2.0 IN 2 WEEKS

October 10, 2011 -

John Heald

Heidi sent me some photos of Kye today and I wish I could post them here but as you know what happened last time, I just can’t. I can’t get over how beautiful Kye is, especially considering how boil on a baboon’s arse ugly I am. It seems that us ugly people have a new hope though as the commercials for various male face lifts and rejuvenating $700 creams keep telling me. What a load of bollocks. I know there’s already stuff available to help ugly men and women. It is called “alcohol” and its powers are in full view every week on the ships, when guests you’d have rejected for possible romantic rendezvous on deck at 9 pm suddenly acquire magical new hotness a few minutes before the nightclub closes.

Men with beards who invent these creams and lotions can’t bring anything new to this party. Pig ugly men like me long ago developed a pant based device to make them attractive to women. This is known as a “wallet,” and has controlled the emotions of women world over to miraculous effect. Heidi and many women like her also have their plan as well when they start wearing stockings 24/7 to gain a proposal, then the instant they are back from honeymoon revert to full length pajamas with the sensitive areas protected by minefields and barbed wire.

Now I am writing this because filming all the dry dock videos these next few days is Carnival’s Video Producer Peter the Hair whose brilliant filming has I know been enjoyed by so many and I know you will love the videos he will produce during the Carnival Liberty’s dry dock. Now Peter has just gotten engaged and will soon be married to a beautiful lady called Aimee. It is a real shock to many that Aimee said yes when Peter proposed because………she has met him. Anyway, I congratulated Peter but I also have to, as a mate, warn him about his future because Peter loves gadgets. Anything with a screen or switches or buttons or with the word Eye in it……..he has it or he wants it. But all that is about to change.

Peter………by saying “I do” to a tearful girl in a big white dress, I, like all men before me, kissed goodbye to my chances of acquiring new gadgets until death do us part. I will never know whether shooting aliens on PlayStation 3 is more enjoyable than shooting people on Playstation 1. They are both banned. Ditto for phones, computers, cameras and anything else you like, Peter.

“There’s nothing wrong with the one we’ve got,” is the motto of married life, unless we’re talking about dresses, shoes or purses. It gets worse when the kids arrive. Since Kye’s arrival, I found the only gadgets I was allowed to buy were strollers, baby seats, nipple pumps and Barney computer games. Then, the second she was able to walk, she has joined the anti-gadget crusade. The portable DVD player I bought when I thought Heidi wasn’t looking took, thanks to Kye, a tumble down the stairs before I even had a chance to watch Latvian Girls Go Naked DVD box set. My beautiful and much treasured plasma TV has been drawn on with a red sharpie and my Raspberry was found to not enjoy a swim in the toilet.

So, Peter and unmarried men, take my word for it, enjoy your gadgets while you still can and please pass this down to your sons.

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

Elian G asked:
John,

My family group of 14 was on the Carnival Valor last week and enjoyed the food and the service. We enjoyed the service from our waiter Roberto because he was from Honduras and spoke Spanish. We are all from Miami and my parents and my wife’s parents and my brother do not speak English. I don’t understand why on a ship that departs from Miami that you have no Spanish shows and no information in Spanish. The only time my parents and Laline’s parents were really having a good time was at dinner as they didn’t understand anything else that was happening on the ship. If Carnival is going to continue to advertise cruises from Miami to the people of Miami, then it makes sense that Spanish be spoken and shows provided in Spanish. Remember that the official language in Miami will by 2015 be Spanish.

Thank you.

John says:
Hello Elian G,

I realise that it is frustrating when you don’t understand what is being said around you and I totally sympathise with your parents and those of your wife. I was in Miami this past week and I hear Spanish being spoken everywhere as obviously there is, as you said, a large Spanish speaking community here. The fact is though that there were guests on your cruise from all over the United States and Canada and indeed other parts of the world and not just Miami. We clearly advertise ourselves as an American cruise line and that the official language on board is English. Now we do translate our Fun Times into different languages which I hope you found useful and of course I know we have a great Latin band on the Carnival Valor which I am sure you all enjoyed. I will pass on your thanks to Roberto who I am glad you enjoyed so much. I do hope that overall you had a wonderful cruise and thanks for expressing your opinion here.

