The United States Coast Guard and United States Public Health require that each and every crew member hold a complete medical which are kept in the ship’s medical centre. This shows that each of the crew is medically fit to serve on board. And of course the medical evaluations are also a requirement of Carnival as well because they provide full and complete medical coverage for every crew member. Pretty much everything is included with the exception of breast enhancement or indeed reduction. I know this for a fact because I asked and Carnival said “No, we will not pay to have your breasts reduced, John.”

Anyway, the above means that each year us crew have to go through the medical thing and for us elder statesmen aged 40 or over this means that we have to have everything looked at. Eyes, heart, feet, kidneys, livers, and yes……………..bottoms.

At this point those of a weak disposition should probably click off and head on over to a less ummmm……personal web site such as http://www.watching-grass-grow.com

So here I sit, in my underpants and I don’t mind telling you that I feel bloody awful because yesterday I was abused. On Wednesday, at approximately 11:30am massive bloke with the shoulders of a linebacker shoved a tube with a burst balloon on the end into my bottom.

Despite my screams which you probably heard in Michigan, Toronto and Australia, the bastard then inflated it, shot me full of muscle relaxant that made me see three of everything, filled my scrotum with gallons of water that could not go anywhere because of the balloon and inserted me into a scanner tube thingy.

This was the final part of a process that had begun the day before, when I’d been told to drink some stuff that gave me an endless bout of diarrhea and Heidi much amusement. I thought it was all over when I woke up but it wasn’t. I had gotten ready for my doctor’s visit and was halfway to the car when suddenly I realised that the heavens were about to open again. You know, there’s an old saying that states “Never crap on your own doorstep”………well I did because I couldn’t get the key in the door quick enough. My predicament was not helped by Heidi who had been singing Boney M’s Brown Girl In The Ring …………all night long.

So eventually I arrived at Doctor Ramitin’s office and the first thing he said was I needed a stress test. My reply that I Facebooked, blogged, cruise directored and survived a fire on board a ship didn’t seem to impress him and so that was me……on a treadmill until I felt my heart was going to explode. Oh, and you try running on a treadmill when the night before you have crapped out entire buckets of KFC and feel as dehydrated as hamster, in the Sahara, wearing a North Face jacket.

On land you can lie when you have a medical evaluation because they are designed to keep an insurance company happy. You lie about how much you drink, say you only smoke a cigar at Christmas and are sent on your merry way by a doctor who has just banked $700 from that sodding Geico lizard thingy with the fake British accent.

Our crew medicals are not like that my medical, however, was rather different and the beards have to see that I am fit to continue to work. And of course some of my “friends” look at me with serious faces and say that a 45 year old fat diabetic who likes cigars, must be a only a few days away from a heart attack or worse. And when I lie in bed in the wee small hours of the morning I think of Heidi and I think of Kye and I realise my friends are right…..I should know if I am ok and if not take steps to change that.

It’s different here also in the UK compared to America and maybe other countries too. It seems to me that in North America men of my age check their prostates every 15 minutes. Sometimes in meetings. Sometimes when they’re sitting on Lido in the middle of breakfast.

But here in the UK? Not so much according to my chat with Doctor Ramitin yesterday and he even suggested that I do a monthly check by inserting my own finger in my own bottom to determine the difference between a healthy prostate and one that is isn’t. Ummmmm………well no Doc…….sorry mate but as I don’t know what the difference is or how it is supposed to feel first I would have to put my finger up someone else’s bottom. And unless I get a life sentence in a Turkish prison ………………that is never going to happen.

So, there then I was making sure all was well in the crap cave. Doctor Ramitin explained what was about to happen and then dimmed the lights and asked me to take off all my clothes and get into bed. Had he put a Barry White CD on I would have run away very quickly.

His assistant then prepared my bottom for the entrance of the balloon by giving me a drug that worked immediately. I thought it would put me to sleep but it didn’t. I couldn’t feel a thing and I my eyes were looking through frosted glass but I was aware of what was happening.

