RUSSIAN TO GALVESTON

May 24, 2013 -

John Heald

 On Wednesday’s blog, I wrote about how we are planning for our Baltic season which starts on June 20 and in that blog I highlighted the ports of Warnemunde and Berlin. So today and with apologies for those who have bugger all interest in the Baltic and won’t be joining me here on Carnival Legend, here is a brief look at the most important and the most eagerly awaited destination where the ship will call…….Cleveland, Ohio……bugger……I mean St. Petersburg, Russia.

As you may know I was in the city this past March and it was colder than a polar bear’s dangly bits but it was exactly as I remembered it….a fascinating and incomparable city. The excursion packages we offer are simply the best and, remember, to pass through Russian immigration you must have booked a private excursion and have proof of this with you or, as most do ………. book an excursion through Carnival. You will not be able to get past the men with frying pan hats on if you don’t. You can’t just get off the ship and say you will take a taxi downtown as you will be turned around at the wrong end of an AK47. And I will mention again that we will give priority debarkation to those guests who have booked a tour with us. This won’t win me any popularity votes but in this one port it is a must.

 

The excursions will take you back to the days of the tsars and tsarinas and World War II when, under its old name of Leningrad, the city was under siege for two years and over a million people died, mostly from starvation. Then the remnants of the days of Lenin, Stalin and the one with the funny oil patch on his head will be up close and personal as the last throws of communism will be there for all to see. This comes as you drive through the suburbs past the old cars and faceless grey buildings where some people still have to queue for a loaf of bread. You see, in Russia, it appears there is no middle class, mostly it’s the haves and the have nots, although there seem to be just as many haves these days. You can see them everywhere stepping out of their big Mercedes and Range Rovers under the watchful eyes of ex-KGB bodyguards who have tattoos of a bloody axe on their forehead.
Russian drivers make people who drive in Naples and Miami look like the chap that drove Miss Daisy…….they are bonkers and it’s brown pants all the way. All the cars are the same color, sprayed with a cement-grey, grimy antifreeze, and road filth. It’s as if the dirt were still staunchly communist — painting Mercedes, Ladas, Skodas and Range Rovers the same militant color-of-Mother-Russia’s muck. The amount of cash washing round Russia is jaw dropping. It’s divvied out among the rich and well-heeled whose eye for the massively expensive is turning the country into Dubaiski.

 

The restaurants we use in St. Petersburg are actually quite funny. There are gaudier, with more camp and flash than Calvyn’s underpants. The ship-organized tours of seven or more hours will feature lunch in restaurants oozing with gold ornaments and massive sterling silver cutlery. You will be welcomed with a glass of vodka which you should drink in one shot…..not to do so is considered rude. Then and still before any food is served, you are given a glass of Russian champagne. Your guide will make a toast and again she will explain that Russian tradition states that you must drink this glass ….in one long gulp.

 

So you have had a shot of vodka and a huge glass of champagne all in five minutes. The reason they do this is because the food is crap – I am joking, of course!! The food is excellent and will feature a local soup which is delicious and that’s followed by a big potato salad and either chicken or fish with lots of spice. It’s superb and on our previous season here on the Carnival Splendor we had nothing but excellent remarks.

 

So, what tour should you take? What should you see? Well, the Grand Tour is, of course, an option and one that 1,000 people take each and every time we come here. This is the best of everything and over the two days, you will visit most of the major sites. This still allows time in the evening to take in an evening concert at Catherine Palace with dinner in Pushkin or our most popular tour … sitting in the national theatre, watching the very thin women and men with pieces of fruit shoved down the front of their tights….or to give them their proper name……The St. Petersburg National Ballet Company perform……Swan Lake…it’s truly incomparable. The highlight of the Grand Tour is The Hermitage which used to be the palace of the Tsars and now it contains possibly the greatest collection of paintings, jewelry, statues and rare items from all over the world. Everywhere you turn there are moments of “wow” and “Oh my goodness look at that!” and even stronger emotions when you enter the Throne Room from where the Tsars ruled Russia. There are paintings by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Monet and in the Gold Room a collection of precious stone objects that are quite simply indescribable. They say that if you were to stop and look at every artifact in The Hermitage for just three minutes, it would take you a year to see everything.

