Likes and Dislikes

March 17, 2011 -

John Heald

I truly don’t like coconut. I haven’t since I was a child. And I hate it or anything with coconut in it. I’d rather lick the back end of a camel……..then eat coconut. I don’t like prunes, either. Or Simon Cowell. I know that he has a pancreas and a thingy and all the other things that qualify him to be classified as a member of the human race but he makes my hemorrhoids flare up, and I find myself hoping that just once one of his TV shows will have lower ratings than American Monk, Vow of Silence.

Everyone reading this blog right now has things they like and things they absolutely do not like and it’s often hard to find rational explanations. I don’t like Diet Pepsi, for instance, and I can’t understand why. Everybody else I know likes it but as far as I’m concerned each sip is reminder that Diet Coke is so, so much better.

And then there is the Dolphin Mall in Miami. I have many friends and beards who shop there all the time, but each time I visit, I am consumed with an irrational need to leave again as soon as possible and not just because I don’t speak Spanish. It’s weird…….but it has become one of the places I hate to be most on earth……….along with Paris I would rather be inside Judge Judy ……… then inside the Dolphin Mall.

Nearly as strange as my total dislike of Subway. It is a proud boast that in all of my life, I have never bought anything from Subway even though I am aware that its sandwiches are probably decent and taste good. I think I don’t like it because of my memory of the one time I was in a Subway and while standing in line for my foot long thingy I saw the chap behind the counter pick his nose and automatically flicked the booger across the room where for all I know it could have landed in the mayonnaise that I was about to ask be spread upon my BLT. I left……..and have never been back. I know that this was an isolated incident and I am sure all the rest of the Subway shops in the world are booger free……..but I have never been back………..and never will.

And this brings me onto my point. You see while inside, I am sure the Epic delivers a fantastic product full of great entertainment, food and freestyle stuff that many enjoy ………….. sorry ………….but I think she is ugly……………elephantiasis………….John Merrick ………….ugly.

I say this because I am having to defend myself at the moment because an NCL fan wrote a long, long, War and Peace style letter to Carnival’s Senior Beards suggesting that I be fired, water boarded and sent to Guantanamo Bay where I could enjoy some Freestyle water boarding.

I was going to publish the letter here but have decided not to. The Senior Beards at Carnival have been as always very supportive but they feel that I should at least apologise to the author which I will do in a private reply. I will say this though. This is as much as anything else, an entertainment blog and if anyone does not like the blog then don’t read it. There are countless blogs full of total PC stuff to choose from.

I won’t ever……..yes ever……mention the word ugly and Epic in this blog again. That subject is closed and I have to say again that I am sure that inside the vessel a brilliant cruise awaits. But that’s like saying Kathy Bates, Lyle Lovett and me have hearts of gold. It’s possibly true but it’s completely irrelevant. You still wouldn’t have rumpy pumpy with us……..would you.

Time for today’s Q and A………off we go

Josh M. Asked:
Dear John, Please read ( you may enjoy!)

First things First, Thank you for all of your brilliant words that keep a lot of us blog readers entertained for part of our days! You sir, are a true asset to Carnival. I can not wait to meet you one day. On to my actual “reply”

As you are not an ambassador to all cruise lines in the Carnival Corporation Umbrella and can not speak for them, I would like to try to do so for your friend and Ours Mary T. (and a small note at the end for Lady F.)

Mary T, Who in the world do you think you are? There are over 3000 passengers on the Ruby Princess and that being said there would be well over 1500 copies of the Princess Patter going to the passenger cabins alone not to mention the thousands dispersed throughout the ships public areas. I understand that you want to put in information about your “prayer services” and only asked for a response (positive or negative.) The person in charge of typing the Princess Patter (or any other cruise daily planner) has a very small amount of time between entertaining the masses on the ship and typing and printing the Patter… So you probably did not receive a response due to your letter getting Dusty on his/her desk. They did not have time to type your response… They were too busy thinking how to deliver their new “off color remarks and dirty jokes.” Let me take a stab at this one… I am guessing that anything referring to Rumpy Pumpy (Thanks John, I use this often now!) in your eyes is too “dirty” to be spoken of on a ship. There are 3000+ passengers on the Ruby Princess and well over 1000 crew members. I will guarantee that every type of religion and non religion is represented on any ship of that size. I would understand your problem if Andrew Dice Clay was your CD and Howard Stern was the Captain. But a small joke here and there with hinted adult humor is to be expected. It is not that any cruise line is ANTI-RELIGION; they try to respect ALL religions and non-religions. No one group of passengers are better then others. I bet you also had a problem with seeing Friends of Dorothy on the Patter. You will probably get a cookie cutter version of a response letter From Mr. Arison or Mr. Buckelew. But nothing will change. SO PLEASE MARY T take my advice, I have been on many, many Cruises and every cruise line From Premier to Regent and The Dolphin IV to the Allure (MALL) of the Seas. All cruise lines will respect ALL religions. To do this they . . . . .Drum roll PLEASE . . . keep their distance from most things religion… Services are held on “holy days” and that is about it. So MARY T… Good Luck finding [Your religion] of The Seas .

