OPERATION HASBRO

January 27, 2012 -

John Heald

This morning I have been suffering from something that has had my hemorrhoids flaring up like a puff adder and it has to do with changing my password. Now I am going to try and explain what has been going on but remember I have the technology and computer skills of a dyslexic hamster but I will give it a try.

Previously if I wanted to access my Carnival emails on my laptop while I was in a hotel or at home or in a Latvian brothel, I would have to use something called a LAN number which would appear on a little gadget thingy. You would type the number that flashed up on the thingy into your laptop and then have to confirm your mother’s maiden name, your date of birth and how big your thingy is. Once through security, you would wait three days and eventually your emails would appear on the screen as if by magic.

Now that system has been replaced with……well, I haven’t a clue actually because I just press on my Microsoft Outlook icon and regardless if I am at home sitting on the toilet or in the lounge watching Peppa Pig with Kye, my emails are there. It’s brilliant. Except it isn’t. It’s crap.

I say that because when I tried to log on today it would not let me…….. because my password had expired. OK, fair enough. All I had to do then would be create a new password. Simple. But it’s not. It’s a simple as asking Stevie Wonder to knit you a sweater. That’s because my laptop told me I had to be logged onto the Carnival network to do this, which considering I am staying at a nondescript and soulless hotel here in Philadelphia (more on that later), was impossible.

I called the CCL technical support desk which is open 24 hours a day which is a good thing because jet leg had me calling them at 5.45am in the morning. These guys are great and I thank Jose who helped me and for his patience with someone who obviously is to computers as what some news programs are to fair and unbiased reporting. But what wasn’t so good was when Jose asked me to create a new password.

You see, for years my password for everything was “bollocks” but, with brilliant cunning, typing the “o” as a zero, I told Jose this and he said that I shouldn’t do this as the password wasn’t strong enough and basically using the word “bollocks” as much as I do on public domains like this and Facebook was easy for others to guess.

I don’t know about you but I hate having to try and remember sodding passwords. PIN numbers, security ID codes and bank account numbers. I’m constantly clicking on to click “Forgotten your password?” but how much information can a fat thick bloke like me be expected to store?

Anyway, upon Jose’s orders, I typed in my new chosen password but received a bollocking telling me that “Ilovekye” is “weak” and I must add numbers and capital letters. I hate this because it means you end up with a password like “nipple@2zitS,” which you instantly forget unless you write it on a big Post It note which you stick on top of the computer which I am guessing rather defeats the objective.

I hear though that salvation is on hand and just like we have facial recognition photo computers on the Dream class ships so facial recognition will soon allow you to open your laptop. And passwords will be like my sex life — a thing of the past. Until then I will have to continue to use my new password which is “MeganF0xBum4me”……..but I guess now I have told you I will have to change it again…..bugger.

Let’s do some Q and A….off we go.

Debbie McGinnis asked:
John,

I have been following your blog for a short time. While the Carnival Liberty was in dry dock I enjoyed your updates! I sailed on the Carnival Liberty 10-29-11 and just returned home! Fun Ship 2.0 is amazing! We loved all the changes, but I have to say that Guy’s Burger bar was my fav! Our CD Butch was great! He kept us so informed and entertained all week! This was my sixth cruise (all with Carnival) and I just got home and started looking for my seventh! Of course, being from Oklahoma, I was welcomed home with a 5.6 earthquake last night! This was also my first visit to Half Moon Cay and I LOVED IT! The beach was beautiful, the food amazing of course, and the entertainment terrific! I just wanted to tell you thanks for your blog. I enjoy every word you post and thank you for not posting pictures of yourself in your underwear while you’re responding to our comments!

John says:
Hello Debbie McGinnis

What a brilliant way to start today’s Q&A. I am so glad you found the blog and that it helped prepare you for your cruise on Carnival Liberty and, of course, I am thrilled that you had such fun. Guy Fieri’s burgers are brilliant and so many people think like you and have commented that the addition of Guy’s Burger Joint was one of the main highlights of the 2.0 upgrades. Thanks so much then for the kind words and I hope it won’t be long until we see you again very soon and if we don’t I will be sad and will probably post that photo.

Best wishes.

John

Ann Thornburgh asked:
Hi John,

Just wanted to let you know my granddaughter and I just got off the Carnival Liberty 11/5/11. What a great cruise. Loved all the 2.0 changes and also tried several of the new menu items…….delicious! Butch and Amy (aka) 6-3 were fantastic. Only real surprise was how rough the seas were…….probably the worst I have ever encountered. My granddaughter and I just laughed while we lurched back and forth. Our cabin steward Rocky and dining room waiter Cesar took very good care of us. Once again, Carnival provided us with a great vacation!

