Unisex Blog

January 5, 2011 -

John Heald

The tofu brigade (or Carnival’s marketing department as they are sometimes called) were paying for my hotel bill while in New York last week, I stayed in a posh designer uber snob boutique hotel. If the entertainment department had been paying, I would have been in Howard Johnson’s Motel 6 but when marketing pays I live the life of riley…………..Pat Riley.

Anyway, the hotel had all the things you would expect a posh hotel to have. A bellman who after traveling and dragging my bags to and from the airport offers to carry them the last 10 yards from the front desk to the elevator and from the elevator to my room and expects a $20 tip for doing so. Plus this being a snob boutique hotel, the bell man also gave me a tour of my room. I was jet-lagged, grumpy, headachey and desperate, absolutely desperate, for a poo, but he insists on doing his real estate agent impression: “This is the bedroom and this is the bathroom. That is the television. This is the window. That is a telephone. Here is a light.” I was going to ask him where the toilet paper was or was I expected to use the shower curtain but I didn’t. Instead he said “Is everything all right, sir?”……and as he said this he opened the palm of his hand. I gave him $5 and he looked at me as though I was the scum of the earth. I am surprised he didn’t give me it back saying “You need this more than I do obviously.”

OK, listen. I know that I get some flack now and then about our bar prices but honestly you should go to New York and stay in a hotel there. They don’t feel even slightly embarrassed charging guests $5 for a small bottle of Diet Coke. A bag of cashew nuts were $7.50. They also have the temerity to charge exorbitant rates for bottled water. I forget who much we charge for a 1 litre bottle in the cabins….I think it’s $3.50. Well in New York a half litre bottle of a water called Voss was………drum roll please………$8.95…….I kid you not…..$8.95 for a bottle of water.

Now unless this water is something Megan Fox has washed her bottom in…….there is no sodding way I am paying that amount or charging it to Carnival either. So I decided to go to a deli type place and buy some. The problem with that was that the lobby of this uber snobby hotel was pretty small and me carrying a few bottles of Evian water in was not going to go down well. So I needed to learn quickly how to smuggle so I turned to the oracle on smuggling drink……. and thanks to Cruise Critic I managed to get my water safely to the room by shoving a few bottles down my underpants.

Again, I know and understand that the internet prices the entire cruise industry charges are not cheap. But in our defence we all have to use a satellite that hovers thousands of miles in space. If we had broadband then of course we would be able to make it cheaper. Hotels have broadband so why then did my hotel like most four and five star hotels charge $15 plus tax a day. I have nothing funny to say about this. The only thing I have to say is………”why?” The posher the hotel, the harder it is to gain any sense of privacy. The minute I decided to settle down to watch a $15.95 Latvian rumpy pumpy movie, the turn-down service turns up.

However, there was one thing that has had a lasting impression on me following my New York hotel stay. And I didn’t just see this in the hotel but also in a posh restaurant the marketing team to……..they had unisex toilets. Now I don’t know about you but I found this horrifying. How can you put us men in with the women? What we do in the bathroom is so, so different.

Now during the dinner I got the call of nature and headed off to the bathroom. I reached the door and was puzzled by the sign that showed both a man and a woman on the door. Thinking that there would be two other doors behind it I strolled in ready to drop the kids off. But what greeted me was shocking. A row of 8 gleaming cubicles, a lady washing her hands and a man coming out of one of the cubicles. I had never seen this before and because of the urgency of my bowel movements I didn’t have time to compute this and headed for a cubicle.

As I sat there though I thought about this and hoped to goodness we never put this unisex system on the ships because how are us men supposed to relax. Ladies…….you wouldn’t like it would you? Imagine having to put up with those arse-based sounds and the blast of “Odour du Piss Number 5” that would temporarily leave you unconscious when they accidentally open the door of the men’s toilet on lido deck. But thinking about it us men wouldn’t like it either. You see we slash in a flash. Women never do. The toilet is too important for gossip and make up application ………… to turn it into some sort of sh** house. Unisex toilets……………my arse.

Time for today’s Q and A……………off we go.

