BLACKJACK 2011

October 20, 2011 -

John Heald

When I travel I am always guaranteed that someone somewhere is watching over me thinking “Let’s make sure John has something to write about for his blog” and what follows usually means I end up in the s**t. It started on Tuesday night when after a whole day of filming with Peter the Hair, Jay the Recently Married and my marvelous and very patient assistant Mel on board the Carnival Liberty we were tired and ready to go to the hotel. We could have stayed on board but the internet during a dry/wet dock is as reliable as the French army when the word attack is shouted and so to download the videos we had to go to a hotel.

Now I have to feel so sorry for the contractors and crew who are working hard to finish the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades because ever since the Carnival Liberty arrived in Freeport the weather has been a total bastard. And on Tuesday night the rain fell and the wind howled and I thought seriously about doing my bedtime story. Anyway, while the ship continued working the four of us braved the elements and walked off the deck 0 gangway into near monsoon conditions. We had about 800 meters to walk to where the taxis were and we had to do so dragging our suitcases along an oily, greasy pier. Mother Nature saw that the fat bastard was out in the open and therefore decided to unleash even more rain and that was me soaked and knowing for sure I would get a cold. I was right because today I feel bloody awful.

We arrived at the taxi stand and there were two vans waiting hopefully for crew to come off and spend some money ashore. We threw the luggage in the back and off we went………..very slowly. We knew something wasn’t right when turning the van around to drive to the hotel the driver hit a huge bush. It made quite a sound and yet he seemed oblivious to the fact and kept on driving …………. very, very slowly. At one point I saw his head bowed as if he was falling asleep so I started to talk to him. This was a huge mistake as he know started to talk to me in what he thought was a British accent but it proved what we all knew. He was drunk or he had just smoked a palm tree.

During the next 20 minutes the driver never exceeded 30 miles an hour and he angered a total of five other cars that all blew their horns at him as he swerved into their lane. We were all scared. Honestly, we were really, really worried and then without warning he turned into a gas station telling us he needed some gas. And so we sat as the driver wound down his van window and ordered the pump attendant (no self service in Freeport) a grand total of $14 to put in the tank. While this was going on suddenly he started singing a song, loudly and with great gusto. The song was I think called “Oh Lord Help Me Cheat on My Girlfriend And Not get Caught.” I say this not because I know the song but that’s what he sang over and over and over again and as he did so his voice increased in volume.

Once the $14 worth of gas was in which by the way took all of 30 seconds we continued the drive to the hotel and he continued to swerve and continued to pray to the Lord God Almighty that he wouldn’t get caught having rumpy pumpy with some Bahama Mama. Eventually – 55 minutes after leaving the Carnival Liberty — we arrived. The same journey which we had done the week previous had taken 20 minutes. I paid the driver and asked for a receipt as I have to claim the money back from Carnival. The driver then rummaged around in the glove compartment, found his business card and handed it to me saying, “Call me when you want to go to the airport.” I smiled, gave him his $40 while secretly thinking that I would rather have Stevie Wonder drive me than him.

It was now 9 pm and we checked in at the hotel. Lots of little things happened that continue to prove Murphy was picking on me. It was a long walk to the hotel rooms where we were staying. Peter opened his door to find a cleaner sitting on his bed watching TV. I would have liked to open my door but the sodding electric key didn’t work and I had to wait 20 minutes for someone to come with a new one. I won’t mention the name of the hotel but I will say that this is a huge property and it was deserted and only one of the five restaurants was open. I can only say this that I can’t complain about the service there…….because there wasn’t any. It was awful, truly awful. My room had nylon sheets that made my hair look like it had been styled by a leaf blower.

That night we went to the one restaurant that was open and ordered mediocre food. My burger arrived and a Guy’s burger it wasn’t. Anyway, I asked the waiter for some mustard and mayonnaise and he looked at me with as though I had just requested that his wife come back to my hotel room with me. It was quite an experience but the worst as you will read at the end of today’s musings……….was yet to come.

So yesterday morning we took a taxi, with a normal taxi driver to the airport. And our travel fun and games continued. Jay the Recently Married who works with Peter the Hair on video and production had some toiletries in his bag. He had three little things of toothpaste, shampoo and genital wart cream. They were in the little plastic bag thing as they are supposed to be. He has traveled with these essentials in his carryon bag all over the Caribbean and Europe because that’s the law. But not in Freeport it isn’t. It had to be in a zip lock bag. A certain style of zip lock bag and unless Jay had one his toiletries would be confiscated by a woman the size of a Hummer.