 

This is makes St. Petersburg a must on your bucket list. It’s another country, mostly living in another time, still struggling with itself to find its true identity. St. Petersburg is a living version of a Tom Clancy novel and I absolutely love it. The city is as intense as putting Ben-Gay on your gentleman’s sausage and the grayness is everywhere, even the stray dogs that nibble on the leftover grey food……. are grey. St. Petersburg is magnetic, mesmerizing and is a place anyone who visits …..will never forget and I can’t wait to go back in a few weeks’ time……..wish you were coming with me

 

Time for today’s Q and A……lets crack on

 

Bob and Chris asks:

I’ll begin by saying how much we appreciate all you’ve done to make Carnival a success. It was a treat for us to see you at the Carnival Breeze naming ceremony and lunch in December. We just booked our 38th, 39th, and 40th Carnival cruises (B to B to B) on the Carnival Liberty beginning February 8, 2014. This will be the third year in a row we can sail for three weeks on Carnival! We hope you can answer a question for us… We chose the Carnival Liberty because even though it’s had the 2.0 upgrades, it’s still one of the last ships with the wonderful production shows and show bands we love. Will the Liberty still have those great shows in February? We’ve already sailed on four cruises with the new Playlist shows. They don’t compare with the grandeur and magnificence of the shows which brought the audience to their feet. We’re very disappointed Carnival has chosen to change things which we think made Carnival the best of the best.

 

We’ve sailed on the Breeze twice. For us, it’s as if we are back on the cruise line we left (NCL) before we sailed on our first Carnival ship the Celebration in 1991. We’re disappointed Joe Farcus is gone. If you could tour every ship in the Carnival fleet, you would be astounded at the talent of Joe Farcus whose every interior is fabulous and no two are alike. Yes, everything changes, but it makes no sense to change what makes a company great! We like Guy’s Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana additions, but miss the fabulous production shows and exciting designs unique to Carnival ships. We won’t sail on the Dream class ships again as long as we have a choice.

 

Ex: Why build what is supposed to be a private balcony cabin over a Lanai deck hot tub and have people watching you on your balcony?

 

Ex: How unimaginative is it to look at brick walls in the Breeze Lido buffet area, after enjoying the many intriguing sights on past Carnival ships?

 

We’ve been loyal Carnival ambassadors for over 20 years now. You can imagine the number of Royal Caribbean dinner partners we’ve shared conversations with, and us pointing out the Carnival difference! Now…we fear Carnival has chosen to change from what made it great.

 

We’re grateful we can now finally sail four, five and six times a year. Even though we’ve just booked our February 2014 sailings, we’re probably coming back on the Carnival Glory this November. I wonder if Carnival takes much input from loyal guests like us or is it all about new customers? Platinum and Diamond guests are just now becoming the guests who can and will be choosing two, three, and more sailings a year versus the first-time and occasional cruisers. We’ve come back for a reason, haven’t we? We’d love to sit down with the decision makers at Carnival and share our thoughts. We’re fortunate to now be Carnival shareholders, as well as loyal guests and brand ambassadors. If you do read this, I want to say thanks for taking time to do so. Please continue the great work you do, John. Thanks.

 

John says:

Hello Bob and Chris,

Firstly and most importantly, can I thank you for your amazing loyalty and for the tremendous support you show Carnival Cruise Lines; it is to be commended. And I see you will be back to cruise with us again on three wonderful voyages on the Carnival Liberty and I am sure you will have the best of times. The Playlist shows have been met with praise by many and there are those who prefer the older style shows with the bigger casts and the live orchestra. I certainly am enjoying the Carnival Legend and the live orchestra here as hearing a 10-piece band again is something I have missed. But the Playlist shows are in our future and the new shows on Carnival Sunshine are getting amazing reviews and I hope you get to see them one day. The shows on the Carnival Liberty feature the older style shows and they are Wonderful World and Just Rock so I hope you enjoy them.

