members have and there is no doubt that it is a very influential website.

However, I would also say that while we will not be giving complimentary drinks to every Cruise Critic group I would like to think that the reason so many Cruise Critic readers choose to sail with us is based on value for money, the fun and service and not the chance of a free cocktail. Whenever possible the cruise directors will visit these roll calls and certainly if someone asks me here on the blog for this to happen I will certainly ask my colleagues to do their best to attend.

I know that some of our social media team in Miami do read what people are saying on Cruise Critic because yes, it is an important website. But it is a site that is opinion based…………..just as this blog is. And while it is certainly influential…………..to suggest that it decides if “thousands of readers cruise Carnival OR NOT”………..is in my opinion………absolutely bonkers.

Best wishes

Craig C Asked:
Hello John, (Please Reply)
A big thank you from my wife and I for securing the two top table on last week’s (10/24) cruise on the Splendor. We had a great time and really enjoyed all of the benefits we were provided on our first platinum cruise. The ship was wonderful and our team waiters Ivan and Asurio (sp?) were the greatest. Our cabin steward “Lucky” cabin 7249 was also a great Carnival Ambassador — we can’t wait to receive the electric comment card to give these people the praise they deserve.
Your shows were great — and your discussion with Santa was hilarious. The only regret we had was not bringing a costume for the Halloween party — what a blast. I also want to thank you for confirming the Chef’s Table for us. Unfortunately it was cancelled because not enough people signed up for it — we were really disappointed. However, we were so impressed when the Chef came out to our table on two occasions to talk with us about the experience — he also sent some nice treats to our cabin after the event was cancelled — what a class guy. On the second time he came out to the table he had just finished making the video with you and said it already had over 30k hits in one day. I’m sure that type of promotion will be very successful for this culinary event — can’t wait to try it on our next cruise.

Here’s my question: We’ll be booking our 2011 cruise very soon and want to secure a spot at the Chef’s Table. Is Carnival going to set up the website to allow booking the Chef’s Table as they do with the Steakhouse? If not, can we still make the request through you?

Thanks again for all you do for your guests. And as I told you when I introduced my wife and I to you at the Captain’s event — we love your Blog Thingy! (Although I should probably stop reading it at work and wait until I get home)


John Says:
Hello Craig

It seems a little strange writing about a cruise on the Carnival Splendor after all that has happened. I am so glad that you had fun and I remember Santa vividly. I also remember that we did indeed have to cancel The Chef’s Table that cruise as only a few people wanted to do it. This is a very rare occurrence and I am very sorry that you didn’t get to experience it. You will indeed be able to pre-book The Chef’s Table for you here on the blog thingy so please just let me know and I will assist you. I think that this culinary journey has been one of the best new additions to our fleet in many years and I hope that everyone seriously considers booking it. So thanks so much for the great review of your cruise and I hope that whether at work or at home that you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you both

Kim F Asked:
John- Please Reply!

Hi, I sailed with Carnival on the Splendor on 10-24-10 through 10-30-10. I wanted to say that I absolutely LOVED your shows and I just didn’t want to leave the ship! I was hoping that you could post pictures of the cast of the performances on your blog. I enjoyed their singing and dancing and would love pictures with their names! Thank you and best wishes to you and the rest of the Splendor crew!

John Says:
Hello Kim F

And another Carnival Splendor review. Brilliant. Well normally I would be able to honour (spelt correctly) your request but as you probably know the crew of the Carnival Splendor have for the most part left the ship following the fire back in November. The cast have been reassigned to other vessels and it’s a shame because they were a fabulous cast. I am glad you enjoyed the entertainment and fun and hope we see you again very soon.

Best wishes

Larry and Debbie Asked:
Hello John (please reply)