“You may feel a little pressure” said Doctor Ramitin

“Go ahead Doc,” I replied, “Dock the Carnival Magic up there if you want.”

But as good as the drug was the previous night’s many hours of cluster bombing my toilet made me feel so so bad. Exhausted, weak and feeling as bad as I can ever remember I was then fed into an MRI scanner, where I was given an injection that felt as though my entire body had suddenly been filled with garlic. Through headphones, the operator told me to breathe out and then stop breathing. And then, after 10 seconds, to breathe out again. Every time I moved I got a bollocking and was told to lay as still as a dead hamster that has been nailed to a cabin door.

Sometime later I was given a nice cup of tea, because that’s the law in the UK and was told that my bottom had nothing in that shouldn’t be there. My blood pressure monitor that had been attached to me the whole time had shown that my average was 128/81 which spiked to 200/500 or something when Warren Sapp had arrived to shove the Hindenburg up my arse.

I asked the Doc if he could take my blood pressure now that the ordeal was over. He did and it was 118/79. Proof positive that a visit to the doctors and the promise of a finger in the bottom is enough to put most people’s blood pressure up, that’s for sure.

It wasn’t all good news though because my stress test had proven that I was about as fit as 83 year old asthmatic hamster that smokes 40 Marlboro Lights a day. I was told to lose more weight, cut back on the red meat and to only smoke a cigar at Christmas. But overall and with a congratulatory pat on the back from Doctor Ramitin for keeping my sugar levels under control I stood outside waiting for Heidi to come and collect me. I felt exhausted, my bottom felt all gooey and I realised that had I not worked as a cruise director for Carnival Cruise Lines that my bottom would have……..at least for a few more years …………. remained Exit Only.

If any of you have survived the opening of today’s blog and haven’t buggered off to watch grass grow…………then let’s do some Q and A.

Mike White Asked:
Please Reply

We are finally into double digits as we wait for the maiden voyage cruise of our Carnival Magic on May 1, 2011. My wife and I are platinum cruisers and sailed with you on the bloggers cruise on the Carnival Dream and in the Baltics on the Carnival Splendor. We are also members of Cruise Critic and am hoping that you may be able to assist us with an empty lounge or room to have a Cruise Critic meet and greet on our first day at sea, Monday, May 2, 2011. I have sent an e-mail to Stephanie (social networking) as well. We do not need anything special just a room to hand out some items and shake the hands of our fellow CC members that we have been conversing with on the roll call ever since the Magic Itinerary was announced. We would love to have you drop by and say hello as well. Can you help us out?? Happy Birthday!!!

John Says:
Hello Mike White,

First of all I must apologise to you for the delay in answering this. Our questions got a bit messed up these past few days and I even answered a question for Eric that had been sent in months and months ago. After this batch we will be back to answering those from mid February but this batch got away from me……………..my apologies. Yes indeed, it’s not long now and I am sure you are very excited. I would be honoured to do this for you but would like a small favour please. I am not on the ship yet and so I have no way of working with the groups coordinator for a lounge. So, I would ask that you post a comment on Facebook a week or so before you sail and if you are not on Facebook please send a message here on the blog two weeks before with the title URGENT – TIME SENSITIVE and the beards will send it to me. It will be great to welcome you and the Cruise Critic group aboard. Thanks for the kind words and see you soon.

Best wishes,

John

Jonathan Tomzack Asked:
John, Please reply

Thank you so much for this great blog. It is the best resource in the industry and the fact that it is funny as anything to boot is a huge bonus. My question is about St.Thomas. I will be calling there during my cruise on the Dream in May and wanted to your advice. I am going to propose to my girlfriend and need to by a diamond and hear St. Thomas is the best place for this. But I have also heard that some of the shops there are selling over valued jewelry and that some maybe fake. Can you give me some advice as to where to go?