 

As for the decor, well, it is strange for me being here on the Carnival Legend that features more colorful “entertainment architecture” design compared to the Carnival Breeze and her light and airy spaces which are also evident on the Carnival Sunshine. I respect your comments and will make sure the senior beards see them as your loyalty deserves this but it would be remiss of me not to say that the Carnival Breeze represents where our company is headed these days as far as design is concerned. Thanks then for writing to me, it was an honour to meet you both and I hope one day we will see each other again. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes to you both.

John

 

John Merton asks:

Hello John,

Thanks for all the fun on the trans-Atlantic crossing on Carnival Legend. This was my fourth crossing but my first on Carnival and I have to say that, to my surprise, it was the best yet. There were many highlights including the fun that we had each night at table 241 with Elmer and Ann Maria and the new friends we met from Canada, Bob and Tracey, are people we are still in contact with now and are planning to visit in the fall. The entertainment was outstanding and the shows with the dancers and the illusionist were top notch. The opera singer (forgot her name, sorry, John) and Brett the piano man and the comedy magician (I am so old I cannot remember his name either) were the best I have seen on any cruise and I have done 34 total now. Then there is you and Calvyn who for anyone who has not seen your antics and slapstick comedy it is as funny a thing as you will ever see on a cruise. I know that lots of passengers would stay in their cabins to watch the shows and if you were to find a way to put these on a website, you would have thousands of viewers for sure, John. You are hilarious together. The only negatives were the pools were too cold and the time we spent in the beautiful Azores was too short. On a Holland America crossing, we stayed there until midnight. Thanks, John, on behalf of my wife and I for the fun we had and we are booked next on the return crossing on the Carnival Sunshine and we hope that this will be just as much fun

 

John says:

Hello John Merton,

Thanks so much, this really made my day and I am proud that you had such a brilliant time. I wish we could have stayed longer in the Azores as it was indeed beautiful. I am very lucky that I am allowed to hand pick the entertainment here and certainly the opera singer whose name was Jennifer and the comedy magician, Danny, along with Brett and all the fly-on entertainers really were outstanding as of course are the three main shows. I know not everyone appreciates the banter that Calvyn and I have together on the morning show but I am happy to know that you enjoyed it and that most of the other guests did as well and I wish we could find a way of posting the comments here.  I am sure the trans-Atlantic on the Carnival Sunshine will be even better and please let me know if there is anything I can do before you sail. Thanks again for taking the time to write. Best wishes to you both.

John

 

Kathy Levonian asks:

I guess you won’t admit this but your slot machines are rigged and if you say they are not then all I read about you on Cruise Critic will be true that you never say what is the truth but tow the company line. I have played slots for 30 plus years in Vegas, Atlantic City and on lots of cruises but never have I seen such tight slots as on my first Carnival ship, Carnival Pride. I sat at one machine, a machine I am familiar with from casinos before and sat there for one hour and won nothing and anyone who plays slots will tell you that’s unheard of. And that’s with no free drinks like other casinos on Celebrity. What’s the scoop, John, tell the truth here at least or live up to your online reputation and lose even more credibility.

 

John says:

Hello Kathy Levonian,

Thanks for writing and may I say, first of all, that I hope you had a great cruise. I truly have no understanding how slot machines work, really I do not.  I am not a gambler and Carnival employees are not allowed to gamble anyway and therefore have no experience with their workings. I know they are not “rigged” in the sense that they are programmed never to win as I have over the years seen many, many big winnings of hundreds of thousands of dollars (and even the occasional BMW) and hopefully you will be a lucky winner the next time you cruise. We do have a program that allows for complimentary cocktails as you progress through a points total on the slots and I have asked a colleague from our casino Ocean Players Club to send you this information. I wish you much luck the next time you sit down to play a slot machine and hope we see you on board soon and thanks for your donation. Best wishes.

