A Blog in 3D

January 4, 2011 -

John Heald

I have not had a good day as I will explain later and I have returned from New York suffering from either typhoid or diphtheria or possibly..….a cold. All I do know is that every five minutes a huge dribble of green something drops from my nose onto the keyboard, so much so that the “B” key is sticking and any time I have to use it I have to use safety pin to pry it up. Anyway ………..more about my bad day later……….but first I just sneezed so violently I have to go and change my underwear …………again.

OK, here I am in semi-clean underpants……….so off we go.

My best mate Alan is although as ugly as an inside out baboon, extremely intelligent and enjoys a good mathematical problem as much as I enjoy watching Latvian ladies have rumpy pumpy.

He is also into his gadgets and his most recent purchase is a 3D television. Have you experienced 3D TV yet? Don’t worry if you haven’t, because in my humble opinion…………it’s bollocks.

The very definition of a step backward disguised as a leap forward along the same lines as Betamax, Laser Disc and Freestyle cruising. For one thing, there’s less choice. Despite the explosion in crap 3D cinema, hardly any movies are actually available to buy in 3D.

Anyway, Alan invited me round to his “crib” to watch The Avatar in 3D and I have to say that in 3D or any other format……….. Avatar is total crap!

It’s a joyless story about a bunch of smurfs on steroids who spend their days running around in thongs, attacking explorers, interfering with sky horses, and screaming and shouting and killing ………all for the sake of a sodding tree. Watching the Na’vi (which means “we worship Al Gore “) moan and cry in three dimensions simply made them more real, and therefore I hated them even more. Maybe if the final half-hour had consisted of one of the human soldiers repeatedly kicking one of the Na’vi warriors in the bollocks while another chopped of his thingy and fed it to a sky horse …………..all in 3D, I may have enjoyed it more.

Still, I have to say the special effects are impressive but not enough to get me down to Best Buy to get a 3D TV for myself. Maybe we should have a Seaside Theatre that has 3D but then again as I said, there is bugger all choice when it comes to movies to show in that format other than kid’s movies all of which are about various cuddly animals and toys with a woddy ………. bugger ……….I mean toys called Woody.

Then there are the IMAX documentaries about fish, NASCAR or penguins. Now I know the vegetablists guests would enjoy sitting on Lido watching seaweed in 3D but I would rather put my thingy in a sandwich toaster than sit through three hours of that. There are a few TV programs shown in 3D but who the heck wants to watch Deal or No Deal in 3D? You don’t need 3 dimensions to realise that Mr. Gallagher from South Carolina is a greedy bastard and should have taken the $19,000 the bank offered him because now he has won $1 ………….ha, ha, ha, ha.

Sport in 3D is impressive but only for a while. The picture is as sharp as can be but it makes everyone involved look two inches tall so watching the Miami Heat vs. LA Lakers in 3D looks like a bunch of dwarfs fighting over a brown bead. Even in 3D though the Heat Dwarfs kicked the arse of the Laker Dwarfs.

But all of this really doesn’t matter and the real reason we will probably never have 3D Seaside Theatre big screens on our ships is of course……the glasses. Watching Avatar at Alan’s house last night meant that I had to wear a dumb pair of glasses that made me look like I was about to weld something. The other problem is that the screen also has to be positioned at eye level which means you shouldn’t stick a 3D TV halfway up your living-room wall unless you plan to watch it standing up. Nope, 3D TV will never be for me………..unless of course they make a movie called MEGAN FOX’S BOTTOM – UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL….IN 3D. I may put up with wearing a pair of welders glasses to experience that.

Time for today’s Q and A…….lets crack on………………and as you will see we have started to get comments and questions about the Carnival Splendor.

Judy Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY!!!
I have been on RCL and just came back from Greece on NCL (YUCK!) and NONE-NONE of them serve FREE pop!!! That person is dreaming-didn’t realize his pops were charged on his card or he had a Pop card!! NOTHING is free on cruise ships-money makers-so tell him to stop dreaming and pay up!!