I am a huge fan

Jonathan

John Says:
Hello Jonathan,

Thanks first of all for the kind words and congratulations in advance on your pending proposal. St. Thomas continues to be the best shopping port of call in the Eastern Caribbean, followed closely by St. Maarten. St. Thomas and St. Maarten are indeed very popular and about the only thing I dislike about both ports are the barkers that are found in other tourist spots. They stand outside a shop, cafe or bar and as you walk past them they tell you what’s on the menu, how much money you will save if you buy jewelry from them and that they have the coldest beer in town…….some do this quite aggressively…..especially the jewelry shops. There are lots of fancy shops in these ports and it kind of takes away from the upscale atmosphere if you ask me.

The diamond prices in St. Thomas, though, are the best by far ashore. May I suggest that you spend some time with the ship’s Destination Shopping Specialist? He or she is the King or Queen of shopping and they will be able to go with you if needed and get you the very best price. Use them, that is what they are there for. Please have a wonderful cruise and the only other word of advice I can give you is to remember that the word “engaged” has the word “gag”……….right in the middle. Seriously, I wish you both a wonderful life together

Best wishes,

John

Betty Eady Asked:
Hi John – Please Reply

My husband and I are booked on the transatlantic cruise on the Magic in Oct. (cabin 8253). We watched the video of Killer Queen and think that it would be FANTASTIC if you could book this and similar groups. Would they be on the transatlantic crossing? Also, could you tell us what additional (if any) types of entertainment will be on the transatlantic crossing seeing as there are so many extra sea days (which we love by the way!). If you have any info about the transatlantic crossing or can tell me where I can get more info, please let me know. Love your blogs…very funny! Dreaming if warm weather here in -40 deg. Canada.

Thanks!

John Says:
Hello Betty Eady,

Well at this point I am not going to spoil any of the surprises that we have in store for you and the rest of the guests on the TA cruise. I have chosen the entertainment already and I have a feeling you will all be very happy. I can tell you that I am arranging dance instructors, arts and craft instructors and lecturers to compliment our program and apart from the size of our library which being honest is far too small for a one-time voyage like this and will for sure cause some complaints ……it’s going to be a brilliant voyage. I am truly looking forward to meeting you both.

Best wishes and see you soon.

John


Bill from Michigan Asked:

Please reply

We will be with you on the Magic and are trying to decide if we should see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Is it really worth it John?

Thanks so much

Bill and Eileen

John Says:
Hello Bill and Eileen,

The port of call we use is of course Livorno which is the gateway to the wonder of Florence, the beauty of Tuscany and of course the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Which to choose is difficult and while I love Tuscany I do think that the tour to take is the Florence and Pisa combination. Pisa is a (get ready to groan) a slice of history (told you) that you must not miss. The tower really does lean at an acute angle and Miracle Square where it and the Basilica are set is a stunning place to explore. After lunch it is off to Florence to explore this beautiful town with all is glories and a visit to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge for some great shopping. So yes, in my opinion it’s a must see.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes to you both and see you soon.

John

Leslie Asked:
Dear John,

My husband and I were on the December 23rd (9 day holiday sailing) of the Dream. It was a wonderful cruise. While I was on the ship I went to the Guest Services desk and gave them a letter which contained glowing reports of the following Carnival crew members. Guest Services: Jennie Turiczki and Dmytro Vlashchytsky (who knew me by name after the first day). Dining Room: Ante Kulusic, the Senior Maitred who also knew my husband’s and my name and greeted us every night using our names. Our original assigned table in the dining room didn’t make us happy as we were put on the upper level at a table for two against the very back wall. We went to Ante and asked him if he would assign us to a bigger table on the lower level and he did which turned out to be Aleksandar’s table. It was a table for four. The other couple was delightful but they wanted to be moved to a larger table. Ante told us that he couldn’t guarantee that we could have the table we were at but as it turned out we were able to stay at that table for the rest of the cruise. Aleksandar Stojcev who was our waiter and of all the Carnival cruises I’ve taken (18) was the best waiter I’ve ever had. I want to also thank you for making our Chef’s Table reservation for us. It was such a wonderful memorable experience and Chef Rashan D’Souza is absolutely fantastic. We saw him numerous times throughout the cruise and he always came up to us and knew our names as well. It was wonderful getting to know him. We are going to be on the transatlantic sailing of the Magic and we are hoping that Ante, Aleksandar and Chef D’Souza will be on the ship at that time as well. Also our room steward Jay (we were in cabin 8347) was fantastic and is a very charming individual.