LADY F…. AND ALL OTHER TREE HUGGING HIPPIES!!! This is only for those who have to keep writing the smoking kills and ” I will never cruise with Carnival until they ban smoking” Shut the F up. Yes smoking is bad for you, yes it leaves a nasty smell and bothers some people, yes sooner or later the smokers will be permitted to smoke only while on the port side, standing on one leg, using only two sticks to get the flame to get the cigarette friggin lit!!!!! However READ some information before you bash the E-cigarette! It is a harmless vapor that comes out of the end. This is only there to give the “smoker” the effect of actually smoking so bugger off and go sit in a redwood somewhere while pooping a bag and eating berries! Like I said I agree that smoking kills, but guess what watch the news so does texting and driving, jumping off of a building, opening your mouth on the wrong side of town, hell you could be the most healthy person in the world sitting minding your own business and BAM All over… SO LIVE life like you are dying and leave others alone!

Thank you for your time, If you have made it this far I am truly thankful my Friend!

Ken

John Says:
Hello Ken,

Thanks so much for this very passionate post which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I have noticed that more and more I am being asked to respond to questions and concerns that involve some of our sister lines and most of the time I am not qualified to answer them. This means that I have to forward them onto people who can help. It is nice therefore that I occasionally people like yourself who have cruised with other lines take the time to express their opinions.

The e-cigarette comment is very important and I hope any of doubters will have read your point of view because it is very true. Recently, I was on the Carnival Splendor to prepare her for a return to service and while there I saw many Californian travel agents and one very senior Carnival beard using these. One was called a “Blu” and glowed blue when used………it was fascinating to see but obvious also that everyone else accepted these for what they were………. harmless to those around. Obviously as time goes on more and more people will understand these and if it helps people cut down, or give up cigarettes, then we should embrace that I guess.

So, thanks for expressing your opinions and thank you also for the very kind words.

Best wishes

John

John and Irene – From the Villages Asked:

I need to know that room 1201 on the Magic has a bath tub. I booked this cabin but called Carnival to ask and they didn’t know. Does it have a bathtub YES OR NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello John and Irene – From The Villages,

The Cloud 9 Spa cabins are proving very popular and are some of the best selling staterooms on your Carnival Magic. I will check today with the shipyard and one of the beards will e-mail you with an answer.

Best wishes

John

Janice Cavanaugh Asked:
Hi John: PLEASE REPLY to a very special request!!!

My daughter and I are addicted to your blog and to Carnival. We will be sailing on 4/4/11 on Miracle. This is a graduation gift for my only daughter. My daughter became in on 9/16/2009 with a horrible head pain disorder. It has turned her world upside down. She was 16, working , about to get her license, an honor student and bang this pain hit her out of no where! I have traveled the country with her and they have diagnosed it as NDPH. New Daily Persistent Headache. (Google it) She is in pain 24/7! She has never given up when most with this disorder do. She fights it everyday. She is home tutored and will graduate with high honors. She is awaiting acceptance to college. She has worked so hard and she never, ever complains. If you were to see her she would smile at you and say she is fine! I can’t tell you how very proud of her I am. It’s been heart wrenching for me as a single Mom to not be able to make her better.