How lucky for Jay then that the shop back outside of security area had zip lock bags for sale for $1 each and as Bahama Hummer insisted that each of the items be placed in a separate bag Jay had to go and buy three bags.

There was a lady in front of us who was really upset when she was told to the same thing and I suspect many more people are as well at this blatant way to make money from today’s sometimes ridiculous security measures. Freeport Airport…….you should be ashamed. I am surprised the security ladies didn’t offer to braid our hair while we
waited.

Now the one good thing about flying from Freeport is that you pass through US Immigration at the Freeport Airport and thus don’t have to face the horrendous lines that await you in Miami. Last week when I flew through there it was quick and easy and the inspector was charming and we even talked about cruising and the fact that when he discovered what I was in Freeport for he told me how he had enjoyed a cruise on the Carnival Valor last year. This time it was different. I had my passport and my US Customs card completed and approached the desk.

I guess while last week’s CBP officer was chosen for his charm and pleasant nature this inspector was selected for having no grace, no manners, no humour and no humanity. He scanned my form and noted there was no street number for the hotel at which I was staying in Miami. I had just written the name of the hotel and that it was in Miami. “I’m going to need a street number and address,” he said. “Ooh, I’m sorry,” I said, “I don’t know it.”

This didn’t seem to have any effect. “I’m going to need a number,” he said again, and then again, and then again. Each time I answered sounding more and more like Hugh Grant, terrified that I might be sent to into the little room with the men in latex gloves on or even worse back to Freeport. But I simply didn’t have an answer. “I’m going to need a number,” he said again, giving the distinct impression that he was a robot, and that this was a conversation he was prepared to endure until one of us died. So with a great deal of bravery I decided to give him one. I rummaged around in my carry on and said, “Ahhh here it is. 3655 NW 87th Avenue. This, it turned out, was fine and he wrote down the address of the Intercontinentalmarriotthyatt Hotel which actually was Carnival’s head office address.

I was now feeling very grumpy indeed and I know Peter and Jay were as well because back at the security check Bahama Hummer had insisted that they open all of their equipment and prove that they were carrying video equipment and that the steady cam jacket wasn’t body amour and the tripod wasn’t a grenade launcher.

Eventually I was on the plane or the Pringles tube as Peter the Hair correctly called our American Eagle flight. It was a bumpy ride as we flew through the bad weather. I was in seat 13D pressed against the window. Next to me was a man who said nothing the whole flight but instead read a book. He must have been very short sighted though because he did so by holding the book at arm’s length like a soiled pair of my underpants. It was an awful flight on an awful plane in awful weather. I have had it. I am never flying again unless I have a private plane with huge leather seats and lashings of plasma screens, with in flight food cooked onboard by Guy Fieri and served by Megan Fox…………naked.

And on that note let’s crack on with some Q and A

Suzanne Celentano asked:
Hi John,

I noticed on the CD schedule, that you are off starting 12/4/11. Are you off for the entire month of December? We were looking to sail on the Carnival Magic out of Galveston on 12/18, but we really want to sail with you. Can you please let me know if you will be our fabulous CD for this cruise? Thank you so much for responding.

Suzanne Celentano

John says:
Hello Suzanne Celentano,

I will indeed be leaving then and the ship will be in the capable hands of James Charlton who is the CD now in fact and will be for the trans-Atlantic crossing. I know you will have the best of times although I am very sorry I can’t be with you. Please let me know if there is anything you need before you cruise. Have a wonderful time.

Best wishes.

John

Rick asked:

My wife and I have sailed on the Carnival Paradise (2009) and the Carnival Splendor (2010) Halloween cruise. We are booked again on the Splendor Oct. 30, 2011. On the last two cruises my favorite part of the ship was closed, the piano bar. I would like to know if the piano bar will be open this time? On another issue, I really miss the Grand Buffet at midnight. Will this ever come back? That was worth booking a cruise just to tell my friends about! This will be cruise number six with Carnival and I would like to think Carnival would provide more to keep returning guests and not less. I have enjoyed all of my time on board and look forward to becoming a Platinum Member.