John Says:
Hello Judy,

Thanks for this recap and I think you may be referring to a post some weeks ago that stated that other cruise lines served free sodas. It is therefore very interesting to read that this is in fact not true. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I hope we see you onboard a Carnival ship very soon.

Best wishes
John

Peggy Kramer Asked:
John (please reply if you so desire)

Before I start off, let me say that I was on the Splendor with you two years ago for the Baltic Sea cruise. When I heard what was happening to you last week my first thought was that those people were lucky you were their cruise director as I don’t think anyone could have done it better.

While you were experiencing your personal hell, I was having the time of my life on the Triumph. And, that is the reason I am writing. It was my first cruise as a platinum guest and it could not have been better. It started off with a call before we left asking if we would like an upgrade. We were booked in room 2324 and were upgraded to the Lido deck with a balcony. Bonus! Embarkation was so quick and easy! Our room was delightful and our room steward Voltar (I hope I have spelled that correctly) went above and beyond in taking care of us. It never ceases to amaze me that the people you encounter (the crew) always seem to remember your name, and ask how your day was. We chose any time dining and absolutely loved it. Our head waiter, Jose, was fantastic. We were lucky enough to get him every night. He and his other two little worker bees (whose names I cannot for the life of me remember) were great too. Always with a smile on their faces. Tex was our CD and I enjoyed his sense of humor. What a fun guy.
The entertainment also was great. There was one group in particular that played outside the casino that was outstanding. I wish I had their names, but the only way I can think to describe them is that they played rock, and were all Asian. The other one that got us was a country singer named Chris. No, I have no idea what his last name was. (I could never work for Carnival – I just flat out don’t remember names!) Anyway, another person who deserves to be commended is the waitress in the Casino. Intan was her name and she was the sweetest person. She served me my first drink and from that moment on, called me by my name whenever she saw me. My only complaint is that the seats in the casino are extremely uncomfortable. They are more like stools, and very low. My friend and I ended up standing and gambling a good part of the time because of this. I am short (5’) and had to sit on my legs a lot of the time to reach the machines. I only include this so perhaps you can pass it on. But, back to the good stuff. The food was delicious, the weather was perfect, I love being a platinum member now, and can’t wait for my next cruise.

Enjoy your down time and take care.
Peggy

John Says:
Hello Peggy,

Thanks so much for the kind words of support and I will never ever get tired of repeating the fact that the crew of the Carnival Splendor were brilliant as were all the guests during those difficult and challenging 3 days. What a brilliant review and one I shall enjoy sharing with the crew of the Carnival Triumph. It was especially pleasing to me to see how much you enjoyed the entertainment and Tex the cruise director. I want to congratulate you on your first cruise as a Platinum guest and thank you so much for your loyalty. I hope we see you again very soon and I will make sure everyone you mentioned sees your wonderful words of praise.

Best wishes
John

CruzinMan Asked:
John, please reply.

A bit off topic as of late. My respect to you as well as all who assisted in the Carnival Splendor incident. As a reader of your blog the detailed information is mind boggling Cruise Critic member elite is an embarrassment to it’s readers as well as it’s members I have had the displeasure of cruising and staying in the same pre cruise hotel with the so called CC elite. I say CC elite because over the years I have become familiar with the poster as well as their avatar. Avatar consisting of their personal picture. The main “group cruising” flimflams representing Cruise Critic. Drunk and demanding, absolute morons! Breaking lines like they owned the hotel as well as the ship. These people demand attention as if their owed something! I must apologize as I know you’re a Cruise Critic fan. But as a member of CC, I am just a reader of late.

Best wishes to you and family over the holiday months.

John Says:
Hello CruzinMan,

The problem is that like your good self there are many, many readers of Cruise Critic who are simply wonderful people whose opinions are welcomed and whose loyalty to cruising is something we all appreciate. There are a few though who seem to take great joy in slamming one particular cruise line and as we saw in yesterday’s blog there are a few who feel that being a member gives them the right to expect more for free………and that’s a shame. Still, thanks to the hard work of the moderators on the boards, people like Host Mach, these comments and the rumours that come with them are being addressed. Thanks so much for the kind wishes and I send my best wishes to you and all your family.

