GASTRIC MY ARSE

March 23, 2012 -

John Heald

It seems to me that more and more I am being called fat. Yep, my weight is discussed yet again in today’s Q&A and my bulging waistline seems to continue to fascinate. And not just in the world of .com either because it happens in real life as well. The other night, I went to a friend’s house for dinner and was offered more roast potatoes. “Oh, no,” I sighed, “can’t eat anymore carbs because they stay on me” patting my stomach as I spoke. This was a huge mistake because like all thin people, my host replied that they never have any trouble, “I can eat like a horse and never put on any weight” and as she said that she loaded another heap of potatoes onto her plate.

This is, in my opinion, a cruel thing to say to a fat person. If I was on a ship and met someone in a wheelchair who tells me they can’t walk, I don’t reply by saying: “Really. I can. I can run as well and if I wanted to I could go down all of the water slides and skip down promenade.” Fat people it seems are forgotten and while I understand that being fat is for most people a choice and certainly being in a wheelchair isn’t but I do find it amazing the amount of guests who feel it’s OK to rub my stomach. My point is when I meet any guest of any background or condition, I try to make absolutely certain that I treat them exactly the same as anyone else…..with respect.

I have learnt therefore to laugh away the fat comments and offers of “help” reminding myself that I am lucky to be able to walk and see and hear and that while losing my legs or my sight or my hearing would be devastating, losing my ability to laugh would be in my opinion…. even worse.

Time for some Q and A…………starting with the fat one.

Rebecca Silva asked:

Let me first say I am not what you would call a troll. I am a Carnival customer with seven cruises in five years under my belt. I met you when you came on the trans-Atlantic 16-day cruise which ended up in Freeport instead of Grand Turk thanks to the bad design of the ship’s engines. I watched as your fans lined up to speak to you and you may remember me being one of them as I offered you a card with my brother’s details on it recommending him to help you with gastric bypass surgery telling you he is one of New York’s most famous in this field. Imagine then my disgust when I see that not only have you not bothered to follow up with my brother but also made fun of this procedure on your blog today and a procedure that my brother has used to save hundreds of lives. I tried to help you and wanted to save your life but if that’s the way you treat your customers then maybe I need to think about taking my business elsewhere.

John says:
Hello Rebecca Silva,

I see that this was posted on January 28 and having searched the blogs I wrote around that time I can’t see anything that I have written on this subject. I certainly do remember you giving me your brother’s card but I also seem to remember telling you thank you I would fight my weight concerns my own way. I am well aware that this surgery has helped so many but I don’t feel that it’s right for me. I respect the work your brother does but, respectfully, I can’t understand why you would consider leaving a cruise line you obviously have enjoyed seven times based on whether or not I call your brother to have this surgery. I am not sure what I said but if I offended you in any way I do sincerely apologise and I hope we see each other again.

Best wishes.

John

Vivian Devletian asked:
Hi John!

LOVE your blog and appreciate the time you take to write the blog as well as respond to questions. We had purchased a new skateboard for our son last year and the deal was that it would be locked up in our cabin until we departed the ship. When we were embarking the security guards were not certain, however, and felt that it should be confiscated. That caused much drama with our son…won’t go there :). However we were able to convince him that it would be on the ship with us and no one would touch it and it would be returned our last day. When we returned I checked and no mention at all of skateboards to be confiscated. I wrote to Carnival and they apologized however I sensed that there is no clear policy on this matter, especially if you had experienced how security was handling the situation. Are you able to shed some light? The thing I forgot to mention that there were two other boys who were allowed to bring their skateboards to their cabins…….that in itself caused much more issues for us. We won’t be bringing one on board I just would like to have the correct knowledge. We are well aware of the risks of a skateboard on board that is why we had positioned that it would be kept in our cabin and not be used until we returned home or if we obtained permission to take it out when we were docked at the ports.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my post.

Vivian

John says:
Hello Vivian Devletian,

Thank you for taking the time to write and it looks like we need to apologise on two counts here. Firstly that we were not clear in letting you know if skateboards could be brought on board and secondly because of this that we upset your son. So I apologise for both these failures and I hope that despite this setback that your son did have a great cruise. The rule will be made clearer in days ahead and the rule is that for safety reasons we do not allow skateboards on the ships.

I hope we see you and the family again and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes to you all.

