Hong Kong Pooey

March 15, 2011 -

John Heald

Bugger! Me and my massive tunnel sized mouth which has yet again made me a resident of S**t Street.

You may remember how a few months ago, in a moment of girly weakness I asked Heidi if there was anything special she would like to do when I got home from the Carnival Splendor. I realised as soon as I had asked the question that I was going to be in trouble and hoped I would get away with something like a romantic dinner at an overpriced restaurant that serves bits of food stacked on top of each other and with a sauce that is drizzled.

This would have been OK ….but unfortunately it’s much, much worse…… because as you may remember……she said lets go and see Mama Mia at The Prince of Wales Theatre in London. And this morning……..the tickets arrived and this Saturday night my fat arse will be sat watching this total and utter crap. I would rather be trapped in an elevator with Charlie Sheen and his machete than watch some Dancing Queens.

Now I understand its March 2011 and we live in a world where men are urged to get in contact with their feminine side. This is OK I guess if you have just started in a relationship and are trying to make an impression that will lead to rumpy pumpy then yes, a musical is bearable, otherwise, let’s be honest, most men have a genetic hatred of the things.

Wicked, Hairspray, Phantom, Les Misersoddingabe…….just typing those names makes my hemorrhoids flare up. Musicals, in my opinion, have less plot than a Jean Claude Van Damme straight to DVD movie. They last for days and have bugger all explosions. If only some Eric the Beard would invent a pair of contact lenses that I could put on just as the Swedish lot start singing Money, Money, Money. These contact lenses would look like we are watching the show when actually we are watching re-runs of the West Wing followed by some Latvian women doing naughty things with a bucket of Jello.

Musicals are one of the differences that separate men and women…….another, of course, is the toilet.

Now, please don’t worry , I am not going to go into details about my number twos or mention the fact that yesterday after eating two multi grain bagels I managed to poo the letter “s”……. nope, that would be disgusting and some of you may be having your lunch or dinner so I won’t mention it.

Men though are programmed to enjoy quality time in the toilet. I like to think of it as my own library or gentlemen’s club. In fact yesterday while I was waiting for the new blog format to go live I took the laptop into my private club and updated my Facebook page from there. So if you had a question answered between 5 pm and 5:30pm EST you did so while I was on the throne. If I am not Facebooking while I am there I have to read.

Not those magazines Heidi reads like Woman and Home. Home, Women and Garden. Garden and Hair. Hair and Beauty. Beauty and Slimming. Slimming and Slimmers. Slim Women. Slim Home. Slim Garden. Slim Hair, Hello, Goodbye…………..none of that bollocks………….nope, I like a newspaper which in case of emergencies can be used as toilet paper of course. So whether I am reading or Facebooking I always lock the door.

Locking the door drives Heidi crazy and often she comes by, rattles the door and shouts “Why is the door locked?” followed by “What are you doing in there?” Why do women ask these questions, I mean what is it they think we are doing in there?

One thing I could be doing if I forgot to take my newspaper in with me is count the number of bathroom products Heidi has in the cabinets or that are festooned around the bathroom. My stuff which is deodorant, soap and Preparation H are kept away from her products in case they contaminate them in anyway. Except, of course, my razorblades which Heidi will use on her legs and not tell me so the next time I have a shave the blade has half a Brazilian forest in it and I end up cutting myself badly.

My shampoo is shampoo……nothing else……….just plain old shampoo. That’s one bottle ….. not four or five……….just one. Heidi has shampoo, conditioner, strengthening conditioner, shampoo for when she has just done her highlights and a vitamin enriched something or other by a company who seems to think its OK to charge $899 for a bottle of shampoo…….what a load of bollocks. Who ever discovered this must be a millionaire and laughing his arse off that women are buying this thinking its extract is taken from some rare plant that is found only in the depths of the Amazon ………when it is in fact Head & Shoulders with a bit of lemon in it.

By the way, I see Heidi snuck one in on me by taking off my opening of yesterday’s blog and replacing it with one of her own. Cheeky sod.

Anyway, more about toilets a little later but first let’s do some Q and A …………away we go.

George D Asked:
Hello John – please reply

I am a 71 year old man who just lost his wife of 44 years. I am going on the Carnival ship the Dream on Saturday April 2nd and am worried that I will be put at dinner with couples which would make me very sad I am sure and them very uncomfortable as well. So I was told by a friend to write to you and have you get me a table for one so that I don’t have to worry about being at a table with lots of married folks. Can you help me?