I also lost my job as I had to care for her when this illness first struck and I have been unable to find employment Thanks to this shitty economy! We will still cruise though!! Thank goodness I had some savings but most is gone now to medical and I take her cruising when I can as she feels so much better in the warmth. SO, she chose Miracle for her graduation present. The best part of cruising is when we are in the warm air her head pain comes down and she gets some relief and she also sleeps like a baby while sailing. She does not sleep much at home and her body so needs the rest. This is wonderful for me to see her function well and be so happy & healthy while sailing. If only for a week it is so worth it! Is there any way possible you could do something special for my very special girl?? It would mean the world to me and she would be so thrilled with a surprise from you!! My daughters name is Rebecca Cavanaugh. Thank you so much as this will mean the world to her. Safe travels back to the states.

Janice Cavanaugh

John Says:
Hello Janice Cavanaugh,

I just asked Uncle Google to tell me more about your daughter’s condition and I was shocked when I read what she must be going through. You must be so proud of her that despite these constant headaches that she manages to stay positive and get her education. I will indeed send something to her to congratulate her and wish her health and happiness……..and many nights of wonderful sleep. I wish you both a brilliant cruise

Best wishes

John

Patrick Armstrong Asked:
Good afternoon John! (reply requested)

I am writing to you today, to as you requested remind you that we are going on our honeymoon cruise in 2 short months time!

I really can’t wait, after a road trip from San Francisco to LA getting married in Santa Barbara en route the cruise is going to be the perfect opportunity for us to spend time as a couple! Got my cake order in from Bon voyage that should score me a few good husband points! Really looking forward to all the games and fun!

Anyhow… should stop waffling your a busy man, we are sailing on the Paradise 28 March 2011. Our cabin number is E11.

Many thanks and kindest regards as always your friend in Essex.

Patrick

John Says:
Hello Patrick Armstrong,

Just wanted to wish you a wonderful cruise and a very happy honeymoon. Stay out of bed and get some rest and tell me all about it when you get home.

Best wishes,

John

Val Anelka Asked:
REPLY PLEASE

Ricky Gervais! You think he was funny! Well that just shows that you have zero class. He was rude and cruel and his comments about Scientology were applauded by none and disliked by the many. The extraordinary achievement of Dianetics and Scientology has been the development of exact, precise methods to increase man’s spiritual awareness and capabilities and is not a subject worthy of ridicule. Your ignorance is obvious and your support of a man like Gervais is disgusting. On another note I need to know if there is a chocolate buffet on the Imaginations 4 day cruise?

John Says:
Hello Val Anelka,

I am sorry if what I wrote and what Ricky said offended you. I thought he was funny and you didn’t. Isn’t the world a wonderful place? There is indeed a chocolate buffet on the Carnival Imagination’s 4 day cruise. It’s served on the last sea day. Best wishes and have a great cruise.

John

Live2cruise Asked:
John (Please reply),

There is current chatter on Cruise Critic regarding each ship’s intense Customs Inspection.” I know I for one got caught in the midst of that after our Splendor cruise and it was a NIGHTMARE. Anyway, my question is this…is it possible to inform passengers which sailings of which ships will be due for their 90 Day inspection? As then the people getting OFF the ship could plan accordingly and book later flights and the people getting ON the ship could plan on getting to the terminal later. It would alleviate MUCH frustration for passengers, and I’m assuming it would for staff and crew as well.

Thanks,

Live2Cruise

John Says:
Hello Live2cruise,

I know that when the United States Customs and Border Protection decide to do what’s called “face to face” inspections it can cause long lines to disembark and in extreme cases like yours, missed flights. I truly wish we could publicize when these spot checks occur but of course no cruise line can. First of all they are never on a specific date……..we never know when they are going to do these inspections until they start……and I am guessing that even if we did and we publicized the event it would get Carnival in a whole heap of trouble. I guess my point is the whole reason to do a spot check is that it’s on the spot rather than pre-advertised. I do feel for you though and as someone who has to sit in a holding room for hours on end every time I enter the United States I know how frustrating this can be. However……..they are just doing their job I guess. My apologies to anyone who has to endure these checks but please be patient with CBP and the cruise line staff.

Best Wishes,

John

Janice J Asked:
Hi John, Please respond:

I have a request from our very large CC group who will be travelling on the TA Magic cruise. We are planning various activities and would like to have a wine tasting. I have no idea how to arrange something like this need you to organize this for us.