John

Noelle Miller Asked:
John (reply if you want),

My husband and I had the pleasure of sailing with you twice in my nine Carnival cruises, we think the first time was the on the Glory and know for certain the second was the inaugural Med season on, I think it was, the Freedom.

Your blog about the Splendor incident really affected me as I can only imagine what the passengers and crew were going through. I will say I have heard nothing negative in the press about Carnival how they handled things and continue to do right by the passengers.

I started my adult cruising experience in 2004 on the beautiful Spirit for our honeymoon. Many cruises later we still come back to Carnival for the great value we get. (After having also experienced Costa, RC and Holland too.) We’ve had some good cruises and some not so good, but you just cannot beat the value. We could be in that category too with your Breitling pilots wherby we could afford other options too. I still tell anyone that will listen; you just cannot beat the value!

As a matter of fact, we just got off the Paradise in LB I think the day before the Splendor’s troubles and we are looking forward to our Platinum cruise on the Victory in December.

One of our fond memories of Carnival was from our honeymoon cruise one night in the Supper Club when we spent a good part of the time chatting with Den, the bartender/sommolier(sp?), about his beloved homeland of Croatia. Then ourselves getting to experience the gorgeous Dubrovnik on a Carnival cruise a few days after. We still talk about him and that night to this day. I’ll never forget that.

Keep doing what you are doing.

Best,
Noelle

John Says:
Hello Noelle,

It’s strange reading about the Carnival Splendor now that I have been in the UK for a few weeks. I want to thank you so much for the kind words, they meant a lot to me. I think part of the reason the press had nowhere to go with the story was that the crew did a brilliant job and the shore side team did right by the guests in the compensation that was offered. Thus it was Spam that made the headlines and considering what happened……….that’s fine with us. I see that you love to cruise and it was great to read your posting and the wonderful memories you have of your experiences. I hope we get to sail with each other again very soon.

Best wishes
John

Josée Rainville Asked:
Bonjour John! (please reply)

Yes, it is “ton petit croissant” again. Very glad that you had a couple of weeks with your girls after a very hard week on the Splendor. By the time you read this letter, you’re already back with them for the holidays. As you already know, we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary on the Glory on the 9th of January (#7358) for our first cruise ever. We already booked 3 shore excursions: Cavern by Jeep in Cozumel, Mahogany beach in Roatan and Swim with the Dolphins in Cayman. For Belize we want to go the beach but don’t know witch one to go. Do you have a suggestion? And we booked the steakhouse on the Wednesday. As you can see, I think that we are all set for a wonderful voyage! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Your “Petit Croissant”
Josee

John Says:
Bonsoir mon petit Croissant,

It sounds like you have an exciting cruise planned and have already booked some great tours. We don’t have any beach excursions in Belize which is a port where we highly recommend you take a tour. Based on what you are already doing I would like to suggest these two excursions which are absolutely brilliant.

1. CAVE TUBING – Jump onto your tube, feel the excitement as you float into mysterious limestone archways beckoning you into the mouth of centuries old caves, holding untold stories of Maya rituals

  • Fun and informative local guides will impart local information and when you turn off the highway onto a rugged country road you know you are nearing the caves!
  • At Jaguar Jungle Camp the river guides will greet you and outfit you for your river and cave adventure, a short safety briefing and it’s off to the clear cool waters of Caves branch River.
  • Just relax and lay back in your tube, listen to the sound of falling water and let your imagination take over as your guide leads you through the currents that continue to carve and shape these natural wonders.
  • Exhilarated from your adventure, you make your way out of the river and up to the “Bush-camp Café” where you can purchase a snack and drink and reflect on the marvellous expedition you have just completed with friends and family, before heading back to the pier.
  • Note: Recommend to take a beach towel, change of clothes. Snacks, souvenirs and mosquito repellent are available for purchase. This tour is not suitable for persons with disabilities, heart conditions, back or leg problems. All guests must be in good physical condition and able to walk on a jungle trail for approximately 35 min. Guest will be linked together when the river has a higher volume of water and when going through the caves. Helmets, lights and life jackets are provided and are mandatory. Minimum age is 8, and additionally, minimum height is 48 inches. Pregnant women are not permitted on this excursion.