John

 

Charles G. Wynn asks:

Hi John,

I hope that this finds you and your lovely family in the very best of health. I was hoping that you were going to be on the Carnival Breeze in July. The reason being, Shirley and I will be celebrating our 36-year wedding anniversary, and it would have been fabulous to have had you with us. We are in cabin #6357, and we sail on July 20. Who is the cruise director on board the Carnival Breeze at the moment? I hope that you have stopped the practice of blaming your poor dog for the “THUNDERCLAPS” that you release — shame on you, my friend. I do hope that Heidi and your baby are well. I would love to have met them. I do hope that we can coordinate it that we can get on the same ship together before too long. Your Good Friend Always. God Bless You.

Gordon (Miami Police Dept.)

 

John says:

Hello Charles G. Wynn,

Over the years I have had many memories of my time with Carnival but being arrested and clapped in handcuffs and thrown over the boot (trunk) of a Miami police car parked on the pier is one I will never ever forget. You and I knew it was a joke but the crew I was with didn’t and the look on their faces was also unforgettable. I wish I could be with you for this wonderful anniversary cruise and I will ask that as I see you have written to me on Facebook you send me your cabin number the day before you sail. Have a wonderful time.

Best wishes.

John

 

Alsion Chivers asks:

On our last cruise we were disappointed to be at a dinner table with people who were so boring and said prayers before eating and we could not believe how uncomfortable they made us feel. We do not want that again so how can I get a table for two for our cruise on Carnival Glory? The cabin we are in is 1277 on the cruise starting June 4 this year and we are from Boston so are happy that we can drive to the ship. Can you get us that table for two, then?

 

John says:

Hello Alison Chivers,

I will write to the maître d’ and I know he will do his best to make sure you have a table for two. I wish you a wonderful cruise together and enjoy sailing from your home town.

Best wishes.

John

 

Tim Salter asks:

John,

I am writing to tell you that in June, my wife and I are sailing on our third Carnival Cruise (1982-Festivale, 2002-Sensation, and June 7-Carnival Sunshine). I’m telling you this because we are celebrating 30 years of marriage to the love of my life one year late. This is because we have two wonderful children whose needs she puts above her own. She insisted on paying for our daughter’s wedding before any celebration of our own. Last year her only sister passed away and did not feel it was right to celebrate. John, this woman has been with me through good times and bad and through it all has been the absolute best mother of our children and a better partner than I deserve. Even when planning this cruise, she did not want to go unless we could afford to bring our kids along with their spouses for a true family celebration. I love my wife, Gay Salter, and I look forward to another 30 years or as long as she will have me…

 

John says:

Hello Tim Slater,

Thanks so much for writing from the heart and I am sure Gay will be very proud when she reads your words of love. I am sure this cruise will be something you all need and I have asked my colleagues on the Carnival Sunshine to send her a little something as well.

Have the most wonderful time and my best wishes to you both.

John

 

Dan Holbert asks:

John, you may want to teach your coffee girl on the Carnival Spirit how to make a flat white. It is the staple Aussie coffee and I don’t understand how this girl could constantly mess it up. This moves me on to my next point and that’s why do you have so many foreigners as crew and why not employee Australians who speak English and understand the Aussie way of life. My wife and the two families we were traveling with all felt there were too many non-Australians in the crew. Please explain, John, why this is.

 

John says:

Hello Dan Holbert,

I hope you had a brilliant time on the Carnival Spirit despite the concerns you raised. Although we took a number of measures to “Aussifie” the Carnival Spirit, I will make sure that the hotel director and the beverage operations manager both see that you were not happy with the production of the “flat white” coffee and they will for sure look into this. Like most ships in the cruise industry, our ships employ a mini-United Nations with employees hailing from all corners of the globe and all must have proficiency in English. As I said, I do hope you had fun and congratulations on getting another ship Down Under in the Carnival Legend.

Best wishes.