John

Jon Perrin asked:

We were a Cruise Critic group who sailed on the 12-3-2011 cruise on the Carnival Fantasy and about 50 of us came to a meet and greet. I was surprised in fact I was disappointed deeply to see that the captain or not one single officer or the cruise director came to visit us nor were there any refreshments. Many of us felt that was a slap in the face to us and as Cruise Critic members we are very vocal online about our cruise experiences and deserve more respect, respect that other lines give.

John says:
Hello Jon Perrin,

I was very cautious in posting this because I have found in the past that a few posts that mention Cruise Critic are not real. Many are of course and this is one of them. I know this because I checked with the Carnival Fantasy group’s coordinator and indeed there was a meet and greet that cruise and, yes, you did sail. Please excuse me explaining this but I feel everyone needs to understand that I didn’t post this without checking. I also wanted to post it because while the CD and indeed the captain will try and attend, if possible, it is much of the time not possible due to their busy schedules and while we certainly do value CC members and realise that they so post their reviews for many to read the ship also has 2,000 plus other guests to look after and on a sea day this is especially the case. So please don’t feel like it was a slap in the face and I hope you and all the roll call that cruise had a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Doug Watterman asked:
Hello John,

Can you tell me what the announcement of “bright star” was during our cruise. It woke us up at 8:15am and we never found out what it was about.

Thanks.

John says:
Hello Doug Watterman,

Sorry we woke you up but Bright Star is our urgent medical response needed code. This activates the medical team and others to come as quickly as possible to a designated location. I hope this explains this and I hope you had a great cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Harriet asked:
John,

I know you are busy, but I need an immediate answer. I don’t want to be placed for meals with a non-Christian family. This may seem severe but my DH and I have strict principals and we don’t want to endure seven nights with non-believers and need a private table for two on the Carnival Splendor. Please respond.

John says:
Hello Harriet,

I have asked the maitre d to do his best to get you a table for two and while I can never guarantee it I am sure given the circumstances that it’s probably best that we do get you a private table. I wish you both a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.

John


Debbie (and Duncan) Misamore asked:

Dear John,

I have written you about this before and haven’t heard back so I thought I’d try here….I sailed with my service dog, Duncan, on the Carnival Splendor about 1 and 1/2 years ago. We ate at the Pinnacle (not to be missed!!). There our head server, Andrea, fell in love with Duncan. We encountered her often on the ship and felt that we could be friends. Do you know if she will be there at The Pinnacle or on the Carnival Splendor in April when we sail on her again? I know that she was married to an officer on the Splendor if that helps…thanks for looking.

Debbie and Duncan

John says:
Hello Debbie (and Duncan) Misamore,

I am sorry that I haven’t seen this before and what a wonderful statement about Andrea. Unfortunately she won’t be there next month as it shows that she is on vacation. I hope you have a great cruise and I hope you will let me know if there is anything I can do for you or for Duncan.

Best wishes.

John

Paul Massa asked:
John,

Just wanted to write and ask what you may think is a strange question but after two arnival cruises on Carnival Liberty I have noticed that Carnival does not hire many gay crew members. I am gay myself and was very surprised not to meet gay crew. Can you explain?

John says:
Hello Paul Massa,

Not sure how to answer this except to say we hire based on talent and experience and on availability and that’s it. I know lots of crew members who have same sex relationships but they don’t wear name tags announcing their sexual preference any more than I wear a name tag announcing mine. I hope we see you for cruise number three soon.

Best wishes.

John


Trevor V asked:

Hi John!

Love your blog thingy and could you tell me where Cruise Director Lenny Haliday is these days as I cannot see his name on the schedule.

Thanks mate

John says:
Hello Trevor V,

Thanks for the kind words and Lenny Halliday retired in 2010 and is living a happy life back in his native Liverpool and we miss him very much. Thanks Trevor and hope we see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

Dee Pieterson asked:

Asking about smoking on the Carnival Magic. We are both non smokers and need to make sure we don’t get cancer by having smokers in the balcony cabins next to ours for 4/8/12. Our cabin is 7284 and really need this to be able to enjoy our cruise and our balcony experience without having the putrid smell of smoke and the possibility of getting cancer.