2. LAND ROVER AND CAVE EXPEDITION
You’ll feel like Indiana Jones as you traverse through raw jungle trails in a rugged 4×4 Land Rover and trek through ancient Mayan caves.

On this excursion you will:

  • Take a 45-minute ride to the “Landing”, the base camp for your expedition.
  • Participate in a short orientation before your expedition begins.
  • Set out in convoy formation and head along the highway.
  • Experience the Jungle’s natural beauty as you make your way from the Tourism Village into the heart of the rainforest.
  • Ride over some of the most challenging terrain imaginable in the jungle around Gracie Rock.
  • Arrive at base camp where local guides will lead you in small groups over a foot suspension bridge.
  • Reach the first cave that tunnels through the mountain and emerge into a hidden cirque.
  • Be outfitted with a safety helmet and headlamp before your guides lead you through the caves.
  • Be entertained with various stories along the way.
  • Return to the camp and swim in the river or simply relax as you enjoy some light refreshments.
  • Take an open-air 4×4 jungle truck back to the Tourism Village in Belize City.
  • Note: This excursion may operate in reverse to facilitate departure times and is not recommended for pregnant women or guests with back problems.
  • Minimum age for participation is 8 years. Guests wishing to drive the Land Rovers must be at least 21 years of age and show a valid driver’s license.
  • All vehicles are manual transmission.
  • Life jackets must be worn for the river portion of the tour. Sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and insect repellent are recommended.

Both of these tours are exhilarating and fun. There are also a lot of great snorkel excursions to Belize’s barrier reef. I hope you have a lot of fun dans le Carnival Glory and there will be une petit gift from moi.
Bon Voyage

Best wishes
John

IRENE GARNER Asked:
Dear John…please reply

I am sure Carnival Cruise Lines are extremely proud of everyone of the crew on board the Carnival Splendor. You all did a wonderful job in difficult circumstances. Anyone with negative comments are only trying to make themselves look important. They should be thankful that the very best was made out of a bad bad situation, and everyone got home safe and sound.

My concern is for the crew now that the ship won’t set sail again for 2 months. Will they be found work on other ships, or just given a long vacation? Hopefully their families won’t suffer financially over this.

See you in February on BC4.
Irene Garner (Hooked on Cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene Garner,

Thank you so much for your kind words and for acknowledging the crew who really did such a brilliant job. They are now assigned to other ships except the skeleton crew who remained onboard. Most will not return to the Carnival Splendor because when she returns to service many will be on vacation or in the middle of other contracts which means that when she does return to service the ship will have a mostly brand new crew to look after her. Thanks again for thinking of the crew.

Best wishes,
John

KG Rouse Asked:
reply if you so wish

One of the world’s most respected journalists Mary Forgione from the LA Times wrote that your review of the Carnival Splendor explosion and fire was “Lurid” and as you are obviously not an intelligent means shocking or horrifying; melodramatic.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/12/news/la-trb-john-heald-carnival-splendor-20101112

I guess she hit the nail on the head because your report was indeed lurid and full of unnecessary sexual references and disgusting language. What surprised me was not that a cruise director has a personal blog full of inappropriate and unprofessional references but that Carnival chose to promote it via Twitter.

John Says:
Hello KG Rouse,

Thank you for confirming the definition of lurid as you are correct that I am indeed not the sharpest tool in the shed. I am very lucky that Carnival allows me to write in my own style and I realise that my musings are not for everyone. I apologise if they upset you.

Best wishes
John

Steve O Asked:
Dear John (please respond when you have time)

I just returned from a wonderful week on board Carnival Legend. I wanted to let you know how much sister and I enjoyed every moment.

The Port of Tampa was great. We used the valet parking option and were quite impressed, and for only $17 more than “park yourself” (plus valet tips). VIP boarding went very smoothly. My sister almost fainted when she first saw the balcony on cabin 4228 (wrap around thingy). The cabin worked well for us in our FIRST TIME EVER sharing. As you know, normally we each have a single.