John Says:
Hello George D,

Yes of course I can help you. First of all I want to tell you how sorry I am at your loss and I send my deepest sympathies to you and your family. I can totally understand how you feel about sitting with married couples but if you will allow me to I would like to give you a second option to sitting on your own. Why not allow me to have the maitre d look for more mature groups of singles who are sailing that week. Now, don’t worry, I am not trying to play matchmaker here, I just don’t want you to have to eat on your own every night. Now George, you did not leave me your last name or a cabin number so please can you write back with this information here on the blog and mark it TIME SENSITIVE FROM GEORGE. The beards in Miami will see this and send it to me and I will act accordingly for you. I do hope you reply and I do hope you have a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes,

John

Lucinda Martin Asked:
John, (PLEASE REPLY)

I am going to try one more time to write to you. I have written in the past and I do look forward to the beards changing how you receive request and cruise reviews since my previous two messages to you were lost in the void! We returned last Sunday from our cruise on Carnival Valor and I will say that we received our emailed surveys late last night. We had a group of seven and three staterooms between us; our group consisted of Myself, Jeff (the Fluffy Bearded Hubby, but definitely not a tofu lover!), one of our sons Chris (22), two of our daughters Sarah (18) and Erin (7), my mother Luci, and my favorite aunt Marie. Marie was the only person who had cruised with Carnival before. Jeff, Sarah and I have cruised on a different line various times. We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to cruising on Carnival again; I will expand on that a little latter.

Iputu had the unfortunate responsibility of being the Stateroom attendant for all three of the staterooms in our group. I tried my best to keep the stateroom that my husband and I occupied clean because I knew that the kid’s room would be a mess most days. He did great and never complained when our schedule changes affected his routine, he and his assistant always had a hello or good morning or just a smile for us whenever we met. My only regret is I forgot to tell him that I liked my towel animal menagerie, our older kids didn’t appreciate them as much as the youngest so if Chris had already gotten to the towel animal before she could see them she would come see ours. We lost the first nights towel animal when he created the second nights after that I requested that he not tear apart the towel animals and to leave them for the whole week, I had a full menagerie by the end of the cruise. If you could pass a message on to him that my swimsuit bottom was found as I had him searching the laundry when it wasn’t with the top of the suit when they were returned after cleaning. It was mixed in with my husband’s suits and was missed when I put his stuff away.

I guess it is a good thing that the Carnival Valor is going into dry-dock soon, Jeff was complaining about the bed and the pillows on the last night, he said he had a back ache and his arm was hurting him. Had he told me earlier in the cruise I would have requested more pillows and possibly and egg crate if Carnival even has those to help him sleep. The pillows were a little wimpy, I needed both of mine even though I only use one at home, he on the other hand used two king size pillows at home and the four that were on our bed would have all fit into one of the pillow cases on his normal pillow at home… he definitely didn’t have enough support.

Lokiah (I hope I spelled that right) our head waiter and Edmond our assistant waiter were our Dining Room Servers they were incredible and very understanding when Jeff and Chris (both of whom will be late for their own funerals) were habitually late for dinner the rest of us getting there closer to the appointed time. Okay I was guilty too; I wasn’t right on time either due to the fact that after the first two nights our youngest thought it was better to eat with Camp Carnival and I couldn’t get her and I both to our appointed dinners at the same time without being a minute or two late for mine. Thankfully we had a table that only seated 8 and there were seven of us so we didn’t upset anyone else with this issue. We had a wonderful spot in the dining room next to a window and was able to view sunset a few time during dinner, I don’t know if I have you or the beards to thank for the table because I never saw your reply to my message but maybe it was you or maybe we just lucked out with the placement that was made for us. Thank you whoever!!!

Ironically our Bar Server in the Dining room was named Iputu as well, I didn’t know this before last night I asked my husband if he knew his name and he told me it was the same as our Stateroom Attendant. Iputu was fantastic!!! When we mentioned that we were looking at Carnival Magic for our Anniversary in October he said that it may be his next ship as well; I do hope so he was a lot of fun, he even went and checked football scores for me on the last night when we had dinner during the Seahawks and Saints game. I think he was surprised with the cheers he received when he returned to the table with the score; My Seahawks were winning!! The dining room staff seems to have a lot of fun dancing but I am not so sure about the singing… We found it amusing but I guess we should be thankful that they are NOT entertainment staff!