John says:
Hello Ann Thornburgh

Well that’s two in a row about the Carnival Liberty which gets an A I think rather than a D as mentioned above. I am so glad you had fun and that was despite the rough weather which there seemed to be a lot of during the last few weeks of 2011. I loved that you had such a positive attitude though and I hope you and your granddaughter had a brilliant time together and we see you both again very soon.

Best wishes.

John

Carston asked:
John,

Your internet service on the Carnival Dream sucks. It’s slow and expensive and didn’t work at all one night and the excuse was that there was a satellite fault blah blah blah. Internet should be a priority to Carnival but it is obviously not because IT SUCKS!

John says:
Hello Carston

Let’s start by saying that if you were told that the Internet was not working because of a satellite problem then I promise you that was the reason. All of the major cruise lines obtain their internet service from the same company which is operated and maintained through their service station in New Jersey, although I have no idea what exit. If the satellite system is having problems or the weather in New Jersey is bad then yes we do lose signal I am afraid and my apologies for this happening during your cruise. I agree the shipboard internet is certainly slower compared to what we’re used to on land and hopefully the industry will improve and we’ll get faster service one day. I hope you had a great cruise despite this.

Best wishes.

John

Dale Cynoweth asked:
John, We’re sailing on the Carnival Breeze in July and hope you will be the cruise director as me and my DW love your blogs and would love to see you in person. My question involves the call at Naples. We are considering the all day tour to Pompeii/Sorrento/Capri and although my DW and I are fit enough we are in our early seventies and I am concerned it may be too much for us and would appreciate your opinion, John. Thanks so much.

John says:
Hello Dale Cynoweth

I am very excited that you will be joining me on the Carnival Breeze and I am going to say that I am positive that you will love the ship and will have a great time. The excursion you mentioned is a fantastic one and includes a full tour of the ruins in Pompeii followed by shopping in stunning Sorrento and then lunch which is included in the price. You then take a private boat to the beautiful island of Capri. It is a fantastic tour but will it be too much for you? Well, it will most probably be hot and there is quite a bit of walking in Pompeii and Capri so please give all of this careful consideration. You may want to think about taking Pompeii with Sorrento but not Capri or indeed one of the other combinations. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will indeed see you very soon.

Best wishes.

John

Alan T asked:
Hello John.

I wanted to stop by and tell you about my son. You may or may not remember him but he was seriously injured by an IED in Afghanistan while serving in the Marines. You helped arrange a special wedding proposal on the Carnival Dream and made his cruise so memorable. I wanted to let you know they were married this week in a beautiful ceremony in Buffalo, NY. He is getting used to his prosthetic leg and I am very proud of him. He and Diane send their very best to you and I will always protect you against those few idiots who have nothing but hatred for you and Carnival. Thanks John, you are one in a million.

John says:
Hello Alan T

I do indeed remember your son and the wonderful proposal that thanks to my colleague and fellow CD Butch we were able to provide for him. I am so thrilled that he is doing well and that both he and his new bride are healthy and happy. I truly appreciate your son’s service and I wish him and his wife many happy years together.

Best wishes to you all.

John

Paul Marshall asked:

I am amazed at how many times I read here or on other forums, cruisers holding you responsible for their problems, or wanting you to fix everything for them. My family and I will be sailing the Carnival Liberty on March 31, 2012, which will be our fourth Carnival cruise together….Carnival Spirit to Hawaii, Carnival Destiny, and Carnival Valor to the western Caribbean being the others. We were on one of the first fateful Carnival Destiny “propulsion issue” cruises when we could not make Grand Turk due to being under half a head of steam. There was a near riot at guest services that day, but we didn’t let it ruin our vacation, however, we were disappointed about not going to Grand Turk. We now are hoping to finally get there with the Carnival Liberty, and have also lucked out having booked her far in advance of the 2.0 announcements. Although, I would not consider myself a Carnival “Cheerleader,” I can’t imagine finding a better value for our precious vacation dollars……Thanks for all of your reporting of the dry-dock goings on!

John says:
Hello Paul Marshall

It’s great to hear from you and I am so glad you have kept on cruising and we really appreciate this so much. You will love the 2.0 upgrades and if there is anything I can do for you before you sail please let me know. I know the term Carnival “Cheerleader” comes from another website and that it is used by people in a derogatory way because they feel there is something wrong with standing up and shouting out loud that Carnival continues to provide affordable vacations. There is nothing wrong with cheering for Carnival and we love it when people do. It would be fantastic to sail with you again Paul and I hope that happens one day and if there is anything you need before you cruise before you sail again please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

MissT asked:

First, I want to say I love your blog and FB page. You definitely make things about cruising funny and Carnival should consider you a big asset. I have read a lot about rum runners and how many passengers seem to have managed to smuggle them on. I don’t expect you to approve of this John but please understand I am a care worker and don’t earn a big salary. This will be my first proper vacation and I can’t afford drinks at the prices you charge so I am going to smuggle some booze which is why I haven’t used my real name on this LOL. My question is that if I do get caught smuggling rum runners will I be thrown off the ship? Please let me know. Thanks, John.