Thanks,

Janice

John Says:
Hello Janice,

I am absolutely willing to arrange a wine tasting event for you and my CC friends. We have one each week but a private one is really no problem. There will be a charge of $15 per person for which you will be able to taste 5 different wines and of course we can throw in some cheese and fruit, etc., as well. Can you give me an idea of how many people will be in your group? This will help me arrange this for you. I should say that I have recently and unwittingly been in the middle of a bit of a strop regarding who was organizing this group. I really didn’t like that very much and was glad when it was all sorted. Respectfully therefore I have to ask….is this the same Cruise Critic group because the last thing I want or need is to be in the middle again. Anyway, I will go ahead and arrange this and if someone can let me know how many will be attending that would be great and I will let you know when and where we can do this for you.

Best wishes and see you soon,

John

Bill C Asked:
Please Reply John if you feel necessary,

Hi John,

Still loving the bloggy thingy as usual. The mention in one of the Q&A about the future cruise certificates. In this day of electronic everything (yes, I know you hate some of it but as I sit here and type on my Apple Macbook, I kind of chuckle), it seems to me that Carnival would convert the future cruise certificate process to electronic. As the person stated, they misplaced the certificate and now nothing can be done so they can use it. Also, you have to mail this thing to the Miami office for one of the Stephanie’s to process and add to our reservations. In doing so, there is a chance that it would get lost in the mail so you have to pay extra to send it certified mail to be sure it gets there. The certificate does say that Carnival is not responsible for lost certificates. This is pretty much bollocks as you would say so there definitely should be some tracking system.

Keep the laughs coming John, we all love it and I hope to sail with you one of these days.

John Says:
Hello Bill C,

Yes indeed, you are correct and better late than never Carnival is indeed in the process of having these certificates redeemed online. My friend and vice president tells me this should be ready to start very soon and of course I will keep you updated here on the blog thingy and on Facebook as to when it starts. I am so glad you enjoy the blog and thanks for the very kind words.

Best wishes,

John

Roger Evans Asked:
John Please Help.

John, Had to tell you what a wonderful time we had on the Carnival Glory November 7th-14th 2010. The staff was simply amazing, one person in particular stood out, the ACD Tina. She kept us laughing and wanting to go to all of her events. If it’s not too much to ask, can you send her to the Carnival Victory on November 6th, 2011 I would love to sail with her again. If not please let her know how much we enjoyed our vacation and she played a large part in that. Looking forward to my 6th Carnival Cruise on the Victory this November 2011. Thank You.

Roger

John Says:
Hello Roger Evans,

While I can’t promise to send her to the Carnival Victory I can promise to send her your words of praise which I know she will be thrilled to read. I am glad she made such a difference to your cruise.

Best wishes to you and the family

John

Hildegard Asked:
PLEASE REPLY

Oh Johnny, it’s Hilde again.

I wanted to ask you how you get so much time off from Carnival. The other cruise directors are lucky to get a month off and you have been off for months complaining about EVERYTHING that you have to do. I also think that the fares on Carnival could be reduced dramatically if they stopped flying your fat ass back and forth to Europe all the time. First to NYC for confetti, then to Memphis, then Miami and on and on. Don’t you feel guilty spending all Carnival’s money on such nonsense? Also with your teeth and weight you sure aren’t much of a representative for the company, you should really try to fine tune yourself if you are going to call yourself “Brand Ambassador.” They really should have someone like Todd Wittmer doing the job. He is much better looking and would make a great representative for Carnival.

JUST SAYING.

Hildegard

John Says:
Hello Hildegard,

Brilliant…………and so true.

Best wishes,

John

And on that note………………..we finish today’s quite wonderful Q and A.

Yesterday I was had a phone call from my friend and the owner of the tour company we use in Naples. His name is Adolfo and he was telling me about some of the new excursions he will be providing guests on your Carnival Magic with this season. One of the most popular will still be the Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri excursion. This offers a private boat to the island of the rich and tanned and one of the most beautiful spots in the world………….Capri. There will be shopping and a fantastic lunch in Sorrento and all this will be preceded by a visit to Pompeii. I have been to this most magnificent of archaeological sites three times and I can’t wait to go again. Preserved for almost 2,000 years under the metres of muck chucked out when Vesuvius exploded on August 24, AD79. Streets are lined with bars, shops and election propaganda. Walk inside and you’re seeing the frescoes, gardens, fountains and kitchens as they were when the volcano blew. It is quite extraordinary and somewhat emotional as well when you see the mummified bodies.