First I want to say thank you, (at least I hope it was you that sent us a bottle of champagne and choc covered strawberries) the note that came with it just said thank you. I did e-mail you prior to our Oct 25th cruise on the Fascination. The cruise was fantastic as normal. We are Platinum and this was our 11th cruise all with Carnival and never had any real problems and this cruise was as good as the rest. The Halloween party was a hoot but nobody said anything about it till the day it was supposed to happen and I think that if more people would have known about it there would have been a better turn out. There were quite a few in costume (me and the wife were in that crazy group) and the judging was in the disco and was a lot of fun. The upgrades that were done to her since the last time we were on her were great and we did enjoy the serenity deck for a while till a few people that were enjoying was to many buckets of beer came and the serenity was gone so we left. The food was good and we totally loved the YTD in the dining room and never had to wait for more than a few minutes to be seated. As I said over all it was a great cruise however I do have one req. from about 5pm till 9pm there was nothing going on the Promenade deck, While I’m sure there were a number of people that were getting ready for dinner or still up on the lido deck there was a number of people that were strolling the Promenade deck looking for something to do, after all that is happy hour time and even if there is no discount on drinks a band or some music would be nice to listen to and relax before dinner. I have seen this on several cruises and maybe you can talk the beards to look into this, it shouldn’t cost them any more as the entertainers are there already. By the way the band that they had on the promenade was great and we did more dancing there than the disco. Any way thanks again and looking forward to booking the next cruise and maybe one day catching you as the CD.

John Says:
Hello Larry and Debbie

I guess I had better send the ships some of my business cards so people know who has sent them a little something. Anyway, I am glad that you received the gifts that you asked me for and that you had a great time and enjoyed the new upgrades that the Carnival Fascination has received.

Certainly it is a good idea for cruise directors to get into the habit of scheduling the entertainment on promenade deck in the later hours. After all, the thinking is that while at 6 pm most guests are either eating dinner or getting ready for dinner that Promenade will be quiet. Then at 8:30pm guests are either at dinner or at the main show and Punchliner comedy club. However, with the addition of Your Time Dining this thinking had to change and certainly we CD’s have to think differently when scheduling entertainment. The only concern we have is that the bands and musicians are only expected as per their contract to play 5 hours maximum per day. Saying that though, there is no excuse that you found the entertainment lacking between 5 pm and 9 pm and I will certainly address this with the ship. Thanks for letting me know. I hope we see you soon on another fun for all cruise soon.

Best wishes to you both,

Nick Hammond Asked:
John Please Reply,

Hi John,

Back in May of this year I went on the Carnival Imagination and with just my wife, and left the two kids at home. This was our first vacation minus the kids. We had a great time and experienced great value for our money. I had messaged you asking for suggestions on how to make the trip extra special. The trip was excellent (minus the flight home, which we experienced an 11 hour delay in FLL) and I wanted to thank you again for the Ship on a Stick and the bottle of champagne. It was a nice gesture. We ended up sharing the bottle with our 8 table mates at dinner, and I made sure to tell them it was courtesy of John Heald. We took a snorkelling tour to a living coral reef through Carnival in Key West and also had a nice beach day in Cozumel.

We have decided to take another cruise and are going to try a different cruise line. We are also taking our Kids, Father and Mother (in-laws), and my Sister. It will be my sisters and youngest daughters first cruise (18mths). The rest of us have been on multiple Carnival cruises and also that other cruise line with paint all over the hull. After reading your blog this summer, I really, really wanted to try a Holland America cruise. We are looking for a more traditional cruise line this time and thought the Nieuw Amsterdam looked amazing, and hearing you talk about it sealed the deal. So we are sailing the Nieuw Amsterdam on Jan 16 stopping in Half Moon Cay, Turks and Caicos, Costa Maya, and Grand Cayman. What an itinerary!

Our booking numbers are ______ and ______ and since you have sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam, I am wondering if you would have any suggestions to make this cruise extra special for my sister and my youngest daughter who will be sailing for the first time. Will my older daughter who is 3 be able to go to Club HAL? What other differences should I expect? Do you know if the Nieuw Amsterdam will have comedians on board? This will be the one thing I will miss most about not sailing Carnival this time if they don’t have a comedy act. I think we will enjoy the more laid back atmosphere on the Nieuw Amsterdam as this cruise we really just need to relax and spend quality time with the kids.
One last question, My Wife has for years made fun of me for reading your blog every night before I go to bed. Recently though, she has been logging onto my Facebook and is constantly updating me about your Facebook updates. She is now addicted LOL. I was wondering if at the end of one your updates if you will put something like “Hi Maggie H from London, Ontario”. It will be hilarious if she notices it. I understand if you can’t do this if the beards will get you in trouble!

Nick from Canada

PS: ATTN those with beards. Why can’t my Holland America cruise counts towards platinum on Carnival. I know you’re operated independently, but ultimately, the profits all go to the shareholders of Carnival Corp!

John Says:
Hello Nick from Canada

I think I replied to you on my Facebook page yesterday and it’s great to hear from you here on the blog thingy. I am also very glad that you have booked a cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam and I promise that you will all have a brilliant time. Although the ship does not have a comedy club it certainly has a brilliant variety of entertainment which includes comedians. Also, you must absolutely without fail try the Tamorind restaurant which I think is one of the very best I have ever eaten at…………….try the Satay sampler.