John says:
Hello Rick,

Thanks for booking this cruise and for your loyalty to Carnival. I am not sure I quite understand about the piano bar being closed, maybe the entertainer was ill when you last sailed? Anyway, I can confirm there is a great entertainer there now and that you will have a brilliant time there. The Gala Buffett as we used to call is indeed no more and hasn’t been for some five years I think. It looked great and was lots of work for the crew to prepare but at the end of the night most of the food went to waste as indeed it did most nights we held the late night buffets. With the 24-hour room service and 24-hour pizza plus the late night snacks we think we have the model just right. Thanks for the post and I wish you a brilliant Halloween cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Debbie James asked:

I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful cruise we had on the Carnival Ecstasy Aug 20, 2011. VIP embarkation was quick as usual and we only had to wait about five minutes for the rest of the family to complete regular check-in. The chair hogs must have been on vacation since we were able to find seats near the main pool or at the Serenity area with no problems. I requested that the balcony partition be opened between our two cabins. My son and I went to guest services and within five minutes someone from housekeeping opened the partition. I e-mailed the maitre d about a week before sailing asking for a table for six in a corner so that our grandkids did not bother anyone. He e-mailed me back that my request was granted and we could not have been happier with the table or the wait staff. Rudy from Peru and his assistants did a wonderful job as did our room stewardess, Mary Ann. Steve Cassel was brilliant – he’s quite a one-man entertainment center between the fiddling, classical violin and the juggling. We also had a nice conversation with Steve and Chantal from Marseilles after the farewell party. VIP disembarkation took place exactly at the time stated on our letter and we were off the ship and through customs in a matter of minutes. The food was good – still had the old menu so we all had shrimp cocktail every night just for you John. Thanks again to Carnival for another great vacation.

John says:
Hello Debbie James,

You know, I absolutely love it when I hear great things about Steve Cassel. He is our longest serving CD and he is, with respect to all the other cruise directors the one true entertainer we have. Thank you for writing this great review and Steve and all the people you mentioned will be thrilled when they see this. I am glad you got to experience the last of the shrimp cocktail and I truly hope you will be with us again very soon. Carnival Ecstasy is a great ship with a brilliant crew and I thank you again for highlighting these facts.

Best wishes.

John

Iain M asked:
John,

RCCL has no problem spending a few bucks and holding a ship sponsored meet and greet. It’s a great way to meet your fellow cruisers that you have been communicating with and we appreciate the way RCCL feels about Cruise Critic people. Carnival seems only interested in this if we are willing to pay. We have a Cruise Critic group cruise on Carnival Magic on 1/15/12 and yet Carnival doesn’t want to give us anything.

John says:
Hello Iain M,

As you may or may not know I recently made a decision here not to post anymore comments containing the words Cruise Critic or supplying links to various postings there. This was done because it was highlighting the negative few whose agenda was speculative at best and giving a terrible name to the many good people who frequent the site. Now the only exception to this was when I was asked to arrange meet and greet functions, something I have done a lot of recently. I have no idea what other lines offer and therefore I cannot comment. I do know that if you need me to I can offer to arrange a room to meet and a mention in our Fun Times so everyone knows where and when it is. Please let me know if I can help organise this for you.

Best wishes.

John

Carolyn Reddin asked:

I have a suggestion but I do not know the proper place to address it. I was looking on the net the other day and I saw some clear plastic luggage tags that you can put the paper tags into. I was thinking that Carnival should get some that said Carnival on them and give one to people on their first cruise and maybe another for their fifth cruise. I know that if I had that then I would not want to cruise on another cruise line because I couldn’t use them. If they raised the price of the cruise a dollar or two, no one would know the difference and it wouldn’t cost them anything. Oh, I am getting ready to take my sixth cruise with Carnival on Jan 1 on Carnival Magic.

John says:
Hello Carolyn Reddin,

I know that some have tremendous difficulty with our current paper tags and many come up with ingenious ways of making them stay on the bags. So thanks so much for telling me about this and I will make sure that I pass this excellent idea along to the right people. I see you are cruising on the Carnival Magic and if you need anything before you do please let me know. I wonder if one day you will see these tags on your bags?

Best wishes.

John

Jack Dey asked:
Mr. Heald,

As a platinum passenger with a grand total of 17 cruises with Carnival line, I am very disheartened by the way that Platinum guests do not get free internet and have to pay the same rate as non Platinum customers. This shows a lack of care on Carnivals part and unless this is changed it may become a deciding factor if there is a cruise number 18 for me. Platinum guests deserve better. Your response is expected sooner rather than later.