Our room steward was Roger (from India). I ask him “where he was from in India?” He replied, “From Goa sir”. I noticed his surname and said, “I bet you’re of Portuguese decent and probably a Roman Catholic?” He smiled and asked how I would know that. I told him that I had sailed long ago with P&O and that a great many of their staff were from the State of Goa. He did an amazing job taking care of us, and all of our requests.

I spoke with Ken as we entered the dining room at 8:15pm. I hardly have to tell you what a terrific guy he is. The smile, the caring manner, THE voice! I think he may have a few “John Heald stories” from the past? I shall be trying to elicit some of those on a future cruise? Our table location was perfect (thanks to you and Ken). Our waiter “Albert” (from St. Vincent) was just great. Very friendly, and always had a BIG smile. It didn’t take him long to realize that no matter what we ordered for dessert, we wanted a “side of vanilla” ice cream.

I really “fell for” Monica (from Hungary), the supervising dining room hostess. What a SUPER personality, John. Always greeted us with a BIG smile and a warm welcome! Of course, how could she forget us, we showed up for breakfast, lunch and dinner EVERY day!! Tatiana (from Russia) was also very sweet.

Both sister and I truly love the Spirit Class ships. She had previously been on the Spirit for 2 weeks and I was on the Pride to Mexico in 2005. Easy to get around and just the right size for us. The Legend is looking great and every single staff member we came in contact with, or walked by, took the time to smile and say “good morning or hello”.

I ran into Weeeee Jimmy at the Welcome Show. That man is so much fun and so funny! You’d think he had been “someone’s” personal assistant for 5 years? We first sailed with Weeee Jimmy on the Glory in December 2007. He has definitely “blossomed” even more since then. A great showman and, like you, seems to do it with such ease. He was so nice to both of us. When we were debarking he helped us move more quickly when the line stopped, due to congestion in the terminal, when he saw sister standing there with oxygen. I love his bubbly personality, John you did a excellent job with him

I also met Weeee Jimmy’s ACD Sam Stephens. Another one of those very nice guys from the United Kingdom, personable, friendly, and approachable…. he’s only 20, you’d better look out! I told him how great he was but I still didn’t win any Bingo games he called.

We did partake of the Chef’s Table on the 3rd night. It was FABULOUS from start to finish. Chef de Cuisine Vivek (surprise! from India) was the perfect host. He was so warm and friendly, and very happy to show us all around the galley. To be in the galley while the waiters were picking up entrees, and then desserts, was SOMETHING! I was in heaven and would have gladly paid the $75 fee just to see that. We had tasty appetizers and champagne in the galley, and were shown how to make the famous Chocolate Melting Cake (yummy). Chef Vivek then took us to Medusa’s Lair (usually the dance club) to see our beautiful dining table with place cards, personalized menus presented in a scroll tied with ribbon….VERY, very nice. All courses were served with wine and the service was superb. The Chef described each course prior to it being served. There was even some entertainment that will remain a surprise? The dessert was FANTASTIC and I didn’t mind taking a little extra insulin that night! All in all, a truly special evening. EVERYONE should try the Chef’s Table.

We also had remarkable dinner in the Golden Fleece Steakhouse. Brankica, the hostess (from Macedonia) is just about the sweetest person I’ve met in a long time. She sent her love to you John, and as I remember, several kisses!! As always in the Steakhouse, the dinner and service, top notch. The food presentation is simply, out of this world.

I must mention Andrea @ the Loyalty Cruise Desk. She worked a miracle for us when she tracked down a couple of the Future Cruise Credits we hadn’t received from the Fantasy in May. We bought 4 more to cover the 2011 trips. Andrea is a super gal.

A really great week on board Carnival Legend. You are much adored on that ship John, from Captain Garuccio to the cabin stewards. By the way, “Little Johnnie” (one of the VERY limited edition John Heald bobble heads) made the trip too and really had a good time. He is looking forward to seeing you on BC4, me too.