Debbie Asked:
John PLEASE REPLY:

My husband and I were really looking forward to our 1/9 sailing on the Splendor. We have rebooked for the 1/6 trip on the Miracle. So instead of flying to LA, we will be going out of Ft. Lauderdale for the 3rd time. I must say that the person at Carnival that helped me with changing my booking was very helpful and very understanding. We are booked in room 5169 on the Miracle on 1/6. Do you know who the CD will be? The schedule is not updated yet. Also, would you be able to send something so I can let my husband know how much I care about him? We are looking forward to a week with no kids and not stress. I hope you enjoy your unexpected time at home. I know you miss them and I can’t imagine being away from them so much.

John Says:
Hello Debbie,

Well I see that you will be sailing on the Carnival Miracle tomorrow and you will have the wonderful Malcolm in the Middle as your cruise director. I am so very sorry that your Carnival Splendor cruise was cancelled. I will indeed ask Malcolm to send your husband something on my behalf and I wish you both a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes
John

Marty Paul Asked:
Hi John (please reply, when you can),

Don’t know if it has been asked yet, but I would like to make an early “pitch” for BC5 to be on the Carnival Magic on one of her first few cruises out of Galveston! Host Mach….can you help us out here?

Don’t worry John, your haemorrhoid cream & Latvian Women in Suspenders DVD are safe. No one would dare enter your stateroom, as your dirty underpants are literally standing guard.

Thanks again for all of your hard work and all the other fantastic employees of Carnival!

Marty Paul

John Says:
Hello Marty Paul,

As always it’s great to hear from you here and on Facebook. I certainly will give the utmost thought to holding Bloggers Cruise 5 on your Carnival Magic as I love Galveston and I know you will all love your Carnival Magic. My underpants are still on the bathroom floor of the Carnival Splendor and are being used to grow potatoes in. Hope to see you soon.

Best wishes
John

Barbara Asked:
John (PLEASE REPLY)

Hi John, I’m glad to hear that you’re having some time at home–loved the dishwasher escapades! Hope you and Heidi do have time for some FUN! Just a quick question–I was reading that the grand buffet is no longer offered on Carnival–that surprised me as I always enjoyed going to it for the pictures and seeing the beautiful creations by the chefs. Will you still have the chocolate buffet on longer trips? I’m looking forward to next year on the MAGIC. Take care–and yes, I do say Merry Christmas–besides–how do you know what someone celebrates. It shouldn’t offend another person since the comment above shows that the majority are Christians. And if not–they can just wish you a Happy Holiday back. People get too upset. You have to choose your battles and this one is not one of them. Raising children has its own battles and you have to decide which ones you fight with your children about and which you can let slide!
Take care of yourself John (and your girls). Hopefully being home with less stress should help your A1C!!!

John Says:
Hello Barbara,

Yes you are indeed correct and the gala buffet has not been presented for a couple of years now. However, the chocolate buffet is now on all of our ships and is as you can imagine a huge hit. I haven’t heard any feedback on what the crew were saying during the Christmas cruises but hopefully the “Merry Christmas and happy holidays” will have appeased everyone. I hope you had a happy festive season and I look forward to seeing you on your Carnival Magic.

Best wishes
John

retirementman Asked:
Reply Please John

First.
With the new Carnival Magic arriving soon to the United States, I was wondering if there were any ideas for it to be shown on the TV shows. The reason I asked was that today I saw the Allure of the Sea (they got to be crazy a double room is $16,000) shown on the Today Show with Hoda & Kathie Lee and also on the Oprah Show. Carnival should also show off the Carnival Magic with you my friend.

Second.
I’m going to be on the Carnival Miracle and I would like to get a pin. The question is will there be enough in the shops to buy. Remember when we on the Carnival Dream last year and I asked for one they didn’t have them but thanks to you I was able to finally get one. Thanks John. Unfortunately you won’t be onboard this time. I do hope that there will enough for me to buy one?

Third.
When do they begin making the Carnival Breeze and I hope that they will place this ship along somewhere along the Florida coast. By the time you get this I would have completed my cruise and probably already arranged my sixth cruise. I hope that will have the opportunity to cruise with again.

Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul F.Pietrangelo,

It always gives me great pleasure in typing your name here on the blog as you like a few others have been with me since the very first blog post back in 1787. I heard that Kathie Lee was on the Mall of the Seas and that must have felt very strange for her and I wonder if she felt guilty at all ……..probably not, right? Anyway, we will get loads of media attention when your Carnival Magic debuts in Europe and when it repositions to Galveston and I’m sure you’ll be hearing much more about the ship in the coming weeks and months.

Please don’t worry about the pin because I will make sure you get one because as I said you have been here with me from the start so it is the least I can do. I hope I haven’t missed your cruise so please write back as soon as you can with your details. I hope to have some news on the Carnival Breeze soon and I hope that we get to see each other again very soon.

Best wishes to you and the family
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John, Please reply

I watched your slideshow of the Carnival Splendor and one thing that caught my eye was in all of the pictures of the crew working, they still had smiles on their faces. Some of them looked so tired, but they still had that (what I call) famous Carnival Smile, even the men that were carrying those heavy boxes up all of those stairs, they still had a smile. All of the cooks, even though they looked tired, they also had smiles on their faces.

John, I have been wondering where they have moved the Carnival Splendor to. Could you enlighten us as to the progress she is making.

Please give my love to Heidi and Kye,

From your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan,
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M,

Thanks so much for pointing that out Kathy. Words can not express how proud I was to be part of the Carnival Splendor team and each and every one of them worked so hard in such challenging conditions and as you said……….did it with a smile on their faces. We are all looking forward to the ship returning to service. Thanks as always for your kind support of the blog thingy

Best wishes
John

Gregg Aldridge Asked:
Mr Heald Please Reply!

I just got back from my first Carnival cruise on the Valor and it will probably be my last. The people on the balcony cabin next to us smoked a cigarette at nights and we could smell it on our balcony. I asked them to stop but they ignored my demand. I reported it to the front desk but nothing was done. I banged on their cabin door but they wouldn’t answer. Smokers are vermin and if Carnival allows them to spread their smoke and cause cancer to others you won’t get my business. I will go to a cruise line that does not allow these murderers to sail. This is not a threat, it’s a promise!

John Says:
Hello Gregg Aldridge,

I am very sorry that you appear not to have enjoyed your cruise and I hope though that you can find some good points from it such as the service and friendliness of the crew, the food and entertainment and the value for money. I do realise that for non smokers the smell of smoke can be disturbing but Carnival does allow smoking on the balconies. Most smokers are aware of the fact that some guests do not like the smell of smoke and are courteous when asked to extinguish their cigarettes. Not sure what happened on the Carnival Valor but I offer my apologies for this particular experience. I do hope that you will think about the fun you had and not dwell on this one incident and that will persuade you to return to Carnival for another brilliant cruise.

Best wishes
John

DWD AND FAMILY Asked:
John (Please Reply)

I was on the Carnival Splendor during the fire and I have to tell you that despite everything you and the crew were outstanding. I will write a full review for Cruise Critic soon but had to come over to your blog (my first visit) and tell you that your calming voice kept the fear away. I spoke to many passengers who knew you from before and all said that if you had not been the cruise director that things would have been much worse.

Thanks also to Carnival for the after care they have given us and I can’t wait to cruise again. I met Jim Malone conditioning coach for my beloved San Diego Padres one night and he told me that he was going to send you VIP tickets to see a game. Did you ever get them?
Thanks John to you and the crew for saving the day because that is exactly what you did.

John Says:
Hello DWD and Family
You are so kind and it was as you said the captain and crew were outstanding and I was proud to be there alongside them. The guests were for the most part also absolutely brilliant so a big thank you goes to them and you for meeting the challenges that those 3 days brought. I didn’t know there was coach on the ship and I haven’t received any tickets but never mind, I hope the Padres have a great season and win the Super Bowl. Thanks again for those wonderful words and I truly hope we get to sail together in more pleasant circumstances very soon.

Best wishes to you all
John

Anthony Garofalo Asked:
Hi there John,

I’m glad to see that you’re safe and it sounds like you had quite a harrowing experience out there. Though it was scary I am sure it was one of your proudest, if not smelliest, moments as a cruise director. I am sure you get any number of messages like this one, but I really just have to do it. It is inspirational to me to see that you didn’t start your career as a member of the Cruise Staff.