Your daughter will certainly be able to go to Club HAL and enjoy the great facilities that they offer. You will certainly find a different atmosphere on Holland America as opposed to Carnival ships but I promise that you will love it…..as I did. The two lines do though have separate loyalty programs and there are no current plans to bring them all together. Have a brilliant time and tell your wife to have a look at my Facebook page as I posted a special hello to her just now.

Best wishes to you both

Alicia Smith Asked:
Dear John, (Please Reply)

I just wanted to write and tell you how much we love your blog and I can’t wait to get on the Valor next month. We enjoy cruising so much (and never stepped foot on a boat yet) that we have already booked our 1st family cruise for next year. We will be on the Elation on the last sailing before she heads into dry dock.

I am writing because of what my girls are doing to help pay for our family trip. They have been collecting cans to turn in for recycling. My hubby and I even have a counter and many blog posts about those cans on our blog. We only need 185,550 cans to pay off our whole family cruise for next year. I was wondering that if they come close to meeting their goal if something that Carnival could do for my girls who will be 8, 5, and 4 next year?? They are all about collecting cans. If you are drinking a canned drink, they will sit there until you are done to take it from you. My girls sure are learning to clean up and work together. As a parent I sure will be proud to say that my kids paid for the cruise thanks to empty cans!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this and for the wonderful job that you do!!!

Alicia Smith

John Says:
Hello Alicia Smith

What an uplifting post this was and a joy to read. I am certain that you have all cruised by now as I am way behind in answering my questions. But if you are cruising this month please let me know by return so I can send the girls something to acknowledge their hard work. If you have cruised already would you please let them know that I am very proud of them as I am sure you are and that all of us here on the blog thing salute them for their hard work that enabled you all to enjoy a Carnival cruise. Thanks again for this brilliant post.

Best wishes to you all

Dave Asked:
Dear John: (Please reply)

Had a good time on the Spirit last week to the Mexican Riviera. My main concern was that there were rumors I heard from other passengers about tourists recently kidnapped in Acapulco. The passengers didn’t have any details so I asked our CD for more information. She knew nothing and one of her associates implied that as long as I wasn’t dealing drugs I would be fine exploring the town on my own. I found out later that the rumors were true and in fact the 20 were found murdered and it appears that there is no evidence that their murder was related to the tourist doing drug deals. In fact the mayor of the town had warned people not to be on the streets at night. Carnival never felt it was important to warn the passengers and many of the passengers were out that night. I would think Carnival had a duty to keep passengers informed of any dangers and now I am wondering if they can be trusted about other things.

Other than the Captain’s boorish noontime PA announcements, the trip was spot on. (I hope “spot on” is UK for very good)

John Says:
Hello Dave

Thanks for the great review of your Carnival Spirit cruise. I know that some parts of Mexico continue to have their problems and while it has yet to involve any tourists from cruise ships or resort hotels, we are certainly monitoring the situation very closely as the safety of all our guests is obviously still the number one factor.

Now I am interested as to why you found the captain’s noon announcements boring. I am not sure who the captain was during your cruise and you certainly don’t have to tell me his name. But I am very interested as to what made it boring. Was it the content, the tone or was it too long …… or all of the above? Please can you write again and let me know as we are currently working on helping the Captain’s with their noon messages. Some are very comfortable doing this and some are not so if you or anyone else has a comment about this please let me know.

Thanks again for taking the time to write and I am glad you had a great cruise.

Best wishes

HandH from Atlanta Asked:
John Please reply

Have just got back from our Elation cruise and had asked you for a table for 2 and free gifts which we never got. You talk the talk but you don’t walk the walk. I advice others not to ask John for anything because he is all hot air and ruined our cruise.

John Says:
Hello HandH from Atlanta

I am very sorry that you did not receive what you had asked me for. I either missed your question due to me being so far behind in answering my questions or I my colleagues on the Carnival Elation were unable to assist me. Either way I apologise and hope that when you look back you will realise that you did in fact have a great cruise.