John says:
Hello MissT

Thanks for taking the time to write to me and I totally understand that this is your first cruise and that you are on a budget. Obviously we don’t allow you to smuggle alcohol on board and while you won’t be thrown off the ship, the liquor will be confiscated by our security team. That said, wouldn’t advise on smuggling liquor. It seems to me that you are already stressing somewhat about the cruise. I promise you it will be a wonderful and memorable vacation. I hope you have a great time and thanks so much for the very kind words.

Best wishes.

John

Kelvin Butchko asked:

My wife and family (seven of us) will be sailing on the Carnival Dream on January 21, 2012 and I would like you to do something for a very special person who is going to be with us, my daughter Colleen. Colleen will be joining the USAF and this is our last family vacation before she starts her training and I would like you to send her a gift. Important: She does not drink alcohol so a T-shirt or maybe some free photos for her of the family to take with her would be great. Colleen will be in 6294 and I am in 6308.

John says:
Hello Kelvin Butchko
I see you are on the ship as of yesterday and have asked the cruise director to send a copy of this message and my reply to your cabin. You must be very proud of your daughter and please wish her all the best from me would you. I am sure I can find something to send her and I wish you all a brilliant family vacation.

Best wishes.

John

And that’s all for today. Please let me know if there is anything you need and of course the quickest way to contact me for a pretty immediate response is via my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/johnheald. Thanks everyone.

So here I am in Philadelphia and learning all about Hasbro, The Game Show which is our new game show that debuts later this year. The last time I was here was to film a Carnival commercial that involved a huge piñata, two tons of candy and the local baseball team winning the super series bowl championship series and the local fans celebrating in a very….ummmm…. raucous….way. Last time I was here I stayed in the Four Seasons but this time I’m at a different hotel which has beautiful views of the runway, loud crap……….sorry rap music in the elevators and a toilet that is so low to the ground that even Joe Pesci, Napoleon and Snow White’s seven friends would find it difficult to sit on the sodding thing. It’s hip and it’s trendy though and there are three different ways of eating tofu on the menu.

We are here, of course, to learn the ins and outs of the new Hasbro-themed activities which will be introduced on the Carnival Breeze and then be part of the ships that have Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades on them. There will be a full evening dedicated to the show and I have to say that it’s going to be a great night of fun and excitement. The sets are huge and the games really will be crowd pleasers for sure. I will tell you more in the weeks ahead but for now have a look at this photo and you will no doubt see our life-size adaptation of the classic board game Operation. And see which CD’s and ACD’s you recognize.

Now for those who hate listening to me moan about flying please skip down a few lines or go make yourself a cup of coffee would you because I am going to have a bloody good moan again. The flight to get here was long and it was boring and bugger me $2 for a pair of headphones to watch a movie called Aliens and Cowboys or something and a movie I might add that has been cut so much as not to offend children, Christians, vegetarians and anyone with a pulse it lasted 30 minutes. The food was……..well I can’t really call it food. Honestly it was awful. It was chicken something and it was cold and tasted of anything but chicken. This then was my birthday meal, yep, yesterday was my birthday and I spent it eating rubbish at 34,000 feet.

The lady next to me was in her fifties and had a face liked a smacked arse. Bugger me she was grumpy. After the plane took off the captain turned off the seat belt sign and I asked Miss Grumpypants if she didn’t mind getting out of her aisle seat so I could get to my carry on as I wanted to get my portable DVD player. She looked at me as though I had suggested we get naked in the toilet and join the mile high club together. She glared and made a “huummppphhh” sound and reluctantly stood up and allowed me out of the seat all the time making “tutting” noises while she waited. I grabbed the DVD player and sat down as quickly as I could ………. she was one scary woman …..why couldn’t I just once….…sit next to a Latvian who was so scared of flying she needed me to hold her thigh during takeoff and landing. It was a really bumpy flight and we really did hit some huge pot holes and I arrived in Philadelphia to see white stuff covering the city and brown stuff covering the inside of my underpants.

I will be telling you more this week about what I am doing here in Philly and about Hasbro, The Game Show that is going to be a monster hit I am sure. I also will in the days ahead be telling you about some exciting news for 2013 and how the piano bars across the fleet will be — even more than usual — the place to be. Plus there will be other news and stories from the world we love and that of course is the brilliant world of cruising.

It goes without saying that I miss Heidi and Kye something awful. Two-and-a-half years ago while on the Carnival Splendor I slipped and fell on top of Heidi and now we have Kye, the most precious thing in my life. Heidi loves her and she is her everything but didn’t enjoy me slipping and landing on top of her. I was at my heaviest back then and Heidi still describes that slip and fall as having a large closet fall on top of her…………..with the key still in the lock.

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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