I’ve wanted to be a CD since my very first cruise at the age of 9. My career path has not taken me on the traditional route to Cruise Directing, but my passion for it hasn’t died. I’m a Hotel Management degree holder with extensive hotel management experience, including being HR Manager for Holland America Line. While at HAL I trained extensively with several CDs and hosted many events. I’ve got a natural ability on stage (so I’ve been told) and I just know that I need to become a CD or I’ll regret it forever.

I too was an avid blogger… I’ve posted many posts to the Holland America Blog. In a way, I was CD for the crew onboard HAL and I never missed a beat.

So what’s the point you say? Well I suppose I’m just looking for a little advice. I had to come back to land to sort out some personal issues but now I’m ready to get back to sea. So with my background and skills what do you see as the best way to become CD?

My resume doesn’t scream ‘Make me a CD!’ but I’ve got the passion and drive to do it, I just can’t get to the interview stage!

“Why have I written you?” you might ask. Well one of the CDs I trained with said that I “might want to hit the gym” in order to be a better candidate. But I told him that had no bearing on my ability to create an once-in-a-lifetime experience for a guest. I want to do it on my terms. I want to be me because I have the skills and abilities and I think I rock (and so do others). Clearly that’s your attitude and it’s taken you far.

Maybe someday I’ll be just like you… a sought after and well respected CD. I’ve already got the girth, so I figure I’m like half way there. Move aside, thin model-esque CDs… we’re funnier and just generally better.

Anyway, your thoughts and insight would be much appreciated as you are clearly the expert on this subject. Thanks for your time and I anxiously await your reply.

Best regards,
Anthony Garofalo

John Says:
Hello Anthony Garofalo,

Very simply I urge you to follow your dream. It seems you have an excellent understanding of what life onboard a cruise ship is all about having worked with our sister company Holland America Line. I also see you have some stage experience which is very useful indeed. Many people ask me what qualifications you need to be a cruise director and there is no straight answer to this. The best cruise directors in the industry are all different and come from many different backgrounds. Steve Cassel at Carnival is a born entertainer. Graham Seymour and Richard Spacey from Royal Caribbean are absolutely brilliant and very, very funny but neither of them have a specific act but are two of the very best. Gary Hunter who taught me and is now at Crystal Cruises has an act and his ventriloquism sets him apart from most. Then you look at the young CD’s here at Carnival all of whom have come through the ranks at Carnival but all of them had non entertainment jobs beforehand. So you see we are all shapes and sizes and genders. If you really want this career change may I advise you start at www.carnivalentertainment.com and read all about the job etc and the site will also tell you how to apply?

I wish you much success.

Best wishes
John

Rev Barb in Canada, eh? Asked:
Hi John (Please respond if you can)

We just had a lovely trip on the Carnival Triumph – the same week as you were stealing all the news headlines on the Splendour. It was our 13th Carnival cruise (love those picture frames!!) and second time on the Triumph. She’s holding up very well, and we had great stewards, dining room/bar service, and overall very positive experience. We’re coming back to the Dream for a third time and bringing a large group of Canucks in March and can’t wait!

My one little pet peeve is the Capers, er, Fun Times. This was our first experience with them as last March on my Carnival Dream we were still getting the Capers. Now, I don’t care what the daily is called, but we found it hard to read the small print. The Triumph’s copies had a very small font – it might have been 10 pt, but that’s just a guess. They were also very faint, as if economy mode was used on the printer. My husband who has a slight vision impairment could not read them at all and had to depend on me to tell him what fun activities were going on all around the ship.

Can you maybe address this with the Beards, that perhaps they make available large-print copies (we didn’t ask…) or bump up the font so us 40-something-old-people can read what’s going on? LOL

Enjoy your time home with the girls, many thanks et merci!

John Says:
Hello Rev Barb in Canada………eh?