Your old mate,
Steve O

John Says:
Hello Steve O,

It’s so good to hear from you and I know that since writing this review you have had some personal sadness with the loss of a family member and I wanted you to know you had been in my thoughts.

Your review sums up all that is good about a Carnival cruise and I will make sure that everyone reading this gets to see your testament of praise. I am especially thrilled to read about Wee Jimmy. I have never made it a secret that he is a great friend and a CD who I have so much time for and one who more than anyone I wish to succeed and become the best because I really think if he wants to …………..he can be the best.

I am glad that you and your sister and little John had so much fun and I am of course very much looking forward to our reunion on Bloggers cruise number 4. See you soon mate.

Best wishes
John

Nancy McQuarrie Asked:
John, Please Reply When You Can

John, this remark “I suspect when the ship (Splendor) does re-enter service that many of the crew will not have been on board during the incident.” has me concerned. Have I booked yet another cruise aboard Splendor (Feb. 20) to sail with Ryan and in the end he won’t be aboard? YIKES!!!

John Says:
Hello Nancy McQuarrie,

Please don’t worry as I know it is our intention to return your son to the Carnival Splendor. For those of you who do not know, Ryan was with me as an entertainment staff member during the Carnival Splendor incident and did an absolutely brilliant job especially as he had only been onboard a few weeks. I know I was very proud of him as I am sure you were to Mum…….right?

Have a great time on the ship and I wish I could be there with you.

Best wishes
John

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

Time for a break and lets pop on over to public relations and our mate Vance who has a wonderful story to tell us about a contest we held in Mobile, Alabama, in conjunction with the Bay Area Food Bank that resulted in more than 14,000 pounds of food for those in need.

Carnival Cruise Lines awarded a free “Fun Ship” cruise to a Mobile, Ala., school teacher whose class collected the most canned food over the holidays.

Cindy Griffin, a teacher at the Belsaw/Mt. Vernon School in Mt. Vernon, Ala., was presented with a free four- or five-day cruise from Mobile on the Carnival Elation as her fourth-grade class collected 549 pounds for the Bay Area Food Bank. All told, Mobile area schools collected more than 14,000 pounds of food which will be used to feed those less fortunate in the Mobile community.

Griffin’s fourth grade students also received a replica of a Carnival “Fun Ship” to display in their classroom which was presented during a special ceremony attended by officials from Carnival and the Bay Area Food Bank.

The food drive continues Carnival’s community service efforts in Mobile, home to the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation which carries 170,000 passengers annually from that port.

Thanks mate for sharing this with us and congratulations to Mrs. Griffin the teacher and thanks to all the kids who took part to help a very worthwhile cause.

Now while I was in Times Square for New Year’s Eve the ships were of course all celebrating 2011 in fine style. Have a look at this great photo sent to me by my great friend Butch of the Lido Deck New year’s eve celebration on your Carnival Dream.

New Year's on Carnival Dream

Looks like it was a great party and as you can see they were watching Times Square on he big screen……………brilliant.

Now during today’s Q and A you saw Steve O mention his time on the Carnival Legend and how great the Assistant Cruise Director there was…………so let’s meet him.

Name: Sam Stephens (the one with a rose in my mouth)

I am currently on the De/ Az. Carnival Legend and will be leaving here on the 13th of January 2011 in Belize to fly home to London Heathrow back to my house in Southend, Essex.

My journey to become an ACD started way, way back many months ago in 2008. I had always enjoyed travelling and seeing different parts of the world and wanted to get a job which allowed me to do this. I also loved (and still do) talking to people, socialising with people and just being me. I applied for Carnival and was interviewed by the lovely Chris Unstead and John Heald in London 🙂

About three weeks after the interview I received a phone call telling me I have the job. I couldn’t start right away, however, as I had to finish my exams at college (high school) as I was only eighteen at the time. I finished my final exam which was physics at 3pm that afternoon and then at 3am the following morning I was on my way to the airport to fly out to the Carnival Fantasy from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

From that contract I have learnt so much and become much more confident in myself as a host, a manager and also, probably most importantly, as a person. I finished the Carnival Fantasy and extended for three weeks to help out on the Carnival Splendor whilst it was in Fort Lauderdale. I then went home after completing one contract and feeling extremely happy with myself. My plan was to then return to the Carnival Miracle which I did. Halfway through I was transferred to the Carnival Ecstasy to help out for a couple of weeks and then back to the Carnival Miracle which is where I finished off in August 2009 as a senior host.