We didn’t miss any of the ports due to weather and loved our time in each port. We only booked a Carnival Excursion at one port; Belize, we wanted to see some of the Mayan Ruins and knowing they were so far removed from the port it seemed sensible to use Carnival. We went to Xunatunich and it was a very long ride both directions but definitely worth it the freezes on the side of El Castillo were incredible, I don’t think we will ever forget it. We didn’t get a chance to buy any souvenirs in Belize because our tour returned with just enough time to board the final tender. Here is where I have to make a little comment about the craziness of all the organized excursions for Belize meeting in one spot on the ship it was chaotic and seemed that if they were spread out among a few spots on the ship it could have been a little more organized or even if someone was at the entrance of the theater saying that only one person in the group needed to go up to get the tender tickets and the rest could be seated it may have been a little easier to deal with. Some even came into the room and had a seat immediately without getting tickets not realizing that they would need them.

Only one incident marred our trip and it definitely didn’t ruin our trip but it did put a sour taste in our mouth and we almost didn’t buy any photographs from the photo gallery. On the last evening we had gone to the dining room and scanned (I have a small portable scanner) a few of the menus that we had missed during the week (We had ate at the Steakhouse one night and I didn’t get to scan the dinner menu that night) and then went to the photo gallery to look at all the pictures that were taken of our group. I didn’t have any pockets so I was carrying my scanner in my hand. I set it down next to all the pictures (well over two dozen photos were taken of our group) that we were going through and was accused of scanning the pictures, we were NOT and my husband shoved the scanner in his back pocket. We were then followed (by photo gallery staff) all about the gallery while we tried to find a specific set of pictures that we hadn’t found yet my husband confronted the person following us and at which time she walked away from us and started informing all the rest of the staff to watch us. We did end up purchasing almost $200 in pictures but if she hadn’t put my husband in such a mood after treating us like we were criminals I am sure we would have purchased more. At one point I offered to let them down load the files off my scanner to see that all I had on there was menus but they declined. Definitely not a normal occurrence but nothing that will not stop us from cruising with Carnival again.

There is one last person I would like to identify and thank her but I did not get her name. One of the Guest Services staff confirmed that I had won a bet with Chris about smoking in the guest cabins and on the balconies. When the smoking policy was printed in the fun times it only lists the public areas that are smoking or not and he was adamant that it meant the everywhere else was non-smoking including the cabins and balconies. Even though we are non-smokers and would love to have had him win that bet I knew in fact that this was not the case and I got a free margarita out of the bet!! The only real issue that I had with smoke was on the promenade passing by the casino it is so open in that area that the smoke doesn’t know that it should stay in the casino and it would fill the whole area. I can honestly say that having the casino that open to another public area that is non-smoking is not an ideal situation. I don’t know how that can be resolved and am not demanding that the casino be changed to non-smoking but I know it is an issue and it stopped me from extending my stay in that area of the ship.

As I said above my husband, older daughter, aunt and I have cruised before but only my aunt had cruised with Carnival. We had a fantastic time and overall cannot find anything to stop us from scheduling our next cruise with Carnival. My husband and I will be sailing for our 5th Anniversary in October (Carnival Magic has our number) and as soon as the December 2012 schedules are out we will be looking at a Christmas cruise which will include all of our children (only half came with us this time), various spouses, and even some grandchildren and it will definitely be on Carnival since value is a must when paying for that many to travel together. I am hoping that there will be some freshening of the itineraries that are currently listed we are hoping for an eastern Caribbean but they seem to be lacking in variation, and I don’t consider The Bahamas as very appealing option for eastern Caribbean ports.

One last thing… I will admit to being a member of GASP!!! Cruise Critic; I don’t really understand the negativity that seems to come from there to your bloggy thingy and it’s a little mystifying as how they seem to blame you for all of the ills of this world but if I hadn’t been a member I may not have found your bloggy thingy and that would have been a bad thing; I love reading your stories they make me laugh each and every day. That being said about an hour into our 16 hour drive home I couldn’t wait any longer and pulled the my personal beard’s eyePad out and started reading, although I could have avoided the eyePad and pulled my laptop out (yes I am a beard-less beard). I didn’t surf to cruise critic or carnival.com first I came directly to you! Your humor may not be some people’s cup of tea but we love it so don’t change a thing.