John

 

Wendy Brown asks:

Back in November 2004, I sailed for the first time with Carnival on the Carnival Sensation.  I’m trying to decide if you were the CD on that cruise. The CD had a spouse that was also on the entertainment staff and in the mornings the CD would sing “Good Morning, Good Morning.” And, before we left the ship at our ports, he would sing “Sail & Sign Card In Your Hand.”  It was an English gent and he was fantastic.  If it wasn’t you, do you know who it may have been. Thanks!

 

John says:

Hello Wendy Brown,

No, that was not me and I think you are talking about the late, great Dave Armor as that to me, sounds like something he would do. My records don’t show a listing that far back so I can’t confirm that it was Dave but my guess is that it was. Maybe someone here can shed some light and I will ask some of my colleagues as well. Thanks, Wendy, I hope we see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

Renee asks:

John, we just came off the Carnival Breeze eight-day cruise. We had a wonderful cruise except for the dining room. Our table was just over looked every evening we were the last ones to be served. Other people already had their dinner before we got ours including the people beside us who had a different waiter. We had three waiters when they finally came to wait on us. One was for water, one was for bread, and one was other stuff. We ate about three pieces of bread before any of us ever got our appetizers. We ate the early dinner, but was there late because of service. Other staff on the Carnival Breeze was very nice and helpful. Our steward Owen was wonderful he kept our room in perfect order. But as I said, the dining room staff was terrible. I thank the next time we cruise we will eat somewhere else besides the main dining room. We have sailed three times and this cruise dining room experience was the worst. I don’t like to complain but other people might get that same table.  Thanks John.

 

John says:

Hello Renee,

This is something I never like to read and sincerely apologise that this happened. I would ask that you send me your last name or your cabin number and the sailing date so I can send it to the ship so they can look into who your server was as with just your first name. I am glad that the rest of the cruise was enjoyable and hope that you will be able to write to me soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

Tina Kennedy asks:

Your smoking rules are WRONG. I am an asthma sufferer and to sit on my balcony and be covered in thick cigarette stinking smoke from the balcony next to me is illegal under law so how do you get away with this disgusting practice? I asked the person smoking to please stop and all I got back was a laugh. I complained to security and the cabin steward but nobody did anything. I will have to book an inside cabin for my next cruise and that is unfair. Smoking kills. It says so on the packets of cigarettes what it should say is smoking kills others and Carnival ain’t caring!!

 

John says:

Hello Tina Kennedy,

I truly understand your position and for a non-smoker with asthma to have to endure lots of smoke must be very uncomfortable indeed and I am very sorry this happened to you. We have radically cut our smoking spaces inside and also do not allow smoking in the cabins but currently we do allow smoking on the balconies as they are outside areas. It is a constant battle to appease both groups and certainly the smokers have far fewer places to smoke these days. I, again, apologise and please let me know if you think I can help further.

Best wishes.

John

 

Christopher Moreira says:

I recently went on the Carnival Dream with my family and was told by Carnival that I was able to have a window seating due to being a past guest. When the first day came for dinner we were nowhere near the window we were on the sec floor of the dining room. I was told to speak to maitre d I did so and the following day received a letter in stateroom stating there was no available window seating and my request was denied. I have been on six cruises and just book a family cruise on the Carnival Splendor out of New York and got told once again I will have reserved seating near a window. I said OK. I called yesterday due to the price change and ask the question again about my seating near a window at dinner and this time was told that they cannot reserve seats that I would have to email you, John, about my situation and see what you could do to help me. I love to cruise but unfortunately very upset on this issue that I am having for the second time hope you’re able to help me and my family. Thank you

 

John asks:

Hello Christopher Moreira,

I am very sorry to see that you are upset. Can I ask who is telling you and promising you a table by the window as we never are able to promise this to anyone as we take dining time requests not table size or position? Is this a Carnival representative, a PVP or a travel agent? Please let me know so I can investigate this and help you further. I am glad you enjoy cruising and I am here to help as best I can so please let me know more, would you?