After the Miracle I joined the Carnival Spirit and was honoured, privileged and amazed by having the chance to work such an outstanding itinerary down to Acapulco, Zihuantenejo/ Ixtapa, Manzanillo, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and La Paz, Mexico. Not to mention the crossing to Hawai’i and enjoy Kono, Hilo, Maui, Honolulu and Nawiliwili where I saw the sunrise from under the clouds at 10,000 feet at Haleakala Mount and also jump out of an aeroplane from 14,000 feet. Some amazing experiences I will never forget. From there I travelled up to Alaska and saw the amazing sights and culture of this fabulous state. I also had the privilege to go dog sledging and fly over the glaciers in a helicopter here.

During that contract I worked closely with Cruise Director Stuart Dunn and Assistant Cruise Director Weezie Wilson to become an Assistant Cruise Director myself. After another vacation I returned to the Carnival Inspiration which is where I was promoted from Entertainment Staff to ACD. I transferred to the Carnival Freedom to take over there. Working two months with Big Sexy and Ryan Fitzgerald I then transferred to where I am now on the Carnival Legend and am working alongside Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Jimmy!!!!!! Wee Jimmy has been one of the most amazing person I have ever worked with. He is very funny and treats me like a brother. Did I mention he is cute as a button with his Wee Belly. If you ever get to know Wee Jimmy he is a very genuine, caring person indeed. I love the Legend.

For guests who sail with me there’s three things I would recommend you to do:

1. Take part in all of the events, have fun with the cruise and the cruise staff. Get to know us. Be a part of the Hairy Chest Contest, Master Mixology, Deck Parties etc.

2. My favourite activity which I recommend you take part in (with me) are the deck parties that we have on Lido, Deck 9, Aft three nights of the cruise. We have partied dedicated to the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and have so much fun such as teaching new dances, playing fun games and mingling with my favourite people: YOU 🙂

3. Just have FUN!! It’s your vacation… but definitely say hello me 🙂

The best thing about being an ACD is the experience I have of being a manager, the phenomenal team that I work with making my life so much easier and the guests are absolutely fantastic. In fact, without this clientele I couldn’t do this job. The people absolutely make this the most amazing life to live!! I could ask for nothing more.

I hope to see you sailing with us again some day… and when you do, please say “alo.”

Thanks Sam. I have heard so many great things about you mate and being from my home town means you are assured of success. Oh yes Sam………..please ask Wee Jimmy what happened to him when we were walking back to the Carnival Legend in the ship yard in Helsinki would you. Keep up the great work.

Today has not been a good day and the result of this has been much swearing on my part and a completely different finish to today’s blog.

I had gotten up early this morning because yesterday (January 3) was a public holiday here in the UK and because bugger all was open and because I was jet lagged following my time in New York I had spent the day indoors and as I reported at the start of today’s blog I had gone to my mate Alan’s house to watch Avashite in 3D. Because we had not gone out yesterday, Heidi had told me that we would today and that joy of joys……….we would be going to the children’s park to so Kye could play on the swings, etc.

So I rose at 8 am this morning and there I was having completed three hours of planning and writing today’s blog thingy. The last thing I do is give the blog a title. You see, as I have no real theme until I sit down and write I have to wait until the end to come up with a name for the day’s blog. Now, I have gotten into the habit of pressing save at the end of every paragraph and yesterday was no exception, I had pressed save at least a dozen times and never thought that there would be a problem. Well, it appears that was thought was as ridiculous as including the words Pope and Latvian Lap Dancers in the same sentence.