I know you time off is coming to an end and your about to leave the girls again but know it is for a good cause, the rest of us just want to spend time with you too!

Take care and we hope to meet you and the girls when we spend time on Carnival Magic in October.

Regards,

The Martins (Lucinda & Jeff)

John Says:
Hello The Martins (Lucinda & Jeff),

That is one of the most complete reviews I have read in a long time and one that was written so well I might add. I am so sorry that it has taken this long to get it posted but as you may have noticed I am far behind in my replies. But it was a review worth waiting for and I just wanted to touch on one point and that is the scanner business in the photo department. The reason the staff were on your case about this is purely because this happens all the time. People buy these hand held scanners and then scan the photos onto them. This is why the photo department were so nervous about you having one. Now obviously you had no intention of doing this and I am sure they may have overreacted to this somewhat but they are told to not allow anyone with a scanner into the gallery. Anyway, this is a minor point and I apologise that they made you feel uncomfortable.

The review (pillows and all) will be sent to the ship and your words of praise will be handed out to those mentioned and I can tell you that they will be thrilled. So thanks again for this wonderful review and since writing it of course the Carnival Valor has returned from dry dock look absolutely brilliant, complete with her Serenity area and more. I hope we see you on a fun for all cruise soon and I remain here at your service should you need my help.

Best wishes to you both,

John

MomofM&M Asked:
Dear John (Please Reply if you have time),

I first heard about your blog on the Cruise Critic boards but never took the time to visit until after I booked our first Carnival cruise. Since I heard so much about the Splendor as I live in San Diego, I came here to read about what happened. I am quite impressed with how Carnival handled the situation. Technically, this isn’t the first cruise we booked as 2 yrs ago we paid for one but ended up not going as my mother, who has type II diabetes, ended up getting a kidney infection a few days before our cruise. As she had just recently been hospitalized for urosepsis, we didn’t want to go off in the middle of the ocean. So now, in April we have take two of our Carnival cruise on the Paradise. I have cruised with a few different lines and when traveling with extended family, have always been able to link our reservations so that we can sit together at dinner.

I booked our cruise through the Carnival website and when I called customer service to request a table for six for my family so that we could sit together, I was told I would have to have to talk to the Maitre d’ onboard. On our last cruise our TA did not link one cabin so we had to arrange everything that first night and the Maitre d’ looked quite hassled. May I be so bold as to request your assistance with this matter, please?

I have really enjoyed reading your blog and certainly enjoy your humour as well. My family and I are so looking forward to our cruise and I was really hoping to cruise from San Diego on a Carnival ship. Sadly, it seems all the ships are leaving San Diego and the West Coast. I hope you bring them back in the future once the economy picks up. Thanks for doing a fantastic job on your blog and facebook. Just reading all your posts have sold me on this cruise!

John Says:
Hello Momof M&M,

I was very sorry to hear about your Mother and I hope she is doing well. Thank you for finding the blog and I am glad that you have written to me. If you send me your sailing date and your cabin numbers here or on my Facebook page then I will be sure to do all I can to help with your table reservation.

I know its been hard on the west coast but remember you still have the Carnival Splendor and the Carnival Paradise based year-round in Long Beach and the knowledge that Carnival is committed to West Coast sailings. I hope to hear from you soon

Best wishes

John

Carnival Platinum Cruiser Asked:
Reply requested!

You need to see what people are noticing about the many and obvious cutbacks that have been made. This is the question I posted on cruise critic and look at the response.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1354610&highlight=what+cutbacks+have+you+noticed

So enough of your bland humor and start concentrating on the big picture and the cutbacks that are making Carnival the bottom feeder of the cruise industry.

John Says:
Hello Carnival Platinum Cruiser,

Thanks for the email. I have to say that I didn’t read the whole link you sent me. I read the first few and saw that some had reminisced about the 4 piece band on lido deck which is now a duo ……..fair one………and that the bedding has been changed to a cheaper product which simply isn’t true. But then I stopped reading because the most important part of the link was at the top of the page, from you, when you stated you were about to cruise once again. I could not find a review of your cruise there so I would kindly ask that you send me one and let me know your honest opinion about your experience. I think our product remains the most affordable, best value for money cruise in the industry. I hope you had a good time and that you found today’s Carnival a brilliant experience.