Best wishes to all.

John

Don McKenzie asked:
Hi John,

My wife and I really enjoyed our trip on the Carnival Magic back in July – okay, the trip didn’t end until August 5, but you know what I mean. By the way, did the Salmons ever make it back?

Anyway, one thing I was thinking about is whether or not it would be possible for Carnival to set something up where FedEx or UPS was readily available at a port of call to facilitate shipping items back home. With the travel restrictions of carrying liquids through security, it makes packing things like olive oil, wine, limoncello and all those other goodies a bit of a challenge. We did look at trying to find a FedEx office while in Venice, but it was a bit too far to really get to. If there was some sort of a drop near the port, it would be really helpful. Thanks for everything that everybody did to make our stay enjoyable.

Cheers,

Don

John says:
Hello Don MacKenzie,

This past season was extraordinary for guests missing the ship. I should have kept a grand total but every cruise I was paging for people who were late and who eventually missed the ship. The Salmons were of course infamous weren’t they? It would be great to be able to arrange the posting through Fed Ex of extra liquor purchases but unfortunately there is a law in the United States that does not allow liquor to be mailed through the postal system from abroad. I know what a challenge it is with the luggage restrictions these days. I hope you had fun and I am glad that I wasn’t paging your name to see if you were going to miss the ship or not.

Best wishes and hope to see you again soon.

John

Santhem asked:
John,

On Facebook there was a discussion on how much you earn and I see that you got very defensive about it. You should know that this information is available online and most sites have it listed as a salary range: $3,800-7,500 U.S. per month. I am sure you must earn close to the $7,500 mark, right, big guy? The reason though I am writing is that I need a question answered. I have heard that the tips we give the waiters and cabin stewards do not all go to that person and that Carnival takes a percentage. Is this true? I hope it isn’t because that is so not cool.

John says:
Hello Santhem,

Please don’t be concerned. Carnival does not take a single cent from the gratuities that you give the staff and anything you may read to the contrary is simply not true. I am not going to talk about my salary except to say that it all goes straight to my wife and I have an allowance of $50 a week to buy toothpaste, shampoo and hemorrhoid cream.

Best wishes.

John

Matt and Sheri asked:
Hi John,

First, back in June, my wife, daughter and I were on the Carnival Liberty and had a fantastic time. I wanted to thank you for arranging a table for three in the dining room. I know that people use you as a sounding board for things that don’t go well and they’re slow to compliment. We have been on eight cruises with Carnival, and we have NEVER had poor service or a bad time. The only negative that I have is that some of the guests need to learn manners, but that’s no fault of Carnival’s. Next, I have a question. My wife wants to know if Carnival offers Zumba fitness classes. If not, is Carnival possibly thinking of offering those classes? Zumba is an exercise class that gets people dancing and moving about to Salsa music, and other Caribbean-type songs. It’s a lot of fun and I would think that some guests would like to work off that decadent chocolate melting cake. Just like your spa offering Pilates for a nominal fee, I’m sure Carnival could offer Zumba for a fee as well. I know my wife would participate everyday if it was offered.

Thanks, John, for your entertaining blogs, and I look forward to your reply.

Matt and Sheri Allina

John says:
Hello Matt and Sheri,

I am so glad that you had a great time and that the table arrangements were OK for you. Manners cost nothing and it’s a shame when other guests don’t live by the same principles and I hope this didn’t cause you too many concerns. There is no doubt that Zumba is very popular indeed. I saw this for myself when a lovely guest came on the Carnival Magic and volunteered to teach classes. I will definitely speak to the director of our on board spas and let Steve know that it would be something our guests would like to see as an activity on the ships. Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to write and I hope we see you both again very soon.

Best wishes,

John

Jakesia M asked:
Hi John,

I’m still basically new to cruising. My first cruise was in 2003 on the Celebration. My 2nd cruise is 55 days away aboard the Carnival Destiny. This cruise is a surprise birthday gift to my mother. I’d like to know why you don’t offer a small token of a gift to guests celebrating birthdays on the cruise, why the special celebration isn’t listed on the booking (and I have no way to add it) and why you don’t offer discounts on excursions? Mind you, I’ve gone ahead and purchased the cabin decorations and four excursions for my mother, but I was just wondering. Also, my last cruise was a blast. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to do another one. My friend and I always made it back to our room when daylight hit…and we didn’t know we were up that late because we closed the club that was on the ship. Hopefully I get the chance to meet you one day.