John says:
Hello Jack Dey,

I should apologise that my response to this came later rather than sooner as it’s just under a month ago since you posted this question. Carnival does not provide the internet service onboard as we work with a vendor called MTN which from what I understand services just about every major cruise line. Regarding your suggestion about free or discounted internet time, I will bring this up when I meet with the vice president who is responsible for what we are going to do with our new loyalty program. I hope there will be a cruise number 18 and may I personally thank you for your loyalty. Let’s see what the future holds.

Best wishes.

John

Marc Steiner asked:

Good evening. My name is Marc and my family just got back from our Carnival Legend August 21- 28 2011 cruise. We had a great time but we were very disappointed about the past guest party. We have now sailed with Carnival and Carnival only nine times and this past guest party was the worst or should I say we missed due to the poor schedule planning…. the party was held when we were in Belize (Wednesday) which was a tender port we were on a Carnival shore excursion (cave tubing—- which was fun) we did not get back on the ship until 5pm and we had to take showers and wash up because we were in the caves… the party was between 5:15 and 6 pm …. by the time we got to it was 5:45pm and they were only serving cheese and no bar service came around to us…. we voiced our opinion on the ship and was offered a bottle of wine which we turned down due to the fact no one in the party actually drinks… My dad can’t drink and I don’t drink and my mom has a social drink…. they told us they would see what they can do…. after two days (Friday August 26) we did not hear back from anyone that we went to guest services on the ship and was told that we would have some goodies waiting for us at the table it turned out the gift was the same bottle of wine that was offered at the time of the complaint…. we took the bottle and gave it to our table mates…. but this is not the way to treat a past guest when we told them that we did not want a bottle of wine in the first place…. all the ship had to do is offer a fruit basket or even a photo coupon to show appreciation of being a past guest…. I want to share this negative experience with you so you can speak to the beards to make sure this does not happen again to other past guests and to see what carnival can offer us to make the negative experience into a happy moment. Look forward in hearing back from you.

Thanks,

Marc

John says:
Hello Marc Steiner,

At last I have found your comment. I know we have been talking about this on Facebook and I feel bad that it’s taken this long for it to be posted here. It got overlooked and I am so sorry. I decided to post it again because this was one of those situations that we learn from and since you told me about this a change has been made accordingly on the Carnival Legend regarding their past guest party. I also hope that by now someone has contacted you and of course that you will tell me when you are ready to cruise again so I can send you a little something. Thanks so much and my apologies again for the lateness of my reply.

Best wishes.

John

Janice asked:

Recently returned from a Carnival Magic cruise that ended one day premature (missed Palma port). We were very disappointed and now I read that your current cruise missed the Monte Carlo port. We passengers select cruises based on the ports, how can Carnival skip the Monte Carlo port for lack of pier availability? Does this not have to be booked well in advance? For us we were told that Palma staff was on strike, but I have read more than a few times of Carnival missing ports. I did not think this could ever happen precisely because passengers pay for these ports when they book the cruise. Please explain.

John says:
Hello Janice,

I hope you had fun on your cruise but I must admit I am baffled by your comments. I was on the ship for both those incidents. We missed Monte Carlo because of high winds and it was nothing to do with lack of pier space but for the safety of the ship. Then as for Palma, well there was as you said a strike which would have meant no ground transportation for our guests so we went to Barcelona and gave our guests a full day and overnight experience there. I realise that guests book to see the ports of call but sometimes things like weather and other situations way out of our control mean we have to make changes. I do hope you had fun though and thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.

John

Georgie Marino asked:
John,

I’m embarrassed, this is my third message to you since I returned from the Carnival Magic Aug. 14-26 cruise! If we book the cruise next year on the new ship which goes to the Mediterranean including Greece and Turkey do you think you will be covering the cruise director duties? Please let me know before we book it.

John says:
Hello Georgie Marino
It should be me that’s embarrassed as it’s taken me nearly a month to reply to you since this last post and I am so sorry that I have only done so now. It is great to hear from you and yes, I will be the CD for the Carnival Breeze and her journey to Greece and Turkey and I hope that I will have the honour of seeing you there.

Best wishes.

John

Tanya Ferguson asked:

Can you please ask the beards to do something about the automated phone calls?? For the last three days, I have gotten three automated calls from Carnival…and when I answer, I get a message that says “We are sorry, there are no PVPs available at this time”…then quit calling me, please?! I am being stalked by a cruise, LOL! I am sailing in less than three weeks on the Carnival Victory, and I have no idea why they keep calling me!