Best wishes to you both

Brent Slater Asked:
Hi John (please reply)

My now fiancée (girlfriend at the time) were on board the Splendor on the 10/17 cruise a few weeks back and we really enjoyed the time. You made the cruise by shows that you put on and you show that you really care for the guests comfort and to make them laugh. My fiancée wrote a letter to you on Dear John and we are looking at maybe cruising on the magic for our honeymoon next year. Will you be on board the magic for the Caribbean cruises in November next year as we plan on getting married on 11/11/11 and I was looking at the magic cruise on 11/27/11. We both would like to cruise with you again as you made the experience so much more enjoyable


John Says:
Hello Brent

This is great to hear and I will still be on your Carnival Magic on 11/27/11.  I hope you will both be there as well and I promise to do all I can to make your honeymoon absolutely brilliant. Let me know if you book and my best wishes to you both


ZooSue Asked:
PLEASE REPLY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have read some very negative and nasty things about Felipe on the Cruise Critic boards and see that he is going to be our Cruise Director on Splendor in March. Should I be concerened?

John Says:
Hello ZooSue

Simple answer……no…….absolutely not. Obviously I am very protective of all the cruise directors as you would expect me to be. Some are new and some need help and guidance which I am always on hand to give as are other CDs such as Chris, Todd, George, Steve and others who have many years of experience. Some need help with stage presence and some with scheduling and some with the use of the PA system and how they sound over it. Each CD has their strong points and weaknesses……..and I include myself it that for sure. But I think that we have a great group of CD’s now and Felipe is certainly one of our brightest new stars and for every one person who maybe did not enjoy him I am sure there are many on Cruise Critic and here on the blog who absolutely did…….some may wish to comment about him here on the blog today. I am not sure what “nasty” things are being said but I urge you to look at the big picture and go onboard with an open mind and then I promise you will have a great time.

Best wishes

And that’s all for today. I will be back with more tomorrow and will continue to try and catch up as best I can. Don’t forget that the beards are going to be making some excellent changes to the blog soon and these changes will include a special drop box thingy which will enable me to answer your questions and deal with your requests in a much more efficient way.

I was talking about our cruise directors a moment ago and one thing that they all have in common is that with the exception of Steve Cassel each and every one of us came through the ranks of being a social host and then an assistant cruise director. The ACD is so very important to the overall enjoyment of the cruise. Now some CD’s have their ACD as the background person working on the Capers and the comp……..bugger……working on the Fun Times and the computer while they spend more time on stage.

Many though prefer to do this work themselves which means that you are as likely to see as much of the ACD at activities and events as the CD. So it is then about time that I highlighted these great young people remembering that some will be for sure….the cruise directors of the future. So over the next few weeks we will be meeting them and we start today with the ACD on the Carnival Miracle and the brilliantly named Lesley Sparkles.

  1. Name: Lesley Sparkles
  2. Current ship and contract end date and if you know, what’s your next ship? Miracle until the end of April 2011. Not sure of my next ship
  3. Tell us about your journey to being an ACD – background etc: I started with Carnival in 2006 as a host and after my first contract became ACD. My background has always been entertainment. I started as a dancer working in resorts in England, (Pontins /Haven) etc. at the young age of 16. I then became a choreographer and then touring show manager the youngest in the company at only 20! I travelled all round Europe managing the entertainment in hotels for a large UK tour operator and got promoted to regional manager overseeing all hotels in the Eastern Med. My specialist countries were Turkey & Bulgaria opening the 2 largest new build projects they had ever done. In the winter season I worked recruiting and auditioning entertainers and heading up the month long training program to prepare them all for the following Summer. In 2005 I wanted a new challenge so I tried cruise ships. I started as a cruise director for P&O in Europe On the Pride of Bruge and The Pride Of Hull. I decided then that I enjoyed ship life but wanted some warmer climates so I joined Carnival. The rest is history!
  4. If guests sail with you what’s the one activity you host that they must not miss? My favorite activities are open mic night and Quest (Always Crazy)
  5. What’s the best thing about being an ACD? I enjoy the fact that no 2 weeks are ever the same, and to have the opportunity to meet so many great people and visit great places. I have grown so much as an entertainer in my years with Carnival it’s been great to try out new ideas and to constantly try to challenge myself. My latest addition will be my new hypnosis show! Again ships are a great grounding for new material.

Thanks Leslie and I am sure you have a very bright future with Carnival.

I want to thank Eric the Beard, Everett the Beard, one of the 344 Stephanies and of course Peter the Hair for their help in producing, posting and filming all the New York videos you all saw these past few days. Carnival got some brilliant publicity out of this event and it was an honour (spelt correctly) to be part of the event. The Carnival Wishing Wall on which many, many thousands of people from all over the world wrote their hopes and dreams for 2011 was a huge hit and having celebrities such as Andersen Cooper and others read these wishes to hundreds of thousands of party goers was truly brilliant.