This is a concern that has recently been brought to my attention and there is now a system in place to help. Yes, the Fun Times have a lot of information packed in them and while the main boxes are in 12 or 14 font size the Today At A Glance section (its not called that anymore but I am buggered if I can remember what we call it now) is in a 9 font size. So for those guests who have vision concerns we can blow this section up to a larger font size and have it delivered to the cabin. I arranged this for a guest this week actually who will be sailing on the Carnival Miracle tomorrow. So you can ask the ship when you board or I can pre arrange this for you via the blog thingy. I am glad you had such a great cruise and I want to thank you for your loyalty.

Best wishes eh?
John

Thomas Rossini Asked:
Please Reply

Good Evening …
John… I feel as if I know you like a brother. What you have done for your fellow employees and passengers is more than anyone can hope for. I will be travelling on the carnival dream on Feb 19, 2011. I was checking to see if the CD schedule was out for that time of year but it is not. I do hope that you are the CD on that cruise as I would like to buy you a beer / champagne, buy you some new XXL thongs / Speedos and have a cigar while we sit in the Thalasso Spa and watch latvianwomanpart2.. Oh wait you have some pull… we can watch it on the pool side theatre Screen. But in all seriousness, if you are on the cruise I will be in cabin 11230 and would love to shake your hand and buy you a beverage and have you join us at the Chef’s table my treat.

John Says:
Hello Thomas Rossini,

Thanks for the very kind words but unfortunately I won’t be with you when you sail on the beautiful Carnival Dream. Your Cruise Director will be the absolutely fabulous Butch who I am sure you will have read about here on the blog thingy. He is one of our very best.

I hope you enjoy The Chef’s Table. It is a brilliant experience and one that I would have loved to join you at. One day we will get to have that cigar and a Diet Coke and you can look for a little something from me when you cruise next month.

Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and thank you so much for all the great comments. For those of you who are keeping score, our blog thingy has now had a grand total views of 8,669,897.

Actually, that’s not all the comments I am going to reply to today because I want to address this one as well. I received it yesterday and feel that it deserves a bit of line jumping.

Dempsey Asked:
(John -urgent action and reply needed)

My DW and I will be sailing on the Fascination in 2 weeks time and we just read on Cruise Critic that the cruise director will be Jen Baxter. We are very annoyed by this because from what we have read we are going to have a bad time look
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1327244&highlight=jen+baxter

The comments state that she is not a good CD and that I should contact you to get her off the ship and put someone else there for our high school reunion cruise. I have sailed twice before with Carnival and the cruise directors were George and Gordon both were excellent and made the cruise. Why does Carnival have bad cruise directors then as well as good ones?
Please help.

John Says:
Hello Dempsey,

Let me start by saying that a few negative comments by a few people does not make a Cruise Director a bad one. I read the thread thingy you sent and I see that there were some guests who absolutely loved Jen Baxter and thought she was marvellous. I have sailed with her myself and saw how she was always around and out with the guests and that she truly cared about if they were having a good time. She is definitely eccentric and her royal wave is something that I have seen that the majority of guests like. I am not sure who suggested that I could or would have her removed based on this link because that is never going to happen. The reports and marks she gets from the guest review cards have always been good.

I will tell you and all the bloggers that you are going to see some changes in what the cruise directors do this year. It is our objective to get them on stage more and away from the sodding computer. Some are already doing this and some are not, so expect to see the CD’s hosting much more than they have done maybe in recent times. I hardly ever read Cruise Critic because with my schedule I honestly don’t have the time. When I do I find links like this have some excellent observations and I also notice that some posters can be bloody cruel as well as shown in this thread. I am indeed very protective of the cruise directors but at the same time if anyone thinks that some need to improve and their criticism is just then please tell me and I will do all I can to help them improve.

So Dempsey, have a great cruise and go onboard with an open mind and then write to me and tell me what you thought of Jen.

Best wishes
John

PS – we don’t have a CD called Gordon.

It is interesting though isn’t it how opinions vary. Guests either like you or they don’t and as a CD this is something that we have to understand and except. But opinions can help us so if you have any on any of the cruise director team (myself definitely included) and how they can improve, please tell me here on the blog because I promise you…………..we all want to know.