Best wishes,

John

Bill Russell Asked:
John, Please Reply.

Looks like you might have stepped in some poo poo with your FB thingy about the Liberty. Looks like a firestorm out there against cancelling Half Moon Cay. We are booked on the Liberty in Nov. and will cancel if the schedule is changed. I booked that for a reason.

Thanks,

Bill

John Says:
Hello Bill,

Yes, I realize that many were disappointed with this itinerary change and I have an email in to the senior beards who made this decision to gather some additional information behind their thought process. I would like to sincerely apologise and wish you a brilliant cruise. Thanks Bill and my best wishes to you and the family.

John

Irene Garner Asked:
Dear John…… Please reply,

I have booked a cruise for the end of April, and I realise now that I will be away during the time of Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton. I know the football games are always shown on the big screen, so do you think they’ll show the wedding too?

Thanks…Irene Garner (Hooked on cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene Garner,

Yes, absolutely they will Irene. It will be early in the morning USA time but it will for sure be on the big screen. I think my invitation must be lost in the post! It was great to spend time with you on BC4.

Best wishes

John

Beth Asked:

OK John I got my 4 best girls to go on a cruise with me in June out of New York. Here is my question. Is the muster drill held at the same time as sail away? Will we be able to stand and view the Statue of Liberty or will they have us busy? Please tell me they have accounted for the spectacular view. 🙂

John Says:
Hello Beth,

Please don’t worry. We will do the safety briefing before the ship sails so that everyone can enjoy in full the incomparable view of New York and the Statue of Liberty. I hope you all have a great time.

Best wishes,

John

General Lee Asked:

I read today’s blog and the comment about the crew you employee not speaking English and I have to agree. My cruise on the Fantasy was OK but the lack of English spoken was disgusting considering you are an American company carrying American passengers. Even the captain spoke no English so how would he save us in an emergency?

John Says:
Hello General Lee,

When you visit a Carnival ship or most cruise ships in the industry you will find a diverse culture of languages and nationalities. However, all the crew in guest areas and that means all the crew who in an emergency are involved in the evacuation of our guests must and do speak English and that includes every one of our captains. By the way, did you know that none of our captain and our officers is allowed to give orders in Italian? Anything to do with the manoeuvres of the vessel must be spoken in English as these are recorded on the ship’s version of the “black box.”

Best wishes,

John

Judy S. Asked:
JOHN REPLY PLEASE:

I am all for protecting our children. There are SOOO many sickos out there. You never know-we just had a guy in a swank neighborhood ($$$$$) got caught soliciting a girl online! YOU NEVER KNOW! Could be the person standing next to you or anybody on your blog! Be VERY careful of the pics you post of Kyle-no body shots!!!! When you post anything of your home info-what do you expect???? People nowadays DO NOT know what the word RESPECT means!

They want what they want when they want it!!!! NOW! They do not care if they woke you let alone call you at home! You should use an address at carnival headquarters and Carnival can forward anything to you! NOT home address. BE VERY careful these days! Not like when we were kids (1950′s-1960′s!) all we had to worry about was booze and sex! Now it’s a lot worse! Take Care! (Sailing Feb on Miracle!)

John Says:
Hello Judy S,

I want to thank you for your post and for your concern. I am very cautious about what I write and post here. Just recently I had to ban someone who was writing under the name “sign of the fish” and while his or her first posts were just basic “I don’t like you” comments and that I would be going to hell, they then suddenly started saying the most frightful things about my wife and daughter. I realise that when you write on a public forum like this that you put yourself in the firing line and I will I promise therefore to be very careful indeed.

Thanks again and best wishes,

John

Bill Heck Asked:
Hello John: Please Reply

There seems to be no shortage of people telling you what to do. I had to laugh when I read the comment that you should spend a week catching up on commands…….er requests. I for one sincerely appreciate the example you set. Everyone we encounter in our lives should be treated with respect and valued as a fellow human being. Even though you were taken aback by the late night caller, you apparently treated them well and set up their table request. Amazing.