As for me………well I did TV and radio interviews including one on Fox Business News where a cute lady with a nice bottom asked me questions about earnings, fuel and, of course, the Carnival Splendor fire. My time on the main stage was short but I did my best…………I hope I did OK.

The host for the night (forgot his name sorry) told me just before we went live that he used to be an assistant cruise director for Sitmar Cruise Lines. He was very nice…..very straightforward …. the model of professionalism. I hope he has a wonderful 2011 right up to around December 28 when he eats a dodgey turkey curry and gets explosive diarrhoea. This would then mean that the organisers of the Times Square New Years Eve celebrations would have to call me and ask if I would emcee the whole bloody thing. Having done the short time on stage I did I want more. I want to host more things like this and I hope Carnival does it all over again next year.

How did I feel standing on stage with New Kids On The Block, N Sink, Andersen Cooper, Ryan Seaweed and something called Kei$ha? How did it feel to look out at close to one million people ready to have the time of their lives? How did it feel to represent a company I love and have total passion for in a place as incomparable as Times Square? Well…..I am sorry to say that this writer is not talented enough to even try and put those feelings into words because any attempt to do so will not do it any kind of justice. All I know is………I want more.

Over the next few weeks I have given myself a target of getting some specific things achieved. I realise that in the corporate world decisions are made at a slower pace than sometimes you and I find frustrating, however I am determined to get the following done as quickly as possible. Oh yes, just before I show you my objectives I should point out that based on the feedback I received here on the blog and on my Facebook thingy page the beards have returned the obviously very popular countdown clock to carnival.com………my thanks to them for doing so.

Anyway, gain based on your feedback I am determined to push through the following.

  1. Provide you all with the details of our loyalty program. By the way, I see some of you have commented on the new Platinum gift of pen and note pad. I saw a comment from Dave and Jo that said they liked it and I wonder what others think.
  2. Introduce a sugar free version of the chocolate melting cake. Now talking of this I see from our awards that this iconic desert was beaten by the crème brulee which was a huge shock. So the question here is then………would you like to see this replace the chocolate melting cake as the dessert that is offered every night? I am sure many of you will say “why not have both?” but I would have to check with the chefs to see if this is possible as I see guests asking their waiter for both……….each and every night. Your thoughts on this please.
  3. Once back onboard the ships at the end of this month I will have all the vessels Fun Times sent to me and posted as permanent link on the blog thingy.

These three things are my priority and I will work hard to achieve them for you.

These are my new years resolutions from a business point of view along with keeping the blog and Facebook as exciting as fun as I can make them. Oh talking about exciting………I may have news for you very, very soon about something that those who have been asking for new ………… bugger……………..better keep my mouth closed…………..for now.

As for personal New Year’s resolutions……..well as always I am going to ignore this trend as I personally think they are a load of bollocks. I will continue to try to lose weight that is an absolute must. This though is an all year round thing not just because it’s a new year. January after all is a bastard. Vacation time is over and all that awaits you is work, cold weather and even colder turkey. Yet the life coaches and Oprahs will tell you to find the discipline that you don’t have the other 11 months of the year and eat celery for lunch…….with 2 litres of prune juice …….. and spending 27 hours a day in the sodding gym.

It’s interesting then that a report I read in the New York Times while flying home stated that one fifth of all Americans will go on to celebrate their 100th birthday. That figure, if accurate, is staggering. Imagine the lines outside Denny’s for the early bird special.

However there was a catch. The paper reported that to achieve this we have to eat only air, not smoke, walk everywhere and if we do we can look forward to many years of playing bridge, sucking a Werther’s Original and urinating into a bag. Is this what you want? If so, then the start of 2011 maybe the time to start working towards this goal. However, why not join me in the alternate New Year’s resolution and abandon all ideas to get fit or eat more vegetables. Make 2011 a year of putting your feet up by the TV with a huge bucket of KFC. Have an extra chocolate melting cake and a 2 crème brulee.

Use the elevator to go from deck 8 to deck 9, not the stairs. Drive everywhere. Never walk. Never jog. Never, ever, drink herbal tea. Most importantly make 2011 a year where you have fun……………..loads and loads of absolutely brilliant fun.

Happy new year everyone

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.