John says:
Hello Jakesia M,

I bid you a warm welcome back to Carnival and I am so glad that you are sailing again on the Carnival Destiny. Obviously, with 3200 guests each cruise and with 23 ships in the fleet it would become a very expensive procedure to send every single guest with a birthday a gift and it would be difficult to manage as well. However, if you send me a note on my Facebook page,  I will gladly send your Mum a birthday something. I hope we get to meet as well and I hope you all have the best of times.

Best wishes to all.

John

Graham Sandy asked:
Hi John,

I work in a hotel in Seattle and was wondering how Carnival wraps all those knives and forks into the napkins we used on Lido. I was on the Carnival Freedom last month and couldn’t understand why these were not already laid out on the tables. Do you have some sort of automatic machine that wraps them? We had a fantastic time and the behind the scenes tour was the best!

John says:
Hello Graham Sandy,

I am so glad you had fun on your cruise and enjoyed the brilliant Behind the Fun tour. Your question is excellent and how we wish we had an automatic cutlery wrapping machine thingy ……….but we don’t. We can’t lay them out on the table as per strict United States Public Health regulations as we don’t have the tablecloths on the tables on Lido plus with our Lido Deck eating areas being so popular it would take a lot of work to lay them over and over again. So how do the knives, forks and spoons get into those napkins? The crew does it. Each night we have various waiters and assistant waiters who in turn have what’s called a side job which means after service, late at night they will sit and wrap hundreds of knives, forks and spoons into napkins. The crew that does this will often finish at 4 am but they won’t work again until dinner time. It’s a tedious job and until someone invents a machine that does this then it’s the crew on all the cruise lines that have to do this.

Thanks for asking and I do hope we will see you again soon.

Best wishes.

John

Marie Koval asked:
Dear John,

I just wanted to let you know of the GREAT Customer Service I received from Malory, in the “HELP… the FCC online Redemption thingy won’t work” Dept. At any rate, if there is such a big problem with customer service over there at Carnival, then I think Malory should get some sort of prize for best Customer Service employee. She went beyond my problem, waited for me to get my sister on the cell, and then she fixed her online FCC problem with the same phone call. Just saying, Malory should at least get an “Atta Girl” from the Beards, and if not, then at least she is getting one here on your ?).

John says:
Hello Marie Koval,

Thank you so so much for highlighting one of our shoreside people who often never get to be in the spotlight. I have spent the last few days in the Miami office and have seen once again how important the work they do is and each and every one of them is so important to the Carnival product. You may notice I deleted your quick reference to another website but I wanted to make sure that your post was seen by all so that Malory sees how much of a great impression she left on you. I will make sure she sees this and so will the beard in charge of her department. Thanks again and please let me know if there is anything else you need before you sail again.

Best wishes.

John

Corvette Cruiser 99 asked:
John,

Normally I could not care who the cruise director is when I cruise as it makes no impact on my overall enjoyment. I see that you have earned a dubious hero worship and having cruised with you I don’t understand why as I found you very annoying. I will be sailing on the Carnival Dream on October 29 and see that the CD is someone called Butch. As I said, normally I don’t care who the CD is but I have read that Butch is always using the public address system and is very annoying. This is a very special cruise for me as I have had a difficult six months with serious health issues and the last thing I need is to be woken up every morning by him nickel and diming me to go the gifts shops for some not to be missed sale. I hope this message reaches him.

John says:
Hello Corvette Cruiser 99,

Actually, there has been a recent change to the CD schedule and now Kirk Benning will be the cruise director as Butch will be on the Carnival Liberty. I was surprised to see your comments about Butch because normally I hear nothing but brilliant comments about him. There are now strict rules in place as to when the CD’s can use the PA system and what length their announcements are and please remember that the messages are never broadcast into the staterooms unless it’s an emergency. I hope that you have fun and that your cruise is one that will rejuvenate you from the difficulties of the last six months. I wish you nothing but health and happiness.

Best wishes.