I only have one slightly negative comment to make. It is now 23 days since we have been on the ship and we have never received comment cards. I know that many passengers have written and told you that they have not received them. If they come out several weeks after a cruise so many people will have forgotten certain crew members names that they wanted to commend and hence these people never get recognized. Carnival should return to the “old way” and distribute the comment cards the night before arriving back to port. This way the passengers will be able to voice their opinions while it is still fresh on their minds. If the beards insist on emailing the comment cards then my suggestion to them would be to ask every passenger upon checking in at the pier for their email addresses. Please pass this along to the beards. Sometimes the old way was the best way of doing things. I imagine it will be a few weeks before you read this letter. I would appreciate it very much if the people that I mentioned in this email receive commendations and that the beards are aware of just how special these particular individuals are and just how much of an asset they are to Carnival. I hope you had a very happy birthday and best wishes to you, Heidi and Kye for a happy and healthy new year. Looking forward to seeing you on October 28th on the Magic and my husband and I are bringing you something very special that we know you will very much appreciate as you have made mention of this item in one of your previous postings. It is our way of thanking you for what you did for us. We will be in cabin 8344 for that sailing and when I get onboard the ship I will go to the Guest Services Desk and leave a note for you requesting that you get in touch with us so we can meet with you and give you our gift which we know you will LOVE.

Best regards,

Leslie

John Says:

Hello Leslie,

I am sure by now you are probably thinking we would never post your review and for that I am very sorry. But here it is and it is a great review indeed and one I want to thank you so very much for writing. All the people you mentioned will get to see your words of praise all be it later than they should have.

I have to agree and have made it obvious I think here on the blog and on Facebook that I don’t like our current system of review cards. Not everybody is being sent one who wants one. It’s being done randomly by a computer program and I am quite honestly getting a little tired of having to apologise to people about this. I am going to be talking about this with Gerry Cahill myself when I see him next. He really cares and wants to hear your opinions and so I have faith that this will get better. I look forward very much to seeing you on your Carnival Magic and thank you for your kindness and my gift! So if there is anything you need until October please let me know here on the blog thingy.

Best wishes,

John

Marion L Asked:
John, (reply)

I suggest that when you reply to people that you are going to get them a table for 2 that you add that it is not a fact. I say this because you had said you would get us a table for 2 on the Liberty but we arrived and found that we were sitting with another couple from VENEZULA! We are from Florida. You led us to believe that you had taken care of this and let us and let yourself down. Tell the poor people you promise this to that it may not happen.

John Says:
Hello Marion L,

I am very sorry and I feel from your posting how angry you are. I do point out by using the words “I will ask the maitre d to do their best” in my reply and in my defense I never promise that it will be the case. Most of the time things work out and in your case it did not for which I again apologise for. I do though hope you had a great cruise.

Best wishes,

John

Connor Asked:
Dear John, (please reply)

First of all, I love your blog. I love your humor and the wonderful insight you provide into Carnival. Since my first cruise with Carnival back in 2003, I have always wanted to work on one of Carnival’s ships as a purser. After being on the Carnival career page, I don’t see a link for Guest Services or purser. Could you please direct me to this page or tell me how to get there? Also, after being on many cruises, I never see many American workers there. Is there a reason behind this? Like is it too hard to work with the American customs stuff, minimum wage requirements, etc? I am American and would love to one day work on a Carnival cruise ship. Thank you in advance for any information you can provide.