Looking forward to BCIV and all of the fun we enjoy with a Carnival Cruise. What do you think about taking the Queen Mary 2 across the ocean to avoid another flight experience? If I buy a cheap cabin, are you treated like steerage? I will take the Magic on a Med cruise and then transatlantic to Galveston and have been dreading the flight to Spain.

All the Best to the Heald family!

Your Friend,

Bill Heck
Thanks,

John Says:
Hello Bill Heck,

Just wanted to say thanks for this and how great it was to see you on the Carnival Glory. Yes….absolutely yes! Take the Queen Mary on a TA crossing to Southampton and an Easy Jet flight to Barcelona from any of the London airports. Two extremes in travel there but I promise the Queen Mary 2 experience will be one you will never forget. I hope this works out for you mate and look forward to seeing you soon.

Best wishes to you and your lovely lady.

John

That’s all for today and I will be back tomorrow with more here on the blog thingy.

So, it seems you like it, the new blog I mean and once again a huge thank you must go to Eric the Beard and Everett the Beard and Peter the Hair for making this happen. Yesterday everyone tried to get on all at once, myself included and like many of you all I got was a blank page. That’s because everyone was trying to get on at once and the page crashed. The last time this happened on the internet was when Megan Fox got out of her limousine wearing no knickers and millions of sad, lonely people logged on to see photos of her lady garden and crashed the web site. Luckily I got to see these photos before the site crashed. Anyway, the beards did great and I hope you liked all the great features and of course we still have to load the ringtones on there yet. They will be coming very soon.

I must also thank my mate Al Ernst who is Carnival’s 361st best come………oh hold on …………. I have just heard that we have hired a comedienne called Lemurcat who does a funny impression of a cat jumping onto an electric fence…………..so………..Al Ernst who is Carnival’s 362nd best comedian and who you will have seen helped me with the videos. The disclaimer video is my favourite. Did you see that one? If not, here is the video.

And talking of Al, here is the latest episode written especially for you.

 

Alivers Travels. 13 March, 2011 *** I Love a Parade!

Suffering from ‘Bloggers Cruise 4’ hangover…think it will still be another week or so. Thanks to all my ‘family’ that I got to see and spend time with…the energy is rebuilding and it will take me another year to get in shape for BC5!

At the moment of this writing, I am in ‘comedy terms’ doing a “back to front” on the Carnival Pride…which means that I get on the back end of one cruise and stay to do the beginning of the next…With Spring Break in full bloom, everyone on the ship is working harder, and giving all ages a great vacation, even when we have overcast weather as we left Baltimore…which I almost didn’t on Sunday.

Many of you know that when possible, I hold a comedy seminar on board, and usually follow it up with an ‘open mike’ night giving the guests a few minutes to spend on stage and finding out how doing stand-up comedy feels when you’re the person everyone is looking at.

We have given over 100 guests a chance to get in the spotlight that is usually only five minutes, but can seem like five hours when you are trying to make 300 people laugh in the Punchliners Comedy Club…and sometimes you get a person who wants to keep going. That’s why I almost did not make it back to the ship on Sunday.

Now a very good friend, Rob Schwartz, was just a guest on the Pride in October of 2009…he decided to go up and did a great job — usually met with a handshake and maybe a solid gold plastic trophy…but Rob got interested and wanted more.

So now over the past couple of years, Rob has kept in touch, found venues and open mikes, while still working his day job in Baltimore. In fact, Rob has opened for me on several land venues in the DC area, and now I can say to him that he is in fact a “real” comic! He is constantly working on material, stage presence and delivery…that’s the key to success is to keep going and not just expect the phone to ring.

As Rob lives in Baltimore, and I had the day there, he came by and picked me up at the port, and what I thought would be a nice lunch turned into being a part an adventure that only my alter ego, Emmett would believe!

He said “want to take you to this great place in Little Italy, its close by, and we can enjoy a great lunch and catch up. I knew he was a real comic when I got in the car, instead of the usual “How’s your family?”, He immediately said “I am working on this new bit in my show,” and started on it, and spent the next half hour working through wording and delivery.

Wasn’t too worried, as we got caught in some major gridlock in downtown Baltimore, and he said he knew a way around it…after an hour of just turning down roads going by the same place two of three times, wow…I was just wondering what the heck was happening. With street closures, redirection, and u-turns…we finally got to little Italy about an hour later and I could actually look down the street and see the ship parked! We found out a huge St Patrick’s Day festival and parade was going on, and thought by the time we got out of lunch, it would be over, and then a quick ride back to the ship.