Best wishes.

John

 

Tammie Armand asks:

Hi John,

I have just booked a trip for my family on the Carnival Ecstasy for May 20 to the Bahamas.  We are super excited. This is only our third cruise (second with Carnival).  I just wanted to ask if you are ever CD on short cruises like mine? My dream is to one day meet you in person as you have to be the most hilarious person and must be loads of fun.  Honestly, I guess I’m not much of a participator, since I couldn’t tell you who the CD was on my past two cruises. But I have to think that you would stand out!  Oh, by the way, how did it work out with Zoe?

 

John says:

Hello Tammie Armand,

I don’t get to do the shorter cruises as I have been in Europe for a number of years but I am hoping to be on a few different ships and hopefully that way we can meet. Zoe, I hope, is doing fine. I had one email from her when she got home but I haven’t heard anymore since and I can only hope she is OK. Thanks so much for thinking of her and for your kind words and I do hope we meet soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

That’s all the Q and A for today. Yesterday, we were in Naples, Italy, and it was a beautiful sunny day but, wow, was it windy and that wind caused us some concerns.

 

From: Adolfo
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 2:04 PM
To: LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR; LEGEND SHORE EXCURSION MANAGER
Subject: Cancel boat tours

 

John, tomorrow, it will be very rough seas. Not sure if jetfoils will run and if they do, everybody will get sick! Better to cancel the Capri portion and avoid complaints. Grazie, Adolfo

 

So that was the tour operator and good friend advising us to cancel the Capri part of the tours because the 45 minute ride which is usually as smooth as my inner thigh would be as rough as yak’s inner thigh……….do yak’s have inner thighs? Adolfo is a brilliant tour company owner and always has the best interests of our guests at heart as, of course, do we. So that evening, before we arrived in Naples, we sent letters to the guests who had booked them and given them a full refund and a list of our recommendations for other excursions and in fact, most of them took other options and had a glorious day exploring Pompeii, Amalfi, Sorrento and other areas in the Naples region. And looking at the sea conditions it seemed that Adolfo had been right……..it was very rough and there was no doubt that had we run the tours then there would have been a lot of bright orange decorating the deck of the catamaran. A point proven as you will now read:

 

From: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 8:34 PM
To: LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES MANAGER;

Subject: Guest________ seasick on boat to Capri

 

Good Evening,

John, I just finished with a very angry _______ who was shouting at me because he and his wife were on the public ferry boat to Capri and were seasick both ways. They heard from other passengers that we canceled our Capri tours and they want to know why we did not tell the whole ship not to go as well. John, he will be returning at 9:30pm and I know you are at the show now and asked Calvyn to please tell you this and hope you can speak to him. Mr was very angry and shouted at me.

Thank you & Best regards,

Guest Services, Carnival Legend

I guess this season in Europe is no different to others I have been cruise director on but it feels like the guests are in need of far more direction than ever before. Don’t pet stray dogs, don’t buy eye phones from Greek street sellers, etc., etc., etc. Maybe I should have made an announcement for guests who were not on a tour, not to take the public boats to Capri. But isn’t there a point where people have to take some responsibility? I mean, looking out from the ship or from the pier at the sea yesterday, it was obvious from the swells and white topped waves that it wasn’t a swimming pool they were crossing. And while I feel sorry that these guests were sick, to shout and scream at the guest services associate like that, kind of has me wishing they had gotten seasick and lockjaw at the same time.

 

But I put that to one side and along with the guest services supervisor, I apologised and took the blame and yes, yes………..I caved in and sent them some fruit. I am weak, I know, but despite his temper, I did indeed feel sorry for him……..I expect mass bollockings in the comments section about this. Anyway, let’s change subjects because, just like that, I am off on my travels again …………. here is what’s happening.