Well I think its time for a break so let’s meet another assistant cruise director who after all are the future CD’s (maybe) of Carnival Cruise Lines. Today we go to the Carnival Paradise to meet Brandon.

Brandon

I’m currently on the wonderful Carnival Paradise and will be signing off here after New Years for a lovely vacation.

In January 2006, I was in a talent show on a Carnival Ship and it was during a 7 day cruise out of Fort Lauderdale that I decided that I wanted to be a part of the Carnival Team. Well I started with Carnival in May of 2007. It was on the beautiful Carnival Glory where it all started with me. It was such a fun contract and really made me think of staying with Carnival for a long time. I left the Glory in high spirits and had a short vacation and then went back to the Imagination. Now that ship had its good times and I learned a lot more then I would have ever thought of. I had a great mentor in Jorge Solano who pushed me real hard to work and be the best I could be. I was on the ship for over 8 months and then took a nice long vacation with family. I came back in the craziest way ever. I was suppose to go on to the Carnival Spirit, but as I was at home having a family going away party, I found out last minute that I was supposed to go on to the Carnival Pride since the Spirit didn’t have a room for me for weeks. Unfortunately, I found this out after the new flight to the Pride had left the airport! So a few days later I went to the Carnival Liberty. This was the 1st ship I had ever been on with Carnival; I was a guest on there in January of 2006.

I stayed on the Liberty for 2 months and then went to the Spirit at the beginning of December. That was a really fun contract and I made a lot of friends as well. Chris Roberts was an amazing CD and I got the opportunity to sing the Blues Brothers Show with him. After that, my journey took me to Vancouver where I stayed, took some acting classes, just hung out, and enjoyed my summer.

This brings me to August of 2008. I was still living in Vancouver and didn’t know if I was going to come back to ships but I thought to myself, “Yes, I should go back and I want to go back and go all the way to the top. I want to become a cruise director.” So I got an email from Steve Knisley asking me if I could come and help out on the Elation. I totally took up the offer, flew home to Toronto, and two days later was in San Diego on the Elation. I had a great time there and then after about almost 2 months went to the Carnival Fantasy.

It was out of New Orleans and let me tell you…WOW!! I love New Orleans!! The Music, the Food!! Oh WOW! We were there for about 2 months and then went to Mobile, AL. Let me tell you that winter was super cold in Alabama!! But during the time that I was on the Fantasy one cruise director really had faith in me. Risa Barnes was her name and she gave me the opportunity to act as an assistant cruise director for almost 2 months at the end of my contract. During this time I finished my ACD Tier and that was sent to the home office and I was a very happy camper. I went home knowing that I would be going back to the Carnival Elation for my next contract.

I got on to the Elation again April 1st 2010. It was an exceptional team on there with a 3 host team that all had lots of experience and also a social host filling in as a Karaoke host. We had some good times and things were going really well. Then things started to happen, Steve Knisley was the cruise director that was on the Elation and he went on vacation and Felipe Couto took over. During this time I was happy to work with him and we eventually became great workers and friends. One day I was in the staff mess eating lunch and my ACD at the time told me to turn on the TV in the staff mess use her phone so that I can communicate on the afternoon show with Irish Bob and Felipe. I was very curious of what was going on but started to have butterflies in my stomach. I put on the TV in the mess really loudly so people could hear it and then he told me in a letter from Chris Unstead that I was being promoted and being sent to the Paradise to take over for my first contract as a fully promoted assistant cruise director. I have loved it so much and can’t wait to continue my life here with Carnival until I become a cruise director myself. My journey is just beginning and for me, there is no end in sight…

I enjoy when guests sail with me the activity that I enjoy the most is the Hairy Chest competition. Why you ask? Well the way I interact with the guests and how I make them feel really appreciated. It is a lot of fun and the crowd really enjoys the way I put it together.

The best thing about being an ACD would have to be having the random chance to step up and cover as a CD at any point in time. You never know what can happen and you need to be ready and willing to just step up and run with it. That is the best thing about being a ACD also coming in second place would be making the schedule/having your own room hahaha!!

Thanks for listening!