Sincerely,

Connor O’Connor

John Says:
Hello Connor O’Connor – great name by the way.

We do indeed have quite a few American guest service employees and so I would encourage you to follow your dream.

We have a new website regarding onboard employment. It’s www.cclcareers.com and I do suggest you have a look there and if you like what you see …………..then follow your dream.

I wish you much success.

Best wishes,

John

Mark Asked:
Please reply, RE: One Loyalty Program

Dear John;

Has there been any discussion regarding the creation of one loyalty program for all the members of the World’s Leading Cruise Lines Alliance. I am a 6 time Carnival past guest who is looking forward to the benefits of Platinum status. I would like to take a cruise on Princess but recently learned this would not count towards my Platinum eligibility. A single reciprocal program will allow past guests greater opportunity to explore other regions and cultures while ensuring loyalty to the Carnival Inc. brand.

If the airlines can do it with code sharing agreements why not the World’s Leading Cruise Lines.

Regards,

Mark

John Says:
Hello Mark,

Yes indeed there was some years ago but it was deemed impossible to do. Each cruise line runs a very different kind of loyalty scheme and it was felt that they were not compatible in any way. I agree that it would be an excellent benefit for many but I don’t see this happening Mark. Sorry for the bad news.

Thanks and best wishes.

John

Matthew Asked:
Please Reply,

First, Happy Belated Birthday John!!!

Second, do you know which ships are still having the free bottle of wine if you reserve the steakhouse for the first night? I will be in on the Dream in March and was wondering whether this promotion would still be going on.

Thanks

John Says:
Hello Matthew,

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes and my apologies for the ridiculous amount of time this has taken me to answer. Yes indeed, the wine served complimentary is still part of the first night benefits of eating at the steakhouse. Hope you enjoy it.

Best wishes,

John

D and B Klein Asked:
John, please reply

May I ask what religion you are? My husband thinks you are Jewish? Please settle the argument.

John Says:
Hello D and B Klein,

Well, I was raised in a Christian family and went to Sunday school and sang in the church choir as well. Jesus wanted me for a sunbeam but I decided to be a cruise director instead. I am afraid your husband is wrong……….probably not the first time …………….right Mrs. Klein?

Best wishes to you both,

John

That’s all for today and except a quick reply to the large group from Cruise Critic who are sailing on the Carnival Legend on 4/10. I was asked for a meet and greet lounge for you and have arranged the Satchmo’s Lounge from 1:30pm – 2:30pm. The CD will stop by and there will be bar service for those who want to use their own Sail & Sign cards to buy drinks. I hope you all attend and use this chance to meet those who you have been chatting with these past weeks. Have a great cruise.

I will be back with more on Monday here on the blog thingy. Tomorrow, me and the girls will drive to the home of cruising here in the UK, a place called Southampton. It’s about a 4 hour drive from where I live and once there we will join the P&O cruise ship Ventura for a two day cruise to Bruges in Belgium. So while there will be no blog on Friday, I will keep you up to date on Facebook throughout the weekend and tell you all about my time as a P & O guest on the blog on Monday.

Now talking of Facebook, yesterday while I was sitting on the toilet…….again……….I asked the Facebookers to tell me which of the sensational recipes from the dining rooms and steakhouses on the ships that they would like me to share.

The top three were:

  1. French Onion Soup from the Steakhouse
  2. The Bitter Blanc from the Dining Room
  3. The Mac and Cheese from the Rotisserie (also available on request from the steakhouse).

So, as promised and with thanks to our Fleet Executive Chefs Peter Leypold and Sanjay Dhall ………….. here they are.