The little unique restaurant was very old school and even at lunch we ate like Italians do…in long multiple courses. As a fat guy, I can also say that there were too many great items to pass anything up. Great “comedy conversation” great food, and a lot of fun…and Rob even picked up the check. Which means with my meal he is now going to have to find a lot of paying shows to make up for the cost…

So, we still had over an hour to make it back to the ship, and I was a bit uneasy, just because I was not familiar with the area. Needless to say…the first street we turned on was completely blocked. Not to worry, Rob grew up here, and “no problem, you will get there in plenty of time”…and another 45 minutes went by…

I could tell Rob was a little concerned, as we were the front car on a cross street that was blocked due to the St Patrick’s Day Parade that was on the road we needed to go down to get to the port. I had to be back on board the ship by 3:45pm and it was now 3:21.

As I was grabbing the blackberry to email and call Kirk, the cruise director, and coming up with excuses that I was going to give to the office…my friend Rob called an audible that once again still makes my head shake. He said, “You want to be in the Parade?”…then I couldn’t believe it. He made a left turn onto the parade route during a break in floats and bands, and the next thing you know our SUV had turned into a part of the Parade!

Of course, I am still a comedian, so I said to him, “Roll down your windows” and we both just started waving out the window. The thousands along the parade route just started cheering a waving back! Ha, it didn’t hurt that Rob’s SUV was green, and I happened to have my “Emmett” hunting hat on…

I could hear some people along the parade route say “Hey, its ‘Larry the Cable Guy’ and started going nuts … some were rushing up looking for autographs…and as much as I hate being compared to Larry (it was my idea first) — I was sure happy this time, although I signed the pieces of paper “Emmett Lee Tutwiler, Jr.”…and enjoyed looking in the rear view mirror at the curious looks on their faces when they looked at the signature.

We were in the parade about 12 minutes, and as the clock ticked, the turn into the port came up…Rob knocked down three orange cones, and at 3:44, I punched into the ship. Yes, I was a real celebrity for a few minutes, and made the ship on time…now I have no idea if Rob made it out of there, as there was a policeman running toward the SUV as I was running (or walking fast onto the ship)…Actually, he emailed me later, and it turned out the policeman was just helping him get out of the port to avoid the parade with no idea we had just been it…

Just another adventure for the life of a couple of comedians, and at least 10 parade viewers who got an autograph of “Emmett”…

My best to you all, and see you soon…

Larry…err…Al….err…EMMETT

A brilliant look at Al’s life and the life of his alter ego Emmett Lee Tutweiler Jr. Al will be joining me on your Carnival Magic and remains one of our most popular entertainers and a great friend to me. Tomorrow I have a wonderful story to pass onto you as written by Big Tex, the CD of the Carnival Triumph. It’s all about two very special ladies he met on stage during his welcome aboard show. You will definitely want to read this.

Now, here is a quick message to my friends who read Cruise Critic. You see I have been sent a link thingy which apparently is doing the rounds on the website. I am not going to print it here but as many (well 7) people have sent it to me I do have to address it a little bit. It’s the same old story. John bashing Cruise Critic and therefore people who write on my Facebook page and the blog bash Cruise Critic back……hate John……..John is good……..John is an idiot……..etc etc.

I read the link and it is obvious that there are some who find me as funny as a gangrene and talk of “hero worship” and other nonsense. This is their right and honestly, I don’t care. I really truly don’t care what these people write about me. It makes no difference to my job or my life. This will only change if one of them walks up a gangway onto a ship I am the CD on. Then I shall do my very best to look after them and give them the best vacation they have ever had.

My point is this. Cruise Critic is made of thousands of people expressing their opinions and passing on some excellent information. Occasionally there are going to be people you just don’t like and obviously some on CC don’t like me. That is the way of the world and the days of me worrying that a Sergeant, a Bo, a Lemurcat or a Golfer don’t like me or think I am trying to bring CC into disrepute are long gone.

I will do anything for anyone if I can and that includes arranging meet and greets for Cruise Critic groups. I am currently arranging three at the moment. So let’s call a truce shall we? If someone writes something on my blog that mentions Cruise Critic lets judge that person………not the collective. After all, the people that are members there are people…………..not the Borg.