John says:
Hello Dee Pieterson,

Well while I understand your concern, I can’t guarantee that the people in the balcony cabins either side of you won’t be smokers. If they are I hope there can be some compromise however the bottom line is we do allow smoking on the balconies. I do hope you enjoy your cruise and I am so sorry I couldn’t help further.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today and quite honestly the one about me not getting gastrothingy was quite honestly jaw droppingly flabbergasting.

Let’s talk about debarkation, shall we? As you know, about 18 months or so ago we canceled our debarkation talks with all the ships reverting to in cabin videos. So, the beards wondered how those who have cruised since we made these changes have found it. So to the beards were wondering if you fully understand how to disembark the ship now that we don’t have these talks and do you miss them? Certainly we would like to go to the silent debarkations where no announcements are made by a cheery cruise director at 7 a.m. as this is working really well on the Carnival Fantasy.

Two weeks ago my fellow cruise directors received a reminder e-mail regarding mentioning the hiring of mopeds in the ports of call. It’s spring break which means lots of families and younger guests which is why we have asked the CD’s to remind in their talks and on the PA not to hire them. Why? Well, let me tell you. Riding a moped is more dangerous than rubbing your thingy with a piece of squid and dipping it in a tank full of piranhas. Over the years I have been on board when many terrible accidents ashore have occurred involving this particular mode of transportation ……particularly in Cozumel. At home, you have your car serviced regularly and put through service and allow mechanics called Bubba to make sure it’s safe. You like to know that the brakes work.

So how come on vacation you are quite happy to rent something from a company called El Budgeto Mopedo Hireo who makes you sign all sorts of forms you can neither read nor understand before you race away from the ship heading for adventure. You rent an amusing scooter that you ride much too quickly in shorts and a pair of bloody flip-flops. Most people understand the dangers of drunk driving and would never ever do it at home. So why then do so many moped accidents happen after the driver has consumed 17 shots of tequila at Carlos and Charlies? What is it then, I wonder, that makes us become so very different as soon as the ship docks? Why do we take leave of our senses? Some may say that on vacation and on a Carnival cruise we become thrill seeking, fun filled, spirited people. And that when we go home, to everyday life, there is nothing wrong with being thrill-seeking, fun-filled, spirited people, just make sure you choose carefully what you do ashore…so that you get to do the coming home bit.

So next week will be a short week for me as I am heading to sodding Peppa Pig World on Thursday and Friday for a break with the family. Then on Sunday, April 1, I will be flying to Italy to do a week of filming on the Carnival Breeze sending you daily videos of progress and some of the areas that we are so excited about. This means from Thursday, March 29 to Sunday April 8, I will be away from Facebook but I hope the videos that you see of this amazing new ship will make up for me being away. I will then be home for two more weeks and blogging and Facebooking as usual before on the 28th April heading back to Trieste to bring you blogs and Facebook stuff each day of the month myself and the crew prepare this brilliant new ship. One thing I intend to do once on board the Carnival Breeze is to have Calvyn and I post a video update on the ship’s preparation every day and can I also take this opportunity to say thanks for all your support and friendship.

OK, time to go and visit my sister who I haven’t seen for a few months. You know, I was always a bit cruel to Suzanne or Suedrip as I call her. I remember one day she was upstairs in her bedroom getting ready for a date. She was 16 so I must have been 20……anyway, we were both living at home and the door rang……it was Suzanne’s date……I opened the door and there stood the strangest looking thing I had ever seen. He had green hair and for some reason was wearing leg warmers. He was either a Calvyn or had a Fame fetish. Either way he looked a total and utter plonker.

He said that he was here to collect Suzanne. I looked at this young man and his hair that looked like someone had sneezed on him and his girly leg wear and thought bugger this, no way is my sister going out with this wanker. So I did what all brothers would have done and I told him that Suzanne had a terrible rash all over her body and it was highly contagious and that she was in the hospital. He and his leg warmers left. Suzanne came down 10 minutes later and sat waiting patiently, all dressed up for her date to arrive. He never did and she never saw him again.

To this day I have never admitted to my sister what I told the thing with the green hair so while I am at it I should also admit that it was me that put Pop Rocks in her cat’s litter tray and also I was the one who on the day of their wedding let myself into their house…….took all of her husband’s Paul’s underpants……soaked them in water and put them in the freezer.

Oh yes Suzanne……I was also the one who took all the screws out of the legs on your bed so when it collapsed it wasn’t because your husband Paul is a stud.

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.