Baked Onion Soup (10 portions)

Dark veal stock: 2 gal (reduce to 1/3rd of its volume)

Red Onions: 3 lb

Unsalted Butter:  ½ lb

Fresh Thyme: few sprigs

Brioche: for crust

Grated Parmesan: ½ lb

Ementhal Sliced Thick: 10 slices (for soup garnish)

Bay Leaf: 2 leaves

Wine white: 200 ml

Dry Sherry: 200 ml

Cognac: 150 ml

Salt& Crushed Black Pepper: To taste

Method

  • Slice brioche into half inch thick sliced and cut into circles the size of soup cup
  • Trim edges from Ementhal cheese to the size of soup cup. Chop trimmings and mix with grated parmesan cheese.
  • Melt butter; add sliced red onions and bay leaf sweat covered till all the moisture evaporates. Increase heat and sauté till the onions golden and soft
  • Deglaze onions with white wine and reduce completely
  • Add reduced veal stock and sherry. Bring to boil, skim off excess fat and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Flambé’ Cognac and add it to simmering soup, add thyme sprigs, remove from heat.
  • Cover and rest for half hour to let the flavors infuse
  • Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs from soup
  • Heat soup before serving, pour into a soup cups or tureen top with brioche, Ementhal slice and 3 table spoons of grated cheese mix
  • Finish in an oven at 350 f for 10 minutes or till cheese is nicely colored and a crust is formed.

 

Bitter & Blanc Chocolate Brioche Pudding (10 Portions)

Ingredients

Vanilla Sauce

Milk: 1 quart

Sugar: 3 oz

Corn flour: 1.5 oz

Egg yolks: 1 egg separated

Vanilla extracts: few drops

Egg yolk: 3 eggs separated

Sugar: 9 oz

Brioche bread: 1 lbs

Heavy cream: 0.75 lit

White chocolate: 18 oz

Butter: 12 oz

Meringue

Egg whites: 4 eggs separated

Sugar: 8 oz

Ganache

Semi Sweet Chocolate: 6 oz

Heavy Cream: 9 oz

Method

  • Cream yolks & corn flour well,
  • Heat milk & sugar till sugar dissolves and the mix is warm,
  • Add to creamed egg yolks, stirring constantly to avoid overcooking eggs, add vanilla extract
  • Continue to cook on a slow water bath till it reaches a coating consistency. Strain if needed
  • Remove crust from brioche, cut into large dices & soak in vanilla cream
  • Melt white chocolate with butter on a water bath and keep aside
  • Cream sugar & yolk till smooth add the melted chocolate and combine well gently
  • Add the 8 ounces of soaked brioche mix well to form a pudding batter
  • Whisk egg whites and sugar to get a fluffy meringue and fold into better
  • Ganache – Melt semi sweet chocolate bits and heavy cream over a water bath at low heat till a glossy even mix forms.
  • Lightly grease soufflé cups with butter, put one table spoon of ganache at the base, fill with pudding mix to ¾ of the cup and top with soaked brioche dices.
  • Bake in the evening at 350 f for 45 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
  • Dust with powdered sugar & serve with vanilla sauce

 

Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

Macaroni: 1 Lb

Heavy Cream: 2 quart

Sour Cream: 6 oz

Brie Cheese – trimmed dices: 8 oz

Buffalo Mozzarella: 6 oz

Mascarpone Cheese: 10 oz

Grated Ementhal: 8 oz

Salt & Ground White Pepper: to taste

Method

  • Cut fresh mozzarella in small dices
  • Bring heavy cream gently in a thick bottom pan; slowly fold in brie, mascarpone, ementhal & sour cream, continue to stir till cheese melts and forms a thick sauce
  • Season well and reserve hot
  • Cook macaroni in salted water till done but still retains a bite, drain well and fold in cheese sauce
  • Pour cheesy macaroni into an oven proof casserole
  • Arrange diced fresh mozzarella and sprinkle with chopped ementhal cheese
  • Bake at 350 f till the cheese bubbles and turns golden.
  • Serve hot.

I have never had the Mac and Cheese……………..is it really that good?