John says:
Hello Tanya Ferguson
I have never heard of this before and I am so sorry that it is as I can imagine frustrating. Let me pass this on and please let me know if you continue to get these calls.

Best wishes.

John

Does anyone else get those calls? Let me know if you do and if you have a comment about it. And on that note that’s all the Q&A today here but there will be much more on my Facebook page………..oh……….hold on, there is one more. As I have been traveling so much these past few years since I have become brand ambassador I have found myself asking why we do all travel so much. It’s time consuming and it’s bloody boring. In the olden days, no one wasted their lives by traveling from A to B, because B was too far away. Now, though, people are quite happy to spend 10 hours in a Pringle tube, watching all their veins clog up and to breathe in the gaseous remains of other people’s lunch. When you are on a plane you are achieving nothing and you are not enjoying yourself, so you are wasting the most precious commodity you have: time.

If you’re middle-aged now you only have 200,000 hours left, and are you prepared to spend 20 of those being squashed next to a hemorrhoid cream salesman from Michigan plus another 45 minutes while someone at airport security removes your shoes and makes you pay $3 for a zip lock bag. This is why I love ships — they may be slower than a plane but you can never be bored, never squashed and if you do meet the hemorrhoid cream salesman from Michigan you can buy him a drink.
I wish I could fly first class. Flying in the front of an airplane does not make the journey pass any more quickly but at least you don’t have to spend 10 hours with your face in someone’s armpit. The jump in price from economy to club is vast but there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s worth every penny. So does this apply to a cruise experience, I wonder? Is it worth spending that extra amount of money for a suite? Good question…………..as you will see here.

Laurie Barton asked:
John,

I am thinking very seriously of booking our second cruise with Carnival on the Carnival Breeze with my husband. We have always wanted to see Europe and having had such a fantastic experience on the Carnival Dream in July what better way to see Europe than on a Carnival ship. My question John is about the cabin. We are thin king of splashing out and booking the grand suite but then I find myself thinking is it worth the extra money from a regular balcony cabin because we will be in port a lot and won’t appreciate it. Not sure what to do so any advice you can give me would be welcome. We love the blog and always read it together and we always laugh out loud.
Thanks John.

John says:
Hello Laurie Barton,

Well obviously I am honoured that you are thinking of joining me on the Carnival Breeze and certainly the penthouse suites or grand suites are amazing places to watch the ship sail into port from and to call home after an exciting day exploring one. Now this is a great question you ask and as I have never stayed in a suite on the ships I think I am going to do something different with your question so stand by for that in a moment. I will then answer you again next week and if you have any follow ups please let me know. I am so glad you enjoyed the cruise on the Carnival Dream and I hope we shall see each other on the Carnival Breeze. Best wishes to you both and thanks for the kind words.

John

So bloggers. Should she book the suite? Here is one for you to answer so …………..off you go.

I want to chat about the casino in a moment but first let’s talk TV. We have had some concerns with our CBS provider last month with many of the ships not receiving that channel. They got all the other networks but CBS was scrambled during the month of September and some of October. I asked the beard in charge about this and he told me today that we now have the CBS feed from Buffalo, NY and it’s available on all the ships except Carnival Magic since she is in Europe. We continue to have more network TV coverage than any other cruise line and we will only be getting even better as you will see in the weeks ahead.

And now to the casino. Two days ago I was asked on my Facebook page if Carnival was replacing the live blackjack dealers with automated electronic tables with no human dealer. I said that this was not going to happen. However, my information source I used for that was a little off…………well………sort of and regardless I need to start with an apology for giving out some incorrect information which when I do makes me very upset with myself.

So, what is happening? Well I spoke yesterday to the senior vice president beard and the vice president beard of casino operations. These gents are great people and good mates and truly have an understanding I think of what the guests want. I showed them the 400-plus comments posted on my Facebook page in answer to my question about what you enjoyed about our casinos and any suggestions you had. It was a fascinating read and apart from the usual suspects of smoking and drinks etc there was genuine praise for the On Us program and the casino hosts and dealers and how friendly they were. So it was understandable that some had some questions about automated blackjack tables. Well I asked that question to the people in charge…..here is their reply;

“Hello John’s Bloggers. Thanks for asking about this and let me tell you what is happening.