John

Larry Bernard asked:
John,

I will be sailing with Carnival for the first ever time on the Carnival Magic’s first cruise from Galveston. I need you to help me reserve a lounge area for daily pray and spiritual meetings. I am an ordained minister from Brownsville, Texas and I feel that amongst the good times and fun your passengers will be having, that you should offer them a chance to pray and to reflect. I suggest we do this each day of the cruise at 5 pm and I will need a microphone and a table and a podium. I will be bringing 50 bibles with me which is all I can really have room to unpack so as I expect we will have hundreds of passengers attend. I would hope that Carnival can provide more.

Thank you, John, for getting this arranged quickly.

John says:
Hello Larry Bernard,

I will be with you for the inaugural sailing from Galveston of the beautiful Carnival Magic. I will be happy to help you arrange a service but I need to get this cleared through the head office in Miami first. I will speak to someone today and then be in touch. While I think offering this everyday may be a little too much, I see no problem while we can’t do this once on the cruise for you. I will be in touch very soon and until then, I wish you a wonderful cruise and thanks for thinking of your fellow guests.

Best wishes,

John

Deb asked:
Hi John,

Can you tell me how to contact the Carnival Triumph cruise director? I’m a solo traveler and although it doesn’t usually bother me to eat alone, I think I will feel kind of foolish on formal night, all dressed up and eating alone. I thought maybe the CD could hook me up with any other solos on board.

Thanks!!!

John says:
Hello Deb,

I was writing about cruising on your own on my Facebook page a few days ago and I have these past few days been, experiencing the table for one thingy and it can be lonely for sure. I have sent this to the maitre d on the Carnival Triumph and asked him to seat you with other single guests of your approximate age group. I do hope this is OK with you. Thanks so much for writing and I wish you the very best of times and I am sure you will make many new friends.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today and I will be back here on the blog thingy tomorrow with more. Thanks to you all for all the comments that continue to be an important part of this blog thingy.

So here I am back on the Carnival Liberty. It has been five years since I have been on this ship and of course when we delivered her, she was the first ship from Carnival to do a full season in Europe so there are lots of happy memories here for me. Certainly, it’s great to see old friends again like Pier the hotel director. Now Pier is a very funny man and quite eccentric to say the least and is one of those crew members who have grown up with the company coming from the F&B department to his current position as hotel director which he has held for 12 years. We delivered the Carnival Imagination together and, of course, the Carnival Destiny. That ship back in 1996 was, of course, the largest cruise vessel in the world and bringing her out presented challenges for sure. It actually turned my hair grey and Pier…….well you can see what happened to his hair.

So here we are together again and reminiscing about all the jokes we used to play on each other back in the day when the words “politically correct” had yet to be invented. I remember one day Pier, Heidi and I were sitting having a cup of coffee on Promenade Deck. Debarkation had just finished and we were waiting for embarkation to start. As we chatted, Pier kept itching in the area around his crotch and after a while I asked him what the heck he was doing. He told Heidi and I that he had some new underpants and that they were making him itch and with that he dropped his pants to show me said new pair of underpants. I looked in horror as he stood there showing me his new underpants which were white with palm trees on them. In fact, I had a pair similar to that. In fact ……..hold on………..they were my underpants. Pier had used his hotel director’s master key and gotten into my cabin and stolen my favourite pair of underpants. Needless to say I never wore those ever again.

Anyway, as I said, it’s great to be here despite the fact that there is no air conditioning and it’s hotter than a penguin on a sun bed. Work started on Saturday afternoon, everything was planned to perfection. The 500 plus non-Carnival workers came on and joined the 1,000 Carnival Liberty crew and the 125 beards from Miami and as soon as the last guest left, the drills started drilling. But there was a problem. You see, Mother Nature decided it was her time of the month and being in a cranky mood threw down some seriously angry rain and 50 knots of wind. This hampered the loading on of all the pallets of equipment and fittings by the huge crane that was pier side and the work itself on the open decks. It also delayed our sailing to after midnight and as I was telling you on Facebook, it also delayed the sailing of the Carnival Destiny and the Carnival Dream.