I will post the next three sometime on a future blog thingy.

Oh and one more thing. I will be taking reservations for the Cucina del Capitano once I am onboard the Carnival Magic so please hang on until then.

I wanted to share a letter that Kirk Benning, CD on the Carnival Pride sent me.

Hey John,

I wanted to share with you and the blog thingy followers a heartwarming letter I received from some recent guests here on the Pride. Tony (Josh’s father) was my celebrity of the week last cruise………..An extroverted Englishman (sound familiar?) whom the entire crowd took to immediately. I’ve attached a picture…..…Josh (referenced in the letter) is the handsome young man with LONG hair on my left. On my right are his sister Shania and their cousin Sarah.

As my buddy Tex said a couple of days ago, these are the things that inspire us and the reason we do the job. I hope you, Heidi and the gorgeous Kye are all doing well.

All the best,

Kirk and Jaime from the Carnival Pride
Kirk Benning
Cruise Director, Carnival Pride

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Tony & Christina0

Subject: Hellooooo from CANADA!
To:

Hi Kirk and Jamie,
Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you soooooo much for the BEST vacation EVER!! I actually cried like a baby leaving the ship!! Josh burst into tears as soon as we got into the car!!

You have no Idea of the impression you made on Josh…..he suffers from anxiety and suffers hugely every day going to school, can’t go on play dates or birthday parties!! (Hard to believe from what you saw I know!!) He, for some reason really took to you and felt safe to be himself and let go……..for us to see him like that and get on stage was amazing! He is even allowed to not participate in stuff at school like the reading in front of class and stuff, because of the issues he has!! So to see him so outgoing was such a joy!! His hair is all connected to that, as he can hide behind it at school, so no one can see cry ;( . Anyway, I just wanted to express my thanks to you, for making him feel so special for the week!!

I am going to be online tomorrow trying to find another cruise that we can afford. I know you are busy, and don’t for one minute think that you will keep in touch, you must meet so many people all the time!! But if you could spare a minute to just let us now which ship you are transferred to I would greatly appreciate it!! We would very much like to book one that you’re on if possible!!

Thanks also for all the gifts; you didn’t need to do that!! Tony just enjoyed being the centre of attention LOL, and as I say, seeing Josh so happy as a result of it was gift enough for me!! We had the most amazing vacation ever, and am so happy that we had the opportunity to meet you both!

Christina

What a wonderful tribute to an outstanding cruise director. You see, that’s what makes Carnival the best……..it’s not the iconic features we brag about……the big screens, the water parks, the RedFrog pub, the gorgeous food, the wonderful shows, etc……….these are all outstanding features ….but……..what makes Carnival Cruise Lines the best…….it’s the people …… it’s what our founder Ted Arison always said……….”It’s people……….they make the difference.”

Talking of the crew I have had some very kind people ask if they can bring the crew phone cards. How wonderful. We do offer relatively cheap phone calls from the ships but it’s the crew centers that provide the best rates through these phone cards. There are crew centers across the Caribbean in abundance. These places provide the basic needs for crew. Cheap communication through e-mail and telephone, internet service and cheap food and drink representing the many nations that make up a ship’s company. Crew centers are also places to meet friends and colleagues from other ships within the fleet. Time off for the crew members is limited and these centres make that time much more enjoyable. Europe is unfortunately well behind in realizing the needs of the crew with only Dubrovnik, Croatia really providing a service……I hope as more and more companies place ships over there that Europe catches up with the Caribbean. So thanks to anyone who is thinking of providing calling cards as an extra gratuity……….you are so very gracious.

So here I sit, still feeling violated. You know, it would have been nice to have come home, sit in my chair and watch my 50 inch plasma TV. Yet that particular avenue of pleasure has been closed off.

You see, Kye will turn two years of age in May and while she cannot say more than a dozen words or know to poo in a toilet not in her diaper…….she has complete and utter understanding of the remote control.……and I can hardly bring myself to say it………I know longer have control of the world’s most important electronic device.