I had a dig through Heidi and my photo album and here are a few of Pompeii from our collection

Now I do advise in all the European ports you take an excursion and not wander aimlessly about on your own. If you do so in Naples this will mean taking a taxi……and if you do………may God help you. If you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and arrive at the Pearly Gates in soggy underpants, you don’t need to have died at the hands of a driller killer in a hockey mask ……….. just try climbing into a taxi in Naples.

I’ve driven fast and I have been driven fast. I have performed interviews on live television and stood in Times Square and tried to entertain hundreds of thousands of people. I have done many scary things in my life, including seeing myself naked in the mirror. I know, understand and can cope with fear. But nothing…..nothing comes close to the sheer terror that driving in Naples can bring. Road signs…………are simply mere suggestions.

I haven’t spoken about Kye for a long time and obviously it is a joy to be with her and Heidi again. She is 22 months old now and has a wonderful happy go lucky personality. And her basic instincts at the moment are to hate anything that stops her playing or causes her discomfort whatsoever, even if it’s as trivial and fleeting as getting her face wiped with a damp cloth or getting dressed in the morning.

So I have a strategy, and it’s dark, dastardly and damned clever, if I say so myself. I’m simply disassociating myself with anything Kye dislikes. So when evil mummy is forcing a nasty piece of clothing over her head I quietly tiptoe from the room. When she wipes food off her face……… a guaranteed tantrum starter …………I stand out of her line of vision.

And when mummy’s out of the room, I take great delight in whispering subliminal propaganda in her ear. “If Dada were in charge,” I murmur, conspiratorially, “he’d never clean your face, and he’d never make you wear clothes with a sodding grinning purple dinosaur on them, and he’d let you pee on the floor, and that healthy green stuff called vegetables she forces down your throat …… well, it’d be ice cream and chocolate melting cake every day……if Dada were in charge.”

She has started to understand everything we say to her now and understands how the house is run. Daddy is the slack but fun one. Mummy might keep her healthy and well and make sure her bottom is clean, but Dada would let her do exactly what she wants. I intend to keep playing good cop to Mummy’s bad cop until Kye is 45. “Of course, you can have a beer. You are 13, after all.”

And I work it both ways. So just as Mummy finishes pulling the nasty sweater over Kye’s head, and just as the tantrum subsides, Dada appears! And he’s all smiles and funny faces! And he’s holding Barney, her favourite cuddly thingy trying to choke it with his bare hands! And isn’t everything just fun…..…when Dada’s around. Then it’s time to have a wash, so Dada slowly, silently slips away, to lurk in dark corners till he can play the joker all over again.

Well, it’s been a strange sort of blog and indeed that can be said about the last few I have written. In some ways now that I am on Facebook so much I often wonder if my blog entries are boring. And I guess it won’t be until I am back on your Carnival Magic as a cruise director again that the blogs will return to how they used to be, complete with stories of happy and not so happy guests.

The one thing that is keeping the blogs interesting are the wonderfully diverse questions I am asked to answer. Take the one from Hildegard today who was questioning my right to be Carnival’s Brand Ambassador. I have no idea if he meant this as a joke or if he was serious……. the latter being the most likely I think. Regardless, he is right.

I thought this during the recent Bloggers Cruise 4 on the Carnival Glory. On the last day we handed out T Shirts and as we did I started to think why would anyone truly want a T-shirt or a baseball cap with my name on it? Why did we take over 200 portrait shots of lovely everyday people standing next to my ugly fat arse?

Obviously putting your face or name on a T-shirt is OK if you are a superstar like Dwyane Wade, LeBron James or Charlie Sheen………….I am sure someone has made a shirt that says “I Am on a Drug, It’s Called Charlie Sheen”

You see, in my position as brand ambassador I am aware that I am in some very, very diluted way a replacement for Kathie Lee Gifford and while she was as beautiful as a sunrise over the Amalfi coast, I am as ugly as a the Norwegian Ep………..oh bugger…….nearly forgot my promise.

Still, I may be ugly, fat and have teeth as crooked as a tower in Pisa……but as you will see now ………..I am one very lucky sod!

See you here on the blog on Monday and on Facebook every day.

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.