Now, I have a lap top dancer computer given to me by Carnival. It’s a Dell and the only other thing I possess that is as old as my computer are my two pairs of underpants. Well I don’t know exactly what happened or why but January 4, 2011 was the day that my Dell and Microsoft Windows suddenly decided to turn into Laurel and sodding Hardy.

Just as I was writing a brilliant and hilarious ending to today’s blog about your views on chocolate melting cake and creme brulee my screen went dark and my three hours of writing had been replaced with a Microsoft notice telling me that they had to shut down and did I want to report the problem. Well, at the time I didn’t, I just wanted my blog back. Anyway, the computer told me that it needed to restart …….and so it did.

Now, at this point I was quiet calm and I sat there waiting for that annoying theme to sound as it re-booted……by the way, did you know that Microsoft employed Brian Eno to write that welcome chime when you turn on your Windows thingy? Why? I know when the sodding thing comes on because when I push the buttons on the keyboard, words appear on the screen. I do not need an audible alert. Nor do I need a car to chirp when I lock it……all of these things are as pointless as Paris Hilton wearing knickers.

Anyway, eventually the screen appeared with all the desk top stuff where it should be….. except two things……..my desk top photo of Kye on Christmas Day…..and my blog. I searched everywhere for it…….on the desktop, in folders and documents even behind the sofa and in Heidi’s underwear drawer…….but it had gone.

That’s when the swearing started and that’s when I wanted that thing to appear on the screen asking me if I wanted to report the problem. Yes, I did and I wanted the report to be written on my shoe and then personally delivered up Bill Gate’s arse.

I was so frustrated and so angry. Now, on any other day I would have sworn in Italian …….. “testa de catzu, rumpa rumpa orgatz, minkya,” or in Dutch “hotfa doma klodsuck trut computer” or in Latvian “Barstardov Shitov ov Dellski furlckov” and then after a cup of monkey tea and a hug from Heidi and a giggle from Kye I would have started all over again.

But before I did that I had a brain wave. Carnival has a 24-hour help desk in Miami manned by brilliant men and women with beards who have saved me and my colleagues on countless occasions and therefore I could e-mail them a red flag disaster priority one Jack Bauer type of help message to see if the file could be rescued.

So, I emailed the help desk this message……oh, and these are cut and pasted so you can see word for word what was written.

Hello,

Sorry to bother you. I have just written two hours worth of material for my Carnival blog (www.johnhealdsblog.com) and just before I was ready to send it to Miami for posting a message appeared on the screen telling me Windows had discovered a problem and would need to shut down. So it did. And even though I had saved each piece I had written when the computer restarted the file was gone. I have searched for it but it has gone. Can you help, do you know if it can be saved somewhere else.

Many thanks,

John Heald
Senior Cruise Director

PS – I am in the UK so I can’t come and see you.

Then, about 10 minutes later I received this message from the IT man:

This might be due to broken software drivers, problems with USB devices or incorrect power-saving settings. And Windows often reboots because of a system failure. Try right-clicking on My Computer, Properties, Advanced Tab. Under Startup & Recovery, click on Settings, System Failure and uncheck the Automatically Restart box.

Brian
Help Desk Manager

What?

His message although I am sure helpful to anyone with half a brain was to me about as pointless as asking Charlie Sheen for marriage guidance.

It was then that I realized…..I was as doomed as a virgin on a date with Tiger Woods. I caught my reflection in the mirror and I looked like the owner of an all you can eat sushi restaurant would look if he saw me and Big Ed walk in together.

And so I sit here now at 3:25pm having spent a total of five hours sitting at the computer which neither my wife nor my hemmoroids appreciates. Oh yes, just before I go I had written in great length about the chocolate melting cake vs. the crème Brule. It was a wonderful, humourless and some would say “lurid” look into the world of desserts but I just can’t be sodding asked to write it all again. And so I will simply say that the chocolate melting cake will stay on the menu and that I will ask the chef if we can add the crème brule as an extra each night as well.

Anyway I am about to finish today’s blog for the second time and I am wondering if I should move over to the dark side………………. and buy a Mac.

Goodnight
Your friend
John

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.

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