So one last time let me ask for peace, love and friendship. If you don’t like my blog, don’t read it and yet I say one more time that I will always be here should anyone need my help. Please, let’s bury the hatchet and just enjoy life and cruising and hopefully a dollop of rumpy pumpy.

The end…………..I hope.

You know, I just can’t stop looking at the news about Japan and now we have the unfolding drama of the nuclear problems they are having. There are mixed messages though that are confusing. While the United States and Great Britain have not suggested to their citizens living in Japan to leave and have no plans to do so at the moment, the French embassy said a low-level “radioactive wind” could reach the capital by 1 pm EST and warned its citizens to leave ………. after all……..to the French……..running away is a proven survival strategy.

OK, enough of that except of course to hope that we continue to think of the people of Japan. Just FYI, we have 7 Japanese crew members working on Carnival ships. They all work as guest services associates and we especially think of them and their families at this time.

Well we started with some toilet stuff and we will finish with more. I can’t remember if I have ever written about this before but I was reminded of it as I sat here, in my underpants writing this blog thingy. I had gone to visit my sister Suedrip who at the time was working in Hong Kong and I discovered that they had tried to improve the simple toilet with state of the art technology which gave me a poo I will never ever forget.

We had gone out for dinner to the Mandarin Oriental hotel which has a very grand restaurant on the top floor……but I doubt if I will be ever allowed back. Now I was with Heidi and Suedrip and her husband Paul and two of Suedrip’s colleagues, one of which was my sister’s boss and a very important wanker in Hong Kong……….oops………I mean banker…….a very important banker in Hong Kong.

I had just finished the Carnival Liberty’s first ever season in Europe which had been very busy and I was very tired from 7 months on board and a Trans Atlantic crossing that had included a now infamous norovirus outbreak. So I was tired from that plus the 14-hour flight to Hong Kong and my body clock had gone totally Charlie Sheen on me. So, there we were at this very posh restaurant eating a 7 course Chinese meal with my sister and husband and her boss and his wife who by the way had recently cruised on the Queen Mary 2 and were singing her praises.

Suddenly, my stomach started to make that noise and I could feel movement down there. You know what I mean don’t you? That feeling that signals you need to get to a toilet and get to one quicker than Usain Bolt on rocket powered skates. So I excused myself and went to the bathroom …………….and that’s where the adventure started.

First of all the seat is warmed by some sort of patio heater located under the seat itself. I had no idea that this was the reason the seat was so warm. This means I sat there imagining the heat had come from Mr. Fu King who had been sitting there moments before. Wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible I found to my horror the toilet paper had been replaced with something that Jean Luc Piccard would have used making the Captain’s Log on the Starship Enterprise’s. There were buttons everywhere with instructions only in Chinese.

The first button I pushed made the seat go from warm to scalding to scalding sodding hot. It felt like someone had pumped gas into the crack of my arse and then set it on fire. Panicking now, I pressed at another button which as soon as I did caused a big cloud of dry ice to form inside the toilet bowl. I now had a boiling hot arse and a frozen thingy. My arse cheeks internal defence mechanism kicked in and they closed tighter than a Scotsman’s wallet. This was all happening very quickly and as the panic grew I turned a tap that simply redirected the fountain into my scrotum. In a state of total shock and as I screamed in agony I couldn’t help but think “Why?” Who would want to steam clean their buttocks? Who wants a toilet seat that can reach the same temperature as the Sahara Desert and then counteracts the barbecuing of the bottom by deep freezing your gentlemen’s sausage?

I now was desperate just to flush and run away but I was too scared to press another button.

Finally I leaned over the unit to see if there was a normal handle but there was none. I couldn’t leave my General Tso’s Chicken just floating there as I knew the next person would know I had been in there and not flushed. Feeling desperate I stood up and pressed another button……. this turned on the music system and unbelievably the cubicle was now filled with the sounds of Garth Brooks.

I tried one last button and my misery was complete as a fountain of water which supposedly had been meant for my bottom…..…shot all over the front of my trousers. I returned to the table with a hot arse, a frozen thingy, a hatred for country music and wearing a pair of trousers which looked like I hadn’t made it to the toilet at all.

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

P.S Fun Times for the Carnival Legend can be found here.

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.