 

JUNE 8                       OFF THE CARNIVAL LEGEND ON LAST DAY OF THE CRUISE TO FLY FROM SPAIN TO LONDON FOR THREE NIGHTS WITH THE GIRLS  

 JUNE 11                     FLY FROM LONDON TO HOUSTON, TEXAS

JUNE 12                     CAR SERVICE FROM HOUSTON AIRPORT TO GALVESTON                                             

JUNE 13                     RED EYE BACK TO LONDON

 JUNE 14 – 19             HOME WITH THE FAMILY

 JUNE 20                     DRIVE TO DOVER, BACK ON THE LEGEND FOR FIRST BALTIC CRUISE

 

When a senior beard asked me to do this and, as always, in my role of brand ambassador, I am honoured to help as needed. So I will be away from the Carnival Legend for the cruise starting June 9 but the ship will be in excellent hands as cruise director Brent Loyer will be joining me this coming Venice for a 12-day handover and will, as he always does, do a wonderful job on a cruise that transitions from Barcelona to Dover. I must, of course, apologise to those guests who were looking forward to seeing me here and I wish you the most fantastic cruise and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I can’t tell you too much about what is happening in Galveston although it won’t take a rocket scientist with a beard and wire rimmed glasses to know it’s got something to do with a certain ship returning to service but that’s all I can say for now.

 

Obviously, I’m flattered that the beards have asked me to go but the downside is that I have to fly 10 hours each way so that’s 20 hours in two days spent in a sodding metal tube, which is why I have asked the beards for a business or first class ticket. I have only ever flown first class once and I wish I never had. I had enough miles from all my previous flights and so I upgraded and used them all and it was a huge sodding mistake.  Yep, flying at the front of the aircraft delivered all the luxury that I had dreamt of and had seen on the TV. Wide seats that could accommodate my fat arse which meant that my thighs were not chafing against the arm rest and the lady next to me whose thighs were even bigger than mine and could have held up an oil rig.

These seats then, at the magical press of a button turned into flat beds which meant I could sleep. Free champagne (not that I drink but it was nice to know I could order gallons of the bubbly stuff if I wanted) and oh yes….the toilet….are you ready for this….The toilet had fresh flowers in it.

I was given a menu which “had been personally designed just for me by world famous chef Michele Ramsey Blanc Roux” and I sat in my massive chair, feet up, deciding whether to have the Chateaubriand, Trout A La Seaugo, or tofu soufflé. I had the beef. And then there was the British Airways flight attendant looking after the first class cabin who was so eager to please that I am sure if I had asked would have been happy to take me into the flowery toilet and make me a member of the mile high club…………..but Justin wasn’t my type.

 

But this experience ruined all my future flights that I have done for Carnival. Returning to economy after first class is like sleeping on the floor of Turkish prison after sleeping on a Carnival Comfort bed. The flight after the time I was in first class was purgatory. I remember it so well. I was flying from London to New York for the launch of the 2.0 upgrades and as I boarded the 747, I looked longingly at the flight attendant hoping she would say that Mr. Cahill had called and insisted you sit in first class. That didn’t happen and my fat arse was directed to row and 129 opposite the toilets that don’t have fresh flowers in them but fresh turds instead.

There was no menu to choose from as in first class and, instead, I was offered a meal that smelled like the food I give my dog Breeze. I spent seven hours wedged between two people one with breath straight from Satan’s jockstrap and another who slept the whole way, mouth wide open, snoring and dribbling on herself.

 

So for this flight to Texas……..actually for these flights to Texas………I am hoping the beards will take pity on me and fly me first class. There will be people reading this who will say that it doesn’t matter. Everyone arrives at the same time. And wherever you’re seated if someone manages to get a pair of exploding underpants on the plane and aircraft plunges into the sea, then it doesn’t matter. Well sorry, that’s bollocks. If that happens, I want to be in first class. I want that glass of champagne to toast the world goodbye. I don’t want to spend my last minutes on earth seated between Mr. Halitosis and the drooling woman. I want my own flat bed in first class ……………. which if my life is coming to an end, I may just, for the hell of it……….invite Justin the flight attendant to share with me.

 

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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