Once in the open seas we were bouncing around like a kangaroo on speed and it was no surprise that come Sunday morning, we had our original arrival in Freeport’s dry dock of 7 am delayed. Inside the port there was still 40 knots of wind and the port was closed which meant we had to delay our dry dock arrival. But it didn’t really matter because while the engineers are desperate to get the ship out of the water to do the maintenance on the propellers and the thrusters and the work on board to adapt the ship to Fun Ship 2.0 continues and is right on schedule.

I hope you have enjoyed the videos so far and my thanks to Peter the Hair and Jay the Recently Married for their brilliant editing and filming. Tomorrow we fly from Freeport on American Eagle back to Miami and then we will be back on the 18th to film the finished product for you.

Many of the ship’s company have left the ship before we sailed. These include the casino dealers, dancers, entertainment staff, the cruise director, the gift shop, the spa employees and other non service personal. Each department leaves one representative on board but most of those I mentioned have two weeks’ vacation which of course they love. But of course many of the crew remain on board and that leads me to a very important point.

I mentioned on Facebook another important aspect of this dry dock and I want to repeat it again here. You know for the crew, dry docks are hard work and it’s done in difficult living conditions. As there is no air conditioning because the units that run this are all being replaced and having maintenance completed on them. This means that the work they do is done in the heat and with 1,800 bodies all sweating together, it smells like a French prison. The crew’s usual routine is disrupted and let’s face it, two weeks on a hot ship isn’t exactly…… ummmmm………exciting. What makes this dry dock different is that every crew member I have spoken to is thrilled that they are part of the very first Fun Ship 2.0 dry dock and when all the sweating and hard work is over, that they will have what they think will be……the best ship in the fleet. And you know what? They are probably correct. Stay tuned for more videos soon.

Let’s move away from the Carnival Liberty and here are the menus for the trans-Atlantic cruise of the Carnival Magic. I know many wanted to see these so here they are.

Once the ship arrives in Galveston, she will change over to the new menus completing the fleets change over.

Back here on the Carnival Liberty, the ship is full of welders and steel cutters and painters all of whom are wearing high visibility jackets and hard hats and safety shoes. In fact, there are nearly as many safety inspectors watching the workers as there are workers…… ummmm ……. working. I had started filming yesterday when I was stopped, given a huge bollocking, a high visibility jacket that didn’t fit and a hard hat and only then could I continue the dangerous work of speaking into a microphone – I’m kidding, of course. Safety is priority number one – nothing else even comes close — and the health and safety chaps do very important work on our ships. That being said, they can sometimes go over the top – and with good reason. I am sure if Jesus rose again and washed two people’s feet with the same towel and walked on water without wearing a lifejacket ……… he, too, would get a bollocking.

Well it’s time to go out and film again. Last night I sat here in my cabin sweating like Monica Lewinsky in a cigar store (wow, that’s an old one) catching up on Facebook while watching baseball on the TV. A TV that will, by the way, like all cabin TV’s here, be replaced with a flat screen TV during this dry dock. I was watching baseball, don’t ask me why, I just was or at least it was on while I was Facebooking.

Actually, it wasn’t the hitting with the baseball stick that intrigued me but rather the spitting. Bloody hell, can these people spit. The rule seems to be that everybody has to be chewing something, at all times. Either gum, tobacco, fingernails, toenails or boogers. And not in regular style quantities either but in dinosaur-sized portions.

There was a guy on TV who had a wad of gum in his cheek the size of a puppy. Actually, it might even have been a puppy. And what goes in must come out. Then they cut to the manager just as he unleashed a stream of tobacco juice the width of the dry dock we are in. Then just as I was recovering from this charming sight, the camera focused on a chap who was shelling peanuts with his teeth and lips and regurgitating the shrapnel like some kind of demented human beaver. I need to introduce you all to cricket.

You know we get a little blasé about the cruise industry with dollops of new ships each year. But occasionally, however, a building project comes along that simply sweeps you away, and what they are doing here on the Carnival Liberty in a two-week period is one of those. RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, BlueIguana Cantina, The Alchemy Bar, EA SPORTS Bar and, of course, Guy’s Burger Joint. We’re replacing carpets throughout the ship, as well as all stateroom TV’s and the Seaside Theatre Big Screen.

All this and more in two weeks. How clever is that? It takes me two weeks to change my underpants.

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.

css.php