When I think about it, I actually lost control of the remote when my wife was pregnant. Heidi would spend her evenings on the couch with her feet up these days instead of doing what she is supposed to like emptying the dishwasher and washing my underpants.

Even last night when I came back downstairs from an hour talking to you lot on Facebook, there she was watching Super sodding Nanny………….God I hate that program. You don’t just get parenting tips from Supernanny Jo Frost. You get reassurance that however catastrophic your own home life is it isn’t anywhere near as bad as the poor buggers you see on the TV. The dynamic behind last night’s family was…… all three children punch, kick and swear from morning till night. As for Supernanny, the kids reckon “she’s a crap idiot” and they “wish she was dead.” She sorted them out, of course by putting them on the naughty step and shoving their heads in a blender. She may be a good nanny but this program doesn’t make it easier to love your fellow human beings and you wonder what the kids do once the Hulk Hogan like presence of the Suppernanny buggers off.

Yep, and after Supernanny it was time for Despicable Housewives and then….…the toe curling vomit inducing America’s Next Top Bitch……..sorry………Model.

Evenings are bad enough but as I said, Kye now knows how to use it. I will be in the middle of a football (sacccccer) match when this happens.

Rooney, takes the ball, passes it to Gerard, Gerard dribbles past three French players who are running away. Gerard looks up, he only has the goal keeper to beat, he shapes to shoot and “I love you, you love me” and suddenly the world’s greatest footballers have been replaced by the world’s most annoying bloody dinosaur.

I hate not being in command of the remote control and if I dare to suggest that I go watch the TV in bedroom I get that hurt, you don’t love me and Kye and you are a complete bastard and I am going to tell my Mum look.

Forget Lorena Bobbitt, the best way to castrate a man is to take away the remote control. It really is the worst thing a woman can do which of course is why women enjoy doing it so much.

There are so many things we could be watching at one time and for women to deny us of this basic instinct should be illegal and any woman found doing it should be made to walk round Publix naked, with a sign round their necks that says ” I took away my husband’s remote control ………..I deserve this punishment.”

Heidi always comes into the room and grabs the remote saying “You’re not watching anything.” And technically we probably are not. But we do intend to spend the rest of the evening using the remote control to do the following.

Watching 30 seconds of ESPN3 as somebody in a forest in Arkansas called Bubba stalks a deer with an AK47.

Flick through 20 channels in 30 seconds pausing for no more that 1.1 seconds on each one.
Start to watch a film a repeat of West Wing even though you know the episode by heart.

Catching the fart scene from Blazing Saddles only to discover its being shown on AMC and they have taken the fart noise out so all that’s left is a bunch of men sitting around a camp fire lifting their arses off the ground.

Watching ten minutes of the History Channel as you try to convince yourself that you are interested in the Battle of Agincourt in 1329.

Flicking through all the major networks and cursing out loud that the “bloody commercials are on at exactly the same time on every bloody channel.”

Watching the Sopranos and wishing you were Tony Soprano

Watch Hot Latvian Housewives on the rumpy pumpy channel with your finger hovering over the channel down button in case your wife suddenly walks in.

And then after surfing through all 150 channels you scratch yourself downstairs …….. Wipe your Dorito and salsa hands on the arms of couch……….and moan that there is bugger all on.

How can you explain this to a woman who wants to sit through a show featuring a nanny who makes Judge Judy look like Mary Bloody Poppins and then an entire show about stick insect models who only eat air and would stab their own grandmother in the head to be a model. This is why men you must…….. never ever give up control of the remote.

By the way, I should say thanks to Doctor Ramitin who I told would be featured in the blog today. Thanks for putting up with me and my stupid jokes. Although Doc, you only laughed once as I can remember…….and that’s when just before you shoved that balloon up my arse and I said “Are you going to make a balloon animal, is it a Shitzu?”

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.