Brandon “B-random” Kovshoff
Assistant Cruise Director
Carnival Paradise”

So many people who sail as a guest get the urge to come back as crew and Brandon has realised his dream and from what I hear……….he is a fantastic ACD and one to watch for the future.

Well yesterday was very frustrating and my computer still hasn’t returned my original blog …….. the bastard.

I also have a cold which I brought back from New York and along with a headache, sore throat and melted bits of Shrek’s scrotum which constantly drip out of my nose I also have a huge blister on my lip which Kye finds fascinating and keeps pointing at.

Yesterday I received my schedule information and on Feb 2 will fly to Antigua to join the Carnival Freedom for three weeks before heading off to the Carnival Glory and Bloggers Cruise 4. I spoke to my assistant Stephanie yesterday and we are going to start preparing the schedule in Fun Times format and will post that soon here on the blog thingy. We have close to 350 sailing as part of the group and I am once again thrilled that so many have chosen to sail with me.

Today me and my snot-ridden nose have a phone call with the beards about the live music situation on the ships. Yesterday I posted a question on my Facebook thingy to which close to 150 people gave their opinions on this subject.

Most think our live music is excellent and that the standard is very high. A few feel that we need to go back to four-piece calypso-style bands on lido deck and not duos. I am not sure that the extra two people make that much difference but I will certainly bring this up in today’s call as some seem very passionate about this so I will certainly represent them on this. If you didn’t get to post your opinion on our live music selection on Facebook please so do here would you.

By the way………because so many of you wrote and told me that a band called Blood Power were simply brilliant and even though I have never worked with them, I have chosen them to come with me to the Carnival Magic. See………….your opinion definitely counts.

I have received lots of kind words from my colleagues about the New Year’s Eve stuff I did in New York. It was very very, busy though and this was summed up brilliantly by a friend of mine who owns a local pub called the Plough and Sail here in Essex. He is a country chap who told me he would never return to the Big Apple. I asked him why he hated New York expecting to hear that someone had been rude to him, etc, but he then said something which took me by surprise. He told me that he didn’t like it because it was too busy and then he clarified this by saying “I love to walk and I couldn’t get going. It was too busy and I had to take big steps and then little steps and then a few more big steps and then lots of little ones again.” This made sense.

Here was a man who owned a pub in the middle of nowhere and I can imagine him taking huge long walks through the English countryside…….but in New York…….he had to take big steps ………then lots of little ones. Me though…………I loved it.

OK, nearly time to go but not before I share some great news that you probably already know ………. they are making Top Gun 2! Brilliant! No man dislikes this film. If they say they do I suggest you look in his underpants to see if he has a thingy as Top Gun is a male institution. It has great action and the greatest love story in the history of movies. Now, I know what you are thinking….is the relationship between Mr. Cruise and the actress whose name I can’t remember or be bothered to go Googling for really that great of a love story….….well…….no……….the love story I am talking about is the one between Maverick and Goose.

I defy anyone with a thingy not to cry like a baby when Maverick is cradling Goose’s head as they bob about in the sea. It’s a movie that says if men want to hang around in locker rooms wearing just a hand towel then that’s OK.

If they want to fly fast planes all day and then oil each other up before playing a game of beach volleyball……that’s OK, as well…..I think. This movie oozes masculinity in ways a movie had not done so before.

Now, I admit that I am not a big fan of the poisoned dwarf that is Mr. Cruise but here as “Maverick” he excels. I love all the nicknames….. Maverick ……. Goose ………. Iceman … I wonder what mine would have been…. “Fat Bastard” ……..you have French Migs on your tail

“Fighter command this is Fat Bastard, how do you know they are French fighters?”……“Fat Bastard…….this is fighter command…………the planes all have hair under the wings and are flying backwards.”

Top Gun is useful tool to show how men make friends. If you meet a man and you hate him instantly in the way that Maverick hated Iceman at the start of the film it is probably because you are jealous of him. However, men are strange creatures and, by the end of the movie, Iceman utters that immortal line, “You can be my wing man” and they end up best mates, retire, go to work for Latvian Airlines and have rumpy pumpy with lots of flight attendants.

Now they are making Top Gun 2………I can’t wait.

Goodnight
Your friend
Fat Bastard

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.