We currently have three tables each on Carnival Conquest, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Valor and Carnival Triumph and will likely have installed another four ships with similar tables within the next four months. The results from the initial four ships are very promising and we’re expanding the trial to see if they are indicative of the broader fleet. We have a maximum of three tables and reports tell us a lot of guests like them because the minimums are lower and they don’t feel intimidated by the other players if they do something wrong nobody gets upset and shouts “You took my 10.” It’s also worth mentioning that we often have a casino host at the tables, and because they don’t have to worry about actually dealing the game they are able to focus exclusively on interacting with the guests. And of course these tables can stay open 24 hours while the ship is at sea.”

Thanks Rodney and thanks Paul for taking the time to talk to us. It seems to me that with these additional tables offering lower minimums and help from the casino host that we have the best of both worlds with the live dealer action at the rest of the blackjack tables. It would be fascinating to hear from anyone who has used these new tables and to hear your thoughts.

Can I say a quick hello to Heidi’s aunty and uncle who are staying with Heidi and Kye at our house in the UK for a few days? They are wonderful people and I know Heidi loves having them there very much. Heidi’s uncle is her Dad’s brother. Heidi lost her Dad when he was just 62 and just a few weeks after he retired. His brother (Heidi’s uncle) is the spitting image of her Dad and has many of the same mannerisms that her father had.

Holland is a brilliant country and I know I have some faithful Dutch blog readers as well. As I mentioned the other day, the language is as confusing as to why one of those poor singers who Simon Cowell berates hasn’t punched him in the face yet. You see, in Dutch the “a” is pronounced “I” and the “e” pronounced “a” and don’t get me started on the “j.”

Then there is breakfast which is as important to the Dutch as any nation on earth. Yet it’s a boring breakfast. When I visit Heidi’s family my choices are bread, three kinds of cheese and some cold ham …….. Where was the eggs, bacon, pancakes, cereal, fruit…….even some Herring would have been nice. Instead of breakfast the Dutch have what is called Elef or Elevensees as we say in the UK. This is a snack consisting of a cream cake or sausage roll with coffee and this keeps you going until lunch.

There are many things I love about Holland though. The people are friendly and amazingly most all speak English. They have a superb economy and it’s become my second home. However, the Dutch t always say what they mean and never, ever exert themselves with expression. If you hear a Dutch person use the word “OK” it is used on the same level as we would use fantastic or I would use brilliant. This can be quite disconcerting especially when fishing for compliments. When I first met Heidi I remember asking her a very personal question to which she answered “OK” …..I did not feel like a man for days until she explained “OK” meant I was a stud. I hope Carnival returns to Baltic cruising and that we include Amsterdam in our itinerary again. Amsterdam is “OK.”

So here I sit in my hotel room in my underpants. I still have no idea what the address is and as far as the immigration inspector is concerned I am sleeping under Gerry Cahill’s desk. The hotel I am in is nice enough. It should be at $200 a night and I am staying here for quite a few nights so I am bloody glad I am not paying. But as nice as it is it is still a business hotel. Businessmen’s hotels are the most miserable, soul destroying, soulless places in the entire travel industry. Apart from a certain hotel in Freeport, obviously.

Last night I braved the table for one and went down to the hotel’s restaurant. The menu was written in both English and Spanish and there was much talk of jus and things being drizzled onto other things. And it all sounds lovely. I went for the lamb chop with wasabi mashed potato and vegetables. I ordered from the waitress. “No, lamb. Lamb,” I said to the Spanish speaking lady. I was back in Wal Mart again and nearly started bleating like a sheep but instead wearily pointed to the item on the menu. I was expecting something awful, something the colour of a camel’s scrotum and with the texture of Judge Judy’s thighs. But you know what? It was absolutely brilliant.

Despite the language barrier here I am actually starting to feel like coming back to this hotel is sort of like coming home. I will be on the Carnival Liberty for a week and then back here for 10 days before I head to the Carnival Magic and compared to where I stayed in Freeport this is luxury …………..bloody luxury. I can’t mention the name of the hotel but honestly I wish I could. I am not making this up and have my three colleagues as witnesses. The service and cleanliness of a supposed four-star resort was simply horrific. Our room keys said we had been upgraded to business class. Business class my arse. Being charged $170 a night for a “luxury” hotel room in Freeport that comprised one ratty bathrobe, no mini-bar or bottled water and two single beds of slightly differing heights shoved together is not business class or any sodding class.

And if you do stay there take my advice and before you go to sleep check the bed sheets for pubic shrubbery………..because I think whoever was sleeping in the bed before me was either molting……… or gave themselves a Brazilian.

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.

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